Welcome to my second post with a new spin, sharing a more personal side. I first fell in love with cross stitching when I was 16. About to undergo knee surgery, I knew I’d be laid up for a while and, to be honest, figured reading books would only last so long. I did however read the entire series of the Hardy Boys collection during that recuperation period. I also taught myself a skill that has lasted decades. The simple stamped cross stitch pattern fed the fuel to push myself to learn more complex patterns, even creating my own on occasion. Some of those early attempts are still gracing my walls.
I did these rustic pumpkins, and two rustic apple designs when I was about 20. I worked third shift and spent afternoons in the laundromat once a week doing my wash. To whittle the time away, I usually stitched something. These were early counted patterns, in which the Aida cloth was blank and I copied off a pattern in a book, counting each stitch.
This is an early (going back to around age 18) stamped pattern. It graced the kitchen of my first apartment. Since then, it has found a home in each kitchen I lived in. The design was stamped on the cloth and I merely used the thread to cover the design. Easy breezy now, kind of a learning curve then.
Over the years they started getting harder. These are all counted cross stitch, starting with blank Aida cloth, counting the stitches from the pattern in a book. The sandpipers were done with scrap cloth and glued to a scrap of wood and spare rope glued around it as a nautical frame.
I have done lots of samplers and letters for friends and family, that required stitching not only the picture, but also entire words. This is the only one I have a photo of. It’s ‘Footprints in the Sand’ and hangs in my bathroom now. Once you get the hang of the lettering, it really does go pretty quick.
These are more challenging counted cross stitch. The lighthouse was blank, the wolves were printed. Each one calls for intricate stitches, half stitches, quarter stitches and special knots and backstitching Not as easy as counting out endless little ‘x’ s. And I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to work with black cloth. Very. Very. Hard.
This is a recent one, my own design. A friend was showing me new things she’d bought to update her decorating style. One picture featured a quilt draped over a chair next to a table with an open book and candle. What intrigued the writer in me was the caption of ‘Home is where your story begins’. Is there anything more appropriate for a writer? So I found an alphabet I liked, sketched an open book design I could duplicate on the cloth and stitched this piece in a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. It still needs ribbon trim when I find one I like and maybe a few more stitches to fill in the ‘book’.
From there (cross stitch and its variations) I moved on to needlepoint. I did three pillows. this one is a modified design of the Papillion I shared my life with for 17 years. Here I could go from using thread to a thicker form of ‘thin yarn’. somewhere between thread and yarn. The fabric was larger to work with as well. And most the stitches were half stitches instead of tiny cross stitches. The color of the dog matches my beloved pet.
The last needlepoint skill I taught myself was called crewel. I could make eye glass cases using this skill, and lots of handy gift items. This chickadee design is the only crewel item I kept for myself. It’s using a thicker thread, fancy stitches and back stitching and has a more plush finished look. Somewhere between cross stitch and needlepoint.
So there you have it, a tour through my world of needlepoint crafts. I don’t get to work these things much anymore, except quickies like the open book quote. What sort of hobbies do you enjoy? Or enjoyed once upon a time? Leave me a comment below. And better yet, include a photo of your favorite.