I’ve started a new epic project. Almost ten years ago I bought a beautiful cross stitch kit with the thought that I would make it for my grandmother. She is the one who taught me to cross stitch and measure ingredients when cooking and to listen to my friends and buy myself a nice dress every now and then and respect my family, but also be fierce in my beliefs. Grandma loved roses and this kit is a large (15″x20″) grouping of pinky-mauve roses in a sterling bowl on a black background. It’s going to be beautiful even though now I’m making it for myself and not for her.
You see, she passed away about a year and a half ago. I had two really clear thoughts amid the pain and frustration I felt when I learned she was gone. First, I was upset with myself and somewhat relieved because I had never told her I am queer and she never knew about my girlfriend even though her only wish for me was that I would find someone who would be my great love. My second thought was about this cross stitch kit. I knew right away I would need to complete it anyway. It will become one of my greatest remembrances of her.
As I started working on it last night, I was thinking about why I like the process of cross stitch.
1) Take stock of your floss, needles, aida cloth and pattern
2) Center your cloth and secure it in the frame
3) Start stitching in the center and work your way out binding the loose ends in the stitches. There are no knots.
4) The first time through a section will take time as you follow the pattern
5) The second time through a section will be easier and you can enjoy following the hard work you did earlier.
6) As you move around the piece, there will be some large expanses to cover and some single and double stitch details to complete. They are both important to the whole piece.
7) When done, step back and enjoy. For me most of the time this is also followed by give it away.
There are no major revelations here. I cross stitch, other people run or do yoga or cook to get some stress relief and small sense of accomplishment and focus in their life.
One sort of side thought. When I describe the women who have helped make me who I am, I always think about two of them in this way. My grandmother taught me how to follow the rules and my mother taught me how to break them. Both systems serve me well in life.
walk in beauty,