New meets old.

Ancient fiber art meets 2012 technology. 


The image today is of my tablet nestled comfortably in a felted purpose-built case. Felting is the art of  matting wool and all cultures claim to have invented it.   When I started this site I anticipated  questions about dropped stitches and the best way to cast off. This hasn’t been the case. instead I have had questions about the cleaning of certain wool and cotton garments. In particular I have had an email asking how to get stains out of wool. This does of course depend on what caused the stain but the important thing is, If it is wool do not put it any near your washing machine.  Unless you want to cut it up afterwards and make something like the cover which is the way I felted the wool.

The question I received made me realize that with the “create your own wearable art” renascence, an important skill practiced by our ancestors  has also resurfaced. The very important art of restoration and preservation of delicate fibers.   Like the tablet cover, old really does meet new. I f you have any questions regarding the proper care of any and all fabrics you have come to the right place.  Next post, the next step in making our tool box.

The right tool.

Ralph demonstrates the importance of the right tool.

Here at Gentlestitches I am committed to giving instruction in the 3 R’s. Repairing, reusing and recycling. In order for you to do  this it is imperative you have the right equipment. Do not rush out and purchase anything! We are going to put together our tools and tool box with a minimum of cost or effort. Don’t rush it, just do it one step at a time and you will be amazed how quickly you become organized.

Mission for today. Allocate a small space in your house about the size of a shoe box that will hold your equipment. That’s it! You have taken the first step towards getting organized.

 Bad workers blame their tools how often have we heard this idiom? Chances are where ever in the world you live you will have heard it. Chinese, Hindi, Russian just to name a few, all have variations on this theme. Idioms are of course  metaphors and not to  be taken literally. Having clarified that, I must point out that this particular idiom really fascinates me in its wrongness. ” what?”I hear you cry “this  Australian women is challenging 1000 year old wisdom?” Well yes I am. I am the first person to admit when I am wrong and take responsibility for my mistakes. However during some years of being “financially challenged”and being forced to improvise  wildly, I realized that if you use a dodgy tool you will get a dodgy result.

Back to tools. Ralph, the small white poodle in the accompanying image is only as good as he is because of the tiny but strong pliers he showcases. Ralph is about 2.5 inches high. He was inspired by my favorite amigarumist Anna Paula . I found it was impossible to pull the darning needle through Ralph’s body when attaching his legs.  These little pliers made the difference between a  result that was so so and dear Ralph.

I would like to change the idiom to” a good worker forced to use dodgy tools will end up wanting to shriek with frustration”” Perhaps it will take on. Who knows? Every one of our expressions started somewhere.



a new project which will hopefully become a smart warm jacket. I will post it’s progress.


What can compare with the excitement of a new beginning?

What ever the situation or time allowed, eventually one has to abandon the preparation and step forward into that “first time”

Who can remember a special “first time?”

Starting a new job, going on a date, unpacking the items needed for a special project?Life is full of changes and new beginnings.

Today officially launches the gentlestitches web page.

As someone who has commenced and finished many projects I do believe the true magic exists in the beginning. It is like a dawn of a new day filled with promise and hope and some times dread and fears. The only certainty is that, we really do not know how it will all end up.

I am gentlestitches  known as Sharon. I am interested in and plan to teach all aspects of fabric repair, knitting, crochet and hand sewing. 

I will be promoting my classes which will be held at the Jika-Jika neighborhood house. Union Street, Northcote.

What I offer on this web site and always free are practical instruction and answers to all  questions. From where did my “dropped stitch go?” to”“How do I do a ribbed border on my cardigan using a crochet hook only?”

Feel free to email or use the questions and answers page. I have a commitment to answer every email-and question as quickly as possible.

So sit back and get ready to tap into the skills of your ancestors as I help you to bring out the dormant but definitely there, fun, creative, environmentally necessary hand skills.Don’t forget “Mending is better than ending!!” Go on grab your favorite item that is torn but you can’t bear to throw it away, get out your sewing needles, find some knitting needles or crochet hook and join me in creating a “sew fun” future!