First, why do you think working with a needle is such a pleasure for so many?
I thought these questions were to be fairly straight forward, no philosophy, interpretations, theories, or speculations. Just the facts, ma'am. That being said, I can only speak for myself. Choosing a linen, changing threads, losing scissors, removing errors.....it's frustrating! But I continue and get excited with each new project. I believe it's the aesthetics of the completed piece, more than it is the production. For me anyway. If I see a design that I really like, but can't imagine it in my space, I won't stitch it.
Are there certain elements that draw you to a design, or some that you avoid?
Yep. Elaborate borders are beautiful, but they make me feel overwhelmed. Small flowers and leaves consisting of a few stitches each and requiring numerous color changes - no. Can't handle it. A simple sampler with all alphabet or mixed with motifs or scenes, is my preference, and less stitching stress. Most contain inaccuracies so a boner by me blends right in.
Does cost ever preclude a project?
Sure. I'm cheap. If a design calls for expensive silks, I wouldn't follow it for two reasons. One, between the costs of linen, threads, and framing, I could buy an antique. Two, I don't like to see a beautiful sheen, I prefer matte. Blends in better with the dusty primitive style. I have no problem sticking with cotton floss, or hand dyeing a piece of linen. I adore the Midnight Ride from BBD but will adapt rather than spend over $100 for the required box.
Have you burned any pieces recently?
No! I'm so proud. Lucy taught me a lesson, but I also think the mood swings are getting better. The anger after losing my dad, and the years of complete life changes taking care of mom, left me with pent-up emotions that refused reasoning. When I watched a difficult project be consumed by flames, I had mixed emotions, but still felt better. I was in control for once.
Do you join the clubs that send new projects through the year?
No I don't. Reason is what I said previously. Although I may love the design, I may not stitch it so it would be a waste of money. The new Bittersweet Autumn offered by the Ladies Prim Society I LOVE. LOVE! That one I would definitely stitch.
Who are your favorite designers?
Too hard to choose, but my stash says R&R Reproductions, Scarlet Letter, Stacy Nash, Threadwork Primitives, Country Rustic, Pineberry Lane, along with reproductions from various merchants. Can we count R&R and SL since they are reproductions, not new designs? I am amazed at the amount of work involved in charting an exact reproduction.
Do you follow all the instructions to make it authentic?
Nope. I feel guilty after seeing how much work was involved in charting the piece, but I change things as I go, use two threads throughout, include my own errors without correction, and don't feel it's important to me as it may be to other stitchers. Actually, no one has ever done more than glance at them on the wall. My family and friends don't get my style, and after years of asking "is this stained", they've given up. Most think a sampler is what Whitman's puts out at Christmas.
What is your favorite cloth to stitch on?
I have Scarlet Letter's unbleached yardage from 20 years ago and still use it, preferring the coarse and stiffer cloth. At that time, there was also a tube of 15x18 linen from Charles Craft in tea dyed and natural, which is no longer around, but I have a decent stash since I stocked up during sales.
Their "linen" now is not actually linen, but a blend. BUT. I just Googled to see if the original is available once again and found it - Wal-Mart online. 20x24 size tea dyed 100% linen so I ordered two even though I don't need them ($13.55 each!) and will have them this week. It's coarse, but not real stiff. I hope it's the same because I loved the soft brown and used it quite a bit for Christmas ornaments. Friends have been generous and sent me pieces of various counts, colors, and companies, and it's such a treat to have something other than my usual. Their thoughtfulness has also allowed me to order more of these new pieces since I could actually feel the texture and know the color.
How do you store your linens?
I have all the 15x18 pieces rolled in the tubes, and try to save the cardboard tubes from foil and wraps for storing others. My linens were folded in the drawer for many years and some developed a faded mark on the fold line. No the cardboard is not acid-free but neither am I when I'm handling it, and I really don't care about 100 years from now. It's easy to make a roll without the tube also.
Are you concerned about using fabric glue or fill like polyester that contains chemicals?
No. Linen is tough, has held up on samplers 100's of years old, and I would rather do what makes it easier and gives me the result I'm looking for. I love the feel of sawdust stuffing and wood is highly acidic. How long do you think it would take to ruin the muslin lining and get to the linen? Don't care, but I'm sure I'll be gone or be tired of the piece before that happens. It's a piece of fabric and some threads, not a being.
I'm completing Thankful Davis from R&R today and will begin the task of sorting through my mess to choose another. Santas are still in hiding.
And why did you decide to do this interview?
I'm hopped up on cold meds and cough syrup and was talking to myself anyway.
Will you ever do this again?
Sure. Probably tomorrow. Thankful may guest host. It depends on how many little pills in that fricking unbreakable foil pack are left.
Well thank you for taking the time out of your la-la land day to talk with us, and thanks to all who took the time to read this snore.