Document 105146

ISSUE 9. May 2011
Newsletter of the Needlework Group of
Distance Befriending - Befrienders Highland
19 Church Street, Inverness IV1 1DQ
Summertime Stitches…
Hello Everyone
Welcome to a brand new issue of the WISH
Newsletter. As we head closer to Summer, we
welcome the longer daylight hours, which are
perfect for evening stitching opportunities.
What better reason to get out all those
stitching projects that have hibernated over the
gloomier months of the year.
In this issue, we find inspiration from many
sources, as well as some stitching hints and
tips. You can win a crochet kit (for beginners)
with our Wordsearch quiz, and don’t forget all
those other freebies in the Community Box. There
Hedgerow cross stitch kit
are also some articles about how knitting,
embroidery and sewing have helped people in
different ways. So why not make a cup of tea, put
your feet up and have a good read.
You may also like to share a stitching idea, a
problem, ask a question or provide some stitching
wisdom—this is your Newsletter, of course, and
we are always delighted to hear from you.
The deadline for contributions to the next Issue is
8th August 2011
Happy Stitching!
Inspired Stitches…
Lynn Turner lives in a cottage overlooking the beautiful sea
loch in Shieldaig, Torridon. She works part-time as a designer
and knitter, and sells her varied items that include crocheted
bags, scarves, brooches and tea cosies in local craft shops and
producers’ markets. Her achievements and success are enviable, but life has not always treated Lynn kindly.
A few years ago, she had a car accident that left her with an
excruciating back injury. She was forced to give up her work
as a landscape architect, and spent a lot of time at home,
isolated from colleagues and without an income. Friends and
family members’ birthdays loomed, and Lynn decided to make
them presents instead of buy them. She shopped in local
charity shops for yarn and needles, and using creative flair,
inherited from her mother and encouraged by her sister, she knitted presents that were
met with delight. Taking a holiday break, she found an old
crochet hook on the window ledge of her holiday cottage and
within minutes, she had taught herself to crochet too. Soon,
she was hooked! She says, ‘After my back injury and
enforced isolation, I lost my confidence and self-worth. I
became clinically depressed. Creating something beautiful
with yarn and needles or hook gave me back a feeling that I
was good at something, and productive, after all.’ From
making presents and doing commissions, Lynn now spends
much of the wintertime knitting her stock, and then these
are sold locally to enthusiastic customers during the spring
and summer months.
Lynn is inspired mostly by the
beauty of nature – the colours of the surrounding landscape
are reflected in her yarn choices, and she experiments with
textures to produce one-off works of art at an affordable
Typically, Lynn is modest about her achievements. She
believes that anyone can knit or crochet if they just decide
they want to, and the waistcoat shown was her first attempt
at knitting, years ago. She loved the pattern so much, she
decided she would have a try, and with determination,
success followed. She says, ‘Anyone
can be a a good knitter by just learning how to cast on, cast off
and knit and purl. It is a cheap hobby, because yarn and needles
can almost always be found in charity shops.’
Lynn’s top tip: If you want to learn a technique or a type of
stitch, then just access a search engine on the internet, and
enter: ‘how to [name the technique/stitch]’. There are YouTube
videos demonstrating just about every technique there is, and
you can learn so much by looking at a close-up view of an expert
showing how it is done.
Painfree Stitching: A Guide
Stitching -- as an embroiderer, knitter, crocheter or quilter—is definitely not a
dangerous occupation. Nevertheless, poor posture, repetitive actions and bad habits
can cause a great deal of pain and problems over a long time. The best way to tackle
these problems is by prevention.
Here are some tips that will help you remain painfree as you stitch…
1. Stop stitching immediately if you feel pain. Analyse why the pain exists
( - consider the next tip) and find the best way of managing your problem.
2. Similarly, stop stitching when you feel tired and sense that you are using
additional muscles to continue your work (such as bracing your elbows against the
arm of your chair).
3. Stitch in good light to avoid eye strain. Position yourself by a window, so that
light is cast on your work. Invest in a craft light for evening stitching. Have your eyes
tested regularly, and make sure your eye glasses prescription is updated as necessary.
