Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ponderings and Introspection

This post has been a while coming.  I have thought about what I wanted to say and wondered how all of my blog readers would feel about reading it, or even if any would read it, after seeing how long it is.

As of late, I would say actually a while, my stitching has been all over the place and it has caused me much mental stress and strife, and I am not really sure why.  I have started and stopped and scrapped more projects and spent more money than I care to admit to anyone.

I was gung-ho about the CCN cottages back when they were first announced and then I was obsessed with a HAED, and wasn't going to stitch the cottages, and then the HAED was giving me fits and I thought there is no way I am going to be able to do this, and I started seeing all of the pics on the Cottage SAL and I thought these look so great, I HAVE to do them!  And in my craziness I dropped out of the Cottage SAL blog and am now on a waiting list to rejoin.  Idiotic, yes, for me to have dropped out!!!!

And I have restarted January cottage about three times now.  And then I started LK Fat Snowmen.  Both projects on 25 count, tent stitching, mind you, because I wanted to stitch faster, you know, and get something done.  But then I got to the snowman on the January cottage and it just looked 50 kinds of wrong. 

So, I am restarting, again, on 32 count Sage Jobelan, and stitching them all individually for my scrapbook.  And restarting LK Fat Snowmen at some point on the fabric also, 2 over 2, full cross stitches, like I normally do, and going to do them individually for my scrapbook also.  

And I look back over my cross stitch "career" and see a lot of trying different stuff, scrapbooking my pieces, finishing them myself, framing, getting them finished by someone else, trying linen, all kinds of threads, different size needles, and it goes on and on and on.  But I feel as if I am not getting anywhere.  Like I am going in circles.  And it is completely maddening.  Because I love this hobby.  It is the only thing I do for me.

And I read everyone's blogs and everyone seems accomplished and moving forward and not have any of the schizophrenia I feel.  Is there anyone out there that feels the same way?  Maybe you are just not putting it on your blog.  But on some level, by BF and others, I feel judged and it makes me want to shut down and not write on this blog and keep my stitching to myself. 

And I think to myself this must be simpler.  I am making this WAY too complicated.  Just all of it.  Like fabric.  My favorite all time fabric is Jobelan.  It's evenweave, so no slubs like in linen, and it's fairly non-see-through, so I can carry threads if need be.   But why do I stitch on linen then?

And scissors.  I don't know if any of you have this problem, but it seems as if most of the scissors out there my fingers just do not fit comfortably in those holes, except ONE pair, Kelmscott Tudor Rose scissors.  Fabulous ones.

And finding a fabric where WHITE floss shows up well.  This has caused quite a conundrum for me in the past.  The Sage Jobelan seems to fit that bill, though.  We shall see.

So, I am taking a deep breath and having a do-over, and hoping and praying I can move forward and accomplish some finishes.

My goals for February:

1.  January Cottage~32 count Sage Jobelan~finish for my scrapbook
2.  Lizzie Kate A Little Love kit~32 count Lambswool Jobelan~finish for my scrapbook (the linen that came in this kit is very scratchy and stiff, so I am substituting)

If you have read down this far, thank you.  I know this post seems all over the place.  I just wanted to get this out.  There is a sane stitching person in me just trying to claw its way out!

I also am organizing my threads on bobbins now.  Much neater.  Thanks to Rachel for causing me to have that lightbulb moment.  I don't know why I didn't do this before.  My goal is to have a box for each different floss, WDW, GAST, CC, DMC, just like she does.

And if I have not commented on your blog lately, it's not that I am NOT reading.  I am.  Everyone is doing a completely fabulous job on everything.  You all make me laugh, sometimes cry, and I find inspiration and hope every day through all of you.


cucki said...

Good luck with your feb goals ,,
Sending you Stitchy hugs
Cucki xxx

Lesleyanne said...

Oh Danielle. I do sometimes think about what I am stitching - do I want to stitch small projects, big projects, medium projects etc so I do know how you feel. It is a hobby you should be enjoying yourself not putting pressure on yourself. Stitch on the fabric you like, use the scissors you like. I LOVE to see your stitching and I don't want to see you go.

Nancy said...

Oh Danielle, don't be so hard on yourself! This is suppose to be a fun hobby not a race...just enjoy stitching what you like on the fabric you like and don't stress about what others may or may not think about your hobby...It is your hobby and the only one who you need to please is yourself! Hugs!

gracie said...

