Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cross Stitching: A Blast from the Past

After living in Singapore for more than two years, half of the time I feel that weekends in Singapore can be very boring, especially if you live alone (with no close family around). My normal weekend activities in Singapore usually consist of chilling at home, housekeeping, eating out with friends, having some retail therapy or just catching movies. Apparently this boredom does not apply to me alone. Although my boyfriend is not based in Singapore, he also feels that Singapore is a pretty boring place to live. Quite often, we both feel that Singapore is very small and we can't really explore much. Whilst he is in town to visit me, mostly we just end up eating out at the nearby hawker centers, doing some window shopping or catching movies at the nearest mall.

About two weeks ago, I had a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll at Bishan's Junction 8 with my boyfriend.  After lunch, we spotted this Popular Special Sale in the mall. It was more to a stationery and children books kind of sale.

When he was busy choosing animal stickers for his nephews at home, my eyes caught a section which sold DIY handicrafts. What drew my interest most was the fact that the DIY stuff sold a this sale reminded me of one of my favorite childhood activities. It was taught during my 4th grade of primary school and personally practiced during my leisure time too at home with the help of my Mom. Cross stitching. The X-shaped stitches in a tiled pattern cloth to form a picture.

I remember that one of the school projects for art class that year was making a cross stitched table cover with a group of class mates. Those days, my Mom also often made cross stitched pillow sheets decorated with any pictures that my siblings and me chose from her cross stitch design books.

After browsing the cute designs and found out that the price for each 'project' was only $1, I went crazy. That afternoon, I was suddenly excited to find a long lost hobby. I was instantly busy selecting cute cross stitch pattern without even thinking the level of the difficulty of the project and the fact that I have abandoned cross stitching for almost ten years by now. I simply bought the packages because it was super cheap and cute plus I had a strong belief that anyhow I still got the skill.

As a Virgo, I have tendency of being indecisive or very slow in making decision or choice. I just think too much and really take time to weigh all the facts before buying. Since that day I was experiencing this episode for quite some time, my boyfriend finally saved me from this torture. He took whatever I held in my hand at that point of time and paid them in the cashier. He bought me two keychain materials with Virgo and Scorpio designs and two materials for mini pouches. Scorpio picture in the key chain represents his zodiac and Virgo represents mine.

S$1 Key Chain Kits.

Zodiac cross stitch design and work instruction for key chain.

When I reached home, I could not wait to start my cross stitching frenzy. I started making the Scorpio key chain first for my boyfriend. Turned out the pattern cloth was unbelievably tiny and required the cross stitching style to be very small and a little bit complicated than I thought. I needed full concentration to count the thread in each direction to follow the picture in the design paper, change the thread and put the thread in and out the cloth. 

I must say that cross stitching was a very fun activity to do as you'd always get the anxious feeling to see the end result from the pattern example into the real embroidery. I could not stop doing it but my eyes and head started to feel pain after full concentration on a very small object for 5-6 hours to complete one key chain picture.

The Scorpio design paper.

The key chain holder with Virgo pattern inside.

The cross stitch cloth: Turned out to be a very small size.

Considering that I am a very impatient person, when I want something, I usually want to have it almost immediately. Same thing happened with doing my cross stitch, I wanted to see the end result the soonest possible. I kept on stitching despite the fact that my eyes and brain were already exhausted.

That night, I managed to finish the Scorpio embroidery for one side of the key chain and completed the Virgo one in the following night after work. I have passed the first completed keychain to my boyfriend with Scorpio embroidery on one side and Virgo embroidery on the other side. 

The end result for Scorpio key chain.

The end result of Virgo key chain.

After one keychain was complete, I decided to give the mini pouch a try. The stitching cloth for mini pouch was relatively bigger than the one for the key chain. Hence, by right it should not hurt eyes as much as key chain's. After two days of continuous cross stitching, my eyes and head could not take too much of concentration on too small object any longer. I got very dizzy when I pushed myself to finish the cross stitch and the dizziness lasted until the following morning and affected my performance at work.

My pending work: The cross stitch materials for the mini pouches.

The cross stitch pattern and work instruction for mini pouch.

In the end, I plan to slowly work on the pattern for the mini pouch. It is indeed a S$1 hobby and perfect activity to kill the time but my eyes and head worth so much more. Although I really want to see my own cross stitched mini pouch done, I shall only complete it when I have the time and mood with no pressure. I need to give my eyes and brain a break before doing it again.

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