4. Consider your posture while you stitch. Slumping on a sofa will produce aches and
pains, as will leaning to one side in a chair. Make sure your back is well supported,
your feet are on the floor and that your head does not strain forwards. Your project
should be held in a midline position, with your neck and shoulders feeling relaxed.
5. Every few minutes, get up for a stretch and a walk around the room. Focus your
eyes on a distant object and shake out your arms and hands.
6. Any persistent pain should be checked by your GP.
These basic tips to injury prevention should help you to stitch painlessly in the future.
Hand-eze therapeutic gloves
Craft lamp : The Daylight Company
The new WISH Charity Challenge…
Do you love crocheting and knitting for charity? We know that many of you already
produce items for good causes. Here’s another easy challenge...
Can you make 8"/20cm squares and help keep cold AIDS orphans and grannies
Welcome to KasCare's knitting for charity project, knit-a-square. The charity would
greatly value your contribution to this knitting project for the AIDS orphans of
southern Africa. It is estimated that there are 14.8 million orphans in sub-Saharan
Africa. 1.9 million live in South Africa.
Many of these children have been abandoned. Thousands live in great poverty in
shack settlements. Some head up families of their siblings together with other children. Some live alone, without shelter, in hills and dumps around the cities. In South
Africa, they refer to these children as OVC's - orphaned or vulnerable children. While
other children's charities work hard to provide food and shelter for them, this charity
provides warmth and comfort. That is where YOU can come in and help.
You can send in your carefully measured knitted/crocheted squares to Yvonne, and
Katherine will arrange postage to the volunteers in South Africa who will make up the
blankets. If you prefer, you can make a square vest, a square pullover or a hat to
keep the children warm, many of whom are often without shelter during the day. Or
supply a small knitted toy. Please, however keep to the patterns suggested by the
charity. The patterns for squares are below. If you would like a hat/square pullover/square vest pattern, just ask Yvonne, and it will be sent via Katherine.
Wool or high wool blends are good for those children who will own a blanket and live
in shacks with high exposure to naked flames (candles, camp fires and paraffin
stoves). Wool has a fire retardant quality, while acrylic can melt. The charity welcomes squares out of any yarn you have, as they will use them for the children who
live in care, orphanages or for children who head up families in small houses, and
who live in great poverty. The need is so great, every single square will be used to
help keep a cold child warm.
And what if you would like to help but cannot knit? Well no worries, because the
charity supplies a how-to-knit booklet which you are welcome to have free of charge.
Again, just ask Yvonne. (Continued on next page…)
Orphans with their blankets
Here are the instructions for the squares. Obviously, the squares have to be exactly
the right size in order that they can be put together neatly to make up a blanket.
Knitting instructions
FOR ONE 8"/20 cms SQUARE, you will need:
Yarn from a 100 gram (3.5 oz) ball of yarn or scraps of yarn or wool
double knit - DK (UK)
4 mm needles
A yarn sewing needle.
1. Cast on 32 stitches (try to make your stitches neither too loose nor too tight to
help ensure uniform squares)
2. Row 1: knit
3. Row 2: knit. These two rows form the 'garter' stitch knitting pattern for your
4. Continue knitting as per these two rows until you have knitted a square
5. To ensure you square is 8"/20cm either use a tape measure or form a triangle by
folding one corner of your square over to meet the opposite corner - if all sides are
equal - then you have a square!
6.Cast off.
7. Use your yarn sewing needle to sew in all the yarn ends using a darning method
VERY IMPORTANT: Leave a one metre (one and a quarter yards) length of your yarn
attached to your work after you have cast off. This will be used to join the squares
If you prefer, you can make a square vest, a square pullover or a hat to keep the
children warm, many of whom are often without shelter during the day. If you would
like to do this, Katherine can supply you with the preferred pattern for these items,
free of charge. Just ask Yvonne for what you would like. You may also donate a small
knitted toy.
