I have had a love of needlework from being a
small girl, five or six years old. My grandmother mostly influenced my interest.
She had made clothes and anything else that was needed during the war. She was
also an excellent rag rug maker. I used to watch her creating some amazing rugs
sitting in front of the fire in the kitchen come dining room and living room.
They had another very large room, which was called the parlour, and I only
remember going in there when there was a birth, death or marriage. The kitchen
was the hub of the house. She showed me some very simple stitches and I was
hooked. I think I used all of her scraps of thread and material up. My Mum was
more into knitting. She showed me how to knit and I could do it but I didn’t
like it very much, much to her disappointment. She could knit the most intricate
patterns without looking at the needles, which constantly amazed me.
As I got older I bought my first
cross-stitch and got in to patchwork, as they were both relatively cheap. All
the cushions in my first house were patchwork and I even managed to find some
inexpensive silk remnants for two of them. This was a great find as silk was
very expensive in those days. I loved both cross-stitch and patchwork and
continued to develop my skills over several years. Then work and promotion got
in the way. I produced very little for a long time.
I kept up to date with new ideas through
magazines and books, but never had time to do any actual sewing, especially
after the children were born. I decided that I needed something for me, some
time for myself, and a break from the routines of home and work and so I turned
back to my sewing about ten years ago. It has been wonderful reviving old loves
(but I have gone off the cross-stitch a bit) and learning new ones. The wonder
of Gold Work, Montmellick, Trapunto, free machine embroidery, laid work etc has
given me new challenges, greater skills and has kept me relatively sane. I have
been going to an embroidery class on a Thursday evening now for three years with
my friends Elizabeth and Charity. We have a great time and quite often we go
along to a Saturday class, which introduces new techniques, e.g. Mola work,
Rouleau, and Kantha work. I am also involved in a ‘Block a Month’ patchwork
I joined the local embroiderers’ guild, which has proved to be informative and
The Guild often has competitions and I won
the Rose Bowl last year with my interpretation of the after math of the San
Francisco earthquake. It was a piece, which incorporated patchwork, quilting and
appliqué. The theme was 1906 and the work had to be of an original design so I
went for something different.
Quilts have always fascinated me and the
work that goes into them is phenomenal. The quality of the quilts and creativity
of many contemporary quilt designers and creators is fantastic, but they do have
modern lighting, equipment and materials. I think that any antique quilt is a
much better achievement because of the conditions their creators had to face. It
is my ambition to own an antique quilt one day.
I will continue to look for more pieces for my
sewing tools collection and one day I hope to inspire someone else with stories
and anecdotes about them.
Thank you Gloria for sharing your story
and collections with us. If you would like to contact Gloria, she can be reached
*I asked Gloria to tell us more about City & Guilds and her distance course in
“The actual course is run by lots of different establishments throughout the
country as well as many other practical courses. I do my course as a distance
learning course (7922-08 Embroidery) which also incorporates a certificate in
design and craft. My tutor is independent of a college but has achieved the
standard to deliver the course - this is very rigorous. She is based at the
School of Stitched Textiles. The web address is
www.schoolofstitchedtextiles.com if you would like to look at it. There are
many other independent groups but mostly you would have to attend a college to
complete it. I guess that as the need for part time courses/working from home
has been addressed then this type of course has grown. You can go on to a
diploma after this course. I know that there are a couple of American ladies
doing it and I believe there are lots of students from Europe. It is open to any
age. I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far, but I have to be disciplined about the
time I set aside for it.”
Antique Sewing & Needlework Tools
- Collecting Bone, page 1
Article text and pictures Copyright ©
2007 by Gloria Brunning.
All rights reserved.