I have been rather sluggish with my stitching over the last year. Though I kept working on Jane, my heart was not in it and I just could not sit still long enough to focus. Moreover, it all seemed so pointless because each cross stitch project takes forever and all of my stuff and stash would become rubbish after I die anyway. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten to enjoy the process – to lose oneself in simply creating something beautiful with color and design, and fabric and thread, without fretting about finishing and usefulness and tangible value – all those dreadful inhibitors of the artistic impulse.

Fortunately, my enthusiasm was renewed over the last two weeks when a friend took me to Stitches West – a yarn trade show held at a nearby convention center. Granted it had almost nothing to do with cross stitch but it felt very good to be among crafters and see all that fibre and color around me. And I discovered a Pat Carson’s needles, which are made by an elderly man in Japan. I like to think of them as magic needles because once I had them in my hand, I didn’t feel like putting my stitching down. Just like old times!

Some of the motifs in the Jane Longstreth are over one. The prospect of using regular thread over one was daunting but it was not as bad as I had expected. The leaves are outlined with stem stitch and supposed to be filled in with stem stitch too but I didn’t like the look (the leaf on the right).

So I stitched them with the Cretan stitch using the excellent instructions here and here. I am going to try doing the rest of them without the stem-stitch outline.

Here is where I stand on the sampler. Not significant progress since the last photo but I am happy to be just enjoying stitching again.

Pattern: The Jane Longstreth Sampler
Designer: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
Fabric: 38-ct Nacre by Gander
Threads: HDF silks
Started: August 21, 2015