Because I am a greedy, unrealistic, and starry-eyed stitchin’ project hog…

I signed up for the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge this year. It doesn’t run every year, so I missed out on the last cycle of stitches, and I really wanted to start from the beginning…even though you can jump in and join anytime you like. I don’t know if I can keep up with challenges like this…I’m hopeless at time-crucial tasks, and I’m juggling so many unfinished projects already. But I couldn’t resist signing up for it. Certainly, I like the idea of completing something like this: not sure if I really want to be a contender, or whether I simply would like to have been a contender. There is world of difference. 🙂

Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012 is a challenge run by Sharon b., undisputed doyenne of the massive embroidery and needle arts network called Stitchin’ Fingers. Sharon is a quilter, a fabulous crazy patchwork creator, needlework sampler authority, and a prolific blogger. Her online dictionary of stitches for hand embroidery is one of the most exhaustive and best-presented that I have seen.

Every Tuesday Sharon b. will post a new stitch on her blog Pin Tangle (I’m getting the posts in my e-mail inbox), and the challenge is to work a sample of each stitch.

If you are learning embroidery, the challenge will be to learn the stitch.

If you are experienced, the challenge is to push the stitch creatively.

Participants post photographs of their finished samples online—on their blog, flickr photostream, or stitchin fingers page—then swing back to the original stitch-specific post on Pin Tangle, and leave a comment and url leading to their own work.

The challenge started yesterday, with the Fly Stitch. I’m sort of looking at this Ronald Searle drawing for inspiration.

It’s a great way to acquire a huge repertoire of embroidery stitches, or to refresh your memory of them. Even if you know the stitches already, it can be fun and refreshing to use more obscure stitches not normally found in your work, to try and challenge your skill by doing something new and innovative with the stitch. Besides, the community you’ll be stitching along with is massive, enthusiastic, and inspiring. So how about it, huh? Come fly with me?


Giants of Embroidery: The Power of The Pen

Machine pieced and quilted. The pens are executed entirely in French knots! *swoon*

The Pen (April 1996) by Nadia Mamelouk

Have a look at this art quilt by Nadia Mamelouk. I came across her photo on stitchinfingers, and thought at first that the pens were worked in machine-stitching. My jaw dropped when I realized they were embroidered by hand. Those fountain pens, people, are executed entirely in french knots. This work leaves me at a loss for superlatives, so I won’t even try. The dimensions of the quilt are 36″x50″/90cm x 124cm.

You know, some days, things seem pretty good and la-di-da…I make a bunch of applique creamsicles and pat myself on the back. On other days, I run into work like this, by embroidery deities who live on Mt. Olympus, and I think maybe I should retire my needles and take up chicken sexing, instead (er, my friend Danielle tells me you flip the chickens upside down to see whether they’re wearing pink or blue underoos… 😉

Please take time to read the moving historical essay that accompanies Nadia’s quilt—a story about struggle, revolution, and the power of words, in Tunisia. I have a friend from Tunisia, and I thought of him when I read Nadia’s post.

via MulticoloredPieces: The Pen, Part II: Living Through a Revolution.