The idea for The Stitchery came about after a chat at a friend's house over a few cups of tea and a packet of Extremely Chocolatey Biscuits.
Mimi and I are both keen crafters with a particular love of contemporary embroidery in pretty, muted, colours. We share a passion for slubby, heavy, antique linen, faded floral cottons and timeworn trimmings that tell a story. Usually the more frayed and tatty the better.
We both had lots of little linen scraps in our workboxes embroidered with dainty little floral designs and we weren't sure what to do with them. We bought gorgeous handmade paper journals (more on those another time) which inspired us to create a rough linen scrapbook in which to display our work.
We knew it was something that our creative friends would love and that it would lend itself well to a monthly subscription. And so, The Stitchery Journal was born!
Each month you will receive an exclusive embroidery pattern with full instructions, the base linen on which to stitch and the all of the threads required to complete the work. There will be suggestions for beginner stitches and instructions for more advanced stitches, depending on your ability and personal taste. There will also be a small package of embellishments which you might like to use to decorate your work. We like to call them Fripperies. A wisp of beautiful old lace, a scrap of faded floral fabric, a handmade button.... The items each month in each box will be slightly different because the truly special thing about The Stitchery is that we will only be using handmade, antique or vintage materials. (Apart from the threads which will be new and, importantly, colour-safe.)
Mimi has worked in the antiques trade for more than 25 years and I have been stitching, on and off, since the age of 7 when my great-grandmother would come to see us with a bag of Mint Imperials and a paper-thin embroidery transfer for me to stitch. In readiness for our launch, Mimi has been up in the wee hours, scouring markets and fairs looking for beautiful fabrics and fripperies. I have been scribbling in my workroom drawing up pretty little designs and doing sample stitches.
The branding just had to be done by Kate Nicole of Oyster Bridge & Co. If you haven't seen Kate's work before, she is a truly talented artist with a delicate aesthetic that is especially popular on the antiques scene. Her fine penmanship harks back to a time of neatly calligraphed love letters and secret diaries. We were delighted when Kate agreed to contribute to The Stitchery and some months you will find that your little package of fripperies includes a small handcrafted token by Kate.
We all need a bit of downtime, to relax and be comfortable. There are few things more comforting than crafting by the fire with your favourite drink and something soothing on the radio. We hope that participating in The Stitchery Journal will encourage you to carve out time for yourself each week. Each embroidery design fits neatly onto a piece of A5 sized linen and the journal (sold separately here) is slightly larger than A5 so that you can easily hand-sew your embroidery to the pages. The finished journal, next Christmas, will contain all of your embroideries in one beautiful book; a lovely family heirloom.
We will share progress and ideas via our hashtag on social media #thestitcheryjournal and there will be instructional films on youtube to help you work the stitches you are struggling with. If you are feeling sociable, we will be organising quarterly gatherings in central locations so that we can all meet up for a few hours, bring our work and share inspiration and skills over a cup of tea.
Availability is limited for The Stitchery due to the nature of the materials that we source - antiques can't be bought in bulk! Pop over to join in here.