Sometimes you really will surprise yourself.

Every now and again we should jump outside our comfort zone and do something that makes us just a little bit scared, to remind us we are still alive, and to see just what else we can do. We can get so used to what we know, and who we are, that we don’t think we can surprise ourselves anymore. Early this year I was invited to deliver a weekend of classes by Sally from Needle & Thread workshops. “Me?” I thought, “You’ve got to be joking! I can’t teach!” I’ve been asked many times if I can teach but I’ve always shied away from it believing that to be an inspiring teacher I needed a special skill. However this time, the request coming on the back of another leap of faith – the Country Living Christmas Fair – I was on a high, confident. Yes, I’ll do it and anyway it was 6 months away – I’d have worked out how I’d do it by then…

Me in the workshop side view resized 40%

I wanted to show just how bloomin’ well inspiring a well oiled sewing machine can actually be. So I spent the week leading up to the workshop weekend retracing my sewing journey looking to understand what really excites me about what I do. Sometimes we forget what took us in a particular direction in the first place; what thrills us and makes us come back for more time and time again.  The introspection helped and eventually I was prepped, I was perky, I was ready… I was still scared as Hell!

Sally’s Needle and Thread venue, in Eagle’s Hall, Lincoln, is a very rural and beautiful location indeed. On arrival Sally had already prepared the top of the range Brother sewing machines, one for each attendee, remaining on hand to sort out any which may have misbehaved. Whilst I generally panicked and fretted, my roadies fanned and piled my fabric, artistically arranging my workspace. 


At this point I was so nervous I could barely recall my own name, let alone explain how to ‘raise a feed dog’. However, once the attendees began to arrive, I realised they weren’t the Sewing Police here to arrest me for breaching the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, they were instead my own kin and all was well!

  Me explaining day 1

 We immersed ourselves in vintage bark cloth, fat quarters, fine linens and lots of other fabricy loveliness, spending an uninterrupted 6 hours working hard on our own creations.

 IFabric    Flowers a

Working progress b

Foxglove in progress 50%

I was so impressed with the speed at which the ladies worked.This type of project would normally take 2-3 days

Meadow in progress resized 50%    Green resized 50%

There were no kids or  partners demanding our attention, just lots of tea, cake and delicious food to help relax us and stimulate our creative juices.

Lunch    Lunch cake a

It was a special weekend and I loved it probably a little too much and yes, I really did surprise myself. Here are just a few of the dozens of photos Sally & I took of the gorgeous work produced once I had shared the Dear Emma love. The standard of work on both days was incredible even though most ladies had never tried this technique before.

Below – Just a few of the completed pieces. 

Hares    seagull

Bird box resized 50%     Image12

                  Tina resized 50%              Women in dresses

In hindsight, I can’t believe I doubted my ability to share my passion for what I do to enthuse and inspire others. I loved sharing, so much so that, yes, I’m going back for more.

Next date for my freehand machine embroidery and applique workshop with the weekend of the 27th & 28th September 2014. Go to to book.

Image13    group with me day 2 b   

                 Above –  Sally & I                                     Above – Amazing work from Day 2


 Special thanks to my roadies who came to help spread the Dear Emma love


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4 Responses to Sometimes you really will surprise yourself.

  1. Janet Garside says:

    What a great weekend with fantastic results. Well done.
    love mum xxxxx

  2. follyandglee says:

    No suprise to me that you obviously delivered a fabulously well thought through workshop with I’m sure great patience, skill and humour. I would like to have roadies to fan my fabric – may I borrow them?

  3. jenclair says:

    I wish I could attend! What a wonderful way to share your gift!

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