Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life before knitting

Hi all! I'm back and it's actually been less than a month since I last posted! I'll wait while y'all recover from the shock :)

Thank you all for the lovely compliments on Mom's Lace and Ribs Tee! She's really happy with it too, she's already worn it three times! (which is more than I can say for some of my other handknits!)

I also got so many nice compliments/inquires on my cross stitch sampler that I thought it would be cool to show y'all evidence of my crafting life BK (before knitting, hehe)

Actually, I learned to knit 30+ years ago when I was 8 and kept it up pretty much til I moved to Florida in 1989...because there were no LYS (and no Internet!!) back then I had no access to any decent non-K-Mart, one step up from being a Hefty Bag ack-ryllic, so there was no knitting here at Chez FKD!

Of course, being a true knitter at I did have a stash, albeit a puny, well-traveled one but if I used that yarn, it would be gone (I have since used most of it but I do have a sweater's worth of Tahki Soho Bulky Tweed that I actually bought when I was in high school!)

So being of a crafty nature, I lept full force into my other favorite craft - counted cross stitch!

I learned when my BFF came home on college breaks as she went to DukeUniversity in North Carolina and counted cross stitch was mostly a "Southern" craft back then...she learned and then taught me and would send me kits and fabric from NC. Plus those were the pre-Internet days where if you wanted something that wasn't locally available, you actually looked thru a catalog and "mail ordered" it!

When I finished college, I moved to Virgina (2 towns away from said BFF) and really got into the craft. Even tho I was actually knitting back then, in fact I was teaching knitting in my LYS I was completely smitten with cross stitch. I loved that you started with a totally blank canvas and you created the picture from nothing! Plus I loved all the beautiful colors of the shiny DMC floss and the intricacy of the patterns.

So I give you some of my work over the years.....(click to embiggen as always!)

I've always lived near the ocean and had a fascination for the sea and beautiful tropic fish. This is one of the first pieces I ever created and resides at my front doorway:

Keeping with the sea creature theme as well as my lifelong enjoyment and fascination with Koi, here are the pieces that adorn my hallway:

The crab and the fruits are cross stitch, the koi fish kites are needlepoint done with cotton floss.

Here's another sea-flavored it any shock that I was born in Florida and grew up in a town named Oceanside? :)

As well as being obsessed with the sea, hehe, I LOVED doing cross stitch samplers!
I love the intricacy and all the different personal touches the original designer would add as most of the samplers I've done have been reproductions of antique samplers. These samplers were used by the young girls of their time to learn their ABC's and hone their "womanly skills" of sewing and stitching!

Here's my first sampler:

It's a Danish sampler worked on cream colored linen. You can see I completed it in 1981 while I was in college and it was one of the kits I ordered before I moved down south.

This sampler was also a kit. It's called a Freisland Sampler because it is in the style found in the Freisland region of northern Holland.

This is also done on cream colored linen. Just looking at this reminds me of how much fun they are to make! I didn't date this one but I believe it was completed in the early '80's too.

Both these samplers reside in my boudoir :)

Here's another peek at the sampler in my living room that my Mom was posing in front of.

This is a modern day sampler (not an antique reproduction) and was SO FUN to make!! It took me two years to complete because what looks like "simple" cross stitch is actually many different, complex crewel and embroidery stitches combined with cross stitch stitches. Each one of those flowers on the border took me about two hours EACH to complete! I finished this one in 1988.

Last but not least, this is a bell pull that hangs on my bedroom wall. A bell pull was used in Victorian times to summon the servants but no matter how much I ring the bell, none of "the servants" ever show up, dagnabit! Heheh...

This is a special fabric called Teramo which is a thicker linen with decoratively woven panels alternating with standard cross stitch panels.

It's a bell pull that represents the four seasons and it's one of my very favorite pieces!

Here's a close up of Spring.....

And Winter:

Hope y'all like my virtual cross stitch tour! That's more than you've heard from me in the rest of 2009 combined I think, hehe....

I just can't help it, I do so much yakking over at Sock Knitters Anonymous (we're almost at 7300 members now!!!!) that I'm all typed out when it comes to blogging....but I do miss it (and my blog friends!) so I don't think I'll ever leave it completely. Besides, where else can I share my very favorite project who resides in my boudoir and anywhere else he pleases?

Happy Sunday! :)


Carole Knits said...

