"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

21 July 2008

Stitchin' Again


My dear friend LuCindy sent me, years and years ago, a crewel embroidery kit of a unicorn -- a lovely piece. I started it, then all that other stuff of life crowded it out, and it languished in my sewing cabinet for a very long time.

These days I need to write. A seemingly infinite number of inchoate thoughts are whirling about, colliding with each other, begging for expression and perhaps even some resolution. But I find that I can't write them; it's simply not in me just now.

So the other night, I thought, well, if I can't write, maybe I can pick up one of my old stitchery projects and work on it. And lo and behold, there was the unicorn -- satin-stitched leaves curling around the border in varied colors of green on stem-stitched vines, the black trim on a monarch butterfly fluttering in the foreground . . . So I gathered it up, made sure it still had all the yarn it needed, found my kit of needles and scissors (and added to the collection some nice strong magnification glasses), and began to stitch.

I have always loved embroidery work. But I had forgotten how remarkably relaxing it is. I've done quite a bit of cross stitch in the past several years, for gifts mostly, because it's fast and nice-looking, and I enjoy it, but it's not the same as embroidery, with its variety of stitches and textures -- and its infinite possibilities for correcting errors without pulling everything out. Because my mother taught me well, so that I am not only able to do the familiar but understand how to learn new stitches and techniques, my perfectionist nature is well-served in this medium.

It's a good place to be right now, and I already feel that the writing is going to come soon -- perhaps because I am giving my mind a rest by using a different way of creating my world for a time. But I think I won't put the embroidery aside again, now that I've remembered how much I love it and how much I need it.

When the unicorn is done, a sampler: any suggestions for designs that allow for a wide variety of stitches and that capture something of my heart home are welcome.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I'm so glad you found it and that working on it is renewing you. I strongly believe that you're right about some sort of hands-on creativity refreshing and strengthening the flow of our writing creativity. Absolutely.

Ideas? I wonder if it would be possible to find some sort of kit or pattern that would end up being a patchwork quilt with the different blocks and patterns being made from different stitches. Something with a strong Amish quilt influence with all those rich, bright colors. Strikes me as being something very Bethish.

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