Here is my Mary Wigham progress so far.
I've had a heck of a time just getting this far. If you want to read all the gorey details, you can do so at my blog, I'm not going to recount it all here. But I did want to repeat the part that I think we can all relate to the most.
The 'mistakes' in the pattern. I have tried really, really hard to follow the actual pattern as it was downloaded (yeah, I know...don't follow the color choice, but pick the design to be puritanical about), but the inconsistencies are driving me crazy. I'm fixing the errors as I see them and as I go. And while I realize Mary was only nine when she did this, as I picked out that first motif for the seventh and final time, all I kept (ungraciously, I know) thinking was: where was her sewing instructor while little Mary was making all these mistakes?
One of my pioneer ancestors at 11 years old was given a journal the day before her family set off from the East coast to the West. Now, we know this because she, quite bitterly (yes, I do come by it honestly) and with a vocabulary better than most high school graduates, recorded receiving this stupid journal, which she now had to write in each and every day, while her brothers got pocket knives, boots, hats, and in one case, a rifle, i.e. the "good" gifts.
What stands out in my mind was the entry she made regarding her mother's method of schooling. She had to do it in cross stitch. Here's this very smart and very disgruntled 11 year old, after traveling was done, having to then do all this needlepoint instead of being able to play with her brothers and peers, and she's recounting--very, very bitterly--about trying to hurry and finish her stitching just as fast as possible so she could play, too. And her mother caught her doing it and smacked her hands. Five times. Each. And then, not only did she have to rip out everything and start all over again, but she had to do it with hurting hands AND it was dark before she finished so she never did get to play. Not with anyone. She had to go to bed instead. Stupid journal. Stupid stitching. And she was going to "lose" them both in the first river they came to.
I don't know about the stitching, but fortunately, she changed her mind regarding the journal. :) Have a good week and may your stitches all be neat, straight, and properly, unhurriedly placed.