I began learning needlecraft at
school. It was a subject thought to be of primary importance
back then. To start our education we were all given a piece of red
gingham material and asked to transform it into a cross stitched
apron. It haunted our class for a whole school year and thoroughly
put me off cross stitch. However, once past that exercise we
progressed to other aspects of sewing. By the end of my school days
I had become reasonably proficient at dressmaking.
In later years the needle skills enabled me to make our
daughter's wedding dress (see dress picture in the
craft pages). It took blood, sweat and tears to create it
but it looked impressive on the big day. I couldn't make it now
because I needed to lay it out on the floor and be able to crawl
around. That's something I can't do anymore.
A road accident in 1991 led to a dramatic
change in lifestyle. I had been a working girl, a housewife
and mother up until then. I had many immobile and painful hours of
time to reflect on the aftermath the of the event and the
restrictions that it had permanently placed upon me.
One day, while watching TV, an advertisement caught my interest.
It was for a new needlework magazine that was being sold with a
free cross stitch kit. I managed to ignore the voice in my head
that was chanting, "Remember the red gingham!!" and resolved to buy
it. It just shows how desperate I had become to find an
I arrived home from town the next day with the
magazine and kit. By the time I had completed the tiny two inch
square pot-pourie sachet I was hooked on cross stitch.
From there on, each picture I attempted was more
complex than the last. I am now proficient enough to pass on the
skills and have been able to offer help and encouragement to three
ladies in a day centre I attend. They have suffered strokes but
have, nonetheless, managed to create some pleasing pictures.
I was really pleased when CROSS
STITCH COLLECTION MAGAZINE published a letter I wrote on the
subject along with a photograph of me with my needlework. It was
made the star feature of the readers input pages and won me a prize
of some valuable threads.
This therapeutic hobby is becoming increasingly
popular with women and men from all walks of life. The kits cover
many subjects ranging from landscapes to motor bikes.
I now spend quite a bit of time on different crafts.
In July 1999 I was pleased to pass 'year one/part one' of a
City & Guilds course called,
'Preparing Working Designs', which involves passing an examination
in various needle and other crafts. However, I always tend to
return to my first love of cross stitch.