I realize that February is a little late to be making resolutions. Mine have been bubbling around in my mind for quite awhile though. When I took a short stitching staycation over Martin Luther King Day weekend I was vaguely aware of them, but they weren't actually codified. And if I don't write them down, I can't hold myself accountable. Good thing that the resolutions aren't as difficult as last year's! Basically, my idea is that after a year of stitching for others, I will take this year and stitch mostly for me. I am finally going to stitch a wedding sampler for myself and my husband (I've stitched four since we got married, all for other people); I am going to work on the First Day stumpwork pattern I got out of Inspirations; and I will try new techniques as I see fit, without any pressure to accomplish specific projects. Basically, it will be a year of play. And to balance myself, I will also expand my charity work and make at least 12 blankets for Gabriel House, as well as baptismal bibs as I am able to.
I am succeeding so far and it is fun. Over that long weekend in January, I actually started my stumpwork piece. Each of these leaves took 1.5 hours. I needed magnifiers to do this work--something I haven't needed in the past--and light. The light in my apartment is not good enough, so I went rummaging through my drawers and finally found the Beam and Read. My mother sent this to me a few Christmases ago. I read Mary Corbet's positive review of the lamp, but I had never used it. It is now my new favorite stitching tool because you can focus a very bright light easily wherever you want it and it doesn't disturb others the way a strong overhead light does. It is fantastic. I couldn't have done these leaves without it. This will be my Colorodo project because it needs great blocks of time.
I also started prepping my sampler, which is derived from Moira Blackburn's Time and Season sampler pattern. I wanted to alter the middle to hold our wedding information. I started charting it out on graph paper, but was frustrated in a few minutes, so I looked for apps to help me. I tried out a few, but Stitch Sketch was the one that worked for me. I still need to learn a lot more about the program, but it is powerful and relatively easy to use. The best part is that it converts your pattern to PDF so that you can print it easily for stitching. I did the whole pattern in one color so I can choose the colors later, but the app has the whole range of DMC colors to choose from. It is nifty
Of course, it still took me all day to chart this information, but I was able to move the motifs around and chart our our names and wedding date with much less frustration than if I had to use an eraser. While I was doing so, I also got to know the inconsistencies of the sampler pattern better. For example, the center motif is not in the exact center of the pattern. That is something that would have thrown me while stitching if I hadn't discovered it while charting.
What was less successful is that I decided to baste out 10-stitch square intervals on my fabric to help with accuracy when I stitch. I worked another 3 hours on that and I have about 1/4 of the horizontal lines done. I think that is all I will do. I can't stand the basting--especially since I need to wear magnifiers to see the 32-count fabric. This will be my Rhode Island project, but I still have to stretch it.
These will be this year's major projects, but I hope to do some small ones as well. I already have a new idea for another painted and embroidered landscape, and I am working on a little project adapted from Inspirations # 84. I should have that one done by next week.
By the end of last year, I was starting to feel uninspired. All the stitching I did for wedding, birthday, and Christmas gifts was fun, but it was also burdensome. The pressure to have things done on time got to me, even though most of the Christmas presents had been stitched the previous winter. This year, there will be no deadlines. We'll see how it works!