“She watched and taught the girls that sang at their embroidery frames while the great silk flowers grew from their needles”
– Louise Jordan Miln
In-Depth, what is it?
The In-Depth Study is one of the TALONS program’s largest projects. Its goal is to have you, the learner, learn everything and anything about something. Preferably, this something is specific, and something that you find intriguing. After all, this is a project that goes on for five months. It also wants you to be able to learn skills or components that others and you find important, which ties to the mentorship relationship. Your chosen mentor should be experienced in that skill area and should be able to help guide you through this project. As I stated before, the learner is to try and learn as much as they can about their skill within five months, throughout these months, you will be sharing your progress with blog posts.
My In-Depth Something.
I remember at the beginning of the year I often heard about this project called “In-Depth,” I did not think of it much at first, but I was soon intrigued by this project. Around early December I started hearing more and more about this project, and I decided it was time for me to start looking for a skill. I found trouble doing this as at first, I had very few ideas, and later I had too many. I ended up going with embroidery, after remembering my many Pinterest pins that I had saved. Hand embroidery was something I was always somewhat interested in, but I never had the time to try it. Therefore, I decided to seize this opportunity to learn a new skill and hobby.
Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric with thread or yarn, oftentimes, it can also include other decorations such as beads or sequins. It is an ancient form of art that came to life after people discovered the possibilities of decorative sewing through patchwork, cloth mending, and more.
Why Did I Choose This?
To me embroidery seemed like such a beautiful form of art, so I like the idea of learning how to do it. As I stated before, embroidery was something I was always interested in, but I never got the chance to pursue it. Now that I have thought more about it, I believe that learning this skill can be quite versatile. For one it is a new hobby I can acquire, and I can apply these skills to my own wishes such as embroidering bags, clothes, and more. I can make gifts with these skills too. Not to mention, I can use stitches for fabric repairs when it comes to clothing and more. My goal for this project is to try to learn how to embroider different designs, as I can broaden my horizons and find what I enjoy most.
What is My Plan and What Will I Learn?
I plan to make four mini projects in the next few months, leading up to my final project. I plan to learn something new with each mini project, for example, my first would be with floral designs, and my second with animals or such. My final project will be a cumulation of all those designs I have learnt. I will be learning basic stitches, and how to apply them to embroidery designs, I will learn how to care for the finished products, and how to choose the preferred supplies. Along the way, I plan to become proficient with around 15 stitches, and I would like to eventually experiment with different types of materials such as denim or canvas. Throughout this project I will be learning more about colour theory, hand-eye coordination, planning, and design skills.
Below is a timetable which will help me track and complete my projects and goals.
|Plan: An outline of methods, activities, strategies, people, and resources you can use to meet your challenge||Timetable: The specific dates or times when you will accomplish the steps in your plan|
|Find a vision or goal.||Before December 17th (done)|
|Find and contact a mentor.||Before December 20th (done)|
|Make sure mentor has completed necessary forms.||January 12th (done)|
|Do some research on embroidery.||December 31st – January 10th (done)|
|Start finding stitches I want to learn.||January 3rd – January 10th (done)|
|Find four types of patterns that I want to work on and two types of fabrics.||Before January 31st (in progress)|
|Buy (most) needed supplies.||Before January 31st (done)|
|Start learning and practicing stitches.||January 16th – January 31st (done)|
|Start practicing a certain genre and complete a design for first mini project.||Before January 31st (in progress)|
|Finish first mini project.||February 6th|
|Learn to care for finished product.||February 6th|
|Start working on second genre.||February 7th|
|Finish and care for second project.||February 28th|
|Finish and care for third project.||March 21st|
|Finish and care for fourth project.||April 11th|
|Finish final project.||May 22nd|
|Complete a journal of what I have learnt and this journey.||May 28th (in progress)|
Who is My Mentor?
Though my previous sewing skills are decent, I am glad to have my mentor, Michelle, help guide me through this. When I had chosen my skill, I found out that a previous TALONS student had chosen the same skill as me. After contacting the alumni, they shared their mentor’s number with me, and I introduced myself to Michelle. So far, I have had one meeting with her discussing my goals and plans. She has been sending me embroidery tutorials for me to practice with and gives me feedback on my stitches. While writing this I have started planning and practicing my first mini project, and I plan to update her as I go along.
What Have I Accomplished/Learned So Far?
After choosing my in-depth skill, I contacted my mentor and I set up a meeting with her. In this meeting, Michelle told me about what basic embroidery supplies I would need that I did not already know about. She told me threads were often found in strands of six and used in strands of two or three. I had gotten two embroidery hoops, a six inch one and an eight inch one. Michelle told me that smaller hoops are often easier to work with, but preferences are different with everyone. As I continue to progress, she recommended I start free handing some of my designs with a water-soluble marker. With that I can challenge myself with those designs and erase the marker afterwards. Once I had gotten all the needed supplies, I started with practicing some stitches. I learned and practiced around 15 stitches which I thought would be beneficial for my first project. As I practiced them though, I realized some of them which had a more pattern-like design would need more strands of thread, so the pattern is more visible. I found I enjoyed doing stitches like the feather stitch or blanket stitch quite a bit, and I found the satin stitch a little time consuming. Though I did only use three strands of floss, so if I used more, it might have been easier. In the next week, I will be practicing floral designs, so I will be implementing these stitches into those patterns.
What Are My Resources?
When it comes to resources, I will be mostly looking at tutorials and inspiration. When it comes to tutorials, I will be looking at many embroidery websites, as well as on YouTube. I can ask my mentor Michelle if I need any clarification with certain designs or stitches too. For those websites, I found ones that specialize in hand embroidery, and for beginners specifically. As for inspiration, I found that Pinterest has many ideas that I can use for references. If I am not confident with drawing my own designs yet, I can follow tutorials on YouTube. Having a visual to follow along with makes it much easier to see where I made a mistake, or if I need to rewatch a section.
Here are some links I will be using.
Pinterest (I have a board for inspiration patterns)
I look forward to learning these skills and discovering more about myself. My plan will help guide me throughout this project as my skills progress, and I am excited to see what I can achieve with the help of my mentor.