Sampler 1984

Last week I wrote about an emergency sewing project (putting my daughter’s name on her Christmas stocking). This post is another emergency sewing project, one that took place on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1984.

I like to do needlepoint and cross-stitch, and I often have a project pending. But my projects tend to pend for a long time. Years, in fact. I have a needlepoint pillow underway now that I think I began in 2011.

I started a cross-stitch sampler sometime in 1982 or 1983. The design was based on a sampler done by a young girl during Colonial times. It wasn’t a difficult project, though planning out how to include my name and the year took a little calculation to make the margins on either sides of the words come out right.

sampler 20151213_161601

My sampler was still unfinished when we moved into our current house in October 1984, although I was through the “Give us this day our daily bread” portion. I worked on it that autumn, and by December I had stitched in the line that reads “the year of our Lord 1984.”

Well, once the year was stitched in, I became determined to finish the sampler in 1984. I really didn’t want to rip out the 4 and replace it with a 5.

Nothing is easy to squeeze in during the Christmas season, particularly with a two-year-old just understanding Santa, but I spent what time I could stitching. I still wasn’t quite finished. Finally it was December 31—New Year’s Eve—my last opportunity to finish it truthfully.

My husband and I rarely stay up until midnight, even on New Year’s Eve. That year, I was about four months pregnant with my daughter, and I didn’t want to stay up late, but the sampler called. My husband went to bed about 10:00pm. I kept stitching.

I put in the last stitch around 11:30pm—I think it was on one of the lions. I took the sampler off the frame I use to keep projects stretched while I’m working and smoothed it out with a smile of accomplishment. Then I went to bed.

When have you faced a deadline, and what have you done to meet it?

Posted in Family, Philosophy and tagged , , , , .


  1. I guess we could call this subject “procrastination” or “perfectionism.” At least my story is. When I was a senior (and in the novitiate) at St. Mary College in Leavenworth, we were assigned our culminating English Literature seminar oral and paper for graduation. We were given plenty of time to do this, but being a perfectionist the stress of the assignment practically paralyzed me. I would do some research here and there and had a handful of 3×5 cards, but the time for my oral presentation was creeping nearer. The night before I knew I was not really ready and I stayed up all night working on my paper. When I got to class I was able to talk my way through and it was pretty good. Then Sister Mary Ernestine (who I think probably knew I wasn’t well-prepared–she was a wise old woman) asked me a pertinent question about the subject matter, which was “Jane Eyre.” I admitted flat out that I didn’t know the answer to her question. I think she gave me a mild but pointed reprimand at this point and I began to doubt my grade. However, when I got the report I had been given an A-, just one point taken away for my inability to answer one question. Maybe she liked that I was honest, but I was so relieved. You would think that experience would have changed me, but I’m still the same way today. Now that I’m older I think it was probably more a problem of lack of self-confidence than anything else.

  2. Alie’s office has a sampler, “Caroline P. Terry, her work, 1827.” It was done by here great-great-great grandmother as a child. Wonder where your sampler will be in two centuries.

  3. Theresa–I didn’t know you did cross stitch. A few times I have done the same thing when I was making a cross stitch or embroidered gift for Christmas gifts. It is always such a good feeling when you finish a project that you have worked on so long. 😀

    • Robin,
      I haven’t done that many pieces, because each one takes me years! (At least, they have since I’ve had kids, and even now that they are gone.)
      And my sight is going, which also slows me down!

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