Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rules, Good rules, Dumb rules, Damn rules...

Rules have been the bane of my existence my entire life.  One of my fellow librarians commented that it was appropriate that I drove a mustang since I was like a wild pony.  I thanked her--of course, she had meant it as an insult.  As a library science student, some professors would declaim that you must love this book, that book.  This book was much better than that.  If you don't like this book, something is wrong with you. One size definitely does not fit all, nor should it. 

After I became a library science professor, I taught media for children the hour after another professor taught many of the same students children's literature.  Those poor 20-year-olds.  They went from the dictator of the Western World to Ms. Free-as-the-Breeze.  I felt sorry for them.  I wanted them to understand that there were no absolutes in life, whether it applied to children's literature or "media" or just life.  But they had to figure out how to play the system and win (and I certainly didn't help--I had never had that woman, but had heard horror stories for years and could hardly be civil at faculty meetings!).
And now it's happening in needlepoint.  You must start every project with new needles, new stretcher bars, must always work on a frame, new ...who knows what else.  Come on.  This is marketing.  It's commercialism.  Think about it.  Needles are metal.  If they tarnish, use an emery strawberry to eliminate the tarnish and keep on stitching.  Stretcher bars are wood (at least most of them), they're durable.  Sure if you keep them 30 years in a closet they may dry out and split.  Then you buy new ones.  I'm not from New England, but there's a lot to be said for "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  That old perle cotton or wool is still good and stitchable 20 years later with proper storage.  It won't disintegrate with stitching.  The color hasn't changed (that only happens with exposure to strong light).  Use your leftovers for new projects.  The needlepoint gods don't become displeased when you don't throw unnecessary dollars on their altar!  They're actually grateful that you're still stitching.

UPDATE:  I just remembered that the ladies at the Royal School of Needlework when stitching on "Kate's" gown only used their sharps for 30 minutes and then discarded them, though I'd bet someone is stitching with them today.  I know embroidery needles need a sharp point but surely some projects don't require quite the stiletto.


  1. I AM from New England, and I hear you, Gal! Thanks for all your posts this month--a good read with my morning coffee!