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Posted by on December 28, 2012

While we were on the houseboat this year, Gene taught me to embroider:

















┬áThis is the only new skill I learned in 2012, which sounds sad now that I come to write it out, but I actually feel pretty good about it. Some years, the only new skill I acquire is, like, cheating at Yoshi’s Island, or figuring out how to use the camera on my phone.

Embroidery is surprisingly soothing. The worst part was threading the needles — embroidery floss (which is what we embroidery experts call our thread) has several distinct strands to it that love to unravel as soon as you look away for a second, and it’s really tough to get all the strands into one needle.

Then I discovered something called a needle threader. OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS. This is basically just a metal hook, but it has changed my life. I always assumed I would know the future had arrived when I saw my first flying skateboard or self-drying jacket, but it turns out that the needle threader is as far as technology needs to go. I could thread needles all day long now. And I do!

(Or, if Gene is reading this, no. No, I do not do that.)

Anyway, the only real problem with embroidery is that there aren’t that many things in life that need to be covered in lumpy thread knots, no matter how pretty they are. I’ve embroidered a few flour sack towels like the one above, which are completely useless as towels, being both WAY too thin to absorb anything and also way too pretty for me to want to mop up my coffee spills with. After that I was kind of at a loss.

But then! I realized that I have an extra chair in my library that I rarely sit on which was screaming for a decorative yet uncomfortable throw pillow. Say no more, chair! I am on it.

The other thing that I have discovered in the world of embroidery is this: the iron-on pen.

So now, for example, I can print out a quotation, trace over the letters and iron it onto my fabric. Voila, an amusingly ironic pillow, courtesy of me being awesome:













I’m especially proud of the flowers, which I did freehand without any kind of pattern — a first for me. Here is a closeup, to blow what remains of your mind after you saw that last picture:













In case you can’t read the writing on this terrible, over-exposed photo, it’s a quote from Anais Nin and it says “If I had been given a normal energy, I would be a great woman today.” It cracks me up because it’s so typical of the stuff she was always writing about herself, a mixture of grandiosity and laziness. And also because it’s a thought I have secretly had about myself more than once.

Anyway, that pillow is finished and I am once again without an embroidery project. I think next year I’m going to try and acquire a skill that can be used more often, like hang gliding or drinking my weight in eggnog. Something useful.

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