Tuesday, 19 February 2008


After reading, needlework is the next passion I developed. Mom taught me to knit, crochet and embroider at an early age. Unfortunately I never developed past the stage of knitting squares and rectangles though at the age of 8, with a lot of Mom's help, I remember crocheting Pierre the Poodle whilst recovering from an accident (I rode my bike across the street and got hit by a car). I recently discovered modular knitting which opened up a whole other world. Exploring this further is on my extensive list of things to enjoy in my semi-retirement.

Though doing needlework is viewed as
homely (in the English sense of the word), I find doing needlework to be a sensual practice. I get a lot of pleasure from seeing the pretty colours, handling the textures and experiencing the dexterity of my hands. I also like the quiet space it gaves me to be alone with my own thoughts.

All through my 20's I was rarely seen without my needlework bag, containing a counted cross-stitch project. The bigger and more complex the better and it sometimes took several years to finish a pillow cover. My ex-husband even chose his cars to provide me with a separate light so I could sew during the long driving vacations we took. (I actually have two ex-husbands but for the sake of simplicity have decided not to differentiate between them here.) I fell away from doing cross-stitch when in my 30's I needed to do more cooking, laundry and helping with homework. It seems looking back that if I got to sit down I was more likely to fall asleep than count stitches.

My most recent fetish seems to be with using found objects, such as broken umbrellas and single gloves, and using crafting supplies I already own (including an extensive supply of embroidery thread). I once bought a sweater from a thrift store intending to unravel and re-knit it, but machine knit doesn't seem to cooperate very well; at least I've not had any luck with it: I can only get short pieces. However, having attempted to crochet with embroidery floss I hit upon the idea of crocheting 6 or more strands of ordinary thread with a small hook. Combining colours was great fun but it did use huge amounts of thread to make even a small rectangle.

Right now I'm crocheting my own 'fantasy yarn' using red and purple thread, some metallic thread and bits of string pulled away from a fuzzy glove I found on the way home from work one evening. It reminds me of poodle tails, having skinny shorn bits alterating with fluffy segments. I've no idea what, if anything, I will do with it yet, but I'm having fun with it, and that's the whole point.

No comments: