Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Don't Feed the Stitcher

This morning in an email from my stitching loop someone commented that we "feed" each other. That thought has stayed with me this morning as I was wandering through stitching friends' online photo albums. While browsing these albums, kind of a virtual show and tell, my stitching soul was fed. That is a good and a bad thing. The good, they inspire me to stitch, stitch more than I already do, they also introduce me to projects that I may not have paid too much attention to just seeing a photo of the chart online, but seeing a stitched version of the project, well that just sends me over the edge. I start writing things down, I have to add this to the list, I have to add that to list. You get the picture. The bad, I start feeling like a loser when it comes to my lack of progress on projects. I see how much these stitchers get done and it freaks me out.

Yes, I realize that in this day and age there are other things that should freak me out other than the fact that I stitch as slow as molasses in winter. My logo should be a turtle with a frog on it's back(or maybe with the frog in it's mouth). Slow stitching and about as much frogging as stitching is accomplished over here at the Ranch.

You see, lately I've been thinking about my kids and how they see me. My oldest boys don't really remember me working, well they remember the BBQ Pit, but they don't remember my years as a lab tech. So they see me as a stitcher. Their mom stitches. My husband describes me to people as a stitcher. They look as confused as you might imagine. So what they see is a mom who stitches for hours and hours everyday whenever the opportunity arises and not getting a lot accomplished. Yes, there's finished stitching on my walls, I have plenty of finished projects laying around that haven't been framed or finished into something like a quilt or pillow yet, but for the most part they see me stitching on an endless array of projects that never quite make it to the framer's.

Strangely enough the thought of being defined as a stitcher isn't a bad thing. I would prefer to be defined as a prolific stitcher. That's not going to happen. I'm slow, it's a slow process and I've learned to live with it, sorta. It's only when I go wanderin', looking to be inspired, my to do list gets longer, my many WIP start laying a guilt trip on me, and all the circuits in my brain start fizzlin' and fryin' because there's just so much I want to do and accomplish and stitch and I'm focusing on the 800lb gorilla in the room which is Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. I want to chase him around and beat him over the head with a bunch of bananas to get him out of my space. I want to leave HOHRH as it is, flaws and all, but I don't want people to look at it and say, "Uh, Missy, you've been stitching, what 30yrs, and you still can't count? Doesn't it bother you to leave this glaring mistake in the project? An heirloom, well it could have been an heirloom but who wants a wonky piece of crap? Leave me something you stitched correctly." Here's a secret. I've left a huge error in another project. A huge, honkin' glaring mistake, and you know what? No one has ever said a word about it to me, no one has ever noticed it(or maybe they just have some home trainin' and say it behind my back). It's on Prairie Schooler's Sunshine and Shadow piece, It's the quilt in the bottom right hand corner. I was stitching on it at work one night when I was working 11pm-7am and I stitched one of the blocks backwards. I didn't notice it until I was framing it. I left it in. This mistake that proves I wasn't paying attention, that I left as is to always remind me to count twice, stitch once, I left it, it doesn't bother me when I look at it. It makes me smile. So why does this error on HOHRH disturb me so much? I guess it's because I should know better, it's because I was trying so hard to count twice, stitch once. It's because it has occured at a point in the stitching where there's no way I'm going to frog the whole right hand side of the piece and restitch it. Those houses have too much work in each block to frog a whole section. As far as I can tell all my top borders match, the bottom borders don't match on the right hand side between the last house on row 1 and the last house on row two. There's just going to be a bit of difference in the spacing between House #4 and #8 between the rows. Every time I reach for HOHRH, I can't bring myself to work on it, even though I'm trying to let the error go, to take away it's power, it's stitching for crying outloud. Am I worried that someone will take my HOHRH to Antiques Road Show one day and then someone else will have one there, and they will compare them and say, "Well they would both be worth $25,000 but this one here on the left, a stitcher with a lack of skill stitched it, I'm guessing she didn't have much of an education, couldn't count very well, shame really, because of it's obvious mistake it's only worth, oh, let's say, $50 and I'm being generous. The other, have it insured for $25,000." Why does this bother me so much? I'll be dead! Couldn't the Antique Road Show define it as quirky and then it's worth $50,000 because it's different?

So spending time going through stitchers' albums brought all these thoughts bubbling up to the surface. But you know, I look at Kiwi Jo 's album, the link is in the sidebar on her blog, and see all the TW's she's stitched, the beautiful finishing she's done, and I see hope for myself. I go to my friend Siobhan's Webshots Album and I want to stitch, and stitch and stitch some more. She does absolutely amazing work and has a turbo charged needle. I see what she's stitched, just this year alone, and I know that finishing these projects is possible, even for a slow stitcher like myself. It can be done. I check out my friend Sharon's blog Sharon Stitches and see her progress on Mouline Rouge and want to pull mine out and start working on it. Her's is gorgeous!

So I think we do "feed" each other in the best possible way. So to all you stitchers, stitching bloggers, thanks for sharing your work. I find you all inspiring, if not a bit hard on the old wallet. Seeing your projects, your finished pieces, they give me hope.


Glenna said...

Think of the left-in mistakes as making it more valuable. You know the stamps they print upside down or with something wrong? They're the ones that wind up being most valuable! Stitch on--you do a lovely job. And I agree that there are worse things to be called than a stitcher...

Meari said...

Don’t feel bad, I don’t think I stitch all that fast either. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I also don’t spend hours day after day doing it either. Slow and steady. Yeah it works for me. I worked on a project once and I had announced how many hours I had put into it. Another stitcher piped up and said how at that many hours, she’d had it almost completed. Whoop-te-do! I have flaws in every single piece I’ve done. Each one is truly unique and unlike any other because of the “mistakes”. Don’t worry – no one knows but us! You’re looking at the Antique Road Show all wrong… LOL It will because of the mistake, it will be worth more! Think of all the coins and stamps that were printed with faults – They are worth more than the perfect ones!