Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Following a Pattern

Isn't it funny how certain hobbies go in and out of style, just like anything else?  If you're into handiwork, you've certainly noticed this trend.
One hobby (or art form) that ducks in and out of our collective consciousness is embroidery.  
Embroidery, in the form of counted cross stitch, was the first creative endeavor I pursued on my own.  I remember my first project so clearly - it was a Ziggy pattern on a very open-weave cloth (if you know how they measure Aida cloth, I believe it was 10 count).  I think it still exists somewhere but it would take me a fortnight to find it.  Take my word for it - it wasn't good.  :D

I took the hobby back up in college - for a while all of my roommates were stitching too.  In my early twenties I was too busy whoopin' it up to be bothered with a hobby so it lay dormant.

When I was 24, however, I joined the Embroiderers' Guild on the advice of one of my work friends. At that point I was all in.  It became my one-and-only hobby.  I really enjoyed it and my sister Jen and I would take classes together when she lived in Minneapolis, where there were wonderful needlepoint shops.  It continued this way until I took up knitting when I was 31.

I still have all of my framed pieces up on my walls - they may be a little outdated but I just love them.  It reminds me how far I've come  - from stitching other people's designs to creating artwork that's entirely my own.  I don't think I could go back to following a pattern again - too constricting!  My hands aren't as nimble as they used to be,either; I think holding a needle for long periods of time would be pretty painful (let's not even talk about my eyesight!).

I love these brochures and digests, though!  There's something so comforting in knowing the womenfolk (and confident menfolk!) before me were doing the same things.  Of course, they probably weren't into the Subversive Cross Stitch that's so popular now (Warning - some of the designs in the link are rated M for mature).  :D

I have combined my love of embroidery with my paper passion a couple of times, with great enjoyment.  We have a textile art exhibit coming up in August and I'm once again going to try my hand at it.


  1. I love your paper and fiber collages - I'd love to try something like that, in my copious (ha ha) free time. You do have the most interesting ideas!

    My hands won't work as well, or as long, as they used to, drabbitted arthritis - but my Ott-light is a thing of beauty and a joy forever; I can do all sorts of close work with it, and my eyes don't get nearly as tired, even with my wretched bifocals. A good worklight makes a world of difference.

    I have some of those vintage DMC embroidery booklets. I don't use them much, but I dearly love looking at them.

  2. I remember the paper samplers that I've seen in museums...forgot all about them...thanks for the memory, Mel!