“You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Last year I had high hopes of creating these incredible stitching projects – yet when it came right down to it, I was my own worst enemy. I did not like what I was creating. I had high expectations and, sadly, my own critique was just as high. I spent more time removing the previous days stitching and my internal criticism soon shut down any creativity and the stitching went in its box and was not opened again.
This year I decided on a new approach – I am giving myself permission to fail. Seems simple, but trust me it has not been. There have been many days that my stitching did not seem right. But, I ignored that voice and left the stitching in the piece. Sometimes the next day, the previous day’s stitches seemed a bit better to me, and sometimes they did not – but over the course of days and after adding more stitches something incredible began to happen. This awkward stitches now seem to fit. Or maybe that small quiet voice of creativity is gaining confidence and my “creative eye” is figuring out how to – well, be creative!
I have gotten many questions on Instagram about how I am doing this and what am I using. It is a challenge to give all the information there, so I thought it would be nice to share it here. I am not accomplished in stitchery – I have done some counted cross-stitch, and some quilting – neither of which were ever “free form.”
My inspiration came from Bonnie Sennott – who stitched last year and shared via Instagram. She is stitching again this year, but now is only sharing via a Patreon account if you want access to see her work. I was also greatly inspired by the Slow Stitch book by Claire Wellesley-Smith – and really, reading this book was the GREATEST inspiration. It has been out a while now – and I would check with your local library, but I recommend this book as an excellent addition to your library!
So, what am I using to my stitch work – really, the simplest of things. I got my fabric from Joann’s – it is linen (I got a remnant which I washed in the washing machine and then air dried) I divided this remnant into three sections – I will get more linen when I need it.
I have several embroidery hoops, but the one I like best for my daily stitching is a small 5″ hoop. The goal is to not stitch all day, but rather spend a few minutes each day and this small hoop keeps me mindful of that.
Now, let’s talk about thread – could you use embroidery floss? Yes, you absolutely can – you can use whatever you’d like! I am using DMC Perle Cotton size 12 – which I also got at Joann’s. The color choices are extremely limited in stores, but they have good basic colors – white, ecru, black, red, darker red, and navy. I had in my “stash” some Valdani threads – I do not remember where I got them but, as Mary shared with me, Amazon has a good selection and at very good prices! The Loopy Ewe is also carrying some Perle Cotton in size 8 and Valdani threads as well. As the season’s change, I will be adding in more colors.
I have a local stitching shop – but they are mainly focused on needlepoint and cross-stitch, however I have picked up a few bits of thread from them – they range in sizes from slightly smaller to slightly larger diameter than the Perle Cotton but I like that diversity in the stitching.
Needles – I am using DMC Chenille needles in size 22 and 24 depending on the thread I am using. I find a needle threader extremely useful as well.
Stitching has become something I look forward to each day and I will be sharing my journey as the year progresses.
I hope you find this helpful – here is to a year of un-stifled creativity!