Today is the first Monday of the new year, and I find myself eager for tomorrow to arrive. The kids don’t go back to school until next week so we have lots of time to play and explore together over the next several days, but that isn’t what has me excited. This is what has me excited:
You may recall I took a class in crazy quilting from Sharon B before Christmas and I loved it. The kind of crazy love that has you abandoning all of the more pressing Christmas crafting in favour of just one more seam. A large part of the pleasure was the delightful Sharon B and her ability to both encourage your efforts and push you further with a constant stream of suggestions and challenges. Her knowledge is just amazing, and her website, Pin Tangle, is a veritable stitcher’s paradise filled with lush photographs, free patterns, and best of all, a massive stitch dictionary.
Tomorrow, Sharon B is starting up a TAST challenge for stitchers worldwide. TAST stands for ‘Take A Stitch Tuesday’ and every Tuesday in 2012, Sharon will be posting a new embroidery stitch to learn and play with. I can’t wait!
The plan is for B and I to take up the challenge and try our hand at the stitch of the week each week (or as many weeks as we can manage it) and then post the results here for all to see.
Before you say it, yes, I may be crazy for taking on TAST with my 8 year old daughter, but I think (I hope!) it will be fun for both of us. While K liked learning to sew and will happily repair a torn seam on a stuffed animal or repair a rip in a coat, embroidery is just not his thing. But B… B likes to stitch alongside her mama and she’s had a needle in hand every time I turn around the past few months. At 8 years old, she already has a beautiful detached chain stitch and a very respectable buttonhole stitch, though she still struggles with backstitch and outline stitch — she has trouble getting the lines to flow smoothly. It will come in time, I’m sure, and I think the fun of TAST and learning a new stitch every week will help her new skills grow enormously. Mine, too, I’m sure!
What’s more, this Christmas, we were blessed with a most generous gift. My grandmother, who used to be an avid quilter and a frequent embroiderer, has taken up rug hooking in a serious way and is no longer working with quilts or embroidered projects. When we visited over the holidays, she gifted B with a huge box of embroidery thread of her very own to add to her sewing basket, among other crafty things.
B is tremendously excited and has already dug into the box and gotten to work. First, she finished up the Santa ornament, and then she sewed a little teddy bear from white fabric, edged him with buttonhole stitch, and then started to embellish the front crazy-quilt style with all sorts of colourful embroidery stitches. If you look closely at the above picture, you can see the little white bear in her sewing basket before she started embellishing him. And, since I know someone is bound to ask, here is a closeup of her Santa:
Every time she digs through the box of threads looking for just the right colour, her eyes sparkle with delight — she is in stitcher’s paradise. So am I. B wasn’t the only girl gifted with thread, oh no! I was gifted with the most incredible treasure, and photos just can’t do it justice (though I’ll try!). Great Aunt Lois was a lighthouse keeper in BC and she liked to embroider. Living on a lighthouse, she would have ordered every colour of thread, Grandma says, so as to have the right colour on hand if she needed it. While we were visiting, Grandma gave me not only a generous pile of quilting fabrics and trim, but also Lois’ collection of embroidery threads.
Tucked into the roll of thread was another little surprise — a precious bundle of silk embroidery threads, carefully tagged and wrapped for safekeeping.
I am absolutely blessed to have received such a gift, and I couldn’t wait to put it to use as soon as we got home from Toronto.
So I did.
Two new crazy quilt blocks have been pieced using many of the fabrics B and I were given, and stitching has begun on one of them. Thank you ever so much, Grandma, for a gift that will be well used and well loved.