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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Stitcher’s Christmas 5: Inspirations Handpicked Embroidery Kits!

 

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We’re at the halfway point of this year’s Stitcher’s Christmas series, and today’s gifts are exquisite and timely!

From Inspirations Studios comes three delightful embroidery kits from their new handpicked line, which I’ll tell you all about below.

First, though, I’ll announce the winner of Wednesday’s stocking kit and ornament, so read on!

Stitcher's Christmas 5: Embroidery Kits from Inspirations Studios

First, who gets the stocking kit and ornament? That would be Gigi Pazdzinski! I’ll drop you an email this morning! Please keep an eye out for it!

For today’s installment of A Stitcher’s Christmas, we’re going to turn our sights to Australia, to the magical world of Inspirations Studios, where you will find a new collection of projects and kits available on their website.

The Handpicked line are projects you won’t find already published in their books or magazines. They’re a collection of projects available exclusively as individual (downloadable) patterns with instructions, and as separate kits, too.

You can find the patterns & instructions for these kits on the Inspirations Studios website, here, among their digital patterns. They have TONS of few gorgeous projects from designers all around the world, some found in their many publications, but also these Handpicked selections that have never been published in other formats. It’s a delight to browse through the projects!

Each project in the Handpicked range is selected for its beauty, originality, and uniqueness. In the instructions, you will find the signature gorgeous photography that we’ve all come to expect from Inspirations Studio, with comprehensive instructions, detailed step-by-step images, and a full list of required threads and materials.

The kits come with the required threads and materials, with the designs transferred and ready to stitch.

Inspirations Studios is offering three kits for the Needle ‘n Thread community, with each kit reflecting a different embroidery technique. Each of three winners will receive one of the kits and the downloadable instructions for the project. Woooohooooo! What a great way to start the New Year, with an exciting and beautiful project!

Here’s a look at the lovely projects for today’s give-away:

Stitcher's Christmas 5: Embroidery Kits from Inspirations Studios

The first kit is Seasons in the Sun by Helen Stevens. It’s a glorious butterfly and floral image worked in silk embroidery. You can read all about the kit here.

Stitcher's Christmas 5: Embroidery Kits from Inspirations Studios

The second kit, a lovely composition for crewel embroidery designed by Di Kirchner, is called Four Corners. You can read all about it here.

Stitcher's Christmas 5: Embroidery Kits from Inspirations Studios

And the third kit is Mushroom Magic, a lovely stumpwork pincushion design by Ana Mallah. You’ll find all the details about this kit here.

The Give-Away Question & Guidelines

If you would like to be included in today’s give-away, please answer the question posed below in guideline #6 and please follow the rest of the guidelines, too.

This give-away has ended. Thanks to all who participated!

1. Leave a comment on this article, on Needle ‘n Thread. You can reach the comment form for this article by following this link. Your comment must be left on the website. Comments received via email are not eligible.

2. Please do not use the “reply” feature in the comment area to reply to someone else’s comment. Replies in the comments are not counted in the drawing.

3. Please leave a recognizable name in the “Name” line on your comment. If your name is Mary, for example, you might qualify it with a last initial or a nickname, so that, when the winner is announced, you recognize your name, and other people with the same first name aren’t confused when the winners are announced.

4. Please make certain your email address is entered on the comment form in the “email” line only. Do not include personal information like mailing addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses in the large comment box! Leaving public information on any website is a good way to end up with a lot of spam.

5. Please leave the website line on the comment form blank.

6. In your comment, please answer the following:

Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it!

7. This give-away ends on Monday, December 13, 2021, at 5:00 am Central Time. The winners will be randomly drawn that morning and announced in the give-away for that day. The winners will also receive a notification via email. If your name is drawn for the give-away, you’ll need to reply to my email within three days (72 hrs). If I don’t hear from you within that time frame, I’ll draw for another name.

The give-away is open to anyone, anywhere. The prizes will be shipped from the business offering them. Please understand that any additional fees or import taxes or anything similar are the responsibility of the winner. Needle ‘n Thread is not responsible for lost or damaged packages. Winners should be aware that shipping may be delayed, and that there’s no guaranteed arrival time frame. Some prizes in this series will probably not arrive before the end of the year.

When you leave your comment on the website, it may not appear right away. Comments are moderated to avoid spam on the website. This means that I manually approve each comment before it is posted. Never fear! It will show up eventually!

 
 

(618) Comments

  1. My most challenging project was “home sweet home etui.” I loved the design and that it is a usable piece. I feel so excited each time I use my embroidery tools from this kit.

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  2. What beautiful kits! My most challenging embroidery project was the goldwork fox I made from a different beautiful kit. I loved the sparkle and shine but had never done anything like that before. It was wonderful to finish it!

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  3. Well. My challenging projects probably aren’t that challenging. Probably the series of felt Christmas ornaments I stitched a few years ago, because I was making all of the design decisions and not just stitching?

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  4. There are so many challenges not yet completed – it’s hard to think of one that was completed. However, I’ve just done a quilt featuring embroidered representations of all the Canadian provinces and territories. Patterns are from Wandering Threads, though I took considerable liberty with stitches and colours. And I added my own for Nunavut and the North West Territories. All those islands – what a nuisance.

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  5. the most challenging project I have ever stitched is translating my photo of my stargazer lily to silk shading.

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  6. Mary Atwood, a reproduction of one of the six or seven extant American 17th century samplers, was quite a challenge. She wasn’t was complex as Martha Edlin (English, in the V&A), which is nearing completion, but she took real concentration.

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  7. The most challenging project for me was a baby quilt for my niece. My mom taught me to embroider, and I hadn’t done it in years. So, to complete a baby quilt (before the baby arrived!) and picking up embroidery again after so many years was truly a labor of love and remembrance of my mom

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  8. I did a Japanese Embroidery of two love birds all in gold and silver threads. It was for my daughter-in-law who is like the daughter in never had.

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  9. The most challenging project I have done was an original needle painting of a whooping crane. I worked from a photograph I took at the International Crane Foundation. I mostly learned how to needle paint from projects featured in Inspirations magazine. The step by step stitch photos and the excellent photography were a great help in learning this beautiful type of embroidery.

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  10. A needlepoint Japanese kimono. It has over 124 various size squares, each with a different pattern and you get to pick the color. I’m not quire through…on block 110…,but am determined to finish.

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  11. The most challenging project I have ever worked on was embroidering an ophrey panel for a Marian chasuble for our local catholic church. I took a photo of a mosaic from a church in Jerusalem and transformed it into a piece of hand embroidery using the needle painting technique with gold threads for the halos. It was a bit tricky going from a mosaic with its myriad of tiny color elements to a a color-smoothed image. When the entire chasuble was finished, everyone who saw it liked it.

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  12. The most challenging embroidery project that comes to mind was years ago when I made a picture for my babies nursery. There were several new to me stitches and it was a lot of work. I really wanted to finish it so I spent hours on it. Over 30 years and it still makes me smile when I remember my determination to complete the project.

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  13. My most challenging project is usually the one I’m currently working on. It always takes me forever to complete a project.

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  14. Thanks for this giveaway! My most challenging project is an oak tree cross stitch piece that changes very similar colors very frequently. I learned to consider this design element in all future project choices! It is a gift for a friend who is a cancer survivor.

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  15. I am an inspired beginner. I was trying to do dishtowels like my grandmother did for a 4-H project. I got a white ribbon because it didn’t look the same on the front as the back. When I asked the 4-H leaders and the judge to show me how to do that, no one knew how to make it look the same on the front and the back. So all these years later, I am trying to figure out how to do that, and I have fallen down a hole of lovelyness. I am so inspired by all the incredible embroidery I see on your site.

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  16. Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it!

    I was probably doing 12 of the same design in 12 different color schemes and trying not to do the same stitches in the same spot.

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  17. The most challenging project I have made was a Chatelaine (Martina Weber) called Evening in the Park. It took me one year. I am proud of it.

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  18. Oh my, these are gorgeous patterns. Thank you and Inspiration Magazines for so kindly offering these gifts.

    The most challenging stitching that I’ve completed was Emie Bishop’s Unfinished Sampler. I thought it was beautiful, and I like the challenge of learning new things, so I bought a couple of good hardanger instructions books plus the pattern instructions and worked my way through it. The other challenging piece, though not finished yet, is the English Whitework Sampler. I think it was designed by Sharon Cohen, and has all kinds of fancy stitches, drawn work, weaving, needle lace. It’s fun to stretch ourselves sometimes, even though it can be nerve wracking.

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  19. My most challenging so far was an Imari Plate counted cross-stich design. I had never done anything this big, this small of a stitch, and this much detail. It took eight years, but I stuck with it. I continue to receive comments on it.

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  20. I don’t do challenging embroidery. I embroidery for relaxation. I try a technique and if it does not suit me immediately I leave it and go on to my relaxation mode. Picking my next embroidery project is what I find the most challenging. I have followed Inspiration Magazine Friday newsletter since the beginning of my needle and thread journey. They truly are an inspiration.

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  21. Hi! My most challenging project was an etui by Betsy Morgan, the Swan’s Bower etui. It is included in Willing Hands 1 and it was love at first sight 🙂

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  22. What lovely kits, and such variety – thank you for offering them in this giveaway.
    My trickiest project is still in progress, it’s the RSN Certificate Canvaswork module and I have NEVER done this sort of canvaswork before! But you asked about completed projects and that would probably be the previous module, goldwork, for which I completed a kangaroo (with a story attached to it) – it was the trickiest because with everything I did I was very much aware that it would be assessed by some very exacting judges. But it was also one of themost satisfying 🙂

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  23. My most challenging embroidery project was/is the Beehive Goldwork Sampler by Katherine Diuguid. It has lots of techniques and was my first attempt at goldwork. The s-ing and cutting the pearl to the correct lengths are the trickiest!

