A Year in Stitches – A look back at my 2017 Projects

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With 2017 now behind us, I thought it might be nice to have a look at the last twelve months. A ‘year in stitches’ if you will. So here we go!

A word of warning before we begin – this is an image heavy post!

RSN Work

My ‘year in stitches’ has been dominated by my RSN Certificate pieces. This is both a good thing and a bad thing I suppose. Whilst it means I actually finish pieces I start, it does mean I don’t currently have a lot of time for other pieces.

Jacobean Crewelwork

The first piece completed in 2017 was my Jacobean Crewelwork piece. I had aimed to have it finished and handed in the Christmas of 2016. But the mounting of it all went a little ‘wrong’ with the board warping, and so I spent quite some time mounting it and trying to flatten the board in the early part of 2017.

Canvaswork Piece

My second piece completed as part of the Certificate was the Canvaswork piece based on an image of Eilean Donan I had taken on a holiday a couple of years ago. This was a technique that took a lot longer for me to get the hang of than I had hoped for. For anyone new to the technique or considering the Certificate, this does seem to be a ‘common characteristic’ of the technique. Some people ‘get it’ straight away and love the technique. Others are more like me, and feel like they’re hitting their head against a wall for while, and generally just struggle through it. I did however, enjoy it at the end of the piece, and am hoping to complete another piece at some point this year.

But eventually, just before summer, I finally had it finished! I did however learn a valuable lesson in rushing things. I rushed through the mounting process and lost a lot of marks on this assessment criteria. Which was a shame, as I did quite well on the visible side of the piece!

Silk Shaded Flower

Next up is the current ‘WIP’ – the wild bright pink rose to be completed in silk shading. I’m at the point of just needing to get stuck in and stitch this which is quite exciting. I just need more hours in the day!

This is another technique that took a bit of ‘getting into’, and I’m wishing I’d approached this technique more as an intensive. But in time it will be finished up, and fingers crossed my decision of black silk won’t come to bite me.

And other pieces completed…

As I mentioned before, there really wasn’t a lot of ‘other’ pieces I completed this year. I certainly had hoped for a couple more, but with my focus wholly on the Certificate, it is difficult to squeeze more stitching time in around ‘life’.

Sheep Baby Blanket

Early in the year I decided to join a SAL with a difference. Each three weeks we ‘meet up’ to encourage each other on whatever project we are working on (rather than all complete one particular project). I’m using it as the encouragement I need to finish some rather old WIPs. And this blanket was the first piece finally completed! All those French Knots!

Purple Duck Blanket

Continuing on the theme of baby blankets, with the new arrival of a little girl in the family, a new blanket was ‘needed’. And so my purple duck baby blanket appeared. This was a fun little project I really enjoyed making!

A Metallic work owl

And in another first on this ‘year in stitches’, was my first attempt at metallic or gold work. I completed a cute little owl designed by Becky Hogg. It was a great introduction to the technique and I learnt quite a bit. I’m glad I also attempted this before my final Certificate module of gold work to be completed this year.

A Mixed media Turtle

When Alison Cole announced she was starting a ‘Delectable Morsels club’, I thought this would be good way to be introduced to new and different materials. It has the added advantage of testing my design skills. Whilst Alison gives you ideas and suggestions on how to use the individual materials, and a brief little pattern you can choose to use or not, it really is completely up to you how to use the contents of that precious box.

Sadly, I only finished one (and added another project to the WIP pile!), and have a few more boxes that are still waiting patiently. But my little turtle was a good little experiment in using different materials in the one piece.

And finally – ‘Fruitful Abundance’

The great thing about the RSN Certificate is the number of techniques and stitches you learn. The downside to completing the Certificate as a ‘term time’ student is I find I don’t have time to practice or hone those skills once learnt. And so over the summer of 2017, I set about designing and stitching up another crewelwork piece. It’s not in the Jacobean style, and it is stitched in Renaissance Wools rather than Appelton’s (as I’m not a huge fan of Appelton’s), but it did give me exposure and practice at designing and stitching these stitches – which was the aim!

On a side note – I’m hoping to do more of this in 2018, as I think it is so important to my development as an embroiderer.

The year in stitches – completed!

Well done if you’ve managed to get to the end of this rather lengthy, image heavy post! I know there was a couple of other little projects I’ve not added in, but I think for now that will be enough of a summary.

Looking back, I think I’ve managed to get more stitched in this past year than what I ever have before, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend the extra time with my needle and thread.

It’s also encouraging looking back at these pieces, and those from other years, and see the general improvement in my stitching. I can see that whilst I still need to improve in a lot of ways, I have made good progress this year. So, practice does make perfect (or at least closer to it!).

And a big thank you to everyone that has joined me on this journey. It’s great having you along, and I appreciate your comments, suggestions, encouragement and ideas for improvement. I’m looking forward to seeing you all along the way in 2018!