Crochet instructions
double crochet square
Yarn: Worsted weight #4
Hook Size: J/10 6.00mm
Gauge: 11.5 sts x 5.5 rows = 4"
Abbreviations: Ch(s)-chain(s),
dc-double crochet, rep-repeat
Crochet instructions
Row 1. Ch 24, dc in 3rd ch from hook
each ch to end (23 sts including chs),
Row 2. Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc here and
Volunteers in South Africa sew the squares together
throughout), dc in each dc across, turn.
to make blankets
Rep last row 11 times. Finish off, leave
yard (2 metre) tail for sewing up.
Crochet in whatever spare yarn you have.
WISH will keep a photographic record of items sent for this charity, to share
among us. Please send your knitted and crocheted squares etc to Yvonne,
and Katherine will post them on to the volunteers in South Africa who are
waiting to make up these blankets and circulate other donations. Thank you
for considering this.
French Knitting is for Grown Ups Too
We possibly all did this as children. It is easy to learn and we were able to produce
friendship bracelets for each other. However, this braid is useful for all sorts of
purposes, from glasses neck-holders to plant-ties…
To get started you need some wool and a knitting dolly – otherwise called a Knitting
Nancy, Bizzy Lizzy, knitting mushroom, knitting spool, french knitter, peg knitter,
knitting noddy or knitting knobby! In my childhood, I used old wooden cotton reels.
These are no longer made so I think I am showing my age.
You begin by threading the end of the yarn down through the top of the dolly,
so that approximately 10cm hangs out of the bottom. Wind the yarn twice, anticlockwise around one of the spikes. Remember
not to pull the yarn too tight otherwise you won't
be able to knit.
Using a crochet hook or small cable needle, hook
the bottom loop over the top loop and drop it
over the spike into the centre of the dolly.
Turn the dolly
anti-clockwise so that
an empty spike is towards you. Then, wind the yarn twice around this spike
anti-clockwise (This sounds harder than it is - the
picture below shows you what your work will look like
after winding the yarn around once).
Using a crochet
hook, lift the bottom loop over the top loop, into
the centre of the dolly.
5. As with step 4, turn the dolly anti-clockwise so that
an empty spike is towards you. Then, wind the yarn
twice around this spike anti-clockwise.
6. As in Step 4, using a
crochet hook lift the bottom loop over the top
loop, into the centre of the dolly.
7. Then, turn the dolly anti-clockwise so that the
fourth and final empty spike is towards you.
8. Wind the yarn once only around the spike in an anticlockwise direction.
9. Using the crochet hook lift the bottom loop over the top
loop into the centre of the dolly. Pull the end of the yarn
that hangs out of the bottom of the dolly to tighten your
10. Repeat step 9 until the knitting is the desired length.
When you are ready to cast off, cut the yarn leaving about
10cm to spare. Thread this end through the four loops and
pull it tight to fasten off.
Pattern: How to Knit a Beautiful Leaf
Cast on 10 sts
Row 1: k10, cast on 9 sts
Row 2: k19
Row 3: k1, m1, k7, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k7, m1, k1
Row 4: p19
Row 5: p9, k1, p9
Row 6: k9, p1, k9
Row 7: k1, m1, k7, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k7, m1, k1
Row 8: p19
Row 9: p9, k1, p9
Row 10: k9, p1, k9
Row 11: k1, m1, k7, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k7, m1, k1
Row 12: p19
Row 13: p9, k1, p9
Row 14: k9, p1, k9
Row 15: k1, m1, k7, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k7,
m1, k1
Row 16: p19
Row 17: p9, k1, p9
Row 18: k9, p1, k9
Row 19: k8, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k8
Row 20: p17
Row 21: p8, k1, p8
Row 22: k8, p1, k8
Row 23: k7, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k7
Row 24: p15
Row 25: p7, k1, p7
Row 26: k7, p1, k7
Row 27: k6, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k6
Row 28: p13
Row 29: p6, k1, p6
Row 30: k6, p1, k6
Row 31: k5, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k5
Row 32: p11
Row 33: p5, k1, p5
Row 34: k4, p3tog*, k4
Row 35: k3, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k3
Row 36: p7
Row 37: p3, k1, p3
Row 38: k2, p3tog*, k2
Row 39: k1, (sl2, k1, p2sso), k1
Row 40: p3
Row 41: k3tog
Thanks to Cyndy
Essential Quilting Tools for the Beginner-Quilter
1) Sewing Machine
(If you are going to hand stitch your quilts, you will
not need a machine.)
