Where do we go from here?
Well, hello there, stranger. It has been more than two years since I published a public post. This is typical Sarah, I have to tell you. I am forever beginning blogs and then abandoning them (I believe I wrote a little about that in my first post here), though I have actually written a handful of private posts. These are mostly dumping ground for things I need to get out of my head, but don’t wish to share with the world. Which raises the question, what *do* I wish to share with the world?
The main thing that is new and different since I was here last is that I picked up embroidery just before the pandemic (oh yeah, and there has been a pandemic for two years.) It started with a kit that I got for Christmas, but I found it limiting, so I quickly expanded to other designs. I got several patterns from books or artists on the internet, and gradually introduced my own ideas. One of the first things I made that made me super proud is my “you are beautiful” message in a bottle. Then I did some live-stitching/raffle prize hoops for charitable causes, which was both fun and rewarding.
I spent 2020 getting decent at embroidery, and then in 2021 I started challenging myself. It began with the Badass Cross Stitch #MakeDontBreak monthlong mental health/craftivism/self-reflection campaign in January. Each day, Shannon provided us with a prompt (“What delights you?” or “What social justice issue do you connect with most?” or “What does discomfort look like to you?”) and introduced people who spoke to that. The idea was to get thinking each day about what motivates us, and to take steps to stay motivated. (This was 10 months into a global pandemic, mind you, so everyone needed this.)
I decided near the top that I wanted something that would take me not just through the month, but through the whole year. It needed to be small enough that I could manage it in a short amount of time, because I know myself and I am not good at doing things every day if they are going to take very long. So was born my 365 Days of Stitching project. I used the accountability of Make Don’t Break and the community around that to get into a groove. The encouragement was intoxicating!
More importantly, we are staring down the end of the year, and I have managed to keep it going.
Stitching on my 365 project this year has been a tremendous effort, I won’t lie, but I can’t bear the thought of not doing something like it again next year. For every day that I dragged my feet about stitching, there were five days I looked forward to it. I only have a few segments left, and I know I would miss the structure and satisfaction of making a little something (almost) every single day. So, I decided to do another 365 embroidery project.
In deciding on what to stitch next year, I looked at other people’s projects. One popular “stitch diary” method is to stitch something (a word or small image) each day, with or without dividing the hoop into 12 monthly wedges. Other artists do some variation on a calendar page, resulting in 12 squares that come together into a quilt—my favorite is one where they stitched what they felt was the most important news headline for the day. That will be fascinating to look back on in the future.
Anyway, none of the embroidery project ideas I came across appealed to me. I want something relatively small and portable, which I can bring with me when I travel or want to show it off, so a multi-piece quilt isn’t ideal. I want something that has all the benefits of daily making, but not a greater undertaking than this year’s project has been, so creating a unique daily emoji is out of the question. I expanded my search for inspiration.
I kept coming across the idea of a temperature scarf or blanket. You knit or crochet one row (or more, but the same number each day) based on the temperature outside that day. One of the hardest things about this project is choosing my thread color, pattern, or motif for the day. I spend literal hours agonizing over my selection sometimes. I have probably lost whole days this year to the black hole of this decision. Going by the weather would solve that problem entirely.
The new problem is, this “row a day” thing doesn’t translate to embroidery the same way. I could just make a big rectangle, I suppose, but I can’t envision how that might turn out, only how it could go horribly wrong. I like how this year’s project clearly delineates one month from the next, and how it will look as a standalone art piece. So, I did a search for “round calendar” (because it’s going in an embroidery hoop, of course) and went from there. I ended up with a simple chart that could be used for any number of things. It took forever to line everything up how I want, but I’m very pleased with the look, and excited to get started! I still have to finalize my colors, and decide which weather source I’ll be using throughout the year, and trace this thing onto fabric…..
Would you care to join me? If January taught me anything, it’s that having a community of people who are moving along the road alongside me makes everything easier. I also think it would be SUPER cool to compare my finished piece with other folks’ from different locales, or see what creative thing y’all think to do with it! So, if you’d like to stitch along with me (or paint, or digitally color, or bake, or some other kind of art) or just want a fun daily habit tracker (sticker chart, maybe?) please feel free to download a PDF of my design by clicking on these words you’re reading right now, or the image below:
If you take this on, be sure to share with me! I’m on Instagram @smrt783 (it would be pretty rad if you tagged me in any photos there as the designer), you can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to comment here on this blog!