July 06, 2011
I forgot just how soothing hand stitching can be.
I bought the pattern a few weeks ago before Fatty and I went to New York and immediately transferred it to a fat quarter of aqua quilting cotton. (I didn't mention that, did I? New York? It was a quick and fun trip - one of our favorite places to go.) I took the pattern into Purl Soho and the super patient and kind gals there helped me narrow down the choices when it came to the Appleton crewel wool. There are so many beautiful colors!
I started the letter "a" in the terminal in LaGuardia while waiting for our flight. The "b" came the following day. And so on. I've been carrying my hoop, wool and pattern in a gallon sized ziploc bag, toting it to the pool, piano practice, tennis lessons and more, just hoping to get a few stitches in as every free moment arises. I've mastered the stem stitch, the satin stitch and the lazy daisy. My french knots are getting better. My chain stitch isn't too shabby and I really like the long short stitch that I had never done before. Every letter brings something new and keeps me interested, still stitching along.
I had forgotten how my mind rests when my hands are at work. Seems silly, doesn't it? That I could forget such a fundamental thing? I did, though. In all the hub bub of summer, of running kids here and there, packing and unpacking for trips, staying up late and getting up early to beat the heat, I shoved my creative time to the side. And I've missed it. And really, I need that creative time. I'm a better mother, wife, friend, geez even a better housekeeper, when I take the time to make things. So I'm moving sewing up higher on the priority list. It's now right up there with a good night's sleep and exercise each day. I'm going to keep stitching all the way through "z", reveling in the deliberate and quiet way that needle and thread quiet my mind and energize it at the same time.
Do you enjoy hand stitching, too? What other creative pursuits give you peace of mind?
Posted by: monica | July 06, 2011 at 07:57 AM
It's going to be a great sampler!
Posted by: Suzanne | July 06, 2011 at 08:33 AM
i totally agree. for me, embroidery is the most relaxing thing. my mind is consumed but also freed by it. also repetitive cutting out, like felt circles for a garland. oh, and batik is amazing too. something very soothing about melted wax.
Posted by: jennie sandford | July 06, 2011 at 08:35 AM
Yes, hand stitching seems to be my thing these days. I have both (another) alamama stitch skirt and a little embridery piece in progress. It travels in my bag everywhere. I should look for a sampler. I'd love to familiarize myself with more stitches.
Posted by: beki | July 06, 2011 at 08:49 AM
Yes, it's exactly this way for me, too. Hand-stitching is the best thing. Which reminds me, gee, I haven't done any in a long time... I wrote about the wonder of it on my blog here: http://sweetfernhandmade.blogspot.com/2009/08/back-in-groove.html
Posted by: Kristina Strain | July 06, 2011 at 08:49 AM
I've been finishing a wall-hanging quilt, carrying it with me to kids' events as well. I've never been a big hand-stitcher, but I found a cross stitch at Sarah Jane's studio that absolutely must make. Maybe next year's carpool line? Love the sampler!
Posted by: Indiana Lori | July 06, 2011 at 08:53 AM
I absolutely agree - some would think I'm totally nuts but knitting intricate lace has been so calming for my frazzled mind lately. The utter focus on the pattern and what my hands are doing pushes everything else out (if only temporarily). Your sampler is looking lovely!
Posted by: kate | July 06, 2011 at 09:11 AM
love, love, love
Posted by: the real organic | July 06, 2011 at 09:14 AM
awww, new york, new york my kinda of town. envy. good luck with the alphabet, good plan. we'll see. :>)
Posted by: Petersonmarye | July 06, 2011 at 09:18 AM
I used to embroider, but gave it up several years ago. It seemed that there was never enough time, and the works were out of fashion. Now I am refreshed. The kids are a bit older and I am more able to find moments. I think I should purchase Alicia's pattern. You are spot on with handwork settling the mind and spirit. I find knitting to be my current panacea. Beautiful work btw
Posted by: Heather | July 06, 2011 at 09:47 AM
Your piece is beautiful Erin. I like the variety of stitches. And I too am so much better when I am making work, otherwise I am grumpy and unfulfilled. Drawing is my hand work.
