“Look Mama, I’m Knitting!”

On Tuesday morning, Emily asked, “Mama, can I watch a movie?”

I was busy cleaning up the kitchen as she ate breakfast. “No baby, not this morning. We will go to the library later this morning, a cleaning afterwards, and you can possibly watch a movie in the afternoon.” I told her, pretty sure that she would be distracted by a neighbor and get to play instead of watching a movie then.

She looked disappointed. “Why don’t you go and look through the homeschool cabinet and see if there is anything in there that interests you.” I suggested, a flash of insight hitting me.

We have this huge homeschool cabinet, full of arts and craft activities, math books, Spanish workbooks and more. Markers, flash cards, science experiments to play with, mazes, and extra books I’ve deemed she will be ready for in, oh, six to ten years from now. She never touches the cabinet and I’ve been concerned that it is becoming a hideout for all things learning and nothing learned from it.

Surprisingly, perhaps since I had never suggested it before, she was happy to check it out. A few minutes later she emerged, hollering that she had “a knitting project” and she was going to do that.

I knew immediately that she was referring to a simple needlepoint project I had given her for Christmas…

This would be one of those moments that I had to sternly order myself to let it go – that obsessive compulsive part of me that has to follow instruction to the letter. I started it off for her, showing her how the stitch looks like a slash – / – and where to put her needle and how to hold her thread.

She was not interested in my way of doing it.

“I want to do it this way,” she said, and I took a breath and realized it didn’t matter how she did it, as long as she was enjoying herself. I sat and read to her about the solar system and we discussed how the four inner planets are made of rock and the four outer planets consist of gas. She “knitted” as I read, pausing to help her with new colors and to secure the “tail” of the yarn.

Along the way she kept asking me to repeat the “real” name of the project. “It’s called needlepoint,” I told her. “I used to do a lot of cross-stitch, which is similar, you make an ‘x’ instead of just a slash.”

“Really? What did you do, where are your cross-stitch projects?” Emily asked.

I pointed to the iris, “I did that on 22 count fabric. That means there are 22 squares, or x’s, per inch.” I told her, and we examined it closely. I had completed it in 2001 apparently. At this point, my sight is fading, I couldn’t even see the tiny x’s in the stitching.

I showed her the Garden Fairy, a Mirabilia design, “This one took me over a year to complete,” I told her.

“Wow!” she breathed, her eyes wide. A moment later she was back at her stitching, a satisfied look on her face. “Mama, I like needlepoint. I’m good at it, aren’t I?”

And I couldn’t help but tell her yes. There will be a time and place for perfection later. Besides, I do think it looks pretty darned good!

I haven’t worked on any cross-stitch projects since Emily was born. I have several projects I hope to finish at some point, but just have not found the time for. Who knows, if she gets into crafting more, I might just find myself with more time in that area!

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