Monday, September 7, 2009

Traveling Back in Time

I DONT DO HANDWORK!!! And, with the exception of a quilt binding or a small bit of applique here and there, that is a true statement. Or at least it WAS a true statement.

Last night I worked on a piece that is going to have the background filled with handwork….simple embroidery stitches to liven it up. And, amazingly, I enjoyed working on it and am excited to get back to it.

As I worked, I started reminiscing about how I learned to do the stitches that so easily came to mind, and it took me back to 1977 in Lubbock, Texas. Well, actually, I need to go even further back than that……

My Mother was and is a whiz with a needle and thread. Before she rekindled her interest in quilting in the early 1970’s, she was into Crewel Embroidery. I know that you have seen it even if you didn’t know what it was called……It is a picture or design that is embroidered in a wool thread that is heavier than a normal embroidery thread. It’s weight lends itself to filled-in designs.

Now when Mom tried to teach me to embroider, it was not pretty. She was SO good at it and I simply never felt that I got it….my stitches were uneven and the backing fabric always puckered.

Now, back to 1977…… Michael and I had been married about 2 months when he was asked to accompany his Major Professor at Texas Tech (Dr. J., as we called him) on a 2 week plant collecting trip to Mexico. At the time, I had never stayed by myself, having moved from my parent’s house, to a college dorm and then to our apartment after marriage. I was not at all happy thinking about two weeks alone.

So, in steps Mrs. J. (Dr J’s wife) who offers for me to come and live with her for those two weeks. I had a wonderful time…..she treated me as if I was her daughter and took me out for dinners, to meet her friends and just generally loved on me for those two weeks. During that time, she pulled out her current project….. a Crewel work piece. I was once again enamored with the craft but told her of my previous attempts. Her answer was to put the backing fabric in a hoop and to “stab-stitch” the embroidery……DUH!!! So, we went out the next day and bought a kit for a Jacobean design and she started teaching me how to do this beautiful work.

Jacobean

Thistles





It was followed by Thistles with fuzzy tops……


Ducks

Ducks floating on a pond……

Flowers




Baskets of Autumn flowers……

and a whole HOST of other pieces that were never photographed.

This post is to say THANK YOU to my Mom for teaching me the gift of making things with your hands and THANK YOU to Mrs. J. for teaching me that there is more than one way to accomplish a task!!!!

1 comment:

maggi said...

Beautiful pieces. I'm glad you were able to get to grips with the embroidery. I love doing handwork as I find it so relaxing but the only problem I have is that I always seem to be short of time so, once again the machine comes to the fore.

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