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  24. I have completed three very large pieces of embroidery. Two of the three were counted thread and the third was the most challenging of all. It is approx. 3’wide and 5′ long. It covers one wall in my living room. I started this piece when my daughter was very young. I vowed I would stitch on it only when I had some time for myself. Needless to say, it took years to complete. This is why it was the most challenging…..there was never any time for myself! But I did it…..six or seven years later. And now it is one of my most favorite pieces of my entire collection.

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  25. The most complicated, yet the most rewarding, project I have ever stitched is a tree of life family record which I designed and stitched to celebrate the adoption of my grandson. I don’t think I could ever do better than that project.
    Linda Andersson

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  26. The most challenging embroidery project I have ever completed, and what inspired me to stitch it! That is a pretty easy question to answer. My current project, which is the letter O surrounded and entwined with Morning Glories. This is a gift for my sister who’s last name starts with an O. The Morning Glories refer to a family contest that she had with our father. In the morning the first one to say “Morning Glory” was the winner. Nothing was won , it was just a contest. I will then put it into a crazy quilt pattern to be hung on the wall. As for the inspiration, you made me feel like I could do this project, so I thank you very much.

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  27. My most challenging piece to date is a stumpwork piece by Celeste Chalasani, “Berry Bramble”. It is such a beautiful piece that I just had to finish it. It is my favorite piece that I have stitched, and is hanging in my hall where I can see it many times a day.

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  28. Inspirations! Love that company. So – well – inspiring. The most challenging piece of embroidery that I finished in the past is a tie between two pieces. One is Jennifer Cloustofull plhexagon crazyquilt idea which I modified to be a memorial for my parents. I’m so happy with how it turned out. The second most challenging was a canvas work piece by I can’t remember who, but it was a wreath that was originally intended for Christmas in greens and reds and I changed all the colours to blues, silvers and purples. That one turned out really well also and one of my friends is insisting that I leave it to her in my will. The good news is if all goes well that won’t be for many many many years before she gets that piece. LOL.

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  29. My most challenging embroidery project was a crewel embroidery kit of a still life that I completed as a teenager. Being a novice at embroidery, I found the instructions rather lacking. The internet was not prevalent at the time, so I had to do the best with what I had. No worries, though, I still muddled through and the piece turned out fairly decent. In fact, my mother still has it hanging at her house!

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  30. Two of my more challenging projects have been The Leafy Tree and Lattice Jumble Sampler. Thet seemed to take forever, but quite beautiful when completed!

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  31. About 20years ago , fresh off a hip replacement I attended my first EGA a national convention where I had registered for Jane Nicholas’ Stumpwork Peacock. I was so new that I did not know what stumpwork was or who Jane was. I fell in love with the photo and overlooked that it was rated difficult but I was determined. I love to telll the story of the tiny, downy real peacock feathers tucked in his tail.

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  32. My most challenging project was a self-designed needle painted poinsetta! Haven’t done one like that in a while!

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  33. Well, “completed” narrows the realm of possibilities! I think the Whitework course from RSN was the most challenging. Drawing threads and plunging them repeatedly was tricky, but even getting the design on the fabric with all the honeycomb hexies exactly on the line of a thread was demanding

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  34. The night before my dad died last February he clasped my stepmom’s hand and whispered, “I love you Myrt.” His nickname for her was Myrtle (his mother’s name) Hannah Dockstedder—Myrt for short. I decided I wanted to embroider those words in some way for her and, in the end, the words were joined by a hummingbird and some flowers. It was hard because I wanted it to be just right and I didn’t plan it all out from the get-go, I did it on the fly. It turned out pretty well and she was appreciative of the effort but better planning would have made for a better outcome.

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  35. The most challenging and rewarding project I have stitched is a Fair Linen Altar Cloth for my church sanctuary stitched on Irish Linen. The central motif was an IHS quatrofoil image taken from the brass credence shelf cross. The entire cloth was hemstitched in a ladder stitch drawn thread hem. I had never made a Fair Linen and my research for the project is how I found Mary Corbet for inspiration and guidance in the satin stitch, of which I pursue perfection and may never achieve in my lifetime, but with the guidance of Mary, I have come much closer!

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  36. I did a Craftsy class several years ago on Stumpwork. It was very challenging with the long and short stitches and doing the petals that are then cut to give the 3D effect. I did finish it and stumpwork is now one of my favorite embroideries.

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  37. Oh my! I love Inspirations kits and they are so well put together. Each of these projects is beautiful although I’m secretly hoping for the mushroom kit. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was a Terri Bay project titled Grace (I think). She taught it at an EGA GPR seminar in Eugene, Oregon. It was a Ukrainian Whitework piece on a pre-finished square. One had to absolutely start in the exact middle or the whole design wouldn’t look right. I became obsessed with finishing it when I returned home. It had tons of eyelets in it and because of the white thread on white fabric the look of it changed as the light danced on it every day. I did finish it in record time (for me) and it turned out beautifully.

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  38. Good morning,
    This is not a completed project, but it is the most challenging I have ever done.
    I am making a stump work casket. I have a book on making boxes and I wanted to try one so I thought why start with the easiest one. Why not start right at the back of the book, while I am doing it why don’t I try a challenging technique, so I am covering the box in stump work. It is a lot of fun looking for all different stitches to try. Your videos have been very helpful . Thank you

    40
  39. Stumpwork mistletoe! (an Inspirations kit:)
    It took me waaaay longer than I expected! Not because it was technically difficult, but that it was so meticulous and there were so many small pieces! I loved it though, and I plan to do more mistletoe to add to the two pieces I made:D

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  40. The most challenging project I have stitched is a rose pin from Marina Knyazeva. It is her own style of 3-dimensional embroidery using Russian goldwork techniques, and it uses tons of padding, purl purl and beads, and looks fantastic when it’s done. She was recently featured in Issue 111 of Inspirations. I’ve never bent so many needles on a project before!!

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  41. My most challenging project was a class taught by Hazel Blomkamp. It was the Bee offered through EGA. I had always wanted to take one of her classes so doing it online was a wonderful opportunity.

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  42. My most challenging project was the Goldwork design I did for the RSN certificate . I was terrified and had not a clue of where and how to use the various Goldwork threads. Helen McCook was my life savior in guiding me thru something I could master. Since then I have become a Goldwork fanatic taking numerous courses and designing more items.

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  43. My most challenging project to date has been a Crossed Wing Collection cross-stitch pattern called Flower Power which depicts several species of garden flowers (such as daylily, columbine, nasturtium, etc.), North American butterflies and my favourites: North American hummingbirds. The pattern was challenging because it involved a few stitches I had never done before and another contributing factor to the challenge was the sheer size of this pattern. What inspired me to do this pattern were the beautiful flowers so well rendered in cross-stitch form as well as the very lovely hummingbirds and all the wonderful threads used to render them in all their glittery splendor. It was a very fun pattern to do.

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  44. My most challenging project was a needlepoint picture of an Iris that my parents brought me home from a trip. I was 12 going on 13 and I had never done needlepoint and I wanted it to be perfect. Learning to get the stitch and tension correct took such patience of which I had little at that age. I was thrilled with the final result and my parents framed that needlepoint and kept it their whole lives. I continue to love stitching and new challenges!

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  45. I am brand new to embroidery; I am just learning with my daughter now, who is about to turn 6. So far the biggest challenge has been moving from line and chain stitches done in rows to an actual simple design! I did it to make something that would look pretty all on its own and it was very rewarding, my daughter loved it and my husband was impressed!
    Your samplers look beautiful all on their own though! Mine are not there yet! lol

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  46. The most challenging project I completed was a sampler by Linda Culp Calhoun of Leisure Arts. It was my second time stitching on something other than Aida, and my first time with pulled and drawn thread work and beading.

    The sampler was in an American magazine, and Mom is from Germany. She’s fluent in English, but German is her native language, so I recharted the verse into German.

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  47. Difficult to decide which was the most challenging, but it might well be Jenny Adin-Christie peacock I had the pleasure to stitch under her tutelage at the end of our India tour. It certainly gave me confidence to tackle 3D projects combining goldwork, needlelace and other techniques.

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  48. My most difficult project, let’s see. I have two giant cross stitch projects that have over 100 colors each which I work on for a while and then put away for months. But currently my most difficult is the Coastal Banksia from Julie Kniedle. I’m in the process of making 60 little tiny pinecone petals and then I have several more types to do. And finally waiting in the wings is my Christmas gift of the Silk and Goldwork kit from RSN! I love a challenge and trying new techniques so any of these kits would fit the bill!

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  49. It seems there’s a difficulty to each piece isn’t there? Colors, threads, fabric, design – but to answer the question more to the point, my first large hardanger piece was the most difficult. Taking my scissors to the piece to cut out the threads was so very frightening. Being self taught it was such a dilema as to cutting from the front or back – I will say I learned how to take a waste thread and repair a piece from the back! BUT, those are the challenges that make it wonderful because we think our way through it and make the most lovely things with love and great thought. Thank you for the opportunity as always, be well.

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  50. My most challenging embodery was a stitching of clowns and masks on black with lots of metallic threads. It was lovely and I looked at it for many years before I finally decided to start it. It was either start it or give the pattern up, but not put it back on the shelf again to get done at a later date. I haven’t finished it, but I’m very pleased with what is and I’m glad I pushed myself to start it. Thanks again Mary. Nona

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  51. My daughter is a special education teacher in a local elementary school and she has to wear a mask. I wanted to make a special one for her “to wrap her face in a mum’s hug”. I found some ideas and made her an original “mum’s hug”. It is the smallest project I have attempted but the smile on her face when she received the mask was worth the effort.

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  52. Love your Christmas fun you share with us.
    The hardest project I ever eorked on was something for my nephew. While working on his Birth announcement kit I found out I hhave an allergy to WOOL!!
    Of course it was a crewel piece with wool yarn. I finished it, but never finished the ones for my nieces. It had the flowers of the months all around in the information of the baby’s birth.
    Later I found it at the bottom of my sister’s closet. I think I cried.

