In the summer I put together an embroidery kit for my children; with binca, several skeins of colourful thread, blunt plastic needles and a couple of wooden embroidery hoops. Such lovely things - I wanted to hand them over straight away, but I promised myself that I would save them for the right moment. So they've been hidden away under the stairs since August. Today - with snow on the ground and both myself and my five-year-old at home with dreadful colds - it seemed like the perfect time to dig out the kit and try some needlework.
Daisy has already tried large-scale stitching (weaving really) which I wrote about here. And we used the sewing machine to make short-cut cushions, which you can find here. I was interested to see whether she was ready for this smaller scale and wonderfully old-fashioned activity; her understanding of the whole how-to-make-a-stitch thing would really be put to the test.
So, on the sofa but under a blanket, and with Classic FM tinkling optimistically in the background - our little Sniff and Stitch session began.
She watched intrigued as I stretched the cream binca into its little hoop, then she chattily chose the thread with which she wanted to start. I cut it to a length the same as that of her arm - this became a sweet little ritual every time she needed more - and I showed her how to thread her needle. She didn't ever quite master this today; despite several very sweet 'tongue-out-in-concentration' attempts.
Then we set to work on our own samplers. Mine consisted of lines of cross-stitch and zigzags - the stitches I remember learning at school. Somehow, I felt compelled to stick to convention; it was lovely to realise I hadn't forgotten the basics.
But as you can see - there was no such desire for, or indeed knowledge of, stitch conformity for Daisy. She decided she was going to make long and colourful stripes.
She used lots of thread - and I gladly paused my stitching to help her cut it to the right length, and to thread her needle. We stitched and chatted, sniffed and blew our noses; often showing each other our ever-growing work - happy in our cosy occupation.
[Poorly girl still wanted to pose]
Daisy knew when her sampler was finished. She asked to keep it in the hoop and she proudly put it up on the wall in her room near Tommy the Owl. I think it's rather beautiful.