Guest Blogger – Mary McDonnell

On Saturday 1st June, I was privileged to have held a cross-stitch demonstration at the two Hickey’s stores in Limerick City.
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This was the first time I had demonstrated cross-stitch, so to begin with, I was a little unsure of what to expect. However, as soon as I arrived in the door of Hickey’s on Cruises Street, I was met with a warm welcome from Alison, the manager there, and I was immediately put at ease.
Upstairs, surrounded by all the lovely fabrics, threads and wools, a lovely little table had been set up for me, with plenty of space for the demonstration, as well as a little display of Hickey’s cross-stitch kits. I added to the display a couple of my own cross-stitch pieces. One of them is a picture of a cat in a bath, which I have recently completed at the Limerick SnB. I find the SnB meetups wonderful for making time and space in my life for the crafts I love.
Back at the demo, with everything set up, it was just a case of waiting, and hoping that some of the customers would take a moment to investigate! Hickey’s had kindly provided aida and thread, so that those attending the demo could have a go at the basic stitches. I had also brought along with me a very simple cross-stitch pattern of a rubber-ducky, for people who wanted to try out their newly learned stiches.
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And sure enough, little by little, people came over to the demo table. Some were happy to watch me working on one of Hickey’s cross-stitch kits ( a lovely monster!), while others were eager to get some hands-on experience. It was wonderful to be able to take the time to go through the basics with people on a one to one basis, or in small groups. A common thing seemed to be that people had cross-stitch kits at home, which they had been given as presents, but they had never completed them, as they were unsure how to do the stitches. Hopefully I set them on the right road!
A funny thing was that it turned out that the mistakes I had made in the stitching of my picture of the cat in the bath, came in useful as a way of illustrating my point about why it looks better to do all your stitches in the same direction! Some very kind people told me that since my untidy, mixed-direction stitches were centred on the cat’s towel,  it gave the towel the appearance of texture! So perhaps it was a happy accident!
The time really flew, and before I knew it, it was nearly 1pm! It was time then to grab a quick lunch before heading on to demo number two. This second demo took place at Homefocus at Hickey’s, at the Parkway Retail Park.
I was given a very warm welcome by staff member, Wendy.
The lovely thing about this demo was that a few people sat down and worked on the little duck design. It was wonderful to watch their delight as they saw the picture appearing before them as they stitched! Lou from the SnB was one of the participants who stitched the picture, and I have to say, she took to it like a duck to water! 🙂
So, all in all, I had a fantastic time at both of the demos. I really enjoyed the whole experience. I hope that a few people went away inspired to try this new craft, or feeling a bit more confident about tackling that kit gathering dust at home! In any case, I hope everyone that attended the demo had an enjoyable time.
A big thanks to the staff of both of the Hickey’s stores for their enthusiasm, attentiveness, and helpfulness. And a huge thank you to Lou from the SnB for all her hard work organising the demos, and for her support on the day.
I think there are more craft demos coming up, given by other members of the SnB, so watch this space!
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The above post was meant to be shared much sooner than this.  Apologies for the delay!  Many thanks to Mary for guest blogging for us.