I just found out that September was National Sewing Month!
Seems that there is a ‘month’ for everything. But a sewing month?
For me, like many, the last 6 months have been devoted to some kind of craft: bread making, sewing masks, sewing on buttons, interior design, and Marie Kondo cleaning the house.
For me, it’s been cross-stitching. And cross-stitching IS sewing. 🙂
So it hasn’t just been a month of sewing it has been a season of sewing.
Since March I have cross-stitched 9 items.
Like I said in my last post: crafting keeps me sane. And right now sanity seems to be in short supply. So I’ll take sanity wherever I can get it.
In recent years, my go-to craft as been knitting. Mostly for its portability, the abundance of FREE patterns, and my ability to create my own patterns.
why Cross Stitch?
The answer eludes me.
Maybe it was a sub-conscience need for order in this wholly unordered times we seem to be living in. Maybe it was a yearning to revert back to an easier time in my life — I learned how to cross-stitch in the 3rd grade thanks to Brownies.
I can see the long tables of the Skiles Test Elementry School cafeteria where Troop 366 would meet on Tuesday afternoons. I have this feeling of sitting at a table near the cinderblock pale yellow wall. With its bank of windows above gray painted metal heaters. The wall was near the exit of the cafeteria, where after lunch we would race out to go to the playground off the back parking lot. And me, sitting alone at one of those tables making a blue cross-stitch heart. I wonder what happened to that thing. It was like that heart permanently imprinted into my heart.
I have never lost my love of cross stitch.
It’s a meticulous call to order…the tiny square fabric that tells you EXACTLY where and how big to make your stitches…the pattern with it’s beautifully and perfectly chosen floss colors…All that order wrapped up in a project that can take days, if not months, and weeks to complete.
Cross stitch is NOT a fast craft.
Because of the nature of HOW you cross-stitch—starting at the center of the pattern and moving out. And your focus on such a small area, it’s almost like looking at the pattern through a microscope. Looking at the same 3×3 area (or whatever area your embroidery hoop will allow) for hours before moving your hoop and working on the next hoop-allowed area.
But then you take the hoop off and it’s magic. Because that small focused area goes from being a bunch of colored
dots stitches to a beautiful scene.
Pointillism and George Surat surely got his inspiration for watching women do her handicraft.
And that is why I LOVE cross stitch. It plays to so many sides of me: love of art, love of craft, and my (sometimes VERY) little bit of my an orderly nature.
My pandemic cross stitch
I was very lucky. Since I had been an avid crafter for so many years and I’m also a bit of a packrat. I had everything I would need to cross-stitch my first project in years.
• Pattern(s) I purchased and never did;
• A treasure trove of floss;
• A (small) stash of Aida clothe.
Therefore I finished my first two projects with ease.
But as the pandemic continued further into spring and summer I needed more.
More patterns, more embroidery floss, and more Aida cloth.
Since leaving the house wasn’t a viable option…the internet becomes your friend and because the news (and common sense) tells you that small businesses are suffering due to closings/quarantine you look for small businesses.
Patterns came from multiple sellers on Etsy—thank goodness for digital downloads.
Aida cloth and embroidery floss to complete the aforementioned patterns came from a shop in neighboring Ohio, Everything Cross Stitch.
Pattern Complete—Now what?
As you can tell from the pictures, not everything is display-ready.
And if I were being honest with
you myself this has almost always been a problem. Getting pieces framed is SUPER expensive. And that for years was the only way I thought you should/could display this kind of handicraft (I am really loving that word the more I type this post—sorry).
Which is why most of my pieces end up like this.
Yes, that is what you think it is, it’s a white melamine envelope with years of completed cross stitch pieces folded neatly inside.
As soon as the girls started saying ‘I want that!’ in reference to whatever project I was working on. I knew I was going to have to find a
new cheap more-effective way of dealing with the finished piece.
So, as one does when they don’t know how to do something: turn to YouTube.
It seemed that displaying IN and embroidery hoop was the answer.
The hoop checked all my above criteria:
1. It wasn’t a white envelope.
• Plastic embroidery hoop-$2.49-$2.99
• Bamboo hoop-$1.50-$2.49
Cost of professionally framing a piece can range from $35-300.
3. Time–a piece can be mounted safely in a hoop in 1-2 hours.
Here is my YouTube playlist of different ways to finish a piece in an embroidery hoop.
Sometimes the hoop doesn’t work. This is routinely my fault for having cut my Aida cloth TOO small for display purposes—see Project 6.
So I have done some creative-crafting. Which has prompted one my other favorite way to display— HeHeHe ‘Way to display’ that rhymes.
I used a burlap canvas (don’t ask me why I had a stash of 3 of them), some Aileens Craft Glue (a bit watered down), and a Sharpie marker (optional to ‘dirty up’ the ends).
I feel like I have done 9 pieces, so this last one (to make it an event 10—10 seems like a good ending number). It should be something special.
And I think I’ve got it. I started this pattern—Country Bloomers when I was 14/15/I don’t know. But somehow along the way, I lost the pattern. I have looked for years for it on Etsy and Ebay…
About a month ago I found the pattern on Ebay!
Now, I guess the REAL question is…can I just start where I left off?
Is it too much to hope that the colors match, this has surely faded after 30 years—F@*k did I just say 30 years!
And/or have embroidery floss colors shifted just a little to make it noticeable?
NOTE: After writing this, I went looking the above semi-completed project and guess what? I CAN’T FIND IT! Of course I can’t and now I have to start over.
What are your thoughts?
Let me know in the comments below!