The journey continues! This is our journey where the goal is to be more “ourselves” through our fiber art. Often we move in baby steps, slowly, steadily along a trail we cut for ourselves. No one else can do it for you. But there is much inspiration, help and advice out there to guide and inspire you.
If you are a beginner, you may find this book a bit more advanced than Volume 1. It is aimed at embroiderers who consider themselves to be at least intermediates. However, don’t let that frighten you away. You can learn the stitches and benefit from the advice in this book, but be aware that the terms and instructions are aimed at someone who has practiced already.
For beginners, I would especially point you towards the resource list at the end of the book. The list includes an assortment of books and websites that have helped me and may give you direction and inspiration as well.
This book will expand many of the ideas and themes mentioned in the first volume. Each of these themes and ideas will be discussed. Additionally there will be some new ideas intended to get you thinking creatively about your embroidery.
I begin by going through some general topics including making and using samplers and journals before moving on to stash and stash-building. The idea behind these sections is to help you think about how you can use the materials you have available to add interest and detail to your projects. As you read, consider new ways that you might be able to use your materials, ways that you think are interesting to try.
Then I move on to topics that are related to increasing your self expression through your embroidery. This can be through the designs you choose, your stitches and the textures you create, as well as the colors you work with.
As you practice and gain experience, you will find that your imagination grows as does your ability to create art. Color, for example, is one area we can put our imaginations to work. The color section will be devoted to practical tips rather than the theoretical aspects of color. There is much written about this topic, so I will refer you to other resources.
The following sections are then focused on improving your work and dealing with obstacles such as fighting the stitcher’s blues and perfectionism. I also have included topics such as tips on building your creativity and increasing your self-expression. These are all mega-topics that could each have their own volume, but for now my intention is to offer tips and suggestions that help you see diverging paths on your journey. These may all be worth some investigation.
This book will introduce 18 new stitches. This is not an effort to be comprehensive, but rather a start to get you thinking about forming and using embroidery stitches in new ways. There are many resources that have diagrams how to make the “perfect” stitch, and I encourage you to look at those too. But this book is not about perfection and certainly not about following rules.
An understanding of the rules is a good springboard for art, but rules are meant to be adapted or broken to suit yourself and your creations. This will be one of the main themes throughout this volume, so keep it in mind as you read this volume, and as you study and ponder your work.
Each of the 18 stitches has instructions how to make standard stitches using standard methods. This standard serves as a useful starting point from which to dive into the many variations. Also, a number of these variations for each stitch is shown as examples of the possibilities.
These will each be described, so you can try them. You are most certainly encouraged to practice these and to move on to try your hand at making your own variations.
I have also included some exercises and suggestions for using the stitches in your work. Give them a try. This volume is meant to be a handbook and a guide. How you use it is up to you, but I do encourage you to be active and experiment with some of the stitches. You can make samplers or use the stitches directly in your projects.
The other main theme of this book is to let go of perfectionism. I like many of you, am plagued by this need for my work to look a certain way in order to be considered “good.” But take another look as you study your own projects and those of others. Think about what is lost and what is gained by this ideal. Many bloggers have noted that perfect projects are beautiful, but cold. We strip out ourselves in trying to match an ideal. It’s easy to do. But practice letting go. Free yourself from rules and boundaries.
Your embroidery is your art. Let it flow out of you. Challenge yourself to look at your stitches and the materials you use in new ways. You will find yourself creating truly unique works as you grow and develop your skills. And remember to think in terms of baby steps, have patience with yourself, and above all else, enjoy your journey.
Good luck on the journey!