Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More about compulsive stitching

I had planned to spend the rest of the month working on my stated June goals: resuming work on the TW's Autumn Faerie, on M Design's Sean Name Tree and on the Mystic Hideaway projects and also starting the five annual PS Santas in my stash. Well, I did start the 1995 Santa and actually stitched him from the waist up and began the rather New Age-y cosmic motifs to the right and left of him ... BUT, then I got pulled back into Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year. It started with adding the buttons to the top two rows [Jan-Jun] before they joined the ranks of the missing like the button pack for the third row. Then the piece just sort of sucked me in and I find I am stitching the third row [Jul-Aug]. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is so unlike my usual stitching habits ... generally, I have 4 to 5 projects going at any given moment and I switch back and forth as the mood suits me. But lately, I simply have to finish a piece before moving on to the next.
I will steal some time away from Crabby to work on a few sewing finishes today and to work on a restoration project for a friend. The piece I need to restore is an heirloom from my friend's Mother who's own mother had stitched it for her. It had been very amateurishly framed using a combination of glue and lacing, a cheap five and dime frame which ... horror of horrors ... had at some point been painted to match kitchen decor without removing the stitched piece first. The piece has also sufferred a lot of environmental damage, having been hung in a sunny spot for many years and then stored in a dusty basement for over two decades. In appearance, it is charmingly primitive [euphemism for very poorly stitched] featuring a house and "Bless Our Home" message. Since my friend lost her Mom as a teenager, it has great sentimental value. I'll start by soaking it in Orvus, and then I'll need to darn some tiny holes in the linen and, finally, stretch and block it to get it ready for a professional framing job. It's amazing that all people have to do is see you working on your needlework, and suddenly they are sharing their own textile art with you. I have had the parents of children in my program bring in antique needlework for me to see: pieces that they have bought at auctions or inherited or bought at craft fairs or, very rarely, something stitched by their own hand. Needlework is a great conversation starter and many people really are interested in the care and handling of stitched pieces, the length of time it takes to finish a piece, the length of time it takes to acquire expertise. Even my own daughter, for whom I have stitched many pieces over the years and who had never shown any inclination to stitch herself, said yesterday that she was no longer feeling intimidated by arts that she had previously thought too complicated. She had seen a chart of a kitten in one of my catalogs and asked me how hard it would be to stitch. She thought the artist had really captured the look of kitten fur, the soft wispiness of it. In the past, she would have asked me to stitch it for her but now she'd like to do it herself. It pleases me to see this art survive into another generation.

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