sunday's stitches, vol. 1 (2020 edition)

The trouble with being a multiple-craft-mode type person is that sometimes it's hard to stay present in all your crafts. Even though you love them and they bring you joy. That's been my struggle with my stitching crafts (cross-point, needlepoint, embroidery). They were my original craft. I still remember working on my first projects while riding in my Dad's truck because I was hooked and couldn't stop working on them (I even took them with me while camping and wood-cutting!). I still remember the feeling of entering those projects in the state fair each fall (looking up the categories of events in the catalogue, lining up to submit our entries, the combination of excitement and anxiety and trepidation of actually putting my creations out in the world for outsider judgment). I still remember working on them while working as a lifeguard in high school when I would rotate to the cash register and the joy of talking to our patrons about what I was currently working on (and their joy at seeing a young person cross-stitching).

But at some point, knitting caught my eye and full attention. And stitching crafts took a back seat. I went years without making a cross-stitch or needlepoint project. And then I realized how much I missed it. So I started purchasing kits again. But my "eyes are always bigger than my stomach" as they say when it comes to acquiring crafting project materials (ahem...) and since I have local friends that knit I had more a consistent knitting focus on a regular basis. Then in 2013 I made my first Sunday's stitches post. And suddenly my needlepoint was re-energized again (I still haven't finished the backstitch and embroidery to finish that horse project though … this year!).

But I was still stuck in unfinished project land. I had never finished a pillow-sized project before, and I think it just seemed unreachable. I had a cycle of getting excited, starting, getting distracted, then making the project dormant, then picking it back up out of guilt years later, then getting overwhelmed again. The first time I broke that cycle was when I finished a modern needlepoint pillow in 2018. What was the difference? I made that project the focus of my very-first 100 Day Project on Instagram. I didn't even hit a full 100 days, in fact, I only made it to 60. But that was enough to get me so close that I was able to finish later that year. And in a moment of wisdom, I forced myself to sew the project into a pillow immediately upon finishing instead of letting it wait in limbo-land forever.

So it was not without a little trepidation that I started this Christmas needlepoint project back on December 22. I told myself, "I'll start posting each week again, that worked before." And then I suddenly found myself in-between knitting projects, with no other projects or crafts to distract me. This needlepoint project was the relaxing, soothing balm I found myself pulled to over and over during the holiday break. My first strategy was to start with the edges, since they are nice little "do-able" rectangles and not too Christmas-y. I'd save the Santa for last, as I was assuming this project would take me until next December to finish. But then I found myself wanting to stitch in low-light, and I went ahead and started the light blue background area since it was easy to see and uncomplicated. I remembered how much large sections of one color stall me out, since they are boring. I figured I'd do a little bit in between working on the edges, so I didn't have a huge chunk to finish at the end. Before I knew it, I had caught up to where I was on the edging border. And then I decided I didn't want to wait to make the Santa--in fact, it would be smarter to do the Santa at the beginning when I'm motivated (since it's a harder section). Now I'm thinking I should leave the border for last, since it's small and fun and will be quick to finish right when I need a little push.

But honestly with how fast and fun this one is, I don't think I'll need a little push. I am merrily zipping along! And I'm keeping notes--this may be my magical combination for successful needlepoint finishes. Starting with the "boring" and "hard" things first, leaving the fast and fun things for last.

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