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  53. My most challenging embroidery was done when I made the Deck the Halls Block of the Month quilt I purchased thru Crab Hill Studios. It took me 13 months to complete, but well worth it.

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  54. The most difficult or challenging project I have stitched is a small cross stitch sampler on 40 count fabric over one. Trust me, you do not want to rip out mistakes in that format!

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  55. Mary, my most challenging embroidery project was the Elizabethan Angel from the Mar-Bek cross stitch Angel series. Not only did it have blended threads (two different colors), but it also had metallic Kreinik threads and LOTS of beads, too. It was by far the largest piece I’ve done, and I think it is to date my favorite. I chose that one because I was enthralled with historic clothing — it is still one of my favorite subjects to study, and I have amassed quite a personal library on fashion history and pattern books!

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  56. I used to run a small sewing shop in Wimborne, Dorset, where I used to teach a few projects. One of these was a wall hanging kitchen garden, most of which was stumpwork. While it was hanging in the shop, a customer asked whether she could buy it for her daughter, but I declined, because I was still teaching aspects of it. Some time later, the lady returned with her daughter, who was blind and deaf! Her only sense was touch. I didn’t know, when I refused to sell my project, but felt just awful. As the original was now well mauled by pupils and customers, I set to work making a different and more tactile version for the young lady, and was getting on quite well, when a mutual friend called in to tell me that the girl had sadly died, very suddenly. The friend told the mum that I had been making the garden for her daughter, and they decided between them that it would be lovely displayed in the school that the girl had attended. I had frankly lost heart, but couldn’t let them down, so the challenge, was to find the enthusiasm to finish the project. I did of course, and saw it displayed, and felt a glimmer of pride, but a huge amount of remorse for not having let that poor young lady have the original one, in the first place.

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  57. Hi Mary,
    My most challenging needlework project was an EGA GCC entitled “Moonlight Sonat.” I was inspired to do it by the amazingly talented members of my EGA chapter. I loved working on it.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity!!

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  58. I did an EGA project over the summer of Schwalm. Luckily I bought supplies for 2 so now I can restitch it to learn from all my mistakes

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  59. It was a cat sitting in a stained glass window in a room full of plants. The design had some 3-D elements and other interesting effects. I was young and fearless and wanted to do increasingly difficult projects. This was a lot of fun to do and I felt very accomplished after finishing it.

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  60. I am just finishing a miniature chair inspired by one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have done bargello on 60-count silk gauze for most of the upholstery, and the back is embroidered on linen. The chair is 3 1/2″ tall.

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  61. I love floral designs. One of my favorite painters is Joseph Nigg. So when I saw one of his paintings- “Corbeille de Fleurs” available as as a cross stitch pattern on The Scarlet Quince, I bought it. It is a huge pattern and it was about 3/4 finished when I noticed something didn’t look right. Upon further examination, I discovered that I had stitched an entire page of the pattern in the wrong place. So I began to remove the stitches. In the process, I ripped the fabric and wound up with a huge hole in the middle of the design. I tried many ways to repair it but finally had to give up and throw it away :(…I began again and I’m now about 1/2 finished. It is so beautiful. I really want to complete it. Wish me luck!

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  62. My most challenging project was a sampler of pulled and woven threads. I wanted to learn the technique and was pleased with the results.

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  63. Each embroidery project is more challenging than the last because I’m always looking to stretch my skills.

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  64. The most complex piece I’ve done is Chatelaine’s Blue Moroccan Mandela. I love the colors and love having it done and hung on my wall, but it took 18 months of steady stitching. The chart had a few errors in it so that complicated the project. I love the butterfly. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  65. One of the most challenging pieces I’m trying to stitch is a needlepainting of my daughter’s dog. It’s not a portrait but an action pose and I’m doing it as a reminder of when he was younger.

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  66. My most challenging projects come right out of the pages of Inspirations Magazine. One that comes to mind was Small World in Issue 102. I patiently sourced all the materials and then carefully followed the instructions, but I apparently missed a step because I ended up with a tiny piece of white silk organza that I hadn’t used. I decided I loved the piece without it and still don’t know where I went wrong! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

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  67. The most challenging project I undertook was a white baptism dress for my husband’s cousin. It was white on white embroidery and I wan in my early twenties with no training or anyone to turn to for advice. Needless to say it came out beautiful because it was made with love.

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  68. My most challenging project would have been my first Crazy Quilting block done outside of a class. The design and stitching without instruction was scary but fun.

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  69. I had 6 weeks to make a quilted manhole lid for a retiring engineer. Fortunately I was given the AutoCAD files and could use that for the full size pattern. Also need to find fabrics that said “manhole lid” and batiks and solids were perfect. It came out great!

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  70. Oh man. When I started doing cross stitch I thought I’d pick up the Teresa Wentzler “Celestial Dragon” design. How hard could it be, right?

    Yikes. Blended colours, metallics, beads, half and quarter stitches galore. It was my first time working on linen and the ‘over two’ confused me (and there were ‘over one’ stitches in that pattern too.) I made a little progress and discouraged, put the work aside for a year or for other projects. When I picked it up again a year or so later (I can’t leave anything unfinished) my confidence was at a higher level and finishing it off was a piece of cake.

    This month I’ll be starting on my first goldwork piece. Yikes.

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  71. The most difficult embroidery project I have completed so far is the box I made last winter. I love all kinds of boxes and I have a collection of, mostly, wooden boxes. I thought it would be wonderful to make one myself. I followed the instructions in the RSN book and it turned out beautifully.

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  72. The hardest thing I ever stitched was a goldwork ornament by Alison Cole of Australia. It the stitching itself was challenging but the finishing to make to ornament fully 3 dimensional was very challenging and took several tries to eventually get it right. But it is a beautiful piece and I am proud to hang it on my tree.

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  73. Years ago I was inspired by Mary Corbet to take the 10 day Jacobean Crewel certificate course taught by the RSN. I was retiring and used some retirement payout money to pay for it. I love the embroidery I did and I PASSED the course! That was my most challenging project.

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  74. My most challenging embroidery project would be My Secret Garden by Nicole Gelinas. This was a class at an EAC seminar. I had tried Brazilian embroidery before and wanted to learn more.

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  75. The most challenging embroidery to date was the ‘Jade dragon’ by Roseworks. I fell in love with the dragon as soon as I saw it, the colours, design and stitches all enticed me to have a go. Some of the stitches I had never used before and it was stitched in silks, again something new to try. It took time to gather all the necessary goodies and research stitches not used before (that’s where your tutorials were so helpful Mary). I loved my time spent on embroidering my dragon and not only did I learn a lot it gave me confidence to challenge myself even more.

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  76. I love Inspirations magazines and their projects. I am currently in the process of completing the Home Sweet Home cottage. I’ve learned a great deal in the process. Some of the stitching has been quite challenging as I’ve not done it before and it’s outside of my comfort zone. I am enjoying it and it’s always good to challenge oneself. I do feel the construction of the piece may be the biggest challenge of all.

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  77. My most challenging project was the one I made for my daughter’s wedding present. I designed it myself and used many different stitches with beautiful silk threads. I was so happy with the results but it was challenging because I had a tight deadline

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  78. The Inspirations magazine is truly inspiring and their kits are wonderful.
    My most challenging embroidery completed project is a king sized wool appliqué quilt (Compania by Hat Creek Quilts). I decided to embellish all the appliqués with embroidery and to design an appliqué border using elements of the original design. In the process of searching for different embroidery stitches I happily discovered Needles n Thread’s Lattice work ebook. The appliqué blocks were done in a month – the embroidery and added border took almost two years of seriously obsessed daily stitching.

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  79. I recently completed a canvas work project by Lorene Salt. I chose it because of the beautiful colours and design as well as the sumptuous threads included in the kit. It was challenging because many stitches were new to me and I am not super experienced at counted thread work. I had to retrace a number of steps! It was worth it, though, and I loved the result.

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  80. Hi Mary, most challenging was a Goldwork piece designed and taught by Lucy Barter. I wanted to learn Goldwork because it dovetails with bobbin lace and silk/polychrome/Elizabethan embroidery which are passions of mine. Thanks!

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  81. I wanted to start learning new techniques when I started up embroidery again after retirement, and thread painting was one of the techniques so I signed up for the Acorn Woodpecker class given online by Tanja Berlin. This was during the days in the pandemic when in person classes were not available. It turned out I learned two “techniques”, one thread painting and the other how to post photos and do an on line class. I made many mistakes and at times became very frustrated, almost gave up, but with Tanja’s encouragement in both areas and excellent teaching I completed my embroidery. Also inspiring was seeing other students’ progress on their projects and learning from their comments and questions. This experience has made me more confident about not only learning new embroidery techniques, but to not be afraid of making mistakes and to keep forging forward to experience the joy of a completed project.

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  82. Years before I had my daughter embroidered a large Christmas sampler pattern was in a womens magazine it has traditional colors was years making it., motivation to finish it was someday have a daughter that looks at it, was 39.

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  83. Looks like great kits. I know Inspiration magazine does some lovely projects that inspire us to broaden our stitching horizons.

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  84. The most challenging embroidery project has been a Brazilian embroidery floral picture. I had seen Brazilian embroidery in a local shop and it was gorgeous.

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  85. I’ve always been enthralled by bookcase wallhangings. A few years back I quilted the bookcase and took a delightfully endless amount of time embroidering each book by name and all the elements that made it my own – hanging plants, a small bag of spilled jewels and even a teddy bear. It still brings me joy!

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  86. The Inspiration kits are beautiful. I would love to stitch any of the three, but the mushroom is my favorite. The most challenging project I have ever completed is Phase 1 of Japanese Embroidery. I am still trying to finish Phase 2. The pieces are beautiful and I am very proud of my completed Phase 1.

