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…
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.