Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No updates!

There is a reason why this blog has been so quiet. For the last 2 years, I have been working on my knitting and quilting stash. I have done a little cross stitch and finished a few projects I'd like to post photos of, but I have mainly been on a two-needle diet:)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm not sure if I am going to do this sampler in one single piece, or take each section alone. At this time I am leaning more towards doing each design singly. With all these large projects that I will be working on, I know I will need some smaller ones to get a sense of completions. They will also fit a bit better on my sampler wall than another large sampler.

If I do them singly, I am sure I am going to start with the lovely woman in the pink dress. She appeals to me so much! I just love the simplicity of the design and the candid expression on her face. She puts me in touch with all the young women who worked on their own designs and drew the world as they saw it. She also reminds me of my favorite kind of doll...the china head dolls with the painted black hair. I have several in my collection, two made by a 95 year old Mennonite woman that I came to know and love, Cornelia Heatwole. She was living at the Eastern Mennonite home outside Harrisonburg, VA. The home had a craft sale and I bought one of the dolls she had in the sale for $18. She had painted and fired the head, hands and feet and then dressed the doll in a Mennonite style dress. I wanted to have some more dolls made for a cousin and a niece, so I went by the home to make the arrangements. She was a charming person and I loved visiting her. Her dolls were well received and I ended up getting several more and each time I learned more and more about her and her world.

She came into my life during a time of intense spiritual confusion and she contributed to my growth in so many ways. I found myself stopping off to visit her even when I wasn't ordering or picking up a doll. God sent this woman to me during a time of great need and I would not be the person I am today without her wisdom and nurturing. Looking at this lady in pink reminds me of Miss Cornelia and of that cross roads in my life. My relationship with her reminds me of Hebrews 13: 2 "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." In so many ways, she was and "angel unaware" to me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Project for this year

I started JCS a few years ago and like to get it out from time to time to work a motif, so I've put it on my this year's stitching also. It's a beautiful sampler and I wish I knew more about the young woman who did it. Reproduction samplers have tremendous appeal to me. They are a real connection to a person who actually lived and formed the same stitches that I am doing as I work on the sampler. JCS could not possibly have dreamed that in 200 or so years, someone would chart her work and that hundreds of people in a time period she couldn't imagine would be following her stitches to display on the walls of their own homes.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More 2009 Stitching

What fun it is to select cross stitch projects for the year! I am not sure why, but there is no doubt that the planning, kitting, and starting feels like opening a Christmas present. I've had the chart for Many Mansions for about 20 years, but just started it a couple of years ago. I've done it on an oatmeal Aida 16 ct. I really prefer linen, but there are times when I need a low light project and the Aida is just right.

(OT: philosophy alert )I have always loved this verse from the Bible. I don't know what heaven will be like, but the Bible tells us that we are made for Heaven, so it will suit us perfectly. [The Bible also tells us that if we believe that Christ died for our sins and accept him into our hearts, we know we will be with Him in Heaven. I add that caveat because I don't want people to think I am being over confident when I say that I know I will go to Heaven.]

So what is this needleworker's idea of heaven? Well, first, it will be like...Heaven! No more newspapers articles about 12 year old boys forced to be soldiers, no children being abused, no Middle East crisis, or terrorists...none of those things that make our planet a horror. Second, we will be with the God who loves us unconditionally and fills every self-doubting corner of our hearts with love. It will be like living with a perfect lover whom we are able to worship with every fiber of our being. We were made for this relationship with God and it will be far more wonderful than anything we can imagine.

Fourth, which gets it's own paragraph, is the ramblings of my imagination. When I see a beautiful photograph of some place on this earth that I will never get to, I console myself with the idea that I will have eternity to see every inch of this awesome world. I have the idea that God is not going to just scrap this planet when we have reached the brink of destruction. I like to think that it will be there for us to explore forever. We'll get to see the fantastic creations of God which only He sees now; things like beautiful sea shells that lie on the bottom of the ocean, lovely alpine meadows of wild flowers that live and die beyond the eyes of humans and my favorite image from poetry, "a host of golden daffodils." And, then, there will be the needlework projects that I can't manage to do in my lifetime. When I leave a beautiful chart in the rack at my favorites LNS, I console myself with the idea that I have all eternity to stitch to my heart's content; and maybe in Heaven, needles won't get lost and specialty fibers won't slither off my needle or fray.

