Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A first

I've been stitching for years. Mostly just for me, but I have begun to gift some items to family members. One of the most special gifts was a birth sampler for my niece's little girl, Bella. I just wish I had taken a photo of it. (I'll just have to remember to do that when I visit next!).

But I digress! Today, a first. I completed sending in my entry paperwork to the State Fair of Texas for 3 pieces. I've wanted to compete in a State Fair for years, so why not the largest one of them all! I didn't do any projects specifically for competition. Perhaps that is something I will do next year. For now, I just want to give the process a try and see how it goes. Last year, my husband and I were at the fair. I can remember thinking that I could stand a chance in garnering a ribbon. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My first projects

Did you know that years ago (okay...the early 1980s), stores like Belk Department stores in the malls carried (gasp) cross stitch supplies? It all started innocently enough. I was shopping for bed linens when I saw their stitching things out of the corner of my eye. I knew what it was...I had been a Girl Scout years earlier. As a Girl Scout, we did all sorts of projects. I seemed to remember some sort of embroidering we had done once. I also remembered that I didn't like it so very much because you had to do french knots. I hate french knots. In looking over the cross stitch "stuff", I realized...there were no french knots! Yeah! I could do this! And so I bought a book called "Crates and Sacks" and all the things I needed to stitch. I did three of the designs: Apples, Pears, and Plums. I never had them framed. Perhaps I should.

I love to stitch...I have since I started in the early 1980s. Although no one taught me, I do come by it honestly (as they say). My dear Grandmother made quilts. They weren't the intricate show quilts you see on display these days (although she absolutely appreciated the beauty and work associated with those). My grandmother made whimsical, functional quilts. I still have the one she made for me when I was a baby, with baby motifs embroidered in panels. It was used and loved and is, now, treasured. As I got older, Grandma offered to make me a quilt. I refer to it as her "Sunbonnet Babies" phase. I picked the colors and she pieced it together. And, tucked into the traditional Lane cedar chest is a blue Sunbonnet Babies quilt. It doesn't match my decor these days, but it holds a dear place in my heart.

My Mom was a crafter as well. She loved to crochet. Afghans. Everyone in my family has at least one, and I can remember making them as well. One day while visiting, she saw me stitching. She wanted to know how, and I taught her. She had far more patience than I in moving between so many different shades of DMC within a single project. I wish she were still here; maybe I could convince HER to stitch one of my many P. Buckley Moss designs (I doubt I will...too many color changes!). One of my favorite gifts is the Alphabet Bear Quilt she stitched for my son when he was born. She not only stitched it, but she assembled the quilt as well; quite a feat for someone who had never put one together! It is, to this day, one of my favorite gifts.

My youngest sister also caught the stitching bug. She graciously stitched a nautical piece for my son when his room went through the "nautical phase". He still has it.

I am on my second collection of stash. Oh, I had a great one in the 1990s, but carpal tunnel syndrome in my hands had me convinced I could never enjoy stitching again. I did not want to have surgery. So my stash was scattered to the wind. The carpal tunnel got worse, and surgery was finally scheduled. Now, I can stitch...though not for long periods at a time. And my stash collection has grown to at least 10 to 20 lifetimes!

At present, there is a new distraction. Two little Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppies...Blaze and Diamond. And, oh, do they dislike it when I settle into my stitching corner with a project. It's just no fun for them! They want to chase the silk as it disappears to the other side of the fabric. The duo want to have a taste of the hand-dyed fabrics, and they love to lay on my leaflet. I've learned. Puppies and babies do not last forever. So, I lay down my project and cuddle my babies and laugh at their innocence and love.