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a different kind of string theory

A long, long, long-ass time ago, my grandmother did not teach me how to knit. Or to crochet. She taught me how to embroider. I was little, about six, because it was when my mom was ill and out of town, and I was staying with Grandma for a while. She told me how she used to dress up her plain clothes when she was younger by embroidering flowers or designs on them. She showed me a few flowers, and I remember trying to make a dog.

Even then, the French knot was my downfall. It was so frustrating for my little kid fingers! It was no surprise to me when, over this Christmas Break, I tried to embroider again and I almost went ballistic over the damned French knot. But then I found a really helpful video here:

I also got this book at Barnes and Noble:

It’s no frills, and organized by the type of stitch– not alphabetically, like one particularly unhelpful book I’d been looking at. I mean, if you’re learning how to do a stitch, and you don’t know what it’s called, how the hell would you find it? This one is organized much more clearly. There are superclear photos of the stitches, and superclear illustrations showing how to accomplish the stitches (Sidenote: Somewhere in New Jersey, somebody’s got to make an embroidery blog called The Stitchuation).

I also got, from across the street, an entire boatload of eco-felt and embroidery floss to experiment with. Felt and floss are SO cheap. Criminally cheap. I felt like I was really getting away with something, after five years of paying through the nose (relatively, anyway) for yarn!

Here is what I made:

Button with a running stitch

It’s the first thing I’ve embroidered for almost thirty years (Holy Shit, I’m old).

I also made this, this, and this.


Demonic looking snail

That's a bit blurry, and cuter in person

They all have pin backings hot glued onto them, and my big idea was that I was going to pin them at various times to my plain black coat or plain black scarf, to snazz them up. For extra sturdiness, I also hot glued matching felt backings to the felt shapes before I glue the pin on. Felt’s kind of floppy.

They’re a bit big– I’m going to do this again, but smaller, I think. Smaller would be more wearable. Right now, they are like tiny billboards. I like what I’ve done, and I’m being a little forgiving, since it has been such a while and I’m a beginner.

It was fun, even if it did make me cross-eyed! No wonder all those Flemish lace-tatters went famously blind. Or am I mixing up stories? Anyway, next paycheck, or maybe the one after that, I’m getting this:

It is so cute, it’s not even funny. If Amelie embroidered, she’d embroider this. And yes, I know she’s not a real person. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to be her, or the version of her that stitches.


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