Now, doesn't that feel better? If not tell me again, I am listening. I think we all go in circles...I know I do. When it happens to me, I set aside everything and I mean everything and just relax. Then before I know it I am back with this or that. I feel that a design is just that. I use the fabric I like, the threads I have or like and which scissors is right at that moment. You are the one to bring it all to finish...your way.

pandy said...

I'm sorry you feel this way :( Like someone said above, it's supposed to be FUN. If you want to start a million things and never finish one, who cares as long as you're having fun with it? you're allowed to change your mind over and over and over again.

I don't know if you feel this too, but since I've started a cross stitch blog and have some followers, I'm starting to feel like I *have* to have progress. Some weeks I don't feel like putting in one stitch, but I feel like I'm letting down the team if I don't. I have to step back and remember, I stitch for noone but me.

I work mostly on Jobelan because it's easier for me to use. I was so unhappy when I used 32 count linen. Use what materials work for you, and try not to care what others think. You don't have to follow patterns to a tee, you can change fabrics and fibers and leave out or add to whatever you're doing. :)

I can promise you now that there will never be a negative thought or response from me when it comes to whatever you're working on. Life is just way too short for that. Take care. :)

Laura said...

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! If you will notice on my blog I have pictures of what my friends are stitching or have stitched. I go between projects and hardly finish anything!

I went out and bought new charts on Sunday and then did the same thing last night! I kitted up a fabulous project and what did I do when I got home....I went to bed and read a book.

So, don't be so hard on yourself. Just adjust your stitching to a pace you feel happy with. Everyone stitches at different speeds and with different linen/thread and that is just fine by golly!

Autumn said...

NO worries! We love anything and everything you show. Many of us have multiple projects going at once and feel torn as well.

Hang in there. Keep stitching and we'll keep reading.

valerie said...

This hobby is supposed to be fun! Do what you want. We all have our stress out about certain things. Does the color show up, is there enough contrast, how do I attach these beads, etc. I think you should stick with the materials you feel comfortable with the most. I also think that tent stitching looks best on densely stitched patterns (like a HAED) and you lose some of the effect on really detailed pieces like the Cottages.

Oh yea, I have a jammer for my DMC...I think I will be winding bobbins for the rest of my life!

Tamara said...

I, too, have felt a little frustration with myself and my stitching the last few years. HAED was a big part of my downfall, too. :) There are just too many wonderful charts out there and the evil designers just keep putting them out and tempting us when we can only stitch so fast. I have 7 (I think...I may have lost count) large projects started since '08 and I feel very frustrated sometimes because I am not seeing enough progress. I used to be a one-at-a-timer and actually got things done and hanging on the wall. Now, not so much. Since I started blogging a few months ago, I seem to be a bit more focused. Maybe like pandy said, we feel pressured that we must have something to post.
But, I'm still buying charts and still planning to stitch until my fingers fall off. Stick around, we need you for the Stitchers Anonymous Support Group.

natalyK said...

The first thing to remember is this is for YOU! If you find piece while stitching then it doesn't matter what you work on. There is no need to impress anyone. I find that I try to challenge myself in my stitching but every now and then I need a quick fix. That is OK. Do what you love!!!! I love seeing your stitching progress and think that it all looks beautiful. I do tend to lose my stitching mojo and when that happens a take a break knowing it will be there when I am ready to return to it.

Coni said...


Oh, my very dearest Miss Danielle. As much as I would love to tell you that you are all kinds of crazy when it comes to this thing of ours, I'm afraid that I snatched up THAT particular trophy a long long long time ago.

My sister calls it "getting all up in my head", and when I do, she usually mutters something under her breath and lets me spin myself into a weepy heap on the floor of my studio until it passes. (For a full visual, please refer to the scene in Julie and Julia in which she unsuccessfully tries to stuff a chicken.)

Trust me. You. Are. Not. Alone.

A few years ago I did two things that helped a little bit. I went to the Targets and bought a nice big storage bin with a lid and I sat down on the floor with every single piece of stitchy stash and culled it. If it didn't blow my skirt up immediately, I chucked it into the bin and didn't look back. Then, when I was finished chucking, I snapped on the top and shoved it into a closet. I called it my "archive" and promised myself that in one year's time I would go through it again and see if there was anything in there that needed to come back into rotation.

I suppose that's a long way of saying I decided that when my fanny hit the chair at night I was going to stitch something I liked, and if I didn't like it, then I'd futz until I found something that I did.

The second thing I did was decide that stitching blogs are supposed to be a source of INspiration. Not FRUStration. So when I felt myself getting all seventh grade "Why can't I just be like the cool kids and stitch cool stuff and have cool finishes and hang cool pictures on my walls", I grounded myself from looking at them for a few days until I could get a better perspective.