You will need a machine that can sew straight
stitches. You don’t need tons of different stitches
until maybe later, maybe never. You will want to
make sure of two things. (i) Does your machine
have either a 1/4"inch foot attachment or marking
for the 1/4" inch? This is the most popular stitch in
quilting. (ii) Does your machine have a walking
foot? The walking foot allows you feed bulky items
through or even machine quilt.
2) Rotary Cutter
You will definitely need a rotary cutter, because it
quickly lets you cut your strips, blocks, etc. You will
save lots of time and energy than if you use
3) Rotary Mat
Rotary mats are great for cutting out your projects. They protect the surface you cut
on and they are made of self-healing material, which means
they don’t make grooves. They also help keep your blades
sharp, which means less time sharpening your rotary cutter or
replacing blades.
4) Rotary Rulers
Without them, you wouldn’t be able to cut and square your
projects or create special blocks and quilts. They are used to
grip your fabric and a act as a guide for your cutters, also a
place for your hand to rest so you don't cut your fingers.
5) Iron & Ironing Board
Most of us already have an iron and ironing board. Chances
are what you already have will work just fine. Just remember
as you iron any of your pieces to press with an up and down
motion, instead of ironing back and forth. If you use steam, be
very careful you are dealing with raw edges of fabric and bias edges. Be gentle with
your strips, blocks, and fabric.
6) Fabric Scissors & Paper Scissors
You really will want to have two different scissors. If you cut your paper with your fabric scissors, it makes them dull. So you will need one pair just for your quilting projects and one pair for your paper cutting projects.
I would advise marking these scissors, either with a tag, or permanent marker on the
handle or blade so you will know that you use these for your paper projects ONLY.
7) Pins & Needles
When I started quilting I didn’t realise there was more than one type of pin available.
But, wow, they have every kind imaginable. You will want long straight pins. I like the
ones with the flower heads. They lay flat on your fabric and are easier to avoid melting
them with your iron. If you will be ironing your pins, you will want to get glass head
ones. They will not melt on to your work. Don’t forget the pin cushion. When you are
sewing with a machine, there are many sizes of needles to get. Make sure to get the
ones recommended by your sewing manufacturer. I find Schmetz 75/11 Universal needles work great for most of all the projects. If you are planning on sewing thick or
bulky fabric you will want to get a Jeans needle. For metallic threads you will want to
use a Metallica needle. (...continued overleaf)
8) Cotton Thread
If you have been sewing for a long while, just about every thread you currently have
will not work for your quilting projects –since most of them are a polyester or polyester blend they can cut the cotton fabric of your quilt. I strongly suggest using cotton
thread with your quilts. I usually have 2 different main colours I work with as I assemble my quilts, either medium gray or light tan. Black thread if I am creating
something very dark. These colours usually blend with most fabrics. I usually use
Star thread by Clark and Coats and can get fairly large spools fairly inexpensively. If
you plan to hand quilt, use Perle cotton quilting thread. But don't use hand quilting
thread in your sewing machine!
9) Seam Ripper
Yes, you will need a seam ripper. It’s an essential part of the quilting tools list. We
quilters hate to rip out seams, but it’s just a part of quilting life. different ones to see
They are very inexpensive and a great tool.
10) Cotton Quilting Fabrics
Cotton quilting fabric is wonderful. Save the velvets, satins and other fancy fabrics for
later, after you're accustomed to working with quilting cottons.
To save money, only buy what you need for the pattern you're making. It won't be
long before you're buying fabric you couldn’t leave the store without owning. Don't
skimp on fabrics, because quality, tightly woven cottons will extend the life of your
quilts. You will soon develop a feel for fabric quality.
