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My Hobbies, or How I Unwind by Julie Lynn Hayes
When I was a kid, I was never interested in the domestic arts. I didn’t care about home economics, or learning how to sew. In fact, I managed to avoid taking the course entirely, and taught myself to cook when I got married at the age of eighteen—it was a necessity.
I liked art, but never did much with it. I had dabbled with cross stitch pictures when I was younger, but only on paper; creating pictures out of different color X’s fascinated me. It wasn’t until I was working at Clayton Federal Savings (a now defunct savings and loan) that I met a woman who would cross stitch at work. She was making jar lids, and I was fascinated by what I saw, so she showed me how to do it, thus sparking my lifelong interest in cross stitch.
That Christmas, I made jar lids, put them together with the jars, and had ready-made handcrafted Christmas gifts, that all the recipients loved! I began to think bigger, and discovered that you could buy kits and make big pictures in cross stitch! Then I found magazines with patterns that you could follow, with the same result. I can’t even remember all the cross stitch pictures I’ve made over the years. And I don’t have them to show, because I pretty well gave them all away. I love to make them and I enjoy gifting them to loved ones. I made one picture for my mother-in-law that was all blue and white and resembled a piece of Delft china. I made a silhouette of a sitting cat for my grandmother, and geese for my husband’s grandmother. I made birth announcements for my kids, a unicorn picture, a sampler of different alphabets, a picture with bees, and so much more.
I first tried to crochet in high school. A friend tried to show me, but that didn’t work. It wasn’t until years later that I bought a Reader’s Digest Guide to Needlework, and taught myself. I made oodles of blankets and baby clothes galore! I loved it! Crocheting gets faster and easier the more you do. I’ve made granny squares and afghans. I made a carriage cover in an afghan stitch, and cross stitched pictures over it in yarn. It’s now a family heirloom that my daughter Katie has. I’ve crocheted little pillows to give away at conventions, and have made some surprises to take to GRL.
What more natural than I should learn to knit from the same book? Well, that didn’t quite come easily. Since then, I’ve decided that whichever you learn first—knitting or crocheting—the second one won’t come easy. So it was with knitting. I found myself throwing knitting needles and yarn across the room in frustration—more than once. But I persisted, and am now an intermediate knitter (as opposed to being, probably, an expert crocheter). Knitting is slower, but it’s more durable, and holds together better. I knit two Doctor Who scarves that my daughter Sarah has. I enjoy the clack of the needles as I knit, and pretend sometimes that I am Madame Defarge lol
I took up needlepoint when I ran across a kit at a garage sale about thirty years ago. It was a picture of a Pegasus, and I decided I wanted to learn. I gave the result to my mother-in-law as a gift. Needlepoint is challenging, and there are a variety of stitches. I once did a very lovely picture of two women and a musical instrument that looked very medieval. I gave it to my mother, and at one time it hung along the stairs going to the second floor. Unfortunately, last time I saw it, she’d taken it down and put it in the garage, and the frame is twisted. Needlepoint goes back many years, to when women did tapestries, something I’d like to try someday, if I can.
Of all my hobbies, I think cross stitch is my favorite. It’s actually a form of embroidery, and I’ve done a bit of that too. When I was in high school, I took a piece of material and sewed a map of the United States on it. It took me some time to do it, and I even started to “fill” in the states. I have no idea what happened to that map, it would be interesting to see it now.
Something I am interested in learning to do is crochet by numbers, where you can crochet a picture that looks like a photograph. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will. Also, I have a program that can take a picture and translate it into a cross stitch kit. I’d love to cross stitch one of my book covers.
Thanks for having me, J.Q.!
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream.
She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after.
She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet.
Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all.
Her other published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing and No Boundaries Press, and coming soon with both Extasy Books and Torquere Press. She has also begun to self-publish and is an editor at MuseitUp.
You can find her on her blog at http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com, and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.