Sep 30, 2012

Confession time

Hello everyone.  I've mentioned in the prior posts about wanting to talk about a needlework issue.  Time's up.  Here I go, mixed in with a few photos of Fall (ick) decorating.  And Mary.  We'll talk about her first.  The brace is back on and it has a formed cup fitted to the palm, which makes it difficult to hold small items.  I can't do it for long without taking a break so progress has been limited.  Stitching the bottom is giving me a better idea of what color I want to use for the verse.  I agree that the blue should be darker, so we'll see. 
Looking at this wrinkled piece with safety pins in the bottom holding the excess linen, my needle left in the fabric, is a good start to my confession.   
I don't follow the rules, I don't baby the linen, I snack while I'm stitching, I leave the needle(s) in the fabric, I knot the floss, I've wet and machine dried a finished piece, I don't use glass anymore, I even used a heat gun to quickly dry a spot, I insert plastic, I glue seams.  For those of you that fainted, my apologies. 
When I began stitching 30 years (or more) ago, my SIL and the shop owners were proper needlewomen.  Even to the point of wearing white gloves when going through their linens.  NEVER leaving a needle in fabric, always neatly rolling and covering current projects, following design to the letter and executing perfect stitches. I started with this respect for the supplies, the design, the process.  Forward to present day ~ what happened?   The break for many years changed my attitude, or did I change during the break?  My Dad's horrific and unnecessary death, adding on to my home immediately after for Mom, taking care of her for years and being homebound, dealing with dementia and issues, constantly in a rush, losing all trace of patience, MENOPAUSE, aging.  I'll never know the reason and I guess it really doesn't matter. 
 What I do know is it's a piece of linen.  Strong, very durable, washable, natural, used for centuries, lasting for decades, and unless the heat gun catches it on fire, virtually indestructible from my hands.  I leave my projects lying about, unprotected, wrinkled.  My SIL would be very upset with me, but it's me.  I don't follow the rules anymore, I don't fret over protocol.   Ready?  I AM A RECKLESS CARELESS STITCHER.  And here's the kicker.  I don't care.  I do this because I like the results, not the process.  It's an enjoyable pastime, which would turn into an unpleasant chore if I followed all the rules.  If my SIL was still with us and saw me using glue to close a seam or attach a trim, I would get a stern lecture along with another mention of those knots.  And the mylar!  God forbid.  Plastic inside of a project??
 When the linen is especially wimpy and I don't want a lot of stuffing for structure, I use mylar - this stuff that you buy to cut stencils.  I insert a piece between two thin batting layers and it holds shape.  Fusible interfacing?  Yep, depending on the look I want, and SIL would also disapprove.
I care about color and aesthetics and finishing.  Once completed, no one can tell the difference, unless, there is a burn mark from the heat gun.  Then again, I don't do the colorful beauties on light colored and fine linen because they are not my style to stitch.  Could I live with them on my walls?  You betcha!  Could I stitch their intricate borders with silk threads?  No.  Caring for expensive silk skeins and not being able to dye or wet the piece when completed, is not something I want to do.  I tried separating threads of a wool/silk blend and my reckless pulling and lack of patience caused a knotted ball that is in the waste can.  Except for smalls, I don't even bother to look at designs other than reproduction samplers.  Is my recklessness going to make that sampler degrade before my SIL's work?  No.  And who would even care 30 years from now?  Reproductions are just that and 50 years from now, will not be considered originals, just a piece of beautiful needlework at an estate sale.  My SIL would take it apart and study the back, which I still have an interest and curiosity to see.  The attention, care, and skill of needleworkers will always impress me, while leaving a slight pang of jealousy. 
 I'm absolutely not criticizing needlewomen like my SIL who was my best friend, or any of you that honor the craft and stitch properly.  Following with respect the principles of needlework and for those before us that offered their knowledge and expertise, will allow it to continue with proper direction for future stitchers.  But forgive me for not being a part of that respected group.  I don't want you to think I'm making light of this work by using my methods that some think as shameful.   I was once, and wish I was again, that serious needleworker, but she's gone.  I know in my heart I could not be her again, and it's one of the reasons I am so amazed when viewing your magnificent work.  If I had to go back, I would not be stitching.  Although many of you don't agree, I would rather be a reckless stitcher, than none at all.  I'm like the Little Leaguer that can hit the ball, but not far enough.  She knows she's not as good as other players, and sometimes breaks the rules, but she's having fun and wants to stay in the game.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


43 comments:

Scattered Threads said...

