“Pick something to learn that is highly interesting to you” is like music to my ears! I’m sad that the formal portion of this project is over and my product isn’t quite complete, but yet I’ve learned some really rich lessons that I’ll describe in full detail later on in the post. BUT FIRST! Update time!
My baby aloe plant is quite precious, though it maybe has a bad hair day?? Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what all transpired, everything was going according to plan and then all of a sudden I had to create an extra shoot on the right side. Normally this sort of deviation to the plan would send me into a bit of perfectionist mode and I would want to start the whole thing over, but clearly there is just not time for that sort of ridiculous behaviour. So today I’m choosing to be gracious with my learning and my less than perfect product and I am actually seeing the beauty in it!
In teaching there will be lessons that we prepare for long hours and hope that they go off without a hitch, but when the hitches happen we have a choice to make. We can either be upset with how things have gone or we can learn and move on. Most of the time there’s much more joy and growth in learning something and moving forward (though certainly there is a time and place where wrongs must be made right and apologies need to be made, don’t get me wrong!).
At any rate, this week I’ve been wrapping things up and learning to fly off the grid with the project. When I realized I’d made an error, I went straight to Youtube to see how easily fixed this was. Here’s what I found:
In the end, I decided that I had made all of the mistakes minus the third one in the first video (not having a big enough piece of fabric) and I was able to fix most of them, until now. Then I watched the second video and realized that going back to where my error was would take me an incredible amount of time. I decided to chalk this one up to being a newby and I’ll learn to count better on my next project!
I plan to frame this project as a symbol of perseverance and patience to see this project through. There were moments where I wondered if this day would ever come!
So, as promised above, here are the learnings and a recap of this project in case you missed it!
Week 1: Adventures of a Left Handed Cross-Stitcher
The first week I gave a super brief introduction of my project and what I intended to do with this whole idea of mind. I had really no direction and had just committed to doing some research to find out where to begin. As it turns out, there are TONS of free, online resources on cross-stitching, and being left-handed is not a deficit at all to this activity (unlike most other sewing tasks).
I also decided that I should gather all of the materials that I might need for this venture. I included the less than technical names for the materials. It’s a little cringy but so fun to see even the vocabulary that I picked up in a short amount of time!
Week 2: I Don’t Have Much of a Green Thumb
This week I chose a pattern and got straight into it. My idea that I might practice first went out the window when I couldn’t contain my curiosity! I did however do some research on what the materials were called that I was using. I learned that fabric is actually aida cloth, the needle is described as a dull cross-stitching needle or a darning needle, the hoop is called an embroidery hoop, and the thread is actually called embroidery floss or embroidery thread.
The next thing I looked for was a pattern. I picked the one I liked best and that I thought I could handle—I didn’t know what to go with, but I did make a realistic choice. Realistic for a beginner means, simple shapes (anything with a curve or on an angle adds an extra challenge, so linear patterns are easier), next you want to try to avoid tons of colour changes/fades, they add extra steps that can be a little bit on the difficult side. All of that to say, be brave, I picked a pattern with angles and a few colours and it worked out totally fine!
Etsy has some really beautiful patterns as well, though you do have to pay for most of them.
These were the tutorials that I watched and modelled my project after **since I’ve learned a few of my own preferences, so it’s worth checking out the later posts to see what tips and tricks I discovered!**
Week 3: Stitching 3.0
I worked through basically restarting my project during week three. Things were not going well with the embroidery hoop that I had chosen to use—I couldn’t keep the tension that I needed and I had zero clue how to fix mistakes that I’d made. This made for a great opportunity to troubleshoot some of the problems I was experiencing and to ask some local experts too (my mother!). After discovering that scroll frames were really useful for the project and that it would simplify what I was doing I dove into moving my project and continuing to stitch (and figuring out how to fix mistakes too!).
Week 4: It’s a Bird…It’s a Watering Can…No, it’s Half a Plant!
I was on a roll by week four! There wasn’t really a new skill development this week, I was just at a place where the project was super time consuming and repetitive. It went like this:
– Count your stitches
– Recount your stitches
– Stich three, take one out because you didn’t count properly
– Get on a roll
– Conquer the pattern
It felt really good to see my half a plant take shape—though I’ll admit I was a slight bit discouraged that I wasn’t seeing the full product immediately (I guess we live in a day where instant gratification is what we grow accustomed to!). The time lapse that I posted is an accurate representation of where I spent countless hours stitching away. I’ll be honest, I need to get a magnifying glass before I attempt a project like this again!
Week 5: Teach me How to Stitch
A newby teaching! This is how my last three and a bit years of uni have been. There is no end to the feelings of “am I doing this right” and “is this good enough” but I decided in the end that I just needed to go for it and share what I had learned. When I started my only knowledge was that I had watched my mom stitch away and it seemed tedious. So from literally knowing nothing but an educated guess on the process to completing a project I am fairly proud of the progress (which you might be able to tell in the way that I talked in the video!).
Week 6: It’s All Over but the Framing
It. Is. Done. What a marathon! When I was talking to my mom about this project she informed me that she usually takes months to complete a project so my feelings of being slow or not creating a huge project basically faded away. I was remined again of the importance of community when you’re learning. It’s so easy to judge your journey by looking at someone else’s highlight reel and it’s so not productive. In this last week I learned to improvise, to be patient, and to let go of some of the imperfections…and also how to back stitch! Here’s a video on that process! I still need to frame this project, but I’m going to take it in to be stretched an done properly. For now I’ll keep it on the cute oblong hoop and be quite satisfied with a learning curve well conquered. I’m actually a little bit inspired to learn to attempt crocheting after seeing Ashley’s final product too!!
In any case, thanks for following along on my journey!
Until next time,