When Courtney asked if I would put some words together about my own stitching journey, it took me back to when I was only tiny and my own Mum would always be making something, either for myself or my siblings or for other people. My Mum was a single parent from quite a young age with little funds to provide for her lot. Mum would take in ironing and sewing to bring in some income but there was always time to help me with my little projects. I loved dolls and over the years had many of them. Mum would make dolls clothes initially but then when I was about 4 or 5 Mum would let me get into her fabric scraps and I started making very simple one piece clothing for my Barbies and other dolls. This evolved into bags and homewares or whatever my Barbie or other dolls needed on the day. When I think now about kids being supervised with scissors, pins and needles; I know there was supervision but not to the level I think there is in some homes now. I know I’d be a little worried to give my littlest Grandson a needle and thread and a pair of scissors right now without very close supervision, but then again he is only just 3 years old.
I do remember Mum had to have a sewing needle removed from her foot once and then not long after, I too had a sewing needle that had penetrated right up into my foot sitting close to a bone that had to be surgically removed as well. When I think back there was always pins and bit of fabric on our floor at home and often the dining table was overrun with the latest sewing projects.
As my sewing skills developed over time, I started to make my own clothes and would embellish them with embroidery stitches and I loved and still do love applique.
Embroidery was referred to as “fancy work” and Mum had little Semco doily sets to stitch and then crochet around the edges. I think that is where my love of doilies came from and I now have quite a collection of doilies that I love to use on my projects.
It doesn’t surprise me at all that Courtney has taken to stitching as she has. I’m so thrilled to see the progression of her skills in the embroidery space. I think it’s in her family blood. I picked up so much from my Mum who was taught by her mother and grandmother. I still have little stitcheries of Courtney’s and her siblings where they each practiced straight stitch, lazy daisy and stem stitch (see attached pic!)
One of my favourite sayings (not so much my kids I think) is “we all grow into our Mothers” and I think it’s funny that Courtney used to be a “near enough is good enough” sort of person and she is now a “it’s not quite right, I’ll do it again” kind of maker. When someone would tell my Mum and then me as I got older that it looked fine and no one would know the difference, we would say “but we’ll know” and of course would unpick it and do it over.
I love that Courtney has picked up the needle and thread but more, I love her drive and passion to learn and grow her craft and develop fresh ideas to keep her creative makes interesting and contemporary while keeping the age old art alive.
**Ruth is a social worker by trade and a talented seamstress who frequents local markets selling her wares, dolls, aprons, appliqué and embroidery work. Check out her creations and musings at @rustybucklemarketplace on Insta**