Ahhh – the New Year. The time where we all make New Year Resolutions that are destined to failure (despite our best intentions). Often it is because we are resolving to do something that will be an effort; or something that we have never done before; or that will be hard for us to sustain.
So how about joining me in making a resolution that you will be able to keep – and one that you will thoroughly enjoy.
I resolve to do at least 15 minutes of embroidery every day.
The good thing about this – 15 minutes isn’t long, and it is likely that you will end up doing more. I find that the most common problem I have with my stitching is the actual picking up the piece and resuming stitching. Once I have started, however, I find myself stitching for quite long periods of time.
My favourite times to stitch are when I am sitting watching television or a movie, or when I am just sitting chatting with friends.
OK – there’s that one sorted.
I resolve to complete at least one of my unfinished projects
OK – that’s achievable and I can combine it with my first resolution – this might be easier than I thought!
Sometimes, we find that our unfinished projects seem almost insurmountable. We start to stitch them and then think “So that’s why I didn’t finish it” and put it aside again.
If your reason for discarding it is that it is not something that appeals to you any more, then why not swop it with an embroiderer friend and then finish each other’s projects.
If your reason is that it is too hard, then you can create a new resolution.
I resolve to learn at least one new stitch and technique this year
This resolution could be combined with the other two, or it could be done completely separately.
I know that this year, I will be making a concerted effort to really learn how to do Stumpwork. I have done some simple Stumpwork – mostly to do with stuffed elements – however I have plans to embroider a 15th/16th Century inspired piece, and that will involve men learning how to do wired pieces, as well as using stuffed elements.
Hmmm.... this resolution stuff is easier than I thought!
I resolve to gather together all my stash, sort it out and keep it in once place
Oooohhh – this one could be hard! I do have a designated chest for my embroidery. And there even is some of my stash in there!
However, I do have things scattered all over my apartment and in the garage (and that doesn’t count books!).
So – how to go about this. First, make a plan. What equipment do you have? Hoops? Floss? Other threads? Fabric? Make a list of what you have, and then search them out one by one. If you try to do all of them at once, it soon becomes overwhelming.
Gather all your floss together. You can get floss boxes that will allow you to store those you have put onto bobbins. Make sure that they are all together. I use a different box for each different brand, and on my bobbins I write the brand and the colour number, and then put them all in number order. It makes it much easier to find the floss when I am selecting for a project,.
Any floss I have that is not on a skein, is stored on stitch bows, or in segmented specialty floss sheets (a plastic sheet that can go inside a ring binder, that has several different pockets in it, enough for a skein of floss.
Again, I make sure that I store them with the brands separated (I use ring binder dividers for this, and write on the tabs the brand).
Do the same for the other types of threads and wools you have. For those threads that I cannot put in floss organisers, I have a series of plastic containers of different sizes that I line with acid free tissue and then put the threads in there. Again, I sort them by the type and size thread (e.g. Pearl 5, Stranded Wool, Tapestry Wool) and the brand.
If you have skeined silk thread and want to wind it onto a bobbin, then get round bobbins (use old thread bobbins, or empty spice jars). Silk thread tends to crease easily on the normal squareish bobbins, so round bobbins will ensure that it does not crease where it goes round the edges, and that the fibres all lay straight on the bobbin.
Next thing, gather together all of your hoops. One of the best ways to store hoops is to slide them over a coat hanger and hang them up. Use a different hanger for each different size hoop if you have several of each size, or nest them, from largest to smallest.
By hanging them up, they are easy to get at, and breaking them can be avoided.
Do you have other accessories? Then gather them together and put them all together in your workbox so that they are ready for when you need them.
What about your needles? Another thing to store in your workbox. I like to keep mine in the packages they come in, but you could make a needle case and embroider it so that they are all together in a neat little book.
Needle cases that you drop needles in (plastic or wood) look nice, but they can cause the tips to bend or break as you drop them in.
The next step is to gather all of the fabric you have for embroidery. Check it over – have you used it to start something? Then put it aside to go with your other unfinished projects.
The fabric is dirty? Launder it, iron it and then put all the fabric together. Again, use a box to store it. Wrap it in acid free tissue paper, and on that label it with what the fabric is and how much of it you have.
Doing that will make it easier to choose the right fabric for your next project.
Now look at your unfinished projects. Sort through them – if there are some that you don’t want, then swop them with somebody else.
Put each project in a Ziploc bag, together with all the threads needed to complete it, together with the right size needle. That way, when you pick it up, you know that all you have to do is grab the hoop and start stitching!
There you go – three New Year resolutions that you will enjoy and have no problem in wanting to keep!
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© 2014 Megan McConnell