Stitches By SC
Story and Photos by Leah Morningstar

The initials SC in “Stitches by SC” come from Rosslynn Manduca’s Fort William Historical Park character, Sally Collin. Manduca spent many summers in costume, sitting quietly with a needle and thread in hand, speaking to tourists as Miss Collin, a delightful young woman gifted in the art of embroidery.

Manduca no longer works at the park and doesn’t answer to Miss Collin anymore, but the name lives on in Stitches by SC. She currently works from home as a stay-at-home mom, but carves out time each day to work on her craft. Her home is littered with very obvious signs of a child on the premises. It’s not messy, but it’s clearly a child-friendly environment—that is, until you pass over the threshold and enter the “the office.”

Aside from little bits of embroidery on children’s clothing, Manduca’s office is a child-free oasis. It’s tidy and organized, yet bursting with supplies: needles, thread, embroidery hoops, yards and yards of recycled fabric, countless scissors and tools, as well as inspirational art and sentimental items. For instance, a hand-embroidered Lord’s Prayer is framed and hung on the wall: a very important piece made by Manduca’s great-grandmother almost 80 years ago. There’s also a commemorative plate depicting the Rosslyn Village church, which holds a bit of sentimentality: Manduca was actually named after Rosslyn Village. “My parents really liked the name but wanted to be a bit different too so they added an extra  ‘n’ to my name,” she says.

Manduca’s office is in the front of the house; a big window lets the sunshine pour in, lighting up every tiny stitch and detail. Behind a spacious desk and covering almost the entire wall is a huge pegboard. It’s full of tools, scissors, hoops, thread, zippers, and even flashlights. It’s important for each tool to be ready the moment it’s needed. It’s also important for Manduca to seek out and find recycled fabric at yard sales and thrift shops. “There’s just so much unused fabric out there. Each bit of fabric I add to my collection was a treasure waiting to be found and given new life!”

As for her subject matter, Manduca tends to be inspired by our local geography, funny puns, religious themes, and hilarious off-colour humour. If you find yourself offended by one of the designs featuring a big bold curse word, you might feel more comfortable with a delightful design inspired by a hymn, such as “It is well with my soul.” If you’d rather avoid both themes, Manduca has a lot of designs featuring Lake Superior and other local Canadiana. She is also more than willing to take commissions.

It’s always encouraging and exciting to watch young people explore art. It’s doubly exciting to learn that this art is a family tradition, passed down from generation to generation. Manduca is already looking forward to the days when she can share this passion with her own children.

Manduca will be at the downtown Port Arthur Craft Revival on May 5 from 10 am to 5 pm at Red Lion Smokehouse. To see more of her work, find her on Instagram.