Seasons greetings

Seasons greetings

Christmas icon 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 logoTake a Stitch Tuesday (TAST)

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 banner

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.

Christmas iconMy Focus next year

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.

Christmas decoration iconA new and more developed Stitch Dictionary is in the pipeline

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.

christmas iconStitchers Worksheets

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.

christmas iconWhat else is planned?

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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  1. I hope you’ve been having a joyful and restful time with your family. I’m looking forward to the new TAST challenge and to the new design course. I think I can honestly say that 99% of what I know about hand embroidery (and not a little about art in general) is because of you. Thank you!

  2. Sharon,
    Hope you have a restful and happy Christmas, you deserve it. You always amaze me with what you achieve. Many, many thanks for all the work you put into Stitchin Fingers. I have met some wonderful like minded friends through this site and will continue to support it with Mary at the helm.
    Good luck for all your ventures in 2013

    Dianne Cahill
  3. You really have a lot on your plate! Looking at that list, I’m amazed that you carried them all for so long. I think Mary will do a great job with Stitchin Fingers, and thank you for all the work you did getting it going. I’m also glad you will be keeping TAST going, even though I’ve never participated. I’ve always been amazed at the different directions everyone takes the same stitches.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, New Years and break with family.

  4. Thank you for all you do to inspire so many people. I enjoyed stitching all TAST stitches this year and I’m looking forward to the design challenge next year. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and creative 2013!

  5. Thank you for hosting/sharing all your thoughts and ideas. I have come late to stitchinfingers and your blog but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Over the year I have been amazed at how much work you do to make it all so easy for us to follow and use your ideas.

    I am looking forward to the Encrusted Quilting lesson in February.

    I wish all your family a wonderful time over the festive season; may it be a time of fellowship, friendship and joy to you all.

  6. Your energy absolutely shames me, yet energises me too – gives me permission not to give up when time seems to!!! Thank you for your ideas , instruction, intuition, impetus and all those intelligent things that make the sites what they are, I do hope your Christmas and New Year are happy and healthy and reinvigorating, You do a great job.

  7. Gosh thankyou everyone for taking the time to leave a comment and give me such positive feedback I appreciate it and hope to earn and deserve your praise and compliments in the future too.

  8. Sharon, thanks so much for all you do. WIP Wednesdays got me going again on a big project and I plan to post progress in 2013. I learned a few new stitches from TAST, and enjoyed seeing what other stitchers did with them. I refer to your stitch dictionary, so am glad to hear you will make it even better.
    Your post on setting and meeting goals has me thinking about what I really want to accomplish in 2013.
    Happy Holidays,

    Marci Hainkel
  9. Sharon,, enjoy the time with your family and take time for yourself!
    I already know Mary Corbet and I think she will make a good job and you will have more time for developing new ideas. Wherever you go I would like to follow you. My stitching life has become so much richer since I know you. Thank you for all!
    Merry Chrismas and the best for the next year! Claudia

  10. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, Sharon! Thanks for all the hard work you put in to TAST 2012. I really enjoyed joining in when I could and look forward to seeing what stitches are in store for 2013. Good luck and take a nice long break!

  11. Dear Sharon,
    I can guess how hard this decision has been, but it shows you think more of the well being of the group than your self to be able to let go of something that is so satisfying as Stitchin Fingers. It’s a brilliant idea and it’s clearly scratching where we all itch. All creative artists need an audience (or victims ?), however small, how ever little our level !

    I like Mary’s stuff. I’ve been impressed that instead of acting like rivals that you’ve been willing to quote each other. You’re not only being an example in terms of stitchery, but of how to build encouragement and mutual respect into the stitching community too.

    I want to thank you for running the TAST challenges. The fact that it’s weekly has pushed me from being a fearful perfectionist to being ‘come on lets just give it a go, it’s only for practice’ – but in fact a few of the pieces I’ve been able to make are going as Christmas presents to a couple of family members. Pushing us to keep on churning stuff out actually makes for much more practice and therefore the development of greater confidence.

    I hope you have a good break over the holidays so that you can come back refreshed and raring to go afterwards 🙂

    Thank you. xx Liz xx

  12. Sharon,

    Enjoy your vacation with family! Many thanks for the numerous possibilities you offer to we stitchers worldwide. Having “Stitching Fingers” available as a community has been so important to me as a “solo” stitcher living in a small village.

