03 June 2009

Where did your journey begin?

Someone else shared the start of their love for cross stitch, and I thought it would be fun to share where I started, and learn how everyone else got into this hobby.

I learned to stitch when I was 12. My mother had always stitched while on vacation. She only did it on vacation, and I loved it. She stitched Told in A Garden designs that she bought at the old LNS in Virginia Beach, VA. She had a lot of them; somewhere in my mother's house is a treasure trove of these patterns, all unfinished. And gosh, how I wanted to learn. There was something hypnotic and beautiful in those tidy little stitches. But it was one of those things that they didn't want me to do because I was the kind of child who flitted from thing to thing, never really focusing on anything. Probably today, with a different mother, I would be diagnosed with ADD. But it was the late 80s, my mother is "old school" and they just didn't get things like that for me.

But I pestered. I'm the queen of pestering. And of guilt trips. And my mother relented. She brought me home a no-count kit of a little sunbonnet girl facing a sheep. And my brother commenced to teach me to stitch. Note I said my brother. But he's a good stitcher, he just stitches the opposite way I do. He actually took my little kit and worked on it after I went to bed that night. All opposite. I never picked it out. It's my bubba and I's masterpiece.

I was happy with no-count for a year or so, finished another big project, and, oh, how I loved when my Daddy would take me to MJDesigns (remember that store? They closed in 1999, or, rather Michaels took them over, but they were THE BEST. Long aisles of stitchery. Sigh) for a new kit. And then I realized it still wasn't counted work.

Vacation rolled around, and we went to my aunt's house. I remember pretty vividly,at the end of vacation, Mom and my aunt went off to the cross stitch store(what was that place?), and I wasn't allowed to go. They had to go get gas because Iraq invaded Kuwait, and gas was going up in price, probably all the way up to 75 cents a gallon, which was scandalous. They came back with a kit for me and taught me to do counted. It was a teddy bear, and I wrecked it. And flung it aside and never finished it. But it wasn't so much that I didn't want to stitch, that maybe that wasn't the kit for me. I've always done better when I've picked the project. Daddy took me to the craft store a few months later, I picked up my first real project, a horse's head that was way beyond my skillset, screwed that up, and worked my way through it. I entered that in the fair, won 2nd prize, the first of many second prizes I was to get at the fair--I had a fairly long streak of second place finishes at the fair in the 4-H division, but the girl that won was really good, so I never grudged her. And I was hooked.


Erynne said...

Great little story Rachel! :o)
Mine is kinda boring really. I was 18 and started working at a new craft store in the area. I was made manager, for what reason I'm not sure, but anyway, I had to learn a few things in order to be helpful to customers and one of those things was cross stitch. Took home one of those little xmas ornie kits (a swan/goose?)from the store (with permission,lol) and I was hooked from there. It was such a tiny project now that I think of it but I managed not to have frog once! But I've been frogging ever since, haha. The next real project was a birth announcement for my son less than 2 yrs later.

CindyMae said...

I love to hear how people got started stitching, my story is boring though! I just thought about it one day and tried it for a few months, sucked at it and then later decided to try again and learn the proper way and have been addicited every since!

Meari said...

What a great story, Rachel. I can't say that mine's so colorful or interesting.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls