Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cross-Stitch Projects

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)


  1. The excitement of winning any ribbon is fun. Our state fair does blue for 1st, red for 2nd and white for 3rd. Whenever my girls get red or white, they evaluate what they did, and how they could have done it better. It all looks good! She is doing a great job on the cross stitch.

  2. Ribbon frustration is tough, but offers teaching opportunity. We try to enter the fair with the mindset of - look what was learned; accomplished. The ribbon is icing on the cake, and the critique of others offers us an outside view of our work.

    Her stitches look beautiful- so even and straight; well done!

  3. Thank you both for the comments. The competition certainly is an opportunity to evaluate and to learn how to be a good sport. I DO like how the fair is a deadline to get things finished up. Miss Abigail tends to take her time with things. If we never had an end date for projects, who of us would ever get a thing done? ;o) There is that very wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

  4. I just found your blog. My mom had a hope chest and let me fill it with goodies before I got married. I'm hoping one day the chest will be mine because of all the memories tied to it.

  5. I'm not writing to whine but to express my admiration of a mom making such memories for her daughter. I have nothing but memories and a few snapshots of my family. I never had a hope chest nor much hope for anything, growing up.

    Don't let your worry linger. Your daughter will pick up on it and accept it as her own. If you decide to go along with your husband's idea of things, then don't look back or second-guess yourself. That's just crazy-making and a sure-fire recipe for a future on that couch for your daughter.

    He's right, in my humble opinion. To have others outside the family circle comment, critique or judge your work, as a student, is priceless! Your daughter will get a sense of an objective eye and learn to improve on her work. If you help her analyze those opinions on her work, she will acquire a critical eye which is so very important when one must enter the big world.

    I'm glad your daughter has such loving parents and that you are helping her look towards a positive future.

    1. Thanks for these comments! I appreciate your insight.


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