Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The story continues...

Over the next few days the Stitcher frequently thought about the reactions of the family and she couldn’t help getting a nice warm feeling inside.  As Christmas Day fast approached  the Lady began to get ready for her own family’s get-together.  This niggling little thought kept flitting through her mind but she wouldn’t let it take form.  She was simply going to enjoy her Christmas with her Mom, brother, SIL, nieces and, of course, her DH and son.  This was the first year ever that the family gathering was to be at her house, the first time that her Mom was unable to have Christmas at “home”.  And the Lady really wanted things to go well.  She had the meal planned and this time the turkey would be baked at the appropriate time and she would have a good night’s sleep—she hoped!

 On Christmas Eve she began to check off her list.  All the gifts were wrapped and under the tree.  All the decorations were working perfectly.  The cakes were baked and the sweet potato pies were cooling even as she checked.  The grocery list had been double checked and the shopping done.  The silver was polished and the house was clean.  (Now if she could just keep it that way for one more day!)  So everything was ready to go.  She smiled and began to make all the preparations she could in advance.

 That night she and DH sat by the fire and watched “A Christmas Carol.”  She felt contented but she was also a bit nervous about the next day.  She really was enjoying this holiday.  She thought of her Dad and how much he had loved this time of year.  The Christmas season has always been his favorite time of the year.  He loved all the hoop-la involved.  But especially, he loved the closeness and warmth of the family gatherings.  She wished with all her heart that he could be there with the family tomorrow.  Then she smiled to herself as she realized that he would be there along with her younger brother watching over them all and wishing them a happy holiday.  She fell asleep with that thought in her head and a smile on her lips.

 She arose early and went about getting the meal prepared.  As she took the turkey out of the oven she couldn’t help but think about the last one!  Time seemed to fly by but everything was finally done except, of course, for herself.  Quickly she went to shower and dress.  She called Jason and made sure he was on his way to pick up Mom.  Taking one last look around she prayed nothing would go wrong.  But things went very well and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

 Bo had seemed to enjoy himself and it wasn’t until everyone left that he turned to her and began to cry.  She held him closely asking what was wrong.  “I didn’t get you anything,” he said.  She kissed him softly and whispered as she held him in her arms.  “You have given me the best gift of all and more than I ever hoped for.”  Gently she led him to the bedroom and helped him get ready for bed.  After he went to sleep, she  sat and reflected on the day.  She was very blessed.  She said a prayer of thanksgiving and then went to sleep.  And as she drifted off she knew that this would be the last Christmas she would have as it had always been.

As January came and went the Lady was stitching frantically on an afghan she wanted to finish for herself.  She really wanted to enter it into the Needlework Competition at her LNS.  As the last stitches were placed, her mind automatically turned to what she would do next.  She decided to work on “Millennium” by Teresa Wentzler, as she wanted to finish it in the year 2000.  So she made her working copies and gathered her supplies and happily began to stitch away.  She also wanted to get back to “Angel of the Sea” by Marilyn Leavett-Inbum since she had put it aside to do the stockings last year.  The Lady had recently discovered a wonderful BB on the internet and had learned that there was such a thing as a “rotation.”  She really liked the sound of that.  It sounded much better than having a lot of *UFO’s* (UnFinished Objects) .

 One night as she was stitching, that niggling little thought made its way back into her mind.  She had done those beautiful stockings for her DH’s family and yet she had never done anything like that for her own family.  “Do you think they would like and appreciate a handmade stocking stitched just for them?”  The thought began to take form and the Lady started to think of designs and fabrics.  “If I’m going to do this, I had better start now.  I don’t want to be stitching at midnight on Christmas Eve! “  But where to begin…..

The only thing the Stitcher was sure of was that she really was MAD!  To even think about doing this was crazy.  Maybe if she did part of them this year and part of them next year.  “No, that won’t work.  The ones that don’t get them will be disappointed and I don’t want to hurt feelings,”  she mused.

So out came all the magazines, books, and charts and the search for designs began.  There was only one that the Lady was positive about.  In one of her Christmas Remembered books there was a stocking with a Scottish Santa that she knew would be just perfect for her brother.  It would honor their heritage.  She then found a lovely angel that she decided  would be just right for SIL.  For hours she leafed through books and magazines looking for designs that “spoke” to her.  The oldest niece, Melissa, loved snowmen and she found three that might work for her.  She bookmarked them and put them aside for later consideration.  She finally found a beautiful Christmas Angel that she felt would be perfect for Niece #3, Melonie.  It wasn’t a stocking pattern but she thought it might work.  The size and shape were right.  “Yes, I’m sure it will!”

“Well at least I have some of them,” she thought as she started to clear away the mess.  Tomorrow she would make working copies and start the Santa.  After dinner that evening she began to put all the supplies together in her project “Woo Baggie”.  The phone rang and she wondered who would be calling this late.

As she picked up the receiver she recognized the very excited voice of niece #1. 
What are you doing on August 12th?” she asked immediately.  Perplexed, the Stitcher answered that she had not yet made any plans for that day.  “Well you have now!  Chris and I are getting married!”  You could hear the joy in her voice.  The Stitcher exclaimed, ‘How wonderful!  I’m so happy for you.  Tell me everything.”

They talked for quite a while and then she continued with the task at hand.  Suddenly it dawn on her—now she would have to do another stocking!  But it did make one task easier.  She had the “Snowman” and “Snowlady”  stocking charts that she had previously done for Pam and David, and these would be great for the new couple.  So she gathered up the supplies for these as well and placed them in her project bag.

The next day she went by the copy shop and made working copies of all the charts.  Then she went to the LNS to purchase the extra fibers and fabric on her list.  Once home again, she prepped the fabric edges on all the fabrics so that she could get started.  As she picked up the Highland Santa she once again thought how much David would like it.  She started to think about changing the tartan colors to those of her clan, but then thought better of it.  “I will barely have time to get these done.  I can’t start re-designing them.”  But the thought was enticing.

Frantically she stitched.  As she finished Santa and added her brother’s name, she had to smile—one down!  She began on Erlene’s angel next.  As the days came and went she happily stitched and dreamed of Christmas.  One day while reading her favorite BB she noticed a forum for exchanging “work for work or stash.”  The Lady thought this was a wonderful idea and wondered if anyone out there might be interested in helping “finish” the stockings.  It would be a relief not to have to go through that again.  So she posted her inquiry.

The next day the Mad Stitcher checked the BB and noticed a response to her query.  A wonderful lady said she would gladly assemble the stockings for her.  She was so relieved.  Now her time could be spent stitching instead of worrying about the sewing aspect.  The seamstress wanted to try one or two first before committing to doing all of them and MS agreed that this was a wise suggestion.  She thought the “Snowman” and “Snowlady” would be the best because they should match.  So she set out to get these two done.  While working on “Snowlady” she began to search for backing fabrics and ideas for finishing.  As it was spring, it was difficult to find any appropriate fabrics in the one small fabric shop in her town.  She began to worry that she wouldn’t be able to find anything suitable.  She contacted the seamstress to ask advice and the wonderful lady said she would look for fabrics at her local shop.  So MS emailed her a photo of the stockings to give her an idea of what they looked like.  MS continued to stitch madly in the hopes of getting these two finished by the end of the month.

Bo was becoming more and more forgetful and paranoid and MS had to spend more and more time taking care of him.  Each day became an adventure and she never knew what to expect.  Her stitching time became more sporadic and she began to fear that she had undertaken too much with this project.  Her only consolation was that no one in her family knew of her plans, so if she didn’t get all the stockings done this year no one would be disappointed—that is no one but herself.  Of course, she could always finish them next year and just put them up till then.  But she wasn’t going to give up yet.  She continued to stitch whenever she could—mostly at night after Bo was in bed.

The helpful seamstress let her know that she had found some beautiful corduroy that would look great on the stockings.  So the Mad Stitcher was even more determined to get these done.  Finally, these two were personalized and ready to go.  As she mailed them off she smiled and thought, “Well, at least two of them will be done!”

