I first dabbled in embroidery a few years ago. I’d never been a needlewoman of any sort before that.
I admit I shamelessly tried to convince John that I could sew during our courtship – I thought it would add to my charms – and sewed a button or two for him, and some patches on a jumper. He was very diplomatic about my efforts and only revealed his true opinion after we’d been married for a few years.
Anyway, I quickly lost interest when I realised I wasn’t going to be good at it straight away, but it simmered away in the back of my mind and I took it up again, determined to complete one piece.
It just so happened that that became a bit of a life saver for me. After I went through ‘the trauma’ (more about this some other time), I was left reeling and desperate to surround myself with beautiful, soothing things; and as I stitched away I found peace.
I found being around people very hard at that time, and while it is considered rude to read a book when in company, doing a bit of sewing gives you a retreat without making it look like you wish everyone would go away.
I think I have developed a confidence that exceeds my abilities over the last few years, but it does inspire me to have a go at things and work away at them, with varying results. Scrolling through costume websites I saw all manner of hip scarves I would have loved to own, but the more distinctive ones cost a lot of money, and as I studied some of them I thought, ‘I could make one of those!’
This scarf is a good example. It was summer and the tennis was on. The power of sport on television to inspire costume projects is not to be underestimated.
I bought some black velvet and chose some colours from my box of embroidery threads, and just began a flower design. I tried to use a few of the stitches I had practiced on Asylum Seeker, as I call my first, life saving, design. It just developed from there.
A friend who can sew hemmed the scarf for me. Beaded fringe from the sales rack proved to be just the right colours. I added tassles and coins. They looked wrong. I ran out of the green I was using for the leaves. I looked at the embroidery and thought it looked stupid and babyish. I rolled it up and put it down as a learning experience.
A few months later I thought I might use the coins for something else so I got it out again. The embroidery didn’t look so bad now. In fact, I really liked it. Sure it was amateur, but it had a rustic appeal. The tassles had to go. Fringing would look way better. Then the coins had to be re-added to fit in with the fringe. This was rather tedious. If you look closely you can see that the embroidery is not finished. I still haven’t got round to buying more of that green thread. But since this is designed to be shaking around my butt I hope no-one will notice.