My mother was always sewing: quilts, samplers, clothes, dolls clothes, toys, boxes, cushions, and everything. She was the calm and quiet centre of our home, but her fingers were never still.
And, along with her old Elner sewing machine, I seem to have inherited the lot, well, perhaps not the calm bit. And certainly, ever since the day I covered the feed dogs on the sewing machine, and released myself from straight-line sewing, I’ve felt a sort of fevered excitement about what can be done with the machine.
Some people call it freestyle or free motion machine embroidery, others thread sketching. It’s basically drawing with the machine: drawing, but with the pen in a fixed position, so you have to hold and move the paper beneath it to make the lines. There you have it.
And so from feed dogs (if you want to know, they’re the teeth that come up from under the fabric on the sewing machine, grip it, and move it along the right distance for the next stitch) to embroidered dogs – yes, I know, it’s destiny.
And this was my first dog: Dogmatix, known as Matt, or more properly, Matt the Dog.