I am a great admirer of Winston Churchill, and with the help of some of his quotes I would like to help those of you who suffer from a lack of confidence in your stitching ability to see that with a little enthusiasm and lots of perseverance you can achieve much more than you think you are capable of with your embroidery.
“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
Looking back at some of my earlier works I realise that needle painting embroidery did not come naturally. It took many months (or years) of practice and dedication before I got to the point where I thought I may have got it right, but even today I still have doubts. Every time I sit down to stitch a new piece I challenge myself to better my work and achieve excellence and many times I toss the finished piece into a drawer because I am not happy with it. Below you can see one of my earlier attempts next to a more recent piece (before and after).
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
I am constantly trying to better my technique by making changes – shorten the stitches, lengthen the stitches, padding, no padding etc, etc. Students often ask – “Trish you said in your last book that we should do it this way but now you are telling us to do it another way”? My answer to this is: “Well I changed my mind!”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Every time I make a mistake I see it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Learning embroidery should be full of quiet contentment not frustration. Living in a world where we have instant gratification in everything from cell phones, to computers to online shopping this is one area where we can cultivate a sense of patience.
“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”
Patience really does make perfect. Don’t compare your work with your neighbour’s, there are as many ways to embroider as there are embroiderers so each one of us will express it differently. Some embroidery may represent fine watercolours and others look more like oil painting – but none the less beautiful. If you have difficulty in seeing the good in your own work look at it from a distance or ask someone who you know will give you the answer you want to hear!
“It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.”
Sometimes we need the opinion of someone who will be honest with us. When I show my work to my family they automatically say “That’s nice Mum” but then I have my Friday group who I can rely on to give me an honest opinion. It is difficult not to take offense sometimes but it is my experience that if I can get past my own ego the changes are always beneficial.
“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”
This week I am going to share with you some of the blunders I have made in my stitching career, in the hopes that it gives you a good laugh and shows that we all have our moments. If there is a blunder that you have made and would like to share we would love to hear it.
There are two incidences that stand out to me, the first was when I first moved to South Africa and I was invited to attend the bi-annual convention Ighali. Being new in the embroidery world I went as an attendee not a teacher so I decided to participate in one of the workshops. As an author of two books at the time, I was very aware that all eyes were upon me so set about the task in earnest. We were told to tack a piece of interfacing to our fabric before beginning to stitch which I duly did. Then we were told to mount the fabric + interfacing into our hoops – but when I lifted up my fabric the tablecloth came up with it – I had tacked my fabric to the tablecloth!! Needless to say this did not make me look good, but I was consoled somewhat by the fact that I received the booby prize at the convention.
One of my best pieces (I am not going to tell you which one) has a well darned patch underneath the stitching. Whilst unpicking a section of my embroidery I inadvertently cut the fabric underneath – so not wanting to start again I cut another little piece, darned it on and proceeded to stitch on top! ( I am very lazy about unpicking).
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
I am so glad I persevered, having the opportunity to share my work makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for your lovely encouraging emails and comments. Have a perfect week wherever you are and remember “If you can dream it you can do it” Trish