Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Questions, questions

Melissa, over at Musings From A Three Bedroom Ranch, has some questions for us.

1. Why do you stitch?

I think that most of us have thought a lot about this over the years, and our answers will change from year to year. For instance, 20 years ago, I would have said it was because stitching to me meant following a pattern. There were so many other decisions that I had to make every day, and I liked that stitching took me to a place where someone else had made all of the decisions. Make 5 stitches in this color. Stop and make 7 stitches in another color. It was all laid out. Believe me...I never varied a color of thread or fabric. EVER. And I was completely cool with that.

Today, 20 years later, my reasons for stitching are much different. My life is different - I'm having to give up control over so many areas of my life. Aging parents, young adult children, the unpredictable pharmacy business, looming retirement...Now I kind of have to roll with the punches. So now I find that I swap floss colors and fabrics as easily as I change my socks and I love pre-project brainstorming. See? Totally different. I get to feel like the Queen of My Stitching Domain. Being the Queen is relaxing and stimulating all at the same time. And lastly, it also helps that I love the look of the finished product.

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?
This one is a toughie. I think I'd put myself at a 6 or 7. Stitching is a part if my identity. If something happened that I couldn't do it anymore - as in permanently - I'd be heartbroken. The only reason that I don't rate my passion level higher is because there were long periods of my life when I didn't lift a needle. I missed it, but not enough to stay up very late or get up very early to do it. So Level 6 or 7 seems like an avid stitcher, but not a life-dependent stitcher.

3)If your only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?
If the chains were all that I had to choose from at the beginning of my needlework discoveries, yes, I would have become terribly bored and probably stopped stitching.

If tomorrow, all other shops (online and brick and mortar) and distributors and suppliers were to phhhht - vanish - into thin air, I would probably still continue stitching, because I'd be brave enough to take what I've learned about dying fabrics and floss and about re-working designs already in my stash in order to keep my stitching unique and exciting. The major chains would only need to keep lots of white and ecru floss and fabric, and I think most of us would hit the ground running from there. (I think this answers Melissa's fourth question, too.)

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

I just don't like cross stitch magazines. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast - In order to sell magazines, the editors are trying to appeal to many tastes and skill levels and techniques and they're not being very successful at any of those things. So to me - magazines seem like a waste of my money.

It's an interesting concept that magazines could fulfill the role of ambassadors for the art, but I just don't see it. I believe that the only living, breathing stitchers can fulfill that role. To that end, we need to be OUT THERE.

I know that our finished product isn't like a scarf or a sweater that we wear and can say, "Oh this?? I made it myself!" But look at the buzz and excitement that still surrounds quilting, and quilters don't haul quilts around with them all day. What do they do? They meet for group quilting (bees). They have contests. They have shows. Boy-oh-boy, do they have shows! Big, crazy, lotsa-money-changing-hands shows. And it works for them. It could work for us, too.

And I believe it's working right now, right here on the internet. We're meeting loads of very cool stitchers online and seeing some fantastic stitching. More and more of us are getting together in real life. (I found both of my stitching camps online. Never would have heard of them otherwise) We're holding and participating in contests and challenges. It's all very positive and stimulating and I believe that the excitement generated by internet stitchers is finding its way to others we're in contact with in real life. If we are excited, we like to pass that excitement along. Obviously, I'm pretty optimistic about the future of our craft.

Phew...That's enough evaluative thinking about stitching for one day. Now I need to watch a Judge Judy rerun.


  1. I loved reading your responses! And here's to Judge Judy!

  2. Right on girl! I never would have "met" you without cross stitching and the internet.

    I used to say that I loved to cross stitch because it was so organized and the rest of my life was a mess. Not that my life was a mess, I just perceived it to be. And that was BK (before kids).

  3. Excellent post. I couldn't have said it better myself.

  4. Loved this post, Lee! Your optimism about cross stitching is contagious. I, like Barb, used to cross stitch when the boys were young for a sense of order amongst the chaos that the three little guys brought to the house. But now that they're grown and (mostly) gone, I get such a sense of peace and accomplishment from it. I can actually point to something and say, "Look, I did this!" And fortunately, I have people in my life who really appreciate getting my cross-stitched gifts...

    And, you're right about meeting new friends :)

  5. I loved your answers, Lee. And I feel the same about meeting so many stitching friends on and through the internet.