Thursday, January 12, 2006

Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack by La-D-Da stitched on Lakeside Linen "Vintage Nutmeg," 40 ct, with one strand of Kreinik Silk Mori in black. I am doing this as a stitchalong with Chelle and others.

I've never worked on a project and been so aware that the image I was stitching was evoking all sorts of specific thoughts. While I was stitching Miss Mary Mack --having restarted it, since you cannot do this over one with silk mori and stitch a full cross--I thought of so many things. The most obvious is the hand-clapping rhyme itself, Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack/All dressed in black black black. I thought of the girls I used to do those hand-clapping games with: Ashley, and Sue, and Pam, and well, Jessica was too cool to do them, but her too.

Then I remembered this thing on Zoom, "Soandso loves jam but hates jelly." It could have been Miss Mary Mack, but I don't think that's quite right. Children of the 70s? Chime in! It was in the Zoom book that I had, which is probably still in my parents' attic. Anyway, the "joke" was that the person hated one thing but loved something very similar. I can only remember the jam/jelly example. But you can't think of Zoom without remembering Bernadette. "I'm Bernadette!" Cue music, butterfly arms, butterfly arms. Remember that thing she used to do? She was so cool for someone named Bernadette.

Then I was thinking how much I hated it when people used to say "merry-mack" or "mary-mack" for the town I grew up in, Merrimack. The "i" is short, people, like in sick. I was so young to be so annoyed with people all the time (we moved out of Merrimack when I was 10). I know there are other Merrimac(k)s that are pronounced more like "merry" than "meri," but it irked me.

I kept thinking, too, how dense the silk was. I don't mean the actual number of stitches, more the color. It's a matte black and it seems like you can see the light being sucked out of the atmosphere and into that black. And for some reason, that reminded me of Victorian mourning. I think it's the long dress and unfashionable shoes she's wearing. It seems a little Victorian. All that black too.

Which reminded me of a Joyce Carol Oates novel I read. There was a character who was tall and old and dressed rather unfashionably and all in black, if I'm remembering right. I think it's Mysteries of Winterthurn. I can't remember precisely, but there may have been the suggestion that she murdered her child. That part may be confused. I'm not sure I finished the book.

And how could I not think of the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. "O is for Olive run through by an awl." That's the only one I can remember. But they're all so sick.

Then I started thinking about the hair. It's very Medusa-like. But then I confused Medea, the mother who fed her children to her husband, with Medusa, the gorgon. And I can't think of women killing their children without reminiscing about my dissertation.

And then it was time to go to bed.


Monsoon said...

And that is why stitching is so cleansing...helps you forget the day, and remenber random stuff you had not thought about in years.

jo said...

Loved your wandering thoughts here. And now I'll be singing Miss Mary Mack the rest of the day...

BTW, Merrimack, NH?

Patti said...

Anna, I can't believe you live in Merrimack - that's where I moved from in April. How would we never have met? Maybe we have! :-) I was a Zoom kid too - it's nice to see it's still around and the same for the most part.

Love, love, love your Miss M start - she is looking very fetching!

Patti said...

I meant live-d!!

Anna van Schurman said...

I bet we've never met because I moved out of Merrimack in 1976 and out of NH all together in 1991. But in my heart, home is in NH.

KarenV said...

MMM is looking great so far, even though she's headless ;) She's such a fun stitch!

Barbara said...

What a great train-of-thought post - I loved reading this! I wanted to do her in silk, too, but didn't have the right colors in my stash. I can't wait to see yours.

I'm also formerly from NH (Campton, up in the White Mountains); we moved in 1980 or 81. And I dreamed of being on ZOOM. (I still do. )

RĂ³sa said...

Like the others I loved reading your train of thought on this. It's amazing how much really goes through our minds when we are stitching. Well, sometimes. sometimes it's the not thinking that is so alluring about cross stitching, being just focused on stitching and reading the chart..

Joanie said...

I loved reading your train of thought about Miss Mary. Very insightful. Brought back childhood memories of those hand-clapping days with Amy and Nancy...gosh where are they now?!

Miss Mary and I aren't getting along right at the'll be the 4th time I start her as the frogging went rather badly.

Thanks for the help with the links instructions...worked like a charm!


Moxie said...

"F-A-double N-double E D-double O-L-Double E. Fannee Doolee likes jelly, but she doesn't like jam! What's that all about?"

They still do it, although the ZOOM kids are now named things like Kyle and Courtney.

Love the stream of conscience.

Old Yankee Stitcher said...

Ok, one from your group has stitched Mary's head another her feet and you are stitching the in between. What a riot. I am having fun watching all of your progress.

susie said...

On my first visit to my LNS here in Connecticut, I bought that Miss Mary Mack pattern and the fabric to stitch it on. I can't wait to do it someday, it is really awesome!

Lisa said...

I loved finding your MMM WIP! When I saw her I fell head over heels in love with the design so much that I am making a dollshouse with her as its inhabitant "Spinster Mack" who is the proprietor of a needlework shop (all in miniature). Bags wil have her face/hair as logo...she will wer's my MMM WIP:

Lisa :-)

Anonymous said...

i just bought Miss Mary Mack this week - so i was delighted to see your post on it on your sidebar - I bought it because it reminded me of the Gorey series as well ... B is for Basil assaulted by bears!

Did you complete it?