Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The romantic notions of needlepoint

Today has been a grand adventure so far. And when I say that, it's with a certain degree of sarcasm, but still a partial bit of truth. My days have melted into quiet routine. But today, I had errands to run, specifically paying the car insurance and making a copy of our house key because I lost my car keys and my spare set doesn't have the house key and yesterday I had to wait around for an hour after work so that Dane could get home and let me in...

But interesting things happen when you accept instinctual possibilities and follow whimsical ideas. After paying the car insurance bill, I noticed the Goodwill store across the street. Having not been to that particular location in a while, I stopped in to see if they might have a shirt or two that I can wear to work (as the vast majority of my wardrobe is t-shirts with shiny stars or Ralph Wiggum or Rocko's Modern Life or something on them). And while perusing the back area, a jumbled mess of old Easter baskets, forlorn looking stuffed bunnies from holidays past, fifty mismatched pillowcases and at least one package of The Office postie notes, I found something entirely awesome.

Ignore the buttons. I'll get to those in a minute. First, concentrate on that needlepoint kit. It looks simple enough. Even run-of-the-mill, average, unremarkable. But it isn't. It's a spark of vintagey goodness from 1974. It's a splash of color and fun with the kit entirely intact and unopened, preserving the delicious yarn within. It's the antithesis of boredom, packaged neatly in a portable bundle that I get to open for the first time.

I realize I may sound overly romantic, but here's what went through my mind at the thrift shop. Imagine it's 1974 and this package, along with five or ten of its brothers, is placed on a hook or on a shelf in a craft or fabric store. It waits patiently, the packaging shiny and smooth, without a wrinkle or a tear. Someone comes along, a nice grandmother, seeing possibilities in the kit as a gift for a small toddler.

The kit is bought, taken home, put in the sewing room... and left. Every time the woman passes by, the kit gets excited. It's going to be used. Its purpose will be fulfilled. But she never opens it. She has other things on her mind. She found a more appropriate gift, or her arthritis has been bothering her lately and she just can't do needlework. She feels heartbroken that she can't do what she loves, so eventually, she stops going into her sewing room at all. Eventually, she can't even get out of bed, not because she is pining away from lack of needlework. No, we shall not be that dramatic... but she's definitely feeling her age. And finally, she slips away.

Time passes. Items are passed down through the family. Boxes of craft items are presented to cousins and nieces and grandchildren to paw through and take what's wanted. The packaging on our dear kit has gotten crinkled and mauled. Old. The price sticker came off long ago, leaving a pale sticky ghost on the plastic. Even the paper inside the kit has started to curl at the edges. And finally, the granddaughter perhaps, going through the garage and clearing space for the lawnmower, throws the kit in with other junk, some broken, some no better than trash for the dump. She drops it at Goodwill and goes home.

The kit is now not only forgotten, but essentially homeless. Its last hope of fulfilling its destiny was dashed with this final act of abandonment. It's thrown facedown in a large tupperware bin next to dinged candlesticks and a block of dented floral foam. It doesn't care anymore. It waits to die.

That is how I rescued it. And that entire romantic scene played out in my head over a second and a half and I knew I needed this. I will resurrect the life of this kit and what it was intended for. I will be the first to open it and sort the colored strands of yarn, the first to thread the small needle, the first to weave the strands through the plastic canvas squares. Columbia-Minerva Needlepoint Baby Blocks 5 pc set from 1974... you shall live again!

Oh yeah, the buttons. I also stopped at a cute antique store and found this adorable old jar filled with old buttons. These buttons are not as forlorn as the needlepoint kit was, but they still begged to come home with me. I'll probably sort through them later and use a large portion of them to make some sort of buttons-stitched-to-fabric-in-an-appealing-pattern type project.


art spirit said...

Hi Cindi bee...fun post...send me an ATC and I'll send you an Octopus one!
love that pin cushion....
more cat photos, please...