News and views from CrossStitcher read­ers around the world

Ever won­dered what stitch­ers like us are up to in dif­fer­ent parts of the globe? We’ve asked read­ers from near and far to be­come cor­re­spon­dents for us and share with us their cross stitch news…

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Re­becca Rogers, Hull, UK

My, how quickly the sum­mer has passed! The weather will once again be turn­ing chilly, we will be don­ning our scarves and our hats be­fore we know it and all the leaves will turn dif­fer­ent shades of auburn. The au­tumn brings a large change for me – I am go­ing to be­gin my A Lev­els! Af­ter two years of hard work on my GCSEs, it will be­gin all over again now. I am tak­ing His­tory, among other sub­jects – some­thing that I en­joy very much. I can­not wait, in fact, to be­gin stitch­ing the lovely Bothy Threads’ Jane Austen – some­thing that com­bines my love of English too.

I love this time of year when you go out and buy new stationery for school, or start a new cross stitch project. So many of the teenagers you meet at school have all match­ing items for the first cou­ple of weeks un­til they lose them all! The idea of be­gin­ning in a new school is an in­tim­i­dat­ing prospect, as well as an ex­cit­ing one. How­ever, many of the peo­ple you meet are the same as those who are in your school – just with dif­fer­ent names! Bothy Threads’ Jane Austin & Our youngest cor­re­spon­dent, at just 16 years, Re­becca loves tex­tiles and his­tory, and is study­ing for her A Lev­els.

Michelle Yeoh, Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Malaysia

Sleigh bells ring, are you lis­ten­ing? Wow, I can­not be­lieve that Christ­mas is just right around the cor­ner! Have you all started on your Christ­mas stitch­ing yet? I know I haven’t.

As Malaysia is lo­cated near the Equa­tor, we have no chance of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a white Christ­mas. It’s just a toss-up be­tween a sunny or rainy day.

I love Christ­mas de­signs the most and I tend to hoard all the Christ­mas is­sues I can find, re­gard­less that I may never, ever fin­ish stitch­ing them. In fact, to-date, I have not got­ten past the ‘ad­mir­ing’ stage into the stitch­ing. Haha! My mum made bet­ter progress and stitched a few of the cosy Christ­mas sweaters from Is­sue 299.

I have a weak spot for Ad­vent cal­en­dars! I just love the idea of hav­ing a small treat or sur­prise ev­ery day lead­ing up to Christ­mas; it re­ally helps to build up the an­tic­i­pa­tion of the ac­tual day. I tend to get re­ally ex­cited each time I see an Ad­vent cal­en­dar chart, but stitch­ing one is still on my work-in­progress list. In­stead, I have this beau­ti­ful Ri­lakkuma Ad­vent cal­en­dar which comes with 24 cute mini char­ac­ters. Each day, I just trans­fer one over to the ta­pes­try with the Christ­mas tree. It was a real splurge for me, but how can you re­sist so much cute­ness?

Well, if you have yet to start on your Christ­mas gifts or would like to try some­thing dif­fer­ent – here is an adorable project that com­bines cross stitch, cro­chet and pom-pom mak­ing. I started by cro­chet­ing a win­ter doll and added a red and white pom-pom bauble to his win­ter hat. As it was still look­ing a lit­tle plain, I stitched on the holly to give it more de­tail. It works up pretty quickly and I’m sure it will put a

smile on the re­cip­i­ent’s face! Now, if you will ex­cuse me, I have some Christ­mas tunes to belt out! My win­ter doll, com­plete with holly Christ­mas sweaters from is­sue 299 The cute Ri­lakkuma Ad­vent cal­en­dar Michelle is a full-time mum and has her own busi­ness, Lit­tle Pink Fac­tory on Face­book and In­sta­gram, de­sign­ing cus­tomised cross stitch por­traits.

Joanne Hay­ward, Read­ing, UK

Hello fel­low stitch­ers, as the darker evenings be­gin to shorten the days, my fam­ily and I have been think­ing back to trips we had taken this year and our sum­mer hol­i­days. It made me think about the places we had been where we had seen some ex­am­ples of sewing and crafts and how these skills had been handed down.

Ear­lier this year we were lucky enough to visit The Foundling Mu­seum which is based in Brunswick Square in Lon­don.

