Let Me Tell You a Story

I’ve been quiet again, computer issues. I think the computer has given up on me. So please bear with me as I’m going to attempt to write this using my iPad. I’m not too sure how this will go.

So, let me tell you a story, yes there is a reason I’m sharing this with you.

Growing up my hometown was surrounded by farms. Each Sunday during summer my grandparents would drive in one direction or another to visit the stands set up on these family farms where they sold their produce to the public.  We knew each of these families well.  To the west we visited the family whose son married my cousin, to the east we always stopped to chat and purchase fruits from childhood friends, and so on.

As the years went on it became harder to make a living on these farms. The children couldn’t afford to work the farm without an outside job to supplement the farm’s income so fewer wanted to take over from their parents.

Too many of these farms were sold off and later developed into subdivisions but there were a few who were able to keep the land in the family.

As the children grew and married they were given a section of the land to build their home on.

I was sad to lose these farm stands but understood the economics of life as a farmer.  What I loved was seeing some of the barns and outbuildings, no longer serving their intended function, saved and converted into homes for the younger generations, the perfect upcycling if their ever was one.

Why am I telling you this today? It’s because those memories came flooding back when I received a cross stitch pattern in the mail from my friend Marlene.  

This is the cover image of the chart


Marlene fell in love with this pattern when she saw her friend stitching it. I knew Marlene had problems with her vision and offered to stitch it for her (visit Marlene and see her final piece all framed by clicking the link above).  When I received the chart I immediately asked if I could hold on to the pattern a bit longer so I could stitch a version for myself. Marlene told me it was all mine.

This is where the above story comes in.  When I saw the chart I knew I wanted to make changes that would reflect the family farms that were able to hold on to the land.

I pictured a young family that took one of the smaller barns and converted it into their home. They would not only honor the land several generations of their family cared for but would hold on to heirloom pieces as grandparents and great-grandparents passed on.

I wanted to break the pattern down and show you it in stages to explain what I was thinking but haven’t figured out how to do that yet from my iPad. Instead let me show you the final piece and explain some of the changes I made.

The most striking change was to the house. I changed the color to red to represent an old barn and converted the second floor window to a hayloft door to represent the inhabitants wanting to honor the past.

You might have also noticed that I filled in the trees instead of using just the outlines of where the leaves would be. My thought was that by the time we hang out our winter bedding to air before packing away for summer our trees would be in bloom.

I also decided to leave off the geese to represent a non-working farm and the loss that represented to our community.

The more subtle differences are in the two quilts on the left.  I used a variegated red on the first one to represent light filtering through the trees.  The blue quilt I also used a variegated color to make it appear old and worn….a much loved hand-me-down.

The only other difference was to use brighter colors on the remaining two quilts than was called for in the chart.

This is how my brain works. I like to have subtle reminders of cherished memories that are only known to me. My guests can treat my pieces like a piece of music letting their own memories dictate any impressions they may make.

Much thanks to Marlene for sharing this lovely pattern with me, And now I have a memory of her hanging in my home.

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29 comments

  1. I love how you personalized the pattern to reflect your own memories. It will bring you a gentle reminder of days gone by every time you walk past. I love the stone path that leads your eye up to the house.

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    • Thank you, Cynthia. The path was there in the original, maybe it wasn’t as noticeable with the geese getting more attention in that area. I love how it vappcame out and not only think of the inspiration but of Marlene ever time I see it.

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  2. Oh Lois, I may have to find a way to link this post to mine instead of the other!! I love what you did with that pattern. I could never have figured out how to change the pattern in such a way but truly appreciate what you are saying here about the loss of a way of life. You did a great job of using the ipad. I think about you each time I see that same pattern now and my kids know how much I value that piece. Son and his partner went with me to pick out the frame. I am so happy to have it and Patti was stunned by how fast you finished and how different mine was from hers. One pattern, three variations so far. 🙂 Too bad the company went out of business.

    I’ve been working outside all week and lots of errands to run so it took me a bit to get the post done. I’m going to send a photo of your interpretation to my phone and show Patti when I see her in 2 weeks. Have a wonderfilled Mother’s Day weekend. Giant hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you are enjoying it. I do love how you framed it too. It’s easy to get in a lot of stitching time during the winter here and not having a good chair added to my downtime.

      I’m probably going to learn to just use the iPad as it’s cheaper than repairing or buying a new computer so I better master it. Lol

      Not a whole lot of work is getting done outside right now as we’ve had rain and thunderstorms for days now and I need it to dry out so I don’t get stuck. Can’t wait for it to dry out now that I had two days of weeding and got the bug.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve seen a bit of your weather on the news. I am NOT envious. We are dry and cloudy, perfect for weeding.
        The tablet was hard for me to use for blogging. I didn’t have the patience and I’m not sure I could edit my photos on one. That’s what I should be doing right now. So tired all the time can barely get everything done. Maybe tonight will bring better sleep.
        I’m glad you liked the frame. It’s the same color as the trees. I wanted the work to stand out and the frame to disappear.
        Wishing you dryer weather and happy gardening…soon.

