Willmar man creates counted cross-stitch works of art

From operating heavy machinery to embroidery work is quite a change in pace for Chuck Bredeson, of Willmar. And it’s not just regular embroidery work, it’s counted cross-stitch work.

Chuck Bredeson, 79, of Willmar, with some of his recent counted cross-stitch pieces. Bredeson especially enjoys making Native American-themed creations. Photo by Bev Ahlquist

And on top of this, Bredeson is color blind. But with his wife’s help in sorting out the different colors, he creates beautiful Native American pieces of art. One of his pieces, Native Dancer, has 90 different colors in it.

Cross-stitching is the oldest form of embroidery there is, and it can be found all over the world. Cross-stitch is a form of sewing and a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern, are used to form a picture.

Bredeson doesn’t pay any attention to that, he just enjoys cross-stitch work and the finished product, which is pleasing to the eye.

“I don’t know how I got into embroidery work. I just started doing it. I pretty much learned on my own. I’d get some patterns and some leaflets and work off them.” He’s made what he referred to “a pile of them,” starting with smaller items and moving into the bigger ones, which take quite a while to complete.

One of Chuck Bredeson’s creations. Photo by Bev Ahlquist

“Most of it’s Native American, Indians. They’ve got a lot of color to them, and I’m color blind so what the heck. You follow the numbers and patterns, and if I get a package deal where they provide everything, the wife has to separate threads for me. She’s not color blind. I put them on a card and number them so I can tell which is which.”

Quilts are probably the biggest items he’s made, and that includes quilts for all the grandkids for their high school graduations. “I do the cross-stitch on the top, and the wife finishes them off with the borders…one I did was all butterflies because one granddaughter liked butterflies. I did one with antique cars for the oldest grandkid.” In another one he put squares together and did a deer family for one of the boys. Another one had music worked into the top. He also did the quilt on their bed. It really doesn’t take that long to make a quilt, he said. “I just do the embroidery, and my wife does the rest. It depends on the size, and I don’t stick with it. I kind of do it on and off because there’s other stuff I have to do too.”

Basically, everywhere you look in his house, are framed, counted cross-stitch he’s done, and mostly in the Native American motif.

Right now, he’s working on another Native American picture. “It’s got the head of the American Chief, some horses and some riders in the corner, an eagle, a buffalo, and one other animal.” Bredeson said he’s also done a lot of eagles as well as horses.

The 79-year-old said he used to look in department stores as well as the craft stores for Native American patterns. “I’ve been getting the patterns and buy my own thread.”

Bredeson worked for the Kandiyohi County Highway Department until retiring. “I did everything in the county. I didn’t do the same thing all the time. I mowed road ditches and was on heavy equipment, run the drag line and dozer and some of the other stuff…and back then the county did their own blacktop. We did a lot of that. I was told Kandiyohi County was one of the first ones in the state to do that.”

Bredeson also worked with a Boy Scout group for 35 years. “I did everything with them. I was a scout leader, took them to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wyoming scout camp for 32 years, been in New Mexico with a scout ranch down there four times; and we had the boys out to the Osh Kosh Air Show in 1992.” There were a lot of good scouts, he said.

Chuck Bredeson works on his latest project, one stitch at a time. Photo by Bev Ahlquist

Bredeson has several other hobbies as well, but the embroidery work is something he loves to do. “My wife probably thinks I sit there doing that too much,” he said which a chuckle. “It’s really a good feeling when you finish one. And hobbies keep you out of trouble.”