Whatever Heaven really is, I know that it will fill the longings of my heart in every way. I know I am made for Heaven and it will be a perfect fit, so I content myself with the knowledge that if needlework is not part of Heaven, the longings in my heart when I see a new chart and the joy of stitching that I feel now will be filled with pleasures that go beyond the joy that stitching brings to me now.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another New Year

Well, I haven't gotten as much done on my samplers as I wanted, but I am moved into my new house! I have a lovely little downstairs with room for 2 guest chairs, a tiny kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It's just right for me and I am surrounded by my bookcases full of craft books with projects just calling to me. I also have a lovely craft room upstairs and, while it is now quite jumbled, it will be wonderful when I have everything sorted out.

Downsizing is difficult, but I'm finding that it is satisfying. I'm working on old projects that I lost interest in and I'm seeing just how much stuff I really have. I challenged myself to not buy any new fabric, yarn or cross-stitch this past year except sock yarn and I actually have pretty much stuck to it. I allowed myself a "get out of jail free" card for one big blowout, but I didn't take it. I bought some fabric when I won a contest at a quilt shop...just to buy enough to not have to pay postage, but that wasn't too bad.

I am almost finished with the Meinen Sampler and should have it done by the end of the month. I am also just about finished with the Christmas Sampler, so I should have it done by the end of the month too! Yeah! Now I am savoring the prospect of starting something new. I still have my Dutch sampler and that now goes to the top of the list and I enjoy the Many Mansions that I have on an oatmeal Aida. I try to keep at least one Aida project on hand for low light situations. I have the border done on that. I'll also be working on Celle, but it's a little too much to think that I will get that finished by the end of the year too...still it would be nice.

I have Celle on tap again for this year's sampler stitching. I am at a hard place right now and will need some uninterrupted time to work on it. It would be wonderful if I could get this one done this year also. I will have time when I house sit for my sister, so maybe I can get that motif done.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Teaching little ones

Today I taught my 6 year old granddaughter, Eli, to needlepoint. She is a natural at it and did really well. After dinner, I watched her pick up her needlework while we watched a movie...something that she has seen her grandmother, aunts and great grandmother do countless times. It was just as natural as curling up with the dog. What a wonderful legacy we have from a long list of needlewomen stretching back in time.

We were talking about the subject over Christmas vacation and teasing my 88 year old dad at all the time he has wasted and trying to calculate how many afghans he could have made with all the time spent riding in a car, watching TV or waiting in a doctor's office. Why is it that it is usually women to seek to use up all those bits of time which would be wasted...or nonproductive at the very least? I hardly ever see the women of my family just sitting and talking. As soon as we sink down into a chair, our hands go automatically to the knitting bag, or other project bag.

There is such a drive in me to use my time twice, or even three times if I can. As I write this, I have a sweater for Eli sitting next to the computer. When I can't figure out what I want to say, I grab the needles and think. When I go to read my post to check for mistakes, I automatically pick up my needles. Why? Before Christmas, my mom said arthritis was bothering her hands and the first thing I asked was. "Is your Christmas knitting done?" I knew if it wasn't done, she was going to be feeling really anxious along with being in pain.

Don't misunderstand; I am not a type A personality who is rushing to get ahead. I just don't like letting one of my senses dangle when I could be using it. So, Eli is doing needlepoint and that means Addie will soon be doing it too. Addie also got knitting needles and yarn for Christmas, so that means knitting lessons are going to be part of her homeschool day also. They are the next generations to take up the needles and carry on a long tradition.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Gift of Memories

I've been searching for something to give to my 20 year old step grandson. He came into our family when he was 12 and he is dear to my heart. He's moved away to his first apartment and I wanted to give him something for a house warming present that would say to him that he's as much my grandson as the ones I share genes with.

I gave him my "Old Fisherman." I worked on that picture for about 4 years. Just about everyone who knew me at that time saw it because I carried it everywhere. I loved working on it and locking in memories of our daily life...the life that John was not a part of at the time. I loved that piece; I still do, but it was what I needed to give to John. It was like giving him the memories of our family that he didn't have. Now I just have to find the words to tell that to him!