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