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  3. […] I can be quite slow about getting things framed but this was too beautiful to wait. After all the hours of her hard work, I had to get it up on the wall quickly. So. I went to Craft Warehouse and had a discount coupon to get it framed in a way I hope brings more attention to the art than the frame. Thank you, Lois. You do incredible work. Her work on holiday and celebration gifts are stunning. Stop by and pay this amazing woman a visit. She just posted her version of this design so stop by and take a look at it here. […]

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  4. That is the most wonderful story Lois – it is lovely to read how your thoughts dictate your creative style. This is the mark of an artist isn’t it, our experiences and responses re-imagining a piece and make it unique. When I make a painting for a particular person every part of the completed piece is telling their story from my point of view, there is nothing there ‘by accident’ and you have done the same in this beautiful piece of cross stitch. I love the one you made for Marlene and I love the one you have made for yourself. Good wishes for your computer woes being over, you did a good job of this post on your i-pad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline, for years I told myself, and anyone who asked, that I had few artistic talents because I associated art with drawing or painting. But not that long ago I realized artistic talent comes in many forms and am enjoying finding mine.

      That said I’ve always admired your artistic talents your pieces are beautiful and it’s nice to learn you have a similar process to mine.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a beautiful post, Lois. Your talents are simply wonderful! I love that you chose to make the little changes to reflect what you wanted to show… Kudos to you.

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  6. You’re so generous to Marlene–such an exquisite gift you’ve given her! And I love reading about the changes you made to your cross stitch. I came from a family farm, too . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all, I’m impressed with you did this post on the ipad. Half of my touches don’t work on one and I find it very frustrating to use. Also, even before you told the story of why you changed piece, I like the colors in the new one better. The first one is pretty, but it seems as if the designer was just putting in things for balance, not for meaning.

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    • I have to laugh at your description of typing in The iPad. It’s not that easy but after typing my post I feel I’ve gotten better. I’m considering purchasing a keyboard to use with it rather than buying a new computer. My son has one for his and loves it. At $100 for a keyboard it’s much cheaper than a new computer.

      I hadn’t thought of the original design in quite that way but am glad Marlene loves hers as I do mine.

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  8. Over the years, I had assumed our farm would always be there, but it isn’t anymore. It only takes one generation to squander the income without putting anything back into the land for maintainance–thus making a wasteland of it all.

    Google “abandoned farmland” and see some heartbreaking photographs. Original owners are probably long deceased and children don’t care to maintain anything.

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    • Beth, I am so sorry your farm has been lost. Far too many are, and yes I’ve looked at both photos and videos of the abandoned farms and more. I believe I was fortunate to know so many families who were able to find ways to keep their land for future generations, thus far.

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  9. Nobody loved our family farm more than I did, but the way I have come to grips with the loss is to study to love my eternal home. My new focus is incredibly comforting.

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  10. Lois, I, too, love the changes you made as much as the original. I feel as you do about family farms and wish with all my heart that I’d grown up on one. The farms in our family are all just growing land now; the homes, barns, etc. are all gone. The entire little town of Nadeauville, Saskatchewan, where my maternal grandparents lived for many years and where my Mum and several siblings were born, is only a marker in the ground now. For me it’s unbearably sad to contemplate.

    Congratulations on creating a post on a touchscreen! My tablet came with a keypad, but on both it and on the laptop I left at my cousins’ I have to type half as quickly as usual or the cursor skips around and then I have to hunt it down and get rid of all the letters that are in the wrong spaces. I miss my computer keyboard . . . I’m planning to get one of those when I’m back home again. Like you (I suspect), I learned to type on a proper typewriter (an old Underwood in my case) and I was fairly fast on that, but faster on a PC keyboard. I’m not fond of having to slow down so much. Anyway, I hope you find a keyboard that works well for you. I also have a wireless mouse that came with a small thingy that plugs into one of the USB ports and I highly recommend getting one unless you never use a mouse. I also have a hub with four USB ports and it plugs into the other USB port on the laptop or tablet, making it possible to add other things like my external storage device and so on. I’d recommend that, too, unless you’d never use it, of course.

    I’m off to catch up on some of your other posts. I so admire your skill with needle and thread, you know. I’m adequate, but have not yet mastered the finer points of cross-stitch.

    Much love to you, Lois. ~ Linne

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    • Thank you Linne, I hoped everyone would enjoy seeing how different a piece can look just by changing up colors. While I spent my fair share of time playing on family friends’ farms I too wish I’d grown up on one. It just seemed a more natural way to life, for lack of a better word. I’m so sorry about your grandparents home being gone. Did you visit often? I felt such a loss when my grandparents passed away and their home was sold. The house was still there but it wasn’t mine to go back to visit and I felt their passing even stronger because of that. I think you might understan that feeling.

      Yes, I learned to type on an actual typewriter. My fingers are very weak so I had to have an electric model to be able to push the keys with my pinkies. Computer keyboards never gave me a problem and I was even faster because I barely had to push them so my hands didn’t tire as quickly. One thing I have to do to use my touch screen is to keep my nails rather short, for me, or I make all kinds of weird things happen while typing. I haven’t used a mouse in years so i probably won’t bother with purchasing one for the iPad, just a keyboard should suffice.

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