Sunday, 8 August 2010

What makes my heart sing: cross-stitch

There's something I want to share with you at the end of this pleasantly mild Hobart weekend. When growing up, I was always surrounded by my grandmother's needlework - embroidery, tapestry, sewing, knitting, smocking, crocheting, you name it.  Born near the turn of last century, she was a hard-working and resourceful woman with a 'mend and make do' attitude.  Her generation was raised in a tradition of needlework.  She had one of those fabulous old Singer sewing machines with a wooden cover and desk with an iron treadle.  I found it captivating to see her at work.  Here is one of her creations which I treasure, especially when I think of how many hours she must have spent making it.  How many tiny stitches went into the border, I wonder?
Nanny's handiwork
Being a teenager, however, I was always too busy to spend time with her and learn such crafts.   After I left school and spent a year in Germany, I returned with the intention of visiting her each week.  She had promised to teach me smocking.  Unfortunately, by the time I returned, she had started to develop dementia and we never had the chance to work together before she died.  This remains a source of great sadness to me.

Several years ago in my pre-PB world, I started to do counted cross-stitch.  It felt like in some way I was connecting with my grandmother by keeping up the family's interest in needlework.  When pregnant with Joshua, I stitched this Beatrix Potter creation.
Peter Rabbit
I then did birth samplers for Joshua and India.  I have nearly finished Sam's.  Here I am at work.
Another Peter to stitch!
The largest work I have cross-stitched is a Beatrix Potter (do you see a theme developing here?!) alphabet sampler.  Here it is, waiting to be framed.
Time to learn our ABC
Joshua is learning the alphabet at school and is delighted to be able to use the sampler to spell our names.  I am looking forward to all the pixies being able to use and enjoy it.  It took me two years and two babies to complete but it was worth it!  So that you can see the detail, I plan to reveal each letter over the months ahead, one at a time.  Stay tuned!

I really admire all you crafty mums out there who manage to create lovely handiwork in the midst of raising children and working. I am so inspired and uplifted by the blogs I read. I have bought goodies from some of my lovely followers such as Ashleigh at Mm is for me and Janette at My Sweet Prints. You girls are so fantastic in the way you juggle it all.  Here's to the sisterhood of crafters!



  1. Thank-you for the mention! Wow your work is amazing! I'm only juggling with one little one, not 3!!! Love the ABC sampler! Just beautiful!

  2. My pleasure, Ash! Thanks so much - I really enjoy it. Creating something is so satisfying and I like the idea that they will be passed down by the children in the same way I appreciate my grandmother's needlework. It feels like a touchstone across the generations. time to get back to it!

  3. Beautiful! I love to eborider and cross stitch, a legacy from a grandmother who started teaching me when I was about 10 or so. I love the feel of a project in my hands, though I will admit that I prefer pure embroidery to counted cross stitch - a little more freedom and less little stitches to count!

  4. Hi Val! Lovely of you to stop by - it looks like you found me through sweet Jeanne. Ooh, I enjoy meeting fellow cross-stitchers. You were very lucky to have your grandmother teach you. Sigh. Anyway, I still feel a powerful connection to her when I cross-stitch. And I know what you mean about having more freedom with embroidery. I have bought some delightful French and Japanese embroidery books but am yet to take the plunge and start embroidery. Do you have any tips? J x PS I have just become a follower of your delightful blog and added you to my blogroll.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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