Posted by: heather smith jones | July 06, 2011 at 09:54 AM
Your piece looks great ... I ordered the kit and am waiting for it to arrive. I love hand work. It brings me such peace.
Posted by: margie | July 06, 2011 at 09:58 AM
I never THOUGHT I'd love hand-stitching, but I'm very surprised to find that I do. And it is a great takealong craft. I wish I would have had an embroidery or hand quilting project set up for my recovery time last week!
will you frame this project? looks amazing, erin!
Posted by: kirstencan | July 06, 2011 at 10:00 AM
so lovely! I really love hand stitching - you're so right about how it occupies your brain. I think I need to get one of these going for the park sitting time this summer. That A is killing me. I bet it would look cute on a pillow for a girl around here.
Posted by: Sarah Jackson | July 06, 2011 at 10:18 AM
oh, lace. that is something i wish i could wrap my brain around! good for you!
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 10:28 AM
of course drawing is your hand work. :)
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 10:29 AM
the silk-screened pattern looks amazing! i hope you enjoy stitching it as much as i am.
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 10:30 AM
hi kirsten! yes, i plan on framing it for jane's room. and i hope you are feeling better every day. xo.
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 10:31 AM
i love seeing your progress, it looks beautiful so far. my kit arrived last week and i'm taking it to the beach this weekend - i usually sew but it's so nice to have a portable craft to take along, and embroidery is so relaxing once you get in a groove. i'm excited to get started.
p.s. i used your twirly skirt tutorial and loved it! thanks!
Posted by: gail | July 06, 2011 at 10:58 AM
I'm with you on the hand sewing. I also find painting with watercolors very relaxing.
Posted by: Account Deleted | July 06, 2011 at 11:42 AM
i bought the kit and it arrived last week! i completely relate to the creating equals balance. i cannot wait to start this project! knitting is definitely my creative outlet...and even cross stitching. but i really want to get into framing. wish me luck with my miter! ;)
Posted by: Michelle Kendall | July 06, 2011 at 12:11 PM
So beautiful, Erin, and your post title cracked me up. I am just coming around to hand-stitching after making my daughter's quilt and now I do find it relaxing rather than just irritating and slow, but I still haven't done much embroidery. It's on my "new skills to tackle someday" list. :)
Posted by: kristin | July 06, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Amen sistah! So far I don't have the patience for embroidery work or anything more complicated than garter stitch in knitting. My mind is most at rest when I'm fiddling with paper, beads and/or fibers, doing my book projects or layered collage. I'm so totally taking your lead and putting more creating back in my life with the "sleep more, eat better" rules. = )
Posted by: Jamie | July 06, 2011 at 01:43 PM
love the sampler, erin!
i just started doing some needlework too after way too many years.
knitting is my first love, but in the good ol' summertime i need a bit of break from the wool.
i just started learning sashkio and picked up the cutest starter kit (4 coasters) from the cutie-pie angela at sake puppets (etsy shop and blog by same name). it is so much fun!
Posted by: seashoreknits | July 06, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Maybe my problem this summer is not enough hand crafting. I feel like I can't get into a good rhythm. Now, where did I put my AC dress panels?
Can't wait to see your finished sampler. I should have gotten that kit!
Posted by: Jennie | July 06, 2011 at 02:58 PM
I love take along projects, too! And I'm glad you found the twirly skirt tutorial helpful.
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 03:26 PM
I knew someone would get the reference. ;)
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 03:26 PM
i literally JUST looked at this same pattern and thought...na...cause I'd have to order all of the crewel wool online...and i wouldn't be able to see it. maybe now i'll jump in ;)
Posted by: Dianne | July 06, 2011 at 05:01 PM
This is beautiful! I recently found that English Paper Piecing gives me a little peace of mind. :)
Posted by: Erica | July 06, 2011 at 05:42 PM
oh, i love it! i too slow down with embroidery, and knitting. they are my always on the go projects. i love giving someone a gift that has been part of my daily living (karate, park day, trips, etc.) i am really into watching the women's world cup and have been practicing my knitting without looking! :)
Posted by: kat | July 06, 2011 at 05:58 PM
looks great so far. i especially like the daisy in the "a". i haven't done any hand stitching lately, but not i'm inspired.
