Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Learning Curve

I went to the EGA (Embroiderers Guild of America) chapter meeting Monday night. It was my first time there as a member. They had an interesting show-and-tell, where various members display their finished or in-progress needlework and talk about why they did it, or a problem they had doing it, or just brag a little bit about how well it turned out. Then we broke for lemonade and cookies. After that came the class on pulled thread. Pulled thread and drawn thread are two different techniques. In drawn thread, threads in the fabric are cut and drawn out of the weave. In pulled thread, various stitches are pulled so tight that the fabric distorts in a controlled fashion.

It turned out that I need more time than I used to to pick up a new skill. But there were other complications. First of all, the project we were given was to be done on finely woven linen -- or at least, finer than I am used to working on. I had brought my magnifying glasses with me, and that helped. Second, I didn’t seem able to pull the thread tight enough to get the effect called for. The teacher was extremely patient with me, and I did at least learn how to do three kinds of stitches. But I made such a mess of the bookmark I was working on that she took out an extra kit and gave it to me to start again. There is a stitchers group in our building that meets on Wednesdays, and I will take the new bookmark fabric and the floss down there to try again to master the art of pulled thread stitching.

Minnesota’s state fair is the second-largest in the nation; only Texas’ is bigger. It begins next week, and I bought my tickets in advance last week. One of my favorite displays is the needlework in the Craft Building. It’s only after I began a serious struggle to master counted cross stitch, needlepoint, punch needle, knitting, crochet and now pulled thread, that I can really understand and appreciate the beautiful hand-crafted articles in that display. It’s the same in the horseback riding competitions. I love to watch the competitions at the fair. I used to be a fairly serious rider, and got pretty good at it, so now, even after many years of not riding, I can tell a sorry horse from a good horse from a great horse, and appreciate fine riding. It’s still painful for me to watch a western or other period movie and see someone alleged to be an experienced rider flopping around on his or her saddle at the trot-- the poor horse! You can’t act like a good rider, you can only be one. It’s also pitiful to watch an actress pretend to knit, and fun to catch someone who knows how. Carolyn Jones, who played Morticia on “The Addams Family” television show really could knit.

Have any of you had that experience of watching a movie or television show or play and seen an actor doing something you know how to do and realize they don’t?


Linda O. Johnston said...

I usually chalk up mistakes to trying for drama, Monica. I keep hearing how the shows featuring forensics get much of it wrong, and the characters get a lot more involved in law enforcement than the real people in the field do. I still enjoy watching some of them.

Betty Hechtman said...

I had to laugh at a scene of women doing indoor cycling (also called spinning) in a movie. They had all kinds of dialogue going, which would be impossible if they were really riding as hard as they tried to appear. If you have enogh breath for a conversation, you're not working hard enough.