Welcome back to another Friday Flashback, taking a look back at some of my favourite classic collections.
This week I am bringing you the Emma’s Touch and Feel collection.
I have been sitting here for two weeks looking at how to approach this post. This one is difficult for me, as it reminds me of one of the most difficult times in my life. When our beautiful daughter Emma was diagnosed with Autism. Now I realise that an Autism diagnosis is not the end of the world, however as a young parent, you go through all of the emotions of “is it my fault”, “what could I have done differently”, and “why did this happen to me”. Whilst Emma has challenges in her life that other children don’t necessarily have, I cannot imagine my beautiful girl any differently. Emm’s is such a unique person in herself that we would not change a thing about her.
Emma’s Touch and Feel began as my way of coping with an Autism Diagnosis. Emma really wasn’t speaking, she was nearly two at the time, and we were trying anything we could to inspire her talking. One of the things that she did love was anything tactile. One of her favourite books was the hard page book with different animals, and samples she could touch of their skin/fur. From this idea, came the Touch and Feel Collection.
I scoured different colouring in books and googled many different ideas on how I could make a great interactive felt book for Emma, and finally came up with 12 different blocks or activities that make up this collection.
My favourite of all of the blocks is probably the shoe block. Tying laces is always difficult, and I have given so many different shoelace pillows to different groups to raffle off over the years, that I have lost count.
Initially I made the touch and feel book, using felt for the pages, Applique Web to hold the pages together, and using my fabric hole punch to punch holes for the pages to be bound together with binder rings from Office Works.
Once the book was completed, and I could see what a success it was, I could see that making a child’s play mat would be a great thing for younger children. I took each design, and used it as a block in the quilt, adding in patchwork blocks in between for some interest.
The biggest issue that I think we had with this collection was all of the extra bits that you needed to create the designs. To this end I actually sourced and packaged up the notions for the quilt set to sell individually. It’s one of those items that when you make the quilt you really need it, and I managed to keep the prices down to a very reasonable $25 for the notions kit (10 years on, and we have a limited number of these kits available, so if it is something you are considering, purchase the notions NOW).
This collection was so popular that it also spawned an auxiliary design collection to create a wonderful kitchen chart, for children to show the day of the week, the weather, and any chores that they have to complete. This was originally published in Machine Embroidery & Textile Art magazine, and next week I will be sharing this fantastic project with you for anyone who didn’t catch it back then.
Initially we gave away the duck design HERE as a freebie with the Emma’s Touch and Feel designs. As a thank you to all of our loyal customers, for the next week we are also offering the Dog design as a free download. Simply click HERE to collect your copy.
Thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me, I hope you have enjoyed looking at this collection, and that it has inspired you to stitch for a loved one.
Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.