Monday morning … Abby returned to school, Mum and Lucy headed back across the Gippsland to their beachside home, and I had the whole day ahead of me. It was so bleak and cold – with a heavy hand of dampness to the air – the lovely thing to do would be light the lamps, make tea and settle into an armchair with my knitting and a nice audio book. Yes!
No. As those of you who follow along on my Instagram might have noticed, there’s been quite the DMC wool caper going on here at Bootville over the last week. Spotlight – Australia’s large fabric/craft/homewares merchant – has decided – in all its wisdom – to stop selling DMC embroidery wool. Instead they are going to stock Semco. What? I hear you say. That’s right – Semco. A much cheaper range of wool – poorer quality, far smaller colour range and let’s face it – who designs wool embroidery and needlepoint for Semco – um, nobody. I sought out the manager of the embroidery section of my local Spotlight store and had words – thoughtful, reasonable, polite, grown up words but words nonetheless. I didn’t want her to be under any illusion that replacing DMC wool with Semco was in any way a considerate thing to do for a business that purports to love and support creativity and those who create.
In fact – I related the story shared with me by the manager of the embroidery section of my local Spotlight 15 years ago when they stopped selling needlepoint canvas – the manager that suggested Spotlight’s business model at the time was to stock what all the local independent stores were stocking, undercut them on price because they could, then once they’d put the little independents out of business – drop any lines that weren’t highly profitable for them with a quick turnover – like needlepoint canvas. She agreed that yes, that did seem a reasonable assumption to make and no, she could not understand the logic of the national buyer at all. Nice! During those years I watched 4 stores I regularly visited and attended classes at – all run by imaginative and passionate women who DID love and support creativity and those who create – who put their whole lives into building communities of creativity and passion – close because they simply couldn’t compete with the juggernaut that is Spotlight.
Does this make me spit my teeth out. Why yes it does. But we won’t go any further down this ranty path :-) Suffice to say – I have spent the grocery budget and more on DMC embroidery wool – it’s just hard to stop when it’s only 25c a skein, you truly adore needlepoint and wool embroidery, and you know it’s going to be that much harder to buy from now on.
And to make the bundles of wool piling up on my sideboards and bookshelves even sweeter – I’d recently hard rubbished a dear little chest of drawers that I thought would be perfect for storing my suddenly growing stash. I had visions of Julian cutting me little thin dividers of ply and all my wool neatly and numerically arranged. As it turns out – I’m hopeless at judging size and it’s a wee bit on the small side. There’ll be no little thin dividers of ply :-) Instead, there’s mildly organised squashing. Oh well.
So back to Monday morning – I put on my dirty clothes, dragged the chest out into the driveway and got to work. I was hopeful it was a job for my usual friends – steelwool and metho – alas it was a stripper number and I had to go buy a tin of toxic burning jelly – ugh.
I scraped and scrubbed and scraped and scrubbed until all the old varnish was off, my fingers were stiff and frozen, and my nose was dripping onto my shirt. There was certainly more I could have achieved if I’d wanted to put in another day of sanding – but I didn’t. Julian was home on Wednesday morning and I needed this baby oiled, inside and stuffed.
By Tuesday night it was!
There are four drawers – first is neutrals, greys and browns. Abby and I debated over many of these colours – it would seem I see purple everywhere whereas Abby swore black and blue it was grey. I capitulated. Next is yellows, oranges and greens – no problems here. Third down are the end of the greens, the beginning of the purples and the all the blues. I feel a bit light on with the blues but … the drawers are full so I’m not sure if I’ll go back for more. Finally – the rest of the purples (sans all those lovely purples Abby shoved into the grey and brown drawer), all of the pinks and reds. I DID go back for pinks – and oh my, I now have a lot – I probably have enough to needlepoint bed curtains!
Oh I am such a lover of colour. I keep opening the drawers and just staring dreamily into all that gorgeousness. And yet – as I begin to think of new projects I feel a shiver of fear – oh no! I can’t use my lovely colours! If I use that green there’ll be none left. They’ll run out! Yeeeeeees. Wee bit irrational.
And the chest of drawers – despite its quick turnaround, I’m very pleased with the end result and think the lovely flamey grain of the wood has come up a warm, syruppy treat. I do love me some old and pretty wood :-)
Here it is – tucked into the corner of the library. I hung a needlepoint over it to make it feel at home – one of the first needlepoints I did – stitched through the summer of Abby’s birth. It’s from Mary Norden’s book of Folk Needlepoint – the Swedish Horseman – he has a mate who’s just waiting on the background to be finished. One day they’ll hang side by side. And it’s a lovely match for the chess set – the top of the chest really didn’t come up that well – totally different wood to the rest – no warmth at all. So an all covering chess board is just the ticket. With a little art deco mirror (from my Nanny Dougall’s beach side cottage in Harrington) and a sheep’s skull (Grandad collected for Abby when he went way out west with Mum a few years back) to give it that old library feel!
Look at that – so much prettiness. I just want to sit down, finish the needlepoint pattern I’m working on – it will be a cushion cover based on Turkish rugs that will fit a 24 inch square duck feather cushion insert I have – and get stitching. Alas, I have a clinical portfolio to edit and deliver to university by this afternoon. I’d better hop to it.
And shut that tempting drawer.