28 Comments

  1. Annette

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful work! Your work is amazing. Looking forward to seeing more of your work in 2018! Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks so much Annette! Here’s to a great year 😊

      Reply
  2. Jessica Grimm

    I think you did extremely well with so many large pieces finished in 2017! Can’t wait to see what you will be stitching in 2018 :).

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Jessica – it was a good fun year, and I didn’t really consider them to be large pieces! Certainly large in terms of time required. This year is going to be an interesting year, hopefully with lots more stitching, but time is going to have to tell on that one.

      Reply
  3. Tracey

    Your work is so beautiful Catherine. I’m so happy to have met you here. I wish you a very happy New Year and many happy stitching months ahead 🌹

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks so much Tracey. I love how we can meet new online friends here too! I wish you a great new year.

      Reply
  4. Helen

    Wow, you’ve really had a busy year! I love the canvaswork of Eilean Donan, and your little purple duck is so cute. I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes you and your stitch craft… Good luck!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Helen. I was a bit surprised at how much I’d got through, as I didn’t think I’d done a lot before doing this little round up! I’m hoping for another great year with lots of progress to be made

      Reply
  5. Cathy

    I have loved reading about all your projects. You have become very skillful over the year and your pieces are perfect to my eye. Good luck with te stitching this year and thank you for taking time to email me earlier on about the RSN.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks so much Cathy! I’ve really enjoyed the friendships that I have developed in ‘bogland’ this past twelve months, you are such an inspiration and so encouraging, so thank you! I absolutely didn’t mind answering your questions, so any others just email away!

      Reply
  6. Margaret Creek

    You’ve stitched some amazing pieces this year, I’ve loved following your progress and looking forward to next year’s work 🙂

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Margaret. I’m always somewhat surprised at some of the pieces I make!

      Reply
  7. Alex Hall

    What an amazing set of successes you stitched last year! Here’s to more amazing work in 2018.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Alex. It was only on looking back through the photos that I’d realised that I’d probably achieved more last year than I first thought. A good little exercise to have done!

      Reply
  8. Morgan

    The work you’ve made is so beautiful and impressive! Looking forward to what you stitch next!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Morgan! I’ve got a few plans 😊

      Reply
  9. Kathy Reeves

    Catherine, this is indeed a very inspiring body of work! You have delved into some very difficult stitching and not only executed them with skill, but taught us as well. I’m looking forward to reading about this year’s projects and experiences. 😍

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks so much Kathy for such kind words. I do hope to pass on some of what I’m learning in the process of creating these pieces!

      Reply
  10. Rachel

    While it is certainly true that doing the Certificate course will have helped you focus on those particular pieces, I’m sure that when you look at the others you will be able to see where they’ve been helped by what you’ve done on the certificate!R

    Reply
    • Catherine

      You are absolutely correct Rachel – I’m actually surprised at the general improvement in my stitching over the past twelve months!

      Reply
  11. Helen Rowen

    Gosh I had forgotten some of these, its lovely to look back. Eilean Donan is still my favourite. Apart from the fantastic colours in this one, the way the stitches so effortlessly (I mean the look not that they were effortless for you to do), merge into one another, it leaves me breathless. I tried canvas work but found the canvas hurt my hands and it just wasn’t for me but the stitches used really inspired me to keep going far longer than I was happy with. In the end it got passed to someone else who had always wanted to try the technique. Alas she ended up passing it on to a friend of hers, so I never saw the end result lol.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      I’m glad you enjoyed the canvaswork so much Helen 😊 I certainly didn’t find it an easy technique but is one I want to explore further as I really did only scratch the surface. I’m sorry you had your own problems with the technique and were never able to finish your piece. You could always try some of the stitches on Aida – it won’t be the same as some stitches are so dense, but I’m sure you could get some to work!

      Reply
  12. Chitra Gangadharan

    Hi Catherine,
    so many beautiful projects. it is lovely to see them all together. I am inspired by your idea of practicing the skills you have learnt. it is the best way to make them your own.
    best wishes,
    Chitra

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Chitra! It’s always nice to look back and see where you’ve come from 😊

      Reply
  13. Ginny Schleich

    Wow! So many beautiful projects this last year. And very detailed, too. I enjoyed seeing them all together in this post. The owl is my favorite. He is just adorable. I look forward to seeing what you create in 2018.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      I’m glad you enjoyed seeing everything like this Ginny. The owl is just gorgeous isn’t he? I’m looking forward to more experimenting with goldwork!

      Reply
  14. Lynda Hardy

    I am always so impressed to see the work you do – every piece is delightful and you did a lovely job designing and working your original piece! Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks for your kind words Lynda and for hosting!

      Reply

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