Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Power of the Needle and Thread

On Monday I had a meeting for a new project in Gloucester. It is going to be within a new environment to me and with working solely with men - another first.

In a world where people are disappearing into the cracks and there is more stress/pressure in all our lives, I strongly believe that stitching makes a huge difference.

Most days I work with communities where people are fearful of entering a 'class', their early life experiences have led them away from education. So there is a challenge to even get them into a classroom and to start the journey.

But I find once I have got them to come into the physical space they relax and they find that they can create.

I also find it is so much more than that. They gain confidence, they make friendships and they make connections. They talk about worries and laugh together. Their confidence builds with each new make. They change...

Recently my friend Gail Gibson sent me a newspaper article from the Oxford Mail earlier this month.

From Oxford Mail.
It talks about the link between sewing/crafting and maintaining good mental health. Building people's confidence and social skills through small sewing groups is a relatively new idea, but it comes from a long history of quilting bee's, WI meetings and craft groups that have been keeping people connected for many, many years.

More sewing/craft groups within communities would build connections and help the most vulnerable in our society to feel included - everyone can create. It is amazing to see the look of pride and enjoyment people have when they have created something for themselves. It is a amazing to see friendships blossom.

I found this video that highlights the importance of sewing in helping people to connect and improve their mental health. The Fine Cell Work group are amazing and shows just how the humble hobby of sewing can be used to benefit people in even the most unlikely of places!

This is why I love my job!

The hours are variable and the work can be famine and feast in nature, but I know the power a needle and thread can hold for people. This is why I pack up my car like sewing machine shop on wheels and drive into some of the most interesting communities in Gloucester!

My needle and thread are my tools for carving a little haven of happiness and joy for as many people as possible!


  1. I wish everyone could realize how much joy and peace could be had through the piecing and quilting of handmade project. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My life is richer for sewing, and MUCH richer for the folks I've met through it, Internet and real-life. What a wonderful thing you are doing, sharing that richness with others.

    I read "Gloucester" and thought, oh, I didn't know she was in Massachusetts too! But you mean the REAL Gloucester, right? :)

  3. If I didn't have my cross-stitch and patchwork/quilting, I would be in a much darker place emotionally.
    The video that you ncluded reminded me of Elizabeth Fry (early 19-century Quaker known for her work in Ramsgate prison with the female prisoners). She set up a school in the prison for the children who were with their imprisoned mothers, and began a system that required the women to read the bible and to sew.
    Thanks for sharing!