Nov 15, 2011


Last Friday afternoon, my stupid mo-ther decided to try her hand at matzo ball soup. While this wouldn't necessarily be something to write home about, it's what she did AFTER she made the soup that is so worthy of a few little words from yours truly.

She ate the entire pot of it and then called my Aunt Chrissy to tell her how positively delicious it was.

When she hung up the phone, I said "Mo-ther, don't you think that was rather rude? Did you stop for a moment to ponder whether or not my Aunt Chrissy might like to have some of that delicious soup? Wouldn't it have been a nice gesture to pack up a nice little basket full of soup and whatnot and take it over to her house so that she could have a lovely little supper after such a long full hard week of work?"

Apparently I should have kept my thoughts to myself, because before I knew what hit me, we were packing up the whole kitchen and some stitching and we headed over to Aunt Chrissy's for the entire evening.

(It's not that I don't love my Aunt Chrissy, and it's certainly not that I don't love her's just that my visits are somewhat tarnished by the fact that my pesky little cousin Bosco happens to live there also, so this means that I have to be nice to him and feign some type of interest in whatever it is that he wants to play with. I usually hop up into my Aunt Chrissy's lap and then glare at the little bugger from her Happy Chair, but this time he seemed particularly dedicated to irritating the hell out of me, so I curled up and took a nice long nap instead.)

I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but my Aunt Chrissy is the real stitching celebrity in our whacky little family. She has been stitching for more years than we can even remember, and despite my mo-ther's best efforts to convince you that SHE is the cheese, the truth of the matter is that my mo-ther's stitching cannot hold a candle to that of my Aunt Chrissy.

(Might I also point out the fact that my Aunt Chrissy does her stitching quietly and without fanfare, and that she doesn't feel the need to telegraph her every mood, move, thought, or silly shenanigan to the whole entire world every fifteen minutes like SOMEBODY we know?)

The first thing I'd like to show you is the recently framed Halloween Rules that hangs just behind Aunt Chrissy's Happy Chair. This sucker is HUGE! I believe that it measures almost four feet in total height, and I can tell you that it makes quite a fantastic statement when you see it in real life:
The wall above the sofa is a particular favorite of mine because it incorporates stitching from Aunt Chrissy, my stupid mo-ther, and even a piece from my Grandma Sig (*). See the Van Gogh sunflower piece to the right of the floral canvas? That's a needlepoint picture that my Grandma stitched many many years ago. Aunt Chrissy recently restored it and it now hangs next to the piece that my mo-ther stitched called Strawberry Garden. All of the other pieces were stitched by my Aunt Chrissy:
This is another of my Grandma's pieces. She stitched this little girl holding her hat for Aunt Chrissy, and she stitched a little girl reading a book for my mo-ther. Aunt Chrissy recently restored this one also, and although you can't see the individual stitches very well from this picture, believe me when I tell you that they are perfection:
Now we move into Aunt Chrissy's formal living room. In this room are a lot of the furnishings that came from the Rich Sisters family home, and the big needlepoints over the piano are particular favorites. See the huge one in the middle? My Grandma Sig called that her "disaster picture" because she stitched it during the blizzard of 1977 when both my mom and my aunt had chicken pox and the mumps and their neighborhood in Lima, Ohio was snowed in for days and days and days. I suspect that this needlepoint picture is the only thing that kept my grandma from hopping on a sled and running away from home.
Aunt Chrissy's front foyer also showcases some of her lovely things, and she changes out the pillows on that chair according to the seasons.
Finally, I thought I'd show you another needlepoint picture that my Grandma Sig made. This one hangs above Bosco's water and food dishes. Can you imagine having something so lovely to look at while you're chomping your Puppy Chow? (The green border that you see on this one is actually a velvet ribbon.)
My Grandma Sig was a very interesting woman, and someday I'll tell you more about her. The (*) is because my mo-ther tells me that if Grandma knew that a nine pound Jack Russell terrier was calling her Grandma Sig, she'd probably get quite a chuckle out of that. Every time my mo-ther says something about "Stewey and Bosco's Grandma and Grandpa", she looks at their photographs and grins. (Is this what spinsters do when they are 45 and childless and their parents are both deceased?)

