Making decisions about the next step in a needlework project is sometimes tough, and if you aren’t careful, that whole decision-making process can bog you down and bring your productivity to a halt. I decided to face a decision about the stitching on the Medallion Project pretty much the way I face decisions in life: if you spend too much time in deciding, you lose a lot of time when you could be doing. It seems that once I make a decision, I’m always happier, so why prolong the anxiety created by that middle ground of uneasy deliberation?
Today, I’ll show you my hang-up on the Medallion Project, tell you about my decision-making process on this particular part of the project, and then … well, hopefully, I won’t disappoint you with the decision I ultimately made!
When last we visited the Medallion Project, the center was finished! I filled the background with flat silk and stitched over it in gold thread “vermicelli”, I padded the monogram and stitched it in long and short stitch with silk, and then I outlined the monogram with gold Lizardine, with a dark blue silk twisted through it.
It doesn’t seem like a whole lot of work, when listed like this, does it?
The next step was to add the dark blue in the little triangles behind the roses. This area was stitched in the darkest of the four shades of blue silk, in a combination of long & short stitch and satin stitch. The dark blue pulls these little parts of the design backwards, to make them look deep, so that the gold that will eventually outline the different parts of the design will sit on top, giving a sense of dimension to the piece.
So far, so good!
My intention from the very beginning of this project was that the outside wide edge with the dots in it would be blue, and would be relatively dark, with the dots filled with gold. When I sketched up the project, I shaded this wider outer ring with dark edges, but a little lighter in the middle behind the dots. My plan was to use stem stitch as a filling, working in rows, using the three darkest shades of blue (out of the four), with the darkest on the edge and the lightest in the center behind the dots.
So this is what I set out to do, and in the photo above, you can see the first two shades of stem stitch filling in the wide ring. The little dots of blue outside the stitching are anchor stitches – those will be covered up as the area is filled.
After working the two darkest shades of blue on the outside edges of the ring, I started to tackle the “medium” blue, stitching two rows of it. And this is where anxiety began to creep in…
But I kept going and stitched in a couple more rows. In the photo above, you can see how the medium blue stands out against the darker blue – it does not present a subtle gradation of shade, which is what I originally had in mind. I began to waiver. Was this the right thing to do? Should I change my approach? Should I switch to long & short stitch shading here, working from the inside out around the ring, which would present a much softer gradation of the shades of blue?
But, as you can see, I continued forward, albeit now, I was working much slower, and with a bit of trepidation the whole time.
Every time I sat down to the project, I spent the first ten minutes or more just staring at it. Then I’d stitch a bit, and walk away again. This is no way to get things done! Nagging at me the whole time was the fact that I have a deadline. The pressure was building, and I found myself unable to face the project enthusiastically. I knew I had to make a decision either way and live with it.
So – I made a decision!
In fact, I made two.
The first decision I made was made at the end of the day when I was irritated, more with myself than with the project. I decided to pick the whole area out and start over! I walked away from the project, planning to do exactly that the next day.
But I forgot the golden rule of decision making: in times of desolation, never make a change!
The next day, I walked out to my workroom. In my head, the task I was facing – picking all that stitching out – was mountainous. But I was determined. I wasn’t irked, and my mind was fresh (more or less – as fresh as it ever gets, anyway!).
I saw the piece from afar.
And then I remembered! The piece is meant to be seen from a distance, not up close! And looking at it from a distance, with a clearer head and with the clouds of irritation that had hovered the day before dispelled, I made the second and final decision.
Ahhh… relief and happiness abound!
I’ll show you the results next time!
If you’d like to follow this project from its tentative beginnings to now, feel free to visit the Index for the Medallion Project. There, you’ll find the back story and all the nitty-gritty details of getting to this point in the project.
If you’d like access to all the tips and techniques discussed in the Medallion Project, including complete step-by-step coverage of the Tudor-Style Rose, conveniently collected in one document, interlinked, referenced, and indexed, why not add the Marian Medallion Project e-book to your library? It’s packed full of all kinds of embroidery tips for undertaking a project like this, all in a convenient electronic format for easy searching.