“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t work on my cross-stitch in the car,” I wanted to know. My other half and I were leaving on a short trip.
He shot me a look of disbelief. “You’re driving, remember?”
“Oh, right.” He had a point.
Cross-stitch sewing, as any hobby, can sneak up on you like the six pounds you gained over the holidays. Sometimes our hobbies have a way of turning into obsessions.
I’ve heard a story about a potter who became so absorbed in his clay, he shook hands with a customer before scraping the mud from his fingers. Then there’s the quilter who stayed up until four a.m., propped on the couch, working on a quilt. Next morning she realized she’d sewn the quilt to a couch pillow. And I can’t forget the woodcarver who wanted to chisel a piece of lumber into the shape of Mount Rushmore and ended up with a giant-sized, beautifully carved, toothpick.
Lately, it seemed my cross-stitch hobby had gone from pastime to compulsion. I knew things were getting out of hand when I brought my sewing to bed one night and worked on it under the covers, guided by a flashlight.
After a few minor cross-stitch successes, it was clear that I had become addicted. I’d use any tactic, no matter how devious, to work in a few more stitches. Once, while entertaining guests, visiting became a chore. They wanted to debate politics and pollution; I wanted to discuss fabric and thread.
With dinner in the oven, I excused myself. “Better check on that roast,” I said, caught up in a sudden urge to create via needle and thread. In the kitchen tucked beneath the blender was a floral bookmark, my latest project. With a sneaky chuckle, I snatched up the bookmark and finished one of the rose petals.
Then I panicked when my charred pot roast set off the smoke alarm. Looking sheepish, I suggested maybe we should all go out to dinner that night.
Even while bowling, cross-stitch wins out. In a hot and heavy duel for first place, fellow bowlers were going wild, cheering each other on. But my mind became blurred by my latest sewing project, an autumn scene. The score was tied. Our team’s last chance for victory rested with my score. Spurred on by my fellow team members, I approached the lane, bowling ball in hand.
By mid-delivery, however, visions of unfinished orange and rust leaves jogged my mind. To everyone’s surprise, I plunked the ball back onto the rack.
“Just one more stitch,” I pleaded, dragging out my sewing.
They asked me to become a substitute bowler. What sore losers.
My obsession with cross-stitch has had its effect on my family, too. Often they’re tolerant, but sometimes they just don’t seem to understand. “What’s for supper?” one of them whined one night.
“Corn flakes,” I muttered in an absentminded, Christmas-red, double backstitch daze. Then I noticed the ten o’clock news flashing across the television screen, and it brought me back to reality. Supper was a little late that night, like midnight.
To show how wrapped up in this sewing hobby we can get, I once had a friend who confessed she’d hit rock bottom with her love of cross-stitch. When her husband returned from a business trip, she was so preoccupied with her needlework, she forgot to pick him up at the airport . . . twenty miles away.
I’d never allow myself to become that obsessed.
That reminds me, there’s a wedding coming up next month. Maybe I could sneak in a few stitches somewhere between do you take? and I now pronounce. Think anyone would notice?