Branching Out

Simple Things 080509

The past couple of days have been a little rough. And let me start this off by saying that this is no reflection on anyone else, this is just all my own stuff.

I went to guild night on Tuesday. We had an excellent program on framing, and I am always glad to learn more tips and tricks on framing. But, as sometimes happens at guild, I sort of sunk into the feeling that I totally did not deserve to be there. The caliber of stitching in this group just blows my mind. And the amount of stitching completed just blows my mind. And there I sit. And you may not get the sense of this from my blog, but I’m just a wee bit shy. And, while I was sitting there feeling really insecure about my stitching, one of the members that has never spoken to me, did. And I was embarrassed. Embarrassed for this person to even look at my stitching, which I tried to hide behind the pattern. I didn’t want this amazing stitcher to see my uneven stitches, or see that I was committing stitching blasphemy by stitching with two threads. I just wanted to go home a little.

And there are times when I say something on my blog and make decisions and sound so sure of myself, but then I just want to post a retraction saying “I take it all back. Nevermind. Move along, nothing to see here.” Yesterday was one of those times. And tomorrow may be one of those times too. But, for a brief moment, I thought I’d just throw it out there that me and my stitching were feeling less than. Because I’m sure I’m not the only person who has felt that way.

Madeira Tin Silks

I was also reminded that I need to get started on the stitching for my Madeira Tin class that I’m taking in September.

I am grateful for the rain yesterday. And the Twilight soundtrack. Both comforting.

27 thoughts on “Branching Out”

  1. Oh Michelle, don’t be so hard on yourself! Your stitching is absolutely lovely!!! Everyone is at a different level and does a different amount of stitching. But, I DO understand what you mean. I get embarrassed to have anyone look at my stitching/knitting or really any of my crafting because I see all the mistakes and flaws and feel really inept.

    And I always enjoy visiting your blog and seeing what you’re up to 🙂 Hang in there 🙂

  2. Oh Michelle, I can relate! I am painfully shy and my stitching screams “BEGINNER!” I’ve never used silks and am not sure even how to. I don’t have fine linens. I fret at the thought of a specialty stitch or anything with a lot of color changes. My finishing is mediocre at best.

    And I really want to participate in all the fun: the exchanges, the birthday presents. But I feel embarrassed to exchange my little projects for the beauties other’s send. My stitching and finishing pales in comparison.

    Thank you for being so utterly vulnerable in this entry. Your stitching blows me away! To hear that you of all people have insecurities too makes me think maybe we all do.

  3. Oh, my goodness – don’t be so hard on yourself. I think that your stitching is lovely and that everyone stitches at a different level and in different ways. I feel the same way at my guild too sometimes – they’ve all stitched these beautiful things, or a large quantity of things and I feel inadequate, but then I remember how much I love my stitching and it may not be perfect, nor the hardest or complicated pattern, but it’s me and it’s all mine and I’m proud of everything I do.

    Don’t ever doubt yourself – your stitching is lovely and is something to be very proud of.

  4. Aw Michelle {{{hugs}}} Having been a recipient of your beautiful stitching (and finishing!), I have to say that you have absolutely NO need to feel inferior. But I do know where you’re coming from – I frequently suffer from the same insecure feelings about my stitching. Some of my stitched pieces definitely don’t bear up to close scrutiny and I have yet to finish anything (I believe) that doesn’t have some kind of “imperfection”. So you’re not alone, either with the insecurities or the shyness 🙂

    Oh, and I commit “stitching blasphemy” all the time, as I often prefer stitching with two threads to one (depending on what I’m stitching) 😉

    Thank you for being so honest and posting this, partly because it’s brought me (even temporarily) out of my commenting slump – I’ve been hiding in my shell lately for various reasons 🙂

  5. What they said. 😀

    And you know what situation you’re most likely to encounter? “Michelle, that’s so beautiful!” And you know what you say? “Thank you.” Don’t look at it and apoligize for your work, don’t say “I could’ve done that better”. That is some of my favorite advice I got in one of my quilting classes.

    Note to self, Michelle is shy. Bring wine when I finally get out there to visit. lol

  6. Oh Michelle, please don’t feel that way. Everyone is at different levels with their stitching, and you should never feel embarassed. Stitching is supposed to relax the person doing it, and give them joy. If it gives you joy then that’s all that’s important.
    I’m seen the pictures you post, and you do a beautiful job on your stitching. You keep at it, and don’t feel embarassed. I’ve been stitching for over 30 years, and I’ve never gotten the nerve up to go to a guild, so you’re a step ahead of me.

  7. Your stitching seems perfect to me … You seem to be a better stitcher than I am 😉 And I hate 1 over 2 ! And I am kind of out of fashion because I don’t stitch any samplers or any primitive designs … ( that’s probably why I don’t get a lot of visits on my blog … ) I don’t think I’ll dare sending a hand stitched gifts to anyone because I do feel insucure about my stitching as well … But I stitch anyway and I love it !!!

