It doesn’t seem right to move on to TIF without a final word on TAST.
I began the year very well and worked a sampler for each stitch, more or less within the week. The problem was that I set the bar too high; it was taking all my stitching time to complete the sampler and I was not getting anything else done. Between taking breaks for holidays or other projects, and taking longer to do each sampler, as the year progressed, I fell further and further behind.
I don’t see not completing all the stitches as failing TAST, I never actually dropped out; I simply didn’t keep up. Besides, I’d rather focus on the positive things that came out of participating. First, I really enjoyed the stitches I did do, and my samplers included some of the stitches that came up later in the year (so really I was ahead, rather than behind, LOL). Second, I have done more stitching this year than ever before and I attribute that to TAST. Also, I have followed the progress of many who have participated and learnt much from their endeavours (thank you to all those who took the time to blog or upload pics to Flickr, you’ve given me hours of pleasure). And finally, TAST was the reason I started my blog; for that reason alone I am really pleased I signed up for the challenge. Sharon, thank you so much for organising TAST and all of your hard work this past year.
So, on to Take it Further! I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with this challenge better but already I am wondering if I have time to do this as well as the other projects I want to do! I am trying to resist the temptation to do a bigger project just because I have more time. When TIF was first announced I had several ideas for themes or formats I could adopt throughout the year. I am also trying to resist them. It is in my nature to want everything to be co-ordinated or matching but for this challenge I want to treat each month as a totally separate project to allow myself complete freedom of design. I am not a designer so I will be satisfied to take small steps with this challenge and try not to expect too much of myself each month.
The key concept for January is the feeling of admiration for another. How hard is that? I can think of many people I admire and the reasons why but at first I could not imagine how I could translate that into embroidery. I rejected a lot of people on the grounds that I don’t know enough about them on which to base a design but two names people occupied my thoughts for several days, my Nan and Mahatma Ghandi. I did a mind map for each, writing down the things I admire about them, things I identify with them and my feelings about them. Despite a long list of words, I was not getting any inspiration for Nan. I looked up Ghandi on the web and started writing down key facts, quotes and more words, including their Sanskrit translations and gradually began to form an idea. I had one real sticking point, although I don’t want to tie myself to both the key concept and the colour scheme every month, I really like this month’s colours and want use them but I could not envisage them in a design based on the Father of India.
While searching for information about appropriate stitches to use, I remembered that Stitch magazine had published an article on Indian embroidery. Looking through my back issues, I came across a feature about darning. I remember the article had struck me when it first came out in December 1999 as not long before I had seen some wonderful darning samples at the Witney Antiques Center. It also triggered a memory of an occasion when I was staying with my Nan. Just as I was about to leave the house, I snagged my tights. As I went upstairs to change them, Nan said I should bring that pair to her so she could darn them for me. I laughed and said "Nan, nobody darns tights these days. I’ll just buy a new pair". Of course, my Nan still darned tights and socks, she also patched on the knees of trousers and elbows of shirts and jumpers. She grew up in an age of mend and make-do and probably thought me very decadent for throwing away a perfectly repairable pair of tights.
Last night I started to chart a darning sampler in memory of a woman I loved and admired greatly.
PS. I have been tagged by three stitches that I admire. Thank you, I am very flattered. I will compile a list of 10 blogs (just 10!) that make my day in the next day or two.