2. Something New


How new does something have to be to be new?  I have new-to-me sunglasses, but they aren’t new-new.  The kids’ toys, which were new on Christmas morning, are having trouble being new to them now a week later.  Some things are new on the shelf at the store, but have been there a long time.  This thread has been in my stash for a while, waiting for me to turn it into a finished piece, a new pattern tempting me away from the ones I have in process.  But though it’s sitting on the shelf, it’s still completely new, untouched.  There’s nothing like a new pattern and a sheaf of thread skeins for me, the possibility, the excitement – with none of the tedious finishing details.  I love picking out a pattern, going to the store, sifting through the colors to find the set I need, going home and organizing a project to start.

I wanted to take a picture of a new pattern, but I don’t think a screenshot of a pdf counts for a photo-a-day.  And that’s how most of my patterns are these days – pdfs or jpegs of simple designs, downloaded from various sites.  The fun thing about cross-stitch (one of the fun things, anyway) is that there are lots of small designs out there for free.  DMC, Krenik, Brookes Books, Lizzie and Kate, Victoria Sampler; I have pulled freebies off of all their sites lately.  I have a stash of designs that are saved to my computer to be stitched “when I have time.”  A whole lot of the freebies are Christmas ornaments or Halloween designs – my interests just don’t lie with intricate designs and a lot of finishing work.

And of course, I have a stack of patterns that I have purchased – kits mostly, but some straight-up patterns.  Some of those came with thread, and some of them I have already bought thread for, and some of them are still just paper in the binder.  I’ve taken to scanning in my paper patterns and printing disposable copies to work with, rather than fighting with big unwieldy fold-outs.  Etsy is an evil, evil place for a pattern lover – there are TONS of designs (and most of them are simple!) for just a few dollars each.  I’ve held out against temptation for the most part; I haven’t purchased any yet.  I’ve favorite-d a lot of them, and even saved off some of the simple whole-design images.  I mean, where else am I going to get patterns for Dr. Who’s weeping angels (Don’t Blink!) or for Army of Darkness quotes (This is my BOOMSTICK!)?

One thing I face when I look at any pattern is: what am I going to do with this when it’s complete?  The Christmas ornaments are pretty straightforward – they just get hung on the tree.  Several of the designs on etsy are meant to be left in the hoop(s) and hung on the wall.  But beyond that?  I don’t do pillows or framed designs, and I feel weird finishing a design and leaving it rolled up in the closet.  That doesn’t stop me from doing so, and I have a couple finished pieces that just live in my top dresser drawer.  They are things I wanted to stitch, but now don’t fit my life (like my sorority crest).  Cross-stitch isn’t a hobby that appeals to a mass audience, so it’s hard to find someone who would appreciate them as a gift or to sell them on ebay or etsy.  I stitch these pieces because I enjoy the process, and it gives me something to do with my hands, and filling out all those little squares appeals deeply to my orderly engineer self.

Right now, I have 6 pieces in various stages of completion.  One of those has been in process for over 10 years (yes, I am shamed).  Another is a huge, intricate design that I probably won’t get to work on again until the kids are well into their school years.  Toddlers and 100+ color patterns just don’t mix.  Three of them are going to get completed this year – I refuse to let them continue to be UFOs (unfinished objects) any longer!  The others – well, they might get worked on, they might get restarted, they might just continue to hang out and wait while other new lovelies capture my attention.  That’s another fun thing about cross-stitch – you can let a design sit for years and years, and yet come right back to where you left off at any time.  As long as you don’t lose your design or your color key, there’s nothing stopping you from starting, stopping, setting aside, pausing, or continuing at your own pace.


7 thoughts on “2. Something New

  1. Yes! Despite having sworn to never again do another too-intricate project, I’m already poring over my pattern stash (of way too intricate projects, mostly!) trying to decide which one is next!

    And yeah, something about filling in squares just soothes me to my core. Nice to know another addict!

  2. My mom started a stitched blanket/wall hanging thing for a child. She didn’t know what child, hopefully mine, but I wasn’t pregnant when she died. She started it while she was dying. She spilled coffee or something on it and took it to her best friend to see if she could fix & finish it (mom’s eyes and endurance were shot). Sharon (friend) got the stains out and for whatever reason, set it aside in her closet. Fast forward to my baby shower about 2 years later and I got a package in the mail from Sharon, with a letter telling me about the contents. Mom started it, Sharon finished it…and it was about a baby boy, which I had. It’s like mom KNEW (not surprising, my mother often knew things that she shouldn’t have been able to know) and started it for me. I got a gift in more ways than one – I’ve known Sharon almost my whole life. I KNOW that blanket/hanging was made with love.

    All this to say: You never know when those projects will come in handy. That blanket/hanging was the one present to make me cry. I’m hoping I still have that letter somewhere so I can put it in Cole’s baby book.

  3. I don’t cross stich…but I quilt. And it’s HARD to find younger people who do. But I’m like you…I find a pattern I like…love the process of poring over fabrics and choosing just the right ones. Though I have about 4 or 5 started and unfinished projects sitting on my sewing table!

  4. So I’m not the only engineer who likes to cross stitch? Good to know. 🙂
    I started x-stitch abc squares in college, assuming they’d come together as a quilt when I had a baby at some point. Fast forward through 4 years of infertility where I couldn’t bear to look at it, and I finally finished it about 2 years ago. Since I went from 0-3 kids in such a short time, the plan is to hang it on the wall at some point. After 7-10 years of working on it, it should be a piece of art!

  5. And just because I like to share – if you don’t have enough patterns in your to-do stash, you can go browse etsy or search pinterest for cross-stitch freebies. I have a problem, obviously 🙂

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