It has been a long, long time since I first learnt to cross stitch. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how long - 15 years! I learnt when I was 9, at school, and became an immediate fan. That's almost the same age as my daughter is now, but I remember it like it was just the other day.
Being a crafty wee lass, I took to it like it had been the missing jigsaw puzzle piece I had long been seeking out. I began to save up any spare cash that came my way to buy threads and aida cloth, and would to frequent, whenever I was allowed to go, a craft store in out local regional centre that sold the materials. I remember visiting this store a lot but always being short on cash, so it was quite likely I just stood there, admiring the patterns and cloths and books, probably heavy breathing with craft-induced rapture on the DMC thread display. To the kind ladies who owned that shop, thank you for putting up with me, and for not thinking I was a weirdo and kicking me out. It's kind ladies in shops like you who have made me the crafter I am today.
I'm not sure exactly how long I cross stitched for - I think I did it furtively for a while in my teens, but somewhere along the line I discarded the hobby like I wished I could discard my braces. But no matter how many house moves I did, I always faithfully carted my embroidery gear with me. There was no way I was leaving my thread box, once so neatly arranged with each colour code carefully written down on the card in my 10 year old hand, behind. As I was photographing this, I took a peek at the inside of my embroidery hoop, and was well chuffed to discover that it cost the princely sum of $2.60. Jeepers - can anybody tell me where you could get a hoop for that little today?
Recently, when I fell foul of that nasty sinus infection, I sat restlessly on the couch, tucked up into a blanket and wanted something crafty to do. But knitting or crocheting or sewing just would not fit the bill. Suddenly I realised what I wanted - I wanted to do cross stitching. I spent quite a few hours ogling stitching websites, and then decided that I wanted to make a cross stitch sampler for the Tyger's room. Once I found one I liked - a Lizzie Kate design called Winter Alphabet - and showed her the pictures, she happily agreed that she wanted me to do one too! So I sent away for it, and have been in embroidery heaven ever since.
Oh, sniffle. Snort. Where are my tissues? No, I'm not having a recurrence of the dreaded sinus sniffles - I just love happy endings!
It's a bit like finding that long lost childhood friend who you thought had moved to the other side of the earth, but one day you stumble across them and realised that they have been living in the suburb next door to yours all this time. And even though you got me back for ditching you all those years ago by making me repeatedly stab my finger as I tried to find the tiny holes in the cloth once we had resumed our acquaintance, I'm so terribly glad that we are together again.
Welcome back, old friend. Welcome back.