In the Beginning….
This obsession with stitching started in when I was 18 and a freshman in college (OMG – that was almost 20 years ago!!!). My grandmother sent me a birthday card with a little cross stitch kit enclosed. I opened it up, read the directions and got started.
Being the very goal oriented person I am, I quickly spent all of my spare time finishing this masterpiece…. on Aida, and from the looks of it, using all six threads of the floss included. Isn’t it beautiful? 😀
(I wish I could credit the designer on this, but I don’t have the original kit anymore…)
After finishing this masterpiece, I noticed a woman in the student lounge who was cross stitching a giant design. I asked her where she got it and she told me “Hobby Lobby.”
What was this thing called Hobby Lobby? Well, several months later, I happened to see the store while out and about and went inside. I quickly found a kit that caught my eye! It was big! I picked up a plastic hoop and was on my way. I worked on that for a year, and as of now, have no idea what ever happened to it. I remember that that it was a floral heart. It is the only thing I’ve ever stitched that I do not have a picture of on my Webshots Page.
After college, I was interested again and located another kit….. I think I may have found it at Walmart. It was equipped with stiff feeling, white aida and was beautiful (Betty Whiteaker’s Heart Sampler)! I decided that the lucky recipient of this gift would be my mother. I worked on that, on and off, for at least a year. I finished it, framed it, and loved it so much that I gave it to my mother and promptly located another of the kits to do for myself. (The picture is the one I did for myself… I think my Mom’s is dated 1995).
(Betty Whiteaker’s Heart Sampler)
My First LNS…
Because it had been several years since I started this kit, I couldn’t find another. I found a cross stitch store in town, called them, and asked if they could order it for me. The store was called “Stitches ‘n Straw” (no website). When I went in to pick it up I found bins of floss, racks of patterns, models on the walls and an entire wall of fabric… I couldn’t figure out why any one would want to go through all of that bother when they could just buy a kit instead? My opinion has since changed, of course, now that I know about silks, overdyes, and hand dyed fabric!
My Next Project…. With Evenweave!
Fast forward. I saw a cross stitch pattern in a catalogue I started getting in the mail and thought it perfect for some friends of mine. I ordered the kit, and found that it had “evenweave” included instead of Aida. I wasn’t sure how to approach this. I did a bit of internet research and figured it out and started on my way.
The fabric was so soft compared to scratchy Aida… the stitches sat closer together and I just loved to look of the fabric compared to the canvas look of Aida. I was hooked. I finished, gave the gift to my friends for Christmas and immediately started wondering what I would stitch next! My first evenweave project:
(Donna Vermillion Giampa’s Celestial Medley)
The Obsession Takes Root
I was at a Barnes and Noble, perusing the crafts section and came across The Best of Just Cross Stitch. I bought some coffee, found a comfy chair, and started flipping through the book. I had just moved into a new house and was decorating my kitchen with a fruit theme. There, in its full glory, was Teresa Wentzler’s Fruit Bellpull! It was beautiful and perfect for my kitchen! I had to have it! I looked at the floss list…. Was immediately intimidated, then realized that almost every symbol was a blend of two different colors. My mind boggled….I kept looking through the book at the beautiful patterns, all out of my league… especially the one with fabric that had been cut. I left the book and went home.
Later that same year, I kept thinking about the fruit bellpull and went online and did a search for “fruit cross stitch.” This lead me to Teresa Wentzler’s website, then her bulletin board (aka TWBB) where I learned all about blended threads, fabric, blending filament (had no idea what it was), beads, washing your stitching, how to frame, various stitching tools, Qsnaps, etc. I purchased the Fruit Bellpull with an ebay user who I later learned was a fellow TWBBer. My first TW!
(Teresa Wentzler’s Fruit Bellpull)
I looked at all of the designs… they were all so beautiful, colorful, realistic! I immediately started purchasing leaflets and started frequenting an LNS in Portland, OR, called Acorns and Threads, recommended to me by a BBer who happened to live nearby (and who is now a published author!) I fondled fabrics… Jobelan! Lugana! Different stitch counts… endless colors!
I found the TWBB in about 1999 and have been through several migrations on bulletin board servers…. There are still several people who’ve made all the migrations with me. I consider some on the boards to be among my closest friends. They’ve been with me from stitching newbie through all of my life ups and downs. I’ve made a point to meet several of them in my travels for work and in the various areas that I’ve lived.
Hardanger and Band Samplers
I discovered Victoria Sampler though a fellow BBer who was posting these elegant, sparkly, lacy beauties on the BBs. I happened to be in Victoria for a work function and in a day of shopping happened across the Button and Needlwork Boutique. The walls were filled with what I believe were original models of several Victoria Sampler designs. I spotted the Beyond Cross Stitch Kits along the wall, saw that they were “teaching” kits for hardanger and bought all ten and raced through those, then went on to cutting away on larger pieces.
(Victoria Samper Beyond Cross Stitch Kit 5-8 )
To this very day, Teresa Wentzler and Victoria Sampler are my very favorite designers. I’ve always got something to stitch and have even built up a very modest “stash.” So… in 20 years of stitching, I have 81 finished projects! 80 of them are photographed and published on my Webshots page!
If you’re still reading… you must be as addicted as I am!