Stitches

I’ve taken up the friendly handicraft of embroidery. Yes, I am, in fact, turning into a craft-zombie. No, I am not retired or a grandmother. Yes, I’m coping with a raging case of transition. Coping, one stitch at a time. And, as it turns out, I love it. It’s physical, but not exhausting, It’s artistic, but also methodical. It is personal, it is versatile, I can do it while drowning in Netflix (Parks & Rec, Scrubs, and CALL THE MIDWIFE !!!) or keeping an eye on the kiddos I nanny at the playground, and it makes me feel like I’m contributing to the world in some way. So many wins in one tiny, hooped package!

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This could be the start of a life’s ambition. I definitely have entertained the thought of opening an Etsy shop and selling hip artsy stitched hoops of things like cacti or street signs or suburban homes (this girl is doing it, and she seems like the most fantastic person in the world). In fact, I’ve  more than entertained it. I’ve imagined my way though the whole business endeavor–the packaging, creating the shop, stitching a hoop-a-day, picking out flosses, maybe painting the hoops to make it all artsier, figuring out what the gaps in the market are, becoming a full blown artisan/entrepreneur/blogger, and taking over both Pinterest and the entire internet one stitch at a time. I can imagine it, and the potential is right there in my tiny hands and my humble embroidery hoop.

And yet.

I literally started embroidering last week. 

I am the least business-y person maybe in the whole world. 

I know, like, five stitches. 

AND YET.

More than that, there’s this mega-dream of teaching theater which is what I actually want to do and dream about and plan. I’m covering it up with my disillusionment and embroidery floss. Really, this whole embroidery hoop-la is merely a side effect of the bigger things happening in my heart and life. Procrastination. Fear. Tentativeness. Worry. I don’t know how to begin. In fact, in this season of my life, I can not get myself to think about the things I actually want to do. I can’t write the emails to my theater mentors asking for advice and help. I can’t scan the job boards. I can’t do research on teaching artist work in Chicago. I can’t write cover letters. I can’t send my resume. I can’t do it. My heart is too tender, this move is too fresh, I’m still too floaty, I haven’t settled enough. And, I’m afraid it won’t work.

And I’m telling myself that that is okay.
I don’t have to do it yet. I don’t have to immediately launch myself into the perfect career. I don’t have to realize all of my ambitions at age 22. I don’t have to work so hard. I can wait until I’m ready. I know that there will be a day when I can’t wait one more minute to send the emails and revise my resume and write cover letters so good they can’t be thrown out. Today is not that day.
Today is for marriage. Today is for baking. Today is for looking out the window. Today is for doing the dishes and poems and dancing and kissing my husband and texting my girlfriends and doing the laundry and reading novels and journaling and reading blogs and drinking coffee and playing card games. And today is very much for embroidery. I’m taking care of myself and slowing down. One stitch at a time.

How it all went down:

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Picking out the colors was easily my favorite part of the entire hoop-la. 

I started out by learning five stitches (via the ever crafty and helpful Pinterest) as well as creating a pretty intense inspiration pin board which you can see HERE

I made myself a little cheat sheet. 

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And kept track of all the colors of floss i bought at my neighborhood JoAnne Fabrics (bless). 

Then I got to stitching. I started with split stitch, and then I never stopped. 

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My first project was a sampler of sorts that turned into mountains, but it isn’t very pretty so I’ll keep it to myself.

BUT THEN, I hit a groove and began making a stitched rendition of a graphic that is very dear to my heart.

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Here we are in progress. 

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And here is the finished hoop, which I gave to one of my dearest friends for her birthday. 

It really just belonged to her all along, I think. 

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Then I bought myself a basket at the Wheaton Goodwill (aka the best goodwill in the world. Half of my belongings are from this single store)…

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…and put things inside. Every stitcher needs a good stitching basket. Irresistible. 

My next project was inspired by the handmade wedding quilt that Isaiah’s grandmother gave us. 

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It’s an extraordinary quilt and perhaps one of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received. I wanted to honor it by recreating it in stitches. 

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I drew the design on my fabric with pencil and stitched away!

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Here is the finished hoop. It’s hanging by our bed. I haven’t completely trimmed the muslin yet. I want to put some sort of backing on it, I think. 

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My latest project is another quilt pattern. I love the repetition of it, the calm colors, the stars and squares. 

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Here’s a close up of some of the details. I’m obsessed with these colors. A lot of them are the same ones from the other stitched quilt. 

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Here is my current project as it stands now. More to do!

I’m going to keep on stitching! I definitely still need to gain skill to do some of the projects that I really want to do eventually. But, for now, I’m loving stitching quilts during the quiet, soft parts of my day, while sitting with my husband on the couch and sipping tea lattes. It’s a lovely life, friends. I’m all kinds of grateful.

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