Thursday, April 2, 2009

Does 'Crafty' Imply Shifty Eyes?

Okay, so maybe this is a cross-stitch blog. At times. I am maybe 1/8th of the way through the Gypsy Wagon pattern that I have started. And while I have had a few minor mistakes (a few dropped stitches, but… as I am learning, the more complicated things are, the more places there are to fix mistakes – if you are paying attention, and the pattern has enough intricate parts that can be shuffled around), I am actually quite pleased with my progress so far. And proud of myself; I was wondering if I was going to have attention span issues, but since the thing is so intricate, and fun (I couldn’t tell from the pattern that I was stitching one of many snails, and I am able to make out the hedgehogs, even though I’m nowhere close to doing the backstitching), I am having a ball.

I’m not a crafty person (well, in the sense of scrapbooks, and memory books and things; actually, not really in the “skillful in underhand or evil schemes” definition (as given by Webster’s), either). My mother tried to teach me to knit a few times, and it never stuck. Crocheting? Even less so, although my grandmother was a whiz. Scrapbooks? I can put up an album on Facebook or Picasa. That’s about it. My first memory of cross-stitching was for a Girl Scout merit badge; we had this Girl Scout emblem pattern, and I did the thing in reverse colors (the green was white, and the white was green – oh yes, I was quite the rebel). In truth, I don’t remember if that was because I had mis-read the pattern and didn’t want to start over, or if I wanted to be different from the 13 other girls doing the exact same pattern. And at the time, if I recall correctly (Mom, help me out here), I don’t exactly remember enjoying it. It was sort of one of those things that I had to do to get the merit badge.

But my mother kept encouraging me, and I remember summers where I cross-stitched a circa 1890’s Colt .45 (really – it was this whole ‘old west’ pattern book – wish I could find it now!), and when I first started college, I did a 1980-something Corvette (alas, that one got lost when I moved to Park City). I had a few additional tries at some stitching once in Park City, but I typically got bogged down with work or other stuff.

This winter, however, I’ve had the time, and for whatever reason, the inclination. And I’m LOVING it. Some of it is certainly the enjoyment of actually producing something (I’ve been doing research on a book for ages, and while I write sections here and there, I’m not even remotely close to even having a good solid outline of the entire book). It’s also a tactile thing – the thread moving through the material is cool (the pulling out knots part, and occasionally stabbing myself because I don’t use blunt needles is not so cool, but still tactile). But I guess the part I like most is seeing something emerge out of chaos. Especially on a pattern like the one I’m doing now that has so many colors and sections that it is really hard to get a sense of what this thing is going to look like until you’ve gone so far. Again, I’m maybe 1/8th of the way done, and I’m only just now seeing the Big Picture emerge out of the dots, z’s and triangles on the pattern. But it is really cool to start to see it emerge.

The funny thing is that I still have No Idea what I’m going to do with my ‘finished’ pieces. And I say finished in quotes because I’ve got about 6 pieces that are fully stitched, but haven’t been ironed or framed or anything. Most, I expect, will end up as gifts (so if you get something from me, don’t be surprised if it is on 14 count Aida) as I can’t really see framing these things and having them all over the house. I have a REALLY COOL Noah’s Ark (it’s actually a submarine) pattern that I could see as a baby gift, as long as said baby is about 4 years out, or you don’t mind it being a college graduation present, rather than nursery room decoration!

I am framing one piece tomorrow, as a thank you to some friends of ours who provided much help with Mr. Bufus the cat this winter – both in terms of providing a cat carrier, corn syrup, morale support, and just being generally cool people – and we’ll see how that goes. If all goes well, I think I’ve got presents for people sewn up *heh…. Sorry….couldn’t help myself there! for quite a while.

And if you’ve got requests? Like if you are looking for something for a church fundraiser, or a gift for someone, or, oh hell, I don’t know…. If you want something, let me know. Your requests will be more likely honored if they fit in the animal (particularly dogs, cats, and Arks)/whimsical female/space/”I don’t care how long it takes, but something big with lots of stuff in it” categories.

And on that note? I’m going to eat and get back to my gypsy wagon. Because I’ve almost reached the magical fire. And a magical gypsy fire is NOT to be missed out on.

BTW, Mom, thanks for forcing me to do the Girl Scout cross stitch thing. The more I think about it, the more I think it was on the level of learning my multiplication tables. And while I can still guess at 9 X 6 (54? 57? 63?), I am getting MUCH enjoyment and fulfillment out of the cross stitching! Who'd've thunk it, eh?

1 comment:

Swistle said...

The girls in my school went through a huge cross-stitching craze in...6th grade, I think? I made all kinds of stuff. I purchased (but never made) a cross-stitch MONOPOLY BOARD, which I finally gave away last year, realizing I was never going to do it.

Now I kind of want to do it.