Have you ever written something – a letter, an essay, a report – and gone over it several times, then sent it off only to be told by the recipient that there was a paragraph missing, or that a date was incorrect, or that the wrong picture had been used to illustrate a point? I hope there are at least a few of you out there who have to say “yes” to that; let’s just say that if to err is human, there is no doubting my humanity!
But what a difference it makes how those errors are brought to your attention. Some people delight in pointing out to others exactly where they went wrong, and some accompany it with a condescending, mock-pitying smile. Not so fellow-stitchers. In the kindest tones and without the slightest resentment they inform me that the stitched model does not have all the cutting done (Vienna), that some cutting in the design is not actually mentioned in the instructions (Schwarzwälder Kirsch), or that the light grey in the chart is practically invisible when printed, and obscured by the watermark (Resurrection); and because of that, I can rectify these things. And when I rewrite chart packs (adding instructions for double-sided Kloster blocks, for example) they give me their feedback so that I know whether these new instructions are clear enough. I hope I never forget to thank you personally when you help me improve my designs, but here is a public and communal Thank You to everyone who has sent me feedback over the past two years.
Of course it’s even better to get the wrinkles ironed out before a chart pack goes “live”. That’s one of the reasons why I stitch every design before writing the instructions – especially important when a chart contains new stitches or new variations on stitches which so far exist only in my head and on paper. Will they work in fabric and thread? In real life, will they look like my mental picture of them? Well, sometimes they do, which is a wonderful feeling. When I first tried out the beaded diagonals and beaded woven bars I had scribbled down on a scrap of paper in the middle of the night and they actually looked like I expected them to look, it was really quite thrilling! They became the starting point for Beadazzled, a sampler-type design which will include as many beaded stitches as I can think of (they were also used in Coral Cross, for which they were just right).
And so in between stitching other things I am trying out all sorts of ways to combine threads and beads. Some of them sound good when I describe them to myself, but turn out to be impossible to stitch. Some look a bit of a mess, and I can’t quite work out whether that’s a fatal flaw in the stitch itself, or the fact that I’m using cheap, unbranded and incredibly uneven beads for my experimenting (definitely a false economy, that). Some work exactly the way they should (yay!) and get included in the design. And some are simply a lost cause. Creating a woven picot with a beaded edge seemed like a good idea – challenging and decorative. It was challenging all right. It was also a complete failure which looked like a misshapen Christmas tree …
But don’t worry, I found a different way of incorporating beads in a woven picot!