Sewing and textiles with Ann
My mother did loads and loads of cross stitch work. Having just completed my first piece of work, i appreciate even more than previously, how many hours / days / months she must have put into her work. All of her work is either with a member of the family, or piled up behind my TV, waiting for a suitable home.
On a bit of whim, i bought a cross stitch kit from Boscastle National Trust shop in Cornwall, in September (2021). It would be a project for the winter. I was so excited, i forgot to ask for my volunteers’ discount! And here we are, mid way through January 2022, and it is finished. So often in the last couple of months i have wanted to share my work with my mother. ‘Like mother, like daughter’, as they say (whoever ‘they’ might be!)
I was able to work on the motifs in ‘bite sized chunks’ which i think helped me progress.
Whilst the packaged instructions were very useful, i applied a few guidelines of my own, learnt from watching my mother. I sorted out the thread and looped it onto the included card, and, having determined which colour was which, sometimes by process of elimination, i labelled each thread both by word and its symbol. I mainly used the symbols, as that is what the stitching grid uses. I also found the centre by stitching a horizontal and vertical line in black cotton. This was so useful. Why don’t the instructions recommend it? I knew to start from the centre and work outwards, and was probably about half way through before i reached any corner, after which i had a guide for two of the outer edges.
I also tried quite hard to keep all of the stitches going in the same direction. In my case, i opted for bottom left to top right, sitting underneath top left to bottom right. I would say that 95% of the stitches are like this, but i sometimes lost my way going round a corner, and had one particularly bad afternoon, when i was quite distressed about something, and made a real mess of one of the old mine workings! But i did not try to unpick, firstly because its not that easy to unpick lots of stitches, and secondly, it gave the mine working a rough surface, which i thought was appropriate! Then i looked at one of Mum’s pieces and declared it to look 100% consistent with regard to stitch direction. She had lots of practice.
Having said all of that, the finished result is very satisfying, and rather attractive. It’s from riverdriftneedlework.com, who seem to be based in Suffolk, but puts the kits together in Cornwall. So it was ‘local produce’.
I know that there are about half a dozen mistakes, including two where i have used the wrong colour, one of which i only spotted as i was checking for any gaps, just before finishing! Which for a first attempt, i don’t think is bad, and you wouldn’t have known if i hadn’t told you!
So that’s another skill added to the retirement portfolio.