Monday, September 20, 2010

Recovering My Love of Crafting

In my last blog post, I alluded to "an event" that prevented me from completing the cross stitch that I now will theoretically work on during my trip. I thought that I would take a few moments and in brief discuss this event, which took place in March of last year, and basically made me not want to craft for the better part of a year.

March, 2009, I was very busy with work, in the "10 hours a day every day" kind of level. When I would finish in the evening, I was destressing by watching pre-season baseball and working on a cross stitch I had started some time before but never finished. Then, one Friday morning, I woke up with strange bug bites on my arm (that first morning, only the cluster closest to the camera in the linked to image were present). Understandably alarmed, I was unable to find any images on the internet that resembled my bites, so I went to a nearby clinic, which confirmed my worst fear: my apartment had bed bugs!

Now, if you don't know much about this scourge, one of the most important things is that in order to get rid of them, you have to vacuum and/or otherwise clean basically everything you own in preparation for the exterminator coming. As there was absolutely no way I could do this with the amount of work I had to do (all of which had a due date of March 27th or some such), I resolved to keep on as I had been until then. I hadn't even seen a bed bug at this point, so I continued to work hard, continued to walk the dog, continued to watch pre-season baseball, and continued to work on my cross stitch. Then I started to get evidence that the bed bugs were in my couch - bites on my lower back. And that was when the worst happened: when I picked up my cross stitch, I saw my very first bed bug, an adolescent, crawling it's way down the space where the face of the girl I was sewing was supposed to go. I tried to pretend this wasn't a big deal to me, but then the next day I found another, also on my cross stitch. So on the 28th, when I started packing (I had to pack everything I owned in three days) my cross stitch went in a sealed bag in a crate that I was going to not open for a year - in it were all the things that were too fragile to be treated for the bed bugs in the normal ways.

I left for three weeks while my home was treated. While I was away, I still wanted to work on embroidery, so I bought the cross stitch that now is with me on the trip. But it was not to be: in May, the bed bugs came back. With a lot of effort, I took all my fabric, all my yarn, all my embroidery and (along with a lot of the other things I owned) put it all in storage. I did not work on another craft project until I moved in October. I didn't dare! What if it got infested again? What if I gave something infested as a gift? It was too horrifying to imagine.

In the months after that, it was very difficult to regain my love of crafting. Even though I had moved and appeared to bed bug free, I had worked so hard to keep myself from missing it that I found I didn't want to. Also, I knew I had so many materials and such in storage, I didn't want to buy even more! But slowly, surely, the love of crafting started to come, and I started making things regularly again in January.

The story has a happy ending. In May, after the year of quarantine, I got all my belongings out of storage. In the bottom of one crate was the project where I had first seen the bed bug. I was so freaked out by it that I took out of the crate and immediately shoved it in the freezer for two days. But I worked up the nerve to take it out of the freezer again, and then over the next two weeks, I finished it. I don't have pictures yet, but it was this one. My mom has promised to stretch and frame it for me, so I should have it up on the walls sometime after Christmas (she typically gives me my framed cross stitches as Christmas presents). I've now made things with a lot of the materials that were in quarantine, and I've mostly managed to move on from this pretty lousy experience, but there was a little while there when I wondered if I would ever dare to work on a cross stitch again? (the moreso because this was my second cross stitch disaster; the first was when a project I had devoted three months to, a pattern that I loved, was among the items stolen when my car was broken in to - they took pretty much everything in the car, and I was heartbroken - didn't cross stitch again for more than a year). But I always come back to it! :)

Next time, I'll post something more fun, and hopefully with pictures, promise. ;)

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