11) Design Wall
Design wall is an expensive sounding name that describes a very simple tool--a place
to tack up your quilt blocks and other components so that you can step back and look
at them singly or together. One or two large pieces of white flannel or batting work
just fine. Stick pin the flannel or batting to the wall and place your fabric block on the
flannel or batting and ta-da! It sticks. If you are following patterns, you don’t need a
design wall for awhile, but once you start to create your own blocks you will definitely
want to get this set up. Until then, you can use your floor. Just place a sheet on the
floor first to protect your quilt from pet hair or dust.
There are tons of additional tools out there. It’s just another one of the many items
that you can stare at for hours. It’s best to start simple. Remember, as you take a
classes, the instructor will advise you of any additional quilting tools you might need.
For now, get the basics and get quilting!
Introducing Fine Cell Work
In each issue of this newsletter, we have looked at the therapeutic effects of stitching,
and we are in no doubt that that this pastime can contribute to a happier, calmer and
more contented life. However, there is now evidence to show that stitching can benefit
the community through rehabilitative effects to prisoner programmes in the UK.
Fine Cell Work provides materials and volunteer instructors to enable prisoners to
learn and do embroidery in their cells. The resulting cushions, quilts, rugs and
tapestries are of the highest quality and design and in hot demand. Prisoners are allowed to keep some of the proceeds, to spend inside, or for when they complete their
More than 400 jailed stitchers, 80 per cent of them male are currently involved in this
work. The true value of this charity, however, is not measured in cash or stitches, but
in the therapeutic effects on some of the toughest criminals in the penal system,
according to a recent investigation by The Times newspaper. The newspaper quotes
the words of KR, a prisoner and a hard man. His builder’s hands do not look
appropriate for the delicate, intricate task of needlework. Before his prison sentence,
those hands were principally employed in drinking and fighting. He admitted “My
whole lifestyle was a route to prison. I used to drink a lot. I was unfaithful a lot. I
wasn’t a good person. I learned to shut down my emotions and feelings.” KR, 38,
calculates that he drank an average of 110 pints a week for ten years. In 2001, he
was convicted of a violent crime and sentenced to 12 years’
But in Maidstone prison, he was introduced to Fine Cell Work and picked up a needle
and thread for the first time in his life. The meditative, repetitive effort of sewing
intricate patterns offered him a sort of peace he had never found before.
“It took me six weeks to make my first cushion, working eight hours a day. It seemed
to take forever. In the time I spent doing six inches of cushion I could double-glaze
your house, and the conservatory. I completed something I didn’t think I’d ever do.
Needlework gave him time to reflect, a mental escape from clanging cell doors,
confinement and constant surveillance. “You think about past life, and how you would
do things differently. It made me think more about the children, and how I should be
with them.”
Cushion stitched by a prisoner.
Other inmates followed KR’s example and he found himself giving lessons on sewing
techniques. The prison authorities allowed him to keep supplies of wool and needles
in his cell. New recruits would sometimes be mocked and bullied for “doing women’s
work”, but not for long. “I’m a biggish fellow,” says KR. “I’d go and have a word and
say leave them alone.” The former hard-drinking hard man had become the enforcer
of a sewing circle of convicted criminals. He made cushions for his children then embarked on larger items such as quilts.
Prison authorities say that the concentration and hard work required and the small
financial gains give prisoners an increased sense of self worth. Wardens approve because sewing reduces stress and requires no supervision. One prison officer at
Wandsworth told the charity: “We had so many applications to come to the first
meeting that there was standing room only. One prisoner sat spellbound. He was
someone who had terribly low concentration. I suspect he had paranoid schizophrenia. He was shown an Amish quilt that evening. The next day he had copied the
whole thing on to toilet paper, almost perfectly. We decided that it was unsafe for
him to use needles but Fine Cell Work had him doing designs.”
The idea of encouraging prisoners to sew is not new, but for most of the past two
centuries the most attractive item a prisoner would ever sew was a mail bag.
KR believes that his early release was due in part to his commitment to needlework.
“It helped me sort my life out. I came out a calmer, better person. I don’t want to
drink.” He is working as a double-glazer, seeing his children — and still sewing.
There is an old saying: “When life throws you scraps, make a quilt.” That is
essentially what Fine Cell Work achieves, by helping prisoners such as KR to piece
together torn-up lives, one stitch at a time.
