Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” A Lesson on Needlework

         M’Lady’s Chateau Counted Cross Stitch Gold Design Pattern

   Growing up, I often heard the phrase “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.” At that time, I did not fully realize the importance of that saying. Coming from a family who often created works of art from things found, mediums bought, fabric woven and made, yarn and wool spun to create wonderful items. My mother was the first person to introduce me to my first sewing kit and I have it to this day. This treasured box was covered in a floral blue pattern, and had needles, thread, a pin cushion, scissors, fabric pencil, thimble, buttons and other sewing notions. My mom and Grandmother then took on the task to patiently teach me the art of sewing, candle wicking, and eventually cross stitching. I can always remember my grandmother having a crochet needle and yarn in hand almost every time I visited her. She would borrow my treasured “Strawberry Shortcake” dolls and crochet dolls about a foot high. I know that I have these lurking amongst my childhood treasures. She created afghans for each of her grandchildren and eventually created little baby bonnets and baby blankets for her great-grandchildren. I tried to get her how to show me how to crochet, and I was taught how to make a chain out of yarn. But, that was as far as it ever got. Time did not permit her to teach me further steps. I have since forgotten to make the chain, and do my candle wicking.

   Knowing that I wanted to do some sort of needlework, I took off with the beloved and relaxing counted cross stitch. I started making the tiny ornament kits one can buy at most hobby stores. Soon, I graduated into larger and grander projects. When I had my first son, I created a Noah’s Ark Birth Sampler, and continued making further samplers for my other two sons. So, where are we today? I was once told that you know you are a true and great needle worker; the back of your project needs to look almost as nice as the front of the piece. This meant that I did not do a color line and then go back to create the final “X”, each square was completed before I could move on. If there were 5 squares of one color and the next in a following color, I would stitch the 5, slide the needle back through the stitches and then cut it. There are no knots in my work, as I have learned that is another sign of a genuine enthusiast. I am not downplaying anyone else’s style or work that is just the way I learned.

   About 8 years ago, I purchased a Gold Collection Kit titled “M’Lady’s Chateau” which was a design based on a real oil painting from centuries past. This is still a work in progress, and I hope to finish it sometime soon. I have dedicated over 300 hours to this project, and I know I have many hundreds left, but for the mean time, I wanted to share with you the beautiful things one can created from a little thread, needles, and fabric. I challenge you to create a needlework that you can pass on to your family, an heirloom to be treasured forever.

   When going to tag sales, or second hand stores, I often see needlework pictures marked for pennies, and it saddens me for several reasons: the person who created this project made it out of love, countless hours, and perhaps with the desire that it would remain with the recipient and then down the family line. Next time, you see one of these projects or someone gives it to you and it may not be your style, please don’t just disregard it. Many needlework pictures and fabric can be reworked into fancy chair seats, pillows, or tapestries. If none of those ideas appeals to you, donate it to a local needlework guild or textile museum. Doing this small act, will help us remember the times, and our own history. Years from now, the long lost descendent may stumble across their great aunts art work and be able to treasure it and know that someone cared enough to save it from landfills or hidden in boxes never to be seen or heard from again.

1 comment:

  1. What beautiful needlework. I can't even begin to imagine the time that went into this wonderful piece of art. You are very talented.