There has been a lot going on since I last sat down to write a blog post. The exhibition is almost ready to be installed and the quilt project is well underway since starting last Monday – I have already spied a few beautifully stitched squares just needing a few finishing touches and they will be ready. The stitching has proved to be more than a little addictive since we introduced the group to one of Polly Dextrous’s clever stitch kits. so it seemed like the perfect time to launch the quilt project and also to share our discovery outside of our community.

When Maria invited us to run the workshops at her prestigious event the Sunshine Vintage Makers and Vintage Market, which took place this Saturday, we saw the opportunity to spread the word. Stitching can be such a meditative act and it seems that we are not the only ones that think so. There is a Facebook group dedicated to the practice that currently has over 8,500 members and we have been inspired by some of the posts on there. The group enjoyed the session we had a few weeks ago and so we thought others would too.

Origami has been another group favourite and lends itself perfectly to workshops as it’s so portable. I put together a schedule that include both stitching and folding and put it out there to see who was interested in joining us. As I was working in the morning I called on the support of two of the group to see how they felt about setting up and getting started at the event. To make things a little easier, I put together some ‘stitch meditation’ packs to handover to participants and help get them started. I was so grateful for them agreeing to set up that I wanted to make sure it went smoothly.

I shouldn’t have worried, when I arrived a couple of hours after the bazaar started, the set up looked great and both Helen and Linda were happily stitching behind the stall. Helen had been demonstrating the art of meditative stitching and was creating a beautiful blue piece with vintage button embellishments and Linda was working on a pretty little quilt square. It was quiet when I got to our space on the first floor there but I had noticed quite a few people milling around on the ground floor, and the bustling market atmosphere was building.

As Linda went off for refreshments, I watched as Helen stitched and talked people through the process, and she was great! It was clear she was enjoying herself, putting her years of teaching experience into practice and encouraging people to engage with the idea of stitching as a purposeful and mindful activity. Linda had created some beautifully stitched examples and put those out on display to inspire people. When I started the origami workshop, both of them supported in explaining the folding techniques that were needed to create a gift box.

We had a wonderful afternoon together, some lovely people to teach and had a chance to publicise the group, Middle Street Resource Centre and the great work they do in supporting people with mental health issues. There were some fantastic stallholders, and like all of Maria’s events, the music was spot on for creating a lively and celebratory feel. I leave you with a particular favourite of mine that was playing as I was hanging out in front of The Silver Forager’s sea glass beauties!

The House of Bamboo by Andy Williams