So, I last left off with the tale of my first cross stitch project and some half-hearted attempts at embroidery. But I didn't really catch the cross-stitch bug until the summer of 1990.
The summer of 1990 was the time between high school and college for me and a friend and I took a short trip to Galveston Island to visit her aunt a couple of weeks before we were due to start school. We wandered into a needlework shop somewhere on the island (attempts to locate it when I was back in 2003 were unsuccessful) and my friend found a pattern of her aunt's church on the island to make for her for Christmas. While I was wandering around I found some space-themed designs and thought I would buy a few and give this cross-stitch thing another try. So I bought 5 patterns in all (see, I was already obsessive!), took them back to Austin and started gathering materials. My big mistake at this point was not asking my friend how to do any of it!
So... I went to Wal-Mart and bought the materials for the first design I decided to stitch, a launch of the space shuttle, which was a view similar to the photo above. I think there may have been some rudimentary instructions on the pattern for how to do cross stitch, but if there were, they weren't very good. So, I proceeded to stitch the design on 14-ct light blue aida --- with 4 strands of floss, knotting the threads on the back as I went. So, you can imagine how lumpy and awful the final product was. Also, I had no clue about making all the stitches go in the same direction. I'm not sure if I have a picture of the project anywhere, but if I find one I'll post it as a great example of what NOT to do!
Thankfully, the next few things I stitched had better instructions and I learned more about the proper way to start and finish threads and how many strands of floss to use for which counts of fabric. Unfortunately, the importance of making all the stitches go in the same direction was a lesson still several years in my future...