Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Why We Stitch What We Stitch

Things have been a bit too busy around here for my liking lately, not a lot of time to blog, and while I haven't stitched much of anything--at least not anything I can show yet(I'm still playing catch up from an end of year swap and my partners love me and forgive me my tardiness) I have been having deep thoughts about why I choose to stitch what I stitch and stash what I stash.

For the record I have always loved reproduction samplers. I have the first three Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterlies and consider them treasures. I have always been a bit obsessed with the history of needlework and the women who created it. Sure many were ladies of leisure but at the same time many were women on the frontier. They worked from sun up to sun down, yet still by light of candles or kerosene lamps, found a little time each day to bring a little beauty into their lives.

I love fantasy designs. I'm currently addicted to HAED. Finding their BB and seeing pictures of finished projects has really inspired me to attempt at least one or two of the Quick Stitch designs. When I show the spousal unit various designs from the website that I want to stitch his response is usually, "Why not just buy the poster?"

That has got me to pondering why I feel a need to stitch what I stitch. Where does the desire come from? Plenty of people don't feel the urge to stitch these kind of designs. Why do I have a mile long list of HAED I want stitch when there is easily a thousand other things I could stitch and probably actually complete? I don't know. I'm not sure why I want to stitch so many of their designs but I know the urge has gotten stronger as soon as I started following links of people who have actually finished not one but two or even three HAED. I just like the look of the designs and the idea of stitching them. It's probably the same thing that makes me insist on stitching TW Fantasy Triptyche. I love it and hate it. I have to stitch it. I whine about stitching it, but heaven help me, I want to see this design completed one day. Different designs talk to me. They say, "You know you want to stitch me. I know you don't have a clue what you will do with me when you're done but you want me and you know it, so suck it up and add me to the stash."

Buying the poster is never my first thought. Am I the only one that sees a painting or picture and the first thought is, "Wow that would look really great stitched?" I do it all the time. It's not because I like a challenge, it's just I see everything as something that can be stitched. I guess it's the frustrated artist in me, ok I know it's the frustrated artist in me. I can't draw a straight line so I create art with needle and thread. Buying a poster is kind of like cheating in my mind. If I want it bad enough, I'll stitch it.

My current screaming project list is 13th Colony Bay Parts 1-3--it will not be finished by the end of the month but maybe I'll be a lot closer to finished by February 1st.

Village of Hawk Run Hollow-barely scratched the surface.

Sonne Spotte--this piece talks to me a lot. It actually yells quite loudly from it's ziploc baggie. I'm ignoring it until I finish 13th Colony Bay. I know that when I pick it up again I will not put it down for a very long time.

Mouline Rouge-I want to work on this, I really, truly do. Maybe I will get back to it when Sonne Spotte is completed so I might see it again in oh, 2010.

TW Fantasy Triptyche-I have not put as much work in this as I should have. I need to give it at least an hour or two's attention each week. That is so little to ask and I dearly love this project.

Here are links to a few of the HAED Quick Stitches that I'm wanting to stitch:

QS Accidental Witch-Cat - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross S

QS Kitty Mermaid Ahoy [HAENTQS 3908] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The A

QS A Night at The Pumpkin Patch [HAECCKQS 2514] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Des

QS Have a Sweet Dream - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Sti

QS Mermaid and The Frog Prince [HAECCKQS 5432] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Desi

QS Girly Gothic - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Stitch

and this isn't a Quick Stitch but I love it anyway:

Patch Fairy [HAENT 2944] - $15.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art

Oh and I really love this:

Pirate [HAESF 3905] - $15.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Stit

I know. I'm a bit insane aren't I? As much as I love samplers, I love stitching pictures, art. I always have and while I've gotten away from it the last year or two I want to get back to adding more of a variety of projects to my workbasket. I also like stitching girls and I think it's because I'm the only girl in a house full of guys and I feel like a few girls(or women) on the walls helps me balance out all the testosterone in the house. We shall not speak of all the Mirabilia designs I have here to stitch. Mirabilia's Villa Mirabilia and Garden Verses have really been creeping into my thoughts a lot lately.

I should also state that the "I can make that" philosophy isn't limited to cross stitch. I feel that way about everything, quilts, crocheted tablecloths, knitted items(I'm really not a knitter, just a poser) but I will one day knit lace because I just want to and it's so pretty. But as you see, I should probably be committed because in my crafty life I dream large all the way around. If I see it, I can make it. It doesn't matter that I technically can't sew, can't knit, really don't crochet much beyond ripples and granny squares. I always think "I can make it". Never I'll buy it, always, always, always, I can make it.

Hmmmm, maybe that's why my life is one major frustration after another. But I love the process, I love figuring it out. I love the trying. With HAED I have to admit the "we recommend stitching over 1 on 25ct" has always been what has kept me from attempting one of their designs but I have decided that this is the year of just doing it, whatever I want to learn, whatever skill I want to acquire, this year I'm not seeking perfection, I'm just looking for the satisfaction of knowing that I tried something I know I'm not good at, or always avoided(the over 1). It's not about finishing something quickly, it's not about trying to get things finished so that I have some art on my walls, it's about getting back to the basics, getting back to why I love cross stitch in the first place. It's about the process. About threading a needle. It's about quiet moments. It's about making little Xs that come together to make a beautiful picture or connect me with history. It's about getting lost in the project, it's about dreaming.

Thanks to everyone for the comments on the spousal unit's art. He's a bit hard to live with now!


Anna van Schurman said...

I have to say I don't get the HAED designs but my very first counted cross stitch project was over 1 on 22 count. You can so do it. It's not brain surgery. I do think, however, you share some of the sentiments the Craft Whore expressed recently here. Go read!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I think you've written what a lot of us experience. And you know, sometimes it's about the journey :)

Barbara said...

I love admiring the HAED designs, but I am such a slow stitcher - I'd only have to buy one of their designs to last me the rest of my life!

Cindy said...

Great post!

I am newly addicted to HAED (within the past year), and wish that I would have started off with a Quick Stitch :) They are so beautiful when the details start taking shape. Buying the poster never crossed my mind, either.

I have a tendency to want to make a lot of things myself, too. I draw the line at limiting it to home furnishings, though. I would be a total disaster at trying to make clothes for myself. The best thing about making things yourself is that you get exactly what you want!

Anonymous said...

I love my HAED's and have finished one, and have others in the works. I think it is the journey of the stitch, not just the finish that makes me happy.

Just remember-it's just one x after the other!

Michelle said...

I love what you've written here, and echo your sentiments. I love the idea of having art on my walls that I made/stitched. And I LOVE Pirate, it's a favorite of mine. I say go for it, like any other stitching, it is still one stitch at a time, even if it's over one. You can do it!

Espresso Girlie said...

What an insightful post. I was recently thinking about my stash and the designs that catch my eye and why do I keep buying and coveting designs that I honestly don't know where I will put them in my house or even if they will "go". And yet the simple act of stitching is a joy. I too love to craft and want to "do it all". As for stitching over one, the first time I stitched on linen, I stitched over one and now stitching over two is less enjoyable for me. Suzann