This works for stitching too. When you get totally out of control, forbid yourself from stitching for a day or two and see how fast you jones for it and realize that any time you have a threaded needle in your hand is better than any time you don't.

So I guess what I'm trying to tell you is....CONGRATULATIONS! You're now a card carrying member of a club that has more of us than you ever would have imagined, and we'd like you to know that no matter how nuts you might think you are, there's always somebody out here who is a little nuttier. (I'm just saying).

Your secret decoder ring will be in the mail shortly.

Be gentle with yourself, my dear stitchy friend. I, for one, think you ROCK! and that you should follow your heart wherever it leads you.

P.S. Sorry for the length of the reply, but this topic hits me right in the Ginghers and I wish more people would talk about it. Thank you for being brave enough to do so.

Marjorie said...

Goodness! It's not a competition, it's supposed to be fun...but I know what you mean about stitchers who produce so much, I read their blogs and wonder if they ever eat or sleep or if they just stitch 24 hours a day :)

I am equally scattered when it comes to my stitching, I start one thing and frequently am bored within days (I would never even THINK about starting a HAED, lol). I think it's great that you have enough determination to actually re-start something if you don't like the way it is turning out; I would just chuck it in my basket and never touch it again.

T.J. said...


I love looking at many stitching blogs for inspiration. I look at many different types of stitching projects and styles and by doing this I try to get an idea of what I want to stitch. What is in my heart to work on and what I feel I can achieve. I don't always do what is popular. I use scroll frames when q snaps are popular, I change things in the design when others frown on this, and I don't always buy the products that other stitchers claim are a must. I don't spend much money on silk threads, I still mostly use DMC. Some of the other stitchers get their pieces framed by Jill Rensel and though I would love this, I just can't afford to spend $500 on one piece when I can get it framed for $125 or so. So, maybe what you need to ask yourself is what designs do you love, what fabric do you love, and what techniques do you love to use. This is how you should stitch. Plus, there are many ways you can save money on stitching supplies. Have maybe a few projects available but the ones you may want to do after those, don't buy until you have completed a few. ( I know the fear is that those charts will no longer be available and the designers would love you to think this but even if they aren't, there are plenty of others). Don't cave into the "peer" pressure of what any other stitcher is doing or buying. Just do what you love. If you are not sure what you love, try a few things and ponder which designs you are anxious to pick up and which ones make you cringe. HAED are gorgeous, but I refuse to buy those because the actual stitching is not enjoyable for me. Lastly, for me personally, I am not concerned whether anyone is commenting on my blog, I just blog to have a record for myself and to be an inspiration to whoever might end up reading it. Your blog is inspiring and I hope you will keep on blogging and I hope you will find the types of designs and fabrics/fibers that you love and find enjoyment in your stitching again. I don't think anyone is judging you but if anyone is, that is a reflection of what is wrong with their life/stitching not yours.

Joysze said...

Danielle, sweetie... say it with me... "THIS IS MY HOBBY AND I'LL DO IT HOWEVER I BLOODY WELL PLEASE!!!! :D

Don't be so hard on yourself. The thing is, there are so many products and designs out there that it takes awhile or maybe never to settle down to what you like best.

Don't quit blogging... there are enough of us out here that are crazy enough to drown out what BF and others are saying. ;)

If you like the Kelmscott, so be it. Who says you can't just use that? I only ever use my Ginghers. To be honest, I don't get why I should have more than just that pair cos it just becomes clutter. :)

For me? Despite all the fabulous designs out there, I stitch what I want to see on my walls. If it's something I don't have a space for, I don't touch it. I don't stash either, cos it bugs the crap out of me to have those things lying around that aren't being touch.

So see this as you finding your way. Making new discoveries and learning things about yourself and your hobby.... and remember... it's a WONDERFUL journey. :D

Claudette497 said...

I love being scattered in my stitching! I have over 200 WIPS and I'm making no visible progress on any of them; I expect to have finishes rolling in by 2015, but until then, it's just a stitch here and there on every piece. I think it's a thousand times more fun that way, and anyone who thinks I should be making more progress on something hasn't been unkind enough to say so - the main feedback I get is "I love all the WIPs you have!" Stitch in the way that makes you happy, and if isn't making you happy, adjust it to suit yourself. Do you get to nag BF because he isn't making enough progress on his video games or his car fixing or whatever he does for fun? You're not anyone's stitching maid - serve yourself! I'm sure you do enough for others the rest of your days. And I love your blog!

