I’ve always been a bit crafty. I branched out at an early age by doing bum prints while most other children stuck to hand and foot prints. That was about as far as I got in terms of Art.
I’ve never really been happy with my drawing skills. I can never get what’s in my head down on to paper (and I’m not patient enough for practice). I know my mother attempted to teach me to knit once (disaster), I also used a sewing machine during Home Ecc./Textiles lessons at school (my half finished appliqué cushion cover took a year). Freehand embroidery suffers from the same issues as my drawing.
But cross stitch, well that’s a different story. I must have been about 6 when I first learnt how to cross-stitch.
C, a neighbour taught me, I suspect as a way of getting me to slow down a little and to be more sedate like her two little girls. The first cross-stitch I completed was this rather bedraggled looking clown. I can remember doing it and hating doing the back stitch. I actually did the back stitch as running stitch and just went round everything twice. The second project I completed was the flower in a pot. As you can see, it’s much neater than the clown, helped by the fact I didn’t do the back stitch on the design.
I know I’d stopped doing any stitching by the time I was 7 and a half. That was when my Polly-Dog went to a new home (no, she really did, it’s not a euphemism) and M, the elder daughter of C, stitched me this picture of her that I still have.
M would have been 6 at the time, and the difference between her stitching and mine is amazing. I think by that time I’d got bored of it, I certainly can’t remember doing any other projects than the clown and the flower.
Then when I was 17 and in the local art shop to buy myself a set of flash aquarelle pencils (which I never used), I spotted a “Love is…” cross-stitch and decided to do it for the boy I was crazy about. I remember looking at all the painting equipment that I longed to own but had not the first clue about, and then spotting the cross-stitch kits and thinking “oh, cross-stitch, I know how to do that.”
I’ve had a project (or six) on the go ever since.