Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stitches in Time

Confession - I originally started writing this as a message to the owner of an embroidery site, but it managed to turn itself into a blog entry. It's more about embroidery, but it's also about how it's possible to pour yourself so completely into your craft that you really do become a part of it, or at least your memories do.

I've been doing embroidery off and on for about 20 years (mostly off, but it's one craft I do come back to, as opposed to all the ones I've tried and the supplies then just waste away in my craft room) and, as a result of my weaving for the last three years, I've been getting back in to embroidery a bit. I love the embroidery designs on Urban Threads - that has me wanting to embroider things for my nieces and nephews. :-) I was wanting to find different stitches today to use on those patterns, and use a couple of the more complicated ones as samplers, and since my books are all in storage right now I did a google search for them. I found a website with stitch dictionary (WOW) and blog, which led me to another with a wonderful Sampler Game, where you can design your own sampler and print it out! Here are the links:

http://inaminuteago.com/stitchindex.html

http://www.pintangle.com/

http://www.simplysamplers.org/content/

The last one is the site with the Sampler Game.

When I was designing my own sampler, which I saved as a screen shot so I can maybe work on at some point (I love Microsoft OneNote!), I remembered that about fifteen years ago I was working on a sampler for the house Ian and I had in Florida. I got all of the "hard part" done; the middle with the new stitches I was learning in a flower design, our address, the date we bought the house - the only thing I had left was the alphabet, which I added as an afterthought when it suddenly occured to me that "real" samplers had the alphabet on them. I used a pink silk floss, ran out, and never did finish. Ian, of course, died at 29 in '97, and I left Florida in 2000. I still want to finish the sampler someday (it's in storage) - it deserves to be finished - I'm just not quite sure what to DO with it when I get it done! Frame it? It should be preserved somehow, not just folded up and stuck in a box. I worked hard on that, and it has a LOT of good memories embedded in the stitches.

I don't know how many people are like this - and my memory is getting worse as the years go by - but I used to be able to look at something I had worked on and remember exactly what I was doing the entire time I was working on it. I know, just thinking of that sampler, that there are big chunks I worked on while we were sitting in bed watching Beavis and Butthead, or Aeon Flux, or The Maxx. It doesn't quite work that way when I'm weaving - the pieces I'm doing don't have enough character for that - but I did notice when I was making some stuffed animals from the woven pieces that afterwards I did remember what I had been doing while I was making them. Maybe it's not my memory, but the intricacy of my work that has diminished... So I do want to finish the sampler not only because I put a lot of work into it, but because it very tangibly holds a lot of memories of "normal" times we spent together, times I didn't journal in any other way. The only question, again, is what exactly to do with it afterwards.

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