October 29, 2017
For the past 4 years Ive been working on and off on The Constant Thread- a stitched social history armchair and footstool, which can be found on my other wordpress blog aconstantthread. This Summer with funding from the small grants team at Northampton Borough Council I teamed up with School for Life and Voluntary Impact Northampton to try out a community sewing workshop at a couple of local events.
Good friends who stitch helped with the embellishments as well as sewers from Brookside Hall. The chair draws people in and encourages them to share stories about the places where they worked.
The chair formed one part of a larger project this Summer to engage the local community with sewing and making. We planned a workshop which used proper sewing skills and not just glueing a few glittery sprinkles onto a bit of paper. I wanted to plan something which was ambitious and encouraged people to plan out their design and concentrate.
World wide knit in public day was in June and saw hundreds of knitters descend on Abington Park to spend a great day together, enjoying the sunshine and each others company. We pitched up our sewing workshop and spent the day showing folk how to make a mini skittle doll.
August saw us in Abington Park again for the Rocking Roadrunner event . We had an awesome full-on day teaching folk to sew and make.
We screenprint the outline onto cotton which can be decorated using stamps, textiles pens, sequins or fabrics. No glue allowed. We encourage people to sew as much as possible and surprisingly the children will always try patiently to stitch as best as they can. Their parents not so much. We incorporate skilled techniques into the workshops like casting off properly, bagging out, applying sequins and beads and using the correct stitches. For those in a hurry they can always take a bag of bits and bobs home with them to finish at their leisure.
Mostly though, people get immersed and sometimes a bit competitive and sometimes a bit compulsive too. Everyone leaves proudly with something they’ve made themselves. There’s no better feeling.