Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Love This Project...Michelle

Guest Blogger Tuesday
I Love This Project
Michelle of Cozy Egg

When Anna sent me an e-mail suggesting this series of guest posts on her blog, I was thrilled and quite frankly, honored. Of course, then the next thought was which project to choose? And if you know me at all, you know I procrastinated thought long and hard about my choice. When I thought back to the project that was not only a project I love, but a project that also held some meaning for me, the choice was clear… Midi Mystery I: Medieval Garden by Chatelaine Designs.

The first stitching blog I ever stumbled across was Dani’s (tkdchick). Since I live under a technological rock, I’d never read blogs before (was not really even sure what they were), and to find a cross-stitch blog…that was Heaven! So, being the obsessive/stalkerish type that I am I quickly began reading Dani’s blog from the beginning. And throughout it, I kept seeing these gorgeous pieces she stitched by Chatelaine (Martina Weber). I’d never even heard of Chatelaine Designs, and never heard of mystery designs either (see above: living under a rock). I quickly investigated and I was overwhelmed by the intricacy and beauty of these designs. I’d never seen anything like them before. I couldn’t even fathom the deliciousness of stitching with all the beautiful silks, metallics, delica beads and Swarovski crystals.

When I saw that Martina was beginning a new concept in June of 2005, the Midi Mystery, a six-month mystery based on historic periods I knew what my first Chatelaine would be. I have a BFA in Art History, so the lure of a medieval design by Martina was too good to pass up. So, I signed up. Then I spent several days freaking out about how to use a Yahoo group, how to download a file, how to enlarge the file if I needed to, etc. And what if I was in over my head with the stitching? I’d never done specialty stitches before. I’d only done a few pieces on linen at that point too. Yikes!

So, June came and I got the first part of the chart. I started my Chatelaine stitching off with a bang by stitching my border with the wrong number of threads and then having to rip a good portion of it out. But I kept at it. I even tackled the specialty stitches and still managed to stay caught up with each month’s stitching.

The Jessica stitches about did me in that first or second month. Eric and I had plans to get together in the afternoon of the day I attempted them. I remember calling him at least twice and saying, "I need two more hours." But he was patient, and I did the Jessicas. And they were beautiful.

My love of this piece continued to grow with each stitch, each new thing I learned, each time I was pushed out of my comfort zone. And my love of the thread with the name Elephant & Castle grew too. My little life continued on as month by month I stitched on this piece. Until Thanksgiving when Eric was hospitalized with congestive heart failure and everything came to a screeching halt. With a little over four months to go before our wedding, I almost lost him. But, eventually, my stitching served as my comfort even then.

On the nights that I didn’t stay at the hospital with him, I drove home past the Christmas lights along the streets and went home to my stitching. It was the only thing that allowed my mind a little bit of peace and an escape from the worry. I finished Midi in December of 2005, not long after Eric went home from the hospital.

Eric and I were married in April of 2006 and later that year, as a birthday gift for myself, I sent Midi off to Jill Rensel for framing. I’d never really had any of my stitching framed before, so this was another first for me. The piece now hangs in the entry of our home, and every time I pass it I know that not only is it a testament to stretching myself in my stitching but also of how truly lucky I am.

Michelle is one of the bloggers I've had the fortune to meet in real life (and Eric too!) I remember watching her start a different Chatelaine back in her early days of blogging, but I positively will not comment on the fact that she's still working on that one. (Hello, have you seen my WIP list?) (Besides, she's almost done!) We're allegedly working on a mermaid SAL. Michelle and I have the same level of dedication to those commitments. That's why I like her so much!


valerie said...

Beautiful work Michelle!...and a nice story behind it! Love the look of those Jessicas.

LadyDoc said...

Gorgeous piece and a wonderful story to go with it!

I too love Martina's designs- I hope to start the Hawaiian Garden mandala soon.

Kristen said...

This project is on my wishlist. Yours looks beautiful Michelle, especially with the custom frame.

Carolyn NC said...

This is beautiful! And the memories the piece holds for you makes it priceless!

Linen Stitcher said...

A heartfelt story to go with a gorgeous and carefully wrought needlework project. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle.

Kathy A. said...

Dear Anna- thank you so much for you lovely comments on my Noddy finish. It was not a piece that I enjoyed but am happy that it is done.
I love the article Michelle wrote. It is amazing how some stitching has special meaning for us.
I have added you to my google reader and will return.
Love your stitching and your view on things.

Michelle said...

Thank you for the honor of being a guest blogger. One day the mermaids will return triumphant!! And one day I will finish that frickin' Mystery 9. Thank you, my friend.

doris said...

A truly beautiful project! I love reading about what was happening in a stitcher's life during a project.

venus said...

Good thougts..thanks for sharing this post with us...
I so enjoyed my visit to your blog....

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