A Cuppa and a Chat with Jennifer
Jennifer lives in the Mole Valley in Surrey with her two rescue dogs. She has been retired from her work in the finance industry for a few years and has returned to stitching in this time.
Jennifer made clothes for herself and her children before ready made clothes became more affordable, and has always loved making, embroidering, crafting and drawing when time allowed, and enjoyed her children taking part in these activities too.
Jennifer’s mother was a seamstress and taught her to stitch and use her Singer treadle sewing machine, and she recalls trying to build up speed, just for fun, although her mother was not amused at this.
During the first lockdown Jennifer found 52 Stitched Stories while browsing on Facebook, looking for something that connected with how she was feeling at that time. She liked the feeling of serenity when reading about the aims of the project, and the idea that stitch could help easing the unhappiness, discomfort, concern and loneliness that lockdown and the pandemic were causing. And during this time stitch has certainly helped. During the first lockdown Jennifer kept a diary in which she noted 3 things every day that had made her smile – bird song, a phone call, a beautiful flower – and also included a small piece of stitching, either her own or a found piece, or a drawing or other crafted piece.
Inspiration for Jennifer’s postcards has been found from the internet and from her gardening books. She began using quotes from Lemn Sissay whose words she finds inspiring and then went on to seek out others whose words are meaningful. She does not plan her postcards in a sketchbook but lets the needle do her drawing, and chooses plants to depict that appeal to her at that moment.
So far Jennifer has made 20 postcards and intends to make a book from Indian rag paper to stitch them into and hand them on to one of her granddaughters who has an interest in stitch.
Jennifer has enjoyed taking part in some of our challenges and has found Zoom classes a lifeline at this time when we cannot always have face-to-face contact.
Jennifer’s favourite stitch is the simple running stitch, which she feels can be used in so many ways and can be so expressive. She once had a disaster when a friend’s dog chewed the bottom of a metre long wall hanging but thankfully she was able to chop off the ragged bits and stretch it over a canvas so it was saved and later sold.
For new stitchers or those just joining the project Jennifer’s advice would be take a deep breath, sit back and relax, and enjoy the gentleness and calmness of the project – take your time, it isn’t a race, it’s for your wellness.
Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story with us – we hope this will inspire others to enjoy stitching.