Morning chatter

Morning chatter

Here I am again with my morning chatter affliction. On my post about the charm quilt I started, yesterday Pam asked in a comment “how many stitchers work in a variety of mediums? Most of the cross stitchers I know just do cross stitch. But many of the CQer’s like to do a variety of things.”

I know I switch about and have never really been able to decide if this is good or bad. Some people would say if you explore too many things you never get good at anything but I disagree as the skills you learn in one area you can often apply in another area in an innovative way. I like to develop a level of skill and enjoy it, but I also like trying new things and exploring other areas of textiles. It does mean I can get sidetracked but then I am constantly learning. How do can you devalue that? Businesses spend time and money on research and development why not textile practitioners? I think it would be very dull indeed to just do the same type of stitching all the time but I do admire those that can perfect a skill to masters level which usually means they have stuck at the one thing for a long period of time. What do you think?

From other comments left on this post as many are interesting topics to ponder while cutting out hundreds of diamonds. I will post it later in the week.
Eventually I am sure this chattery phase of mine will pass and I will get back to my usual link of the day but in the meantime… here are some links to side track the curious

Racaire of Racaire’s Embroidery and Needlework has written another handout on an historical embroidery technique. This time it is  is on Klosterstich and you can find other handouts in her sidebar.

Leslie has published a tutorial on how to make loop flowers in silk ribbon on the Hand Embroidery Group Projects  which is a collaborative blog run by the Hand embroidery yahoo group

Dawn of On the banks of Bay Creek dropped me an email to point me to Andrea Jaques who is a doll dresser who makes very good use of her visual journal. If you are interested in visual journals this is an excellent example of using a visual journal to develop design ideas check it out!

Noreen writes lots of tutorials on her blog Hankering for Yarn. This tutorial on making a bead doll made me think many readers here would like it or adapt it for a tree decoration. or you could adorn gifts with it.


  1. Stephen Jay Gould, a scientist, wrote a book called “the Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox”, trying to reconcile science and humanities. His theory is that some people are more like foxes, and need to explore all sorts of things, whereas others are more like hedgehogs, and stick to fewer activities which they explore thoroughly… So long as everybody is happy it doesn’t make a difference really, does it…

  2. Hi all as Melissa and Celeste have said trying new things means you discover new things about yourself which is why i am always puzzled by people who do not give new things a go

    I found it interesting that you categorised your interests into those that you put more time into to develop the skill and others that are play – I do the same thing

    I am pleased you like the chatty phase
    I agree that pushing the boundaries of a medium is the marker of our time and it is interesting as you never know where something is going to go

    your points are all interesting particularly your question “Couldn’t one be a master of flexibility? ” as it jumped out at me. We live in an era of of change -it is a marker of the 21st century. as whole populations have to adapt all the time – its not that change might happen but change will happen and we have to manage it in our lives. In the future historians may just look back on this period and see the concept of change and adaption and see it as an overarching theme across all the arts –
    thanks for the interesting thought it will keep me busy chewing it over all day at least

    thanks for the link – I hope people follow it as it looks good. I may bring it to the top incase it is missed in the comments

    Pam thanks for asking the question!

  3. Well, so, what is mastery? And those who are masters at their craft, do they all just stay at the “peak”, so to speak, or do they look to “push the limits”, developing a certain style or introducing a new technique? We live in a world where resources and supplies are so much more available than even a generation ago. So we can explore different ways to create. Some have a desire to stay in one medium or craft – that is their passion and it is enough to allow them to express their creativity. Others seem to find their passion in the process of learning or exploring. And perhaps the different media allow for different focuses (foci?) of expression. Couldn’t one be a master of flexibility? I myself dabble in sewing, crocheting, various needlework, paper crafts, and decorative painting. I am certainly no master, but my gifts bring smiles, and that is enough for me.

    Karen B
  4. My husband asks why I take classes in things that aren’t needle related. After much thought. I’ve come up with a ‘for now’ answer. I am keeping my brain active, I am staving off boredom–I find it impossible to make more than 2 of something (it’s a real labor of love when making gifts for the 8 grands who are all within the same age group), I find that techniques can be used out of context, I am helping the teachers make a living & it keeps my projects fresh & new. My husband no longer asks the question, but I’m ready with an answer now.

    I also admire people who are committed to one thing, but find them just a little boring if they aren’t trying to push the boundries in their chosen medium.

    Gay Antrim
  5. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for posing my question on your blog! It’s an interesting question for sure and I’m enjoying the responses.

    For me, when I learn a new technique, I work at it until I feel that I have the “knack” for it. Once I do, it’s like riding a bike and I never forget, even if I do move on to other things and then come back to it.

    CQing for me is a place to use all of the skills that I’ve acquired throughout my life.
    I enjoy so many different techniques, as well as fancy fabrics, beads, lace, trim (you know, my obsessions) it certainly keeps me from getting bored!