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  87. My most challenging embroidery project was Victoria Sampler’s Heirloom Christmas Sampler. I was new to ribbon embroidery and the 32-ct linen was the highest count I’d ever used, plus I hadn’t discovered magnifying head goggles yet so I could barely see what I was doing. I had to stitch in a grid because I just couldn’t count consistently or accurately. It was very frustrating and I left off the hardanger bands as I didn’t need the stress of cutwork. It’s a very lovely piece but I don’t have happy memories of making it!

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  88. G’day there Mary, and thank you Inspirations.
    A crazy patchwork outfit for my Granddaughter. Love was the reason.
    Cheers, Kath.

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  89. The most challenging needlework project I’ve done so far is the stump work hydrangea box that was featured in Inspirations magazine.

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  90. The first Goldwork project has to be the most challenging simply because of the learning curve just getting comfortable with complex array of threads and materials before even beginning. Then actually working with them is another thing to try to perfect. But the possibilities are endless and gorgeous.

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  91. Great question! Probably the most challenging technically has been a Hazel Blomkamp design that involved crewel work, needle lace and needle weaving. What inspired it? Inspirations magazine! but the most challenging personally was a monogrammed handkerchief for a greatly loved aunt, and I wanted to get the satin stitching as close to perfect as I could. What inspired this effort? The Susan O’Connor book on monograms, which I learned about on Needle’n Thread. Thank you.

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  92. The most challenging embroidery project I embarked on was Maureen the owl from Hazel Blomkamp’s Crewel Creatures book. It was challenging because of its sheer scale (it took me 3 years to complete) and to stitch the second wing in the opposite direction so that the two wings were exact mirror images of each other. I was inspired to stitch it because I loved the image and wanted a project I could really get my teeth into, but I certainly bit off more than a single mouthful to chew at once!

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  93. Unfortunately, my most difficult project has never been completed!! It was goldwork, and to this day, I can’t seem to finish it. The problem is that I just don’t like to do goldwork and that is it…..fitting all those little pieces in….ugg.

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  94. The dragon fly from a month or so ago. The metallic threads made it the most difficult for me….so far!

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  95. My most challenging project was a 20×20 monogram for my nephew and his new wife. It also had their wedding date on it. Designing was a real challenge but I was so pleased with the outcome. So we’re they!!!

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  96. The most challenging project I’ve ever embroidered was a footstool cover entirely in satin stitch by Erica Wilson. Sheesh but that was tough!

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  97. There have been so many, as I have a tendency to “bite off more than I can chew”!
    Two projects stand out. The first was a large piece of counted cross stitch which a friend had started and when realizing a mistake, asked if I would finish it. There were multiple mistakes and the trick was to undo those while trying to retain as much of the finished work as possible.
    But the most challenging piece I have done was to recreate in Needlepoint, exactly, the design covering a chair, for a large (4’ by 3’) ottoman.
    I tried, unsuccessfully, to draw the floral pattern on the canvas and had to hold a piece of the fabric up in one hand for every stitch I put in the canvas.
    It took 8 months to complete, but I did it and though the chair and ottoman are long gone, I still have that cover.
    Did I mention that I bought the chair and ottoman for $25 at a garage sale?!

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  98. The most challenging project so far has been a self-drafted blackwork piece done on even weave linen. The challenge was learning the stitches, placement for best effect. Sadly lockdown due to covid inspired me, one could say working within the confines of blackwork was reminiscent of the long time at home, but at the same time, it gave me time to expand creatively and expand on ideas that had been churning in my head.

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  99. My most challenging piece was a landscape of my own design. I had the photo but the challenge was getting the right shades and which stitches to puck to create the texture I wanted. I definitely learned a lot in the process of making the piece and enjoyed every minute. Thanks

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  100. I was perusing through a blog and saw some beautiful needle painted portraits. Going through them I was inspired to try my hand at a portrait of one of my sons. It was a lesson in patience and perseverance and took me nearly 4 months, not including the times I had to pick out sections that didn’t look right.

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  101. Plimoth jacket project. Of course I didn’t stitch the whole jacket :). I participated with an army of volunteers. I have a passion for historic work, especially in this era. It helped me learn, and really use stitches I had never used before. I also really loved the experience of working on such a project with other stitchers, very close to what it must have been like working in a shop at the time.

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  102. Love Inspirations magazine. The projects and photography are the best.

    I have done challenging projects and more to finish. However, the one I did from Needle Arts magazine was a challenge sampler project with my stitching reviewed by the designer. Besides a number of specialty stitches to master, I managed to do mirror- image variegated floss stitching and made my thread tails hidden on the back. It was the best review I’ve ever had. The sampler hangs proudly in my dining room.

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  103. My most challenging project was my first stumpwork, a Jane Nicholas kit that included snakeshead fritillaries and a beetle. I chose the kit as a birthday present for my sister, who is a master gardener, and who loves that frittilary.

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  104. Hmmm, most challenging… well, either a fox piece I created (long/short stitch and turkey work tail, before I knew what long and short stitch was) or a tiny Chinese junk piece that I did and creating the sails in 3D (I do mean teeny tiny, I framed it in one of those tiny “hoop” frames you can buy to make necklaces). How I would love that butterfly or mushroom!!! Thanks to you Mary and to Inspirations for the chance.

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  105. I am working on a many challenging needlepoint projects — the challenging part is their size, and the fact that I am choosing threads as I go along. My greatest challenge is probably staying with a project to completion. In reality, that doesn’t bother me too much, because I am more interested in doing a lot of interesting things, rather than having completions.

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  106. Thank you Mary for these wonderful holiday draws.
    The most challenging piece of needlework for me was Nigel the Flamingo from Hazel Blomkamp. It wasn’t that the elements were difficult , it was that it was a big project and I decided to stitch it from beginning to end all without switching off to smaller projects. It was hours and hours of stitching which resulted in an amazing Flamingo but in hindsight should have been stitched over a span of time interspersed with smaller projects.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a book!

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  107. I found a counted cross stitch kit that was a feild scene with a cabin in the background and a deer in the foreground. It was made with 1 thread, 2 threads and 3 threads. The background was 1 thread to give the distant look, as you get to the nearer items you increased the thread count. The deer was in front of it all by a tree, all done with 3 threads. The effect was beautiful and it was a challenge to remember, no this area is 1, 2 or 3 threads. Had it framed and my husband loves it. Then I did a large counted cross stitch for my dining room of a tea service sitting on a shelf with a lace doily on it. Love the lacy look of the doily and the designs on the tea service.

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  108. My most challenging project was Hazel Blomkamp’s , Maureen the owl. So challenging that I gave up on trying to do the intricate stitches. Eyes are not so good anymore. I completed using my own stitches in wool but following Hazel’s colour scheme. I am very pleased with the result and had it professionally framed.

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  109. The most challenging embroidery I have done was working on the Plymouth Jacket ‘Faith’. It was my first time doing gold work and knowing this was going to be a piece of history for the future made it even more challenging or I should say stressful. But enjoyed every minute of it.

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  110. My most challenging project was step six of the master craftsman in crewel for EGA. I designed and stitched a jungle scene based around my pet parrot. It was done entirely in crewel wool on a green cotton batik fabric. I completed it in six weeks and passed on the first try!

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  111. I saw Needlelace work. I took Helen Bloomkamp class through EGA. It was via video. It is so hard getting the tension just right. Love it

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  112. My most challenging embroidery project was a navy blue fleece cape purchased while I was pregnant with my first child, who was due in January. I added vines and flowers all around the collar, using chain stitch, daisy stitch, satin stitch and French knots in a dozen different colours. It took ages but I loved how it turned out.

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  113. My most challenging embroidery project was a king-sized quilt with the house blocks done in hand applique and silk ribbon embroidery. I bought the pattern in 1998 and finished it 11 years later.

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  114. Most difficult by far was a needlelace ball designed by Hazel Blomkamp. It was technique with which I had very little experience.

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  115. Although my grandmother taught me how to do basic embroidery when I was 6 (in 1967), most of my embroidery skills are self-taught through kits I was given as a pre-teen and teen, books I found in the library, and, much more recently, blogs and and other internet resources. Looking back, it’s hard to pick a “difficult” project because none of them seem too bad looking back at them.

    I guess one of the most challenging was a 36″ x 18″ crewel piece of abstract flowers that I completed in my early teens. The kit was a Christmas gift from my parents and there were a number of new stitches that I had to learn to complete it, including one large yellow flower that was filled with a looping stitch where the loops were cut after the flower was finished so that it looks like part of a pom-pom. It took what seemed like forever to stitch that one flower because I had to fill it to make sure that none of the fabric showed through.

    This piece has hung in my mom’s lake house in Maine for the last 30 years or so. It was recently given back to me as part of my mom’s downsizing to move into assisted living and is now hung on our stairway.

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  116. My most challenging project was one done on 38 count fabric. I wanted to do it because I liked the pattern.

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  117. My most challenging embroidery project that I have completed were 2 goldwork and flat silk designs. They were presents for my children a few years ago. I had been interested in trying this technique and thought it would be fun and challenging. I bought books and watched YouTube videos. I thought this will be hard but I can do it! It wasn’t until I saw your projects of the Marian Medallion and the Tudor Rose that gave me confidence! So I thank you for all your expertise and your easy teaching style that gives all of us confidence to try new things!

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  118. My most challenging piece was Jean Hilton’s “French Diamond”. It is in purple, my favorite color. That is what attracted me first. Many if the stitches were ones I had never tried. It was a challange and a delight to stitch. It is framed and on the wall here.

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  119. Hi, The most challenging embroidery project for me was the the Blue Wren etui by Jenny Aiden Christie. There were all sorts of threads I had never used before. Her instructions are really great. I love the little bird!

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  120. This is a hard comment to decide to make…but I think POSSIBLY the most difficult embroidery “project” I ever attempted was one I did in the early years of my 58 year marriage! We were quite “poor” at the time, and I really did not have high quality supplies! Furthermore I did not have much experience or skill. However,
    I recall loving embroidery even then! The background fabric was a green fabric with some kind of nap on it. I used all sorts of yarn scraps to embroider various floral designs on it!
    I only wish I could find that piece now to just see what it looked like!
    “Thanks for the Memory…”
    Judy Lawrance, Tallahassee,Florida

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  121. Some years ago I took a course with Margaret Vant Erve on a landscape from my own photo to a framed piece. I learned so much, I use the techniques learned in many subsequent pieces. It was an intense week of learning but I am so thankful that learning opportunity. Thank you for your many tips, Mary, I read and apply many of them.

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  122. Hi Mary, I always use your website for finding how to stitch a particular stitch, new reviews of books, recommendations for tools and techniques, and finding the PDFs for designs from you. Thanks for all you do, Abby

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  123. The most challenging embroidery piece I did was the tiny weenie stockings from last year. Because of their size I found it difficult to sew. I did complete one and it is hanging on my tree.
    I wanted to complete the darling stocking just because it was a challenge.

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  124. My most challenging kit was a gift from my daughter, that consisted of crewel yarns on a black felted wool fabric. Stitching on black is a challenge for me but it was important to finish it since it was a gift. (The kit was from Sweden, which is where my daughter lives)

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  125. I saw a large blackwork sampler of German designs. I decided to do the entire sampler double-sided. When the pattern was just double-running stitch, it was fun figuring out how to do it. However, there was some other stitches involved and I had to figure out ways to make the back of the sampler look like the front. Doing detached buttonhole stitch on both sides was interesting.

    The project took me quite a few years to finish. After it was completed, I gave it to my mother. After my mother passed, I looked for a few of the needlework projects I had given her. That sampler and another blackwork project (maple leaves made into a pillow) were gone.

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  126. My most ambitious project was recreating Starry Night by Van Gogh in silk and metal threads. I have always loved Van Gogh but I gained a new appreciation of him by copying that masterpiece. It is magnificent and I am convinced that Van Gogh himself would have used the same medium if he had had access to the sparkling threads we have today.

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  127. I love flowers, Sue Spargo Fresh Cut, was my greatest challenge..I learned many new stitches, plus enjoyed using many threads I had not been familiar with. I worked on the project for 3 years, pacing myself and enjoying the journey. It now holds a prominent place on my wall and brings me joy every day.

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  128. Such beautiful kits – i love the colors. Working on these will surely be an experience and learning lesson.
    Thank you for sharing,

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  129. The most challenging project is currently a white work project. Thought I would have more time during last years lock down. I was wrong. Found too many other unfinished projects to do. learning lots though.

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  130. I recently completed my first Heaven and Earth Designs full coverage cross-stitch project which was my most challenging because of the sheer size and my first time stitching over one on 25 count fabric. I actually chose one of their ‘mini’ projects which was still 0ver 70,000 stitches. After being an avid stitcher for 25 years or so, I stepped away to pursue other crafts, namely bead weaving and bead embroidery, in 2006. I stumbled upon the HAED website in 2019 and was intrigued by all the available projects. The project I chose was a beautiful floral design, and it was my inspiration because I am always drawn to art featuring floral design.

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  131. The challenges are varied…one canvas work EGA group correspondence course was indeed challenging because it was being judged by the designer. Another was a panda with a red cable sweater in which the colors were so close that it was difficult to tell them apart.

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  132. What wonderful gifts you have for us today!
    The key word in your question is “completed.” There is many a challenging project languishing away, unfinished, in my cupboard. They were all fun to start!

    As for completed + challenging, I would say that a Tanja Berlin (wonderful designer) goldwork (or nue) piece fit these criteria. I was compelled to take it on because of 1) it was a workshop with friends 2) I knew that Tanja was an excellent teacher and 3) goldwork supplies were difficult to come by at that time (no e-shopping) and I loved the glitz.

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  133. The project that stands out to me was a large tablecloth that I cross stitched with oranges, lemons, and white blossoms. I was absolutely ecstatic when I worked the pattern all they way around that it matched up exactly! Size of the embroidered area was 72 x 30 inches. It was a gift for a family member and a labor of love to count over 2 on 38 count linen.

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  134. I stitched a needlepoint canvas with pumpkins, Indian corn and tons of flowers, in a multitude of different threads, stitches and beads. My love of Fall and Fall colors lured me to this canvas.

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  135. My most challenging needlework piece is still in progress – a stumpwork casket. Lots of pieces to be made before I can put them on the casket. The stumpwork pincushion would be awesome to win.

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  136. The most difficult but rewarding piece I ever finished was a wedding gift for my grandson and his bride. It was stitched on black dupioni (?) with shades of white silk thread. The theme was two turtledoves entwined with leaves and flowers. When framed, I presented it to the happy couple and they were thrilled.

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  137. I think my most challenging project so far has been Home Sweet Home by Carolyn Pearce. Along with learning so many new, interesting and appropriate embroidery stitches for different design elements, I decided to include other stitches and techniques I always wanted to try, but had not at the time nor the applicable object. Therefore, I made the bunny rabbit on the front wall in stumpwork and added many more fun and new to me techniques throughout the little “Home” box. It challenged and focused me in a project as I had never been before.

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  138. The most challenging thing is the one I am currently doing (so not completed). I wanted a project in which I could practice basic stitches. Not so much a sampler as a complex design that would require I learn all of the stitches I knew I needed. It is a large abstract floral that I am making up as I go. Currently I am stuck on one of the large areas I need to fill in. I am adding beading.

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  139. With every project I do, I stitch to learn new techniques and expand skills, rather than repeating things that I know I will enjoy doing. The most challenging was a gold and metalwork dragon I stitched with RSN last summer. It was online so I was working without much feedback and the teacher had a very strong accent and lots of English expressions that added to my effort to grasp what she said!!! LOL

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  140. My most challenging project was to stitch an English type garden on a facemask I made. I ended up only doing half – I had bitten off more than I could chew. But I did get several lovely comments on it!

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  141. Oh, I love Inspirations! All of these kits are gorgeous! I would have to say that the most challenging project I completed was a piece called “Fantasy Remembered” (I am sorry, I can’t remember the designer). It was a large stumpwork piece with detached leaf slips, berries, a dragonfly, all kinds of lovely natural elements. It was a Group Correspondence Course through my local EGA, and I, being somewhat new to the EGA, and never having done stumpwork before, took it on. It took a few months, some frogging, and some not-so-polite words, but I love how it came out, and it has a prominent place on my wall.

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  142. Most challenging to me was a table cloth all in one color. It was stamped but they monotony of one color drove me nuts! Now I only do multi colored works!
    Merry Christmas!

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  143. My most challenging project (that I actually completed!) is a French-made kit that replicated a small piece of the famous Bayeux Tapestry. It’s Les Deux Oiseux, and I focused and finished it in a couple of months. Now framed and admired daily!

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  144. I had only ever embroidered the simplest of stitches, but on a romantic holiday with my husband I found a an embroidery book. I found a very challenging pattern, for me anyways, of a wreath with berries, flowers, and leaves. I decided it was worth the learning curve. Bought the materials and started. Then I went through two high risk pregnancies. I finally finished it 5 years later! It is framed and hanging in our house. I learned a lot of new stitches and never had so much fun. That experience helped me to continue to embroider and not be afraid to learn something new!

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  145. My most challenging project has not yet been completed. It is Home Sweet Home. I tried to win it in a live auction at EGA national seminar and didn’t get it. I think the winning bid was near $4,000. I then got the kit so I will eventually have one of my own!!

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  146. I recently tried embroidering on tulle for the first time. Although it was a challenge to figure out how to transfer the pattern and work on such a delicate fabric, I loved the creative process of trial & error, and ultimately ended up with a great piece!

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  147. My most challenging embroidery project happened during lockdown in 2020. I really love crayon tint embroidery and decided to pick the most difficult one I could find which was Meg Hawkey’s stitch folder. It had a lot of coloring and stitching and I had to learn to shade the tints. And I finished it!

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  148. My most challenging project was teaching myself to make stumpwork figures for a crazy quilt. It was worth the time spent learning a new technique.

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  149. The most challenging embroidery i have ever stitched is a picture of two wolves between silver birch trees on a moonlit might. Black aida and threads a variety of silver,greys white and beige. Looked wonderful when fished 8 years llater but never again!!

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  150. The most challenging embroidery project I completed was a doorhanger stitched on navy blue even weave, pattern by Tanya Berlin, featuring many snowflakes in straight stitch, all different and each one more intricate than the last. I was inspired by its lacy beauty and the challenge of stitching it.

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  151. I recently finished a 17” X 9” counted cross stitch of the Hogwarts castle and train “in a bottle” as a Christmas gift for my daughter and Grandson. We all love the Harry Potter books and it is a beautiful piece. It was so challenging because of its size and because it had 50 color combinations. It felt like I was changing thread every 3 stitches! It took me 7 months to complete, working 3-4 hours per day, 5 days a week. It was definitely a challenge in perseverance!

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  152. My most challenging project was creating and executing an original “Dancing Iris” piece based on one of my original watercolors. thanks for the chance to win

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  153. Thank you for the chance to win a wonderful kit. My most challenging project was the wallhanging I made for my brother and sister-in-law last Christmas. Their son died in August of last year and I wanted to make them something in his memory. I embroidered 12 blocks and turned them into the wallhanging in only 4 months so I could get it to them by Christmas. It was very stressful but rewarding after seeing how much it meant to them.

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  154. When I was first beginning to stitch, I saw a Christmas tree stitching piece in a magazine that I liked. It took me forever as I kept making mistakes, but I was determined to do it and did.

