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Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why do you stitch?

Musings from a Three-Bedroom Ranch

is asking. Go tell her what you think.

1)Why do you stitch?

Cross stitch is the perfect level of mental involvement for relaxation. It takes just enough concentration to keep me from fretting about anything else, not enough to create stress. Mostly, though, I love working with the colors of the fibers and watching something fun and/or lovely develop one section at a time.

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?

Probably about a 7. I don't make time for it every day (or even every week) but if I'm going to do anything crafty, it's usually stitching.

3)If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?

No. Michael's and internet are my only options as far as I know. There was a needlepoint/cross stitch shop in a neighboring town, but the people always offended me so I stopped going to it. I always joke that my local needlework shop is 800 miles away because I save up my specialty needs until I can get to my condo in Utah which is in the same neighborhood as Shepherd's Bush. I tend to get DMC at Michael's but charts at Shepherd's Bush or online.

I think a smart small business owner can compete with the big chains, but they have to be careful about their stock. You're not going to make it as a needlework shop owner selling floss for 69 cents a skein when Michael's sells it for 39. However, you can offer spectacular charts and fabrics and SERVICE that Michael's will never match.

4)Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?

Probably not. I've often lamented that although I'm an excellent craftswoman, I'm not an artist. I don't tend to have a creative vision. It doesn't really bother me, though, because I have so many charts on file right now that I'd love to do someday that I'll have to live to be 200 to even make a dent. Don't think it's going to be an issue for me.

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

As my husband always says, "That's why there's chocolate and vanilla." I'm very careful to check through magazines (for any craft) these days. My rule of thumb is that if I browse through and see two articles that I might do someday, I'll buy the magazine. Most magazines don't meet that standard. But I guess they offer something for someone.

I tend to buy more of the UK magazines than American because they tend to have a larger selection of designs that appeal to me.

I think part of my problem is that my "style" seems to be "out" right now. I have a hard time finding quilting fabric, too, because I didn't like retro when it came around the first time. Lime green? Really?

Frankly, I think the biggest threat to the craft world is the computer. I spend hours right here that I could spend stitching or piecing (or cleaning or weeding...) And I already love handwork and already have tons of supplies at the ready. The new generation of stitchers is sitting in front of a monitor playing video games and their moms - tired from a full day at work - don't have the time or energy to drag them out and put a needle in their hands.

6) And finally, finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?

I also do what they are calling "primitive" embroidery, quilting, dollmaking. I used to do ceramics. What pulls me away from cross stitch, though, is the condition of my house coupled with my exhaustion at the end of a day from my job. Most nights I'm too tired to pick up a needle. If I'm not too tired to stitch, I can't find what I need to do anything because the house is such a mess. I either end up trying to clean a little or, more often, just give up and fall asleep in front of the TV or come back here to the electronic sanctuary.

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