Thursday, March 13, 2008

Caffe Latte, Oooh, la la

I finished this last night, Caffe Latte, by Little House Needlework. Worked with Belle Soie silks, I dyed my white Belfast to a color that matched the first piece, Cappuccino. I'm planning on doing the last one and framing them all the same for my kitchen. I'd like to do all of LHN's coffee themed pieces but I don't know if there is enough wall space in the kitchen. I suppose I could hang the larger samplers in the dining room.

I do a lot of thinking while I'm stitching, and last night, the thought popped into my head, "when did stitching go from a hobby to an obsession?" And that is what its become. A glorious obsession. My walls are crowded with framed pieces, so much so that you can barely see the walls themselves. I have two baskets of needlerolls, racks of scissors and fobs and several sewing boxes filled with needle books and biscornus. I even have a room dedicated to my stitching stash, with cabinets full of fabric, boxes full of threads, and shelves full of leaflets. I even have a small armoire dedicated to kits. Such a change from 26, 27 years ago. Seems like forever, way back then.

I taught myself to stitch, to be able to get a job in a stitching store. Back then, it was changing over from a needlepoint store to cross stitch. The owner was retiring and her daughter was taking over, Susan Greening (who later became Susan Greening-Davis). I had never heard of cross stitch but had embroidered since I was a child, so I figured, how hard can that be? I talked my dh (dratted, soon to be ex husband) into letting me purchase a leaflet, fabric and DMC to do a project. (He quickly let me know that I'd best be doing all the projects in that particular leaflet before he'd let me buy another one.) I couldn't even read the chart. I understood that all the symbols meant different colors but I found it difficult to follow and stitch. For this first project, he read the chart and I did the stitching. About half way through that project, I got the hang of following along, line by line, row by row, and a cross stitcher was born.

Took me nearly two years to collect all the DMC colors. For the first year, I bought new skeins for each project. When I finally sat down to organize, and started checking off color numbers, I think I had something like 12 skeins of 930, country blue dark. From then on, I always checked my list before buying new colors. Then came Ginnie Thompson Flower thread, learning to do waste canvas, stitching on linen, doing samplers, buying my first Shepherd's Bush kit, and working with silks for the first time. By this time, my first marriage had ended in divorce, I'd met and married my real dh (darling hubby) and his encouragement had allowed me to blossom. He also encouraged my obsession for needlework and supported financially my never ending need for new stash. He wants me to keep busy while he's out on the road.

This man is a gem that I wish all stitchers had one of--he's so considerate about my love of stitching, and keeping busy, that one time he talked me into going with him on a run--and our first stop was House of Stitches so I could get a few projects suitable for working on in the truck.

DH number one came back into our lives a few years ago, when he (newly divorced from wife number 3) moved in with our youngest son and his family. The first time he visited our home for a holiday, he just about fell on the floor in shock at the stitchings on the walls. His only comment, "you've improved greatly". Understatement of the year!!

So how many obsessive stitchers are there out there? And you know who I mean. And how many of you stitch in a hoop, on stretcher bars, or forms and how many stitch "in hand"? That's me, the last one, in hand. Have never been able to get the hang of using roller bars or scroll frames.

Wow, three posts in three days, my best yet. Thank you for all your encouraging comments, they've been a ray of sunshine in this dreary winter.


Nicole said...

Hi Debs,

It's beautiful!! I think stitching definitely turned into an obsession after I discovered the internet in '96. It was all downhill after that!! :)

Jane said...

Yes this internet thing has cost me a lot of money :) Before then I only had the odd chart/kit, now I have enough to open my own shop!

I stitch with a hoop and my Mum stitches in hand. Both self taught and we both stitch completely different ways.

Loved reading this entry of how you came to cross stitch Debs, thanks.

Sharon said...

Beautful finish! Congrats.

Susan said...

Lovely finish, Debs!

Einschies blog said... it a bad thing to be obsessed by our hobby?? I don´t think so...well there is a lot of free space on my walls to hang on lots more, I guess I have to stitch another 20 years to get them all filled...but I am stitching for 10 years only so it´s incredible how much stash I of my fav things is to go through all my charts to find something new, to see something I will certainly the next 200 see how my taste changed and so on....well and I just ordered more at bitsandbobs, I need the new JN Biscornu und the Sampler Cove Accesoiries piece*uff this was expensive but I need it;-))

Happy easter to you,