Sunday, May 15, 2011

18 years in the making!

In 1993, the Spring before I got married, I went to Shepherd's Bush to buy a new project to stitch.  I decided upon a large project called "The Village Alphabet" by Cross My Heart, Inc.  The pattern was only $5.50.  The pattern was designed to stitch the entire alphabet, or you could stitch "Welcome to the ....(fill in your last name)."  Well, even though I was engaged, I was not married yet, and I didn't want to commit myself to a last name, so I decided to stitch the whole alphabet.  Little did I know that it would take me 18 years to finish!  Here I am at the ripe age of 22, sitting on a bean bag starting this journey.  I preferred to sit like this when my back and legs could stand it.  I wouldn't be able to last for 10 minutes now!

I started with the "M" block, and I stitched K through Q over a 4 year period.  Then my son was born.  Being a new mom, I didn't stitch very much for the next 3 years, as I was too busy running after him.  We moved to Oklahoma for 3 months while my husband was doing some training with the Air Force.  I felt certain I would finish this, because we were living in a hotel room and there was nothing to do, and this was the only project I took with me.  However I became very ill, and often didn't feel good enough to stitch.  Later I learned I was pregnant with my daughter.  When I retired this to the closet, blocks K through W were complete. 

About 5 years ago, I was cleaning out my closet, and discovered this sampler tucked in the back.  It was still on the scroll rods, and I thought about getting rid of it.  I asked my husband if he thought it was worth finishing, or if I should cut my loses and give it to someone else.  He encouraged me to finish it.  He said it was one of his favorite pieces.  That motivated me and I began working on it with excitement, but I still had over half of it to finish, and progress was slow.

Two months ago at stitch group, my mom said, "What can we give her if she finishes that sampler by next stitch group?"   I still had blocks A through E to finish, but somehow when I am given a "goal" then I can stick to things much easier.  I took the challenge to heart and pushed ahead.  I finished the top row in record time.  I will have to let you know what my "prize" is on Tuesday!

I had to unpick the finished date and change it from 2010 to 2011.  Some of you may remember that I thought by stitching the date, I would stay on task...I don't know what happened, I should know better!  :)  I have worked on this sampler for almost half of my life, and the memories are sweet in remembering where I have been, and what circumstances I was in as I stitched the blocks.  Thanks for celebrating this finish with me! 

Also, last but not least, I have to share my birthday present from Jolene!  She spoils me way too much, but her gifts are amazing.  I don't know where she finds such fabulous treasures, but I am truly blessed!  Thanks Jolene for your sweetness. I can't get over it all!  Hope all is well blog friends!  Thank you in advance for all your sweet comments.  They make my day!

20 comments:

Cross Stitch Crazy Mum said...

Wow, Congratulations on that finish! It really will be like looking back over your life whenever you look at it. What a great heirloom peice that could be :)

Margaret said...

How cool is that? I love your finish! I somehow feel it makes this piece that much more special that it's spent so much time with you. It's evolved just as you have evolved, grown with you as you and your children have grown. How wonderful, what an heirloom piece. Congrats on the finish -- a special happy dance is being danced for you!

(Nice present from Jolene too!)

Catherine said...

What a fabulous finish!! How wonderful to have something that represents so much of your life in one piece!

Great gifts from Jolene!

Andrea said...

Truly awesome Lorraine! Congratulations! I know your hubby is so proud of you! I'm glad he encouraged you to finish it :) (Now I'm thinking maybe it's not too late to finish And They Sinned, which I started back in 2002 and is my oldest WIP, lol!)

That Jolene sure is a sweetie pie, I love what you stitched for you and all of the goodies are just wonderful!

xoxo

Deb said...

Oh Loraine, I'm so happy to finally see this finished! That is one BAP if I've ever seen one and I am so thrilled for you!! You know, it's not how long it took you to finish it, but that you did finish it. I'll bet your husband is thrilled and it's going to look so nice when you get it framed and on the wall. I'm sure that looking at it will make you remember things that went on during the time you stitched it.

Love the presents from Jolene - she really made your birthday special.

Congratulations on your wonderful finish and tons of hugs to you dear friend!!!

Me and My Stitches said...

What a wonderful piece - I LOVE it. I haven't cross stitched for years but you make me want to start again (like I need more projects!)

Carol said...

Wow! What a magnificent piece, Loraine--congratulations!!

Katrina said...

Huge, huge congratulations on your finish!!! It's gorgeous and what a lot of stitching :-). You deserve a very nice prize, LOL!!!

Love the gift from Jolene too. Saw the finish on her blog, just gorgeous.

Cari said...

Beautiful work Loraine.... Isn't it fun to finish a piece started so long ago? Can't wait to see it frames...it's just beautiful!! Hugs

Kelly said...

Congratulations on your finish. What a sweet story! You are lucky that the piece is timeless that you still enjoy it so many years later. Just think, this piece could have easily been calico ducks:)

Mylene said...

Happy dancing here for you, Lorraine. Congrats on finishing it, such a great design!

Lovely gifts from Jolene!

dixiesamplardesigns said...

Hello Loraine~

Don't know how I missed your recent updates...but, I am all caught up now, LOL!

Love all the quilting goodies, birthday gifts, and vacation snaps...but, I just adore your alphabet finish...gorgeous! And how sweet of your hubby to support your addiction, LOL!

Happy Stitchin'
Terri

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday...sorry I missed it!

Cathy Lloyd said...

Congrats on such a fabulous and memorable finish Loraine! It is stunning! And isn't Jolene just a wonderful friend! Can't wait til July!

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

What a spectacular, wonderful finish, Loraine! And, you haven't changed a bit - still as cute and tiny as ever!

You should be so proud of yourself - there is a LOT of stitching in that piece. I can't wait to see it framed.

Wonderful gift from Jolene - I love her stitched heart.

XOXOXO to you, dear friend!

Daffycat said...

Wow, that is an awesome store. Congratulations on a spectacular finish, Loraine!

Daffycat said...

Gahhh, STORY. Sorry, can't spell check today!

JOLENE said...

Such a huge accomplishment, I am so happy for you. It will be quite the conversation piece once you get it all framed and hung on your wall. Looking forward to that one.

Love the picture of you on the bean bag ith all your stitching, so cool. Thanks for the fun afternoon last week, I had so much fun and I am getting excited for Cambry's recital. She is such a doll!

Smiles...

Siobhan said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You must be so proud of yourself!! Good for you!

Gabi said...

WOW..that's an impressive finish. Just gorgeous. I guess this will get a very special place in your home :)

chrisfurru said...

I did this one too. It took me 3 1/2 years, but I sat and looked at it for a couple first...