Hello all and welcome to Maggie's Minders. If you've been a past visitor you may have noticed that the design of MaggiesMinders.com has changed a bit. I wanted to make it a little cleaner and nicer to view on both computers and phones/tablets, I hope you like. Overall the navigation is the same, you'll still find all the items in their own sections. I've also added this Blog in order to share more updates and what I hope you'll find interesting news here and there.
So let's start this Blog journey with Maggie's Minders origins, shall we?
I've always been a crafter, ever since I was a kid I've been doing all kinds of various types of crafts. My mom was and still is an avid sewer, I can't even begin to count how many homemade outfits my sister and I wore when we were young. She taught me how to sew when I was just a kid, I can remember making clothes for my Barbie dolls all the time. She was and is a knitter and crocheter too so also taught me how to do each of those crafts, I currently have a crocheted afghan that I made for my grandfather when I was just a teen. It was returned to me after he passed and it is over 35 years old now.
I remember when I was a kid spending summers at our neighborhood park, there was a summer program run by the city's leisure dept and one of the things I loved to do each summer was do braiding with luster lace. The plastic flat lacing could be braided into bracelets, key chains, even coat hanger covers. I'd also go to week long camps where I learned macrame, so my mother still has plant hangers made by me from years and years ago. My thirst for crafting knowledge has been never-ending ever since.
When I was in Junior High, we had a program between semesters where we could take 3 week elective courses. It was there I learned how to do tatting (with a shuttle). I also became kind of the teachers pet when we had Home Economics classes. Since I had so much knowledge already with sewing, the teacher put me to helping out some of my classmates while she worked with others. Over the years I've done embroidery, latch hook kits, string art, drawing and painting, glass etching, crocheting with both yarn and thread, you name it, at one point or another I've done just about everything.
I think the first time I saw someone cross stitching was in the early 80's, I was in my early 20's and a girl I knew was working on a cross stitch project. So of course I had to check it out! I don't remember the designer or kit or any of those details, I just remember it was a farmhouse type scene with a picket fence. Seeing all that blank fabric around the portion of the design she had done, seeing how she was counting around the fabric to place her next stitches, needless to say I was enthralled and on a mission to do one for myself. From then on I was hooked! I had kits, leaflets, floss and bobbin storage, and needles galore. I lived in the midwest in south central WI and having these various hobbies kept me sane and out of trouble during those long snowy winters. At least once a year, usually in the spring, I think my folks got cabin fever and would take a day trip down to the Chicago area. The Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg, IL and my favorite place in the world, LeeWards in Elgin. I'd always stock up on as many kits as I could manage to keep me busy and happy through the year. I could spend days in that store!
While I have and still do dabble in other crafts like the occasional doily, or baby afghans for new babies in the family, diamond painting and cricut crafting, my main focus has been cross stitching for the past 30+ years. I've made cross stitched Christmas Stockings for everyone in the family, wall pictures some that I've kept, some I've passed on to others, as well as a projects that I've just made for the pleasure of making them and are stashed away in a cedar chest. Michaels, Joann Fabrics, Herrschners and TheStitchery have all benefited from money I've spent over the years.
For a long time I did all the Dimensions Gold collection kits I could find. I loved the details and the full coverage charts. Of course other designers as well, including Disney kits I picked up when visiting DisneyWorld in FL.
There were disappointments too, I remember getting a Candamar kit once that was a gorgeous Thomas Kinkade piece, but as I was stitching it the design was blocky, pixelated and not blended nearly enough. Then one day a few years ago I got a new Herrschners catalog in the mail and saw a gorgeous Christmas design. I sat on that catalog for months debating on ordering it, fearing to have another disappointment. This particular piece was by Heaven and Earth Designs. I thought to myself, I'm pretty tech savvy, I'm gonna do some research before I make that commitment. I looked up the company online and found the facebook group, in the process I found other designers as well like Mystic Stitch, Charting Creations, Artecy, Tilton Crafts. I started seeing some of the wips and finished pieces and how stunning they were so I took the plunge and ordered Christmas Dreams by Dona Gelsinger. Boy oh boy was I in for some enlightening!
As I said, I'm pretty tech savvy, I'm a programmer for a Market Research company as my day job. But it had never dawned on me that there was a whole cross stitch world on the web! Who knew there were so many FB groups or all these other cross stitch designers not found in the catalogs I regularly get. Floss tube was new to me, hand-dyed fabrics, over-dyed threads, not to mention all the cool new tools and accessories I never knew I needed!
For years and years I stitched in hand, and while I'd seen the generic Q Snap frames in Michaels and Joann's, I'd never tried them. But when I decided to take on this HAED, I quickly realized that working in hand was going to be very cumbersome. Not only that but in addition to parking and two-handed stitching, I quickly decided that I needed a frame and perhaps a stand as well. So I got my first Q Snap, and of course decided I needed something to hold all the extra fabric so it wasn't in my way. A bit more research and I found grime guards although not necessarily in a fabric that I liked. Being the sewer that I am I thought, I can make my own and make it to my tastes. So away I go to the fabric shop and of course I come home with many more fabrics than I need but figure, I can change my grime guard to fit my mood, or project, or decor in my stitchy spot. Which of course got me thinking of all the other stitching people out there. Who doesn't want a pretty grime guard? Who doesn't want a choice of pretty fabrics? And in multiple sizes to fit our varied projects. And of course varying types of frames (hoops, scrolls, etc). And ta-da, the idea for Maggie's Minders was born.
I know this was a long post and I hope you stuck with me to the end, next time I'll try to keep it a little shorter and will talk about all the other goodies including the different types of grime guards I have available.
Thanks for joining me and I hope you'll join me again in the future!