My 1-Year-Of-Stitches Project

My 1-Year-Of-Stitches Project

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge memory keeper. I am fascinated with documenting life and preserving it for future generations in just about any and every form.

This is why I love the idea of heirlooms and photobooks so much because I love sitting down and hearing other people’s life stories and having physical, visual representation adds a whole other level to the experience. 

I knew this year I wanted to do a year-long-craft to commemorate my year. But of course, it took me forever to decide on what! And then right around New Years, I ran into a ton of Instagram posts of people finishing up their 2017 1-year-of-stitches and immediately knew that was what I was going to do.

I've been wanting to work on my embroidery skills (cause I really didn't have any) and the project seemed small, portable, and reasonable. (Let me just say that I am truly terrible at keeping up with challenges like this).

So, I immediately hopped on Amazon, ordered supplies and fabric, and not so patiently waited. And then my fabric arrived, and was not at all what I had in mind for the color, so I reordered, and even less patiently waited. 

And then finally, all my supplies were here, and I was able to begin. And of course, share on social media. 

And it has been one of the most popular projects I've posted about! (for my little page, anyway).

So, even though it's mid to late March, I thought I would finally share a full description of what this project is, and how I am going about it. 

1 Year of Stitches | How to start your year long embroidery journey | Peonies & Cream

What is 1-Year-of-Stitches?

In 2016 Hannah Claire Somerville started this project as her own personal reflection and journey. She gave herself guidelines (which she has updated each year since) and stated the following:

"I am interested in the impact, or mark, that an individual makes on a daily basis. Big or small, our daily activities are oftentimes unquantifiable and intangible. I am approaching this project as a personal map making; the fabric ground represents each day of 2016, with the needle and thread representing my actions throughout the day. I will embroider— maybe one stitch, maybe more, (hopefully) every day and photograph the result. The embroidery I create will become a tangible, visual account of the decisions, movements, conversations and sometimes lack thereof, that I make each day. I hope to use this project as a means of generating a deeper reflection upon the choices we make as a society."

I encourage you to read her guidelines and look at her previous years' projects. But the basic premise was that she would spend one year working on the same embroidery piece, with the goal of adding at least 1 stitch to her fabric every day (hopefully more) and using it to document her life over the following 365 days. 

For 2018, she has loosened her guidelines a bit, stating that she doesn't expect to stitch or photograph every single day. 

So how do I get started?

Well, this part is pretty easy! 

(I've linked up everything I used here, in case you are curious or need a place to start)

At the very least, all you need is some fabric, an embroidery hoop, some embroidery thread, and an embroidery needle!

Of course, from here you can add all kinds of great notions!

I've had fun finding Magnetic Needle Minders, Project bags, Needle cases, needle threaders, a quilting pencil to draw out any designs, scissors, and some embroidery stitch books. The two I've purchased and found very helpful are -

The Stitch Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to 225 Embroidery Stitches and Techniques by Kate Haxell


Embroidery by DK

My 1-Year-Of-Stitches

So as I said above, I started my 1YOS almost a month behind. And this really depends on how YOU choose to look at it.

I wanted my project to be 2018. Meaning I wanted it to run from Jan 1 to Dec 31. While this didn't happen, I allowed myself to "make up" this time, and continue from there.

You could also do it strictly as a 365 project, starting wherever you are, and going from there. This is totally your project!

I used #1yearofstitches on Instagram for some major inspiration (and you should too), and decided I loved the idea of a wheel or year layout. So I drew up my wedges and got started.

There are also a lot of "random" projects (including Hannah Claire Somerville's) with no defined pattern or template that are really amazing too, this is also just a personal preference. 

I chose not to post pictures daily necessarily. Instead, I am updating my Story on Facebook and Instagram as often as I can, with the days numbered and brief descriptions where applicable. 

I do also do updates on my feeds, usually at the completion of a month.

My stitches aren't always literal representations of my day or something significant that happened. Even on the more "boring" days, I try to stitch, usually by adding to a border, month heading, or learning a new decorative stitch. This way my own project is not only a "visual diary" but also a representation of all my embroidery growth and learning over the year, a bit of a sampler if you will. 

So if you choose to join in this journey (which I hope you do! Now, or in the future) the most important thing is to have fun with it! I've seen people use thread to simply add other media types or even "souvenirs" to their project.

I've seen color coding, I've seen an all-french-knots one. Heck, you could do a mood, weather, or any other tracker by using 1 stitch repeated and a scale of thread colors. 

You do you!

If you do decide to join in, use #1yearofstitches and/or #1yearofstitches2018 so we all can follow along. 

And don't forget to comment or link to your project thread in the comments below, so we can all keep an eye out!


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