Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Don't tell my mother

We are having a cold period, at the end of last week the temperature dropped to -27C/-16.6F as you can see here. Today has been just -10C/+14F, but the wind makes even that little frost bite into my cheeks.

It has been nice to sit by the fire and stitch. Even the tulips look like little flames.

My mother has taught me many things about handwork, certain rules how things are done for the best results. And naturally the basic idea "If it is worth doing, it is worth being done well". I made my first cross stitches around age 10, for my other Grandmother. It was a cushion with roses, something like this:

The pattern  was painted on the aida, so I knew where to make the stitches, all in the same direction. Wool yarns, big needle, not too difficult for a child. Mother told me that the reverse side was important too. I should not jump with my needle to the next place of that colour, and the stitches on the reverse should all be in one direction too. Very clear rules, and I tried to obey them. The result was good, and I enjoyed making something "for real". I think I have done OK here too with the top stitches, at age 19:

And look at the back:

I'm still proud of my work.

Several years later, I'm working on the Scandinavian Christmas. This is how my work looks now on the hidden side. Don't tell my mother! The border is cross stitch, and the long jumps are from the other embroideries in the picture. The pellon makes this mess invisible from the right side, and it will be hidden in the quilt finally, but I can't help feeling a little ashamed of what I'm doing.

On the quilt front, I'm busy making Maverick Stars for the outer border of my Crumble quilt, to fill the gaps between the words.

What did your mother teach you about handwork?
Happy Valentine's day to all!


  1. Very good lessons, as can also be seen from the result.
    My mother taught me to have confidence. She didn't know much about stitching and sewing, but always trusted me in what I was doing and always enjoyed the projects I made. She even uses a bag for swimming that I made about 40 years ago (very ugly, but I don't think I should make her a new one ;o)

  2. i won't tell your Mum, i promise. It all looks good to me, i wasn't taught anything about the wrong sides, nor even the right sides if i remember correctly.
    i don't know how you can survive those temperatures tho, i couldn't imagine -27C.

  3. Your secret is safe with me. :o) Your work is beautiful and surely you make your mom proud. My mother is a perfectionist and everything had to be as perfect on the back as on the front. I think it was that perfection that kept me from developing a deep interest in crafts until I was older and now I appreciate the perfection. Stay warm.

  4. It's hard to forget some of words of wisdom from one's mother although personally, I can't really remember any right now of what äiti told me.
    Your stitching is very nice. One of the first needlepoint projects I did was with my mother. We worked on it together whenever one of us had time. I think I still have that piece.

  5. Hi hi no I will not tell her ;-))
    You are doing realy well !! I envy you your skills ...

  6. Same rules for embroidery. Stenciled pillow cases were my firt work. Everything else was from a book or my father the ennginer. His view was everything is a blue print and if it says Baste then Baste.

    Your work is great like the stars.

  7. Brrrr...I have been watching your cold temperatures! I wouldn't stray too far from the fire! My mother and grandmother taught me the very same things. I think it's easier to keep the back of needlepoint good looking than it is for cross stitch and embroidery! I promise not to tell your mother! Your maverick stars are so pretty in homespuns!

  8. Auch ich werde deiner Mutter nichts verraten :-) !! Ich sehe gerade, auch du hast schon früh den Kreuzstich geübt (wie ich) und warst fleissig (ich nicht!). Von meiner Mutter habe ich das Stricken und Sticken gelernt und von meiner Grossmutter (die im gleichen Haus wohnte) das Nähen auf der alten Tretnähmaschine. In der Schule hingegen mochte ich die Handarbeitsstunde eigentlich gar nicht (und war froh, wenn die Stunde ausfiel!), denn was wir nähten, strickten war meistens nicht trag- und brauchbar ! Und doch haben wir daheim oft Handarbeiten gemacht (Kleider für die Puppen und später Gobelinstickerei für Stühle).
    Liebe Grüsse, Barbara

  9. Beautiful work and a very good question. My mother told me to do as much "fine" sewing as possible while I still have good eyesight.
    Hugs, Jan Mac


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