My own bag zipped up and ready to go and with a pocket to remind me that I can actually embroider things at a freeform level when I try.

Survival… embroidery glasses with magnifier clipped on, camomile tea, Panadol for inevitable neck pain.

A brilliant folding LED light that one can charge off mains or computer and which fits neatly into a corner of any bag.

Pencil, needles of varying sizes, scissors (sharpened last week –possibly to slit my wrists if desperation set in over any stitch that might think of defeating me. Or not…)

The design by the inimitable Margaret Light. Margaret’s pieces have movement, elan, joy, and pay enormous respect to stitchers through history – sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Our threads. Being presented with these is like an early Christmas present. In addition, the silks from Gumnut, Painter’s Threads and Au Ver A Soie, are a joy to use. They are fluid, sliding through fabric perfectly. And so very tactile. Anyone who knows me even remotely through my writing will know that silks lace through my words often.

Our instruction booklet. Beautifully put together so that when Margaret departed, we would have professional guidance at home.

Some of the class…

Doesn’t look as if I did much in three days, does it? But I’m slow and practice some stitches on a smaller hoop. I’m also a little anal and if anything looks wrong, will unpick again and again until it looks remotely right. However those who go to many masterclasses throughout Australia through the year, had completed many more elements easily and with polish. Sigh…

But my bird was super. I’m really happy with him. Funny – once away from the analytical stitching, I felt my body soften and I was in my element. The analytical stitches – requiring strict rhythm and counting – remind me of mental arithmetic in primary school and I freeze.

Last night I had a BIG wine, went for a walk to ground myself a little and then sat and completed one petal of brick stitch which I’d never done before – what I consider an analytical stitch. The wine helped, I think…

But even more curious, and as much as I adore stitching and relished the opportunity to learn, and as much as I really enjoyed the company of wonderful ladies of such remarkable skill, when I opened my computer and clicked on Michael’s story and when I read back over the last chapter, I felt at home.

(bit hard to see the screencap of part of my writing file – kind of like how my eyes feel today). 

The challenges of creating a story are self-made. And unlike some, I don’t mind working with the editor either – putting in the highlights that illuminate dark corners – a stitch here, a stitch there. The really intimidating part starts when the story is released to the reading public. And for me, sitting in a Masterclass where almost everyone (except oneself) is familiar with such a high degree of stitching is a very similar feeling.

That said, can’t wait till next year… both for the next Masterclass and for the release of Michael and the commencement of a new WIP.