Thursday, 10 March 2011

The past.

I was with a client tonight who loves all things needlework, but especially knitting. She used to spin her own yarn and even now still has some sheep. She showed me her spinning wheel. She showed me some cross stitch that her and her sister have done over the years, and it got us talking about how they really should teach the needle arts in schools, like they used to.

She told me that when she was in school in Holland, all the girls had to stay behind after school was over to be taught knitting and stitching. She remembers how the boys could go home, and they would mock and make faces at the girls as they were leaving. Kind of a "ha ha" moment for them. The boys were so rude. :)

People just don't do needle arts like they used to, and it's such a shame. I was 16 when I taught myself how to do it. My family and I were getting ready to go camping and we stopped off at a small mall that had a craft store in it. I bought a small kit for something to do. My Grandma tried desperately to teach me how to knit or crochet, but I just couldn't get my head around it. I felt kind of a failure (even though she never thought I was!) so when I saw this cross stitch kit, I figured I'd give it a go.

Don't ask what the back looks like :) But that was my first one. I look at it now and laugh. I can do so much better! Look how bad those eyes are haha. It took ages for me to actually finish that. I think it sat in a drawer for a couple years. I did eventually finish it, and my mom bought me a second kit, from the now out of business Crafts Canada.
Can you see where this is going? :D This one took less time, and after that was done, I made this from my dad. It was from a Mary Maxim Catalog.

I used to work a lot from kits, because that's really all that was available to me. I didn't know of any Local Needlework Stores (LNS). For awhile I even made my own patterns, but it was always on white 14/16/18 count Aida. Wasn't til I joined a Cross Stitch community on Livejournal that I realized there was more to stitching than just kits. You could buy patterns and your own fibers and fabrics. Beads! Blending Filaments! it was amazing. I didn't have to work on 14 count Aida anymore!

I first tried out something other than plain old aida when I went to Michaels and bought 28 count mushroom coloured evenweave.

I *think* the pattern is/was a freebie from EMS but I just looked and it's not there, so I'm not 100% sure. My grandma currently has this one. I used the white/mushroom evenweave a lot in my earlier works, because that's all I could get my hands on. Michael's isn't exactly an LNS.

The only LNS around me is about an hour away, and it's more knit than stitch. I tried having them order me in patterns and threads and fabrics, but it took them like 6 months to get SOME of it in, and the prices were pretty bad. :( A Caron's Wildflowers which is 3.30US they charged 12 dollars for. I felt bad that I couldn't really give them my business, thus making it even harder for them to stay in business. It's tough out there for LNS.

I've come a long way from working just from kits. Now I use mainly hand dyed jobelan, hand dyed threads, and have favourite designers. I think that's enough blast from the past for me! Don't laugh too hard at my earliest attempts :)

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