God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hidden Dangers of Cross Stitching

For the past few weeks I have been working on a proposal to give to my congressional representative which he can then present to Congress for a vote.  This proposal would address an issue that we all know is important to me.  Warning labels on cross stitch charts.

Here's my argument.  The name of the craft is cross stitching.  It lulls you in.  Cross stitching!  Whats a delightful craft this must be!  You have a little piece of fabric filled with evenly spaced holes.  You thread a needle & maneuver it through the holes to make perfect little x-shaped stitches until a lovely design appears.  You give it a try & realize that even a baboon could do it! You're hooked!

You begin accumulating cross stitch charts. You find them at shops that advertise cross stitch supplies & you find them at various craft stores.  They are always found grouped in a section that is marked or referred to as the "cross stitch section."  If you go into a store & simply ask "where are your needlework charts," the owner will respond "what kind of needlework?"  You will answer "cross stitch" & she will smile brightly, point & say "our cross stitch charts are right over there!"

You browse through the charts.  Oh look ... a chart featuring several lovely Christmas ornament designs!  And here's a chart for a pinkeep ... isn't it wonderful!  You choose your charts & gleefully carry them to the checkout counter.

When you get home, you choose one of the charts, choose your fabric, choose your threads, & anticipate the enjoyable, relaxing time ahead of you.  The photo of the stitching model looks lovely!  It & the accompanying chart may be a tad small, & your vision may not be what it should be, but that's no problem.  You have a daylight magnifying lamp.

You begin to stitch.  You are happily stitching one x after another.  Then you notice something questionable about the chart.  Specks of dirt?  Sloppy work at the printing factory?  You look closer & out of the corner of your eye you see a sentence, lost in the assemblage of instructions provided below the chart, which reads something like this ... "Use 2 strands of floss for french knots." WHAT?!?!?!?  Your are supposed to be working a cross stitch design!!!  CROSS STITCH!!!  The happy moments you experienced up to that point immediately disappear & are replaced with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

It's a cruel joke, I tell you ... a cruel joke played on unsuspecting cross stitchers everywhere!  This should not be allowed to continue & thus my proposal to my congressional representative.

Thankfully I have not quite finished writing my proposal for this weekend I discovered yet another evil deception perpetrated by one of the so-called cross stitch designers &/or their chosen publisher.  Specialty stitches. There I was, all snuggled down in my recliner for a weekend of stitching bliss.  It was, after all, IHSW!  I needed this weekend ... a weekend free from stress & anxiety.  There was a bit of a concern before the weekend began. The chart I had chosen to stitch, sure to result in a lovely project destined for an exchange partner, suggested using overdyed/variegated threads.  I'm a DMC lover & usually opt for the DMC equivalents provided for these threads, but this time I decided to toss off the shackles of routine & use the threads the designer suggested.  I stitched one stitch at a time, not my usual way of stitching & believe you me I won't be doing it again anytime soon ... if ever ... but I plodded along feeling pretty smug that I was going to all this trouble for my exchange partner, imagining the look of delight dancing in her eyes & the wide smile upon her face when she opened her parcel & saw the gorgeous piece of stitching I had made for her.

My time of serenity ended abruptly, however. There loomed before me some spaces between a few lines of the design.  They appeared, for a reason which in my opinion can only be termed blatant deception, somewhat lighter in ink color compared to the rest of the chart.  I put the chart underneath my daylight magnifying light & was gripped with terror when I saw the following:

Smyrna Stitch - Use 2 strands of floss.
Rhodes Stitch - Use 2 strands of floss.
Eyelet Stitch - Use 2 strands of floss.

A happy stitching experience gone to hell thanks to the evil trickery of the designer/publishing company.  I checked the front of the chart.  Absolutely nothing stated there indicating the inclusion of specialty stitches.  The chart cover photo showed the model far enough away that these areas just looked like a group of regular cross stitches.  The chart was purchased from an online cross stitch shop, listed underneath the tab marked Cross Stitch.  

Foul, I say!  Foul!!!  This treachery must end, & it must end now!  These smug designers &/or publishing companies cannot be allowed to continue to operate like this.  If a cross stitch designer feels the inexplicable need to include french knots or specialty stitches in her designs & still call them cross stitch designs, not making it known in big, bold letters that these knots/stitches are included in the design, then we must take it upon ourselves to demand change.  I propose that warning label stickers ... great big ones ... be immediately affixed to all so-called cross stitch charts boldly stating "WARNING!  SPECIALTY STITCHES AND/OR FRENCH KNOTS INCLUDED IN THIS DESIGN!" That's all it would take ... a simple warning label ... to end this reign of chicanery.

This is all I'm asking.


Dawn said...

You crack me up! Yes, i do know the feeling, i'm ok with French knots (usually), but when it comes to the speaciality threads, I only have a small amount but I have every color of DMC (my mom and I would stash when they would be on sale for 10 cents etc. It is frustrating to go to the LNS when you are looking for 1 color of GAST or other brand and she is out of it....ughhhh.

Have a great week Shirlee

Stitchy Mc Floss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoriU said...

Umm...well...I don't diagree, but you can just stitch it however you want to. I have just done cross stitches instead of speciality stitches many times...

geeky Heather said...

LOL...I think you mean a "crewel" joke!! I actually get bored if there's too much XS...I love specialty stitches (not so much French knots).

Kim said...

HAHAHAHA I usually ignore those and just do x's. French knots.....pfft Insanity!

Maureen said...

PLEASE!!!! no more government intrusions!!!! lol
Just keep cross stitching where ever the chicanery appears. Problem easily solved.:) You're welcome ;)

cucki said...

Hugs xxx

Kay said...

Hahaha! I'm with you!

Kaisievic said...

Shirlee, oh, how you make me laugh! I am with you - give me a lovely only cross stitch design any day - where is that petition? I will sign it right now!

Rhona said...

Too funny!!! What a great post. I agree wholeheartedly that there should be a warning labels....declaring that cross stitch is dangerous to your bank balance too!

marly said...

Well alrighty then! That's one of the reason I like the Scarlet Letter. Clearly states the stitches involved and skill level. But you're right, especially for small designs, you don't know until it's ordered and in hand to read.

The Maiden said...

Agreed, Heaven and Earth Designs are specialty stitch free? Giggle.

Prims By The Water said...

I needed a laugh tonight....and even though I am half French on my dad's side, I would prefer a croissant than a stich anytime. Cannot wait for the finished piece...oh and I will sign any petition banning these stitches. Take care, Janice

Maggie said...

Too funny :-) I hope we get to see the exchange piece when you have finished?

Marcy said...

lol -- too funny! Though I must shamefully admit I'm a french knot lover *blush*

TheCrankyCrow said...

You, my friend, are an absolute HOOT! Hmmmmm....I usually for "de-regulation," I sorta see your point. Our LNS's owner is an incredible stitcher, but she ADORES specialty stitches, so almost ALL of her patterns are laden with them. (Ummm...that's actually how I ended up in a Hardanger class if you can believe it....) I just don't do them often enough to have them lodged in my long-term memory bank.... But, now, French knots....those little puppies I love.....As I offered previously, send me your finished pieces sans the Frenchies, and I'll do them for you....and I promise to send "most" of your pieces back. ;o) Smiles & Specialty Hugs ~ Robin

Sally said...

Oh Shirlee you really crack me up and give me a much needed smile :)

By the way I HATE French knots!

The Merry Stitcher said...

lol I agree wholeheartedly with you! :)

Mii Stitch said...

Just read your post & was giggling away - I'm actually at work, not good! I just love you, everything you say is so true to a stitcher!!! ☺