Wednesday, November 7, 2012
More stitching, to settle the mind
So, when the kids both woke up at what I thought was 5:30 am on Sunday (bad enough) and then I realized it was really 4:30 am because of the time change, I muttered some choice cuss words under my breath and crawled out of bed. As you know, Lee's dad passed last week, and Lee has been under so much stress he needs to sleep in every chance he can get. So I was glad to let him sleep, but very grumpy at the prospect of entertaining a 3 year old and a 7 year old in a quiet manner (small house, as you know) for how many ever hours.
TV, a relatively quiet and easy fall back, was not an option that early. We don't have cable, and PBS here does not start showing kid programming until 6 or 7 am. Our "AirPort" is also on the fritz, which means no purchased TV or rerouted stuff from the computer. Did I mention there's no DVD player hooked up, either? It's practically medieval in this house (ha ha). I got everyone settled with some cereal and warm tea (extra strength coffee for me) and sat down at the table with my go-to project these days: the Winterwoods Sampler from Posie: Rosy Little Things . My hope was that I would be inspired (and settled) by stitching for a few minutes so I could engage the kids in a non-disruptive, creative way.
Have you seen this sweet sampler? It's cross-stitch, and manages to feel antique and modern all at once, thanks to the sophisticated materials that come with the kit and the fresh motifs. Gorgeous linen, hand dyed cotton thread and very clear, concise instructions are all included, and the fact that cross stitch is so incredibly easy to put down and pick up really appeals to me.
I think I got about twenty stitches in before Silas started begging me to try it, and Ian started asking when he could learn how to sew. A month ago, or even a few weeks ago, I might have gotten really overwhelmed (and irritated, if I'm honest) at the thought of starting this process at 5 am. But instead, I took a deep breath and snuck back into the bedroom to find a small hoop and some open weave burlap fabric just perfect for a 3 year old.
This is what Silas ended up with! A few things I do to help along the process: use thick, sturdy yarn with a large eyed, blunt tipped metal needle (tapestry needles work great). I use a relatively open weave burlap type fabric with kids as small as Silas, and I put it into a wooden hoop very tightly so that there is no "give" to make it feel wobbly. Last, I tie the yarn to the needle at the very top to keep it from slipping off, and I make sure the yarn is no longer than about 18 inches to 24 inches. It means more yarn changes, but anything longer is super hard to pull through each time.
Ian was intrigued by the individual motifs of the sampler, and decided to draw his own "autumn" sampler on paper. He told me, "No guys with guns mom, or ninjas like normal. Just stuff like pumpkins and guys with hats." When I saw how cool his drawings were, I grabbed a bag of cross stitch fabric scraps and saw a long, slender strip. I taped it down to the kid table and had him sketch a few of the images big enough to fill the space.
We used fabric markers to trace over the pencil sketch, he needed a tiny bit of help tracing a few of the finer details but overall he did it by himself! I love these so much, he is constantly drawing and it is so great to see him branching out a bit in the subject matter. He is quite the artist these days!
I started working on a project with his drawings today, I hope to have it ready to show you next week! Just in time for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Stay tuned. I am looking forward to spending lots of time with my family (both immediate and extended) this holiday season, how about you?
Readers, thank you so much for your kind words from my last post. Lee's father passed away peacefully at home last week, he will be missed terribly by all of us.