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I grew up in a small village in East Lothian, my school friends however were all an hour away in Edinburgh, so I had a lot of free time in the evenings and at weekends
I must have been about 10 when I got my first sewing machine for Christmas, along with a big box of threads and fabrics. I obsessively sewed a lot of doll's clothes and bags, gradually learning to make my own outfits - and all through my teens and twenties I was the kind of girl who made a new dress on a Saturday to go out that night. When I went off to University I packed my sewing machine first and my friend Corine and I would buy jumble sale dresses and transform them into something else to wear at the Union disco - very Pretty in Pink. They were rough edged outfits, rarely finished in time, often hemmed with sellotape, but we felt a million dollars.
So I have sewed since I can remember but I was 35 before I realised that I could draw with a sewing machine. I am terrible at drawing with a pencil - it somehow doesn't flow and though I sketch a lot as a way of seeing things I would never show them to anyone.
The sewing machine though - feed dogs down, a pure line of stitching - was different. As soon as I started it I could draw, sketching things out of my head without patterns or drawings.
At the time I was moving my business from growing cut flowers to making things from textiles so my embroideries were of what I saw around me - swaying umbellifers, poppy seedheads in the grass. Over the next 7 years I embroidered fulled wool and made notebooks, bags, doorstops and lavender cushions and sold them to shops throughout the UK.
By the time I decided to stop selling wholesale I was fed up with my embroidery - what had started as a creative expression had, somewhere around the 2000th lavender cushion, become a chore. I stopped embroidering meadows and concentrated on embroidering one off designs which can be printed onto mugs and bags.
It is only now - after a bit of a break from it - that I feel the pull to embroider meadows again. Snakeshead fritillaries are my favourite flower and I have been sketching them waving in the grass outside my bedroon. I thought it would be good to embroider them again - in a tighter way than before, with a lot of coloured threads, on some beautiful slubby linen rather than wool.
I am only making 5 of these cushions - I don't want them to become a chore and they each take several hours to embroider - they go on sale tomorrow at 5.30pm and they will only be available to newsletter subscribers. If you aren't already a subscriber and you want to get the details about them you can sign up below.
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