In-Depth: Post 2

“Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that – one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


Welcome back to my In-Depth project. In this post, I will be giving a progress report on my projects and challenges I’ve faced, as well as tell you more about my mentor.

Progress Report: Projects

Since my last blog post, I have finished my first mini project, and I am currently working on my second. For my first project, Michelle (my mentor) and I decided on doing floral designs to start. Michelle sent me some tutorials she found helpful, and I followed along with them for a few flowers. Once I felt comfortable though, I started to make my own designs based off simple patterns I found on Pinterest. My practice hoop was filled with a variety of flowers which I would add to my actual piece. After sending a picture of those practice flowers to Michelle, she said I should try experimenting with mixing thread colours, as well as different thread thicknesses. I made a note of that feedback, and I would add it to my final piece.

The hoop containing my practice stitches.

For the actual piece, I made two designs, one with a more scenic design, and another which displayed more flowers and looked more cartoon-like. Michelle said that she found the scenic design more appealing, and I was stuck in the middle, so I ended up going with that design. I found that making practice stitches is very beneficial, as it’s a reference I can use when I need to see where I messed up. Overall, I thought that project was a great start to my embroidery journey, and Michelle thought so too.

My final project for floral designs.

I am currently working on my second project. In my meeting with Michelle last week, I was asking her what ideas she had, since there wasn’t anything that truly appealed to me. Michelle mentioned that I could learn letters and words, which a previous alumnus did too. Michelle showed me some tutorials I could use, and I decided that once I felt comfortable enough, I would stitch some words by myself. I haven’t created a design for this project yet, as I have yet to show Michelle my practice stitches, but I will share my finished product in the next blog post.

Challenges and Overcoming Them

Currently, one of the biggest challenges I am facing is my time management. I find it hard to pick up embroidery for just a few minutes, so I have been setting aside days for just embroidery. Unfortunately, sometimes I am unable to do that, thus I fall behind the goals I make for myself. I do catch up quickly though, but this is still not the best way for me to continue my projects. I’ve decided to start dedicating Sundays for my embroidery projects, and if I am still falling behind, I will have to alter my schedule a bit so I can get back on track.

Another challenge I have is that I have a bit of a block between my mentor and me. My meetings with Michelle haven’t been as long as I thought they would be, and I haven’t been learning with her as much. I plan to ask her if we can lengthen our meetings soon, especially since my third project will be on a different type of fabric than I have been currently using.

Mentor and I

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey

In my last meeting with Michelle, I asked her a few questions about her embroidery journey since I wanted to get to know her better. Michelle had gotten into embroidery when she was a child. Her parents would go on an annual business trip, and Michelle would stay at home with a caretaker. During that time, her caretaker would teach her embroidery, and eventually started giving her some projects to work on. Those projects would keep her from missing her parents too much, and she treasured those moments with her mentor. She said it created a bond between her and her caretaker, like a bond a child would have with their grandparent.

Michelle said that embroidery is almost like a lost art, you don’t see many people learning it nowadays, which is a bit of a shame. Michelle has taught me to try and experiment with my designs. She often recommends I mix thread colours and try new thicknesses. When I asked about trying new fabrics, she said it would be a good challenge to try and supported the idea. Michelle has been encouraging me to try new patterns and such, giving me ideas when I have a block. When we have our meetings, Michelle is always very welcoming and kind, she listens to my ideas, then shares her thoughts and opinions on them. I like how we chose my projects together, so I can be more invested in the project, and Michelle knows how she can guide me through it.

Goals + Updated Timeline

To continue guiding myself through this project, I have discussed some ideas with Michelle for future projects. One goal I have is to try embroidering on a new medium. I asked Michelle if I could try mesh, as mesh embroidery was what got me interested in this topic. Michelle said that I should find a mesh that is less “mesh-y,” or in other words, the fabric is woven closer together I suppose. Either way, we decided it would be a good challenge for me, so I will be using that fabric for my third project.

In the meantime, for my second project’s final design, I am unsure of any ideas yet, but I think it would be beneficial if I incorporated flowers into the design, as a review of what I’ve already learnt.

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 (done)
Finish first mini project. February 6th (done)
Learn to care for finished product. February 6th (in progress)
Start working on second genre. February 7th (n progress)
Finish and care for second project. February 28th (in progress)
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)

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