July 30, 2017

The cardboard and glue phobia

Some years ago we lived much closer to the South Pole, where it was cold and windy. We had a separate garage which was a very bleak place to be in the evening in the middle of Winter.  That's where my husband was relegated to work on his electronics hobby!

The alternative of working with soldering irons and electronic bits and pieces all over the lounge room wasn't on the agenda of this houseproud wife. 

Needless to say, interest in that hobby waned. One day a friend offered some good advice: "You need to do something with your hands. You are using your brain all day teaching students and need to do some handwork to relax."

At the time, we had a male colleague who was very good at tapestry - so good he had won prizes for his work. So hubby decided to take a leaf out of his book and a new hobby was born. He took to tapestry like a duck to water and enjoyed "painting with thread". 

He was so prolific that we spent a fortune on framing in the first year! I needed to slow him down a bit, so the suggestion was made that he tackle cross-stitch ... and he liked that even better ... and I could do things with the finished project other than framing.

And so began a number of years of beautiful cross-stitches being produced.  They became cushions and calendars, and box covers and wall-hangings. They made ideal gifts - for the many students' weddings, for the family, for friends ... and some I liked so much I refused to give them away! 

But then there was that kit! It was a beautiful fan and listed amongst the requirements to complete the project: "Cardboard and glue".  Those words were enough to shut my mind down and to put the beautiful completed cross-stitch in a drawer 
... for a very l-o-n-g time!

Fast-forward a decade and I saw that project in the drawer (yet again!!!). I've used cardboard and glue hundreds of time, so what was the hang-up? Paper craft may not be my favourite but I really needed to do something about completing that kit after all these years ... and get over my phobia. Would you believe it only took me an hour to put it all together. Why oh why was I so stupid and left this beautiful piece uncompleted when I could have been enjoying its beauty for the last ten years!

Unfortunately hubby's eyes deteriorated and he couldn't see to do cross-stitch so hasn't done many at all since this beautiful fan. With successful cataract operations, he sometimes says he would like to get back into the hobby again.

The moral in the story of course is to tackle things head on and don't be stupid like me!
And yes, all the above are my husband's lovely work!

Happy stitching!


Nancy in IN said...

Beautiful work. Congrats to hubby. I know what he means by hard to see. I have a Christmas sock, needlepoint, for youngest granddaughter that should have been done when she was three; she is seven now. Hard to see at night and that is when I sit and do handwork.
I will take your advice and get it done.

Magical said...

Your hubby's stitching is wonderful! Daylight lamps and magnifiers do wonders for being able to see things properly in the evenings - it might be an idea to try and look into that :)

Frog Quilter said...

Those projects are FABULOUS and beautiful. I was a avid cross stitcher before quilting. So rewarding!

Natureluvr57 said...

I loved X-stitch back in the day also. I only worked on Aida and they were more simple designs. My Aunt did more elaborate designs and I always wanted to make one but work got in the way. I got up at 3:30 so I could be ready to board a train to my job 50 miles away, work 8 hours, wait 1/2 hr for the next train home which got me there about 7 pm unless the train derailed which meant it was about 9 pm. After 20 years I retired and I got into quilting. But then I came across a picture of a Mermaid by Nora Corbett-one of those elaborate designs using 2 strands over 2 squares of evenweave fabric. I'm looking for a good frame before I start. I did have cataract surgery after I retired-I was about 53 or 54. I'm no longer near sighted & wear bifocals. I can't see up close now-it's all a blur but I put on some magnifying glasses (2.5 strength) over my nose in front of my bifocals. Viola-I can see those little squares and up close. I have a floor lamp that I put a LED light bulb in so it's nice and bright and doesn't get hot like the "daylight" bulb it came with. It also has a big magnifying glass but it doesn't reach over far enough thus the idea of magnifying glasses. I hope these 2 ideas for light and seeing better helps. It works for me.

Evie H said...

Oh, my! Your husband's work is beautiful. I love the finishes of cross-stitch, but hate the tediousness (is that a word?).

Pauline Perry said...

I am so glad that you managed to complete the fan cross stitch kit - it is beautiful and I appreciate your message not to procrastinate. Your husbands work is beautiful and hopefully he will return to cross stitch and enjoy it once again. I enjoy everything you make Val and I look forward to your posts.
perry94022 at hotmail dot com

Pieta Laker-Ratcliff said...

Beautiful pieces and I can agree that it would be hard to part with them. My father took up tapestry when he was confined to hospital with malaria after spending some time in New Guinea.
I still have one piece that wasn't finished and your post has inspired me to get it out and finish it.

Little Penpen said...

Such beautiful cross stitch work! I used to cross stitch but never did anything with so much detail like he did. I enjoyed making samplers. My eyes don't enjoy it like they used to either!

Nanna Chel said...

Wow Val, such beautiful work your hubby has done. I used to do cross stitch back in the day but it would be too hard on my eyes now unfortunately. Years ago it wasn't a problem at all :-(

Veronica Wylie said...

Val, I take comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who leaves unfinished projects for so long! Glad you were able to beat that phobia once and for all 😃 2 Tim 1:7

Gina E. said...

Ha ha Val, I think all your readers must be around the same age group! I too used to do a lot of embroidery and cross stitch, but it wasn't my eyes that slowed me down, it was the pain of arthritis in my hands which sent me in the direction of patchwork and quilting on the sewing machine. Your hubby's work is exquisite; I have also known men to do stunning tapestry and cross stitch so it doesn't surprise me to see what your husband has done, but I have to admit to being envious of the high standards and complex patterns, none of which I could ever achieve!

Tamara Bain, Canada said...

Val, I still do cross stitch from time to time - the last two were to continue the tradition I started by making cross stitch birth announcements when my nieces were born. These last two were great-nieces and no, we don't have any nephews. None of my pieces can hold a candle to the beautiful work your husband has done. Men can be very gifted crafters. The best aran knitter I ever knew was a man. While I am rambling I want to take a moment and thank you so much for your quilt patterns. I, and now a friend I introduced to you, are making this year's God's wardrobe. I had to make myself a hanger for the last one. God bless you and your hubby.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with his work, and that fan is especially beautiful. How great that you two can share a love of stitching.