I have no idea what this is going to look like?

Fall is my favorite season. I love how the weather changes from brutally hot to just perfect! I love being cozy and taking out my current stitching project, curling up on a chair beside the fire and watching how my African Folklore Embroidery design takes on a life of its own. My parents are currently visiting from South Africa and since it was my mom that taught me African Folklore Embroidery it is our best pastime to sit together and stitch. Have you noticed that sometimes when you stitch or knit with someone you love, you don’t even have to talk? It is that sense of quiet peacefulness and togetherness. Fall is the time for Halloween, candy and starting to get ready for the holidays. What could be more fun! With this in mind you will see some of our new designs, such as pumpkins and Christmas trees. In the Christmas tree design you will see that there are four trees and each one can be stitched and then made into a holiday card.  The hand dyed threads included in the kits have names such as Christmas green, Salvia, Flame, Harvest and Hellebore. These pearl 8 multi-colored threads change color every two inches.

When it comes to starting an African Folklore Embroidery design, I have no idea what the end result is going to look like, whether I will decide to put in beads or buttons, cut up and appliqué some fabric or use some special silk ribbons. Some times an old necklace or bracelet that I do not wear any more will become part of the project with it being couched into the design.  Most people I know have a stash of fabric around that they do not want to throw away, so this is the perfect kind of project to incorporate and recycle.

I realize the idea of starting a project with no idea as to what the final outcome will look like can be foreign and scary.  To me African Folklore Embroidery mirrors life, we can spend a lot of time planning, but the end result does not always end up like our initial planned thought.  Most needle art projects will give you detailed instruction as to what color to use in every part of a design, what stitch to embroider, where to sew on a bead or button and how to finish it. African Folklore Embroidery is the complete opposite. I think knowing in advance that a design it not meant to be perfect, that life is full of imperfections and surprises, allows us the freedom to explore the creative side and extend ourselves beyond our limits. Knowing in advance that the bright colors against the black fabric are going to look stunning, certainly helps the process.

I recently was the guest teacher at a retreat for the Minnesota Embroidery guild. I was so honored to be amongst these highly talented women. Most have been involved in stitching and needle arts for many years and their work is beautiful. This is an annual retreat at Lake Buffalo, MN and all the stitching, dining and sleeping rooms overlook this beautiful lake with gorgeous sunset.  I was one of three guest teachers that taught classes for the four days.  I have included some pictures of some of the completed designs or half completed from this workshop. All the women coming into the class had no idea what their completed project was going to look like, but their enthusiasm and bubbly and exuberant comments afterwards were proof as to how much their creative leap of faith had paid off. . Most importantly these women appreciated the freedom which the class gave them to use any colors and fibers that they wished, to not be fixated on the perfection of stitches, to try new techniques, to go “out the box “. Many said that they had learnt more in the 6 hour class than in twenty years of classes and books. Words such as fun, new, and imagination were the concepts thrown around. So don’t be afraid to try one of our kits, there are basic guidelines and stitch diagrams, but I know that each one of you has the ability to complete a really stunning African Folklore Embroidery design.

For the first time ever, there will be an international competition for all our customers to enter their completed African Folklore Embroidery design at the Road to California 2010 Quilt show. Over 25,000 attend the show and will be viewing the entries.

Exhibition - Competition- Win Prizes –Entry Form

You are invited to submit your completed African Folklore Embroidery designs for a SPECIAL EXHBITION AT THE 2010 ROAD TO CALIFORNIA QUILT SHOW from Jan 14th- Jan 17th at the Ontario Convention Center.  Winners will be announced Jan 15th and ribbon placed on winning entries. Cash prizes: 1st $150, 2nd $50, 3rd $25. Separate category for children.  Entry forms at www.aflembroidery.com

For the holidays I am offering a special sale price on my book, Safari through African Folklore Embroidery ($25.00 www.aflembroidery.com) and it includes a free gift from South Africa.

Wishing you good health and abundant creativity!

Leora Raikin


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