Kirstie Allsopp in her last Handmade Britain series on Channel 4 (Nov 2011) waxed enthusiastically about the addictive qualities of freestyle machine embroidery likening it to ‘crack cocaine’ and when talking to Linda Miller confirming that, for her, it was the ‘needlecrafters legal high’.
If only it were the same for me.
Please don’t get me wrong I love freestyle (freehand) machine embroidery but it is always with some hesitation that I start a new piece of work. There are so many pitfalls; the breaking of the thread – suddenly; the bobbling and splitting of the yarn – quickly and silently; the nasty grinding noises – made by the bobbin for no particular reason; the feeling of the machine running away with me – when the foot speed is on minimum. And of course there are the needles, not one needle, oh no, but snappity snap at least 3 per piece – I shriek each time, like a child.
The gorgeous portrait of me in the right hand panel has been machine stitched by Linda; I commissioned it for my last birthday. I also commissioned the picture below, in 2003, as I thought that we should have a family portrait – for me it beats a photograph and even an oil painting. I love them. One is above the fireplace and the other one is by the front door, to welcome guests to the family home and they are as colourful and as cheerful as Linda herself.
I hope that I have not deterred anyone from trying out this particular sewing technique and if you are in the Winchester area then pop into the Colour Factory and try a day course with the ‘needlecraft ninja’ herself in the delightful Lightbox – ooh I wish I were there!