As the Mad Stitcher heard more and more about wedding plans she realized that she had given no thought to a wedding gift for her niece.  She thought about “The Bride” by Lavender & Lace but wasn’t sure of her niece’s taste.  She thought about a sampler but again was not sure.  MS learned that her niece and fiancĂ© had found a house and had decided to go ahead and buy it so that they could begin painting and decorating it.  Also, she learned a little about her tastes and colors, etc.

One day as she leafed through The Cross Stitcher she happened upon a beautiful afghan sampler design.  That would make the perfect wedding gift.  She called up her LNS and asked them to order her the alphabet afghan and was really surprised when she was told they had one in stock.  So she made her supplies list and headed to Rock Hill.  Now Bo did not like the two hour drive to the LNS but MS couldn’t leave him at home alone.  He finally agreed to go with her but now it was getting quite late and she was afraid the shop would close.  It seemed that every driver was creeping along at a snail’s pace and every piece of road equipment was out on the road.  It was taking forever.  Just when she thought she was going to make it……

“Oh, no.” she thought as the sound of sirens and the flashing blue lights appeared in her rear view mirror.  “I know I’m in a hurry, but I was not speeding!”  The Mad Stitcher pulled the car over and gave up any hope of making it to her LNS that day.  She began to search for her license and registration when a voice asked, “Are you aware that your right rear tire is almost flat?  I’d really hate to see you stranded out here.  May I be of assistance”?  MS almost fainted with relief.  “No, thanks.  There’s a station right up here.  I’ll stop and get it fixed.  But you are so nice for offering.”  “Anytime, ma’m.”

As she pulled back out into the highway, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  She had never had a patrolman stop her to HELP before!  She glanced at her watch—five minutes before six.  She would never make it!  After driving all this way, it was to be for nothing.  As she approached the service station she realized it was only two doors below the LNS.  She pulled into the drive and asked the attendant to check and fix her tire.  She told him she was going to run next door but she would be right back.  As she and Bo approached the shop, the door opened and Nancy came out.  “Oh, my goodness.  I had given up on you coming today.”

MS briefly explained the situation and asked if it was too late to get the afghan.  She would come back another day to do the rest of her shopping.  But Nancy would not hear of it.  She took the list and rounded up everything MS needed in a matter of minutes.  As she left the shop she thought how lucky she was to have such an LNS—even if it was so far away.

 She had only been about ten minutes and wondered how long she would have to wait for the car.  Bo was getting restless and was wishing he had stayed at home.  The attendant informed her that the tire was fine.  It just needed some air, but to be sure and keep an eye on it in case there was a slow leak somewhere that he hadn’t been able to find.  As she started the car she realized that she wasn’t lucky—she had a Guardian Angel looking out for her and Bo.  She said a very small but sincere prayer of thanks before heading home.

 It was quite late by the time they arrived back home and Bo was not in a very good mood.  MS hugged him tightly and told him how much she appreciated him going with her and keeping her company.  He seemed to calm down and she kissed him goodnight and suddenly all was right with the world.

 Although the Mad Stitcher was quite tired she wanted to get started on the afghan.  However, she knew better than to stitch tonight so she sorted her floss and went to bed.  The next morning she began to stitch and as the colors and pattern began to develop she knew she had chosen the right design.  There were twenty-six outside blocked sections and “quilt blocks” were done in the alternating squares.  The center section was a sampler design and the colors were those that Melissa was using in her new home.  She stitched constantly over the next few days trying to get the afghan finished.  She had completed the outside squares and was working on the center sampler section were Bo commented on how pretty it was.  “I’m so glad you are doing that for Pam,” he said.  MS explained that she was not doing it for their grand-daughter but as a wedding gift for Melissa and he seemed satisfied with the explanation.  She continued to stitch for several days and was very pleased with the way it was turning out.

 MS knew that she had to get back to the Christmas stockings very soon.  So she began to think about the other designs that she needed to find.  Maybe she should do some internet surfing to see if she could get some inspiration there.

 That evening Bo’s daughter, Wilma, called and before MS knew what was happening….

To be continued... 

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