Miss Abigail has become quite accomplished at embroidery. Besides making the prayer pillow, this year she has embroidered a denim tote bag for me, a baby burp cloth for our Erik and completed two other cross-stitch projects, as well.
The monogrammed flannel burp cloth is an upcoming baby gift (don't look Kate!) The dishtowel with the little cross-stitched colonial girl is one of a set that Abigail is working on for her hope chest. She plans to do a second towel, with green thread, to match her crocheted dishcloth.
Cross-stitch, as a stitch, is a little harder to do well than it might seem. Abigail has found it a challenge to make the crosses even and to remember to always cross in the same direction. It has been a little difficult to learn to plan for future stitches and how to decide where to go next when following the printed design. I think, as she continues to practice the cross-stitch, that she will find it easier and easier to do. I really love to do a printed cross-stitch pattern. I find it relaxing to just follow the pattern, making the same movement again and again.
Of course, doing any project, when it is intended for judging, puts so much more pressure on a person. I sometimes think I shouldn't allow Abigail to enter any of her things in the county fair. It seems that children learn right away that anything but a blue ribbon is a disappointment. I worry that the additional pressure of working up to certain standards will make her hate the craft. Always I wish that I didn't have to be the one to tell her that something must be unpicked or done over. Some days, I am certain that she will eventually end up on a therapist's couch, trying to explain about 4-H standards and scorecards and winning blue ribbons.
However, my husband feels strongly that children need to have experience with competition. He believes that learning to receive and consider criticism is important, even if it is arbitrary or unjust. Since Miss Abigail is homeschooled, he thinks it is good for her work to be evaluated by other people. I agree with these reasons, but still I worry and wonder if this is good. Women are so prone to perfectionism, and as a perfectionist teacher, I can't help but think about how this rubs off. We perfectionist mothers always wish we knew the absolutely right answer for rearing children. How I came to be talking about this, when I merely meant show the cross-stitch, cannot be explained. So sorry, sigh... :o)