Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm in the Cross Stitching Slow Group

Those of you who, like me, started going to school in the late 50s/early 60s might remember reading groups.  Back then the teacher would divide her class into groups for reading.  This way all the children with a similar learning pace could be instructed together without holding others back who were a bit more advanced or getting too far ahead of the kids to whom things did not come quite so easily.  These groups aways had some sort of "code name."  Heaven knows no one wanted the embarrassment of standing up in class & going to the reading table after the teacher saying "Time for the slow readers to read!"  Each group would be named after a flower or perhaps a bird.  For example, the advanced reading group would be called the Bluebirds, the average reading group would be called the Chickadees, & the slow reading group would be called the Sparrows.  These names, of course, fooled no one.  Everyone knew that the Bluebirds were the smart kids & the Sparrows were the slow kids.

We are all Bluebirds, Chickadees, or Sparrows in various areas of our life.  Looking back at my crafting involvement over the years, I certainly have known many the Bluebird.  More often than not I have been a Sparrow.

Back in my quilting days there was a Bluebird in the local quilting group named Penny.  Penny had 6 children & she & her husband had a large dairy farm.  Penny helped take care of the cows.  Penny also did amazing quilting ... very precise machine-pieced patterns, each seam meeting exactly with the next, each point perfectly formed, intricately hand quilted in beautiful designs at 22 stitches per inch.  I swear to you, from the start (choosing which fabrics to use) to putting in that final stitch on the binding, she would whip out one of these perfectly constructed bed-size suckers every week.  Meanwhile it would take me a few months to produce any sort of pale comparison.

Then there was Sue.  Sue was in the local bobbin lace group.  Every month she would come to the meeting with a bag full of finished bobbin lace items.  Not just any bobbin lace items, mind you.  Intricate stuff!  Not Torchon lace which is often thought of as a beginner's lace because of its simplicity, limited amount of bobbins, & thicker threads.  No, Sue would make Bucks Point lace ... very intricate floral patterns with thinner threads, requiring the use of 100 or more bobbins.  Or she would make Honiton lace ... teeny-tiny motifs such as flowers or animals or houses ... anything you can think of really ... using a different type of lace pillow, bobbins different than the norm, & thread as fine as a strand of hair.  I joked that she had a sweat shop in her home where she forced a group of local women to make these things for her but no, Sue was a Bluebird.  Meanwhile, as per my quilting endeavors, it would take me a few weeks to produce any sort of pale comparison.

Then there was Dee.  Dee & I often said we were kindred spirits.  We were interested in just about every craft we were exposed to.  We quilted, we knitted, we did cross stitch.  We bought spinning wheels & traveled to Minnesota for a spinning workshop.  We bought looms & traveled to Montana for weaving instruction.  We tried our hand at rug hooking, machine embroidery ... you name it, I think we tried it.  One day we discovered we had both always wanted to learn to make lampwork beads.  No one in our town taught this craft so one time when my husband had a business trip I traveled with him to Detroit & met one-on-one with a teacher who taught me how to make these beads.  I seemed to have a knack for it ... "seemed" being the key word.  In that lesson I produced some surprisingly symmetrical black beads & my teacher praised my efforts.  I really enjoyed making them & thought I had found my niche.  I went back home & immediately invested in all the equipment necessary to make these beads, set up a little studio in our basement, & spent many an hour trying to perfect my new craft.  My level of beadmaking expanded to where I was making swirly designs, polka dots, & raised dots.  Dee was enthralled!  She had a business trip coming up & found herself a beadmaking teacher in the same town.  Within no time at all Dee was making extraordinary beads!  Beads that looked like flowers; beads that looked like houses; beads that looked like people; beads that looked like insects or animals; beads that looked like popcorn for pete's sake!  You wanted to pick those popcorn beads up & toss them into your mouth, they were that realistic!  Dozens & dozens & dozens of intricate beads were produced by that women on a weekly basis!  Dee was a Bluebird beadmaker.  I never advanced past the Sparrow stage.

