Friday, 27 November 2015

2016 Stitching Manifesto - The Marie Kondo Method

Warning:  This is an entirely verbose blogpost, these thoughts have been buzzing around my brain and are written here more for my benefit than for your enjoyment - so please feel free to skip!

In case you haven't realised, I am one of life's planners.  I love lists and being organised is essential to my wellbeing - I'm one of those tidy home equals a tidy mind freaks :).  The same is very much true with my stitching, I've never caught startitis and designs that require either a large amount of time or money (or both!) are never entered into lightly!  I've also never been one to jump on the bandwagon at the drop of a hat (which is faster then the blink of an eye) and have realised this year that I am not much of a "social" stitcher!  This post will be laying out some thoughts and musings on my plans for next year - so if that type of thing isn't your bag I completely understand!

2015 saw a feat never to be repeated - I very much doubt I will ever have that many finishes in a year again!  2016 sees a vast reduction in my stitching time and to that end I've come up with what might seem like a very odd "goal" for 2016: I do not want to commit myself to stitching on anything next year!  When I have the time to stitch, I want to be enjoying it, not thinking I have to finish Project X before I start Project Y and start kitting Project Z.  To quote the great Marie Kondo, I want all  my stitching to "bring me joy" - joy because it is a design I love and because I am choosing materials that I love working with.

That being said I still have a list of projects for 2016,  currently there are 33 designs on it (all already in stash), though I think next year I will be lucky if I finish half of them!  I like to know I have choices, options and variety in my work so they are a mix of small and large, plain cross stitch and counted threadwork, hand dyed and DMCs and simple designs to the just plain terrifying lol! 

I won't name project names (that would feel like too much commitment!) but I can tell you that a fair few of them will be coming from SANQ and GOSM (the acronym and initialism I spoke of previously).  I have the complete collection of The Gift of Stitching magazine (and earmarked a whopping 124 designs I love!) and the 2001-2010 Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly DVD (33 sizeable designs earmarked) and some of those definitely deserve to see the light of day on fabric!  Designs from GOSM have been swimming around my head for years and they will provide another excellent opportunity to stitch from stash!

However I will say that some of the designers on my list for 2016 include (but are not necessarily limited to): Blue Ribbon Designs, Plum Street Samplers, Cloudsfactory, Reflets de Soie, Joan Elliot, Willow Hill Samplings, Stitching Alchemist, Papillon Creations, Darlene O'Steen, Tournicoton, Marie Suarez and The Little Stitcher and even................a HAED (I haven't gone totally bonkers - it's only a QS and an outline design at that!).

You might notice one designer conspicuous by their absence - Chatelaine.  I could bore you with my reasons as to why I've decided that for now I won't be starting Serengeti, but in a nutshell it comes down to this: I just wasn't feeling it!  I was far more excited about other designs on my list, so it got bumped!  I know for a lot of stitchers Chatelaines are some sort of Holy Grail, but after finishing a few (evidence here) I don't feel that way about them.  Don't get me wrong, some of them are truly stunning designs and I may very well next year take elements of them to work on, but I have bigger fish to fry, other cats to whip (an idiom that sounds so much better in its native French, but then everything sounds better in French to me lol!) as I expand my counted threadwork horizons!

Operation Threadporn was a real eye opener to me and has helped me face my stash demons.  There were things I knew to be true, but Operation Threadporn  helped me to face up to them and think about the way I use my stash.  Three things stand out and I will write them here as a reminder to myself:

1.  I find more contentment and joy in using what I have than acquiring more of what I think I need.
2.  Not all threads (especially silks) are created equal.
3.  Quality over quantity - I would rather have 1 skein of Thread A than the 5 skeins of Thread B that I could get for the same price.

