Approximately 18 months ago, my elderly parents moved into a self-contained unit in a retirement village close to where we live and this came about not merely because of their age. You see, in January 2011 their house was severely affected by the Brisbane floods and so they took the opportunity to move on to the 'next stage of their lives'. Amongst the devastation and loss of so many personal and material possessions included the loss of most of Mum's craft fabrics, knitting needles and wools, crochet hooks, embroidery needles, threads, etc. and believe me when I say that she had collected a LOT over a lifetime. Much has been replaced and she is still continuing to restock her supplies, albeit on a smaller scale and mostly this is because she has joined a weekly craft group within the retirement village which has given her a new and continuing outlet for her creativity. Recently, I took her to the haberdashery section of our local Spotlight store to buy felt, fabric, wadding, needles and wool as the group were making small teddy bears for a charity which supplied them to a children's hospital. Her teddies were so cute and very neatly stitched complete with satin stitch eyes and nose and blanket stitch around the body and I believe the other ladies were agog at the amount of effort she had put into the teddies, but Mum just shrugged and commented on how she thoroughly enjoyed the activity.
So when I recently attended the Brisbane Stitches and Craft Fair, I came across this needlecase kit which I thought my Mum would love and in particular the design, because she is of Scottish heritage. The design is by Lesley Clarke for the Textile Heritage Collection and is part of a range consisting of a bookmark, sachet and scissor keep.
The placement of the stitching was very important because the fabric was to be folded in half and the edges folded over so measurement and centring was crucial. The order in which colours were stitched was very important as well with the border and background stitched first. The background colours were just long diagonal stitches held securely in place when the dark purple backstitch covered the grid. The thistle design consisted of cross stitch, backstitch and straight and diagonal longstitch over two or more holes.
Two separate pieces of cardboard slightly larger than each design were then cut and placed behind the two separate designs with the extra fabric firmly folded over and the corners neatly mitred and stitched in place. The coloured felt which was part of the kit was cut in half lengthwise and one piece placed over the folded fabric and neatly stitched to the fabric - I used a herringbone stitch. This was a time-consuming task, however it was necessary to ensure the fabric was held firmly and securely in place.
The remaining length of felt was then placed inside and centred evenly over the stitched felt with the tassle loop slipped over and into the centre (between the two pieces of cardboard). The loop was then neatly slip-stitched through all layers thereby holding the centre 'leaf' in place as well as the loop on the outside of the case slip-stitched ensuring that the tassle was held firmly in place.
I am pleased to say that my Mum was thrilled with her gift when I gave it to her last night when my parents were over for dinner and commented on how she will be able to put it to good use. I can almost see her right now hard at work!
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love" - Mother Theresa