Hello! I’m Lisa and I’m here to tell you a little something about my latest venture. I cannot explain how delighted I was when Nikki asked me to guest blog for her. We’ve known each other for a very long time now (let’s just say we celebrated the millennium together and leave it at that!) and she’s always been a huge support and good friend to me. This girl is definitely one of the good ‘uns.
So what is it I do? I hand dye embroidery threads which are used in many crafts. I have used them for hand embroidery, cross stitch, Japanese Temari, hand quilting and friendship bracelets. I use the best dyes I can source for dyeing cellulose fibres (plant fibres) and I am constantly experimenting with techniques which give different effects and new ways to improve. It’s my way of expressing myself through colour and I am so thankful for the day that I bought my first packet of dye.
The history behind wanting to dye my own threads goes back to when I was about 12 and full of anger at the world. My aunt taught me how to cross stitch as my mum wanted me to find something calming. I’d attempted to hand embroider when I was about 11, but I had no idea how to draw on fabric so everything was freehand and not very good as I had no idea how to do any kind of stitches. Learning to cross stitch was a bit like an epiphany – there were ways to do things with needle and thread that gave great results even if you aren’t an expert or artistically gifted!
When I had my firstborn I began cross stitching again. By this point was able to use the internet to shop, so I ordered some pretty variegated threads which I saw in a magazine that were called ‘Six Strand Sweets’. They were my first brush with anything hand dyed and variegated. How I loved the pretty changes of colour all on one thread!
However, as is my way, I slowly stopped cross stitching and at one point I even gave all of my beautiful threads and supplies to charity shops. I then spent several years knitting and crocheting… with hand dyed variegated yarns of course!
But a year ago, I was hand making Christmas gifts for friends as my budget was super tight and I still wanted to give them something meaningful (as we’d had a tragedy a few months earlier when one of our group died). I googled for Six Strand Sweets so that I could do some unique embroideries. Guess what? No longer in business, oh how sad was I! But I carried on with making the gifts and used some of the branded threads instead. I didn’t stop there however, because by then I had well and truly been bitten by the embroidery bug and I could not stop reminiscing over the threads I used to own and had given away. I decided that I was going to dye some up myself because the only ones I could find online were very expensive.
I’ve since discovered that there are some fabulous indie dyers, like myself, who produce wonderful work for a reasonable price. Had I found them at that point though I may never be where I am now. I do love to dye because the results when using such threads are unique, they keep things different and even if you stitch the same pattern over and over it will never be exactly the same. They add depth and texture to your work and (I am biased here) I also love how bright mine are compared to the branded variegated threads you can buy which have a limited colour range.
Dyeing has given me a purpose, an outlet for my creativity. I am not artistically talented in the way that I can sit and draw something beautiful, but I am creative in that I love putting different colours together and I get ‘feelings’ from certain colours and the depths of shades. A colour or a texture can bring back a whole host of memories for me. What I do makes me happy and I am so honoured that it also makes my customers happy.
Many thanks to Lisa for agreeing to write a guest post for the blog. It’s always lovely to see what creations she’s going to come up with next.
So what do you think of Lisa’s threads? Do you hand embroider? I don’t think I’d have the patience!