Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stitching History

As far as memory will serve, every woman in my family prided herself in her craft. Whether that be counted cross stitch, knitting, needlework with plastic canvas, making clothing of every size and shape, embroidery, painting and just plain ole’ creating things you couldn’t imagine possible…you name it they did it. I was surrounded by skill, determination and perfection. Even the men had a striking ability to perform with their musical talents. And even the women shared that same passion. Singing, dancing, laughing, (and even yelling) was inevitable at our gatherings. Everyone could play an instrument: the ukulele, the banjo, the harmonica, the guitar, the piano, the organ, maracas, spoons, singing; the list goes on. My grandmother, Anna Mae, was the queen of the crop; the old iron fist. She could do just about anything and everything. Nonetheless, poor me couldn’t stitch, sing, be instrumental or perform to any measure. (I could figure skate, though, and no one else could do that!!!)

When I was near 12 my mother tried me with cross stitch. I remember it being a brown bear with a red single-edged border. DMC floss, of course, and probably a Dimensions design. I just couldn't do it! The floss kept getting tangled and I just…I just put it down to never touch it again. I think I even cried at the defeat. It left a sort of sore spot with me for years to come. I had my first child when I was 21 and by 22 an ambitious hair grew within and I wanted to stitch something for my son - something he would like. I decided something easy…real easy (I didn’t want a repeat of years past). I selected something a child could manage. I thought to myself ‘I can’t screw this one up’. I stitched a BIG happy Elmo face! However, I never did get it framed – maybe I’ll put it in a “vintage” stash someday (hahaha). But in my defense, it was the first piece I ever stitched in its entirety.

I stitched off and on after that - nothing to write home about though. For the last 4 years I’ve grown so passionate about cross stitch. I’ve learned so much over the past few years. I’ve attended classes and workshops. I’ve even traveled (just a bit) to gain stitching-power, and every other month I attend “Moonlight Stitchin’” at my local needlework
shop. I’ve learned Russian punchneedle in the last year, year and a half, and my Aunt Pam taught me to quilt. When it comes to cross stitch, Aunt Pam is remarkable with her needle. Her samplers are to die for! They are simply exquisite. I taught myself on plastic canvas (I’m still not done with that bag!). I want to learn to knit, and I’ve been shown once, but in due time will I truly master that craft. One can only stitch so much.

BUT my fondest and proudest enjoyment of cross stitch is that I share the art of putting needle and thread to work with my beautiful mother, Pat. Mom is quite the eloquent stitcher and I owe all my teachings to her. Her stitching is brilliant and all I can say is that her work is truly a piece of art. She is now (and forever) my queen of the cross-stitch (crop)…

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