Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My history of Stitching

As I was reading Mia's blog, I got to thinking about the history of my stitching. It's kind of interesting how our stitching lives evolved. We probably all have a unique story of how we became stitchers.

I remember my grandmother trying to teach me how to embroider and knit. She was incredibly talented, but I was a child of the 60's and I had too much important TV to watch. What an idiot. Nana was a tailor (ess?) for a children's clothing shop in Philadelphia (Germantown) that sold only tailor-made clothing. None of the off-the rack stuff. Besides making the clothing, she did all the embellishments, like smocking and embroidery. She custom-knit sweaters for the shop, too. If what she made for us each Christmas is any indication, she was even more talented at knitting. Boy, what I wouldn't give to have some of that time back.

Did any of you have to take needlework in Home Ec? In Junior High (1970), we took Cooking, Sewing (garments), and Embroidery. They gave us burlap (mine was yellow) and we had to sketch a design on it in pencil and then stitch it. Ewww. It was nasty. Not only were the materials gross to hold, my results were awful. I thought I really hated embroidery.

Ooops, gotta go. More later.

Ok, back to today’s topic.

After Jr. High, I never picked up a needle, but we’d sometimes tailor our jeans. Today’s kids think that they’re the bomb with their low cut jeans. Well we girls of the 70’s… we could put today’s kids to shame. Most of us couldn’t go out and buy the new style stuff, so we took our old jeans and sewed up the inseams to make our hip-huggers more like hiney huggers. Lots of us developed an interest in tooling leather, and big, wide, hand-tooled belts were all we wanted to do in High School Shop class. Jeez, we looked awful. But I think we looked nicer than today’s kids, because our tummies and undies didn’t show. We bought very long torso-ed shirts, or peasant shirts. You’d never think of showing your underwear. Or your stomach. Gross.

But I digress. So from 1972 till about 1983 I didn’t sew a stitch. And then Dave and I got married in 1983 and moved here to Uniontown. He worked locally, but I worked in Pittsburgh, so I drove 90 minutes each way to work. Yes – three hours of travel time each day. So I had almost zero opportunity to meet new friends here. All my time was spent working or driving, and Dave worked 6 and 7 days a week. It was a very lonely time, and I really needed something to do. And in my travels to and from Pittsburgh, I came across a quilt shop that was offering classes. So I took the plunge.

Quilting was fun, and I became very, very average quilter. But the shop also had some stamped embroidery kits – pillowcases, sheets, tablecloths, etc – so one day I picked up a stamped cross-stitch tablecloth to work on. I liked it, and plugged along, but never became particularly enthralled. It was boring. And huge. But I took it along with me on a business trip, and a girl I was staying with saw it and then introduced me to counted cross-stitch. Honestly, it was as if a light-bulb went on. And I’ve enjoyed counted cross-stitch and many other counted thread embroideries ever since.

All right – now what’s YOUR stitching history?

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