Like many people my cross stitching journey began when I was very young. If you grew up in the UK around the 80s or 90s then I'm sure you will remember the 'Forever Friends' craze down at your local Clintons (for anyone outside the UK, sorry, that will be total nonsense to you!)
That was where my cross stitching began, with a Forever Friends teddy kit that sat in a tupperware box my Mum wasn't using that I worked away at in front of the TV. I don't know that I ever even finished that kit but it planted something that only truly grew later on in life. A love of colour, of thread, of the simple act of putting a needle through fabric and of seeing an image come to life.
Since childhood I have always been a lover of craft. In fact I would go so far as to say that craft has been the thing that has saved me numerous times in my life. It has been a distraction when I needed it, an outlet for creativity when the rest of life felt stale, a place of peace and rest at the end of a busy day. Cross stitch truly came into it's own for me when I was pregnant. Prior to this I was spending a lot of my spare time dressmaking, something I still love to do. But suddenly, with my bump every growing, crawling around on the floor shifting around pattern pieces wasn't quite the enjoyable activity it was before. I decided to pick up a sampler, a woodland animals themed one to match my plans for my baby's nursery. About ten stitches into that piece I was hooked. As soon as it was finished I was desperate to get onto the next piece as fast as I possibly could.
And that next piece is one that now hangs proudly in my hall, the Bothy Threads Love Tree. This piece of cross stitching not only accompanied me through the last weeks of my pregnancy (during a heatwave I might add!) but also came with me to hospital and helped me pass the time while I was being induced and waiting for my baby to finally make his arrival. It might sound cheesy but I felt like I stitched love into that piece of cross stitch. It was my outlet for all of worries, hopes and expectations. Every time I look at it now I think of that time and remember how I held it in my hands every day as I went became a Mum.
Motherhood hasn't slowed down my stitching, in fact it has been the perfect accompaniment to these early year with my son. Now I have a craft room that is covered wall to wall in finished projects, each one reminding me of a special time in my life or simply making me smile. And now, of course, some of my own designs are up there. The culmination of all my stitching hopes and dreams! I have designed for what I love to stitch best, for special occasions and to remember special moments in my life and that is what I hope to continue to do.
But the best feeling of all on my cross stitch journey? When I see someone else create my designs to remind them of their own special times. My heart was at its fullest when someone told me they were stitching my Greek hoop design to remember their engagement on a sun soaked Greek Island. In some small way I feel part of their special moment and it is the best!
So how about you? When did you start stitching and what does it bring to your life? I'd love to hear your stories.