Wallhanging: from Fine Cell Work
Melanie’s Knitted Chairs
Perhaps members of WISH could emulate Melanie Porter’s successful business—
knitting restored chair upholstery, using handknitted cable designs…
More of Melanie’s work can be seen on
Get Fit to Stitch
At this lovely time of year, flowers are abundant, and May’s blooms include bluebells,
primroses and violets, all wonderful themes for stitching.
Stitching is often cited as being an important influence on people attempting to take
up new lifestyles – smoking, alcohol abuse, eating disorders – purely by its capacity to
distract the mind from the vices that can ruin our lives.
Also, as the weather becomes warmer, and as we shed our thick winter woollies,
many of us are aware that we need to become more fit and toned for the summer
This cross stitch kit - showing Shaun the Sheep doing his workout - is a great way to
motivate stitchers to keep up exercise regimes. And while everyone is thinking of self
improvement, how about spending some odd moments this month learning something
new… French knots? Hardanger? Cable stitches? Hobbies are always more interesting
if some challenges are involved, so trying something new right now may bring great
Shaun the Sheep: Exercise
Time Mini
RRP £8.76
Coats Crafts UK
0132 539 4237
Alternatives to Stitching (1) … A Peg Loom
Many people who enjoy needlework of any kind are devastated if they get some
sort of medical condition – whether it is arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome or
traumatic injury - that prevents them from gripping and manipulating needles.
I have been looking into this recently on discovering that a friend has just given up
her hobby in despair, having difficulties with holding her knitting needles.
There are many alternatives that spring to mind as a substitute. Two of the most
popular are knitting looms and peg looms. I’ll deal with the knitting loom in
A future issue, but now I would like to share some experiences I have had with a
peg loom that may be of interest.
I cannot guarantee that if you have weakened hands, you will automatically be able
to use a peg loom. All I can say, however, is that a peg loom uses different muscle
groups, and does not involve a gripping action, as do sewing and knitting.
The picture shows me using a peg loom. It is very simple – there are no nasty
complexities. You can choose how many pegs you use (and thus, the width of the
completed item). You literally just weave your yarn in and out of the pegs, paying
attention to maintaining even tension, and progress is surprisingly fast. I preferred
to dangle the warp threads into a basket. This is a useful tip if you have curious
cats, dogs – or toddlers – who are fascinated by the movement of the threads and
may decide to grab and pull them.
I experimented with some herdwick wool;
however, I was disappointed with the
results, as the weave was loose and
insubstantial. A thicker wool did not
improve matters much. I therefore would
recommend that anyone using a peg loom
that the best substance to weave would
be thin strips of fabric, much like those
used in the making of rag rugs. The quality of the finished object will reflect the
quality of the chosen material. People
have used old tights or plastic bags for
purpose of rug making, but if you can
source some interesting or even luxury
fabric, and choose your colours to
coordinate well, this will look much
You can buy peg looms (with various
numbers of peg-holes) from auction
websites. A woodturner could make one
for you, but the pegs need to be
super-smooth in order to prevent snags
or splinters.
Katherine (editor)
Cross Stitch Questions and Answers
Q. I would like to stitch a country scene showing some sheep in a field, but the design looks rather flat. Is there any way that I can make the sheep stand out, perhaps by using thicker thread?
A. It’s time for Fuzzy Stuff to come to your rescue! Exactly as the name implies, it is
really fuzzy with a shiny glint. White Fuzzy Stuff is great for snow and snowmen. Fill
in areas with split stitches or long stitches. Ignore the rule of going down into a full
hole and up in an unused hole. If you come up in a hole that already has the Fuzzy
Stuff stitched in it you will be pulling the hairs up to the front of the fabric to add a
little more fuzziness. There are good animal colours and some very wild and funky
colours that are great for Halloween designs, wild hair or outlandish garments.
Q. I almost won a stitching competition at a local craft show,
but the judge told me that my stitches were not quite neat
enough and that a laying tool would help. I have no idea what
this is. Please advise.
