Stitching in the New Year

It seems like I may have picked up a new hobby. It’s a little too early to tell, technically, but I am of an age to see that all the signs are there for a deep dive into something new.

If we back up a bit to early 2022, I’d seen here on the blog a number of folks doing a counted cross stitch “Temperature Tree.” The pattern, or a kit, was available on Etsy from StitchinMommy so I favorited the kit and waited. The remainder of the year. When the year was beginning to draw to a close I decided to purchase it, figuring I could start the tree part before 2023 and get ready to add the temperature leaves starting on the first. Here’s how it all went down.

The kit arrived. I had learned to do counted cross stitch when I was a teen but had not done so since. But I remembered my skills. I had chosen the kit with 18 count aida cloth. When it arrived, I realized that at the age of mid fourties, I cannot actually see what I am stitching. So, I went on the hunt for an ott light with magnefier, understanding for the first time how critical this was for my grandmother and now my mom. I picked one up. I quartered my cloth with thread and got to stitching. Then, I felt that I was going too fast and I forced myself to put it down and work on something else. Let’s break up this story with a photo:

Here’s the beginning of my temperature tree with one lonely leaf on it. I’ve got January and February branches complete:

I then decided that I needed a refresher on techniques so I started watching some videos on youtube. I also remembered a number of helpful items that my grandmother used to use, like a magnetic pattern board and a needle threader and I picked those up. And a needle minder of course. But none of these things really satisfied the itch I was feeling.

So then I found The Stitchery and I ordered two patterns. Then while watching youtube I started watching videos on crewel embroidery. And I remembered my mom had a big crewel embroidery project that she never finished but I was absolutely fascinated with when I was a kid. There was something gorgeous and interesting about the textures of the stitches. It was so intriguing to me. So, I also ordered a fairly simply crewel kit.

Look, this is just how things work in my brain. There’s no halfway. It’s all or nothing every time. And honestly, I’ve learned to just roll with it somewhat. It’s better to let the deep dive wash over me than it is to try to resist it completely. At this point in my little story I had now ordered 3 kits, two cross stitch and one crewel and none of them had arrived yet. I mean, it was right in the midst of the holidays after all, shipping isn’t the fastest. But all I’ve got to work on is the temp tree, and it’s in a hoop too small for the fabric, and I want to savor the project throughout the year, rather than finish the entire tree immediately and just add leaves all year.

So that’s what New Year’s Eve found me wandering the shops. First a trip to Michael’s crafts where I was able to find some different and more appropriately sized hoops. I also picked up 3 more floss colors to expand out my temperature range a bit. But I was disappointed to see that they did not have kits in the store. Well, I wasn’t interested in going home without a kit. So, off I went to Joanne’s.

Thankfully they still had a wealth of kits in stock. Doing what I always do, I chose two projects that are probably a little out of my skill range while absolutely knowing better. The first is one that will match my turquoise craft room. This is not the project I started immediately. The second also would match my craft room, and this is the one I started on. I then proceeded to pretty much work on counted cross stitch for the vast majority of the holiday weekend. And while I did choose something a bit beyond my skill level, it seems to be going ok so far.

It’s funny because 5 years ago or so I had sworn I was absolutely not going to take up this hobby again EVER. But here we are, I am happily coloring in pictures with thread. And watching videos on the subject, and anticipating trying crewel embroidery as well. Not sure how long this latest deep dive will last but I am just over here rolling with it.