Posted by: aj | July 06, 2011 at 07:18 PM
Yes, I totally agree with you about hand stitching. Actually, its a great reminder for me to actually get a project out and do some. I have Alicia's ornament kits that still need to be completed.
Crocheting does this for me as well, to answer your question!
Posted by: Teresa | July 06, 2011 at 07:20 PM
I just taught myself how to crochet, in the last few days - but once i get the hang of it, i will be purchasing this pattern and getting right onto hand-stitching! I love cross-stitch, but did two large pieces last year so had taken a break from any needle work - but you have inspired me to pick up the hoop again!
Posted by: Kylie | July 06, 2011 at 07:27 PM
I have the ornament kits to finish, too. thank you for the reminder!
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 06, 2011 at 10:10 PM
My cross-stitching bug always seems to flare up in the summer. I love popping my project in a ziploc (as well), grabbing and going! Love this crewel project!
Posted by: kristyn | July 06, 2011 at 11:15 PM
I have the kit sitting on my sewing table, hoping to get started over the weekend. Erin do you have a flickr group? I made my granddaughter a twirly skirt a bit back...she loved it and I loved making it. and I did a knock off of one of your adorable baby quilts too and I love to show you. I have them both in my flickr group and of course I credited you as my source and inspiration.
Posted by: Mary Ann | July 06, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Thanks for asking, Mary Ann. My flickr group is here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1523205@N24/pool/with/5825734326/
I can't wait to see what you made!
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 07, 2011 at 07:59 AM
I just got the kit last week and have been having such a lovely time with it. Isn't that Appleton wool just divine?
Posted by: Emmmylizzzy | July 07, 2011 at 10:25 AM
this is inspiring me to give it a try! i love it. i have recently (
Posted by: Jennifer | July 07, 2011 at 12:26 PM
I have gotten back into stitching too. I did alot of stitching while my daughter and I sat in NICU with her daughter. Very relaxing and calming....
Posted by: Suzanne | July 07, 2011 at 01:21 PM
oh, pretty alphabet!
Posted by: annalia | July 07, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Love, Love this sampler! I tried to order the kit and it was sold out - will definitely get the pdf pattern - can't wait! I have recently re-discovered needlepoint (projects that were put away unfinished, of course)and love it. I have a project bag that I bring to baseball, soccer, in the car, etc. and pick it up whenever I can. So much easier than knitting/crocheting as I can pick it right up again and it stays interesting! Your sampler is beautiful and I can't wait to see it finished.
Posted by: kathy | July 07, 2011 at 09:17 PM
I love the way you locate the letters along your itinerary, Erin.
I've been thinking so much lately about the specificity of handwork -- of how what I make binds me in new and lovely ways to the place/time that I made it. "This was the Philadelphia sweater, and that one, the Seattle cardi..."
Can't wait to see it finished. (And I can't imagine actually walking in to Purl Soho. Holy cow.)
Posted by: Molly | July 07, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Oh, if you ever get the chance, go to Purl. It's one of my very favorite places!
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | July 08, 2011 at 06:53 AM
there are few things i love more than samplers. this is adorable erin! can't wait to see the whole alphabet.
Posted by: molly | July 08, 2011 at 10:02 AM
I love this sampler and I love that you put yours on aqua! It looks beautiful so far! I'm thinking about buying the PDF since the kits are sold out now but I haven't done so good with transfering, I really want to stitch up this sampler though!
Posted by: Casey | July 08, 2011 at 12:51 PM
I used to do a lot of crewel. The colors you've chosen are gorgeous. I knit a lot now...can't wait to see your finished project.
Posted by: M is for Maga | July 09, 2011 at 12:45 AM
I stitched the A on the beach, started the B too. I can't wait to do more.
Posted by: Mama Urchin | July 10, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Erin I absolutely love this pattern, and I love the way you are stitching it. I am still working the Alicia pattern I started a couple of months ago. I stitch for a few minutes, and am immediately relaxed
Posted by: Account Deleted | July 11, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Gorgeous pattern! That would be great for forcing me to learn some new stitches ...
Posted by: Emily | July 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM