Finally Some Progress…

mw1

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ Have a good week and may your stitches all be neat, straight, and properly, unhurriedly placed.

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12 Responses to Finally Some Progress…

  1. Valerie says:

    Saw your progress on the MW blog and loved the story about the journal. I love your color combo so far. I still need to start mine. Fabric shopping happens Saturday! I will be sure to be careful with the 1st motif. Kind of unsettling to start a project and get railed right off the bat. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. KarenV says:

    I love the colours you’ve chosen for Mary! Loved the journal story too, thanks for sharing.

  3. Hilarious post and what a cool journal. And the colors are great too!

  4. Maren,
    I am sorry that I “pushed” you into Mary Wigham’s journey and you are not enjoying it now.
    Olga

    • stitcherydoo says:

      I’m sorry I left the impression that I wasn’t enjoying this. I really am. The only part I found frustrating was trying to get started, having to change my colors multiple times, and then having to pick out that first motif because first I thought I wasn’t paying attention and then I realized the pattern was a little off. I’ve seen others who followed the pattern and I never saw the mistake, but mine just looked lopsided. Now that I know I need to correct as I stitch, it’s no big deal.

  5. Annemarie says:

    Hmm. There are errors in the chart? What do you know…

    As for your choice of colours: WOW! Beautiful, gorgeous, and yes, unusual too. As for stitching over one on black, I don’t think there are many people who could do that without going bonkers, so good for you for changing the plan.

  6. Colleen says:

    I’ve already commented on the MW blog, but just wanted to say again that your colors are very striking! Wish I’d been as imaginative πŸ™‚

  7. Jen says:

    Maren, check out the reworked versions of the motifs not easy to correct as you stitch over on my blog, http://speedystitcher.blogspot.com Mary is great fun to do but the errors are not for me!

  8. Jen says:

    I knew I had seen a similar colour scheme to your somewhere http://needleprint.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-mary-wighams-in-gallery-and-here-is.html Some of the different colour combinations make me want to start again.

  9. Brigitte says:

    The colours you chose make a perfect combo I think. I love the effect. And I loved reading the story of the little girl’s journal and stitching. Being a girl certainly wasn’t always fun back then.

  10. Dear Maren, You are a WINNER on my recent GIVEAWAY!!! I’m so happy your name came up! Please email me your full name and snail mail addy so I can send your charts to you.
    Hugs, Deb

  11. Ranae says:

    Great choice of colors. Love them!

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