Catherine said...

Sounds like everyone else has just about covered aloof the advice.....hugs....

Astrid's dragon said...

Ditto, the same, duplicate, clone, copy, likewise, reproduction, the above, the very words - to all the spot on comments above!

You're not the only one who feels that way, maybe that's why I work on smaller things to make myself feel better about finishing something! I have some big projects I'd like to start and just haven't gotten the oomph to do it yet.

I would be more than willing to help you wind your bobbins. I think I've got almost every DMC colour, so I know how long it takes! As for your fabric, now I've got to check out Jobelan to see what I've been missing. ; )

So hang in there, you are not alone and don't stop blogging - not every single post has to be about stitchy stuff.

And remember, per Spongebob -
"F is for Friends who do stuff together. U is for You and me. N is for Anywhere and anytime at all." Have FUN! Sending hugs.

LoriU said...

Oh my goodness, you are definitely NOT the only one!! I love looking at blogs but then I also start thinking 'what about me'! In fact, I used to look at your blog several years ago when you were doing the beautiful Mirabilias and I was just in awe of them! I did finally stitch one, using suggestions YOU gave me for conversions! But that was the last one I stitched too!

I totally agree with what Coni said...I also think you should follow your heart!

Oh and P.S. I only have ONE pair of scissors and they are Fiskar 4" silver scissors. I look at others but figure, I only cut one thread at a time, I only need one pair of scissors!

Deborah said...

Everyone before me said it all. Your stitching is lovely. You are not alone.

EvalinaMaria said...

Good luck with your February goals. I'm planning to stitch January cottage this month also! It could be our little SAL.


Faye said...

Hang in there....we all go through different phases..... honesty is the best policy and if its something YOU like, stitch it and enjoy it...This should be a relaxing hobby.....

Beth Pearce said...

Wow, I was going to try to say something really deep and tell you how much I really understand your plight, but everybody already said really cool things. So, I am just going to say if you really are frustrated, step away from it for just a little while, and then enjoy your return to our passion when you are ready!!

Siobhán said...

Welcome to Crazyville, Danielle! You'll find it crowded but recognize everybody there because it's filled with stitchers. LOL Like Beth, I was going to write something profound but everybody else has it covered. I suffer from a huge case of feeling like I'm not good enough in just about every aspect of my life, from stitching to being a mother to being a daughter to what I wear to-- well, you name it--I have an inferiority complex about it. I don't have much of a social life (okay, I don't have one at all...) so I do have more time to stitch, but there are people who have busier lives who are faster at stitching than me. Good! I'm glad--it lets me off the hook. I do still get a lot of "oh my gosh, I'm stitching abc but my stitching buddies are stitching xyz, so I should I work on xyz instead of abc??" thoughts and try to remind myself that the stitching police aren't going to show up at my door. Even if I'm stitching abc, it serves my end game, which is decorating my house, and that's all that matters.

What I am trying to constantly remind myself is that I need to plan my stitching around the end game. What am I going to do with what I'm stitching? Really, though, I am getting results even if I am stitching one stitch in ten different things per day, because I am enjoying myself. It's the one thing that I do for me that stays done (unless I have to frog...). Dishes, laundry, cooking, bill paying--it's a never ending cycle. Stitching is for me.

I have a huge stack of things I am working on & things I want to work on. Every day I have a new strategy for how I will get it all done, and that strategy changes hourly. I don't have any stitching friends to talk to other than through the www so sometimes I tell my dog because I know he won't judge. Sometimes I write it down in a notebook just to get it out of my head. I am trying to whittle down my current WIPs to the point where I have a main project and a small to work on. Right now I'm feeling frustrated because I have a one-thread-in-it-per-day project, two ornaments, a small, and a main project, and then a quilting hand project. I would love to be a monogamous stitcher but I don't have it in me. Sometimes I have felt pressured by having a blog. I love it and love the friends I've made through it because they've been such a blessing to me, but it's also hard to make sure that I have enough stitching done to warrant a blog post. At the end of the day, if I have enjoyed myself, taken a bit of time on something for myself, then that's all that matters. Hang in there. Stop beating yourself up and comparing yourself and what you stitch and how you stitch to everybody else. Celebrate each stitch and enjoy.

Sally said...

I think everyone who has commented before me has it covered Danielle. It's your hobby, you stitch what you want, use what threads and fabric you want and never mind anyone else! I think all us stitchers have crisis at some point or other. I don't think my stitches are neat enough, my backs are a mess and I have a crisis everytime I finish something up but there are times when I get it done and think hey I didn't do a bad job, stop being so hard on yourself. However that is me. Like Siobhan I never think I'm good enough.

