To introduce the month of August, my blogging friend Sandy posted pictures of her cross stitched sun flowers. When I opened her blog that day, my heart jumped with delight to see her cheery yellow-gold flowers. Her post, titled "Oh August" just lit up a spot in my soul and I knew I needed to make a sunflower for myself!
I gave up cross stitch some ten years or so ago due to eye strain and my love for quilting by machine. But as hobbies go, sometimes we just kinda run dry and need to do something else. It's that way for me right now with quilting.
Sandy often shares photos of her cross stitch and let me tell you, she is prolific! I had commented to her a couple of months ago that my eyes just can't see well enough any more to do that tiny stitching. She replied that she uses strong reader glasses, magnifying tools and good light.
With the inspiration of her sun flowers, I decided I could acquire whatever I need to do cross stitch. I went to the craft/sewing shops and met with a terrible surprise -- cross stitching books and patterns are not as abundant in supply as they were ten years ago. This discovery was very disheartening to me.
I checked on-line and found patterns, but even with enlarging and printing them, they were a little blurry and uncomfortable to decipher.
The public library won my heart with its supply. I found so many good books that I forced myself to sit at a table and narrow it down to only 6 books, reminding myself to not be greedy. There could be other stitchers out there, like me. Also, I kept in mind that my current goal was a good sun flower pattern. I could look for pumpkins, poinsettias, and other goodies after the sun flower project was done.
|library book with my sun flower pattern|
There were several flowers from which to choose, but this single one in a larger pattern was exactly what I had in mind.
I just wanted the single flower on a stem and had not decided yet what size I wanted this project to be. But accepting an unspoken challenge from Sandy, I chose 22 Hardanger. I wanted to put my reading glasses (strength 250), magnifying tools, and Ott light to the test!
Yes, I was pushing the boundaries of my comfort level after not having cross stitched in so long, but I felt I could do it and I really wanted that cheery sun flower to be on display somewhere in my home.
I have to smile when I say this -- I can't cook or sew or do much of anything without the help of my cell phone, computer and its printer. This project has been no exception. I snapped a picture of the pattern, transferred the photo to my laptop, enlarged it, and then printed it. This is okay to do when it's for my own personal use, you understand.
|selecting necessary threads|
One more incentive to do cross stitch is my fantastic collection of DMC threads in a box system I've had for over thirty years. After choosing which sun flower pattern to use, I read the pattern to list the thread colors needed and set them aside.
|center of sun flower is done|
I had to teach myself some tricks, like deciding which style of embroidery hoop I wanted to use, and (in the beginning stages) figuring out how to remember which was the top of the project. I no longer have my serger sewing machine, so I opted to use blue painter's tape to bind the raw edges of the Hardanger fabric. Next time I'll probably just use a zig-zag stitch on my [regular] sewing machine around those raw edges. The tape came unstuck and was a bother.
|me, stitching away!|
I love the peaceful time spent cross stitching. Podcast sermons by my favorite preachers and a huge variety of music on my iTunes playlists keep me entertained as the needle goes so easily in and out of the woven fabric.
Beloved is usually on the same floor of the house that I am at his desk or walking on the treadmill. We can visit or keep to ourselves. We like it that way.
With arthritis in my hands and neck, I do have to pace myself and make myself stop after an hour or so, which I hate to do. But that's how it is with arthritis -- you need to keep things moving but don't over do it or you suffer.
|current state of the sun flower|
Considering I was inspired by Sandy on August 1st and it's the 12th now, I'm satisfied with my progress thus far. I need to complete the outlining and then make some decisions about what to add to the overall design, or to just stop and put it into a tiny frame or make it into a decorative pillow, etc.
It's interesting to see how we can influence each other with our blog-writing -- for all kinds of things!