Thursday, 14 September 2017

#1yearofstitches [A Finish]

Back at the start of the year I came across #1yearofstitches on Instagram and Facebook. The idea was that you stitched every day for a year. The rules were pretty loose - onestitch, one type of stitch, any project, anything goes. I love embroidery, and last year I started expanding my repertoire of stitches, so I jumped on board with the aim of further extending my abilities.

 I set up a hoop, with a random white-ish solid, backed with my trusty interfacing (I use a lightweight woven fusible interfacing behind all of my embroidery which stabilises the fabric and prevents puckers - it's called SF101).

Each day from January to June, I added a stitch: by that I mean that I added a type of stitch and did as much of that stitch as I wanted to. So one day I did a row of chain stitch, the next day, I added a row of blanket stitch, the next day I did a bullion knot wheel and so on. I repeated stitches. I fell in love with chain stitch, so my hoop contains a fair bit of it. But over the course of 6 months I used sixty-two different embroidery stitches. Some I used multiple times, others only once. Some I love, some just looked a bit weird! But it definitely extended the number of stitches I would use in an embroidery project. It also showed me that different stitches can be used to create different effects: I used satin stitch to fill in small areas, but I also used it to create a striped effect.

The threads I used were Finca perle #16. These are beautiful - they have a gorgeous sheen, and have the weight equivalent of about 2 stranded of regular stranded embroidery thread. This means you can easily do very fine work. The colours are a little limited when you've been use to the hundreds of colours provided by DMC, but I purchased quite a few new colours as I went along. It's the same thread I use for hand quilting so more colours is always good.

By June, I found that the hoop was becoming more of a chore. I would sit down to hand-stitch each evening and find that it took me longer and longer to decide what to add next. I had no plan with this hoop - I just added what I fancied where I fancied - it's been interesting to see the hoop develop in this way, but the decision making started to cripple me. It became the only thing I was hand-stitching, to the detriment of several other hand-sewing projects I currently have on the go. I missed a few days for various reasons and I never picked it up again. Until August. I made a decision. No good having a hoop making me feel guilty, that I never picked up again. It was time to finish it.  I spent three or four evenings, filling in the gaps until I was happy that it was finished. You can see below how I finished off the hoop - I just draw in the fabric. Sometimes I cover the back with felt, but I hate doing it! I also like the idea of being able to see the hoop guts!

This has been a brilliant project: whilst I may not have stuck to a stitch a day for the year, I learned so much, and I've created a hoop I love. It has inspired other hoops - I made a small similar hoop for my mum for her birthday, and used it as inspiration for the mini hoop swap I took part in earlier this year. My embroidery will always be more adventurous after this experience.

If you want to see how the hoop developed, I posted a weekly update here on my blog - you can see the posts by clicking here. I also posted a daily update on Instagram which you can find under the hashtag #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches. And if you have some time to kill, I'd strongly recommend looking at the #1yearofstitches hashtag and see what everyone else has created - there are some masterpieces!

This is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.


Archie the wonder dog said...

Another lovely finish! Hooray! *waves pompoms*

Lin said...

Great work Jennie and well done for sticking with it as long as you did! xx

Carol said...

Wow! I can hardly imagine creating this without pattern -- you are an artist!

Ella said...

The hoop is beautiful! That's an extraordinary accomplishment!

Dottie Doodle said...

It is beautiful - such a good idea to stitch a circle.

Charlie said...

This is beautiful! What a cool challenge. I am glad that you did not let the original rules of your challenge defeat you! I like to see the guys, too, and yours show excellent attention to detail and artistry! Congratulations on your finish!