Carrying on with the theme of using materials that bring me joy, there are a few thread brands that I will be expanding my collection of next year.  In 2015 over 90% of my finishes were sourced with materials entirely from my stash, so I think I have earned a few extra threads for good behaviour ;).  After using so many different threads this year, I am much more aware of what I value in a thread, from how it feels to even how soft or harsh the variegation is.  There will be no more buying of random threads, but there will be threads bought that fit with the style and colour palette of the way I like to stitch.

In 2016 I will continue to stitch from stash, as I carry on chipping away at my thread collection!  I also want to try and use up certain fabrics in my stash where possible to free up space for new arrivals!  There were some thread drawers that were barely opened in 2015 - the future does not bode well for these!  I am undecided as to whether I will have a little destash of thread and fabrics that are no longer me - I may give them another year, the collector in me is hard to silence!

That is a lot of talk with no pictures - so here is a tiny montage of possible projects for next year:

2016 Stitching Manifesto

If you've reached the end of this you must be a crazy person - but I applaud your endurance!  I'm really looking forward to my stitching projects for 2016 and I hope you have projects on your books for next year that you just can't wait to put needle and thread to!

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Finish #43 - A Flamestitch

Closeup of flame stitches

Cross stitch closeup
3 skeins of black later..........

A Flamestitch by The Scarlet Letter complete!
Happy Stitching!
PS  There are a few more finishes that have been added to the tally in the tab at the top :).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Band of Two Thousand Eyelets

Just a very quick post to say two things!

Firstly I've finished the eyelet band on A Flamestitch and I am very pleased with how it has turned out!  I love the colours and the shading - AVAS continues to be a joy to work with and my favourite solid brand of silk!

Eyelet Band

I've also completed the plants and flowers in the cross stitch band:
Cross Stitch Band
All that is left to do on this one now is the flamestitch band and to fill in the cross stitch band with black.
I also wanted to say a big thank you to Mii Stitch!  I was very lucky to win her giveaway of the chart  Pink Sparrow Sampler by Brenda Gervais.  It arrived on what turned out to be a very stressful and upsetting day, so was a welcome ray of sunshine!

Pink Sparrow Sampler
It goes without saying that this one has been added to the Projects for 2016 list :).
I had thought once I had finished the eyelet band on A Flamestitch that I would move on to other projects, but it is such a beautiful simple stitch that I may just stick with it until the finish - simple and easy is what I need right now!
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Goals for the Remainder of 2015

In a slight change to regular monthly goal lists, I've decided to make a list of the things I would like to have done by the end of the year.  I didn't manage to achieve everything on the list for last month, but considering I didn't pick up a needle and thread for 15 days and still managed four finishes and a bit of progress elsewhere I'm fine with that!

This time of year I get the itch to just go crazy and start something I have my eye on for next year - but as with this time last year, I want a clean slate for January 2016 :).  The 2016 Pinterest Project Board  is full to the brim and I can't wait to get stitching on it!  So in a bid to give me more options to work on what I want when I want for the remainder of the year, I've picked threads and fabrics for my last four Threadporn projects too.

Here is the list!

  • Finish A Flamestitch, here is where it is at currently:
A Flamestitch WIP
I could easily stitch on this one until it's done - such a joy to stitch!
  • Finish Summer (Autumn) Tree of Stitches (not stitched on in October): 
Autumn Tree of Stitches Part 1 - 3
  • Start and finish my final Autumn/Winter new start - Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose, pattern gifted to me by my lovely stitching friend Dana: 

Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose
  • Complete October, November and December SOTW Hardanger squares:
SOTW threads for November and December
Top: December's Threads Bottom: November's Threads
  • Complete Snow Poem Tree by Erynne Chard (freebie, blog no longer available) and Winter Solace by By The Bay Needlearts (freebie from a past BTB newsletter):

Freebie Project materials for November and December
  • No stash spends for the remainder of the year unless I run out of AVAS on Flamestitch
  • Try and properly finish a few things here and there
  • Kit up a few projects from stash in preparation for next year!
Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a little while - I'll be hunkered down working on completing that list!
Happy Stitching!