A. A laying tool is an instrument used to help keep multiple
strands of thread flat and parallel. As you stitch, you hold it in
your left hand, if you are right-handed, and keep the tool under
the thread as you stitch, drawing it along the length of the
stitch as you lay it in order to keep the strands of thread
smooth and flat. I like the laying tool available from Jane
Fuzzy Stuff
Greenoff’s Cross Stitch Guild. It is gold-plated, so stays
super-smooth, and has a twisted handle in faux mahogany
or call 08000 567811
or faux ivory for an easy grip. See also the question below,
for another tip on neat stitching.
Q. Can you tell me what railroading is, please?
There was a discussion about it at my stitching
club recently, and I was too embarrassed to
say I didn’t know what it was.
A. Railroading eliminates any twisting in the
thread, and allows the stitch to lie beautifully
flat as the two strands are completely parallel
Laying Tool.
(like railroad tracks). Light reflected by the
thread is also maximised by the smooth surface
or call 0800 328 9750
of the stitches. It involves separating the
threads as you stitch. Any twisting in the thread is transferred further up the thread,
so you'll have to let the needle dangle from the underside of your work as well to
release the twists. To railroad, bring your needle from the back
to the front of your fabric in the correct hole for the stitch. Hold
the thread over the hole that the needle needs to enter next, and
insert your needle between the two strands of thread before you
go back down through your fabric. Finally, bring your needle to
the front again for the next stitch and continue. Railroading takes
extra time, but a short cut is to railroad only the half of the stitch
that lies on top, as this is the one that is seen most clearly.
Over to You…
This is my first attempt at making slippers and knitting flowers to attach to
them. quite pleased with how they turned out and so easy as they are knitted in
garter stitch all knit rows the whole way. only when it comes to shaping the tops I
had to knit 2 together numerous times. The wool is supposed to be super chunky
but I knitted in chunky using the same size needles as for the super chunky so it
results in more open look (stretchier). Next time I will knit with the wool
recommended as it will be a more closed look (not see spaces between rows of
knitting). the flowers were knitted using leftovers of double knitting from my stash.
These are just so gorgeous—thanks for sending this picture, Rosie. Katherine.
Janet’s Gems…
This started with a request (or command?) from Yvonne to contribute a small article
on a regular basis, and we all know how persuasive Yvonne can be !!
Anyone who knows me well knows that my creative passion is for patchwork and
quilting, so I decided to look back at the beginnings of my obsessive interest. Round
about 1975 I read an article in a magazine showing how easy it was (?) to make a
simple quilt out of toning colour fabric, cut into 7” blocks and joined in a pleasing
combination, padded and finished with a plain border. Off to Remnant Kings fabric
shop in Glasgow and small quantities of red, pink and blue purchased. These were
cut into 7½” squares to allow for joining. I spent a lot of time arranging and
re-arranging, then put them away for when I had more time. They were looked at
periodically with more arranging and re-arranging and again left/abandoned.
Fast forward to 1984 when we moved from Glasgow to Skye. We have a small
crafts group locally and we persuaded a lady who occasionally did patchwork to
teach us something simple. We were going to learn Log Cabin, so I was able to locate my bundle of squares for use in class. Imagine my surprise to find a note inside written by my older daughter dating back to the Glasgow era – ‘give it up Mum’.
Well !!!
We were given pieces of white fabric pencil ruled to give a finished 7” square. I cut
some of my original squares into 1½” strips and learned the secrets of matching and
contrasting colours. The purchase of extra fabric in Inverness enabled me to plan my
masterpiece, but by this time the quilt had
turned into two quilts for twin beds, so I had to
duplicate every square. At the finish I had
hand sewn 60 squares for each quilt and vowed
never to make Log Cabin again!
In 1997 I enrolled on an American Patchwork
evening class in Portree and so began my real
excursion into the pleasures of patchwork.
However, Log Cabin and all its variations today
remains amongst my favourite patchwork
blocks and I am constantly looking for new ideas to use and manipulate this very
basic and simple design. It was a man (I believe) who said that patchwork was the
art of cutting fabric into small pieces and sewing them together again, but there are
many men, including Kaffe Fassett, who enjoy exploring the limitless possibilities, using modern techniques and pushing the frontiers into ever expanding variations.
