Monday, January 15, 2007

Musings on the stitching obsession.......

I was catching up reading Melissa’s blog ( today and I just kept thinking “That’s me! That’s me totally!” Sometimes I wish I could back to the days when I started cross-stitching – I liked stitching but I wasn’t obsessed like I am now. I think about stitching way too much! I don’t have much time to actually do it, but I’m always buying stash, recording stash inventory, planning projects, making lists of this and lists of that, organizing UFO’s, making up rotation sheets, reorganizing my stash, making wish lists, planning wall arrangements around projects I haven’t even started yet, etc. I send my UFO/WIP list back and forth between my home and work computers so I’m sure I have the latest one at both places. Like I should worry about my UFO’s when I’m at work! But I do. Sometimes if I have a slow day I’ll check the bulletin boards from work which I really shouldn’t do but I don’t want to miss anything of course. I print out my lists and put them in a page protector with all sorts of promises to myself about what I’m going to get done and when. I kit up projects and they sit in drawers for years. I have a stack of unframed finishes and things that need finishing work like ornaments. I stack up stitching magazines with promises of “someday”. I have probably close to 200 photos on my computer that I have saved from bulletin board posts – ideas of what I want to do or a picture of someone’s beautiful finish and notes on the linen & threads they used. It is crazy! Melissa is right when she says non-needleworkers cannot comprehend our obsession. I used to be obsessed with quilting but the stitching has taken over – I still quilt but not as much. I am envious of some of the online stitchers who seem to complete an unbelievable amount of projects. I try to tell myself they don’t have full-time jobs, have live-in maids and cooks and husbands who do the all the laundry! I’m kidding but I just can’t figure out how in the world they find the time to do it all. My life seems to get busier all the time and I’m not sure why – I don’t even have any children but somehow the days get filled up. My husband complains I don’t spend enough time with him. By the time I get home from work, make dinner and clean it up, give some attention to my dogs who wait all day for us to come home, it is late in the evening. . That’s when I get a little of “me” time and I frequently end up staying up late to stitch. This is a bad habit because the next morning it is all the harder to get up at 5:15 and go to work. Then when I’m at work, I’m thinking about stitching! I think that my obsession is fed a lot by being online – I don’t have any personal friends who really stitch other than an occasional Paula Vaughan or something like that. I have learned an incredible amount from stitching bulletin boards, websites, and blogs. But the more you see, the more you want to have for yourself! I know for sure that being online has increased my stash spending tremendously. My DH has always had a personal computer since I knew him in1989, but a few years after we married he said I should have my own and got me one. I thought it was a waste of money at the time. Now I can’t imagine life without my computer – I’d be disconnected from the International Stitching Organization! I might miss out on something! So technically can I blame DH for this problem I have?? :-)

Sometimes I think maybe I’ll get tired of stitching and move on, but so far it’s going on about 6 years of the obsession stage and it’s not lessening. I’m also like Melissa in that I am not good with decorating – just don’t have “the knack”. I have a friend who loves antiques and decorating – her house is like a mini-museum – everyone loves it. She has many of her walls filled top to bottom with things and it looks great. If I tried that, I know it would end up looking like a flea market. Not to mention that DH stresses over every nail hole in the wall! I tell him “what are walls for if you can’t hang things on them?” I admit that I will hang things when he’s out of town because if I decide it’s too high or low after putting a hole in the wall, he gets all upset. If I do it while he’s gone, I can patch up any errant holes myself and no one is the wiser . Then you have the problem of not having enough framed pieces to really do what you want on the walls – I don’t have a lot of wallspace in my home as it’s a very open plan, but some of the walls that do exist are big and you just can’t place one little picture on a big wall because it looks silly. So then you wait because you have plans to have this whole group of samplers, or Quakers, or whatever it is you like, done so you can hang them all up together. I also am trying to decide what to do about glass on my pieces- I have some older ones framed with glass. My LNS is discouraging of putting glass on needlework (even with spacers) so the last 4 or 5 things I had framed there I didn’t put glass on them. Now I have a mix of glass and no-glass. I have to pick one way or another. I am leaning towards museum glass –that would mean taking some existing framed pieces in and having them add the museum glass. I want a uniform look. I live in the desert southwest where it’s very dusty and we get lots of sunlight. I’ve read everyone’s side of the glass story and there are good points on both, I just can’t decide which way to go. Plus there’s the problem of seasonal stitching pieces and how to hang those so you don’t have to put extra holes in the walls just for a month at Christmas or Easter. Another one of my plans is to have a set of seasonal finished pieces for different times of the year that I could swap out – I’d try to do similarly-sized pieces and therefore making use of the same space & nailhole on the walls.

Well as you can see by reading this, I’m full of stitching plans and thoughts, if I could just somehow get them all done! I have not even addressed my quilting issues - I have 10 years of quilting stash in my stitching/sewing room. We won’t even go there…….not to mention the 11 kits to make Gail Wilson dolls ( and a rughooking UFO. I just hope I live a long time and am healthy enough to make use of all this!


  1. Ok, is this a club??? I think I'm a member!!! I can't get through a day at work without checking the boards. I am lucky enough to live only 5 minutes away and come home for lunch and stitch. It's very hard on the days someone says, "let's go to lunch"....I know I'll miss my stitching time. I'm an addict, I know I am....sigh....

  2. Anonymous6:44 AM

    Another addict here :). I have tons of stash but do actually get a lot of things stitched. I'm always rearranging my rotation schedule and such too. Although I'm in a pretty good rotation schedule right now.

  3. Funny that I read your post yesterday after having read Melissa's blog about both the obsession and the big blank walls. I've spent a lot of time (too much, really) looking at old quilts on ebay because I think a really nice quilt would look good on a 2-story wall or a vaulted ceiling wall, which I'm about to get. They're awfully expensive, even if they are both antiques and art, so it will have to wait.
    As for the obsession, I'm in the same boat. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. I buy things constantly, bumping down my "list" of gotta-start projects until they virtually disappear out of sight. I cruise needlework sites at work, and my BF complains that I spend the evening looking at needlework sites and stitching instead of spending it with him (watching tv--something I don't bother with because I'd rather stitch). Part of it for me is that my mind is far more active and creative than my job would ever allow. I don't hate my job, but I don't much like it either, and it just doesn't engage me particularly. I sometimes wonder if I could be more creative at work, would I need the stitching release so much? The net feeds this obsession, and so does the explosion in new, ever-better designs.

  4. Hello, my name is Liz and I'm a stitch-aholic. I haven't been sober in over 14 years :^)

    I read this post to one of my close, but not as obsessed with stitching, friends and she thought I wrote it, because 99% of it describes me to a tee. It's good to know there are others like us out there :^)

    Like you, I'm always organizing my ever growing stash, keeping spreadsheets of my UFOs/charts/supplies, wishing I had more time to stitch, updating my perpetual wish list, downloading photos & freebies from the net for future reference, etc... And my husband doesn't understand my obsession and says I spend more time and money stitching than I should. But I remind him now and then it is much cheaper than other hobbies, like the horse I owned when we first got married. Plus, stitching is much safer :^)


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