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.
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