    Sharon Brodeuse
  13. Dear Sharon,
    My golly your juggling of sites is mindboggling. I have so much to learn from you; the use of the web to get the most out of it, the stitching and of course participating in this community of like minded people. Best wishes fo the festive family time ahead of you. Rosemary

    Rosemary Tweedie
  14. Dear Sharon
    My thanks also for all your hard work this year. It has opened new horizons for me particularly in the area of crazy quilting. The interest has helped me through a difficult year of family illness.
    I wish you good luck with the new venture and best wishes to you and your family for Christmas.

    Vivienne Anderson
  15. Thank you for all that you do. I have taken all your classes and am so excited that you are working on a design course. I’m currently finishing up the EGA design course and will be looking forward to taking your new one. I learn more about design every time I take a class. As soon as I finish my current course, I’ll drop in for the TAST stitches that I’m not familiar with. You’re biting off a lot updating the stitch dictionary but I’m really looking forward to it. Are you thinking about putting it all on a CD?
    Thanks again and happy holidays!

  16. Exciting stuff for the new year! Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times for the thousands of hours you devote to your blog and websites, you are a treasure.

    Mary is a great choice to take over at stitchin fingers. You know with Mary at the helm the site will continue to grow 🙂

    I’m very glad you’re keeping WIP Wednesdays and TAST. I’ve hardly done any stitching the second part of 2012 but am itching to get back. GREAT choice to number the stitches instead of the weeks. It’s the same thing, really, yet psychologically I believe it will make a huge difference for me and many others.

    The expansion of the stitch dictionary is super exciting, YAY! Can’t wait.

    Sending you and yours my very best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and new year, and to all your readers as well.

  17. I have been following you since “Inaminuteago” and I don’t think I have ever commented until now. I have followed TAST this year though not actually stitching, but that will change in 2013. I WILL be stitching and maybe even posting :). You have given so much of your time and knowledge and you are wise in choosing to reduce your diversity so as to give more intense focus on fewer things. Hooray for you!!! And all of us, your loyal readers!!! Looking forward to the new and improved stitch dictionary as well as the revamped TAST. 3 cheers for choosing Mary to take over Stitching Fingers! The two of you are my go to ladies for all things stitchy.

    Have a GREAT Holiday and summer and will be waiting patiently, well maybe not so patiently 🙂 for your return!!

  18. Sharon, thanks for all you did this year. In some way you changed my life and the way I look at it. Have a good and relaxing time off with your family and all the best to you for the new year. Stitching really makes me feel happy!

    Brigitte Otto
  19. A wonderfu,l wonderful job SO well done Sharon. You deserve all the accolades – and some. My aside – and not to upset is, I just lament the passing of such an amazing resorce not being so Australian. Stitchin Fingers always has an Australian feeling – even times and dates etc. Naming of products and sizes of needles etc. But times move on and I wish you all the best. In fact I am off to enrol in one of your classes. To all – a healthy 2013.

    Wendy Richards
  20. Hi Sharon,
    Thank you for your work, encouragement and inspiration over the last few years. Your ability to lead skilled embroiderers into sharing their excellence and aspiring embroiderers to attempt to follow in their foot steps through your example has touched many of us. I wish you well in your new endeavours and will follow your progress closely.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family and and exciting New Year.


  21. Hooray!! What a joyous Christmas and New Year this will be! the changes are so exciting, Sharon! 😀 Have a lovely holiday with your family, and am looking forward to “seeing” you in the New Year!

  22. Dear Sharon, You will get a lot of e-mails so I hurry to wish you very heartily a happy Christmas and new Year
    And at the same time I will thank you for all the work you did for the community of the most wonderful site “the stitchin fingers” – my love for stitching developed with you.
    I understand very well that you need more time for your new ideas – I will follow you wherever you go. And …..I discovered already Mary Corbet several weeks ago. I like her blog very much, too! I am sure the stitchin fingers will be in good hands.