  8. Hi Michelle – your may be shy, but you have no reason to be insecure about your needlework. I used to feel less than adequate at times, but then I realized that love and enjoyment of the hobby is what we share. No one should judge another’s ability. Also when you stitch something you see things that others don’t like that one thread that isn’t laying as even and flat as the others. I think your work is gorgeous! So be proud of your accomplishments – you deserve to!

  9. I have to add my words to everyone else’s. I know how you feel — I feel the same way all the time! And the shyness as well. But there’s no reason for you to feel that way about your stitching. Your work is beautiful and certainly worthy of being ogled by a guild crowd. And working two over two on 36ct — you’re not the only one who prefers that look. Don’t forget, KBD’s CHS Noah Stocking calls for just that — two strands over two threads on 36ct. If KBD says it’s ok, it’s ok! lol!

  10. Michelle, you are way to hard on yourself! Your stitching is gorgeous.

    I am jealous you get to take the class for the tin! I love that piece.

  11. Your stitching is beautiful and I have never thought otherwise. And since when is stitching with two threads blasphemy? Pshaw! That is the way I learned and the way I prefer. To each is own! Sounds like an uppity bunch of stitchers at that place. hee hee

  12. think everyone has said (numerous times) what I was thinking. You can’t compare yourself to others – besides, there is no one else like you in the whole world. We are each uniquely and wonderfully made.

    Thank you for sharing and being honest about how you feel. As you can see from the response, we all have those feelings from time to time.

    Stitching friends are the best kind of therapy!

  13. Oh Michelle…I know how you feel! You commented on my blog to cheer me up about my MW neurosis. Don’t feel bad about yourself or your stitching. You stitch wonders! I love seeing your work. But we always have a little self-doubt and hit a slump…especially us shy ones.

    I don’t even have the nerve to go to a guild out here. At least you are putting yourself out there.

    On another comment, you asked me about Certain Girls (the book). It was just ok. The ending was good but it took me a long time to get to that point.

  14. First of all Michelle, I was having the same feelings (and I still do) about that Victoria Sampler piece I had tried (earlier this week). I was all down on myself thinking nothing works out right, I suck…so don’t feel badly that you feel this way, its honest, open and cleansing to write it and get it off your mind and heart. That’s why I did it, not necessarily for advice from other stitchers, rather just to put it in type and get it off my heart. So I understand….more than you can possibly know.

    Here’s some of my deep dark secrets so that you know your not in the boat alone…that makes me feel better when I know that others share something with me…. I get asked every year to enter things in the fair, and you know why I don’t? Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that the judges are going to write that my stitching isn’t good enough, it isn’t finished good enough, it just *isn’t* enough of something. Or I’m afraid that people will look at it and think (or say outloud) why did she enter THAT?!. And if that would happen, then it would ruin the one thing that brings ME so much joy.So….I don’t enter anything. Year after year…
    And let me tell you another secret. I’ve been asked to go on stitching retreats with the ladies that meet here in the state…and I won’t go. I’m asked to come to stitch ins and I won’t go. Now I couldn’t go to every one, but I could go to some, but I won’t. I’ve even almost met a stitching blogger from here in the state and I was on my way over to the meeting place it was going to be a tight time frame for her and I had to be there in a 30 minute time window….and then the school called to tell me one of my kids was sick and I had to pick him up. Now here’s the bad thing…I was secretly *thankful* because I was afraid of how I looked, that I didn’t have the best stitching to show, that they would find me *less* than what they had pictured me as….isn’t that sad?! I think you have the most lovliest of projects. I think you are a great stitcher, a wonderful quilter, I love so many of your ideas…and I think I’ve left comments about many of the things that I admire about you. Your goals and commitments, your outlook to always strive to be better. YOU are a gift to all of us. YOU make me want to grasp to be a better person. YOU are a pleasure to visit here 🙂 Never forget it! When we lack the self confidence of our lives, work and hobbies, true friends and people that care are always here for an uplifting moment in time to help us muddle through! 🙂 Thank YOU for being who you are! {{{{HUGS}}}}

  15. Michelle, I do know how you feel, but you stitch because you love it! And you do deserve to be there, so please don’t second guess yourself. Your work is lovely – it’s your work, it’s your passion. If the guild isn’t fun for you and they have different priorities then you, then I hope you find another place to stitch where you feel comfortable and where you enjoy sharing. That’s my wish for you!

  16. Sorry I’ve missed the last couple postings of yours Michelle. Be assured you are not the only one. Alas, I feel that stitching, above all else should bring ME joy. As much as I love looking at blow-my-mind pieces, I just can only aspire to be good at what I enjoy. And right now, it’s a VERY SLOW version of Prairie Schooler on Aida, lol. I will grant that I feel inadequate and inferior simply reading these wonderful blogs sometimes too. But we all have our days I’m sure. Your stitching ROCKS though! Chin up at that guild, girl!