TFS. This was too funny.
After reading your post, my thoughts took me back to the days when I was able to go and sit and stitch with stitchers such as your SIL, except I am talking about scissor. All the ladies had the finest pair of scissor with the beautiful fobs. Talk about breaking the rules. I had my DDs old crayola scissors they didn't want anymore.
If it got lost at the table, they all knew it was mine. LOL. I didn't have time to keep up with the finer scissor and their sheaths.
TFS and I really enjoyed reading your post.
I must give the mylar a try too.

Jackie said...

I never heard of some of those rules but then again, I have not been stitching very long. The good thing is, we can be the kind of stitchers we want to be and we should allow others to be the kind they want to be. Fun for all!

SUSIE WILSON said...

I stitch because it gives me enjoyment, and if I have to worry about all those rules I'd never have the time to put in 1 stitch.

Primitive Stars said...

Hi Marly, love your posts, make me laugh. Always color outside the line, a little more interesting, I think we have a little Rebel in us, tee hee. Your stitching is always beautiful I think. Blessings Francine.

LindataxPA said...

Marly - I loved this post! I stitch for me and a few friends. Will my DS even save anything I have hanging in my house "afterwards"? I don't care. My stitching is for my pleasure too. And there are plenty of things that don't get finished finished, but that's okay as well.

By the way, I love the blue just as it is, but you are the one stitching, so do as you please.

Nan ~ Threadwork Primitives said...

I say make your own rules and be happy. Stitching is supposed to be fun. If not, why stitch.
Hugs, Nan.

Margaret said...

I think stitching should be done however you want to do it. So go for it! :D I always stick my needle in my linen. Always. lol! So I guess I break some rules and not others. :D Wrinkly linen? No problem! lol! I have to watch for the chocolate I snack on when I stitch. :D So yeah, no prob. Sounds to me like you've evolved for good reasons. I'm glad you're how you are.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Marly ~
Rules were meant to be broken and you are doing a stellar job, dear girl!!!
For real you are not supposed to leave your needle in the linen???
Pug hugs :)
Lauren

Karen said...

Looks like I am following many of the same rules you are so you are not alone. Keep stitching and be happy!

Barb said...

I absolutely love this post. As I think I have said on this blog , I used to be a hand quilter. At some point I realized I was making it into a chore. It wasn't fun any more. I took up cross stitch and refuse to spoil my joy in it by trying to make it perfect. When I change color, I just tell myself that in those days, they had a limited supply of threads and I don't! Thanks for the great post for all of us rule breakers!

Andrea said...

Yes, yes, yes! Life is just too short and too precious to waste it doing things you that don't bring you enjoyment in your free time....I'd never stitch if I couldn't do it "my way". I always tease my adult children, about the pieces I really love, "please don't sell this one for 50 cents in the estate sale, it has special meaning" and they just laugh and say they'd never do that. But really, once we're gone, who cares?! I just roll my eyes at all these rules. It's a HOBBY people, lighten up, lol!
xoxo

Joyce said...

Loved this post! I, too, am a "reckless stitcher." Once when I was a visiting prof at a school in the Ukraine, the female students asked to see the back of my stitching; they were horrified that it looked like a rat's nest. I'm okay with that. The front it fine, framed and still enjoyed by me on my wall. I would not/could not stitch if perfection were required.

ginnyt said...

well said!!!

Ginny said...

Your honesty is so refreshing, Marly! This craft that we practice is meant for our enjoyment. Are the cross stitch police going to show up at our doors and haul away all our charts, threads, and scissors because we don't adhere to some obscure (and not agreed upon) set of rules? Of course not! Am I less of a needleworker because I can't afford most of the fabrics recommended for a design, because I nearly always stitch on 28 count Monaco evenweave which I purchase at the craft store with a coupon? Nope! You just keep stitching and finishing as it pleases you. If someone wants to criticize you, let them, and go back to doing things your way!

Dirty Martini Queen said...

Well said my friend! I also started out stitching with hoops that I removed every night, didn't park my needle in my work, rolled it up gently and stored it nightly then I realized I spent half of my evening stitching time just getting ready so I stopped. I have little black Clarice hairs stitched into my work at times, I park my needles in the fabric, I stitch in hand so the linen is always wrinkled and I have more time to stitch now that I let go of the rules!!!!! The only thing I don't do that you do is knots on the back....bad, bad girl.....LOL. My works will never be perfect but they are my greatest pleasure and if they end up tossed in a bin at goodwill after I'm gone, I hope someone will rescue them and admire my errors as artistic design.
Donna

Linda said...

