Thursday, January 28, 2010

Astronaut stitching in progress

In a few weeks, I'm teaching my first session of Hand Embroidery II over at the Stitch Lab. As part of the class, we'll work on transforming a photograph into an embroidery pattern. I wanted to stitch up an example for the class, but wasn't sure what picture to use. I decided I wanted something space-themed (remember the Space Geek side of me?) so I started to dig around on the Great Images of NASA web site and found my inspiration pretty quickly. It's not too hard to be inspired by the amazing wealth of images over there.

I have to admit, this is one of the most difficult pieces I've ever set to work on. It's not necessarily a complicated piece, but there are tiny details and lots of parts that need to be stitched just right so they make sense. Stitching faces and eyes is hard! Those eyelashes? That's stem stitch in one strand of embroidery floss. Sure, to the classically-trained hard core needle artist, that's nothing big, but for someone who generally sticks with basic patterns and pre-fab designs, this is a step up for me. I'm feeling a bit out of my element and intimidated and a bit concerned on how the piece will turn out.

I'm not usually this way. I'm queen of "Don't worry about perfection, just have fun!" So what's changed?

I guess I'm just looking for a challenge and wanting to see something big all the way through. I may not like to admit it, but I tend to be a shortcut kinda gal. I get fired up about something and then peter out a bit when things get tough. I'm enjoying the idea that this piece is forcing me to overcome that.

And on the subject of space - I have another adventure that is exciting and thrilling and pushing my comfort zones a bit. I'm covering the launch of STS-130 Shuttle Endeavour for MAKE magazine. I can't believe my luck, and I'm looking forward to soaking up as much fun, information and as many opportunities as possible out of the next two weeks. You can keep up with my coverage over on MAKE, Twitter and Flickr. Hope you'll come along for the ride!

So what are you doing that's challenging you these days? How are you staying motivated to keep up even when you're intimidated and feeling a bit out of your element?


  1. Love the embroidery, you're doing great. Maybe some of the perfectionism is coming from the subject matter? You dig NASA, space, astronauts and really want to give the subject its due respect?

    Congrats on the Make coverage!

  2. oh wow, that's all so awesome! Congratulations. I'm not doing anything to challenge myself - except yoga. But nothing crafty at the moment! You're right, I should.

  3. Oh, I'm excited. I just hopefully grabbed the last spot for your Embroidery class II. I'm still waiting for confirmation. It's been too long since I've worked on any hand stitching but I'll try to keep up.

  4. OMG I love this embroidery pattern, got me thinking what other things I could do!

  5. Great project & you're doing a lovely job! I love the subject matter & can't wait to see the results!

  6. This is awesome! Keep going! Have you seen the "make it work" embroidered portrait of Tim Gunn going around on the internet? So fun and amazing. I'll find it and send it to you just in case you missed it.

  7. I think you have a great drawing and what you have embroidered so far is amazing!!! Can't wait to see the end result!

  8. I've been posting my collection of vintage embroidery transfers on a new site and really anxious to design some too.

    Your space girl is awesome!

  9. If I lived closer I would so go to that class you're teaching - it sounds like a lot of fun and your embroidery is going to look so fab! I would love to try to make an embroidery from a photo some day, but how... :-)

  10. That's looking really nice. I *love* how you did the eyebrows (although stitching with one strand, for me, is pure-D evil!!).

    What's challenging me? I decided I wanted to learn how to draw so I could draw my own embroidery designs (for myself, not necessarily for sale, tho maybe that'll happen someday). I used a beginner's-drawing book to learn basic skills, then sketched up my first design a couple weeks ago. I haven't started stitching it yet tho (mostly because I want to read more this year and embroider a bit less). I'm looking forward to drawing some more things I'd like to stitch for myself.

  11. You are so stinkin' cute. And your project looks amazing. I can't wait to see it all finished.

  12. "feeling a bit out of my element and intimidated"! Every time I try something I have never done before - especially if the idea popped out of the crafty ether and I have no tutorial to turn to and no idea of how to make!

    I am learning that this is a good sign!

    Your new embroidery is going to be just beautiful, never fear! Remember, there is some part of you that knows just what to do and all you have to do is step back and let it speak.

  13. So how do you transfer the image to fabric? That is so cool.


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