I have led a good life.Adherence to the Golden Rule and a promise to live up to my Dad’s standard to be the epitome of standing behind your words. He was an excellent standard for that. Not just from his military history. As a human in the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s from every kid that you had, touched or live you impacted. A mother’s compassion knows no bounds. I came to realize that through the years even as an adult.
I won’t speak too much of my own mother. There is too much influence by my adopted mother’s stuff I won’t mention on this day that we honor those women who accepted their children for what they were and would become. Who wanted the best for their children, not imposing their twisted sense of right and wrong, or the “mistakes” of biological history as teenagers.
I am a fiber addict. No, not edible fiber – string. From floss to yarn, I am addicted to it all. I have enough of this delightful fun to fill a room (and have). To learn, to create to hold in my hands an object of beauty that I created – there is nothing that comes close to that moment of personal satisfaction. Ribbons and awards just reinforce it. I have had many over the years. Even for beading and “scrapbooking” (expensive but not as expensive as silk embroidery, and not as lengthy to complete).
My mother taught me basic knitting. Very basic, not socks and sweater, just cast on, cast off, knit and purl. Basic. Vogue Knitting, in 1983, taught be all of that. And Interweave. I was in it’s thrall, happily. My friend Joann taught me crochet and granny squares became an afghan gateway drug. Mom also bought me my first stamped piece of embroidery and a basic book and some DMC floss (another gateway drug, still addicted). That first surface embroidery was finished when I was 9. 9! With no adult help! I did it and moved on to cross stitch. I had fabric and so many colors and symmetric stitching was easy. Kind of like the pillows created by my Grandmother or the endless doilies. My grandmother sent me a kit for Christmas, a Scandinavian needlepoint. Rows and rows of block stitching in wool. It looks loomed when it’s done. But I had a taste of needlepoint.
Dad encouraged my “hobby”. His mother was an expert needlewoman. He knew what that meant. Dad bought me Sunset kits and Dimensions and more books on how to do it. Dad was my “dealer” and he loved it. It brought Dad so much pleasure to see me do it, it made him so proud. Seeing him smile was all I needed to go on.
Before my parent’s 20th Anniversary, I wanted to give them a gift together that I knew they would appreciate. Dad and I were at a Hoke Depot like store that had embroidery kits (something for the wived to look at while the husbands got their supplies), when I found a Sunset kit of a bouquet of yellow roses. I found the perfect gift! At least in my 14 year old mind. Dad? Can I get this please? He smiled and said yes, with no questions. Mom wasn’t there, thankfully. He never saw me work on it. I took it to school.
I was attending a Christian private school (reasons. Ack!). They believed, and taught, what roles boys and girls , so I had domestic skills. such as cooking and sewing. I did learn sewing, and Dad bought a sewing machine and I taught Mom (haha). A skill that paid off in latter years, but I took my Sunset kit to class and did my own thing (and Mrs, Singer of the perfect name, approved. I completed the stitching, even framing, in time for their Anniversary. Still have it. It hung in the or bedroom, over the bed, until they were both gone. It still holding up, though it was never under glass.
I have done Tish canvases. I miss her and grieved when she died because she was a heart-sister. I met her once before she died and she helped me pull the colors for 3 canvases. I treasure every canvass I have completed since her death which was far too soon. Nora Corbett and her mother Marilyn Levitt – how many designs I have completed or will. Nora’s Fairy Idyll, one of my best and awarded “complete” got me though a year of isolation and despair. She is my totem for victory. Debbie Patrick and her love of the San Francisco character and skyline – so many houses stitched, loved and shared. Nancy Spruance and her San Francis Scenes designs. A go-to for gifts and pure enjoyment. Barbara & Cheryl and their beautiful designs of beautiful houses, especially in the South. Countess others like Silver Lining with their roses and lighthouses. Good Shepherd and the multitudes of designs for yearssss. And all the others I cant remember with my broken brain, but gave my itch a good scratch for over 30 years, or 40 if I’m honest.
But one person – one woman I met, took a class from, inspired me to try something new, and “tiny”, you revived my passion for creating again. Maureen Apppleton. You creativity, passion for the art, committing them to paper for others to create. You are exceptional! From Violets [in (or scissor fob) to Bird of Paradise Scissor Fob. through all the rest that have given me hours of stitching joy, and nearly drained my checking account, I have enjoyed each and every one. You brought me my Heart’s Content. Even if they were tiny designs on 32- or 40-count silk. My visions has gotten more challenging, no thanks to Retinopathy and it bitch slapping me again with a new aneurysm in my right eye this time. When I get my hands on my stash in storage, I will pull out one of my WIPs and get to it, however slowly. I can do it! You showed me how.
Then there are the knitters. Hundreds of designers. Some I have met and had the honor of meeting, or the honor of enjoying with fellow knitters. A few stand out – sock knitters specifically. Ann Budd, Nancy Bush and Stephanie Pear-McPhee. I was the sock-queen in my knitting group, having completed over 150 pairs since 2005. I am a sock yarn addict, fed by Ms. V. of Lime & Violet. At least my name starts with a “V” Eliza. At least in English. And the span of pod-casters that renewed my knitting life. Knitting gave me a complete community that I didn’t have before (Ravelry: solslett). Just as EGA gave me a close family of women and friends who loved embroidery.
Fiber has been a constant in my life, it built my life and became part of me, part of my identity. It takes a village to support a portion of humanity, because we con’t do it on our own as individuals. Not day in and day out through good, bad and near devastation. That is what craft has taught me. Crafting is still seen favorably, but it depends where you are. Here, needle craft is seen as a hobby, something that takes no skill and makes no money. I beg to differ. Think of it’s history throughout the world? It is viewed differently in Scandinavia, but they still have National Costumes requiring an expert hand to recreate. An expert to design and create clothing to be worn after expert hands take the time to knit them. We don’t have that here, we don’t “need” it. How much have we lost through modernization, machines and technology. Seeing a woman knit brings us joy and awe, especially if she’s older. Just awe, or shock, when she’s not. I can’t tell you how many weird looks I got when I would knit a sock with 5 needles on the commuter train! It gives a chance for conversation and sharing your love, but now much to change minds.
Think about it the next time you see a stitcher, a crocheter, a knitter or someone else sharing their love in public. Happy Mother’s Day. There are plenty of them who know what I talking about.