Friday, January 21, 2011

'Mighty Samurai' Completed, At Last

I say that my blog is a 'mostly food' blog, but really, when was the last time I posted about anything except food? There really is more to my life than food. For instance, cross-stitch.

When I was a young girl, my grandmother taught me needlepoint, cross-stitch, latch hook - she and my aunt were very crafty with needles. They also did crochet. And knitting. But I never learned those. My last needle-thread interaction was in an eight grade sewing class in which I made a prairie style floral skirt.

Years went by and one day I broke my femur. I was stuck with a cast covering my entire left leg. I was stuck at home all day. In the recliner. Hopping around with that heavy cast was just too difficult (I wasn't supposed to put any weight on my left leg). At first, I slept a lot because my body was healing and the surgeries to repair the femur had worn me out. I was in a lot of pain and the pain pills made me sleepy. Gradually, I perked up a bit and caught up on lots of TV, especially food TV. And then I perked up even more and I got bored. Really bored. I wanted to read, but I couldn't drive myself to the library and my mom didn't like going to the library for me (she's not a reader). I was on short term disability from work -- and much as my job had been getting to me a bit and I sort of dreamed of never having to work, I really, really missed work. I suddenly had all this free time and nothing to do. No sense of purpose.

So I started thinking about hobbies. What do people do for fun? I know, it sounds crazy, but I didn't have any hobbies. Heck, between a 45 minute work commute each way and working 10 am - 7 pm and trying to do errands, laundry, feed myself, see friends -- I hardly had any time to catch my breath and when I did, I usually just sat on the couch and zoned out. Hobbies? What the heck were those? Who had time?

So I thought and thought. Sports were out. Reading was out unless I could get someone to go to the library. TV gets old fast -- I actually got sick of the TV and every time my mom would turn it on, I'd start to freak out because I hated the incessant blather from the box. I started researching my family tree again. But I needed something to do.

And then it hit me: cross-stitch. My aunt still cross-stitches and when she visited me in the hospital, I had seen some of her in-progress projects. So I got mom to take me to Michaels and I got a starter kit and a 'real' kit. I practiced all the simple patterns in the starter kit (with the fat needle and large size aida fabric) and then I started on the 'real' one - with a much smaller needle and a much smaller size fabric (I believe the fabrics are sized by count, 14 count, 18 count, etc., based on the number of stitches (boxes) per inch; so the more stitches per inch, the smaller the stitches and thus more difficult).

I love cross-stitch. It's creating something arty, but I don't need to be creative. It's simply following a pattern. The cross-stitch I choose to do are usually pretty involved. Fairly large. Each one takes me months to complete. But that's OK - there's no hurry. Usually, the large ones take me about 4 months. But then I encountered 'Mighty Samurai' after I moved in with SP (and the amount of time I spent cross-stitching decreased dramatically).

I started 'Mighty Samurai' way back in September 2009 - YES! 2009! - with the intention of giving it to my mom. Previously, I had completed a cross-stitch for my mom, one of 2 geisha:The samurai is meant to go alongside the geisha. I cross-stitched the geisha in spring 2007 when I spent 4 months in Las Vegas. My parents got it framed after I left. I like the blue mat and black frame they chose (I took the above photo when SP & I were in Las Vegas this past Thanksgiving).

Back to 'Mighty Samurai.' Here's my project in September 2009:And here it is 15 months later, on Christmas Day 2010, being held up by mom after she opened it (it was a Christmas gift to her):Not the best photo since there's a lamp on right behind it and her arm shadow can be seen behind it.

This one was by far the most difficult cross-stitch I have done. There were all kinds of stitches - cross-stitch, half stitch, back stitch, lazy daisies, French knots, couching.

AND I had to use metallic gold thread, which I find very difficult to use because it's a different thickness and material than the regular floss.

AND there were a lot of mixed color stitches (one thread of a color plus one thread from another color).

AND there were 40-50 different floss (thread) colors.

AND I had to attach tiny gold beads. The beads are on the ends of the ropes around the swords and along the hem of the kimono, but you cannot see them in the photo. I really should have taken some up close photos before mom took it back to Las Vegas. I didn't get it framed for her because I knew she didn't want to carry a framed cross-stitch on a plane.

I was Googling 'Mighty Samurai cross-stitch' to find a picture from Dimensions (cross-stitch kit manufacturer) of the cross-stitch (since mine is so dark) to put in this post and I discovered that someone did this same cross-stitch and is selling it, unframed, on Etsy for $2,800!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously???

I hope my mom likes 'Mighty Samurai.' I can't wait to see how it looks when it is framed! Soon I will be starting another largish cross-stitch. I hope to hang it in our dining room. It'll probably take me a year to complete. For now, since I just finished 'Mighty Samurai,' I think I need a little cross-stitch vacation!

1 comment:

  1. WOW! These are amazing! And I really enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing!