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About three months ago, I wrote a column asking you to let me know a bit about you and your preferences among various forms of needlecraft. After it appeared, the mail flowed in and only in the last couple of weeks has it slowed to a trickle. This doesn't pretend to be a scientific poll, but it will be helpful to me in planning future columns and, judging from your letters, the results will be interesting to you.

It has taken quite some time to read all the wonderful letters and compile the data from them. Sorry to keep you waiting so long, but here, finally, is a synopsis.Crocheting and knitting, in that order, proved to be the most popular forms of needlework among those replying to the survey. There were almost exactly the same number of knitters as crocheters. Next came cross stitch, followed by plastic canvas needlepoint and traditional needlepoint.

Quilting, latch hook and various forms of embroidery were next, with basketry getting the least number of votes.

Several other crafts were mentioned that were not listed on the survey. I was especially impressed with how many readers do more than one craft. Most, in fact, checked at least three.

Women outnumber men in a big way, with only three men responding. Twenty-eight percent of you are full-time homemakers, 38 percent are employed and 33 percent are retired.

I was delighted to discover that my readers range in age from teenagers to ladies in their 90s.

Many crafters in their 20s, 30s and 40s mentioned that even though they work outside the home, they still look to needlework and crafts for relaxation after a busy day. It's good to know that young women of the 1990s enjoy creating beautiful things with their hands despite their busy schedules.

I asked also how often you make gifts for friends. Overwhelmingly, the answers were ``all the time' or ``often.' One delightful writer, however, said ``Never! I just can't bear to part with the things I make.'

Another question was, ``When do you begin making Christmas decorations or gifts?' The largest number by far listed January! The next largest spurt of activity starts in July through September. A few - and I must confess that includes me - seldom start before October and are working right up to Christmas Eve.

I'll continue with other phases of the survey results next week. Again, a big ``thank you' to all who took the time to write and thanks, too, for the many kind comments!

Dear Pat: A long time ago, I attended a class where a formula for decorating parchment note paper was taught.

Dried flowers, weeds, etc. were used on regular stationery along with white glue, facial tissues and waxed paper. Somehow an iron was used to bond them all together. I've forgotten which goes first and just how it was done. Will you please ask your readers for the formula and working method? - Irene Smith, Tampa, Fla.

Dear Irene: That sounds like a delightful gift idea, and I hope that some reader will share this information so that I can pass it along.

If any of you know how to do this, please send explicit directions. Irene and I send you our thanks in advance.

Because of the large volume of mail she receives, Pat is unable to answer your letters personally. However, she welcomes all questions and hints, and will use those of general interest in the column whenever possible.

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