Now it has become apparent to me that I am a Sparrow when it comes to cross stitching as well.  I follow the blog of a Bluebird.  I am not going to post her name or the name of her blog because I'm not sure if she would want me to ... & it's very early in the morning as I'm writing this & I don't want to wait to run this by her before I click Publish ... so for now she & her blog will remain nameless.  She turns out more completed cross stitch projects than you can shake a stick at.  Honestly ... her level of production is beyond belief!  Here is an example of just one cross stitch project she started & finished stitching in one day.

One day mind you!  And this is not a fluke project.  She has so many beautiful things ... hundreds (no exaggeration) ... each of which she has whipped out in just one day.  Meanwhile it takes me a couple days to do this ...         

I have about 5-6 hours invested in this project thus far.  A very simple design.  Ms. Bluebird would probably whip out a dozen of these, fully completed, in one day.  Me ... I'm entering my third day now.  

The rate of production in anything is, of course, not where the joy lies.  I enjoy cross stitching.  I enjoy each & every stitch I make.  I look forward to sitting down in my recliner each evening with Sophie on my lap & a cross stitch project in my hands.  Right now I'm wishing I was a little more Bluebird-like because there are many cross stitched gifts I'd like to make for Christmas & I'm just not going to get them all done ... but I am happy & content & enjoying myself in my stitching, even though I am a Sparrow, & with that I am well pleased   : )     


BumbleBeeLane said...

I say nothing wrong with being the sparrow.May take a little longer but the persistance pays off.Hmmm I'd say you take bluebird statis in the learning many talents catagory.Warm Blessings!~Amy

Tricia said...

Oh, my goodness, Shirlee! I laughed til I cried when I read this! Let's form our own club, ok?? I can't believe how much she gets done either - and they are beautiful! That's why I'm not joining any challenge groups this year. I made a personal challenge with rules to stick to, otherwise I try to be a bluebird (hence the 9 pieces I have started when before this year I only ever had one big piece going and one smaller piece for when I was out and about.) I read a quote recently that said something like "Gratitude makes what you have enough." and I decided that I was going to show my gratitude this year by finishing PHD's (Potential Happy Dances) and working on things from my stash... at my own pace. You're welcome to join me!! : ) We could call it Sparrows Stitching from their Stash. : )

~*Shar*~ said...

I know and dearly love this "miss bluebird" your speaking of; she does amazing things for sure..but im with you hun; I stitch kind of slow and do enjoy every stitch...your post sure hit "home" with me and Im sure many others....made me smile..

Hugs, Shar

Jessica @Blessings in the Country said...

There are quite a few stitcher's blogs who I am just in awe at all the time. I don't know how these Bluebirds do it. I am a Sparrow, and I'm okay with that! I love stitching, but I hate finishing. There, I said it. LOL :)

Faye Henry said...

I am a sparrow, too when it comes to stitching.. I don't know why I am so slow.. The older I get the slower I get, too.. grin...

TheCrankyCrow said...

From one Sparrow to another, I loved this post.....And even though I am a crow by nature, and a Robin by name, I will happily embrace Sparrowdom as well. I have never been "fast" at anything; nor will I ever be; nor do I aspire to be. :o) Smiles & Sparrow Hugs ~ Robin

Kaisievic said...

Hi Shirlee, I am definitely a sparrow, too! Nothing wrong with us, at all! I am absolutely wowed by your bluebird friend finishing that in one day! Is she retired? What with working full time, 3 young adults at home, DH and DFIL to look after, some days I am luck to get one stitch in!

Besides, I am a serial starter as well - nothing like the joy of getting a new project together, which is why I am doing the Ultimate Crazy January Challenge (where you start a new project each day of January and then aim to finish it before end of 2012. It is being run through a yahoo group - you can check it out at Yahoo groups - just type in CrazyJanuary2012. I think that Niina is still taking on new people if you want to join.

Hugs, Kaye xoxox

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renee said...

Uh~ well~ Shirlee,
What would that make me? A Dodo? LOL!
I still have yet to do this~ I study and study the book I have, I also have a little kit I bought from Joanns for practice! I am SO beyond scared, it isn't funny!
I wouldn't beat yourself up, that looks beautiful! I would LOVE to run into someone that does this here, I need VISUAL one on one instruction!
I think you are always too hard on yourself.
Have a good evening,