Monday, April 07, 2008

For the Love of Cross Stitch







When I was about five, or so, my mother decided to introduce me to embroidery. It was a set of pre-stamped tea towels. If my memory serves me correctly, the pattern was of kittens. My stitches were too big and some of them were pulled but I was fascinated. That was my first venture with a great span of time until my next attempt as an adult. I did a few crewel kits as a young married woman. They turned out pretty well but I was not the least bit prepared for the fact that moths could actually eat my best attempt -- as it hung on the wall! I was devastated. So, in an attempt to find something that wasn't food for something else, I turned my attention to cross stitch.

I love cross stitch and have done a lot of it over the years. But, I struggle. I absolutely love the look of linen but have difficulty counting out the stitches over two threads -- especially if the stitches are far apart. Evenweave creates the same problem. I tend to stay with aida which is quite limiting in the look that I want to create. Sometimes frustration abounds but still I persevere.

I love the cottages, bungalows, lighthouses -- any houses-- depicted in the cross stitch mags. I have a weakness for small houses. I collect small houses such as David Winter cottages -- I even picture the families in the small houses. So, it is no surprise that I like to stitch them.

The picture posted here is of a WIP that has been recently -- very recently -- completed. It was a WIP for so long I almost never got the masking tape off so I could press it. I swear never to put masking tape on my work again -- I really do. It takes longer to wrap the edges in the tape than it does to put a zigzag around it with the sewing machine. In any event, here is my latest completion.

I have started a new project -- a pair of absolutely gorgeous birds. The thread variation is so intricate I am having to work on it one ten stitch grid at a time. Oh, thank goodness for sticky notes! I will post more when I have more done -- right now it is VERY hard to tell it is a bird.

At any rate, here is my little house!
Miss Read Challenge


I have an affinity for buying books, similar to my affinity for buying needlework/quilting paraphenalia and Poirot mystery DVD's. All of these things are lovely, in their own way, but need to be dealt with eventually because I am sure they have the ability to multiply themselves in the dark. So, here in the early days of 2008, I have been making time to participate in each of these activities -- at least a bit each day.

The Young Readers Challenge has been quite helpful in making me look at my collection of children's books that I have either never read or wish to read again. Unfortunately, it sent me to the bookstore to look for more which my one bulging bookcase can't handle.

As I looked at the bulging bookcase, the books resting there two deep, I became very aware of my reading "style". I tend to like books that are either historical fiction or that represent a cozy, homey sort of life that is found in a time or place that is different from that in which I live. The one notable thing about my selection of books is that they are mostly in series. Since I just finished the latest book by Jan Karon, "Home from Holly Springs", I was looking for something to follow it up with (while waiting for the next Karon) so I went to Karon's website and she suggested a couple of Miss Read books of the Thrush Green series. I went to my bulging bookcase -- noted as the BBC from here on -- and I found that I had a copy of the first Miss Read work from 1955. The title is "Tales of a Village School". Upon further review, I learned that there are two sizable Miss Read series -- the Fairacre series and the Thrush Green series. The book I have is the first of the Fairace series and that is where I will begin. (Note: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk has a listing of all the Miss Read books by series)

So, I have decided to begin my own reading challenge. I am going to challenge myself to begin the Miss Read books and see how far I go. If anyone would care to join me just let me know. There are no rules -- rules aren't fun -- just choose a book and have a go.

"Miss Read has created an orderly universe in which people are kind and conscientious and cherish virtues and manners now considered antiquated elsewhere...An occasional visit to Fairace offers a restful change from the frenetic pace of the contemporary world." ---Publishers Weekly

See, I told you I liked books from a different time and place than the one in which I live.

Happy Reading!