Monday, May 7, 2012

There's Comfort in Tiny Stitches

I've always loved needlework samplers and used to do a little cross stitching years ago. When I heard about this book of samplers from the Spencer Museum of Art written by Barb Allen and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs, I knew I had to own it.


I particularly fell in love with one of the cross-stitch designs in the book that was inspired by this 1824 sampler stitched by Ann York at age 14. The one on the cover.


The linen is inscribed with tiny stitches - "When This You See Remember Me My Dear aunt Ann York her work in the 14 Year Of Her Age 1824", obviously made as a gift to her aunt. It's so lovely, isn't it? And hard to imagine that it was created by a girl of 14, who was born in 1810, so many years ago.


I wanted to begin working on it right after I bought the book but of course it took me awhile to find my cross stitching supplies and then I had to run out and buy the right thread. I was having so much fun thinking about beginning a new, different, project but then when I actually sat down on the couch and started working on it, I became distracted almost immediately by a ringing phone and then got pulled away by something more important, the way it seems to go so often when all I want to do is sit down and finish a thing.


What can I say? This is as far as I got . . .

It's been sitting for a few months and then all of a sudden I found I  had a little time yesterday while watching the depressing NBA Playoff game between our beloved Chicago Bulls and the Sixers. So I pulled it out (again!) and made just a little more progress. It's been awhile since I did much cross stitching and my eyes just aren't what they used to be. I end up wearing magnifiers on TOP of my glasses with bifocals, LOL. With a lot of  full spectrum light or better yet -  daylight - thrown in. It's so much easier to see my bigger quilting stitches! But won't I be pleased when this is finished?


On my way now!

This book is just full of designs I want to make.


Here's one that looks pretty simple.



And there are a few other mini cross sticheries designed by the Blackbird ladies I need to make someday soon -


Inspiration is a funny thing and I've learned that sometimes you just have to go with it. Like so many of  you it's hard for me to find the time to do everything I want to do and still juggle family demands and work and other pressures. But I find that when I truly get inspired to start something new if I don't act on it I lose my inspiration. And a little bit of myself. That's when I try to remember to tell myself  - if  I am feeling busy and stressed, take a breath, jump off the merry-go-round and try not to worry about all of the things I should be doing and just do this one thing for myself, now. The other things will have to wait because I know that working on creative projects is good for my soul. And then I find that I am refreshed and relaxed and ready to tackle those things that got pushed aside. Finding that balance makes everything else run more smoothly.

I'm travelling to Grinnell, Iowa, later this week for a presentation and 2 workshops so I know I will not have much time for myself until next week. And when I come back there is always much catching up to do with whatever got pushed aside at home - and don't even remind me about all those e-mails  I think I have to answer.  


Right now we're having another dreary, rainy day in the Chicago area. After a very busy weekend I think I am going to snatch a few minutes (or maybe forty!) and work on my stitchery today, in between doing laundry and other things to prepare for my trip. Oh, I have so many wonderful projects to think about! And stitching is so soothing. Lord, grant me the time  . . .  and the wisdom to make the best use of it.

14 comments:

Sue said...

I have this book too, and want to make this one. I just love their books and patterns :)

It's another good way to relax!

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

That book looks like it full of inspiration. I find stitching so relaxing and especially enjoy it while "watching" tv.

BobbiG said...

A new blog follower - Love your work. Can relate to the NBA - I'm a Jazz fan! I wish the Bulls the best of luck!

mags said...

Hello from a wet and miserable Cumbria in the UK! Love the book and can't imagine many 14 year olds today doing this! The colours are great and looking forward to seeing the progress.

tubilinha tiacarminha said...

Obrigada por compartilhar,eu não conhecia esse livro e vou começar a procurá-lo.Eu faço ponto cruz desde a mais tenra idade(Acho que 8 de idade)e lá vai temmmmpo,aprendi o básico e mais tarde com avesso perfeito,que algumas pessoa chamam de sombra.Um beijo.

Betty Lou said...

It's always fun to start something new, this looks like a beautiful book.

Miki Willa said...

I haven't done counted cross stitch for years, but I used to love it. I am not sure my eyes would work on that tiny work any more. It is fun, though, to have something new to work on whenever you have some time. Good luck with the sampler.

Mary said...

What a wonderful book with such pretty eye candy. I cross-stitched before I discovered quilting, and I have always loved a good sampler. Have a good trip and don't forget to take your stitching (and magnifier) with you!

Dora, the Quilter said...

Years ago I used to teach people how to do various kinds of stitchery, but for some reason I've just been quilting lately.
(Here's something to make life easier. If you are right handed and view your hoop as the face of a clock, you'll be less likely to get your thread caught on the hardware if you place it between 10 and 12--but maybe you're left handed and that's why it's between 12 and 2?)
Have fun!

sandi s said...

I love to cross-stitch also, along with learning to knit my first pair of socks and make a few more quilts. I am a big fan of Blackbird Designs books and patterns.

Judy said...

I used to do counted cross stitch---many years ago. As some other posters have remarked about their eyes, I don't think my eyes would be happy doing this now! I can and do appreciate the eye candy and await further progress on this pretty project!

Beth said...

The cross stitch looks good so far. I still enjoy doing it too, but it often gets put at the back of line. Enjoy.

Radka said...

The book looks beautiful! I am not going to look any further, I would have to have it also!

cityquilter grace said...

oh yeah, that blackbird designs place is dangerous too...

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