OMG, I see myself in this post!! LOL. As a previous poster noted, it's a hobby, enjoy yourself!

Krista said...

Loved your post, made me realize how many rules I am breaking too LOL! My needle is always in my linen, if it wasn't I would lose it! and snacking, well, that has been a long time rule breaker LOL It is not about the rules, it is about enjoying the ride.

Love how your Mary is coming out, can't wait to see what blue you pick out.

Enjoy your week!

connie said...

I am not a rule follower either..I just do my own thing and that makes me a happy girl..Love your blog

moosecraft said...

"It's an enjoyable pastime, which would turn into an unpleasant chore if I followed all the rules." Spoken like a true artist! I agree with you whole heartedly! There are so many different arts I was afraid to try because of fear of "not doing it properly or perfectly"... once I got past that (and so glad I did ) I now ENJOY cross stitch, embroidery, needlepunch, rug hooking, quilting, and making stuffed bears and sheep that don't look "quite right"... lol! It's all about having fun and discovering something new!

Not to add to your process... but, I was thinking maybe a grey would look better than the blue?

Shirlee said...

Applause! Bravo! Amen!

Siobhán said...

I say do whatever trips your twanger. Stitching should be fun. If a bit of chocolate from your dove dark just happens to get smeared into your linen, call it a special effect for a reproduction sampler. LOL I realized recently with Jane Tindall that a few of my DMCs have different dye lots and I'm not sure which floss away bag has which dye lot in it because I didn't get organized enough to put all the skeins of one color together. I'm stitching a repro with some overdyed threads on overdyed linen to give it an aged effect, so who cares about the DMC?! I think we get a bit too caught up in the rules sometimes--or I should say, *I* get too caught up in the rules sometimes!

Bertie said...

Great post Marly and it's so prim to leave your needle in the linen, up to the point of rusting! I am prone to this myself too!
Your hand is a worry, do look after yourself now, great to catch up with your antics!!
Have a very good week!

Deb said...

You always crack me up with your posts. You know - it's your needlework and you can wash, dry, leave needles in it, knot - whatever! It's your piece and you can do whatever you want. Everything you do always looks great!

Simple Pleasure said...

Marly
YOU GO GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!! I am trying VERY hard to adopt your wonderful attitude...I am a slow learner...LOL
Busy Hands...Happy Heart
Patricia

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

I love it! I am throwing in my hat with you and the next time I stitch I am having a snack while I do it! I have lived far too long worrying about crazy stuff like you talked about. From now on, I will either enjoy my stitching time or I won't stitch.

I just "found" your blog and I love it.

You inspire me with your awesome blog. :)

Ralee said...

Amen sister

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

Well, apparently there are a lot of us out there! I've been stitching forever it seems (on and off) but I've never been a rule follower, either. In fact, I've broken the rules and spilled tea on other peoples projects, too. Yikes! Luckily that was stitched in DMC and yep, linen is a durable fabric. I do try to put my needles in the corner of the fabric just in case, but if I stored them somewhere else, I'd never find it. Sheaths on a pair of scissors? Even my best ones? Nope. Projects tucked in a pillow case to protect them from dust because I use scroll rods and they're too big for most project bags? Not a chance. I leave my projects on the kitchen counter sometimes and my husband worries about them more than I do. He'll move them and say, "You put so much time into this, aren't you afraid you'll spill something on it?" I guess so but in addition to being a rule breaker, I'm careless, and clumsy, too!

Awesome post!

quiltygirl1 said...

Love, love this post! I must say I love the blue like it is now. Praying for your hand, too. Love your photos and you are an encouraging stitcher. I found an sampler I started 25 to 30 years ago and just finished just because I stumbled upon you blog. Thank you!

quiltygirl1 said...

Love, love this post! I must say I love the blue like it is now. Praying for your hand, too. Love your photos and you are an encouraging stitcher. I found an sampler I started 25 to 30 years ago and just finished just because I stumbled upon you blog. Thank you!

Joanie said...

