The Random Writings of Rachel: The Craft Project that Never Ended

The Craft Project that Never Ended

Well, I mean, it did end. Because I'm here now and the project is finished, but you know the feeling, right?

Some craft projects seem like they take a lifetime to complete.

This one really did.

Look at this lovely vintage embroidered tablecloth that I just finished:



Wait a minute...if I just finished embroidering the tablecloth, then why did I call it "vintage"?

Sure, it might be a rather loose interpretation of the word, but let me explain.

This tablecloth project was begun in the 1980s. The tablecloth itself is older than I am. My Mom started the tablecloth, and says that she remembers embroidering in her dorm room at college when she had no desire to study anymore.

College being what it is, the tablecloth didn't get finished.

I remember seeing this unfinished tablecloth as a kid, stumbling across the plastic bag full of thread and needles and hoops and tablecloth every once in a while. I even have vague memories of Mom pulling it out to work on it. But mostly it just stayed in the bag--never thrown out, always kept, but never finished.

When I was about 11, I came across the tablecloth again, and asked Mom if I could try my hand at finishing the embroidery. She said sure, and I gave it my best shot. But I was 11, I was distractable, and this tablecloth didn't stand a chance of being finished. It got packed into storage when we moved to Malaysia.

I came across the tablecloth this past December when going through my parents' storage with them. This time, I took it out and determined to finish it. There were still 3 entire rosettes that had little or no progress made. I decided I was going to finish the project for once and for all, and I did.

It's only been, oh, 25 plus years since the project had been started...

What's the longest period of time that a single craft project has taken you from start to finish?

46 comments:

  1. Wow! That has taken a while! My mom took about 3 years to sew a jacket for me once... thank goodness it was a classic pattern and I hadn't outgrown it! As for me... I started crocheting squares to make a blanket at the start of 2012 and when we left last year, I handed it all over to my gran if she wanted to finish it and donate it. I have no idea if she did, but I got horribly bored of just doing the same thing over and over and over again.

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  2. What a cool project! I bet it felt especially fulfilling to finish it.

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  3. Wow, its beautiful! I think its really neat that both your mom and you have worked on it too...what a treasure to have and even for your kids to know that their mom and grandma both worked on it at similar times in their lives!

    I have a lot of sewing projects that I've started and never finished. I don't mind sewing, but I don't think I'm particularly great at it so sometimes I get discouraged and give up for a while, until I forget the discouragement and want to give it a try again! Also one that has been bothering me is a painting on our wall that I started last year. I basically just color blocked it, but haven't really put details into it.

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  4. i have a baby blanket that i started before kayla was born and i was like: oh, she's going to use this during naps etc and it's going to be so cute! well, kayla is now 5 and has never used that blanket because it's the size of a small square hahahahaha!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

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  5. Wow. This is incredible! Good on you for finishing it. A real heirloom to be handed down.

    Gosh I will start craft projects and then if I never finish them I eventually throw them out. When all I did was crafting for my business I was much more disciplined at finishing them. Now, with blogging, I don't have enough time.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  6. Oh my goodness! It is beautiful! And what a great testimony it carries. You and your mom have both worked on it for so long. What a treasure!

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  7. So pretty!!! It's so cool that you and your mom created it. And that it got saved/stores safely that entire time. Amazing!

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  8. wow, thats amazing! I had no clue you even enjoyed this particular art :) it looks lovely!

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  9. Wow, how beautiful! I have a cross stitch quilt I've had since junior year of college soooo....five years? Haha. It's not gonna get done any time soon. I go through phases where I love to cross stitch, and then I need a break.

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  10. I think that is so cool, though, that both you and your mom worked on it!

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  11. Oh my gosh! That tablecloth is beautiful and I love the history in it. I'm pretty impressed that you were able to finish it - I love cross stitch but it's one of those things where I can only do about 2 square inches before my eyes hurt, my fingers hurt, and I don't even want to look at it for a few months. Matter of fact, I have a cross stitch project I started last summer that I haven't finished. Also, I have a crocheted granny square blanket that I keep meaning to work on, but finding time to just sit and crochet is difficult these days. I have about 10 squares done...I think I need like 100...

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  12. That's so cool! so much history! :)
    I have a half finished apron in the closet. It's probably 3 years old.

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  13. That's a great treasure! A part of you and your mom! Love that concept!

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  14. So first, it's pretty cool that you made (part of) this. Also, it's got a really excellent store behind it now!

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  15. Wow that is awesome that you finished it. Maybe you can start something new on it and your future daughter could finish that and so on.
    Generations of long finishing work. You and your mom did a beautiful job.

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  16. But you finished it! I can't say it's taken me that long yet but there is a cross-stitch project I have of these beautiful African women. It's such a colorful piece and I love it. But it hangs out in my guest room drawer. I so want to finish it! It's so pretty. Anyways, I started it I think back in 2009?

