Sorry for the clickbait: this isn’t a summery post per se, but bear with me, because there is a connection.

But first, a brief discourse on why you ought to Support Your Local Sheriff Gunfighter Stitching Shop.

A few years ago, I was out Christmas shopping with my dad, and we stopped into my favourite stitch shop for a quick purchase.  Naturally, I couldn’t leave without browsing at least a little bit, and that was when I saw The Kit.  It was a gorgeous picture of a calico cat resting on a piano and surrounded by oodles of music paraphernalia.  (I’ve always had a soft spot for calicos.)

“Oooh,” I breathed, picking it up to examine it more closely.  “Look at it, it….oh, wait, it’s not cross-stitch; it’s needlepoint.  Rats.”

“You’ve been stitching for a long time.  So what if this is a slightly different technique?  I’m sure you’d be able to figure it out.”

I squinted at the cover picture.  “Well, it does kind of look like half cross-stitch.  [Note: It’s actually called Continental Stitch.]  But I’ll leave it for today.  I’m not here to shop for myself.”  I set it back, planning to return sometime after the holidays.

My dad, in a rare moment of Acute Human Observation, promptly sent my mom to the shop the following week to buy it for me for Christmas.  She’s not a stitcher, but he gave her a description of the picture, and where in the store to find it.  She managed to locate the kit, and in the course of paying for it, struck up a conversation with the shop owner who quickly figured out who she was, and who the kit was for.  And actually tried to stop her.

“This is needlepoint.  The Witty Child doesn’t do needlepoint; she cross-stitches.”

My mom had to explain that all involved parties were aware of the technique used, and that I’d be willing and able to cut my teeth on something new.  And she left with the kit, which I unwrapped a week or so later.

But can you believe that?  The small business owner would rather have lost a sale than saddle a customer with an unsuitable item.  Does Michael’s, or Wal-Mart, or the discount crafty website do that, or offer that level of personalized service?  Support Your Local Stitching Shop!  I can’t stress that enough.

The kit (called “Gershwin”…and there’s your connection!) took me a few years of needling away at it.  I rarely stitch for myself, so my progress was forever being interrupted by birthday cards, birth announcements, Christmas ornaments…

I managed to finish it a couple of months back, and of course I had to return to my local shop to have it framed:

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Didn’t she do a fantastic job?!  There’s no way I could have framed it half a nicely.  The framing complements the picture without detracting from it, and makes it look like a painting from a distance.

Support Your Local Stitching Shop.

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