For the purposes of this post, though, I'm supposed to point out that all of Grandma's needlepoint was stitched on Penelope canvas using the "sewing method" and that she stitched in columns...she would start a thread at the bottom and then sew straight up the column, and then she would end the thread at the top. Then she'd do that over and over and over again until the entire piece was completed. She used Bucilla wool for her threads, and Mom and Aunt Chrissy can remember sitting on the floor with it coiled around their little hands while Grandma rolled it into a big ball. (I guess it came in big hanks.)

Some silly woman told my mom and Aunt Chrissy that there is no way these pieces could have come out as perfectly as they did using that method, but I can attest to the fact that every single solitary stitch is perfect, and from what Mom tells me, the canvases never warped or got crooked one little bit.

As for my Aunt Chrissy's stitching.....well let's just say that her techniques are all perfection. If you look at the back of something she's stitched (which I'm told you're not supposed to do), the stitches look as perfect as they do on the front. Apparently this has something to do with the fact that Aunt Chrissy is a very careful stitcher and that she has "perfect tension".

(My mo-ther's stitching, on the other hand is one big fat crock pot full of hot mess.)

So there you have it, folks. A little peek into my Aunt Chrissy's world. If she lets me, I'll tell you more about her in the future, and I'll try to sneek my camera over to snap some pics of some of the stuff she's working on now. Suffice it to say's all gorgeous!

I hope that you're having a fabulous Tuesday! I remain your loving and devoted friend.



  1. Wow! I'm so glad to finally have a little glimpse of Aunt Chrissy's work. I love the Halloween Rules and the blue mat is just fabulous. Grandma Sig's work is beautiful as well. Thank you so much for the pics. Sherry

  2. Thank you for telling about Aunt Chrissy's stitching. You can tell Mo-ther that a grouf of elves is a troup!

  3. Thank you Master Stewey! I've always wondered about Aunt Chrissy's stitching. Looks like the girls both picked up Grandma Sig's talent.

    Your grandma must have been a saint to survive that snow storm (I remember it well)and children with chicken pox and mumps!

  4. Beautiful Work Coni & Stewey.. I know yall are so proud of Aunt Chrissy and Grandma Sig's work! Just beautiful!!!

  5. Such lovely work! I have the honor of seeing a lot of things like this in my work, but I can't take any pictures of them because I feel like I'm intruding (plus I'm supposed to be working and not taking pictures of my client's things lol)

    I always get sad when I hear that their family think it's ugly. Granted, some of the colours aren't very modern, but still, that's their family history right there!

  6. Absolutely wonderful and interesting post Stewey! So glad to read and look at the pics! Thank you. :) Cathryn

  7. Such beautiful work and lovely memories of Grandma Sig. I too have a piece my grandmother was working on years ago but I can't seem to get the hang of finishing it. I'd love to see it done.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. absolutely beautiful .thank you stewey .susmita india

  9. What an amazing family of needle artists you have - how cool!! Those are really beautiful pieces, but so are all of the ones I have seen of yours!

  10. Thanks for sharing the pictures of all the beautiful work done by your family.

    Blizzard of 1977! I remember it all too well. (I'm from the Buffalo area.) Bless Sig for putting up with 2 of you with the pox. Our bout of pox was Christmas 1978/New Years 1979. Ugh.

  11. Thank you for sharing Aunt Chrissy's and Grandma Sig's stitching. Such taste and class is shown in the decor too. What a lovely lot of stitching to adorn the walls. Believe me - you are better off without the hairy lump of menfolk with no artistic appreciation - I'll just wish my home was as neat and stylish.

  12. I love seeing all the family stitched pieces and have to say I lived in Lima, Ohio for three years back in the late 80s!