Have Your Say

22nd May 2020

Stitching Failures | Responses Part 1

Isn’t it fantastic to get that reminder that we’re all human and we all make mistakes sometimes? It was wonderful to hear how everyone could relate to our recent articles about Stitching Failures and we received some great insight as to how you approach your own failures and some cracking stories about some less-than-successful projects, several of which had us all in fits of laughter!

Mary Visciglio

‘I am finishing up my second needle painting kit and I finally got tired with perfecting the technique.

I realized that as I’m still learning, for now I’ll just get them done and enjoy the imperfections.

All the while I’ve been keeping in mind that I also must learn from my imperfections because that is how you grow.’

Needle painting is definitely one of those techniques which can always be perfected. Even the greatest artists throughout history were constantly improving and rarely believed they had ever got it ‘perfect’. Your attitude is wonderful, Mary. When you set aside the need to perfect things, you can relax and enjoy the process.

Maureen Nassiri

‘The moment I saw Pat Trott’s book, Beginner’s Guide to Mountmellick, I was in love. Even though I’m a beginner with not too much time to embroider, I tore after it. I did a practise pattern and then tackled the project on the cover.’

‘It took a long time because I wasn’t able to stitch much. I also had an accident which took time to recover from. Finally, after about two years, I finished. I was so excited. I washed it… but discovered the ‘water soluble’ pen I used wouldn’t come out.

I researched and tried everything. Nothing has worked.

I still love it, but it will never make the wall hanging for my daughter as I intended.

Nevertheless, it fills me with joy and gratitude for the goodness and beauty inside all women which is offered to others even in time of great troubles, such as in Mountmellick, Ireland in the 19th century when the technique was born.’

This is such a common problem, Maureen. We’ve heard so many stories of washable pens which don’t wash, or heat erasable pens which don’t erase, or even Solvy which hadn’t dissolved as it should, but left the marks of the pen used to draw on the Solvy impregnated into the fabric. At least you can be comforted to know that you are by no means alone in this!

It’s great, however, that you have been able to look beyond those stubborn marks to see the historic beauty of your work. We hope you’ve continued to stitch Mountmellick since then (using a different pen, perhaps?!).

Pat Armour

‘I was most amused by your article about everyone making mistakes and wanted to share my story of a critical design fail.’

‘I had designed and stitched a stationery case that featured bunnies. I knew what I was designing – rabbits being friends. What I couldn’t or didn’t see, even though everyone from my husband to my friend’s young son warned me, was that the rabbits were more than… just pals!’

‘I did eventually rework the design but I missed the companionship between the creatures. So, I did rework the piece but not before it had been dubbed ‘bonking bunnies’ or ‘rude rabbits’ or ‘humping hares’. As you can see, everyone else saw the problem that I was blind to.

Let’s say I learned a lesson the hard way:

Listen to your friends as well as your critics and pay attention to them. Admit your mistakes. Laugh and then move on.

So, it’s nice to know I’m in good company when it comes to making mistakes. I still make mistakes. Some bother me, many I can walk away from. A few become design challenges that create more interesting embroideries.’

Thank you so much for sharing your ‘oversight’, Pat! You certainly gave us a laugh, but you’ve also given us some really good advice. It is often hard to listen to critics, but taking their views on board, especially from those who we know have our best interests at heart, can save us from embarrassing mistakes.

We love hearing all of your stories and knowing that we’re all fallible offers a sense of camaraderie. Embroidery should give you joy – whether it is joy from a beautiful finished project, or laughter from a huge, obvious mistake. It’s good to share both of those aspects of our needlework, knowing we’re all the same.

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