Your cross stitch pieces are all beautiful. I used to do cross stitch, too, and I enjoyed it. I like knitting better, though. It's more portable and the finished piece doesn't have to be framed (a major expense!) in the end. LOL

Leslie said...

Thanks for the cross stitch tour - you're phenomenal in everything you do :)

And I recently finished a pair of socks in less than a month. Somethings WRONG with me, I tell' ya!

Cookie said...


I used to cross stitch, too. I'm starting to think there are a lot of us out there. *L* Thanks for showing us another side of your crafting life.


knitterbeader said...

I used to do counted cross stitch, too. In fact I have 2 out of a set of 3 Old World Santas completed, and just need to "get on it" for the last one. I find my eyes get really tired so I revert to my knitting these days. Maybe your page will inspire me to get to the last Santa. Thanks for showing the pictures.

KSee said...

I only have about 4 of my own needle projects all the others were given as gifts. I also did a bell pull but it is all needle point.

Lovely work. Beautiful.

SusanB-knits said...

Beautiful cross stitch pieces! I also cross stitch and needlepoint. But knitting has taken up most of my time lately.

Rebekah (Knit Knack) said...

Oh lovely samplers! I have one that my grandmother did when she was a very young pride, its my pride and joy.

I've never been too good at needlework though, I get started and just give up.

Anonymous said...

We share the same two passions. I'm trying to get cross stitch back into my life, balance it better with the knitting right now. I have a series of sampler patterns waiting in the wings. (Just like a knitting queue!)

You do beautiful work!

Nana Sadie said...

It's good to see you here, and Wow - everthing is gorgeous! (ok...especially that LAST photo, but you know I adores me photos of the P-Man! (pretty bedspread, too)

Your stitching is beautiful...I used to cross-stitch..should try to dig out the few I kept for myself! lol

I can't see the weave now - went back to knitting when that happened!

Jan said...

Beautiful cross stitch!!! I'm not so hot at cross stitch, but can do a mean Hardanger, even doing my own designs now. I just remembered that the County Fair really wants me to enter a piece this year, and I haven't done anything toward that end. Gotta remember that!

Debbie said...

Oh my word!!! I didn't think there was anyone else in the world who had done that Holland sampler but me. I bought the thing 25 years ago in a shop in Dallas when I was in nursing school. It took me until recently to actually finish the thing.

Anonymous said...

I think we must be sisters! I also learned to knit 30 plus years ago, but cross stitched for many many years. Beach themes and sammplers are my all time favorites and now I'm addicted to knitting (and of course the PMan ;))

Thanks so much for sharing your cross stitch treasures, they are GORGEOUS!

Cathy said...

last post was from me ;)

Norma said...

Wow, the cross-stitch pieces are lovely! I tried that once or twice when I was younger, but don't have the patience for it.

I picked three four-leaf clovers yesterday and they are being pressed right now. If they turn out well, I need your address so I can send them to you. :)

gray la gran said...

i LOVE the tropical fish sampler. my father is a diver and would certainly love it too ... but i don't think i'm going to pick up another hobby (well ... not with all my sock orphans in need of mates).

i too have a sweater's worth of soho bulky tweed from way back. i'm sure it's not yarn you'd need for florida weather, and i can't say i'd need it much for north carolina weather (though, i do enjoy my lite lopi sweater in the winter).

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Beautiful work! I've always loved cross stitch. Want to do more but now I need magnifying glasses to work on 'em. Not so much with knitting unless I use tiny tiny needles, LOL.

madonnaearth said...

With your cross stitch, do you work rows all the way across or do you go by color placement? I used to be all over the place with mine.

Debi said...

I have no way to contact you Madonna...

I work all of a particular color in a section (or on the whole piece if possible) Working row by row will make you NUTS!!

I always start with lightest esp. white to darkest because if you do the opposite, you can pick up dark "threads" in the light colored areas!


Batty said...

Strangely enough, I also started out with cross stitch, and I have a 9-year-old UFO to prove it. I want to finish it and start something else, but socks keep getting in the way. Go figure.

Susan said...

SO beautiful! I did one - and only one - sampler. Took an entire year of working on it every single day. I was so sick of looking at it I gave it to my mom, who loves it. :)


KnittySue said...

I'm a fellow cross stitcher/knitter and loved your tour. I've quilted fish quilts but never cross stitched them...Lavendar and lace angels have been my love over the years, right now it's Lady Liberty but I'm getting worn out from the enormity of the projects...I think I'll do some fish next.
Thanks for the inspiration.

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