Then end of another year…

So, goodbye 2017. I had great hopes of you, but you turned out to be even worse than 2016, which was pretty bad. So I have low expectations of 2018, although one long running family trauma should drag itself to completion this year.

Things can only get better? Maybe.


This morning

I’m getting close to the bottom of the piece of fabric I’m currently using for the sampler, so I went into Granny’s Messy Room to find some more. I hauled out the tub in which I keep embroidery fabrics, and tipped out the contents, which was the easiest way to find what I wanted.

At this point I realised two things:

1. The tub had several holes in the bottom

2. There was stuff in there I am never going to use.

To cut a long story short, this led to a sort out of not only the embroidery fabric, but also of my tub of sheer fabrics and my tub of felt. (The other tubs of fabric and of WIPs can wait.) The stash of embroidery fabric is now considerably reduced, so it fits in a bag, my waste bin is full, and the broken tub contains a a lot of fabric to go on Freecycle in the new year.

I binned some ‘works in progress’ which I will never finish, and even some finished ones. That led to me pondering on my approach to working in textiles, which has always been more process than product oriented. I do finish things, but I’ve usually had a problem with what to do with them. Framing is expensive if professionally done, and clumsy if I do it – and in any case we’ve run out of wall space. That’s one of the reasons I have made books and bags – but you can have too many of those as well.

As I have mentioned several times, I have a low boredom threshold. I get fed up if something takes too long and start rushing it, it becomes slapdash and then I’m dissatisfied with the result, but I can’t be bothered to put it right.

Which is why, of course, I have always preferred making samples to finished work. It is also why I have cupboards full of stuff I bought to try out new techniques, which have either never been used, or used once and shoved in a drawer. Which is why when, in the New Year, I start to destash (because we are definitely going to downsize in 2018), I am going to have a lot of decisions to make.

And another thing…

After yesterday’s post, I began to wonder where my tastes in embroidery come from? I think the answer lies in my childhood. I know my taste in the visual arts has been affected the illustrations in the books I read as a child, and by the posters we had in school. But the primary influence on my embroidery seems to have been the Needlework Development Scheme, which produced many publications for teachers, promoting a particular style and approach to embroidery. My mother, a teacher, had many of their publications, hence so do I.

That style was very much of the 1950s, but the simplicity, repetition, emphasis on pattern and stitch choice still influence me several decades later. Or maybe I’m entering my second childhood?

How times change

Some of the things Anne Brandon Jones suggests you can decorate with embroidery: chair backs (a.k.a antimacassars), tray cloths, bags, cushions , scarf ends (scarves made of fabric, not knitted), small curtains (the one she shows is smaller than the cushions), and book ends.

Some of the things Jacqueline Enthoven suggests you can decorate with embroidery: wall hangings, table mats, tray cloths, table cloths, runners, bedspreads, head boards, cushions, chair seats, coffee table tops, space dividers, and clothes.

Things I have decorated with embroidery: ‘wall art’, e.g. pictures (when I used kits) and wall hangings, (because I had to for C&G and my Foundation Degree), clothes (I made one blouse with embroidery round the neck), cushions (2 for C&G, but I actually like them and use them), one bag (not very successful), book covers (useless but I enjoyed making them) and some boxes (probably my favourite thing to make).