The last four years have been a distinct washout for some of us, and for me in particular. Covid put paid to a lot of 2020 and 2021, and although I managed to keep the embroidery going, classes and lectures were largely off. Then just as things were looking up and going out became more of a possibility, 2022 hit, along with The Big C for both of Chris and myself. I would very much like to cancel the last 2 years! I can’t promise never to mention them again, but I do not intend to dwell on them any further. What I need to do now is to build on the confidence and self-belief that was Chris’s greatest gift to me, and take things forward into the new year and perhaps a new era!
So, what am I doing to rebuild my embroidery mojo? I had a wonderful couple of workshops in Leeds at the central library in September and December 2023. They helped to inspire me to work on re-developing my kits. I have some, but not many. Some of them are counted thread, some surface embroidery – I need to focus! Some are stitched with threads that are not available at the moment, so they need putting on the back burner for a while. The main issue, I think is that the kits I have are quite ‘big’. There is too much of a gap between the designs I use for a workshop, of 3 or 6 hours, and the kits I have on offer. I need smaller designs which might not seem so daunting, I hope.
The design I used for the second workshop will make a good kit, but it’s a Christmas one, so I’d be better leaving that one for a bit. I have had some ideas over New Year to work with, so I’m focussing on them. I also need to decide if I need a rebrand/redesign on the covers etc.
It’s surprising how much ‘logistics’ is needed for kits, for want of a better term. Getting threads, fabrics; how to put the design on the fabric so it can’t fade or wash off; writing and producing the instructions; even how many to make to start with! First thing I need to do is draw up the design and stitch the sample.
As well as that I also have a commission to work on, a design based on a pattern from The Lady’s Magazine for Lucy Adlington of History Wardrobe. It’s a piece she wants to use for lectures later in the summer, so I have something of a timeline to work to. I’ll be documenting the work as I go along, so watch this space, folks.
I’m beginning to get bookings for talks and workshops both this year and into 2025 as well, so that side of things is also picking up again. And just before Christmas I got a lovely, completely unexpected, surprise: a parcel from Pavilion Books. It was my author copy of – would you believe – the RUSSIAN EDITION of Jane Austen Embroidery! I had no idea that was even being considered. I can’t understand a word of it, except being able to work out my name in the Cyrillic alphabet, so I will have to take it on trust that the translation is accurate. Someone suggested that I need to keep it apart from the American edition, so I have put my English edition between them.
I also have a couple of blog posts published, one in November and another this month, on the Strictly Jane Austen Tours website. Do have a look: they are under ‘Musings”. Here are the links:
Learning to sew in jane Austen’s Time:
Embroidery in Jane Austen’s Time:https://strictlyjaneausten.com/embroidery-in-jane-austens-time/#more-4359
So all in all, 2024 has got off to a good start. I will be hoping to keep posting in this blog a bit more often than in recent times, as well as putting together newsletters and updating things on my website and social media. Please do keep checking things, dear readers, and a very Happy New Year to you all! Good luck for 2024.