Monday, March 15, 2004

Making that First X...

I had several e-mails today from new stitchers (YAY!) that had picked up one or more of our patterns to stitch... but one of them wasn’t even sure how to make that first X. It brought back memories of my own stitching beginnings...

A male, colour-blind friend of ours taught both Nick and I how to stitch. I love telling that to people and watching their faces! Tim teaches high school biology and loves anything with flowers, whales or birds. He worked on some beautiful Cross Wing Collection designs, lovely huge florals or humming bird designs and lots of whales. The fact that he sees most of the design in shades of grey, with only hints of colour, does nothing to detract from his enjoyment of the hobby. As Nick once said “After a day of teaching, it is nice to work on something that doesn’t talk back to you and stays done!”

It was sifting through Tim and Anne’s magazine stash that I found the Lori Birmingham design that made my fingers itch to try this stitching stuff, even though I was still a bit unsure of how much fun it could be to make the same type of stitch over and over again. Ok... so I was horribly wrong and totally underestimated how addictive that little X would be!!

Off I went to our local craft store. I didn’t even know that such a thing as a NEEDLEWORK store existed!! I walked in with the magazine and asked the sales lady for something called “Mushroom Lugana”. She smiled and asked me how long I had been stitching. When I explained that this was my first piece... she looked a bit troubled and suggested that perhaps I might like to buy a small fridge magnet kit to stitch first.

I know that she was trying to be helpful.... I also know that I was very lucky to have someone sit down with me and get me started like Tim and Anne did. Cross stitch can be learned all on your own, particularly with all the helpful information out there on the Internet... but it helps to see someone doing it or to know that you have someone to turn to when you have questions. I don’t think that “beginners” should have to start on simple designs. Maybe not pulled thread and specialty stitches on 32 count linen right away... but if you find that image that makes your fingers “itch to stitch” ... I think you will be far more likely to stick with something because you care about that picture. If I had run into problems on the fridge magnet... or gotten bored... I am sure it would have ended up in a drawer somewhere. Then I might never have gotten hooked on just “doing one more area to see how that colour looks”... or started to see pictures in my head that were made up of little floss Xs instead of line drawings and watercolour paint.

Isn’t it funny the twists and turns that our lives take. Sometimes we only see the pattern as we start to look back at the design behind us.

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