Could you embroider this jacket?
I wish I could hear the very first thought that comes to the surface of every aspiring stitcher when they are asked a question like this or similar. When I've shown pieces similar to this in the past the comments I hear back A LOT are things like:
"Oh my goodness, I could never make that."
And many other comments all pretty much meaning the same thing; a belief that you do not possess the necessary "skills", "talent", "time" or "patience". I put these words into inverted commas deliberately because they are all relative terms and deeply subjective. If you are one of those people who believed that you could NEVER make something like that then I promise you that:
by the time you finish reading this you will think differently.
And even if your thoughts about embroidering a jacket like this don't change, you will change your thinking about some area in your life where you feel you are not quite good enough at something. Read on...
Let's break it down...
FIRST WE'LL RE-FRAME THE LANGUAGE THEN WE'LL LOOK AT IT IN PICTURES. IT WILL ALL COME TOGETHER I PROMISE AND YOU'LL FEEL VERY HAPPY WHEN YOU SEE ALL THIS DIFFERENTLY.
There are plenty of things in your life that you do now without even thinking, that once you had absolutely no idea how to do. Driving a car is an excellent example. With learning all new skills there is a simple formula. First you get someone who knows that skill to show you how it's done one step at a time. Then you repeat it one step at a time. You do it slowly knowing that if you try to rush you are shooting yourself in the foot! Then you simply practice; repeat and repeat and repeat. If you enjoy it and are starting to see small progress you are motivated to continue. If you hate it and see no progress you will most likely quit. It's not any more complicated than that.
This word is so misused! Allow me to re-frame what this word actually represents. Talent is nothing more than being in the flow of doing something that you passionately love to do. When you are in that flow the activity comes easily to you. You are loving it thus you practice it to infinity, thus you get really good at it thus you become a master. It is NOT some God given magical power that is only available to a selected elite. If that is what you've thought in the past please stop it right now, you'll feel better for it. There was even a book written with the title: "Talent is over rated". And when you hear people say things like: "Oh he was born with that talent", all that means is that someone has identified their passion at a very early age, they have heard a very loud call from their soul and they have followed it. If you don't feel "talented" then believe me all you need to do is start feeling passionate about something. You'll be a master in no time.
This always sounds like such a valid reason for not doing something that you say you want to do. There are only 24 hours in a day right? And if you have a full time job, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a vegetable garden, if you're a volunteer netball coach and are driving to 7 different extra curricular activities every week how the heck are you meant to embroider, right? (by the way if you are actually that person I just described above please email me and I'll send you a free kit and a link to a meditation). I'll make this short because time is of the essence; TIME IS RELATIVE! What we consider as "having time" is that we want to get something out of a period of time we think we need in order to get that thing we want. Did that make sense? You're wishing for 3 hours to yourself on a Sunday because you BELIEVE that after that 3 hours you will feel relaxed. But you could get that relaxed feeling from a 20 minute meditation or you could spend the three hours fretting about so much stuff that the three hours goes to waste and you feel even worse afterwards. Put simply: if you get what you want then it doesn't matter how much time it took you. If you finish a small embroidery which brings you enormous joy and it only took you 2 hours and you did it over 3 weeks then counting the time is pointless because you've go the joy you were after. And a beautiful thing to own :)
My favourite: "Wow, you must have so much patience to do this." My answer is: "I have no patience what so ever. Don't need it." You only need patience when what you're doing isn't enjoyable and you have to endure it. If that's the case stop doing that thing! Unless it's house hold chores, then yeah we all have to endure those. If you're feeling impatient at the thought of having to be patient to do what ever it is that you're thinking of doing, then that thing might not be for you. But it might also be that you're looking at too big a picture. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...
SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?
If you look closely at the photos, if you look at one small area at a time you will see a small leaf, a small single stitch, some french knots.
If you know the stem stitch, the french knot, the chain stitch, the running stitch and the leaf stitch you can create a design like this. Then it's just a matter of keeping your focus small, on one area at a time on one flower at a time, one stem, one leaf.
It is not more complicated than that. I think a lot of people see a deep mystery in the totality of the finished piece, and it's true some embroideries are awe inspiring. But they were all done one stitch at a time.
I will be offering this design in the shop soon as a downloadable. You'll be able to recreate these colours and floral pattern on a wall hanging, a skirt if you like, a table cloth. I will share the thread colours used here and the instructions to the stitches.
So... get stuck into the leaf stitch, the stem stitch, the french knot, the chain stitch and the running stitch. Stay happy and remember: talent, skills, patience and time are all available to you.