Because I am really into the cross-stitch art, last year my aunty (大姨) introduced me to another embroidery art which seems to be very popular in Niuji village where my in-laws live.
I have seen some Chinese insoles stitched with wonderful motives and images. But most of them use a thin silk thread. The ones my aunty introduced me to were different. The base insole was made out of some kind of plastic. Just looking like this, I really couldn’t imagine that this would be comfortable in your shoe.
Motives can vary. For boys usually tigers are chosen and for girls all kinds of flowers. When a couple gets married in China, some opt for insoles with the Chinese character “囍” xi, also pronounced as shuangxi, symbolizing double happiness.
Nowadays though, they have all kinds of images. Very modern ones: pandas, ducks, sometimes even cartoon characters. I tried to stitch a reindeer and failed desperately. I have done my fair share of cross-stitching, but that insole cross-stitch was a totally new level. The pattern is usually very simple. You use thick cotton threads (which make the insoles very soft when you are done), and a very thick needle. But I really underestimated the strength you need in your fingers. After fifteen minutes my fingers hurt so much that I gave up and went back to my normal cross-stitching works.
I have great respect for big aunty, with her over 70 year’s old fingers! That woman has power in her fingers! On a winter day she could finish up to six pairs of insoles.
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