After another 18 hours of stitching, the breast piece of the latest Bavarian braces has been finished. Personally, I love the lions flanking the coat of arms of Bad Bayersoien. It gives the whole rosy-flowery-thing a bit of a male bite :).
But it wasn't the only thing related to folk costume I stitched last week. I also finished the monograms on a traditional shirt. For ease of stitching, the monograms get traditionally stitched in simple cross stitch. When I was asked to stitch a shirt a few years ago, I didn't know this. So I developed a version with Hungarian braided chain stitch and stem stitch as well as a satin stitched flower. And it has proved to be very popular!
This week, I also met up with the refugee women again. Although we didn't stitch due to our commission to make origami paper stars for our annual Christmas market, there is something I'd like to share with you. As some of you might know, I have a bit of a track record in working with refugees. It all started back in the '90s with the Balkan refugees that came to the Netherlands due to the war. A few years ago, I was involved with a learning centre especially for migrant women in Rotterdam. The big difference between my past projects and this one: lack of education.
It is heart breaking to work with women who are illiterate or practically illiterate due to the lack of schooling as a result of the civil war in their homeland. They spent most of their lives fetching water and searching for food and fuel. Even basic sewing skills are lacking. And the hardest thing? These are bright young women who could bring positive change to their families and indeed their country.
Considering that I had 20+ years of formal education right up to being able to write a doctoral thesis, makes me humble and gratetful. Therefore, me and my husband started to support a small group of passionate young teachers in Ghana. They work hard to raise money to build a school. Quite a few of you have asked what they could do to help me with my group of refugee women. As so many of you reside outside the EU, lovingly sending me needlework supplies isn't a good idea due to tax regulations. However, please do consider making a donation, however small, to the heroes of the Prince and Princess Academy in Tamale, Ghana. You can find more about the project here.
And with this beautiful picture taken from my balcony this morning, I am ending this blog post. As I am taking a well-deserved short break, there won't be a blog post next week. See you all again in December!
My studio seems to be flooded with commissions at the moment. There might be a causation with the fact that Christmas is only 5.5 weeks away... A major milestone was reached today upon finishing the lengths of another pair of Bavarian braces I started quite a while ago.
Both lengths are 107 cm long and five centimetres wide. It took me 173 hours to stitch them. They were stitched using a full strand of DMC floss. I've used 22 colours on 18 TPI brown canvas. The pattern was adapted from an old Berlin Wool Work hand painted pattern. So, for the moment at least, there is no one with the same pair of braces in all of Bavaria :). I love to stitch unique patterns and I will not use this pattern again as long as it is still worn. The only option to obtain the pattern is to sit quietly behind the wearer in church with a piece of graph paper...
I've also spent some time today on designing the breast piece. It will feature the coats of arms of Bad Bayersoien flanked by two fearsome lions. Hope to finish that in the next couple of weeks too. Along with a couple of traditional shirts which need monogramming.
Regarding my refugee ladies crafting group; we laughed our socks off (a picture of my husband proofed to be very popular with the ladies!). In between the laughter, I even learned a new stitch from Ukraine. Never seen it before and I will make a tutorial once all the commissions have safely left the building. A huge thank you to all who left words of support and encouragement on my website or otherwise. The donations received will be used at a later date. The coming weeks, we will do some paper crafting to produce Christmas decorations to be sold at our local Christmas market. Every little helps.
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