Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stitching Goals for 2014

I've never really been in the habit of making New Years resolutions, at least for the usual calendar year.  It always made more sense to me to set goals for myself in September or October.  That was the time when the start of the school year and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, coincided, so it seemed natural to use those as an opportunity to start fresh.  With so many year long stitch-alongs and other projects beginning in January, I thought I would use this as a time to set out some goals for growing my embroidery skills this year:

1.  Finish, finish, finish!
Obviously, I want to finish the projects that I have in my "crafting queue."  I still need to complete the rest of my Drop Cloth Samplers of the Month, get started on the Torah mantle, finally figure out how to construct the Torah binder . . . In the past, it was hard for me to get the most stitching out of my day because most of my apartment has bad lighting.  Fortunately, my mom saved my grandmother's old OttLite, and it works wonders.  More saturday night stitching for me!  I also want to try a technique I read about to keep on track with a project.  Every day, I set a timer for 30 minutes and work on a specific project until the timer goes off.  That way, I can make progress on a project every day instead of waiting for a time when I'm "in the mood" for a marathon stitching session.

Luckily, I've gotten a head start on finishing my UFOs (un-finished objects).  I've completed Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler for 2013!

2.  Submit another entry into the State Fair.
I learned a lot from my experience in entering the State Fair, so I want to submit another entry.  I'm not going to make grandiose goals to submit more items or make the things I submit more complicated.  I just want to start working on my project earlier so that I can stitch at a more leisurely pace.

3.  Try a new technique for transferring patterns.
So far, all of my projects are ones that are either already printed on fabric, or they are ones I draw on fabric with a regular pencil.  This year I would like to try a new technique for transferring patterns onto fabric myself.  The least expensive is to tape a paper with a pattern onto a lit window, tape fabric over that, and trace the pattern onto the fabric with a pencil or water-soluble pen.  If drawing on a window is too tricky, the same thing can be accomplished with a light box, which are available at art stores.  They can be pricey, but I do have a milestone birthday coming up . . .

4.  Learn blackwork.
Out of all traditional styles of embroidery, the one I find the most fascinating is blackwork.  It is a type of counted thread technique that usually involves black silk thread on white evenweave fabric (though today it can be made with a variety of threads, and some embroiderers use other colors for different effects). Pictures are stitched with thick black outlines and fillings of intricate geometric patterns.  A stitcher can play around with shading by changing the number of strands of thread, or adding and subtracting lines in the pattern.  The problem with learning how to embroider in this style is that all the lines in a filling pattern need to be stitched in a certain sequence, and there aren't too many beginner-friendly guides available for learning the right order.  A few of my friends are interested in learning more about blackwork, so maybe if we band together we can find a way to learn.  For some more resources and examples of blackwork (including the technique in other colors), check out &Stitches.

What are your stitching goals for 2014?


  1. I recently bought a light box second hand and I'm very happy with it! :) Love your projects, I subscribed to the woodland sampler too last year but soon fell behind (like in January...) and decided to do it another time. Enjoy exploring Blackwork embroidery! I'm not aware of a special order in which to stitch Blackwork patterns. I think you've got to develop a logical order that works with the specific pattern and that works for you.

    1. That's good to know. I probably just need to dive right in and start experimenting to see what works.

  2. I've never started on of those month by month things. I did one stitch along (Doctor Who embroidery), but found out about it in the last 2 weeks so I was pretty far behind. I did finish it, but then they added the new Doctor, so I designed my own. Then the whole War Doctor came out... It was fun though. Good luck with your goals.