The starting point for this blog came from my realisation that I love both history and crafting. Quite often the one does not occur without the other. As a Historian I love visiting houses, castles and museums. Inevitably my eye is drawn to the embroidery on display. If I’m reading about someone like Katherine of Aragon, Bess of Hardwick or Mary Queen of Scots I am intrigued by their experiences as needlewomen as well as the finished works. I want to know the stories of the people who created the textiles we see around us, I want to know how they did it and, usually, I want to have a go.
I should add that I’ve been messing around with fabrics and threads since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I stitched through my O levels, A levels, a couple of degrees and as a way of relaxing during my years as a teacher. I’ve stitched kneelers for a church, been a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild and given hand stitched samplers as christening or wedding gifts.
Often, books are published from historical or practical viewpoints but rarely both. I also realised that whilst needle felting is currently very popular as is crochet that cross stitching is less popular than it once was and that blackwork embroidery and gold work remain relatively obscure.
I envisage that The Sewing Jar will offer a view both historical and practical to all kinds of needle crafts, depending on my whim at the time or the UFO (unfinished object that I have picked up determined to complete).
I offer talks on the history of blackwork embroidery and also on the development of cross stitch samplers. Please contact me using the form below if you are interested in me giving a talk for your organisation.