Saturday, 5 October 2013

Must it *all* be fun?

I've been pressing on with my new cross stitch quite a lot this week whilst I haven't really felt up to tackling the filling in of the sampler hardanger elements.  I had a quick practice of woven picots and buttonhole bars and think I can pull those off all right, but haven't tried them on the real thing as yet.

When I posted that I was going to do this cross stitch last week and said that these designs could be a bit boring to stitch in parts, one reader asked why I was going to stitch it if it was going to be boring, after all, didn't I embroider for fun?  That set me thinking about how much of a project can be expected to be fun and is it realistic to expect the whole thing to be enjoyable from start to finish every time?  What would you say?

If I'm honest, I can't think of any task, project or occupation that's fun 100% of the time.  I remember last year a former colleague wrote, 'Work is generally good' and I knew he was talking about a job he'd really wanted to do and was enjoying on the whole.  However, there are certainly aspects that are a bit tedious or even a nuisance and I doubt there's any job that excludes any negative factors whatsoever.

What about hobbies, crafts and needlework?  I think it's true to say that we all have our favourite parts, parts that we don't mind and parts that we accept as part of a overall enjoyable process, but that we find dull in themselves.  For instance, many cross stitchers hate backstitch parts, knitters dislike sewing up garments and I find transferring patterns to be a bit of a pain to do.  Which parts of a needlework project do you find less than thrilling?

With these Lizzie*Kate designs, there are some large-ish areas of one colour that do get a bit dull to stitch.  With this one and the 'Spring' one I did 3½ years ago, it's the fence that drags on a bit.  With some other pictures, plain backgrounds can be a plain bore to work.  Generally speaking, I've found that working on them little and often, perhaps interspersed with more interesting parts or projects, helps to relieve the monotony and gets a necessary part of an otherwise fun project done.

Strangely enough, and this goes for many tasks and not just needlework, getting through the dull and trying parts and completing them gives one of the greatest senses of achievement!!

So, I think that with embroidery, as with everything, one takes the humdrum parts along with the more stimulating ones and accepts that it adds up to an overall strongly positive experience.

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Do you really find every part of a stitching task fun and enjoyable?  Are there some you'd gladly hand over to someone else to do?  (Sorry about the awful photos above, BTW, the lighting has been terrible this week and I can't seem to improve it on Photoshop...)

The Anchor number 12 pearl cottons I ordered the other day came through the next morning.  It was so much fun getting a parcel from SewandSo after all this time!

As you can see, I ordered 'landscape' colours, except for the light yellow, which is a favourite shade of mine and the Kreinik #1 Japan thread in 321J, which I treated myself to.  Actually, I was rather disappointed with it as it was supposed to be 'dark gold', but there's next to no difference between that and the regular gold shade 002J.  Well, at least I know now.=(

As my number twelve ball drawer was full before, I had to do some reorganisation in order to get these new colours in so, as you can see, I decided to devote the drawer itself to 'colours' and moved the browns and greys into the space vacated by the Pipers Silks now that they have their own box.

I'm not 100% happy with this arrangement as, frankly, this cantilever section looks messy and, fussy creature as I am, I wanted to have all the browns in one section and the greys in another, but numbers didn't work out.  Anyway, it's the best I can do for now.

This below is my Anchor #8 pearl cotton collection - solid colours.  I have a fair few of the Anchor multi-colour ones too, which I used to use a bit when I did a lot of hardanger cards a few years ago.  I really need to find more uses for these as, whilst it's great to have a nice collection, it's even better to have a use for them, but you can only do so many things at once and I'm vehemently opposed to having a large number of projects on the go at once.  I have two WIPs at the moment and one UFO and I want to clear the slate of at least two of those before starting in on new things.  If I can clear off the third too, (which is boring me!!!), oh, how happy will I be?!=)

In case anyone was wondering why I bought the landscape coloured #12 balls, it's because I'm interested in trying some of the Helen M Stevens' 'look through' style pictures where you have certain foreground elements and then shaded in sections are fields, waterways etc.  #12 pearl cotton is perfect when the rest of the piece is to be done in stranded cotton.  I think, if I'm to use the Pipers silks, the gauge might not be quite right, but then I could bring my Madeira silks, which seem slightly twisted and considerably less shiny than Pipers, into play.  What thread combinations do you think would work?  What would you use?

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2013


Rachel said...

I find that even repetitive elements are often rewarding, and I don't find stitching boring on the whole. Cross stitch, I'm not keen on, in fact, counted work in general, which is why you don't often see me do it unless I've persuaded myself I will be pleased to have done it!

Looking forward to your adventures with the Helen Stevens designs - they sound very intriguing!

giusi_g said...

Ho usato il traduttore google perchè non conosco inglese ... ma ho propositi di imparare ada una scuola serale non so il tempo che ci vorra però quindi il traduttore simultaneo è utilissimo per capire ....
anche a me piace tanto il punto croce ma hai ragione certe volte diventa pesante farlo specie quando ci sono molti camabi colore
ho iniziato un ricamo 11 anni fa non ridere ... un eternità ma era molto complicato perchè erano delle porcellane di Limoge ... presto vedrai il post poi il calo della vista , non riuscivo a finirlo ... ma guardando internet ho scoperto lente da ricamo così l'ho acquistata e finito il bel ricamo ... mi piace molto come riponi le tue matasse anch'io conservo in tante scatoline ma non sono mai in ordine ...ho scritto tanto ....buona serata e domenica per domani ... giusi_g

Cynthia Gilbreth said...

Lately I've been attending our local EGA meetings, which seem to emphasize needlepoint type projects. I tend to find these somewhat boring, but strangely addictive, if that makes any sense. I'll take the latest project on the plane with me for our vacation next week. We are going to Washington DC, and I certainly hope those clowns, er, Congressmen, can come to a budget agreement so we can visit the Smithsonian Museums. Wish us luck!

Kate said...

I do find large areas boring after awhile; this year I've stitched small pieces only for many reasons. I absolutely love looking at collections of pearl cotton - to me they look so much prettier than skeins of floss.

Queeniepatch said...

I hardly ever feel bored by any type of embroidery. I can feel frustrated if the pattern is difficult or the thread tangles, but not bored. If I do a long stretch of repetitive stitches I listen to the radio or an audio book, or I set myself a 'philosophical' question and ponder about 'life'. For cross stitch, the stitch itself is the same but the placement means you need to pay attention to the chart, so I can't be bored.

Your thread collection is so pretty and neatly organised.

zenuwpees said...

Bravo la broderie est très belle bonne fin d'après-midi Marie-Claire

Caroline B said...

If it's a boring bit, I make sure there is something interesting on the tv or stereo, and set myself little targets in order to see some measurable progress. Works for me most of the time!

Glenis Pickering said...

I'm with Caroline B. If it's monotonous there are ways to occupy the rest of the brain. Conversely, if there are a lot of confetti-stitches (like my lion-cubs at the moment) then a big stretch of one single colour is more a relief than "boring", and I welcome it.