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!


  1. I went bonkers years ago Amanda.I am a list person and like my surroundings to be tidy.My younger son inherited my need to be in tidy ,ordered surroundings especially if he is going to do anything creative,including a clean and tidy room at uni.whilst he was studying for his degree a few years ago.
    What ever you choose to stitch next year I hope you enjoy your choices and feel the delight in choosing and stitching with your lovely threads.

  2. Good for you Amanda :) I'm feeling the same about my stash. I've noticed there are a lot of patterns that I bought early on that now I'm not sure I'll ever stitch. My goals have been changing. When I look at a new project I keep asking the question: "what will this project teach me?". So although I still enjoy cross stitch, it's no longer a priority fro me. I really want to try a Chatelaine one day, but the question keeps coming into my head: "What will I learn from it? And is the price of the kit worth it?"

  3. Sounds like you have a lot of good plans! :) Personally, I'm having a year of no new starts (except gift stitches). I have a lot of great projects on the go and I'd like to focus on them! :)

    Emily xx

    1. Hey Emily! Hope all is good with you! xx

    2. Things are all right, thank you! :) I've been reading your posts, but haven't been commenting, sorry! I'll try to get better at that. xx

  4. I enjoyed reading your plans. I aspire to be as organised as you are. You have inspired me though and 2016 will be the year I try hardanger as I am going to sign up for Mabel Figworthy's 2016 SAL.

  5. good for you, Amanda, and like you said: opening drawers and finding treasures to use feels way better to the soul than swiping the credit card mindlessly. let's see what 2016 brings! :)

  6. Glad you're giving yourself a break. Sometimes that's the best solution to a heading off a problem. You have been very prolific this year with finishes!

  7. It sounds like you have everything figured out. Good for you! I'm excited to see what you stitch :)

  8. Great plans! It sounds as though you've figured out what makes you happy and putting it into action. I am planning something similar myself.

  9. Great post! I recently applied Kondo's methodology to my stash and reduced it by quite a bit. I still need to ask myself a little more harshly "will I ever stitch this?" and answer that 100% honestly instead of saying "it's pretty so it sparks joy!" Stitching from stash and working on my bucket list are my top goals for 2016. Good luck to you and I look forward to seeing your 2016 stitching too!

  10. Great plans, can't wait to see your stitching!

  11. Since joining blogland I have come across so many stitchers who work so many ways - from those who have a regimental plan to those who work on what they want when they want. I am mostly in the latter so I get great joy out of my stitching as I am not bound by rules.
    You have had a fantastic year of stitching, finishing, thread-porning and so on, so it must have been quite a big decision to drop your list of plans which have worked so well for you.
    I wish you all the best for next year and will enjoy reading your posts (however long!) and seeing your beautiful work. Fingers crossed it works for you. :)

  12. I love this post Amanda! There is a lot to be said for just enjoying the process. I love the way your "thinking out loud" shows the things that make that process joyful for you :)

  13. Great post Amanda, I love your 2016 plans, it sound like it is going to be very interesting to watch your progress, not that they have ever been boring! As you know I am very intrigued by The Gift of Stitching collection and I think I will end up ordering the cd sooner or later. It's so sad she stopped publishing it. Oh and.. I kind of think I know what Qs you going to stitch, will be watching to see if I am right ;)

  14. Wow, Amanda! My heart stopped beating for a split second when I read you weren't committing to stitching on anything next year! Of course, at first I took it as you weren't stitching anything at all! Everything stopped in slow motion for me for a fraction of a second...until I kept reading and got the point!
    My stitching taste has changed over the last 2 years and I am guilty of jumping on the band wagon when I see a new design coming out and "everyone" is doing it. I know I have to stop that. Like you said- enjoy the piece you're working on. I will take some of your thoughts with me in 2016! Continue to update us!!!

  15. Very interesting post. I'm still in two minds about next year. I had it all planned but right now I'm enjoying the OAAT stitching so I might switch to that and complete some larger projects.
    Half the fun is the planning and making lists! 124 projects is quite an epic list, I must dig out my CDs and make my own list...

  16. What a great post this is, Amanda. You have had a great stitching year with lots of finishes and stitching with wonderful threads. I have also had some thoughts about my stitchin g next year because I do love planning - and I don't mind when some of my plans go astray. But one thing I will continue next year, just like you - stitching from what I have and leaving all the band wagons aside without jumping on them, lol.


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