Have Your Say
17th May 2019
In All Stitched Up! issue #183 HERE we talked about debuts and asked you to recall your stitching debut – the moment when you shared your stitching with the world for the very first time. This week we share some of the responses we received and hope they’ll bring back fond memories of your own debut with needle and thread.
Karen Pancoast | USA
‘Mine is a bittersweet story. One summer when I was 11, I spent the summer with my grandmother. She had a box with lots of tangled floss in many colors and a packet of iron on patterns. She sat next to me on the porch at her Minnesota farmhouse and taught me three or four basic stitches and let me stitch a pillowcase that we had ironed a floral pattern on.
She patiently guided me when I got the thread tangled and when I pulled my stitches too tight. She even taught me French Knots and I was so tickled I embroidered all that summer.
When I went home to my Mom in the fall I wanted to keep on embroidering. So, with my own money I went to JC Penney’s in Minneapolis and bought two Christmas pot holders – one was a candy cane and the other was a cookie in a star shape. I kept the stitching hidden in my room so I could work on it as a surprise for Christmas for her. Finally, they were done, and I wrapped them for Christmas.
My Mom opened them on Christmas morning and looked at the front of them and then turned them over to look at the back. Then she said, “I could never use these, look at all the tangled threads on the back. And here, on the front look how long your stitches are. I can fix them for you by wrapping more thread around your too long stitches, but nothing can fix the back.”
I didn't know what to say. I was heartbroken and never stitched again until after I was married.
I tried cross stitch but didn’t like it and it is only in the past three years that I have returned to floss embroidery, often choosing Crewelwork as my preferred technique. Like I said, bittersweet.’
Karen, your bittersweet journey of needlework reminds us of the wisdom Proverbs 18:21 instills – ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.’ We’re just so pleased to hear that you’ve been able to rekindle the love of needle and thread that your grandmother instilled in you at the tender age of 11 and hope the hours you spend stitching take you back to the time you shared with her on the porch of her Minnesota farmhouse.
‘I started stitching at about eight. I was camping with my Gran and we were stuck in our little camping hut because it was raining. She gave me an apron with the Three Little Pigs on it and I attacked it with boundless energy!
Gran warned me to put it aside for fear I’d get bored with it, but needless to say, I carried on and eventually did get bored and never finished it.
In my twenties I did Crewel Embroidery and then in my thirties Counted Cross Stitch. Now I have two Goldwork kits and a lovely Jacobean Crewelwork kit to work on. I am also going to do Surface Embroidery because I have many a DMC thread left over from Cross Stitching. I am nearly 72 so I hope my eyes hold out long enough to complete them all.’
Lana, we love that your embroidery journey began in a camping hut with the Three Little Pigs! It’s a reminder that we should never despise the days of small beginnings because we never know where they may lead.
‘My first stitching project was when I was in the fifth grade, and 10 years old, and we were studying Early American History. Our teacher advised the class we were going to do an exhibit of colonial times for our parents’ meeting.
I chose to make a sampler which consisted of the alphabet in Cross Stitch and a poem that said, ’Here You See What Care My Mother Took of Me’.
This was stitched in Backstitch as well as the numbers 1-10 which were stitched below the poem. My mother was a great stitcher as was her mother.
Today, I carry the tradition on with Embroidery and Needlepoint. Thank goodness I still have my first stitching project framed and hanging on the wall! I look forward to receiving the Inspirations newsletter every Friday and look forward to the arrival of each Inspirations Magazine.’
Mary, I think if all our school projects were able to be stitched, we may have enjoyed school just a little bit more! We love that you still have your first stitching project and that you’re carrying on the tradition of needle and thread that’s been passed through the generations of your family.