cross stitch

2016 Vision Quest

I always thought I was an introvert, but maybe I’m not?

November was a busy month, which included a trip to New York, two craft shows, and a six-day visit from my bestie. As expected, I learned a lot from the shows. I was most nervous about a) talking to people, and b)having enough stitches. The latter didn’t turn out to be a problem, even though there were a few customers exasperated by the fact that I do not stock 27 pre-made Spock tea towels. The talking, surprisingly, was also not a problem. I quickly realized there are two kinds of shoppers pertaining to my product offerings. One type of shopper will stop, stare, tilt his/her head, frown in confusion and walk on, sometimes with a bit of hostility. The other type will glance, do a double-take, smile, laugh, and eventually engage with me. (I’m choosing to leave out the third type, which is usually a middle-aged male, who stops and points at every stitch on my table, naming the subject and waiting for my affirmation. Once everything is properly identified, he smiles with satisfaction and walks away.)

Stitch Boom Bang Booth

It’s the engaging that surprised me. I didn’t expect to feel such a rush of gratitude when someone “gets” me. I didn’t expect that joyous common ground of nostalgia. It felt warm and fuzzy to see so many of my stitches leave in the hands of appreciative souls. Is this what it’s like to “love what you do”? I still think that is a bullshit motto, but I also recognize that I’m a cynical jackass. Regardless, I might not be as introverted as I thought. I’ll always prefer my couch, my partner, my dog, and a box of wine to a party; however, that might just mean I’m lazy rather than shy.

Taking a look back at my 2015 Vision Quest, I nailed all of my goals. This, my friends, is a lesson in keeping a low bar. If your goals are to expand output and participate locally, then it’s pretty easy to feel like you’ve got the world swinging from your nuts. For 2016, let’s step it up a notch.

  1. More shows! Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago. Applications will be submitted, even if I’m not confident of acceptance.
  2. Local shopping! I’m working to get some stitches available for sale in local shops.
  3. Wide wide world of web! I’m terrible at social media. I have to figure out how to broaden my presence without being annoying.

That’s a pretty short list, now that I look at it in writing. I should add an item about napping more, because I get tired just looking at those three tasks. Again – introverted or lazy? It’s such a fine line.

I end this post with my favorite custom order from the holidays, requested by Dinner is Served 1972 for her mother. As great as this little sampler turned out, it can’t be as great as the recipient for uttering such a truth bomb. Here’s to a kick ass 2016!

Dinner is Served sampler

Iron Maiden in Stitches

Picture 087

I grew up thinking that cross-stitch and embroidery were restricted to Jesus-related sentiments or Home Sweet Home motifs (and I am not referring to the Motley Crue song on the much loved Theatre of Pain album). At some point I realized just about anything can be stitched, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go completely metal and spend three years of my life stitching Eddie from Iron Maiden fame (Derek Riggs, I salute you).

Looking back on my teen years, I should have been an Iron Maiden fan. Their music is more than just headbanging metal. It is intellectual, often historical and poetic in nature, and nerds have pontificated on this subject for decades. I should have been a fan, but I was too busy rocking out to Skid Row (I’m not embarrassed, mind you. It was probably time well spent considering my cohorts were listening to Bad Company). Although I was aware of Iron Maiden during that time in my life, they were too scary for my teenage self to get into. The burnouts who congregated in the cemetery across the street from school were the type who listened to Iron Maiden, and I feared such music would make me OD,  get knocked up, or turn in my homework late.

Luckily, I shack up with someone who is a longstanding fan, and my eyes have been opened. I still don’t pull out “The Trooper” for a spin on the turntable as I sit down with a box of wine after a hard day. However, “The Number of the Beast” is on my ipod, and certain moments absolutely require it as a backdrop for my life soundtrack.

That leaves the question – was it worth the hundreds of thousands of stitches to make Eddie? You bet.