A Christmas Gift Fiasco


Once again, here is the Christmas article I promised about how I managed to stress myself with my Christmas projects.

I will admit it – I am a slow stitcher. I have a stitching bug that comes and strikes me so I stitch for several hours in a row (although I’m not supposed to) but then not stitching for weeks at a time. Under most circumstances, that’s totally okay! I stitch mainly for myself as a stress-reliever, and a way to make beautiful pieces of art.

But what’s the point of creating art if you can’t share it with anyone? This past Christmas (Christmas of 2013, to be more precise, since we’re three months along since then) I had the great idea of stitching a few pieces for my family. A stuffed animal bib for my nephew, some pillow cases for my sister, and my first attempt at a needlepoint project of dragonflies for my mom (she loves dragonflies, and these were blue, her favorite color). My plans were originally much broader, as in stitching a small piece for everyone, but I decided against it at the last minute.

I had everything gathered and ready to go by the end of October. By the middle of November, I had finished the stuffed animal for my nephew, and started on the needlepoint project for my mom.

I guess that’s kind of when I hit a wall. I was making good progress on the needlepoint, but it wasn’t going fast enough. I wanted to get the needlepoint done before I started on the pillow cases, because those would be easier to work on and get done quickly, so I could finish them during a crunch. As December 24th drew nearer and nearer, I started to panic. I definitely wasn’t stitching fast enough, or often enough. I couldn’t afford to waste days, but some days I didn’t want to pick up the needle. What was I going to do if I didn’t get then done? I didn’t exactly have back-up gifts to replace them.

And then: total disaster.

I realized I was almost out of one of the colors, which was strange, because there was still a lot of that color to stitch. So I took a closer look at the thread list and realized… I’d used the wrong color. I was absolutely gutted. I couldn’t frog out the color mistake because it was such a huge section I’d stitched, and I didn’t have enough left to stitch the parts that did require that color. If I left it and continued on with the right color, there would be an obvious color switch between the two (subtle, but there) and I didn’t want a project I was doing as a gift to have such a big mistake in it. If I stitched it for me, it would be different.

I was distraught and at this point, totally stressed out I wasn’t going to finish in time. I wouldn’t have time to fix this project, finish it, and finish stitching the pillow cases all two weeks before Christmas. It wasn’t possible. I worked a full schedule every week (retail, yay) on top of trying to finish everything in time for Christmas.

I told all of this in a moment of stress and frustration to my boyfriend, who gave me a strange look. “Calm down! They aren’t going to care if you don’t finish it in time. You shouldn’t be stressing out over presents. It’s Christmas, just enjoy it.”

That’s exactly what I needed to hear. Cross-stitch is an art, and it’s meant to be a stress-reliever. In trying to finish on time, I stressed myself out over something I didn’t have to worry over. My family would understand if I didn’t finish on time. They know how much work and effort goes into stitching. I had to tell myself to relax and not worry if I didn’t finish on time. Which I didn’t.

In the end, I wrapped up the cover picture of both pieces and gave it to them as an IOU, and an example of what the piece will look like when it’s finished. At this point, the Christmas presents will probably be birthday presents! But it’s the thought that counts, in the end.

Have you ever stressed about finishing a project before? How did you overcome it? Did you end up finishing the project on time? Leave a comment and let me know!


“Random Corner” is a place for all articles related to all manners of cross-stitchery and the cross-stitch community that don’t fall into the topics covered in the regular segments. There is no set schedule for Random Corner articles, they’re just random!

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