Friday, August 21, 2015

How did you get into cross stitching??????

Every time I sign into a new group or join a page on Facebook the question of how did you get into stitching always comes up. Some say it was when they were very small and a grandmother or mother taught them. Some say it was from school. Well I did not start very young nor did anyone teach me. I was thrown into the deep end of the stitching pool and had to either sink or swim......

In 1987 my mom and her siblings were trying to make a special gift for their parents wedding anniversary. They were each going to take squares and on each one they designed something on each one that was meaningful to their parents. Then they were also to ask the grand-kids if anyone would like a square to decorate. All went pretty well until about 3 months before the party date. My mother was asking for the square to be sent to her so she could start the assembly. There were 20 squares 4X5. She got back 15 decorated squares and 5 blanks with notes that said sorry we just did not know what to do with these.

I had not volunteered because that was a crazy year for myself and my family. Hubby had been laid off 9 months earlier and with few job ops in our small town in Northern Montana he had chosen to go back to school and get a degree for a better job. I stayed put and continued to work at the job I had to continue to bring in some money and take care of our infant son. (1 year old) Then our luck dropped even farther and the store I was working at burned to the ground 2 weeks before Thanksgiving so I was out of a job as well. My in-laws helped us out as best they could and I moved to Wyoming where hubby was in school. So long story I was not very sure I could get a square done.

My sister was also in Wyoming and we spent lots of time together and I was with her when she got he call from mom. We were not asked to do a square we were told that 2 squares were on their way to us and we had 6 weeks, no more, to get them decorated and send back to her. OMG what were we going to do??????? Off we went to Benjamin Franklin's.....(that was a large crafting store in the area, for those that have never heard of it before)....... we were looking around laughing and talking and basically had no clue what we could do. We were thinking maybe fabric paint or some kind of simple embroidery but neither of us are much in the line of artist or knew many embroidery stitches and all of the patterns we looked at had some pretty elaborate work. One of the ladies that worked at the store asked if she could help us, after we finished laughing.....which I am sure scared her......we told her what we were up against. She was so sweet she said she had the perfect thing. Took us a bit further down the aisle to the cross stitch patterns. She said that we could find any number of patterns and then we could stitch them on to some aida fabric and then we would be good. That would have been fine but they did not have the right size fabric and we really did not have time to look for the fabric elsewhere. Remember back then the internet was very new, not something just everyone instantly thought to check and stitching sites probably none exsistant.  So the lady showed us waste canvas. She explained how it worked. Place it over the fabric, and clamp it down with the hoop and do the stitching. When finished dunk the fabric and canvas in water to loosen the stiffening and then pull each of the threads out one at a time. Sounded good to us.  We bought a Stoney Creek booklet named Love Brought Us Together, I picked this pattern from that book. I still have that book and love the patterns in it.
we also bought a wooden hoop, needles... not knowing any better we bought sharp embroidery ones.... and at that time Coats and Clark embroidery thread was the in store thread. I added the date of their anniversary  changed the colors to match their wedding colors and I finished the square just in the nick of time. I found that the hardest part of the whole thing was pulling out the waste canvas. What I did not know then but did discover later was that you should not dunk the fabric into the water to soak. It is best to just lightly dampen the canvas to loosen the stiffening and pull it out as it dries.  

This was my introduction into cross stitching. I used knots. I did not worry if all of the stitches were worked in the same direction. I ran thread across areas that were not stitches so that it showed through on the front. But I was hooked on the joy of those little X's. And from then to now I have been a huge fan of waste canvas. I use it often and love that I can stitch on any colored fabric. I do not like evenweave or linen but I adore cotton, flannel, denim and all other fabrics with waste canvas. I find it so rewarding to stitch something on unusual materials. 

Unfortunately I do not know whatever happened to the quilt. After my grandparents passed away the different families went in and took whatever it was that they wanted. No one that I have talked to in the family has ever said they took the quilt but it did disappear. I hope it was not thrown away. But as happens in families there was a lot of discord after the deaths and so many things went missing.  

So how did you get started?????? What was your first design....if you remember?????  Please share. you could post a link to your blog with this same title and we could share that way. I love to hear stories of the first stitching adventure.

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