Artsy Craftsy Me

Now I’m an artsy craftsy person. I like making things. Or trying to make things as the case may be.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or follow me on social media, you’ll know that I love to crochet (I’ve written about it here). But there are lots of other things I enjoy. In the course of my life I have done counted and stamped cross stitch, knitted (terribly, I might add!), drawn, painted with watercolors and oils, tried my hand at calligraphy, made soaps, beaded necklaces, scrapbooked, and once I even carved a poinsettia stamp out of a potato to make Christmas wrap out of a roll of butcher paper.

I can get obsessed with a craft pretty fast.

But most of those were mere flirtations. I’ve mainly always been a big yarn, chunky crochet girl with the exception of a short-lived doily phase about 20 years ago. For years I’ve churned out afghan after afghan, enough scarves to strangle half of Alabama, and beanies enough for the other half. I’m in a crafting rut.

That’s why when I saw a class on embroidery offered at the Birmingham Museum of Art, I thought I’d take it. It’s time to flex my stitchery muscles. Learn something new.

The first class was this past week. We started working on a simple sampler learning the back stitch and split stitch. I made a rose bud with some sort of woven type stitch. And we learned something called a lazy daisy and a bamboo stitch. Very botanical.

It made me think of when Mama embroidered a spider web on the back pocket of a pair of jeans I had in middle school. Didn’t I think I was cool!?

Mama is an artsy craftsy person too. I would imagine that’s where I get it from. She draws and paints. When I was little she’d make paperdolls for me to play with, carefully drawing and cutting them out, and fortifying them with Scotch tape on both sides so they’d last. She also crotchets (lace with #30 thread! That’s really tiny if you don’t know.) and knits. She does needlepoint. She can sew and has made I don’t know how many costumes for me and Sonny Boy, not to mention a fair amount of clothes. And she and Granny made some stunningly beautiful quilt tops — Mama imagining the patterns and color schemes and then both of them sewing the pieces together.

But out of all the things she does well, I think embroidery is the thing she does the best. Mama can flat paint a picture with colored thread using all sorts of fancy stitches. And she’s meticulous about it. If you turn a piece of her work over, the back side is almost as pretty as the front. And every stitch is just as uniform as you want it to be. She’s got a real talent.

One thing I found out in the first class, is that I’m fairly clumsy with a needle and thread. Chunky yarn and a hook is a whole different ball game. I think I spent more time untangling the thread than I did sewing. But learning something new is always a process, and, as they say, practice makes perfect. Mama doesn’t know it yet, but once I dip a toe into the needlecraft world with this class, I’m going to get her to show me her embroidery secrets because I feel pretty confident that she could teach a class herself.

Then it will only be a matter of time before I’m embroidering on my own jeans … and samplers … and runners … and napkins … and pillowcases …