  17. Hey Friend – your stitching is really wonderful, nothing to feel insecure about – I have seen it up close! I know how you feel though, I don’t always feel up to par when I am at the guild, because we do have such outstanding & prolific stitchers. You see how many finished things I bring in… but you know, we all appreciate each others work, because we know how much work goes into it.

    I know I tend to look at my stitching with such a critical eye, and I know where all the mistakes are, and sometimes my stitching is not perfectly even, and don’t want anyone to see it. I’m pretty sure many stitchers feel that way. I am a big proponent of stitching the way that makes you happy. If you want 2 strands and most people only use one, well, the most important thing is that YOU like it. I know I tease you about using the fat markers, but I hope you know it is just in jest – I would never want to hurt your feelings – you are too dear. Big Hugs & I hope to see you next week.

  18. Deborah/LavenderRose

    Dear Michelle, We have each and every one of us felt..or still feel the way you felt at that meeting. I think the true nature of a “devout stitcher” is: humility, keepers at home, shyness, perfectionism, and “group anxiety!” Just to mention a few things. Stitchers like us are, frankly, “different” than the groupies. I’ve been a member of several ANG,and EGA..and even “stitch-in” groups. And, here’s what I’ve found in general:
    There’s alot of jealousy and bragging – done in subtle ways; there’s alot of back-biting and gossip; there is hardly a time when any one of us really worked on our stitching significantly; there was no true friendship connection outside of the group/guild. I always (until this past year) felt I needed to be a member of these groups to give myself stitching substance or to meet new friends! LOL But, after I had sooo much surgery and pain, and had time to think about what things I would eliminate from my life….I chose not to go to the groups anymore. Suddenly, I didn’t have Tues. & Thurs. Anxiety before the meetings, I felt relief, and nobody really cared if I was there or not. One person, who I felt was one of my friends in the group, emailed me after several months of my absence. I choose my friends carefully…I have several good friends…many who don’t stitch! I guess what I’m saying is that many times we go to “groups/guilds” hoping to find likeminded and likehearted friends…but it doesn’t necessarily happen. The shyness and anxiety you felt may have had nothing to do with your stitching…but the atmosphere and attitude you saw, heard and felt around you. I love your stitching, Michele. :]

  19. Everyone started somewhere – these stitchers didn’t just pop out knowing how to do what they do. It takes time, patience, practice, experimentation and the willingness to just try. NOBODY is capable of cranking out perfect piece after perfect piece, and there’s always going to be someone more accomplished than you as well as someone less accomplished.

    I know it might be hard to feel confident in your work sometimes, and that’s normal. But you should never, never, never let it detract from your enjoyment of the craft. The bottom line is that you stitch for your own reasons, your own pleasure, and you should feel good about it – the process, the creativity, and the results. If you stop letting yourself feel that enjoyment, you lose the most important part of it.

  20. Oh, dear. I got all weepy over your post and Kim’s response (and everyone else’s as well). Know that we come here because we love your stitching and we love you. So there!

  21. Oh, and by the way. I hate gatherings where I don’t know people because I’m shy too. I make myself go, but I generally flee for home early. I’m better than I was though; I was so shy that when I got married the first time, I eloped because I couldn’t stand the idea of being the center of attention and because I was secretly afraid that no one would come if I invited them.

  22. I was drooling over your start of Shores of HRH just the other day!! No, not you nails – although they were very pretty too… LOL – but your stitching! Just enjoy your hobby, Michelle. For what it’s worth I do stitching 1/1 and 1/2 occasionally, but I much prefer 2/2!

  23. I do know where you’re coming from. For years, I didn’t stitch or knit because I thought to myself I couldn’t match up to my mum, who was – is – very good. And then I had to stitch something for a gift (long story) and I realised that I was okay. And I enjoyed it. So I did more, and gradually, I got to being more than okay. And my mum, my exacting standards mum, now says “You’re better than I ever was” – but you know what? It doesn’t matter anymore. And that’s how it should be.

    I do think when it comes to our own work though, we get hyper critical ( I even had a dream last night I was looking at a framed piece of mine and the border was wavy. A dream! Sheesh!) and we project our own insecurities and turn them into what we think others are thinking. And that’s not fair either to ourselves – or to those other people. Do we really want to think that our friends and fellow crafters first response is to say nasty things?

  24. I’m going to agree with everyone else has said – you have no reason to feel down about your work. You are a wonderful stitcher and should show off your work proudly. Every single person there started out with no skill and had to learn it over time and with practice. It’s every stitcher’s job (I believe) to remember where they started and to pass on their love and show even their very first piece of needlework (with all of its errors and mishaps) with as much pride as there 1,000th piece.

    You are very skilled. Don’t be afraid to show the world – you do it here on your blog so beautifully!

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