Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A Stitch in Time...



©Brigitta Huegel

© Brigitta Huegel


At the moment I (re)read a book on the Swedish artist Carl Larsson, who lived with his wife Karin and their six children in Sundborn. The title of the book by Lena Rydin is difficult to translate -  "The Lust for Everyday Life" might do.
The couple created their home, garden, clothes - everything - in a very harmonius, simple yet elaborate way.  It makes you dream:



Well, and as often when I read something about interior design, I start changing my surroundings. Looked into a cupboard and took out an old tablecloth from my grandmother Elise von Kroge - hand-decorated by her in cross-stitch.
"Well - what a huge effort for decoration", I thought. "They must have had a lot of time on their hands."
And then, while rummaging with those patronising thoughts through that armoir, I found an Advent calendar - cross-stitched by ---  me!

©Brigitta Huegel


I did it when our son was about one year old - I had to count every stitch, because it was empty embroidery canvas without any print! Embroidering was something that allowed me to talk to him while doing something else - I can reassure you that after an embroidery period of half a year I never touched that stuff again (though I was very, very productive in that short time).
Then I looked at the table, decorated with that table cloth, and at my calendar, and I thought:
"Well, I'm not living in Sweden, and my name is not Larsson!"

And put both back into the cupboard.


©Brigitta Huegel



19 comments:

  1. Carl Larsson was the very first artist that I ever became aware of as a child. I had one of his prints in my bedroom, and decided there and then that when I grew up my house would be done just like his.

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    1. Larsson's design and drawings/paintings are so homogenous, so alluring in their simplicity - it makes one longing and at ease (at the same time).
      And: did you get a house like his, Rosemary?

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    2. Sadly no, Larsson's house is perfect in Sweden but completely wrong for the Cotswolds.

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    3. Rosemary: I would prefer the Cotswolds, any time!

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  2. You're funny. Some day you will tie little advent gifts on that calendar for a grandchild and send the calendar home with her.

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    1. I know, Joanna.
      In a few years I hope I will be a grandma - and then I will be a real one as in a children book!

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  3. HA! I thought it was terrific that you found those old pieces of needlework and put them on display, but it cracked my up that you stashed them again because they aren't "you."

    When we were in Florida visiting our son and his family, it tickled me to see two pieces of needlework framed and hanging on their wall. One I made of "Friendship is a Sheltering Tree" when I was a little girl, and the other my mother made in the '70s. It made me happy to see them have new life.

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    1. To be honest: I didn't find good hooks to hang the Advent calendar on :-)
      In the bay window room hangs our "family tree" in cross stitch (with my date of birth hidden by a lovely piece of silk :-).
      And I can imagine that your children cherish your needlework!

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  4. I also did counted-cross-stitch on Aida, when my son was small. He used to wake up every three hours and I was not able to get back to sleep again, so I embroidered during the wee hours of the morning. I made Christmas gifts during those long quite nights.
    Your event calender is so pretty, Britta; plenty details... plenty work! I see there are rings at the sides - is that for a string to pass through so that it can all be gathered up,to then be let down bits at a time on the days?
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Sorry, I forgot to ask - did you do the table cloth with blue roses as well, Britta? It is beautiful!
      X

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    2. Cross stitch is such a wonderful way to calm ones nerves, Maria, it brings things in orderly perspective, and gives the feeling to create something beautiful. I can imagine you doing it to get yourself to sleep again! .
      Yes, the rings are there to hang little presents on them - I remember all those 24 packages that needed thread too - that was work, to hang it... and the calendar was in demand for many, many, many years :-)
      The table cloth was done by my noble grandmother, mother of my mother (my father's red-blooded one had an objectively far more harder life and thus no time for embroidery - but she was so vivacious that I loved her much more than the genteel one)

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  5. Double coincidence! I bought myself a Carl Larsson advent calendar this year when I was out shopping for the kids' calendars. I've always enjoyed his interiors. Interesting, too, that many of us have embroidery in our past. I embroidered a quilt for my first born, but none of the others got one.

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    1. That is really a double coincidence, Shawn!
      Sometimes I think that the beautiful paintings of Larsson have a calming serene impact as doing embroidery has too.
      Ah - quilting I never did:, though I love the beautiful results! And I can imagine that with more than one child you do not find the time to starts another one.

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  6. I used to embroider when I was a child. The things you show are truly stunning. All the pictures were calming so I believe the settings were successful.

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    1. Thank you, Emma! As a child I had to do at school a gym sack - in cross stitch! - and I hated that! What I loved was learning to use the sewing machine - did some good things with 16, but then quitted.

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  7. I am a big fan of Larsson and the domestic scenes that he paints. Cross stitch is very time consuming and needs a lot of concentration which I don't have. Your advent calendar is lovely and maybe one day you will feel you can have it on show for other people to appreciate.

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    1. I love Larsson - have a nice little box for crisp bread from Wasa - with some of his paintings on it.
      The calendar will be in use when I have grandchildren - hopefully in the next few years.
      Ah: and thanks for your tip about Raymond Briggs - ordered the book at Amazon, got it the next day - and am giggling all through it, love it!

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  8. Wonderful, mindful needlework. I must tell you that the illustrations by Carl Larsson in a calendar and a book we enjoyed, while rebuilding a crazy old farmhouse over 30 years ago, did much to sustain and encourage us to raise a family here. Norma and I are still here while our grown children have scattered across the world. They remember the hardship and the joy of making a home back then and still come to visit. Thank you for this sensitive and excellent post. You are exceptional.

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    1. Dear Geo., I like to imagine how you both worked for your home - and from the photos that Norma takes of your garden, and her skills in photographing and making things beautiful, I am convinced that your grown children love to come home! And thank you for your very kind words - it is wonderful that they always come just at a moment were I do need them most - helping me very much to keep my spirits high. Thank you!

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