Cross-Stitch Crazy

SPARE TIME

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One of my very first hobbies was taught to me by my paternal grandmother.

My sisters and I would spend a few weeks with our grandparents in the summers in Oklahoma. On the more oppressively hot and humid days our Grandma McQuerrey -- who indulged us to no end -- would keep us inside. To keep us occupied she bought us hobby kits one year. Mine was cross-stitch and my sister's was paint-by-number.

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Cross-stitch is an easy hobby to learn, inexpensive to do and a great way to pass time on a dreary winter afternoon creating beauty.

She sat down with me and showed me how to fill in the stamped "Xs" with thread and needle and how to make a chain stitch to fill in the lines without the "Xs."

I don't recall how old I was at the time, but probably only six or seven (my two youngest sisters, 5 and 7 years my junior aren't especially vivid in these memories, so that is why I think I was fairly young.)

Anyway, those two little skills -- filling in "Xs" and lines with fabric have stayed with me, though due to infrequent practice (and less than a perfect attention span) I am very slow with my embroidery. I have a tablecloth project my sisters bought me while I was hospitalized about 15 years ago that still needs a corner completed.

One year when I was in high school, I was going to embroider sets of dish towels for both my grandmothers -- it was either Easter or the next Christmas I finally was able to give them their gifts.

But this is not a cautionary tale. Embroidery, at least in this most basic form, is a wonderful way to pass a dreary afternoon if there isn't a book or movie or nap that is more interesting.

You will note that even though it has been more than 15 years since I started that tablecloth project, I still have it at hand, should the interest rise.

Embroidery -- at least the way I do it -- is not an expensive hobby. You can find all kinds of inexpensive stamped patterns to use on linens and wall hangings. The needles and hoops are not high end and neither is embroidery floss.

The floss (thread) with its marvelous colors is the best part of the process.

The fabric can be simple cotton dish towel stock that can be bought in bulk or any other material that strikes your fancy.

Embroidery is easy. Just pick up a kit and go for it.

Kits can be found in fabric stores and online, they are also at the Payson Wal-Mart, as are the basic tools of needles, hoops, floss and fabric, and lots of stamped patterns.

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