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Monday, October 03, 2005

Contrast

I've been thinking about my current needlework trends. Specifically, what I do with my personal stitching time. Yes, I design counted cross stitch for a living but I don't do cross stitching anymore.

It became so incredibly boring to me. I love designing it! But it became too repetative. Same 3 stitches over and over again. I often wonder how many cross stitchers have reached this point but maybe don't know how to do any other techniques.

I guess I was rather fortunate that my mom and grandmother taught me to stitch back when I was I don't know, somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. I learned the basic outline & stem stitches back then and lazy daisies and I can still see my grandmother trying to teach me how to do french knots. Eventually I moved onto needlepoint which I didn't like much because I didn't like to fill in the background. I still enjoy a small needlepoint project now and then but nothing big. I did some rug hooking, and eventually learned to cross stitch.

Shortly after I married my husband, my grandfather gave me my grandmother's sewing machine so I bought a few patterns marked "Easy" and I taught myself to sew with a bit of over the phone guidence from my mom. But I didn't care for making clothes.

Not long before we bought our house, I decided to make a quilt. It's a simple postage stamp patchwork quilt. I cut every 2 1/2 inch square with scissors rather than a rotary cutter. I don't think they were available back then. Anyway, I really enjoyed sewing the squares together but was totally bored with the handquilting. Back then I didn't know you could do it on the sewing machine. I only recently bought my walking foot!

But I continued on and made several more patchwork quilts. And I handquilted 2 1/2 of them. Yes, one is only 1/2 done. I do work on it over the Winter months but can't stand to have it in my lap in the Summer despite air conditioning. There are 4 more waiting to be quilted in my closet here!

Most of you know that I eventually went back to simple iron-on transfer embroidery and then discovered crazy quilting. Isn't it intersting, the contrast between the two? One is so incredibly simplistic, easy to do, easy to look at and yet so charming. And the other, so complex, so detailed and busy. Abstract but with bits of realism, well mine have some realistic touches usually. Crazy Quilts whether large or small, are truly objects of comtemplation.

The contrast between the simplistic and the complex is so extreme, I wonder if these two forms of needlework are in some way, a represention of my personality. Do our needlework likes and dislikes tell us anything about our deeper selves? Things that go beyond what we enjoy and don't enjoy? Food for thought huh?

1 comment:

Gina E. said...

I have been noticing this discussion on a few blogs lately. I'm afraid I am the typical Aries - very practical, not really creative. I don't search my soul for ulterior motives in the things I do; I just stitch because (a) I find it relaxing, (b) I like to make simple gifts for people, and (c) I enjoy doing something that is not 'the flavour of the month', but instead, keeping alive a dying art. This last reason is more to do with traditional embroidery than cross stitch, because I think XS is very much a flavour of the month thing around the world at the moment. I have always loved the look of traditional vintage embroidery (not so keen on ribbon embroidery or stumpwork), and have been working on various old items such as tablecloths and doilies for many years. They certainly require more concentration than cross stitch, mostly because there is more than one kind of stitch being used, but the finished result is well worth the effort if it has been done with care.

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