Friday, 6 December 2013

Announcing the 'Needlequest' challenge!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the idea of an open challenge which would see participants spending a month working on a different style or technique of embroidery, or on a certain area of design.  Here are the details:

2014 Needlequest Challenge 

Monthly Topics

January - Needlepainting
February - Japan
March - Goldwork
April - Spring
May - Blackwork
June - Line (as a design element)
July - Crockery and tableware
August - Fabric colouring techniques
September - Autumn
October - Greece
November - Stumpwork
December - Windows and doorways

I have enough ideas to keep us in challenge topics for the next few years, but these should see us well started!=)

The idea is simply that, during the stated month, each participant will try to spend at least some time working on that topic or style.  Hopefully, we'll all share our work on our blogs, on-line photo albums, communities such as Stitchin' Fingers or the Hand Embroidery Network etc.  There will be no set patterns to work and I won't be teaching anything as such, although I will try to post some ideas and inspirational material at the beginning of each month to help stimulate interest and creativity for the weeks ahead.

Q&A Section

Who can join in?

Anyone and everyone who loves needlework and wants to develop their skills a little further.  You don't even need a blog or on-line photo album to join in - although we'd like to see what you've been creating, so we hope you do have one or the other!  Just add your name in a comment on the dedicated blog page where you will also find all the details of the challenge (more or less as here).

Is there any obligation?

None whatsoever.  You join in when you have time and interest and you miss out any months where you're especially busy or you just don't want to work with that subject.  There are no set days to post or any deadlines to meet.  I believe in low pressure challenges that are a pleasure not a source of stress.  Signing up is really a sign of interest and not a commitment.  Real life comes first!

Will there be tutorials to follow?

I'm not planning anything like that, although the challenge may provide impetus and a timescale to work any of my (or anyone else's) tutorials that you've been meaning to do and not got to yet.  I'll be learning new things myself, and so am not qualified enough to guide the learning process of all these different techniques.  However, there is a wealth of on-line and printed material available for every technique you can think of (and dozens more!), so you won't be short of instructional material if you want it.  I'll try and provide some links, book suggestions and so on at the beginning of each month to help us all out.

What technique do I use when the theme is a design area, such as 'China'?

Absolutely any you like!  You can design your own piece(s) or sample(s), or you can use the monthly theme as a start date for a kit, chart or book/magazine design you've had in mind for a while.  Use whatever techniques you like and feel happy with.  You could think about including some of the new skills you've learned from previous months where the theme was a specific style of work, or you may want to use an old favourite.  It's entirely up to you.

I already have so many projects on the go already, I don't want to start anything new.

As a massive 'finish what you start' proponent, I totally respect this.  However, you may not have to start anything totally new.  For instance, suppose the monthly topic is 'stumpwork' and you have had an unfinished workshop piece lurking around in your UFO (UnFinished Object) bag for years.  Well, why not use that month as an opportunity to get that project out and complete it?  Perhaps you have a large scale cross stitch of a Geisha girl part stitched.  Why not work on that when the theme is 'Japan'?  There may well be several ways to join in without starting any fresh projects, but that can help you make real forward movement on some stalled ones.  Why not look through your part-worked pieces and see how they may fit in?

How do I share my work with others?

I hope to try to make a weekly posting showing what I've been doing with the month's theme and so you might want to leave a comment, including any links to where we can see your work, on that post.  I won't be running a blog or album to share others' work on like some challenges do.  This one is entirely self-managed in order to reduce the coordinator's workload (i.e. me!) so she can get on with working the challenge herself, and to eliminate the 'I must submit something' pressures.

How and where do I sign up?

Leave a comment at the bottom of the Needlequest page including a link to your blog, album etc and with a sentence or so detailing what you hope to get from the challenge.  You can wait a couple of months and see how others do before you join up if you like.  You can sign up any time you like, there's no deadline.

If you're not planning to take part, that's no problem whatsoever, but there's no need to leave a comment telling me.=)  Let's keep the challenge page comments just to sign ups, although you're welcome to leave 'regular' comments here as always.

Can I put forward ideas for future topics etc?

Please do!  I won't be using anything religious, patriotic, mystical or holiday related (i.e. Christmas etc), but any other general topics or styles are welcome and I'll add them to my list.

If there are any other questions, please feel free to ask and I'll add them to the page.  In the meantime, I hope to get a few sign ups and look forward to working and learning with you in the months ahead.

(Photos decorating this post are from my 2008/9 City & Guilds studies days.)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2013


Glenis said...

Count me in the "thinking about it" corner. I have a couple of Oriental Lady cards in the UFO bag for February, but I'm not sure what else in that bag would fit your "year"...
I do like your "at least some time" parameter though - it would mean that just "one evening" would satisfy the criteria if I was struggling for time. You're tempting me, Elizabeth... :-)

Janet said...

Hi Elizabeth,

That's an interesting idea - especially for getting the UFO's finished, if they fit in with a theme!

Just thought I'd mention that when I opened your email (as I get your posts as an email feed), I got a general 'behaviour warning' from my AVG virus software, which needed isolating before I could continue to read the email. The virus was called valueappsinst.exe.

Rachel said...

I'm glad to see you aren't increasing your workload by attempting to manage this challenge- it will be much more fun to do some stitching!

Elizabeth Braun said...

Thanks, Janet. There's nothing I personally can do about the e-mails, but I've forwarded your message on to Blogger/Google so that they can take whatever action is needed.=)

nini said...

hmmm, I'm very tempted too and I don't even do embroidery :) tried it a bit but am always lurking around and oooh-ing when I see things you make
maybe this is a good way to actually start doing it! :)

Anonymous said...

Very elegant and creative needlework ~ thanks,
carol, xxx