Hi all. I want you to imagine me as here I sit on my whirly chair waving in four directions sending my best wishes to everyone no matter what religion you follow. In January I will have written this blog for 9 years but I still get a childish delight in contacting people from around the globe, from all walks of life. Before I move on to what is planned next year I want to thank my readers and send everyone my best wishes for the holiday season and New Year.
I am going to take a break for a few weeks as the family are all on annual leave. It is summer here in Australia and the Christmas season and our summer holiday season combine. Jerry (my husband) has taken leave and Eve (my daughter) and her partner are coming home for Christmas and the summer after a successful tour. The family are in holiday mode. I will be back blogging mid to late January. I must admit I am in need of a couple of weeks off as it will be a busy year ahead. Here is a little of what is planned.
TAST has been very successful this year and I want to thank everyone who has left comments here and stitched samples. The call and response aspect to the challenge would not work without people taking the time to swing by and leave a comment. I also want to thank again Annet who also has a blog Fat Quarter who stitched our TAST badge and kindly allowed me to use it as the logo.
TAST will continue to run next year with new stitches
TAST will be a continuation of this years challenge adding more stitches to peoples repertoire of skills. I will not repeat stitches covered this year which means the stitches will be either varieties of interest, or more advanced stitches. This should not be a problem if people learn the basic stitches that I started the challenge with as the complex stitches build on skills learnt in the basic stitches.
I will include more break weeks. A common theme in the comments is that people feel they are constantly playing catch up. Feeling pressured to keep up is not the idea behind the challenge. A key aspect of TAST is that it allows people to either learn or explore the stitches and I feel if people are pushed for time samples are done in a hurry leaving no opportunity to explore the stitch itself.
As with all my challenges there is always the option of dropping in and out of the challenge as life dictates or for advanced embroiderers who might want to cherry pick the stitches
TAST change of format
For many people they enjoy the discipline of a regular challenge which leads me to list the stitch by number and not by week. Why? A challenge needs to have a defined goal. Part of the perceived pressure is that the TAST has a defined goal which is a weekly target. I have shaped the goal to working a set number of the TAST stitches not a stitch a week. So people can decide to learn 10 stitches in the year or 20 or 50 or all. People set their own target. This change in format allows people to think about the challenge differently.
TAST Weekly feature the change
The weekly highlights feature will no longer be every week but an irregular feature every 10 ? 15 days and will focus on any recently worked stitch listed on The TAST FAQ page. So in the comments people can let us know of any TAST stitch they have worked. The added bonus of this is that people coming to the challenge may encounter a stitch they thought was boring being worked in an interesting manner.
I have changed the TAST FAQ to a list of stitches by number as they appeared in the challenge and to list them alphabetically. Hopefully people will find this convenient.
Introduction of the TAST Design Challenge
For people who are more experienced every 4-6 weeks I am going to propose a design challenge. Once again I dont want to tie this to a time line so it wont be every month and I will number the challenge. I will suggest the use of 3-5 stitches particular stitches and see what people can do with them in a small project. I will let people know the time frame they will have at least 4-6 weeks to work on it. I hope this will be interesting for intermediate and advanced stitchers and expose new hands to the huge variety of expression available to an embroiderer. I will also include the outcome of this challenge in my feature articles.
Stitchin Fingers is going change hands.
For the last couple of years I have been particularly frustrated that I have not been able to find the time to develop Stitchin Fingers more. It is a site with so much potential yet I have not been able to give it my best. After much angst made the decision that it will be better in someone else’s hands.
Whose you ask? In the new year Mary Corbet of Needle n’ Thread is going to be the new owner of stitchin fingers. Mary Corbet is already known to most of us but if you dont know who she is visit her blog and you will see she runs a great site. Mary has the ability to produce good content that engages readers and can organise material in a way people can find. I think Stitchin Fingers will be a better site under her ownership. Mary plans to first settle in, develop and grow the site as she sees what needs doing.
It took me over six months to make this difficult decision to let Stitchin Fingers go, but once I found that Mary would take it over I am at ease as I have full faith in her. An email will go out to all members today about this but members should not be worried about the change as for the most part life at Stitchin Fingers will go on as normal then I am sure it will get better.
One of the reasons I have decided to let go of stitchin fingers is for a couple of years I feel that my energy has been dispersed over a number of sites and activities.
Not only do I have a blog with Pin Tangle, a community online, with stitchin fingers, a stitch dictionary, I also have things like the Facebook TAST page, and I administer 10 flickr groups, also I have squidoo sites, a cafepress store, a member of 22 yahoo discussion groups, have an RSS reader that is always stuffed to over flowing which means I read way too many blogs, and numerous bits and pieces dotted here and there. They all require just a little bit of attention in the sense that I have to approve comments or they add to my email in box with news of what is happening here or there.
Now it’s great fun, dont get me wrong, and I love experimenting with stuff online, but the outcome of these experiments is that they all divide my focus constantly. I am going to prune back on many of these, not all, but many. Now I know folks who are participating in TAST will wonder about their flickr group but active sites like the TAST groups etc I will not touch. For instance, I have some flickr groups that were established due to past challenges but since they are no longer active I plan to close them, the photos will remain online but people wont be able to post photos to them anymore as at the moment I am often just deleting images of inappropriate material that is sent to the group.
The reason I am doing such a hard online prune is I want to totally revamp the stitch dictionary site. I am a bit of train spotter when it comes to stitches. Over 30 years I have collected stitches and I want to document get online and as many of the stitches and their varieties as I can. I was in the position that I had two sites that were not really being looked after properly – the Stitch Dictionary and Stitchin fingers and I realised that if I let go of one I could develop the other. The Stitch Dictionary won out as I feel it would be sad not to share the research. So over the coming year as I rebuild the site expect to read about interesting varieties etc. Of course some of these will become part of TAST too.
Classes in Development
Also on my to do list next year is to get at least part one out of a design course developed. I know many readers will love this and I am excited to be working on it again.
Classes next year
My first 2 classes of the year are Encrusted Crazy Quilting commencing on the 13th February 2013 and the second class to run will be Sumptuous Surface Embroidery which will start on the 7th march 2013. Follow the links for details and booking information.
I will continue to produce my stitchers worksheets but to be honest my priorities will be classes and stitch dictionary site and then the worksheets. These seem to take me an age produce as the eye candy aspect really does take time and they are not that viable. People like them however, so I will keep producing them. I am aiming for a set a year but its a squeeze as the design course will take priority. If you have not availed yourself of the free samples you will find them here
Work in Progress Wednesdays
WIP Wednesdays has been very beneficial not only for myself but those who post regularly they say they like it. It will continue and as part of the weekly deadline I hope to finish another crazy quilt. Work in Progress Wednesdays is not exactly a challenge but more a support group! The idea is to encourage people to complete large and/or languishing projects by sharing the process of working a large projects. If you regularly report publicly on a project, you are more likely to work it a little. So if you want share your progress via a blog or public photo site like flickr. No need to sign up or sign on just join in but details are on the WIP Wednesdays FAQ if you want to know more about it.
There will be more changes in my blogging patterns next year one of which is to return to blogging links of interest particularly design and colour resources that are of interest to textile practioners.
But more of plans and goals when I return. As I said at the top of post I plan to be back mid January. Credits and thanks for the graphics are due to a set of Photoshop brushes designed by Coydreamer . You can find them here
In meanwhile I want to wish everyone compliments of the season thanks for being loyal readers all year. I appreciate it. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and I hope to see you back here next year.
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