Well, I guess you can see straight off, the fabric isn’t black. I never did make it to Tulsa to the cross stitch shop. So, instead I had to make do with what fabric I already had. I had a real burning desire to do something ‘different’. So I found the last piece of black fabric that I own, but knew instantly that it was too small. No problem, I thought. I’ve always wanted to try 1 over 1. So I dug out some really nifty colors, which would hopefully stand out bright against the black, and got started.
Come to find out, I’m blind as a bat and 1 over 1 wasn’t helping. I struggled my way through half of the first motif before deciding the only way I would ever finish this over 1 was through the use of a powerful microscope. So I ripped it all out and put it back.
Stuck with plain ol’ white fabric, but still wanting to do something different, I then thought I’d try my hand at coffee dyeing. I downloaded instructions, got the supplies ready, got the pot of coffee, cut my square of fabric and then stood there, fabric in hand, coffee before me, considering the instructions. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, the end result was not the creation of a wonderfully ‘aged’ piece of material, but that of a shambling gray-haired woman, wandering the dark halls of this big house, petting her swatch of cloth and muttering, “It’s all right. Shhh…shhh…You can stay white. I’m sorry…so sorry…You can stay white…”
Once I pulled myself back together again, I printed out the pattern and finally got started. Or so I thought. With my pristine, puritanical white fabric in my lap, I started picking through thread choices. Still wanting to do something fairly original, I picked through four different color pallets, alternately stitching and picking out that first motif another four times before I finally settled on this: DMC 321, 310, and 841. I’m not following any particular rule about where I place the colors. I am…deep breath here…winging it, but I’m happy with the results so far. 🙂
As for the design itself, I have tried really, really hard to follow the actual pattern, but the inconsistencies are driving me crazy. I’m fixing the errors as I see them and as I go. I realize Mary was only nine when she did this, but as I was picking out that first motif for the seventh and final time, all I kept (ungraciously, I know) thinking was: where was that grumpy sewing instructor and her trusty ruler while little Mary was making all these mistakes? One of my pioneer ancestors at 11 years old was given a journal the day before her family set off from the East coast to the West. Now, we know this because she, quite bitterly and with a vocabulary better than most high school graduates would use, recorded receiving this stupid journal, which she now had to write in each and every day, while her brothers got pocket knives, boots, hats, and in one case, a rifle, i.e. the “good” gifts.
What stands out in my mind was the entry she made regarding her mother’s method of schooling. She had to do it in cross stitch. Here’s this very smart and very disgruntled 11 year old, after traveling was done, having to then do all this needlepoint instead of being able to play with her brothers and peers, and she’s recounting–very, very bitterly–about trying to hurry and finish her stitching just as fast as possible so she could play, too. And her mother caught her doing it and smacked her hands. Five times. Each. And then, not only did she have to rip out everything and start all over again, but she had to do it with hurting hands AND it was dark before she finished so she never did get to play. Not with anyone. She had to go to bed instead. Stupid journal. Stupid stitching. And she was going to ‘lose’ them both in the first river they came to.
I don’t know about the stitching, but fortunately, she changed her mind regarding the journal. 🙂 Have a good week and may your stitches all be neat, straight, and properly, unhurriedly placed.