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  155. Tie between creating a 3 D Angel using Hardanger (Emile Bishop design) for my grandmother or my recently completed 15 sided biscornu (each panel highlighting a Texas theme from Whataburger to Armadillo) to honor our outgoing EGA president.

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  156. My bigest challenge was making a 3-D “sculpture of an orchid using tambour beading techniques. I worked two sides at once and used all sorts of beads, threads, and sequins. I was inspired by being really tired of circular images, vignetted images floating is space, and embroiderers’ obsession with photorealistic birds and flowers.

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  157. The most challenging projects I’ve ever stitched are the exquisite projects from Jenny Adin Christie,
    I’ve stitched The Garthorpe Needlecase, The Peacock Etui, and the Pugin Scissor Case. I chose these because
    of their beauty and complicated stitching, so different from anything I had ever stitched.

    Thanks, Mary

    Teri Sanfilippo

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  158. Every new project is a challenge that’s hiw embroidery fir me is ,but once I’m into it I love it .

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  159. My most challenging projects are not finnished yet due to their size and complexity, not to forget the finishing touches making them into things. However among my finished projects I think my most proud moment is a 3D bead embroidered figure (my design) where I learned more techniques to make my vision come to life and also did increases by sorting the slightly different sized beads by size for smother transitions. It seriously tested my patience!

    Keeping my fingers crossed for the mushroom. 🙂

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  160. The most difficult handwork project I have undertaken is a needle point dog. Each part of the dog had different stitches. Being a dog person I was very excited about creating a fantastic needle work dog. Seeing the projects being given away this time is very exciting to me as they incorporate butterflies or papillons which is the breed of one of my canine friends.

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  161. My biggest challenging embroidery was a crewelwork called The Tree of Life. I loved every minute of working on it as it was only a stamped design that I chose all the stitches in Jacobean Design. It has always been my favorite thing I ever made.
    Thanks for the give away.

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  162. Thanks for the giveaway, Mary! I believe my most challenging project is a current one- a stumpwork and goldwork needlework casket. I am quite sure that I will still be working on by the time Stitcher’s Christmas Giveaway 2031 rolls around!

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  163. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was in the 1970’s in my “crewel” craze phase. I saved up my babysitting money and purchased a beautiful clock kit I had spied in our local needlework shop and bought it to make for my parent’s 25th anniversary. The foliage was no problem but satin stitching all 12 numerals and the clock outline in black was overwhelming for me! I perservered and presented the clock to my parents. After my mother passed away 20 years ago, I got the clock back and its in our retirement kitchen as a reminder to always perservere!

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  164. It’s not the most *technically* difficult piece I’ve ever finished – or started – but I did I set of ~8 needlebooks in silk split stich – completely covering the 2×2 fronts and backs in silk split stich on fine linen in a design of calligraphic initials and medieval tile designs. The first one took me about 24 hours of stitching; by the last I had it “down” to 16 hours, and I did the whole set in less than six months (while finishing grad school and changing residences 4 times, the last a transatlantic move.) An external deadline is excellent motivation, and they were all done (just!) on time.

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  165. I remember it well —. Tiny little stumpwork leaves and flowers as part of a larger floral. My sister sent me her request and it was new to me and took ages to fulfill, but with tweaks here, still wobbly. But she liked it, and that’s what counts.

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  166. It was a cross stitch doll. Actually my first cross stitch pattern. Done on fine linen with one strand of DMC. I was so surprised to see I even had to stitch the background buildings. It took well over 3 years to complete but it’s done framed and hung.

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  167. Years ago, when I was completely full of myself, I decided to do a rather large satin stitch monogram. I was not yet able to render the technique very well, but I thought that by making a full project of it, my improvement would be vast and fast. Emphasis on the fast. Oy! Was I wrong! LOL

    I lost count of how many times I pulled out stitching, walked away from the canvas, and cried/yelled/moped in frustration. Oh, I did learn. I learned that it takes more patience than hubris to embroider well. I learned that listening to and applying advice from people who have spent more time than I is a treasure that should not be squandered. I also learned how terrible a piece can turn out when it’s more about ego than outcome.

    Eventually I did finish the project, but it was never a piece I would show. I kept it for a long time to remind myself to do my research, practice patience, listen to recommendations, and ground myself in reality as to my skill level. It was lost in one of my many moves, but I will not forget it.

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  168. Hard to say my most challenging project. Maybe an heirloom dress with smocking and embroidery I did for a god child or my daughter’s wedding dress.

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  169. First, thank you Mary. I sure enjoy reading Needle ‘n Thread.
    My first embroidery project was a seahorse, I looked up how to do stitches on line and went from there. The hard part was it was kind of big, and I wanted to learn as many stitches as I could. After that project I was hooked.

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  170. My most challenging project was a scarlet quince cross stitched picture. It took me 6 years to complete. It was made with blended fibers. I wanted to stitch this as a challenge, plus I loved the picture.

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  171. The most challenging embroidery I have ever completed was from Hazel Blomkamp’s book Crewel Intentions. I nearly went blind trying to do her various needle lace stitches and I still don’t know if I did them right. Many of the threads were no longer available by the time the book was published so I spent a year sourcing substitutes. When I finally finished the embroidery, I stood back and realized I hadn’t gotten the design copied onto the straight of grain of my silk dupioni. AND the color scheme doesn’t match a single thing in my home. But I finished it!

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  172. I am always trying a new technique, and so many of my projects are the most challenging ones I’ve ever done. Lately I’ve been doing textured stitches in needlepoint for the first time.

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  173. My most challenging project was my first many years ago, not because of the technical aspects but because I lacked confidence and was scared of messing it up. I’ve since learned the joy is in the journey.

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  174. Inspirations designs are so fabulous, this is an exciting giveaway. All three designs you have on offer are attractive and look like fun. The most challenging project I am still working on is a sampler that is inspired by the historic ones but that I have been developing as I go. There are alphabets, motifs, lines of current and historic stitches from my library of books.i am still working the second polychrome section and am planning a whitework section also. I am taking the thistle threads whitework course to help me have the background information to do that. One of the rows is a reproduction of an Elizabethan carnation sampler section. That was very irritating actually as I kept miscounting and the lines would not meet like they should so I had to frog. Thank God good linen is forgiving. I am having a lot of fun and have been practicing a number of joining methods to add the next fabric section as I complete one and start another.

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  175. My most challenging project I’ve ever stitched was a surface embroidery sampler where I had to create my own design in stitches that were completely new to me!

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  176. My most challenging project — that I expect to take a couple of years — is a double casket that I’m embroidering for my daughter. It’s on 32 count linen, all silk threads, mostly tent stitch over one, though the top is a mix of stitches. All the panels are original designs, reflecting my daughter’s heritage, interests, and life events. Just designing the panels took months.

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  177. I’m just beginning my opus embroidery project. It is a 3 1/2’ circle that depicts a forest. It is a mental Polaroid from a trip to the Hoh rainforest in Washington. It changed me on an elemental level.
    I would love to win the mushroom.

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  178. Most challenging embroidery project to date was one I designed myself for my dad’s birthday. He was born and raised on a wheat farm in Kansas, and my inspiration was a sunrise in a wheat field. The design itself wasn’t complicated, but I’m learning needlepainting, and blending colors seamlessly is not nearly as easy as the books make it appear! The piece included a sunrise on a horizon and my goal was to blend all those layers of yellows and golds – I think I had eight shades. Still, it turned out okay; I had fun designing and stitching it, and my dad loved his gift so that’s all that matters!

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  179. Good Morning! I don’t have to think too hard, my most challenging project was needle painting five wildflowers from the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, WY, Montana, Idaho, Utah) for five blocks in a quilt. This was my husband’s idea, he did the research and I did the stitching. They turned out beautiful and the highlight of the quilt.

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  180. The most challenging embroidery project i ever attempted was a sampler replica from the 1700s if I remember correctly. It took forever to complete.

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  181. My most challenging project was Luzine Happel’s tablecloth described in her book “Basic Principles of Schwann Whitework”. I got into trouble right away with trying multiple ways to transfer the design. It’s all finished now, beautiful beautiful! I miss working on it.

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  182. I think the most challenging piece was Charley Harper’s needlepoint “Pelican in a Downpour”. My sister-in-law had started it and done his head, the only part not gray or black, and the quit. When she died I got it and all the gray and black wool. I decided to finish it but not with wool and basket weave, but a variety threads and stitches. The challenge was a learning experience but I finished and my niece, an ornithologist, now has it hanging in her house.

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  183. I just completed Hazel Blomkamp’s “Brian the Bee”that was offered through the Embroidery Guild of America. The needle lace on the wings was a real challenge for me since I have never done extensive needle lace.

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  184. I took on a large crewel cushion because I loved the colors and design. That was many years ago. I just could not get my satin stitch to look right. I wore out the material trying to fix it. It is buried in the closet somewhere.

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  185. Well – the operative word is “completed.” I have attempted many very challenging techniques that I have pooped out on and never finished. However, there is one – my Ukrainian Nyzanka stitched bookmark. I made this bookmark and declared success and happiness because I am 100% Ukrainian American and many of my family still live in Western Ukraine. When I was visiting Ukraine once, my cousin treated me to a gift of a Ukrainian blouse – beautifully hand embroidered. I was inspired to try some of this stitching myself.

    http://folkcostume.blogspot.com/2013/04/nyzynka-embroidery-of-western-ukraine.html

    Nyzanka is a stitching technique of Western Ukraine. It is a basic darning stitch in black worked from the back over an odd number of threads. Then it is filled in with bright colors. The end result is beautiful – from both sides of the fabric.

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  186. Well, the most challenging is stitching one over one.
    I made Christmas ornaments. They are adorable, but difficult with old eyes.