At the moment I don't work but I only stitch in an evening unless it's a weekend then I might have a lazy Sunday afternoon. However once I stitch down to stitch in an evening that it is and I stay here until I go to bed.

Hang in there and keep blogging because I , for one, love reading it.

DJ said...

Oh, Danielle...I wish you had said something Sunday!! I would have given you a hug!! I think a lot of us go through that kind of thing, I know I do...You may see a lot of starts and things on my blog, but you don't see the projects whimpering in my UFO pile. Last year I tried the crazy January challenge, and it was fun having 15 projects sitting around that I could pick up and stitch on a whim without feeling guilty that I was bouncing around like a crazy woman. I get months behind in my SAL's but I've learned to forgive myself. The point is to have fun!! And if you want to challenge yourself with different counts/fabrics, make it FUN, not a cchore! Your stitching is LOVELY!! I've seen your things when you were stitcher of the month at our LNS. Just take a deep breath, meet up with us next month, and just find the FUN! Oh, and bring your scrapbook next time, I would love to see what you've been doing with that! Hang in there!!

Vonna Pfeiffer said...

Everyone has given you such wonderful advice Danielle! I don't know what more I can add other than this: trust yourself.
It is the joy in the journey, not the destination, nor the speed with which you arrive at the destination. You trying too hard to be like others when you are fine just the way you are. The biggest lesson I've learned in life is to march to the beat of MY drum and not anyone else's. If people don't care for that, too bad, because you know what? I like me. You need to like you and give the bird to anyone that questions your beat and your march :)

PS. I think you'd love the look of the cottages on 25 count with it being a full X instead of just a tent stitch. I love the look of over one on 25 ct. All pretty and dainty. Did you see my Poinsetta House? It is over 1 on 25 ct. lugana (which I like Lugana and it is an evenweave too). I think why your snowman looks not how you want it is because it was in tent stitch. Now NOT that I think you should do it that way, no no no....just maybe give it a whirl next time :) Also white shows up great on the Toasted Almond/Amber color and I love the Vintage Country Mocha color too...very nice for light colors, in my opinion. Hang in there Danielle, I love you for you!

Ewa said...

Awwww don't be so hard on yourself! This is your hobby and you should do it however you want. If you like a certain type of fabric above another, who is to say you can't use that? Why do you have to stitch like other people say you have to? Why can't you stitch the way you want to?

This is absolutely 100% for you and for NOBODY else. If you're stitching on something and not enjoying it, you have the absolutely right and privilege to stop working on it and work on something else. Just because other people stash, doesn't mean you have to and vice versa.

Take some time out for yourself - a hot bath and a mug of hot chocolate (or your favorite beverage) - relax - and do exactly what you want to. No rules, no regulations, stitch just how you want.


Shebafudge said...

Oh I wish these blog comments were like facebook and had a 'like' button to press. I totally agree with what other people have said above. Just stitch and enjoy. I don't finish much unless it's a diddy design but I do enjoy what I stitch. It's a journey for me not a race. Happy stitching - whatever it's on.

Hope you don't mind me commenting on this as it's my first visit!

msmartello said...

Don't stress! I usually work on a big project and some small ones in between. I try to finish the small ones before I start anything new. Let me tell you my list of projects is HUGE!! But I tackle a little at a time. I figure the projects aren't going anywhere and will be there whenever I get to them. Hang in there!


Stitching Noni said...

Oh my goodness you are so hard on yourself! Stop stressing about what you're stitching and why you're stitching and how you're stitching and just stitch what you want, when you want, how you want!

And what's all this about these fancy pants scissors.... I have a couple of pairs of good old fashioned gold stork scissors that I have had for years - I have never heard of any other the other scissors that everyone else blogs about!

Just remember this is a your hobby (our hobby), and while I will admit to a bit a jealousy when I see how much others seem to stitch in such a short time and I drool over some of these simply stunning designs... I just keep telling myself - one day! My cupboard (and now my stitching basket) is full of WIP's (or are they now UFO's) and while I feel guilty when I see them and realise that some of them have been sitting in a drawer for nearly 20 years.... I have to tell myself yet again - one day!!!

Please Danielle, don't worry about what everyone else is doing - just be yourself. After all by what I have read above we are all the same... even those stitchers that seem to have smoking needles and finish huge designs in a matter of days or weeks!

Enjoy! Keep stitching, keep blogging and don't worry about what anyone else says or thinks! No one is judging you1 :o)