Thanks so much, Janet. It is fascinating to learn about how your knowledge of quilting
developed. We look forward to hearing more about this subject from you! Katherine.
A message from Yvonne: Thank-you!
A big thank you to all who completed the Quick Quiz in the last Issue. There is a wee
stitching ‘thank you’ in the post for each of the first five people who responded –
It was a short quiz but was very good feedback for our funders. Everyone said they
enjoyed the Newsletter and everyone felt they had learned new things from it.
If you haven’t filled one in it’s not too late to complete and return.
Yvonne Reid, Distance Befriending Co-ordinator
Befrienders Highland Ltd.
19 Church Street
Win a Crochet Bag kit (suitable for beginners, and it has ‘how to crochet’ instructions
added) by completing the Crochet Wordsearch competition below. The first correct
answer picked out of the bag at the end of June will win this super prize.
To enter the competition, just find the words in the grid below from the list of crochetrelated items underneath. There is one word in the list that cannot be found in the
grid. Send this word on a postcard, or in a letter with your name and address, to
Yvonne (address on the previous page)… Good Luck!
Spotlight on… Rosie
This month, Yvonne has been meeting up with WISH member Rosie to find out more
about her interest in stitching and crafts...
Rosie is a great knitter and regularly has her finished items featured in WISH.
Her slippers/bootees this month look fabulous and we may need to get the pattern
from Rosie for next issue!
What sort of crafts do you enjoy?
I like to knit and I also enjoy papercrafts
How long have you been a knitter and how did you get started?
I got started knitting as a child in primary 3 when we all had to knit a teddy bear and
stuff it to raise money for charity. That’s what started me off.
What sort of things do you make?
I make baby and children’s clothes, mobile phone covers, slippers… all small projects as
I like to see finished article quickly.
What is your favourite thing that you have made?
My favourite things made recently are slippers.
What was the most difficult item you have made?
Most difficult items I have made are cabled Arran sweaters for the family. I had to
follow a pattern with something between 14-28 rows to the Arran design. It took ages
to knit them all and I think I sickened myself of knitting for a few years!
Have you ever ‘given up’ on a stitching project? What was it, and why?
I gave up on a project once as far as I remember because the pattern seemed to have
an error and I kept taking back rows of knitting and ended up with the wrong number
of stitches. I took my knitting back 8 times and remembered my mother saying to lay
the knitting down and try again another day but I lost interest then.
What benefits do you get from your stitching activities?
It helps keep my hands supple and having been a smoker for a number of years it’s
helped keep my hands busy and my mind focused. I like to make Christmas presents
and it’s always nice to receive compliments and see my nephews wearing what I have
made. It gives a sense of pride in my work.
What would your advice be for anyone who doesn’t feel too confident about
their stitching?
My advice to anyone who is not confident…practice makes perfect. It’s better to have
small projects to begin with as its quicker and easier and very satisfying and makes it
more attainable if you have a realistic goal. Then you don’t feel like giving up completely. Try and see if you like knitting or cross stitch or embroidery and you will find
which you are drawn to most.
Thank you, Rosie!
New Additions to the Community Box
The WISH Community Box contains lots of pooled free goodies… you can
help yourself! You can choose whatever you want. First come, first served…
please don’t hesitate to contact Yvonne if any of the items below take your
There are a lot more items available too. If there is anything you want in the
field of stitching, please get in touch—we may have it in our Community
Thursday 7th July 2011
Time: 12.30 –3.30pm
Let’s GetGettogether
Show n’ Tell—bring items made
or in progress.
Share craft/stitching tips.
Rummage in the Community Box!
And the highlight of the day will be a
The 1st get together was good but the
2nd will be even better!!
We would love to see you
For catering purposes please contact
Yvonne let me know if you can make it.
Workshop with our visiting ‘experts’
to make Felt Bags!
Lovely Light lunch
Phone Yvonne on 01463 235 675
[email protected]
Befrienders Highland
19 Church Street
Inverness IV1 1DY