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  187. Probably a crewel bellpull was probably my most difficult. I was inspired by my mother who did beautiful crewel embroidery. She especially loved Jacobean embroidery.

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  188. The most challenging project is « Les roses » from Julie Romero School. A beautiful Luneville embroidery class that I took online last summer. I’ve always been fascinated by Haute-Couture and it was a dream of mine to learn Luneville embroidery.
    Lucie D.

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  189. When my daughter was young, she loved to draw pictures of various things. Over the years, I saved a folder full of them. When she was pregnant with her first child, I finally realized what I could do with those pictures. Each became a square on a quilt for the new baby, embroidered using the colors my daughter had used on the originals. As I raced to finish the quilt, we had a puppy – who loved to chew on fabric. Consequently, the drawing of a giraffe was missing a bite-sized edge piece. So I patched in a replacement piece, and “signed” it “contributed by the puppy.”

    This heirloom quilt is beloved by all three generations, full of memories to be passed down to the next generation.

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  190. The most challenging piece I ever did was a correspondence course in crewel embroidery from Erica Wilson. I did it because I love crewel embroidery and this was an opportunity to interact with someone of real merit. This was probably 1984. The stitches were not terribly difficult, but the knowledge that it would be critiqued by Erica Wilson herself, or those she taught, made me think and rethink every single stitch. It was a joy to do, and a struggle, and a great learning experience. It was judged to be very good. There were several areas in the final piece that were discussed, and suggestions and directions about how to do better. I’ve always been glad I did it.

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  191. I absolutely agree with you about the beautiful presentation of the magazine. The photos are spectacular. I always look forward to to seeing what they come up with next.

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  192. My most challenging piece was a gold work piece. Although I know most people wouldn’t think it was terribly hard, it was the first time I had tried gold work. The designer had showed the piece at a store I had frequented, and I thought it was beautiful. That’s what inspired me to try, and ultimately complete it.

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  193. I completed one of the Japanese Embroidery Center’s phase 1 projects. It was challenging and a pleasure to learn to stitch with flat silk, and to twist that silk into thread. I learned a lot and it improved all my stitching. I’ve looked at at that Helen Steven’s kit before and would love to try it. It’s beautiful.

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  194. Challenging? Any embroidery project with new and different stitches is challenging! Trying something different is exciting and when it is finished it is definitely an accomplishment. Winning and stitching one of these beautiful kits would be a challenge!

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  195. As a novice needle person I can only admire and dream of gaining the skills needed to work one of these beautiful kits from Inspiration Studio. The Inspirations magazine is always full of spectacular and inspirational works of art.

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  196. My most challenging embroidery project was a rose stumpwork box in “A Passion for Needlework” book. There were so many pieces to stitch and construct, and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get it done! I did finally finish it (nine months after starting it) and was thrilled with the results! I had many reasons for choosing to do the project. The roses were beautiful and so realistic looking, and I wanted to see if I could recreate it. I might also have fallen in love with the tiny little ladybug that was perched within the petals. It also afforded me an opportunity to practice and hone my stumpwork skills.

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  197. My present project is my most ambitious thus far. I am needle painting flower groupings, no two alike, on a tablecloth for my daughter. Perhaps it will be completed by next Christmas! Thank you Mary for this give away opportunity. Happy Holidays to all.

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  198. So t

    Funny story! Really. Ummm the thing is…. technically…..I’ve never actually “completed” a stitching project. I don’t have a single one in a frame, in a drawer, or otherwise, that which I would consider finished. I’m too much of a perfectionist, and even through the learning stages I rip out my work and never complete it. All I have is a graveyard of what I call failed experiments. So that’s my story….

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  199. The most challenging project I have completed is Queen Elizabeth I by Gay Ann Rogers.Actually the first challenging project. By finishing it I have had the courage to go on to others, Jenny Alden Christie’s Harp and what I am working on now, her green mound which will hold her Blue Wren. I have found that the struggle with new stitches and techniques makes the completion of the project satisfying.

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  200. I once did a project by Judy Dixon that was a large hardanger piece. It was lovely, and had lots of wrapped bars, and filling stitches and beads. It took me a long time because I was so careful with it but it turned out beautifully and is still one of my favorite pieces.

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  201. My most challenging project was an embroidered wool applique tabletopper. It was difficult to work with because the wool was so thick and lots of tiny stitches, either beads. But it was a gift, so I had to finish it!

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  202. My most challenging project has to be the beaded knit purse I made for my daughter in law’s wedding. I had to string thousands of beads on a fine crochet cotton and then knit the purse with very fine needles. It turned out beautiful but it will be the only one I ever make. The goldwork I’ve done has been easy by comparison

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  203. The most challenging thing I’ve done is a crewel embroidery kit that used many stitches I’d never done before. I didn’t realize how challenging it would be when I bought the kit, and there were times I thought about substituting a simpler stitch, but I persisted, deciding it was an occasion to push myself and learn more. It came out beautifully!

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  204. My most challenging project? I’m afraid I cannot tell you much about it as it will be printed next year, but it meant the world to me. It is large, round, with many, many french knots. It was an all encompassing project that kept me busy during the past 2 years.

    Mary, your annual giveaways are amazing, as is your blog. Thank you for it.

    Heather M. in Canada

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  205. I have been stitching all my life but still consider myself a beginner. I find any project that requires shading to be my current challenge. I have difficulty making it look smooth. I love ribbon embroidery and have been challenged by some new flower attempts.

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  206. The project that was quite a challenge for me is when I first started to stitch, about 3 yrs ago, I purchased sone kind of cotton that I thought could do the embroidery work. Then I started a project from Trish Burr and I had to fight the whole way through the project with getting through that fabric. Of course, I did not have the right fabric, but I finished the project anyways, and it looks very good.
    I don’t know the name of the fabric, but it is used to make down pillow cover, so it is woven VERY thightly.
    And I would love to win the crewel embroidery kit, because I don’t have the skills to make the others, and I would not want to have one of them sitting in a cabinet.
    I just love the Inspiration Magazine. It is so complete.
    Thank you Mary, and I hope your eyes are back to normal.
    Best wishes to you and your family for this coming Christmas and New Year

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  207. Sadly, it is still in progress. I took a lovely Celtic counted cross-stitch that my husband fell for and modified it for needlepoint – the images are mirrors, so all of my stitches are revered on the right-hand side. To make it more fun it is also on black canvas. 🙂

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  208. First, I have subscribed to Inspirations magazine for many years and it is indeed an inspirational magazine.
    Many years ago my husband and I went to England. On a day trip to Greenwich, I found a needlework shop and spied a needlepoint pillow that I had to have. It started in the center as a square and each row was a different stitch. Stitches I had never seen before. It was fun to do. My first piece of crewelwork was completed when I was in my teens – many years ago. It was a challenge, because I had to learn how to do the stitches on my own. I still have that piece.

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  209. A very large and long panel of flowers which took an age to complete 40 years ago; it competed with 2 children and work………but I completed it and still enjoy looking at it.

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  210. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve completed was a Danish Whitework placemat by Jette Roy Finlay – I took a class through the Embroiderer’s Guild in the late 1990’s. I just loved the pulled work. Although it took a long time to complete, I could not put it down.

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  211. I am at this moment stitching my most challenging which is the Mistletoe from Inspirations magazine. I saw it for the first time earlier this year when I was able to access Inspirations e-magazine through my library. I then saw that someone actually made it and showed their finished project on your Facebook page Needle n’ Thread Community, Mary. I suddenly knew I just had to try it. I have never done anything at all like it in the past and I’m only about halfway done. I am so excited to see the end result but so far it’s been somewhat challenging not only creating but finding all the needed supplies. Wish me luck!

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  212. My most challenging project was 12 individual “birth month flowers” cross-stitched and assembled as hanging sachets. My inspiration: realizing that each of the women I worked with was born in a different month! How amazing is that! The sachets turned out beautifully but it was a challenge to get them all done in time for Christmas.

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  213. Around the World in 80 Stitches was a SAL that our guild did as a group. I am not a counted thread person. I seem to struggle to count to 4 even! My colour scheme went wrong. Oh it was a challenge, but learnt a lot and realized it’s better to attempt smaller projects, and never give up.

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  214. The most challenging work I have recently done was an Amy Mitten design called “Secrets of a Queen – Pat Two.” It is based on the embroidery of Mary, Queen of Scots. I had recently been researching her life and the ability to complete this embroidery was just too much to resist.

    There were a lot of Queen Stitches (of course) and a lot of one over one work It turned out wonderful!

    Linda Schirmer

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  215. I started a sampler as a wedding gift in 2000. I chose to do silk on linen. Eighteen years later I was sick of the sight of it, barely half finished, so I did not pack it when I moved. I may attempt it again, not in silk!, and aim for the couple’s 25th anniversary. Maybe!

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  216. It was a hair pulling hardanger table covering/runner. It was bigger than I ever should have tried so early on, but I fell in love with its beauty. Oh the trap of beauty…Epic fail. I’m not sure what I’d call the end result except a bad version of what I’d hoped for! I couldn’t stand to look at my poor copy, it was an insult to the eyes & couldn’t be un-seen. I laugh now. But I cried then. Tears of pain having to see my ridiculous blob of miscounted blocks, crooked everything, & a mismash of tortured threads. I’m better now. In my acceptance of failure anyway.

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  217. The mushroom kit is very cute.

    The most challenging project I have completed — well, that leaves out lots of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects). The most challenging award goes to the Teresa Wentzler anniversary sampler that I tried to finish before out 25th wedding anniversary. I think I actually finished it before our 26th. (We just celebrated our 51st.) The number of colors of thread, the number of times the color of thread I was using changed, the over-one stitches, and the number of symbols used added up to lots of work for a lovely, treasured, and finished piece.

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  218. My most challenging embroidery project to day is one that is nearly finished. It’s a 3D embroidery project of my own design, and includes paper art as well. Almos there!!