  23. Congratulations on your decision Sharon, as you said a difficult one, but you’ve done very well in making it & letting go. My daughter told me that the end of 2012 was a time when big changes would be made in people’s lives and that’s proved true for a number of people I know and now you too. I want to thank you for all you’ve provided over the years, advice, stitches, links etc, etc. I did your Sumptious Surface Design course earlier this year, haven’t finished my project yet, but I will….learnt a terrific amount from the course & your feedback. I love being a member of SF. It’s given me the chance to “meet & talk” with women all over the world and I love the fabric postcard challenges……I feel very much part of that community thanks to you. I wish you a very safe & wonderful Christmas with your family and a 2013 filled with all you want to do…… cheers & best wishes

    Teresa Glenn
  24. Dear Sharon,

    Firstly, thank you for all the time, effort and love you have expended on setting up ‘Stitching Fingers’. This is a wonderful way for those of like minds and intests to expand their knowledge and learn from each other. It is top of my list of links, along with your stitch dictionary, for all of my students. All return with the comment, “I didn’t know that such things exsisted, it’s wonderful.”

    Secondly I have to thank you for your TAST challenges. Stitches are a bit like words, the larger you vocabulary the better you are able to express yourself. As a person who loves stitching the ability to be able to paint my work in more detail gives me personal satisfaction, and I’m sure, improves my work. It also has the added advantage of opening one’s perception to what could be possible. I look forward to participating in next year’s challenges.

    I am a long term follower, first finding some of your work 7 or 8 years ago, when I was teaching Textiles and Design to senior high school students. I would like to thank you on their behalf for all the inspiration that you have provided.

    Your plans for the future sound exciting and I admire you decision to pass on Stitching Fingers. This can’t have been an easy decision, a bit like when we send our little ones off to school. Mary has a gifted child to mould and develop.

    Lastly I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Thank you Sharon.

  25. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks so much for all that you do! I’m always amazed by how you seem to be able to keep 20 balls in the air at the same time.

    I have to say the GIMP class I took from you two and a half years ago has really changed my life. Though I still wish that I would make more actual 3-D art pieces, digital arts are still rewarding and I have started putting fabrics up on Spoonflower to sell some day in the near future. One of them is based on a campanula photo I GIMP’ed during your 3rd lesson, right as I realized I was getting hooked. I was able to follow my notes on my blog and reproduce and improve upon the original image.

    I look forward to taking any new courses you create; even when I don’t have time to keep up I save everything, waiting for my retirement (which draws ever closer). Again, thanks and enjoy your well-deserved vacation!


  26. Dear Sharon,
    What you have created for the stitching community is amazing and I thank you. I also understand the need to move on, to find different challenges, to evolve as a stitcher and an individual. Mary Cobert is an excellent voice to keep things going and I will enjoy following all of the posts. I will also enjoy following where your creative energies lead you.
    Merry Christmas and the very best of luck in your new projects!

  27. Whew! What a lot on your plate! I closed my Ning group, Fiber Focus at the end of 2009 and it was a tough decision, too. But, it evolved into something different from my original intention and closing it gave me the time to develop more of what I wanted with TAFA ( TAFA has grown beautifully and exceeds my original expectation, so I believe that you, too, will find relief and be able to really flesh out your other projects. Another Ning group that I belong to, Fiber Arts Mixed Media also changed leadership, bought out by Fiber Arts Magazine and they are thriving. It’s interesting to see how these things evolve and I think we can all be proud that we perceived needs in our communities, got them going and then they took on a life of their own.

    You have a lot on your plate and I applaud you for all that you have done and all that comes ahead. Kudos! Have a wonderful holiday with your family and all the best in 2013!

  28. Hi Sharon!

    Thanks for all you’ve done to keep us going and giving us variety over the last year. I plan to join in the TAST design challenge next year as often as I can (and I think the time frame sounds about perfect for me – I can manage a sample like that every month).

    I’ll also keep posting my WIP progress to the WIP Wednesdays – which I’ll miss the posting for over the next few weeks, (but will still post my own). It really is a great goal post each week – like a weekly weigh in for stitchers!!

    Hope you have a lovely time with your family over the next couple of weeks and good health to you!=) Hope you do make it to the UK sometime and we can have that afternoon tea we planned a few years ago….

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