Guest Post: Pine Needle and Thread

We are very lucky to have the very lovely Melissa Wastney as one of our teachers at The Craft Sessions. We are even luckier because we have her as a Guest Blogger on TCS…… Enjoy her gorgeous pictures and words!!


Hello! I'm  Melissa.

I was lucky enough to teach some classes at last year's Craft Sessions and will be coming along this year too, to teach Embroidery from the Natural World and Freedom Patchwork.

I wanted to write about one of my favourite things, which is free-form embroidery.

When I was a kid, I really didn't like hand-sewing. I remember there being many a project and opportunity to practice at the kitchen table (my Mum was/is a crafter-extraordinaire) and for a while I got into cross-stitch, but on the whole I thought hand-sewing was the worst. I didn't like making the stitches uniform, I wasn't patient enough to constantly thread the needle (why did it keep falling out?) and I certainly didn't want to follow a pattern from a photocopied chart. 

But then, about 5 years ago, I brought home some leaves from a forest walk, sketched them in my journal, then suddenly felt compelled to try stitching them. No pattern or transfer, just seeing where my needle wanted to go and letting it go there.

Ever since then, I've enjoyed this kind of embroidery. Freedom embroidery.

I've made lots of different things with finished embroideries: brooches and lockets, bags and needlebooks, clothes and cushions and some of the pieces have been sent to people to hang on their walls. 

For a while now, I've been really into stitching repeats- like a print, but embroidered. If I had more time, I would do much more of this work. I often make 'project bags' from these pieces, which are housing crochet and knitting projects all over the world. They tend to be a good size for a pair of half-finished socks!

This is a project bag I made recently for a politician who is into crochet. You can read more about that here.

Maybe you never liked hand sewing either. Do you have memories of tedious cross-stitch charts and feeling cross because your crosses were crossed the wrong way?

If you like walking outside and collecting seedpods and leaves and branches for your sketchbook, I think you'll like freedom embroidery. Click here to learn more about the class, and see some of the beautiful embroideries completed by the students of last year's class. 

All the best,