    BTW – scherenschnitte is a fancy paper cutting technique. Very beautiful and delicate but not something I’ve ever been attracted to do. I like textiles!

  6. I am a serial dabbler, mainly in embroidery techniques but also all sorts or arty/crafty things. When I was young, my favourite pressies where the craft kits that I was given every birthday and Christmas – lucky me. In the past I’ve purchased kits or worked projects from magazines for any new technique that caught my eye and I still try out new things I see on the web or at Guild meetings. And why not? I don’t feel a need to master everything; I simply enjoy having a go.

    Japanese Embroidery has held my attention and I have invested more time in learning and developing my skill at this than any other technique, this is something I would like to master. It is what I think of as my ‘serious’ hobby but I usually have two or three ‘play’ things on the go at the same time.


    PS I really like the chatty phase, there have been some fascinating conversations of the back of it.

  7. I like to buzz around to different things too, went from embroidery to crazy quilting to tatting, which are my favs. I still love other things too, and I used to do a lot of scrapbooking which I relate to CQ with balance and motifs and such. If I hadn’t wanted to explore and try embroidery I would never have known that I loved it and all it’s led to!

  8. I like to explore and try new techniques all the time and I too worry sometimes that if I flit around from one to another, I’ll lose my way (or at least forget what it was that I really wanted to do). But there’s so much fun in learning and isn’t that what life is all about? If you look at my bookcase, you can see the journey I’ve made and all the techniques I’ve tried, some more successfully than others. The thing is, you won’t know if you like it unless you try it, right? The one thing for me though that is always a constant is that I focus on surface embroidery.

    I hope this chattery phase of yours doesn’t pass too soon. You always bring up ideas worth thinking about.

  9. Hi Sharon!
    Coincidence or not I was thinking about that today too ( while stitching my crazy block, finally!). I just can´t stay with one thing, I like to find out new things, deep research, learn and apply what I´ve learned, and then, thousands of ideas to mix and match all sorts of techniques, materials and so.I draw, I make pottery, I work with paper in many different ways and I love photography, to embroider,beading, dollmaking, crocheting, patchwork, crazy (I´m definitly hooked on – thanks to you!) and the latest but not the last, bloging.phew.I am this kind of person and I´ve finally found out that it’s ok,it´s a very creative and rich way of living SINCE I don´t miss the focus. It´s so easy to get lost among all the wonderful new things I´d like to try. I had to find out my way to work the things out and my challenge now is dealing with time (I loved your post about that). I still think that it would be much easier to stay with and master just one thing, but that´s not me.

  10. Let’s see…Silk Ribbon Embroidery, photo transfer, beading,crosstitch, embroidery, ribbonwork, knotwork, sewing, tassel making, crochet, knit,scherenschnitte,scrapbooking,
    quilting,weaving,dyeing, bleaching, stamping,etc,etc…yeah, I like to
    try everything too and when I got to crazy quilting and realized I could combine most all of it, I felt like I was in heaven…it is rare that I do not learn something new and apply it to other crafts …I KNOW the reason your website has such a following is that it is rarely boring…you are constantly opening up windows for us to peer into. I was attracted to it because of the diversity of your readers as well The challenges that you post, lead lurkers to experts and beginner’s work-both of which lead to inspiration. Half the fun of trying something new, is being able to laugh at yourself when it does not work out like you planned and pick yourself up and try again…many thanks as always, CQMadhatter

  11. I just cannot stick to one thing, so many things catch my eye and I think I need to try that, which means I become a master of nothing. The internet has only made this worse for me, I suspect.

    The doll clothes of Andrea Jacques are amazing, I can’t even sew a straight seam on a normal sized garment, let alone something that small!

    I also love the idea of project runway for dolls 🙂

  12. I like quilting and embroidery – which is why crazy quilting works so well! I do make traditional quilts – but now we all have one on our beds I’ve lost impetus – not much call for quilts in Brisbane, and I can’t hand quilt in summer! I also like most types of embroidery – but Ive found that what I admire and what I like to do are different..I love the look of hardanger/drawn thread etc – but do not have the patience to count! I prefer free embroidery – if I make a mistake I can ‘hide’it. I like to try lots of different things, and I like doing them in small amounts – so embroidering on crazy patches is ideal (still working out how to incorporate my first, rather mangled, stumpwork dragonfly (Jane Nicholas kit)into any sort of project!
    I like to try new things, partly because I get seduced by new things in shops, buy them and then have to use them! (how to use up all that wool and novelty yarn when I cant knit?)I also do different things for different reasons – stitcheries for the school fete, bullion rose handtowels for gifts etc, which start to seem a bit production line, so this year I am planning to spend more time doing the things that interest me (Ill bake a cake for the fete instead!) I am a jack of all trades – I would love to master one technique but I dont have that sort of personality – I get bored, bogged down in perfecting the technique – and sometimes the imperfect bits are the most interesting (unless it is a mangled dragonfly!)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: