Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Returning to Cross Stitch

A couple of months ago, I put down the crochet hook and picked up an unfinished cross stitch project. I was headed to Hawaii for vacation and knew that if I packed yarn and hook, it would just take up space in my luggage. A cross stitch project is much smaller and more portable and if I didn't feel like working on it,  no problem. At least I would have something to do if I felt up to being crafty or needed to keep myself busy by the pool.

The project I chose to work on was started in the summer of 1997 - yes, 20 years ago!  As with all projects, there is a story behind when, where, and why a particular pattern was chosen. Here's the story that goes with this pattern, "The Night Before Christmas" from the January 1994 For the Love of Cross Stitch magazine.

My husband and I lived in a rural small town in the Mendocino area and in the evenings after he would come home from work, we would sit out back and relax. There was no air conditioning in the house so it was always much cooler in the shade of  the trees. We had a large meadow that bordered the backyard, so it was it was nice to unwind in our comfy chairs and look for deer. As he would tell me about his day at work, I'd cross stitch. At that time, I was not working and had developed a community of cross stitch friends through the America Online chat rooms and groups. I had my tribe and we shared tips, tricks, swaps, and pattern and fabric recommendations. Being that it was Mendocino County and my husband was in law enforcement, these ladies were my connection to the outside world.

One evening, my husband asked if he could give cross stitch a try. Of course, I jumped at the chance of including him in one of my hobbies and gave him a pile of magazines to find a pattern, with guidance. He saw the "Night Before Christmas" pattern and asked if that one would work. I had it on my to-do list and had the fabric and floss, so set him up with everything he needed to get started. For several nights we would sit and cross stitch - he on his project, me on mine - talking about the day and enjoying the quiet under the shade of the large oak trees that dotted our backyard.

He worked diligently on his project and I left him alone - knowing if I badgered him, he'd stop. What I didn't realize is that once he got to where the pattern splits across the two pages, he wasn't sure what to do, so he skipped a row on the fabric. He didn't realize that the row in gray (see where the orange arrows are pointing) is a reference row and has duplicate symbols from the row he just stitched.

When I finally checked on his progress, I noticed a long white empty row and asked what happened. He explained what he had done and I didn't know what to say. He had stitched a good amount below the white row and I didn't want to tell him frogging was necessary. But, I did. Shortly thereafter he was finished with cross stitching, but still fully supported my hobby. At some point over the past 20 years, I frogged that section and packaged the chart, project, and floss into a large zip lock as a grab and go kit, which is precisely what I took to Hawaii with me in April!

Here is what the project looked like when I picked it up again in April. It was a little less than halfway complete.

Here is what it looks like now - Completely stitched!  Adding beads is the only thing remaining to do, and then I will need to wash, iron, and find a suitable mat and frame.

What do you think?  Would add some holiday fabric around the edges and make this into a wall hanging? A pillow top? Or, frame it?

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