Friday, June 12, 2009

Reawakening my embroidery jones

We went out to look for a replacement for one of the pine trees out back and ended up wandering through Ambleside, our local garden shop. Okay, so maybe it's my writerly imagination (coupled with the fact that as a species writers don't get out enough) but three steps into the gardens and I felt like I was wandering through an enchanted forest. I mean, there were baby rabbits scurryiing around, newly-fledged robins and blue jays. I half-expected Bambi to stroll up the path toward me.

I, of course, was suitably attired in something gauzy and floral-y, silky straight hair upswept against the heat, strappy sandals, a faint glow on my cheeks and forehead from the sultry heat.

. . .

Yeah. Right. I was wearing old paint-stained jeans, a crappy top with embellishments (yes, I'm deeply ashamed), ratty old sneakers (Keds, if you must know), my hair was one giant ball of frizz and sweat trickled down the back of my neck.

It wasn't pretty.

But I definitely can't say that about my surroundings.

Suddenly I flashed on Erica Wilson. Anyone out there remember Erica? She was the Martha Stewart of needlework back in the day, the queen of all good things that can be done with a sharp-point needle and some thread. I was an Erica groupie. I lived for her PBS show. I pined for her needlework kits. I hoarded her tapestry yarn like it was spun from gold. Her crewel embroidery themes were invariably nature (with touches of Shakespearean poetry for good measure) and I can't tell you how many plump bumblebees, juicy strawberries, and perky daisies I embroidered in the 1970s.

It's been ages since I did any crewel work but it all came rushing back at me today in Ambleside. I mean, how can you look at those gorgeous flowers and not want to capture them with padded satin stitch and French knots and lazy daisies?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How lucky to have such a beautiful place to visit. What did you buy, I am sure it was hard to resist buying everything in sight.

Yes, I remember Erica, had forgotten about her and haven't done any crewel work since the late 70's. They were so much fun.


7:57 AM  
Blogger Dawn Brocco said...

I love Erica Wilson! I have a small bk of hers with a crewelwork Tree of Life-like upholstered wingback chair, that I STILL want to make, one of these years!

1:18 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I admire people who can embroider. I could never get my stitches even enough, probably due to a lack of patience. You're right: it's the most representational of the needlework skills. No matter how brilliant one is at intarsia, it will never match the capabilities of embroidery for capturing the beauty of a flower.

Is anyone on RTY embroidering these days?

2:07 PM  
Blogger amyinbc said...

Glad to hear I am not the only one who visits the Garden Stores wearing Gardening Clothes :) Because really, is any other way real?

11:52 PM  

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