Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome and hello!

Welcome to my first ever blog!!

A little about me to start ... I'm a PhD student who reconnected with a former hobby to force myself to take a break from work. In other words, I found a way to take a little "me time."

My stitching history:

I taught myself how to cross stitch when I was young, perhaps about 8 or 9 years old. I used to spend the summers going to work with my dad at his office, where I had my own desk, a typewriter (I know, I know .. I'm THAT old), and the freedom to roam the small downtown area. I found a great lady who owned a craft shop that didn't mind me hanging around. She gave me a few tips and helped me get started. I managed to finish a few pieces, mostly samplers, but unfortunately I've lost them over the years.

Jump ahead 25 years. A good friend of mine was really into cross stitching and had some fabulous (and huge) pieces of her work on the walls of her apartment. I fell in love with them and asked if she would re-teach me how to cross stitch. We made it an outing, and with another friend, headed out to a great little shop called Gitta's in Mississauga, Ontario. Once there we picked up thread, patterns, linen, needles ... all the basics a girl could wish for!

I started stitching with gusto, but I had never stitched on linen before. I'd always used Aida in the past. I found linen very challenging -- my poor little eyes couldn't keep track of where my needle needed to go. I got so far on my first piece (a water dragon) and then had to stop. I just wasn't comfortable and confident enough with my stitching to try linen yet. That project is still on hiatus.

After that, my friend and I went on a trip to Michael's, and went on a cross stitch kit buying spree (well I did, she just watched and laughed at me). Anyway, I found a few cute little kits to practice with and regain my stitching prowess before I tackled a linen project again.

So in February or March of 2009, I started on a little kit -- a single daisy with a banner that read "Live Simply." It wasn't a difficult pattern, but it did give me lots of opportunity to practice blending colours in the needle and I was quickly shown how to railroad my stitches to get a smoother, more polished look. With new skills and great enthusiasm, I tackled my stitching.

Unfortunately, at about the same time, I was feverishly trying to finish my Master's in Education. Thesis writing, conferences, a defense, and moving cities to start my PhD all got in the way. My stitching slowed to a crawl.

When I started my PhD in Education in September 2009, I had made very little progress with my stitching, and was so busy that I had to put my stitching aside. Schoolwork was all I could think about. I didn't pick up my stitching for 4 months!! I was miserable and I couldn't quite figure out why. I talked with my advisor, and he got me to realize that I wasn't making any time for myself. How could I be happy if I never did anything just for me? I needed to make time for a personal reward every day. It took a little trial and error, but I soon figured out that an hour or so of stitching a day was just what I needed to wind down, to decompress, and to make me feel like a real person again. I know it sounds strange, but stitching is rewarding to me. It's somehow being productive, but selfishly so. Basically I do it because I love it.

The purpose of this blog is to bring you along on my stitching journey. Hopefully you'll enjoying seeing the progress I make on my stitching projects. Welcome aboard!

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