I often tell the story of my first fibercraft love: Cross Stitch. I was 10 and in fifth grade when my elementary school held a Colonial Fair. I was at my parents' house a few weeks ago and found this lovely pic of me at the event in 1989. The kids in my grade were required to work the booths. There was paper-making, butter churning, etc. I don’t know why I always do these things to myself, but I chose the sewing/fiber craft booth with literally zero experience. I'd seen some beautiful cross stitch pieces my aunt had made for the family. So there was some familiarity with the craft, but there was zero knowledge in the actual execution of said craft. I believe my mom took me to Ben Franklin’s and we bought a couple kits. The first one had the design printed on the fabric and the second one was “counted cross stitch”. It sounded so advanced. After many times of poking myself with that dang needle, I did get the hang of it and even learned to enjoy it. For years, as cross stitch waned in popularity, I still made my Mimi take me to Ben Franklin to look for cross stitch kits. They eventually disappeared, but boy, has cross stitch made a comeback!
I eventually learned the basics of sewing while adding ribbons and elastics to my pointe shoes and doing minor alterations to my dance costumes. I also learned other crafts growing up like the woven pot holders, latch hook rugs, clay, painting, and finger knitting.
When Bea was born, I started buying handmade crocheted hats from an internet friend. At some point, I questioned why I was buying them and not learning how to make them… For crying out loud, I have a BFA. I’m creative and knew plenty of crafty mediums…. I decided to learn knitting first (rather than crochet), because it seemed harder- yet more versatile. I started looking for knitting lessons and found A Good Yarn in Sarasota. I started slowly there and eventually worked at that shop. Working in a yarn store is the best crash course you can get. You see all sorts of issues and mistakes come in. You get to take classes and learn from your coworkers. You also have to learn how to cold read a pattern quickly to help the knitter in front of you: who thinks you have all the answers, because you work at a yarn shop. No pressure! You also become very well-versed in the mechanics of knitting, yarn weights, and the purpose of gauge. I’ve said many times, I would have never started designing patterns, if I hadn’t worked in the yarn shop. That was an irreplaceable experience.
Wanting to get back into stitching in a different way, I purchased two very-not-cheap kits to make the 12 Days of Christmas ornament series with Bea. I purchased these kits over a year ago, but I’ve been reluctant to start. It seems daunting to “learn” while you make a potential heirloom. I’ve been looking for a way for us to practice some techniques on a smaller scale. Serendipitously, I came across some adorable embroidery kits by Hawthorn. It was the Christmas Baubles Kit that first caught my eye, because it’s exactly what we need to practice our skills. Everything needed is included and we’ll learn all sorts of useful techniques. I’ve added that kit and some other winter-themed, beautiful embroidery kits to the KittyBea site. These kits are perfect for beginners and include everything except scissors. The mini kits would also make a great stocking stuffer.
Bea has a swim meet this weekend, but I’m hoping we can carve out some time to get started. I’ll try to document our progress and show off our fancy ornaments.