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  17. This is such a great story! And now that tablecloth has even more meaning and character than if it had taken a couple months!

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  18. Oh my gosh, I love the story behind this!! So special! :)

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  19. i am still distractable at age 25, so i am glad you gave your 11 year old self a pass for not finishing it then :)

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  20. This is amazing! So special to have a project that you all have worked on collectively. :) I would be scared to eat on a table cloth with that importance! :)

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  21. Wow, that came out beautifully! And what a great story!

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  22. Hahah I totally know the feeling of a project taking forever to finish! It turned out beautifully, great job!
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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  23. It's so pretty!

    I have some knitting that I started back in high school - so 12 or so years now. I've barely gotten anywhere with it but it moves from place to place with me. Maybe one day I'll finish.

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  24. aww, the story behind the tablecloth makes it so much more than a gorgeous/colorful/artistic tablecloth - must feel great to have it finished :)

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  25. but it's oh so beautiful... and it also has a beautiful story! congrats!

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  26. I can't say that I would have ever finished! It's stunning and so detailed! Great job :)

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  27. wow - I was expecting something like "this project took a year or so" ha. boy was I wrong!

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  28. Oh my goodness, it took a while, but I hope you keep this in your family for always! So special :)
    My mom did needlepoint when I was a baby & I have always wanted to pick it up.
    xx
    Here&Now

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  29. I love this story!! I really do! How awesome that your mom started this! It turned out great and definitely has that vintage vibe about it! Great job! Carylee | morepiecesofme.com

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  30. First off, that tablecloth is GORGEOUS. Secondly, I LOVE that you and your mom worked on this "together" in a way. What a cool legacy to complete!

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  31. Wow, good job! That is such a cool story that it has been passed down and now it's finally finished.

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  32. Very pretty. I'm proud of you for finishing! I still have a 1/2 knitted scarf from about 10 yrs ago. :-)
    -Tammy
    Http://wildruffle.com

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  33. Whoa! I love that your mom started it and you finished it. Props to you for getting it out and finishing it (and um, I don't think any 11 year old could focus on a "craft" like this for too long! ;)) and making it look GORGISS!~ it looks like it sure took a long time. *___*

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  34. I LOVE this, Rachel! It is beautiful. I take it you will be keeping it? :)
    I think the longest project I ever had was a cross-stitch pattern of a pilgrim woman praying. It took me almost a year to finish, but I think she was well worth it. She just needs a new frame now so I can hang her on the wall in our home.

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  35. This is incredibly beautiful! Well done! I wish I had that kind of patience! x

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  36. I think it's amazing that this project was started so long ago by your mom and that you now finished it!! That just makes it all the more special! Plus its beautiful! You and your mom did a lovely job!
    ~Sara

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  37. I think it is kind of neat that both you and your mother worked on it at different points. It turned out beautifully!

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  38. Absolutely wonderful! My grandmother used to teach me embroidery, so this tablecloth brings back memories with her.
    http://redreticule.com

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  39. It's beautiful! I love that it is the work of two generations :)

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  40. Wow! What an accomplishment that you finished it! I bet your mom is so happy that you wanted to take it over and complete it. That is definitely the longest project I’ve heard of. Hopefully now it will stay in your family for generations to come:)

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  41. Wow, I am SUPER impressed, even if it did take a long time... because that is amazingly beautiful and intricate! When I saw the first photo I was like, "For real?!? She did THAT?" As someone who is as far from being a DIYer as possible, I give ALL THE PROPS in the world to you and your mom for this. Even if I tried, I don't think it would be anything close! WOW! Beautiful! Also, what a lovely thing to pass down in your family now!

    -- Erika from America

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  42. Oh this is so special! No wonder you appreciate the work that goes into Hmong embroidery so much :)

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  43. This is a fantastic story. I buy stuff like this (that someone else finished at some point) and repurpose it into pillows and wall art. I love the idea that some women stitched away the hours... and am always curious of the stories attached. I am so glad SITSSharefest brought me here today. It feels like such a gift!

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  44. How incredibly heartwarming and special! You really, really did a marvelous job here! Though not the same thing, of course, I inherited (she's still alive, thank goodness, I just mean that she passed them on to me) my mom's embroidery thread around the age of 12, because I'd already been an avid cross stitcher since the age of six and she wasn't doing much needlework herself any more. I was elated and felt like I'd been handed a magical treasure chest, as I'd poured over her threads and loved them for many years. Though I used many, a few still exist, nestled amongst those I've purchased myself over the years, in my thread boxes, and I doubt I'll ever use them up entirely, as I want to keep that tangible element of my early childhood stitchery memories with me.

    ♥ Jessica

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