March Project Update

Hello everyone, I do hope you are all well and happily stitching away. I thought you might like a wee update on the project as it has been so busy in our HQ on the island.
Firstly and importantly, a huge thank you to everyone who makes this project such an inspirational success. We are a worldwide group of stitchers committed to the idea of community stitching and this has resulted in the development of a project that knows no boundaries – of that I think we can all be very proud.
So what has been happening since our last update?

We have reached more and more people and have many more members beginning their stitched stories journeys. We have new members in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France, South Africa, Egypt, Canada and Finland. You are all so welcome.
On the other end of the journey we have lots of members who have finished their journeys, some of which have decided to carry on. Congratulations to all on a job very well done.
We are very busy preparing for our very first 52 Stitched Stories exhibition in the Barony Centre in West Kilbride. The communities of West Kilbride and Arran are joining to put on an exhibition of finished work and we are all ridiculously excited. It is not lost of me that, for some people, this is their very first time exhibiting work. The exhibition opens on the 28th March with a meet the makers session at 2pm and everyone that can possibly get there will be so welcome.
We have also been preparing to take the project on the road in our campervan so that we might visit some of the groups in Scotland and offer FREE workshops.
I launched our Etsy shop at the turn of the year as our Starter Packs were proving so popular. I have since added more products including out first Seasonal Inspiration Pack. I have also devised a new community stitching project ‘Stitch a Baker’s Dozen’ focuses on Artist Trading Cards. This has proved incredibly popular and we are joining in at HQ.
Our Gift Stitches open calls that we launched last year have yielded some beautiful work and these postcards are currently being stitched into wee books ready for the exhibition at the end of this month. Thank you to all who contributed. We have an open call out at the moment on our Spring Gift Stitch.

The sales from our Etsy shop are supporting the development of the project across all these fronts. So, essentially not only are members supporting the project but they are helping to shape it. Our recent initiative has seen us release FREE stitching postcard kits for ‘little hands.’ Designed for small (ish) children these kits allow us to teach stitching with a gentle, but achievable, start. For every adult pack purchased we can move money into this FREE resource. Paying forward to the next generation of stitchers. The feedback has been overwhelming. We also ensure that our workshops, demonstrations and talks are also free ensuring that the project is truly open to everyone. This is what community stitching is about for us.
This takes us neatly to where we are heading. When we started this on a small Scottish island we had no idea it would take off as it has. The unique place of members to help shape developments has led us to the realisation that community stitching is a very powerful tool in an increasingly challenging world. Many of you will already know about the Slow Stitch Movement. We are proud that 52 Stitched Stories developed from our own island based slow stitching group. Some of you will know that I am a meditation master and so slow stitching felt like a gift. Reflecting on the importance of stitching in a frantic world I am shaping this space and this project to become a home of community stitching. We will be expanding this website to include details of other community stitching initiatives that people might be interested in. There is so much good work going on and in the coming months we hope to write about it and share it. I also hope to feature some free tutorials for mini projects.
in keeping with this development I hope, in time, to expand what we can offer in our Etsy store to allow members to join in new projects and also purchase unique and very affordable supplies for these projects. As well as donating lots of unused resources from my time as a commercial textile artist and teacher I am recycling as much as possible. This, in turn, will allow us to offer more and more FREE resources. We like to think of it as a circular model of community stitching which involves everyone and is inclusive and supportive. We even have a brand new logo to make that point…🙂

Most of you know that I retired as a commercial textile artist last Christmas. The decision was, very much prompted by a need for a better work-life balance. I still create work for exhibitions but 52 Stitched Stories has become my complete passion. For me, it is a chance to give back to a way of living that has supported my soul for more years than I care to think about! With my other meditation hat on I can clearly see the relaxing and healing qualities of community stitching and the hope is that I can bring these two worlds together a wee bit more. In 2019 I was lucky enough to be commissioned to create a stitch meditation book and the experience taught me a great deal.

Towards the end of my time as a teacher I created a wee stitch meditation book kit which was really well received. In time, I hope to be able to offer the same service as part of this project. I also know that some of these kits were gifted to people who perhaps needed a little bit of support into their pursuit of well-being.
Beyond our needs as individuals I believe that our creative outcomes could do much good. I plan to organise some ‘flash gift stitch’ open calls where we might create a postcard for this project that can then be gifted to charities in much need of funds. The sale of these gift stitched pieces will help with their cause. This allows 52 Stitched Stories to support other causes and for community stitching to make new partnerships.

As I sat on that sofa with my much beloved grandmother could I have know I would be where I am now?
I do, however, know what she would say….’Fiona, when you are a wee bit down pick up your sewing project and just stitch and all will be well….’ How right she was and how right are we!
From as deep as my heat goes thank you to each and everyone of you for supporting community stitching and long may it continue. Who knows it might be one of our ‘little hands’ people that takes it into the future…..

Fiona xx 🙏🙏🧵🧵❤️❤️

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