Saturday, January 3, 2015

Unfinished Projects

When I was young my Mom taught me to sew. I learned to do crewel, embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, quilting, and even latch hook (it was the 70's everyone did latch hook). She taught me this stuff to keep me out of her hair. It would force me to sit still, concentrate and focus on what I was working on. My projects usually varied by my mood. Several silks I never did finish although I have wanted to (frankly the picture is 70's modern aka UGOOOLY) and although I go back to it  I still don't have it done.

I still embroider. I have done this on and off for years. When the boy was in therapy daily (Monday- psych, Tuesday- speech, Wednesday- social, Thursday- ot/pt, Friday- off, Saturday- speech, ot/pt, Sunday- ot/pt) I was doing "projects". Usually I would leave one in the car trunk to be pulled out while I was sitting for hours in a waiting room; listening for the boy. "Projects" were something to do when I tired of the trashy magazines (a good doc office is only as good as their trashy magazines).

I had to stick around for most appointments.The boy was still at his "wild child" phase and me being close by was pretty much mandatory. I was/am his security. This kid might not listen to me on a regular basis; but I am the person he calls when he has a problem.

Anyway, doing all this sewing gets to me...I have gone in "fits and spurts" over the years and I have a number of things that I have made that are a masterpiece of one. My favorite projects are those that I can pick the colors I want myself. Like Picasso, I am in a "blue phase" The cover I am working on is in different shades of blue and ecru (eggshell white). Looking at the pattern I can tell what I need to do- back stitch, daisy, satin, or even a french knot.

Most "old" stories talk about women becoming "accomplished" girls schools taught sewing, and to be really accomplished one had to do a sampler.The one's I have seen are counted cross stitch - these are done sans pattern, and colors are what was available maybe even dyed at home. It is fascinating to look at the history of these samplers and try to figure out what the students were thinking. I think my favorites are those done by boys. No hearts and flowers- cows, horses, buildings, (I can't find a picture of my fav one so I am using the one below)

I found this picture (below) on Wikipedia- this is an interesting one done in 1805 by Catherine Ann Speel who used silk on linen in Philadelphia PA.

Isn't it interesting that something like this was used to teach letters, numbers and some moral sayings or thoughts. Most students ended their education at a young age....there was no such thing as a behavior disorder, or having Aspergers, Kids were in the classroom, sometimes multiple grades in one room and the teacher was able to keep order. Either by intimidation or because the students liked him/her. Expectations were HIGH- students got busted for "giggling with a seatmate" or "whispering to much".
I don't see the same kind of order these days (God that makes me sound old). I hear about students wanting their time in most classrooms. Seriously? Really? so what, you get to sit all day, play video games and do nothing? Better yet, having a teacher "model reading so these students know what a reading person looks like" (total cop out there). Yet parents are expected to take whatever our kids dish out and be OK with it. (Nope, sorry not going for that one).

Like with a lot of things, embroidery is only as good as the effort you put into it. 

Let me explain; the expectations we have of the boy are high. We know he can do it but he has to want to do it and believe he can. It drives us spare that other students will tell him that we are pushing him too hard or that we are cruel and mean and awful. The last time I heard that one I told the boy he could move out and go live with friends since he didn't want to be here. They can put up with the joy of not being respected and see how far it goes......
SO, if you put a lot of effort into whatever you are doing- well then we should all be as successful as Bill Gates. Well, no, not necessarily. It is important for people to work to their highest ability. We strive to be our best and do our best. 
What we see around us isn't always the best. 
Usually what we see in the special ed world is an over abundance of minimal expectations and a lot of excuses about why not. 

Using the allegory of embroidery- if the missed stitches are there then the piece isn't going to be as good. But being careful (and me using my reading glasses - gah) the piece can be completed, look nice and have some reasonable use.
Just like the boy.....being careful, having high expectations and he should go pretty damn far. Unless he is kept from his full potential by listening to uniformed/misinformed "friends" who (it appears) do not want anyone to do any better than they are... why should they? It would mean they would actually have to work harder and not play video games....

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