Taking the Temperature

It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem.

Okay, it’s not really a “problem” in the grand scheme of things, but I haven’t done what I said I would do. I’m referring here to my 2022 temperature chart embroidery project. I kinda….stopped doing it. Here, I’ll show you where I left off:

That’s right, I didn’t even finish what I did manage to start!

I made it about halfway through March.

It turns out, I don’t actually care about the weather. That is to say, I did not connect with this project in any meaningful way, so I stopped working on it. I may surprise you, but this isn’t the first time in my life that I paused (if not entirely abandoned) an undertaking partway through because I found it boring or otherwise unfulfilling. I have multiple stashes of UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in progress) that I should probably admit are UFOs.

Fortunately, I am not alone. I think trying something new, discovering that it isn’t what you thought or hoped it would be, and moving on to something else instead is part of the process of artistic and self-discovery. This hasn’t been a failure in any dimension, only a learning experience. I do think that if and when I do eventually finish the temperature chart, it will be beautiful and I will love it. It will also be a tangible memento of this opportunity I created to learn about myself.

So what have I been doing instead? Well, if you follow my Instagram at all, you know that I started a new embroidery journal on my birthday in July. After the clinical absence of sentimentality in the temperature chart, I needed my yearlong project to be personal, and I didn’t want to re-do the chart from 2021. It had to be visually pleasing, since I eventually intend to display it as wall art, and I wanted it to be different from all the other embroidery journals I have been following because, well, I like to be different. Enter….the spiral of life:

spiral array of square boxes in black ink on white paper
This is the actual chart that I worked from, traced from a crappy printout of a spiral calendar that I found online.

I decided to start at the outside of the spiral and work toward the center so that, as my enthusiasm for the project wanes (and I fully expect it to around month 9, if my 2021 project is any indicator), the time it takes to complete a round (a wholly satisfying event) will also decrease; I’m hoping that the seeming uptick in velocity will provide the momentum I need to stick with it and finish out the year. So far my stitching has been inconsistent—I’ll stitch every day for a week or so, and then go a few days without, and eventually catch up again and start the cycle over. I am not being nearly as strict with myself as I was last year, and it’s fine. Here’s what the overall project looks like as of the writing of this post:

As you can see, I’ve skipped a couple of days and still have to take care of today, but I plan to catch up tonight. Or maybe tomorrow.

Cover photo by Jordan McDonald on Unsplash