A girl after my own heart! I am a rule breaker too. In the paleolithic age when I learned to stitch, I was so worried about the back of my work, how many linen threads I crossed to get to another section, always railroaded my stitches, and never, ever parked a needle in the fabric. Oh, and I always put my fabric to bed sans hoop in a pillowcase.
Now I'm older (but not necessarily wiser) I just go with it. I figure that my work's gonna end up in a garage sale when I leave this world so I want to enjoy it and have fun. I snack, drink soda, leave the hoop on and stitch on higher counts to avoid stitching with 2 strands and railroading (that's one habit I can't break). It's supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. And the stitching police haven't stopped by once in 30+ years to haul me to stitchy prison or take my toys away from me. You rock, Marly!

Angie said...

ROCK ON MARLY ROCK ON!!!

Vickie said...

So,um,yeah, I eat dark chocolate while I stitch. Problem is, I am a "licker" or whatever you call it. I wet the floss before threading the needle. And, yeah, I have gotten chocolate ends to my floss. ;)

Joy said...

Rules, what rules!? If it isn't for pleasure, why stitch? And when will your nose be that close to it again? My goodness, stitching is not a competition...well for most of us. Love your attitude and spunk...sista!

Look at my sampler that I burned, dipped in kitchen bouquet and dirt! I'm on your side.

Happy Fall and feel better soon!

stitchinrose said...

Yippee I couldn't agree more with what you said. I started stitiching... mumble mumble about 38 years ago, taught myself from a kit. (embroidery) and then when to cross stitch, because I couldn't find any embroidery stuff and most time was lucky to find any cross stitch stuff at all, wasn't until I got online that I saw all the tools avaialable, some I still don't know what they are for (am happy I found the q snaps) Someone asked why I didn't sell the stuff I made, then it would be a job, not a joy. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Linda said...

A woman after my own heart! I was told to not do so many of these same rules. I did - and guess what? The world still kept spinning. I've glued, I've taped, I've spilled. I've almost burned up some linen while "baking" it to make it look old.. And boy did it - and I loved it! I was told to not do so many things because in a hundred years... Well, I don't give a sweet fig about a 100 years. All I care about is having the finished pieces on my wall - to gaze at and enjoy - each time I walk by!

Linda in VA

Barbara Shores ~ Village Folk Art said...

Holy Cow Marly, Look at all the comments. You must have hit that nerve that we all share. These are reproductions, NOT originals and will never be collectables, or at least not in my way of thinking. My favorite expression is " Good Enough", then I improvise and carry on.
Love this Blog & You just took a load of my shoulders too.
Really do hope you get some good results with that wrist. I do not see how you do it.
Take care with Blessings and Peace, Barb

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Marly!

Jeanne said...

Finally ! Someone who stitches like me :)

Katherine said...

Very funny. Honest too. Although there is knary a knot in my stitching and I take personal pride in having a tremendously neat back (I make it a personal challenge), those are about the only rules I DO follow. Every morning my very-full cup of coffee passes over my needlework; I don't cover it and I definitely leave my needles in my work. I can't quite figure out why you're not supposed to . . . The wrinkly linen I don't have to worry with because I stitch on scroll bars, but if stitching in hand or on hoops, you will get wrinkles, it's just a fact of life. Were you expected to iron your needlework after each use? I'm allergic to my iron, so that wouldn't work for me. Anyway, really enjoyed your refreshing post.

Patty C. said...

All i can say is - Great Game ;)
I enjoy your work no matter what your methods!
And i am glad you enjoy it as well !!!!

TheCrankyCrow said...

Touche Girlfriend!! Feels good to confess once in a while, hey?? Like so many others, I can relate. I started stitching many, many, moons ago...and while the perfectionist in me meant I did, indeed, follow some of the "rules" (my backs were (and still are) as neat as my fronts), it was purely from perversity on my part. Even back then I was a rebel....I remember cross stitching by a campfire with sparks flying and eating gooey marshmallows.... I look at it this way....the stitchers from yesteryear stitched by candlelight and firelight....they used materials they could find...and we covet their pieces. What's not to love about a little more "authentic"??

Great post! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

barbara said...

Love this post!! I've referred to myself as a 'guerrilla stitcher' for years for the same reasons. ;)

backporchcarver said...

Bravo!I gave up quilting for many years be cause I couldn't make show quality quilts.Finally realized how much I missed it so decided to just do it my way and enjoy. I am the same with needle work.Do it for the sheer joy and Damon the judges!LOL

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