Tag Archives | cross-stitch

Another piece of finishing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about cleaning out my sewing room and then about the Year of Finishing I undertook some years ago. These two circumstances conspired to bring about another piece of finishing I thought I would share with you today.

Whilst cleaning and sorting out after Christmas I came across this little piece of cross-stitch that I worked (I am ashamed to say :)) over fifteen years ago.

Four patchwork designs worked in cross-stitch.

Four patchwork designs worked in cross-stitch.

It is a dear little piece of simple patchwork designs worked up into a series of pretty cross-stitch squares. Sadly, I no longer have the pattern so I can’t tell you the designer or where I bought it from. Suffice to say that I remember thoroughly enjoying working it, but that it was then carefully filed in my box of “finished embroidery waiting to be turned into something”.

Detailed view of one of the designs.

Detailed view of one of the designs.

I happened to mention this piece to my Mum on the phone the other day and she remembered it. “Why don’t you turn them into a series of pincushions and donate them to the Embroiderer’s Guild gift shop?”, she said. This struck me as such a good idea that I have gone ahead and finished them all today. They are very “country” which is not my usual style, but I am really happy with them – especially the cute little buttons to finish them off.

Four completed pincushions.

Four completed pincushions.

I plan to donate one to my Patchwork Group for a forthcoming fundraising event; two to the Embroiderer’s Guild Gift Shop; and I will keep one for myself, just to remind myself about another piece of finishing. My halo will choke me!

My favourite of the four pincushions - which I will keep for myself :)

My favourite of the four pincushions – which I will keep for myself 🙂

2

A Year of Finishing

Some years ago we were living in Melbourne and I was a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild of Victoria. The monthly magazine, Threadlines, had an article entitled “A Year of Finishing”. The idea was that if you were feeling overwhelmed by the number of UFOs in your cupboard that you make a commitment to a full year of finishing projects. And you weren’t allowed to start any new projects!

At the time my children were still very young and I often felt like I couldn’t sew as much as I liked – and I had a cupboardful of unfinished projects! So the article really struck a chord with me and I decided to do it.

In fact, I had never been a good finisher. One year in high school (early eighties) I made cross-stitch bookmarks as a Christmas gift for all my teachers. My Art teacher immediately pointed out that my crosses were not all going the same way and somehow in my head this translated into a fear of not finishing things “properly”. So I had a cupboardful of cross-stitch projects with large swathes of crosses all completed (with all the crosses in the same direction) but no half-crosses, no back-stitch outlines, and no isolated single crosses – in case I somehow didn’t do it “right”.

A completed cross-stitch from the "Country Companions" series by DMC.

A completed cross-stitch from the “Country Companions” series by DMC.

Another completed cross-stitch from the "Country Companions" series by DMC.

Another completed cross-stitch from the “Country Companions” series by DMC.

Detail of stitching in "Catch the Wind" by Butternut Road - one of my all-time favourite designs.

Detail of stitching in “Catch the Wind” by Butternut Road – one of my all-time favourite designs.

My year of finishing was a revelation. It turned out that I could (of course) do all the fiddly finishing bits. The sense of satisfaction in finishing a piece and seeing it framed was wonderful. But having finished all those cross-stitch projects I realised that I wanted to do a lot more than just cross-stitch!

My sewing journey irrevocably changed from that year onwards. Most importantly I found confidence in my own ability. Finishing something meant that I could really say to myself “I can do that”. So now my embroidery life has blossomed into something rich and wonderful, and so fulfilling. All because I spent a year finishing projects instead of starting them…..

What helps motivate you to finish projects? Or have you done something that changed your sewing journey too? I would love to hear your stories.

0

Akha cross-stitch quilt – a whole year’s worth of inspiration

My Number 1 New Year’s resolution this year was to start writing this blog about my life in stitching. But I wasn’t quite sure where to start… and then with luck, or perhaps serendipity, this exquisitely beautiful textile came my way and I am bubbling with enthusiasm to share it with you all.

Cross-stitch quilt from the Akha tribe, measuring approximaely 1.5m x 2.0m.

Cross-stitch quilt from the Akha tribe, measuring approximaely 1.5m x 2.0m.

My husband and some colleagues have recently started travelling and working in Myanmar. As luck would have it, one of those colleagues is a keen collector of textiles and on a recent trip he purchased this exquisite Akha quilt. He has very kindly lent it to me for a few weeks. There is so much design inspiration in this piece … and of course the sheer pleasure of savouring such a beautiful piece of craftmanship.

I have taken dozens of photos – they simply cannot do justice to the whole quilt. For the record, the quilt measures approximately 1.5m x 2.0m. The cross-stitch is worked over 2×2 threads on a base that is approximately 26-28 count.

These detailed photos show the amazing evenness of the stitching and the wonderfully vibrant colours. I am a keen canvaswork embroiderer – these patterns are going to provide wonderful design inspiration for the whole of 2014. Look out for them reappearing later in the year!

AQDetail 4AQDetail3AQDetail 1AQDetail 5AQDetail 2

0