After reading years of books, magazines, and web content about stitchers and their stitching, I have noticed one prominent theme. We typically stitch alone.
Are we all loners? Not at all! I don’t think so. There are many who like to stitch with friends, as a group, maybe even belong to a guild. But most of my reading indicates that we all like a QSnap/Lapstand/Floorstand, a comfy chair, and DVDs playing in the background while we pluck away at our projects.
I was re-reading all the Blog Hops of late, and I found them very revealing. It seemed as though almost everyone who contributed was a solo stitcher. Personally, my reason is somewhat of an escape – the one part of the days or weeks of chaos that I can take just for myself. What is your reason?
I know it is unusual for women to find a mate or partner who is a stitcher, or someone who is interested in stitching. I know that there seems to be a wave of knitters and crocheters of late, The craft stores seem to carry less and less needlework accessories and supplies and more and more of scented candles and scrap booking items. [Not that scrap booking is a bad past time, I have been known to scrap a few pages in my time], but the emphasis on needle work is just not available.
All of the 4 specialized needlework shops in my city have shut down in the last 3 years. Maybe these brick and mortar stores don’t survive due to the range of things available. Maybe it is the product available in kits. Maybe they are too complicated or ugly (according to the younger masses) to lower the barrier of entry into stitching. Who knows? So finding product becomes a solo internet sourcing escapade.
I am personally a very extroverted individual. I am the person in the elevator who strikes up a conversation with anyone. I organize parties regularly. I love taking my little girl to the zoo and talking to the other moms there. At work I am on the social committee and I love family gatherings because you get to see tons of people. I would love to be part of an in-person guild but my work and home life just don’t permit that kind of scheduling commitment.
When it comes to my stitching though, I want it to be relatively sedate with background noise I don’t really have to focus on but can hear. Sometimes even completely quiet. I want to be alone to think the design through – create the pattern or put some devotion into my work. Its my art and I want the result of all my devotion to come through with the end result. Does that mean I am sentencing myself to a solitary hobby? Perhaps.
Because we do this alone, does that mean there are less and less of us participating in stitching? Probably.
Do we get our social fix on the internet? Absolutely. Are we in the type of people who need absolute control of one detailed thing in our lives that no one else can scatter or take apart? Most likely.
We are all detailed individuals with a lot of proverbial “balls in the air”? No doubt about it.
We want to be part of a community at times, but is this something we would truly do as a group all of the time? I have heard in Britain and other parts of the world there is a type of group stitching called a “Round Robin” in which one stitcher does the bottom left corner and then mails the project to another stitcher and they complete the top right corner and so on and so on.
Would any of you participate or have you participated in a Round Robin? Do you value your projects so completely that you couldn’t bear to see it go on to someone else? We look at our work as a very personal thing that we may keep or give to another person but it always someone you know that will appreciate your effort. We are in essence giving something of ourselves. Is that why it is so individual and personal?
The question I pose to all of my fellow stitchers out there: What is the reason we generally stitch alone?