What is it about gazing at a collection of threads? I am sure I am not the only stitcher or sewer who loves to collect threads to use in their stitching, but actually just loves to look at them. I used to employ a lovely lady, called Helen, who had the posh title of ‘Jane Greenoff’s PA’. (She kept me sane when the Cross Stitch Guild and the Inglestone Collection were both run here in the house and I was on deadline with a book.) Helen was a thread hunter and very rarely broke into her stash to actually use the threads. She had old-fashioned sweet jars on her desk, stuffed with lovely threads and just looked at them.
Having confessed my addiction to coloured threads, you can imagine my reaction when I first saw Gloriana 12-ply silk whilst attending the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate. It was love at first sight and I have used the silk personally for some years now. I think that my favourite shades are ‘Flowers of Italy’ and ‘Harvest Grape’ but it is very difficult to choose.
Earlier this year there was a very happy coincidence… To cut yet another long story short, I was chatting to the lovely Carol Hughes (of Silver Counting Pins fame) and she mentioned that she had rather a lot of Gloriana threads left from her business when she decided to retire. Would I like to play with some? What could I say?
And so it was that 1500 skeins arrived at my door and I began to plan what to do with them. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I soon had all the colours spread out and began to arrange them into pleasing groups. They started to make pictures in my head and themes emerged. Rather unsurprisingly, I associated the wonderful colours with gardens. My very first collection is inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, including colours to reflect everything from the dahlias of my visit last autumn to the green of the shutters on the house.
With Helen’s sweet jars still in my mind, I knew how important presentation would be for fellow thread lovers. Lots of research followed and I was thrilled to find that it would be possible to box the silks wound on replica antique thread winders. So that is how we ended up with all the threads and the pretty winders in our kitchen here at Pinks Barn and why we have been eating on our laps for a week! Bill has stopped commenting on my ‘retired’ status and gently raises his eyes to the ceiling when I mention things like researching antique thread winders.