Today is Needle ‘n Thread’s birthday – 2 years old! Who woulda thunk it? I think I’ll reminisce here a little bit, tell you some stuff you might already know, and announce a special give-away for the occasion!
What would you like me to do first? Reminisce? Ok! Two years ago today, I started up my little website here, Needle ‘n Thread. I started with a really lame post on hand embroidery in general. Going back to look at that post, I began to wonder if I fulfilled any, or all, or just a few of the objectives I started with. I think perhaps I have fulfilled some, but not all – which is a good thing, because that means I’ll stick around for a bit!
My website was inspired by my darling little brother, who is my internet and computer guru. He is all wise and knows all things computer. Or so he thinks! For my purposes, he certainly does, anyway. So I owe him a huge thanks for helping me out generously these two years.
I will candidly admit that my reason for starting the site was to help me finance the summer embroidery classes that I was teaching each year to youth in our rural community. The classes cost me heaps of money the first few years – the layout was all on my side, for the most part, since I charged $5 per child for 8 weeks of instruction, to help “defray the cost of supplies.” (Supplies for 30+ children cost a lot!) They had to bring a hoop, a box, and some transfer pens. I supplied the rest! But on my budget, it was rather crippling. So my brother suggested that I participate in blogging to help supplement those classes. So I did.
Mercenary, I know! At first, I was skeptical, and I didn’t like the idea of starting something like this for mercenary reasons. And I still don’t! Fortunately, though, the experience of blogging and building the site – and the interaction with thousands of people over two years – and the idea of helping people learn embroidery basics … well, those grew on me fast, and so I stuck with it, despite some pitfalls along the way.
I started with the Ugliest Template Ever and I hated the look of the site. It took a while, but last December, I was able to integrate the whole blogging set-up into a static template with other features that I could customize so that Needle ‘n Thread would look a little more appealing. While I like the look a lot better, there are some things I’d like to brush up a bit! I have an on-going, ever-growing list of improvements, brilliant ideas, and so forth – which means I suppose, God willing, I’ll stick around!
The first post, I think, on the website that caught any real attention “out there” was my silk-on-silk satin stitch post. I couldn’t believe that THE Sharon Boggan noticed it! It was flattering. I really never showed my needlework to any other real needleworkers. It’s easy enough to impress people who don’t do needlework. But to be complimented by someone who does – who’s a pro in the field – that was something! Besides, I think Sharon’s been online with needlework, and blogging about needlework, as long as personal websites, and then blogging, have been around. I was familiar with her site, and so thankful for her coompliment, because it really motivated me!
Then, let’s see… the video library of hand embroidery stitches. They were in my head from the very beginning, but it was all a matter of figuring out how to do them. I’m still figuring that out! And wow, when I go back to look at the earlier ones, I cringe. Especially with improvements in video technology for the internet, I am gearing up to fine tune my approach on the videos. In fact, I just sunk a small investment into audio hardware, because the sound really stinks on the videos, doesn’t it??
People like the videos, and I’m glad. They’re a great way of extending the concept of teaching beyond just a little rural community in the middle of Kansas.
One of the greatest things about doing this website is that I’ve really met some terrific people! Joey, formerly of Twining Thread, has been a mainstay as far as sound advice, encouragement, and great insight to the whole world of embroidery. Megan in Australia is a terrific encourager, experimenter, and Finder of Information, Michael is a silk genius, Trish Burr is generous and inspirational, Judy of Possibilities paints incredibly beautiful canvases, Jeannine is a terrific commentor, Allison Aller makes gorgeous stuff in general, JoWynn Johns is patient and so artistic, Carol-Anne over there in England, Jeanne of Just String, Maria del Valle over there in Spain… Valquiria… oh, golly. Such talented people! The list could go on and on and on and on. There are heaps of generous, interesting, talented and fun people in the world, and needlework is a great catalyst for bringing them together!
Enough reminiscing and background jabber….
Needle ‘n Thread is two years old today! And so I’m going to do two stash give-aways this month, and both include a special little gift (a magnetic needle-minder from Kelmscott Designs), and threads and embellishments!
But this post is already way to long, and my camera battery is still charging, so I’m going to post the stash giveaway for June tomorrow. I’m excited about it, since it’s an extra-nice one, and I think you’ll like it, too. Of course, you have to do something for it – I’m going to pose two questions for you in tomorrow’s post, so keep an eye out!