Monthly Archives: September 2014

Difficult threads

Any of you embroiderers out there, or others who sew and knit, will know how some threads work more easily than others! Some just flow through the machine without any trouble, and some don’t. Some tangle, twist and fray. Some snag, and snarl. Some break unexpectedly, some form little knots, some make nasty “birds nests” of threads on the reverse. Aaagh!120___09

I have learned a lot recently about using difficult threads from an Academy of Quilting course. I have discovered how reels of thread are wound differently, so positioning them so they unwind without twisting is all important. I have learnt about “sewers aid” which smooths sticky needles and scratchy threads. And I have been able to use my metallic and glittery threads, bought on impulse at fairs because they looked so good, without screaming with frustration!

One of the most successful ways of using the thicker of these tricky threads is to stop threading them through the needle! Instead I wind them on the bobbin of the machine, and sew from the back of the fabric. This way the tiny constricting eye of the needle is bypassed, as are all the tension plates on the top of the machine. Of course the down side is that sewing from the back means you can’t control how it looks as you sew; you just have to go for it and trust it will work!120___091


There are other difficult threads which run through my life ( and probably yours) not of the sewing variety! Certain people, relationships or situations can be similarly frustrating and seemingly impossible. Recent events in my own life have made me ponder on how to handle the “difficult threads” which never run smoothly. The lesson from my sewing seems to be to ease back the control, bypass the tension points and don’t try to force the issue! Perseverance helps, as does any thing akin to “sewers aid” which smooths and soothes, such as (for me) walks along the beach, coffee with friends.

So why bother with these difficult threads? Well, ironically, these are the threads which bring the touch of sparkle and gold to my sewing. They add those hints of treasure and richness, especially on a dark background. And, handled right, they can be fun and even add a “wow”.
So don’t give up…..filament fantasy


Restoration Process

Since our weekend away our lives have been dominated by the hospitalisation of my 99 year old mother-in-law, who fell and fractured her shoulder. She is very frail and fragile, her body is wearing out. But in spite of her confusion and distress she still has a strength and determination, some might say an “indomitable spirit”! Those of you who know her will know what I mean!!

The other day I woke up with this quote from the Bible in my mind.
“For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.” (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭16‬ Good NewsTranslation ) It was a reminder for me that just because our outer physical selves are inevitably ageing and wearing out, it doesn’t mean we are “finished”!

Perhaps that is why I enjoy re-using, recycling, restoring old pieces of fabric, furniture etc. Nothing is ever finished or useless. Over the summer I have working on a project to restore an old trunk which has been in our attic for many years. Given to me by an elderly lady when I first went to university in the 1970’s, it was her trunk when she was a young lady on her travels, probably in the 1920s and 30s. Her name was Phoebe Bennett and although she died many years ago, her legacy remains.

The trunk was very battered, scratched and stained, it has been well used by me and one of my sons. I have been gradually cleaning it, painting it, and relining the inside. As I work on it I am reminded of that enduring quality of our lives, which has nothing to do with our outer physical being, but is about what we carry, our treasure within, and the legacy we leave. I am not sure yet what this old trunk will hold in the future…

Here are some pictures of the process so far. And I hope to post some updates – both on the trunk project, and how my mother-in-law is progressing.