I remember when I used to have a measure of embarrassment about telling people that I liked to embroider, sew and craft. The response I frequently received from many was a firm declaration of not knowing one end of a needle from another and no intention of ever finding out. Embroidery, knitting, crochet et al were synonymous with being boring and not cool at all.
I am sure, like me, many of you enjoyed such handicrafts when they were deeply unfashionable. Mr Stitches used to be quite protective of who I would make gifts for because so many people didn’t value handmade items or appreciate the hard work that went into them. All this seems to have changed in recent years. What is particularly noticeable is the trend for handmade gifts.
I am all in favour of handmade giving. It is something I will always do. However, I was thinking about how many people love the idea of being creative but are often not too sure about where to begin. I started to wonder if there is a way to share skills rather than simply make something for a friend or loved one.
Leaving Udine last week meant saying goodbye to a beautiful family with two girls to whom I had been teaching cross stitch. I decided to make up individual kits for them. I used the “I Love You” design from my shop for the older girl. I spent a while shopping around for a simple design for the younger girl, but I just couldn’t find the right thing. In the end, I gave up and designed one of my own.
It was then simply a matter of assembling kits using aida, floss, needles and hoops I already had to hand. I popped each one into a gift box along with this gorgeous printed tissue paper I found in the supermarket. Oh I love the Italian way of making everything pretty! I had spent quite some time teaching these girls how to stitch but I think, if I make something like this in future, I might add a “gift certificate”, giving the receiver some of my time to teach them how to stitch.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that I didn’t get away with no making whatsoever. I made up a couple of gift tags using mini hoops (just over 2″ in diameter) – one for each girl. I wished I had bought a chain to go with each so they could make them into pendants after they opened their gifts. Another thing to remember for next time.
I thought it all made for a very balanced handmade gift: A little making on my part and a chance for the recipient to do some stitching too!
I loved how my mini hoops worked out. I am currently working on making up patterns for the whole alphabet and they should be in my shop very soon.
There have been lots of other stitchy goings on her so I hope to be back to share more soon.