Taking the Stress off!

I’d love to start this blog off by listing all the ways in which I was very busy over the last week or so. Homework, housework, kids, etc. but when you really look at the time that slipped away the only thing I can say is that I totally failed the challenge I set for myself last week.

008I managed to get in some time to practice the stem stitch, but the lattice stitch was left in the dust. The fact is, I AM a busy person and embroidery is one of the ways that I unwind and relax. It helps my brain calm down and process all of the information from the day. It also helps me remain calm before a quiz or test so I can think clearly.

This year has been a year of reflection for me. There are a few things I’ve discovered about myself. It may not seem like it but I do have a system for doing things, and getting them done. It might take me three years, like it does to get a quilt done for family, or I might eat, sleep, and drink it for the next two weeks till it is done. But it works for me. Challenges help some people learn faster or better, and others like me just need to let it evolve. That’s what I am challenging myself; to just be content with me, and to let my crafts evolve in the way that works best for me, by just letting them flow.

I’m hoping that by taking the stress off of this aspect of my life it will also help de-stress the other areas of my life as well!


Learning Stitches

This weekend I stumbled upon a great website Needle N Thread. It’s a great resource for people who are learning embroidery. I finally found out why I wasn’t able to get my stem stitch to look the way it did in the pictures of my books.

This is my attempt at stem stitch after watching the video tutorial.

This is my attempt at stem stitch after watching the video tutorial.

Books are a great way to learn many things, but sometimes it’s better to have someone there to watch you attempt what you are learning to give you pointers. When you live where I live (the middle of nowhere) it’s hard to find people who know how to embroider and have the time to teach you. That’s where video tutorials come in handy. There are so many valuable videos that walk you through the steps of the stitch and give pointers for correction when you are struggling. There are many places to find these tutorials such as, YouTube, and sites like the one I mentioned above.

Carrying on with last weeks post, this weeks challenge is to learn and practice two different stitches; the stem stitch, and the lattice stitch. I’ll post pictures in my next post to show everyone how well it went this week!

“The Goal is NOT perfection…” Amy Fackrell

The start of every New Year brings about a lot of self-examination and reflection. Often we look for things we could have or should have done better last year and vow to do better this year. We get so caught up in what we did wrong that very few people really take stock of the things that went right and vow to do those things again.

My older sister is my best friend and she is very wise although she is hardly older than I myself am. While struggling with the things I wanted to do better, she simply told me “The goal is not perfection, it is to go longer and longer between mistakes.” This simple thought hit me very hard. It shook something loose in me and I have decided to take it as my personal motto for this year.

My older sister Amy and two fo the reasons I'm too busy to quilt!

My older sister Amy and two of the reasons I’m too busy to quilt!

Going to school and trying to be creative has been a challenge for me over the past few years. Trying to find time to sit down and quilt or sew is hard when you are taking 15 credit hours each semester. I also have a family that seem to think they need to do things like eat, have some attention, and wear clean clothes. I mean really? Do they really need to do all those things? This is how I was thinking prior to talking to my sister. Focusing on all the things that were taking up my time. After talking to her I realized that maybe right now my focus needs to be on things other than my quilting. There are many other creative things I can do now, like embroidery, and hand sewing/ quilting. There is also designing. So instead of focusing on all the things I don’t have time to do I’m going to focus on the creative things I can do! This year I want to do more embroidery, and would love to have a go at hand sewing a quilt. I’m going to try to accomplish a weekly challenge to help me with this goal.  I hope that you’ll come along for the journey and help encourage me “to go longer and longer between mistakes!”

Branching Out

How do you keep your creative juices flowing? For me I have to constantly be learning something new, figuring out ways of incorporating new hobbies with old hobbies. I’ve always loved the look of blackwork and redwork quilts. I’ve tried my hand at counted cross stitch and was not very successful and assumed I’d have the same results with embroidery.

After spending some much-needed fabric therapy time in Joann’s I was waiting to get my fabric cut. While walking around I ended up down the embroidery isle. I love looking at the kits and books. One book caught my eye, Modern primitive Embroidery by Jennie Baer. This book is full of simple projects and are great for beginners. I’m currently working on a set of dish towels that depict a tree in each season; Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. So far the Spring towel is finished and I’m making progress on the Autumn towel.

This is the Spring dish towel.

This project is so easy and has inspired many more ideas. Embroidery is very portable and this makes it easy to work on in between classes or when I’m out and about running errands. It is a very therapeutic process as well. There is something soothing about the repetitive motion and something very satisfying about seeing the picture take shape.

Let me know what you think about my progress.Once I get good enough I’ll be making some redwork and blackwork quilts. So stay tuned!