The fiber crafts have been my lifelong passion. I learned to crochet when I was a child and became a doily and potholder entrepreneur, peddling them to the neighbors. I learned to knit in my twenties, and my kids got socks. At midlife and beyond, it was quilting, spinning, weaving, felting–all of which are lovely but require space. A lot of space. More space than our small cottage affords.
So for the past five or six years, my passion has been counted cross stitch, which satisfies my soul and can be done in my reading chair. My idea of a blissful evening is a cross stitch project in my lap and an audio book in my headset. Pure contentment.
I like large pieces (I don’t have to spend time looking for the next perfect project) with a lot of visual variety (to hold my interest) and some challenge. (But not too much. I don’t handle frustration very well.) The large (14″ x 19″) project in the photo (a kit called “Winter: Birches”) took 13 months and was a cool pleasure to work on over a very long, very hot Texas summer. I intended to take it for framing last week, but Covid-19 nixed that plan. So much for intentions.
The next cross stitch project: “European Bistro.” It’s a little larger than “Winter,” so it should occupy me for another year. I’ve started by gridding the fabric (16 ct. Aida) with a slick red polyester thread (Sulky Sliver) to make it easier to figure out where I am. (You can upsize the photo if you want a better look.) The threads are easy to stitch over and they pull out easily, too.
I’m a hermit by nature and cherish my home, which is also my workplace and my play space. So the Covid stay-home directive hasn’t measurably changed the routine of my days. We live in the country, away from the human-built environment, so it’s easy to forget about what’s going on elsewhere. And spring this year happens to be especially lovely here at Meadow Knoll, a poignant counterpoint to the catastrophes of the pandemic. Because I don’t see the crowded ERs, or the shuttered businesses and vacant malls and empty schools, it’s easy to forget about them or pretend they don’t exist. But they do. Every illness and death, all the closed classrooms, cafes, and shops–each one and all together, all are tragedies. We’ll survive. But this painful event will tear huge holes in our lives. It’s going to take courage and faith to get through it, together, alone.
At this time of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan, many of us are missing our congregations. But please remember that it isn’t just churches and synagogues and mosques that are holy. Home is holy, too. Stay there, please, unless you are doing urgent work out in the world. But at home or out there, be safe and be well.