Nov 16, 2017

Yaay! She finished it!!!!

We interrupt the regularly scheduled program to bring you a story of triumph that is likely to get your heart to speed up and your eyes to tear up! 

At the heart of the story is a crafter who loves all craft and hoards supplies, but has a massive case of nonstartitis and procrastination. This May, she overhauled her craft room and in the process, unearthed an Anchor needlework kit that she had bought around... oh just 4 years ago? The autumnal colors had piqued her interest, but the kit had soon been interred in the pile that was in one of her craft cupboards. 



The crafter is inordinately fond of small projects that can be finished in a day or two. She had never been successful with a long haul that would need patient, incremental work day after day. "This time I'm gonna change that," she vowed as she had done several times before. I don't think she believed it herself because somewhere in her mother-in-law's house is a half-finished little doggie that was way more simple to stitch.

Anyway, she brought it down to her writing table and put it in a drawer, adding a pair of scissors to the kit. And as the room painting wound up, she tore open the box, and ignoring the recommended order of completing different colors, started with her favorite color red.


That was it for the first day. She found that it was easier to mark off the areas to be filled by a particular color with a pen so that she knew where to start the next day. She also, not very hopefully, decided to take a picture of each day's progress so that she could look back at it with pride one day - however far in future that would be... perhaps in the company of grandkids?

And then slowly the picture began to grow...



She set a goal of using up a particular length of thread that she was using that day, which took her roughly an hour. She tried to do it five days a week. Sometimes she succeeded, sometimes she didn't. But as a couple of months passed, she found the canvas buckling a bit - no doubt due to uneven thread tension.

Our crafty crafter checked YouTube for a solution because she couldn't put the whole work into an embroidery hoop. After a weekend visit to the local hardware shop for supplies she made this in half an hour! 


Yes, a lap frame! From PVC pipe! And she didn't let her usual process of finding a hundred obstacles in her head to make such a thing stop her. She did all the measuring, sawing and fixing herself! Making snap-on PVC attachments daunted her, so she decided to attach the project to the frame with thread. She also found black cobbler's thread a better option than ordinary sewing thread. Don't ask how she happened to have cobbler's thread in her stash...just take it for granted!


Housework, travel, fatigue and illness interfered with the progress of the project. But she left it in sight on the unused end of the dining table, shrouded in an old towel to keep away the dust. Her eyes fell on it each time she passed through and it even drew her eyes to it when she curled up with a book on the sofa.


Even though she was still taking daily photos, the work left to do often overwhelmed her. In the little places it was difficult to make out where the markings for one color ended. Sometimes the patches in the picture didn't match those on the canvas. Sometimes the colors seemed too garish for her taste - perhaps she would have liked an autumn scene in pastels? She gritted her teeth and went on...


Uh oh! She ran out of dark blue thread for the water! No doubt it was because she was ignoring the instruction to finish each patch of color, snip the thread and then start in the next patch. She just dragged the thread on to the next patch. When she looked at the thread list, she saw that she had completed more than half the colors... That was good! 

Making a note of the shade she would need to finish the dark blue patches, she left them bare and went on with the other colors...


She even became bold enough to use long and short stitch when the kit admonished her to use only long stitches... Take a close look at the light yellow in the sky...


Meanwhile she bought a new skein of the dark blue. But nearing the end she kept finding tiny little patches she had missed out on when using another color. So each day before threading the usual length of thread for the next day, she snipped off little lengths of other colors to fill in those patches.

And last week she suddenly realized that she was down to the last color - white! Energized by the finding, she put in unheard-of double sessions for a day or two until day before yesterday, the last white stitch was made and a frantic search for any more bare patches of canvas ensued.... Then our crafter, forgetting her advanced years and the fact that she had only recently recovered from a bout of dengue, executed a few war whoops and danced around the dining table.


It had taken her just 3 days short of six months to complete! 

She asked me not to show you the next picture, but I think it will be good for her perfectionism. As I told her repeatedly, her work is not going to be submitted for a needlework competition to need an immaculate backside...


Readers, she is cringing with embarrassment. You will be happy to know that she was so chuffed by her accomplishment that she went straight to her craft stash and pulled out a quarter-finished project that she has had... oh only since 2006...


She started on the yellow flowers and realized why she had put it away years ago - the motifs are tiny and the stitches proportionately so. It makes her go cross-eyed even in  broad daylight. So she has decided to complete the current bird, and save the rest of the Aida cloth for some other freehand project.

But true to form, she has her sights trained on some drool-worthy counted cross stitch on Amazon since Anchor doesn't make them...


and this...


Happily what with exchange rates and import duties, they are currently out of her budget. So, with a sigh she has dismantled her PVC frame and put it away for the next project. Let us look forward to the framed Perfect Paradise and the two completed birds in their own gilded frames.

The crafter's name has not been mentioned because she wishes to remain anonymous...

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