Dear New Stitchers
Dear New Stitchers,
I feel joyful every single time I see a new stitcher. You make me happy!
I am often asked for stitching advice. It’s the grey hair, right? I love it! But I think it’s because ya’ll think I’m old!! (I am to you so that’s okay!)
Here is my advice to you dear friends:
We have come a long way from where we were in the needlepoint world when I learned as a 6 year old sitting with my mother on our living room couch. I learned as a young girl that both my paternal grandmother and my mother needlepointed a little differently. The first time someone told me I was doing something wrong, I was about 10 and my sister’s best friend had a completely different approach to needlepoint. I remember thinking both methods work. I remember thinking “how I am doing it is not wrong” but I also remember thinking “your way doesn’t make it right”.
What I am seeing now 48 years later on Facebook and on instagram is people actually telling each other they are not right. A while back I posted a video on my IG account of scooping basketweave (a stitch that runs diagonally) and a person commented to another follower that needlepoint should never be done in that direction, that it can only be done in one direction and must be in a frame. I laughed when I saw the comment, because I’m a big girl and I can see through it but I could see how other might feel hurt by misinformation like that. I am appalled seeing bossy comments all the time on social media. I have heard equally appalling comments in person in shops.
We have come a long way over the years, that I - only one person, have been stitching. In the days when I was a girl, you went to one shop, maybe one more if you were lucky enough to go on vacation near another shop, and you did what your shop told you. You did what your friends or family told you….but what you didn’t do was constantly read about what others said you had to do or what was wrong.
Here is what I say to you my new needlepointers…. What you like to do is NOT WRONG. There are no needlepoint police (although some people like to play them in shops, online, or at gatherings.) What you do IS NOT WRONG.
Here is what I can tell you:
It’s not wrong:
1. To support your local needlepoint shop. (Find one which is lovely to you! They are out there! I have favorites that I LOVE LOVE LOVE and I am happy to tell you where to find them and why I love them!)
2. To buy online. These folks are business owners too, like the shops these designers are making money to support themselves/families in the way that feels best to them.
3. To stich on a frame
4. To stitch “in hand”
5. To stitch white any time you want
6. To stitch white last
7. To stitch on a plane, a car, a park, on a boat. It’s especially not wrong to stitch on a beach or on a boat!
8. To only stitch at home
9. To eat peanut butter cups and drink chai lattes with your cat on your lap while wearing your Disney pajamas and needlepointing while binge watching 5 seasons of the Bachelor
10. To stitch in your pet-hair free needlepoint room wearing gloves and using a hair straightener to make sure your fibers lay beautifully
11. To cry over your lost love, with snot dripping down your face while stitching kittens dancing under a disco ball
12. To do continental (that stitch that goes back and forth) for your entire life. It might take you little longer but honey, it’s not wrong god damn it!
13. To get super competitive with your stitches and trying to be the very best you can (trying to make other people feel small = wrong.)
14. To flip your canvas
15. To never flip your canvas
16. To do that fabulous steps and poles thing
17. To not give a flying fuck about that fabulous steps and polls thing
18. To bring small scissors on a plane, and maybe have TSA take something from you
19. To bring small scissors on a plane and maybe never have TSA take something from you
19. To show up for a gathering of a Stitch Club Official event or at your local shop (in a safe public place) by yourself, knowing no one. (imagine the friends you could meet!) (I recently sent someone to one and they loved it! Thank you Charleston Stitch Club- You the best!!)
20. To stitch swears or bunnies, or boobs, dicks, or dogs wearing tutus, Go for it!
21. To do what stitches make you happy! And to ignore the advice of others
22. Make mistakes! Needlepoint is not a competition. Needlepoint is art. Make art. Art has no rules. You are making pieces of art for your home or your friends. You are the boss of your art.
Over time we have gone from people isolated around the country each thinking we are doing everything right. The online connection brought people together, people with different ideas and they were shocked to find people doing things differently and sadly the needlepoint police was formed. Seriously, isn’t there some kind of Dr. Suess book about this? That Butter Battle book right??? I am going to rewrite this and call it the Frame Battle book!!
YOU, you wonderful millennial stitchers are breathing a new life into this fabulous art. AND YOU ARE NOT WRONG!!! You do you!! You make needlepoint the way you want. You are inspiring middle aged folks who never learned to stitch to get on the band wagon. Hear that! You are inspiring the older folks to start!!
My daughters will sometimes say to me…. “you do you, and I’ll do me, moooom” (insert sarcastic mom name with extra syllables.) Okay this probably means I’m bugging them to do something my way. It means “back off mom”, right?! But I get it!! I think it’s great! (Let’s not tell them I think it’s great, ok!) I do it my way, they will do it their way! I like that!!
If you want to learn how to do something faster, easier, or differently just ask. In the meantime, what you are doing IS NOT WRONG! You do you! I will just be here cheering for you!!
And in the long run, I’m going to learn something new from you. We both know that, right?
GO! GO! GO!
We are cheering for you! Each and every one of you!!