Sunday, April 15, 2012

Precious Moments Cross Stitch Patterns

What It Is: Four "Precious Moments" Counted Cross Stitch Patterns, featuring designs from the Precious Moments Chapel

Where It Came From: a Ben Franklin store that hasn't been there for years

What It Means:
These are something I've moved on from in multiple dimensions, and what isn't "has been" about them is "never was."

Firstly, Precious Moments.  I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I loved Precious Moments once upon a time.  I had a Precious Moments Bible.  I lived within a few hours of the Precious Moments chapel, and can only breathe a sigh of relief that I never went there.  Now as I write this, I find I still have some respect for them; they are effectively evocative in their intended sentimental --- perhaps glurge-y --- way, and as someone who majored in Fine Arts when she was actually trying to be a cartoonist, I give props to Mr. Butcher for respecting his own cartoonish style and making the most of it.  However, my aesthetic tastes have matured, and Christian sentimentality has been cast into a very different light.

The Precious Moments phase came at a time in my life, around junior-high or high-school age, I'd say, when I was maturing enough to try to take an active role in my own spirituality but was still caught inside the country-church Christianity I was raised with, and ended up doing things like reminding myself that the Second Coming might happen before I woke up the next morning and beating myself up for liking my sister's video games better than church, "No other gods before Me" and all that.  It was crazymaking, and once you've bought into it (notably the bits about damnation and eschatology) it's not an easy thing to extract yourself from.

I eventually managed it, though.  Today is a Sunday, and I just got back from the long drive to the church I go to now --- a Unitarian Universalist church.  We had a wonderful message this morning about the cycles of beginnerhood, learning, and mastery that take place within all the phases of the overall cycle of our lives.

But these items are not only Precious Moments, they're also Counted Cross Stitch patterns.  Long ago, before there were free craft patterns and craft pattern stores all over the internet, we who did crafts (at least in my rural area) would look over the Leisure Arts leaflets at Wal-Mart as the world of possibility, and I watched them for every new Precious Moments cross stitch collection.  Then, on occasion, we would get to the Ben Franklin store, and that world of possibility would be elevated onto a higher plane, such as with these larger, artsier patterns.  They were, however, always an aspirational thing; I never had the staying power for a large Counted Cross Stitch design.  I had some books of "Precious Moments in Miniature" and made several of the designs from them, but things like this would have been beyond me, even when I bought them.

And then, at some point not so long afterward, I swore off Counted Cross Stitch entirely.  I've done a variety of crafts since I was a girl, and although I haven't done them much lately, knitting or crocheting or dollmaking aren't things I would relegate entirely to my past --- Counted Cross Stitch is, as I realized that, for me, it was a ridiculous amount of work to go to when all I would get out of it is an oddly bumpy and pixellated picture to hang on the wall, and that I had much better methods of making pictures to hang on the wall.  Don't get me wrong, it can be wonderful (there are designers who put all those Leisure Arts leaflets to absolute shame, not to mention rays of sunshine like this) and some people enjoy it --- including my sister --- but it isn't for me, and hasn't been for a long time.

So that trove of Counted Cross Stitch patterns Mom and I found in a filing cabinet?  Well, she can keep any she wants, but the Precious Moments ones go.

Where It's Going: eBay

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