What has happened to all the women with hobbies in the needle arts? Does anyone sew, quilt, do needlepoint or cross-stitch? Any knitters or crocheters out there?
My mother saw to it that my sister and I were adequately trained to do needlepoint and embroidery. My sister went further and took up knitting and crochet. She eventually majored in some kind of fiber engineering program at Auburn. I took my route of threads to the schools of Home Economics and Vocational Education at Auburn. I taught sewing in the public schools along with the other Home Ec subjects and I taught private sewing lessons for seven years when the boys were bitty. Cross-stitching on linen became my hobby of choice.
I have fond memories of being at the kitchen table with my grandmother, Mama Smith, learning how to do the basket-weave stitch as a background for my first needlepoint piece. I was a little girl, eight or nine years old. Mama Smith would patiently untwist my menagerie of tangled threads on my numerous attempts to make a completed diagonal row. I would enjoy flipping the canvas over and gazing at the basket weave stitch on the underside. At first, it didn’t look so lovely. But, at least I was learning. Trying to get the thread through the needle’s eye would send me to tears and I could see the eye then! Wow. Now I about cry for lack of sighting the eye.
On our beach trips each year, Mother would make sure we had some type of arts/crafts to occupy our time on rainy beach days when going to the pool was out of the question and it was a necessity to keep us busy in a constructive way. We completed hooked rugs and bargello pillows then.
I would eventually get in trouble for reading books or doing needlework instead of my chores. I don’t think I’m completely to blame. After all, I didn’t ask to read or do needlework to begin with!
I enjoy the feel of yarn going in and out via needle through the needlepoint canvas or hand-dyed threads through the linen weave of tea-stained fabric. I am smiling over thoughts of past projects. Designers like Heart in Hand and The Trilogy could cause me to spend hours and money at The Threaded Needle (now gone, sadly). I see Mary Lou, the former owner, around town and I say every time, “I miss The Threaded Needle.” I need to move on.
Not too many people seem to do much needlework of this sort nowadays. Yet, you can find very expensive machine-completed needlepoint pillows in upscale gift shops. People like the look but not the time it takes to complete them. It seems that not too many enjoy the folk art decor of samplers hanging on their walls, I’ve noticed. Perhaps that is why I love to go to the folk art museum at Williamsburg, VA and get my fill of it. Perhaps that is why I have hesitated to finish a sampler I started when we had a Plymouth minivan and David rode in a car seat at the time. Can you say, “Long time ago!”?
With the need for reading glasses in addition to my contact lenses and even then, stitching in the brightest time of day near a window with the magnifier lamp on…it just seems to take some of the fun out of creating with my hands in snatches of minutes here and there. Sigh. Add to this my favorite needlework store being gone, and I have just not been inspired to pick it back up.
Perhaps today’s post serves to spur me on to picking up a needle and thread and going wild for a while breathing in and out while keeping a steady hand to make progress in an art form that will allow me to sit still and relax as the needle punches over and under with hand-dyed thread. I have several projects to complete! What is keeping me from them?
I am remembering my Summer Vacation post from a few days ago and thinking it’s just time to get my project bag together and go for it! It’s time for my inner needle artist to emerge!
Having that bag handy and checking in with this blog I found are sure to serve as inspiration to get it going!
Do any of you out there still do needlework? Let me know via a comment.