Our visit left a last­ing im­pres­sion on me. Back in the eigh­teenth cen­tury the Foundling Hos­pi­tal was es­tab­lished and cared for chil­dren when their par­ents were no longer able to. When the chil­dren were left by their mother they were left with a small to­ken item per­sonal to their mother as well as a small piece of fab­ric, half of which the mother took as a means of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. If only the pieces of fab­ric and to­kens could talk what fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries could they tell, for ex­am­ple who made the fab­ric and how were they taught – the mu­seum is def­i­nitely well worth a visit.

Some­thing which re­ally took my at­ten­tion on dis­play was a beau­ti­ful sam­pler stitched by Ju­lia Hoskin a Foundling Hos­pi­tal pupil in 1907 when she was aged just nine. The chil­dren were taught skills such as needle­work, weav­ing and spin­ning so that they would be use­ful cit­i­zens when they left the hos­pi­tal as well as us­ing their skills whilst at the hos­pi­tal.

This beau­ti­ful sam­pler made me won­der if Ju­lia passed on the skills she learned and how she her­self learned these skills and if she con­tin­ued to use them later on in her life.

A sim­i­lar thought re­turned to me whilst we took our fam­ily hol­i­day to Malta, we took a day trip to the is­land of Gozo and en­tered a small lace shop full of amaz­ing hand­made items. As my two daugh­ters were in­ter­ested in the lace and how it was made, we got talk­ing to the owner. She her­self had two pieces of lace on dis­play that were works in progress, and she ex­plained that one would never be fin­ished as it had be­longed to her mother and was the last piece she was work­ing on when she passed away. The other piece be­longed to her and was a book­mark she was cre­at­ing, she ex­plained that her mother had taught her the beau­ti­ful skill of lace mak­ing and she had learned whilst very young.

Think­ing about Ju­lia and the lady mak­ing lace, it made me think I teach my daugh­ters Freya and Scar­lett to stitch and craft as I feel these are im­por­tant skills that they should learn as they will need them later on in life even if they do only use them to sew on a but­ton or take up a hem. How­ever in

this modern world full of tech­nol­ogy are these skills go­ing to be con­tin­ued to be taught and handed down and be done by hand or not?

I hope that one day my daugh­ters take the skills they have been taught and hand them onto some­one else. That way these im­por­tant skills, that en­able peo­ple to cre­ate things with their own hands, will con­tinue to sur­vive in our ever chang­ing world. The Foundling Hos­pi­tal pupil’s sam­pler A lace book­mark from Gozo Joanne is mar­ried, with two daugh­ters. She works in a lo­cal pri­mary school as a teach­ing as­sis­tant and al­though her main pas­sion is cross stitch, loves all crafts and is al­ways busy craft­ing with her girls.

Gior­dana Grossi, Parma, Italy

Ciao from Italy. It’s Au­gust while I’m writ­ing and it’s strange to think about Christ­mas when it is 40 de­grees out­side. But walk­ing through the city cen­tre you can al­ready see in shop win­dows gift wrap pa­pers with Christ­mas pat­terns, and dec­o­ra­tions be­side sum­mer sales.

I don’t have chil­dren but I have three neph­ews and this year I de­cided to stitch for them an Ad­vent cal­en­dar and fill it with candy and lit­tle toys. The youngest is only 16 months old so I think it will be beau­ti­ful to see him dis­cov­er­ing ev­ery day a new sur­prise.

This is also the time to write two im­por­tant let­ters, one for Santa Claus of course, but the first one for Santa Lu­cia. Saint Lucy’s day is a very strong tra­di­tion here in Parma and it’s the most mag­i­cal night of the year for ev­ery child, even more than Christ­mas morn­ing. She ar­rives in the com­pany of a don­key and brings gifts for good chil­dren in the night be­tween De­cem­ber 12 and 13. She also brings many books in ev­ery school of the city for stu­dents. Chil­dren are asked to leave some bis­cuits and milk for Lu­cia and a carrot for the don­key be­fore go­ing to bed.

One of the ear­li­est mem­o­ries of my child­hood is the emo­tion the morn­ing af­ter that mag­i­cal night and the hap­pi­ness when my mother told me “Santa Lu­cia was here tonight”. Well, I’m 39 now but I think I will write my let­ter too, we are never too old to dream! The Ad­vent cal­en­dar that I stitched for my my neph­ews The true story of Santa Lu­cia My first Saint Lucy’s day when I was two years old Gior­dana is a 39-year-old bus driver, and lives with her hus­band and her cat Mur­phy in Parma, Italy. She learned to stitch from her mother when she was a lit­tle girl.

You can fol­low her on­line at her in­sta­gram ac­count at www.in­sta­gram. com/gior­dana_­grossi.

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