Our expert Carolyn Forster, an experienced tour manager, and a group of eager-to-learn stitchers explored the textiles and wonders of Jordan in September 2023.
With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, quilter, designer, teacher and author Carolyn Forster has had a profound influence in the crafting world. From her first book ‘Quilting on the Go’, which was self-published in 2007, to now, she has authored more than ten patchwork and quilting books, regularly contributed to magazines both in the UK and abroad, and inspired many with her unique teaching philosophies.
We're thrilled to present an exclusive piece where Carolyn delves into her workshops, visits and personal highlights of the 2023 Jordan tour. Without further ado…
"The stitching projects for the Jordan trip fell into two categories. I wanted a patchwork project which would reflect the colours of the city of Amman, the desert, and Petra. I worked with the Manx log cabin patchwork method, supplying fabric colours and textures that worked with the original idea. I invited participants to also add their own fabrics if they wanted. They each made four blocks and we played with the colours and layout so that everyone could make their work individual to them.
The second project was based on Chicken Scratch embroidery, a form of cross stitch worked on a gingham fabric. I wanted to draw on the rich textile history of the area and the importance cross stitch plays in that. The colours I chose drew on the mosaics we would see on the trip, especially those of Mount Nebo. The panels sewn would then be made into a small drawstring bag. All the components were supplied for this, some already sewn together, to make the finishing of the bag achievable whilst still travelling.
On the first full day workshop, we started with the Manx Log cabin. The second half day workshop, we started the Chicken Scratch, and then, on the last full day, both projects were revisited with the joining of the patchwork blocks and completion of the bags.
Unexpectedly, seeing the mosaics at Mount Nebo has set me off on a whole new set of projects after the trip, both with colours and the designs. Petra was amazing due to the scale and sheer amount there is to see there, the Treasury included. But the fact there is so much else to take in, and the amazing walk down to it all, makes it a personal highlight.
The textile museum of Tirez in Amman was somewhere I could have spent more time. The textiles were fascinating, and the guides are so informative and passionate. And, going off track a bit, I loved the food, and all the different dishes we got to try!
For me, this tour put lots of history, culture and religious concepts into perspective, and made so much of what you read about more relatable. I think the impressions of the colours combined with the textiles, as well as travelling with like-minded enthusiasts and our great guide, Hussein, makes this holiday truly unique.”
With two departure dates in 2024, you can join either Janet Clare or Karin Hellaby in Jordan, embarking on the crafting adventure of a lifetime.
Artist, textile designer, teacher, author and quilter, Janet Clare is renowned in the crafting world. With her patterns frequently featuring in patchwork and quilting publications, and her products in quilting shops across the UK, it is clear the impact Janet has had.
Read Janet’s introduction to her March 2024 Jordan tour below.
“I have always enjoyed exploring new places and, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you do too! The beauty of travelling with Stitchtopia is that we experience the very best bits travel has to offer whilst being supported and cared for every step of the way by our very own team of dedicated experts. It’s stress-free exploration with lots of stitching!
When you join us, you’ll find yourself in the company of like-minded people who are all keen to stitch and enjoy themselves whilst sightseeing and exploring. You are only on your own until you reach the airport and then you’re with us. I have seen many lasting friendships made on these trips and always look forward to making more.
One of my favourite things to do as we travel is to draw and gather ideas for us to stitch and embroider into our souvenir project. Each of these stitched souvenirs are designed and created exclusively for the people on the trip! Not only are they are lasting memories of our time together, but they will also be unique to you as you personalise and add your own found treasures to them. Shopping for local buttons, braids, trims and badges to add is all part of the fun!
Here are some finished examples from my trips down the Rhine, on a fabulous week in Madeira, and with a trip to Prague.
During our planned workshops in Jordan, we will have plenty of time to sit together, learning tips and techniques whilst chatting and enjoying each other’s company. In addition to the souvenir project, we will be hand sewing a small project with my latest collection from ‘Moda’ fabrics, which then can be completed on your return home. This class project is intended to be a calming, relaxing activity for all levels of sewing ability.
Jordan has so many amazing things to see, but I’m particularly looking forward to visiting Petra which has been on my wish list for a long time! This World Heritage site will be such a privilege to experience and an unforgettable memory to cherish. I hope I’ve encouraged you to book your place on this amazing and inspiring trip!”
Internationally renowned quilt teacher Karin Hellaby has authored 11 quilting books and created numerous patterns. A regular teacher at the Houston International Quilt Show, Karin has been invited to teach at quilting symposiums around the world, taking her from Europe and North America to the Middle East.
Read Karin’s introduction to her September 2024 Jordan tour below.
“My project and workshops will be based on my unique Sew Simple Pineapple technique. This is patchwork block that looks stunning and difficult, but using my method of layering fabric squares, it becomes easy! I will have silhouettes designs of Jordanian sights which can be stitched in the centres of each pineapple block. During the workshops, I will be showing you three techniques for this: a no sew appliqué, buttonhole appliqué, and stitchery. You get to choose which method you would like to use and also enjoy the opportunity to draw your own.
For me, the highlight of this tour will be Petra! But I am also looking forward to the Wadi Rum desert and Dead Sea experiences as well as seeing the crafts and textiles of Jordan. A book will be included, plus the fabrics and threads which will reflect the sand, rocks and earthy tones of this fantastic country.
Do consider joining me in September 2024 for a wonderful tour that not only covers the historical and cultural highlights of Jordan but will also give you the opportunity to learn new stitching techniques and an insight of local traditional crafts.
With a sightseeing tour of Amman, as well as textile-themed excursions to traditional craft foundations, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to join this tour in 2024. We even include a jeep safari and Bedouin feast amidst the desert landscape of Wadi Rum and a visit to the extraordinary Dead Sea!"
If you’re feeling inspired to embark on a crafting journey to Jordan, secure your place now!