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  219. My most difficult project to date is the Roses in blackwork by Carol Algie Higginbotham. It was a Group Correspondence Course from EGA. I took the project because I really wanted to try hard at a counted project. I succeeded, but counting is still not my thing. Maybe I get bored/have ADD/poor vision? The framed piece is hung proudly on a wall I look at every day.

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  220. The most challenging project? Hmm… I found the silk shading unit of the RSN’s certificate pretty challenging but then it was supposed to be! I think my most challenging was probably a late Elizabethan jacket that I intended to embroider with a pattern of grapes and grape vine… (purple and green: my favourite colour combination) It was for an event in the summer and I realised that although I was able to do it, I really needed help to get it done in time. So my mother helped out and revived her long-neglected embroidery skills, and we both stitched like mad women to get the project done (we managed it!). It was the first time I’d worked with my mother, and now when we look at it, we can’t tell who stitched which bit – our styles proved to be exactly the same!

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  221. Beautiful kits!! The most challenging project for me was a rose in needlelace stumpwork. It was an assessment piece in my course, inspired by the rosebushes I’d planted in my garden

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  222. I learn something new in each article. The most difficult project I ever did was a counted cross stitch tree that was designed as Celtic knots. It was the first project that I ever used hand dyed floss for and the learning curve was steep at the beginning. It took me two years to finish. It was a gift for my daughter and she loves it.

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  223. I started a pieced block-of-the-month quilt designed by our local quilt shop owner. The main fabric was a floral of roses. I had chosen a dotted white plain background for 20 of the squares to highlight the pieced work. It felt somewhat lacking so I embroidered a different floral design on each 10″ square. When “Nancy’s Flower Garden” was submitted to our local quilt guild at their fall show in 2019, I was awarded a blue ribbon…first place in the hand embroidered quilt category. It is a treasured completed project that will eventually be handed to my one and only granddaughter, Cora.

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  224. I wrote this article for my guild’s newsletter. The Hardest Thing I Ever Stitched

    A few years ago I stitched Amy Mitten’s mermaid.

    The project that had several pieces. I didn’t think the fish would turn out. But it did. (Amy Mitten is a genius) I stitched this shell.
    It was the hardest thing I ever stitched. Why? Because I kept getting lost. The design is based on a real shell.

    I had a terrible time. At the time I didn’t know any tricks or tips to help me from getting lost. Since stitching this I have learned some things that help with getting lost.
    When stitching a full coverage piece I learned that stitching some guide lines really helps. A fellow stitcher, Cathy Boyd, showed me that stitching lines that correspond to the ten by ten grid of the chart with this thread works very well. It is Sulky Holoshimmer thread.

    You can’t pierce this thread with a needle and it is easy to pull out when your are done with it. It is sparkly and easy to see.

    Highlighter tape also helps your eyes focus on where you are working on a chart. It is removable when you are done.

    I like to make a copy of the chart and cross out the ten by ten squares as I finish them with a highlight marker.

    You can buy special fabric with the ten by ten squares marked by a colored thread. I haven’t mastered using this fabric. I keep forgetting which thread marks the edge of the square so I find it confusing but many people who stitch Heaven and Earth full coverage designs use it.

    There is a computer program called Pattern Keeper that helps a stitcher see and keep track of her/his stitches. I admit that I don’t count stitches or use this. This program doesn’t work on the IPad. There are several You Tube videos that show how to use the program. I think it would be handy to have stitches of a certain color highlighted on the program.

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  225. The most challenging project I did was a Hungarian Kalocsa embroidery runner. I wanted to make it because my Grandmother had taught me Hungarian embroidery. She was very proud of it.
    I had it on stretcher bars. The work must be the same on the front as the back, no crossovers, no knots. I still have it on stretcher bars and have it hung up. I made it in the 80’s. Each time I look at it, it reminds me of my Grandmother making me tear out sloppy work. It had to be perfect! Now, I have designed Hungarian Kalocsa embroidered hearts that sell like crazy, especially at Valentine’s Day and Christmas. I can’t make enough of them. Speaking of which, I must make more today for a Hungarian Food and Hungarian Items show tomorrow.

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  226. The most challenging project (for me) was Debbie Rowley’s Royal Garden. Every. Single. Stitch must be counted, and correct placement is crucial so that the next ones fit where they are supposed to.

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  227. The most challenging project was Nyzynka project – a type of counted Ukrainian embroidery from the Lviv region. The challenge was figuring out how to embroider a “museum quality” piece. I couldn’t find instructions on how to hide the colored threads on the back. I need to meet someone who does or knows how to stitch this type of embroidery.

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  228. The most challenging project – I designed and stitched was from a photo I took when my husband and I visited my son in California. He took us to the ocean to show my husband how to surf fish for the first time at a beautiful beach with high cliffs. I painted the fabric showing water, beach, sky and the cliffs. Then stitched and applied other painted fabric for cliffs and two stump figures (my first attempt) with long fishing rods and added machine embroidery for surf along with attached shells and other surface stitching. I wanted to have a personal reminder of our visit and this photo inspired me to try my hand ending in what I would call folk art and have received many compliments on this. I love incorporating many techniques especially surface stitching, etc. Phyllis M.

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  229. The most challenging piece I have ever finished is my Elizabeth I portrait by Gay Ann Rogers. I am a fan of all things “Gloriana” and had to stitch her when she was released! Now I have my eye on Trisha Nyuen’s caskets which YOU influenced me to purchase. I need to get a bit braver and frame it up and get started!!!

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  230. The most challenging for me was a rabbit in a meadow. The rabbit was done in long and short stitch, and was the first time I’d used that stitch. I still struggle with it at times! The finished piece was framed and given to my younger sister as a gift. She had several pet rabbits at the time.

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  231. I made a counted piece on linen that was very complex with lots of different stitches. I bought the companion piece but have made it through very little if it. I don’t know how I saw it last time, the linen is 40 count and I am having difficulty now even with my magnifier.

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  232. I am relatively new to embroidery with limited projects completed. I have found the repetition of working on a red work quilt the most difficult due to its uncomplicated stitches. There were multiple panels of repeated design and after the first couple it became apparent that I was getting bored with the project, however I found my rhythm and pushed through. The end product was surprisingly satisfying.

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  233. My most challenging project (so far) has been the Millennium Cut-work Sampler by Sharon Cohen that was presented in the Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly magazine. I worked it last year as my pandemic learning project because I knew I would have concentrated time for it during lockdown. I had done cutwork before, but never something as elaborate with all the needle lace that this sampler contains. I love Inspirations magazines & books & have many of their kits in my stash, but none of the ones offered in the give away. I would be thrilled to receive any one of them!

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  234. Using Pepper Cory’s sashico dragon stencil I stitched the entire piece with beads because threads did not due the dragon justice!!

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  235. I have oh so many challenging pieces started but not completed. I promise to be better at follow through. Really! I promise!

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  236. Before lockdown I did some classes with “that embroidery girl” and made a 3D seahorse with metal threads. I learnt so much and the seahorse is now on a hand bag.

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  237. Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it! – The garden sampler I just finished. I had a new flower each week and then looked up the flower to find a color, looked through my over=dyed cotton threads to find an appropriate thread to stitch the flower. It was a lot of fun and I learned new flowers.

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  238. Last year I designed and made a 3D replica of the octagonal clock tower that my small town is famous for… I readily admit we’re not all that famous. Inspired by the RSN’s Embroidered Boxes book, it was challenge to get the details right while keeping it all to scale. It consists of three separate boxes that stack together and the whole thing is about 10″ high. I love it. There are four clock faces each showing the time eight-twenty. Why? Well, that’s 2020 in military time!

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  239. I’m fairly new to embroidery, so any project that I design myself is challenging. There are so many decisions to make: type of fabric, type of thread, colors, stitches, etc. !

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  240. Definitely the most difficult project I have ever worked on would be the needlepoint animal kits that I purchased from the RSN. There are two canvases of a badger and a fox, that I consider to be one project because I plan to make two matched chairs (one for each canvas) to use as “library chairs”. They will go in front of my library wall. The canvases were hand painted and they are gorgeous on their own. I found the stitching to be difficult because the colours are artistically painted and blending. That makes it difficult to define which colour goes where. I have created a stitching corner, purchased a chair, a standing frame and an Ott light to be able to distinguish which colour goes where. I have to say that they have provided me with HOURS of stitching pleasure and (by time I finish them) something remarkable to bequeath to my son!

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  241. The most difficult project I ever did was a wedding sampler for my niece. It was cross stitch on linen. It included beadwork on the bridal gown. I was on a very tight time table to finish it. But I finished it two days before the wedding and my framer had the frame ready so she quickly got it framed. 26 years later it still hangs in my nieces home.

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  242. My most challenging project was one for an online Sue Spargo class. Everything was new – working with wool, different weights of thread, all the new stitches she described, adding beads and other embellishments. But I loved all of it and have gone on to use these techniques in several more projects.

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  243. The most challenging project I have ever completed was a stumpwork turtle adapted from an Inspirations pattern as part of a going-away gift for a friend who is an artist with a strong streak of whimsy. It was my first time working with either needlepainting or stumpwork, and (just to make things more difficult) I reduced the size of the pattern, which made the whole process much more fiddly than expected. It did look cute mounted on the towel, in the end, though, and it was fun to give to her. My one regret is I forgot to take a photo of the project before giving it away…

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  244. My first embroidery project beyond the stem stitched kitchen towel was the most challenging as it involved a variety of new stitches. Your videos got me through it, one little step at a time, so valuable! I’m still amazed I completed that project as it was quite challenging.

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  245. The hardest project I ever tackled was an RSN Goldwork certificate course. I felt I was way over my head, however, I loved the technique and was determined to enroll and complete the course. I did and was successful!

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  246. I’ve always been a pretty solid traditionalist. Of late, I have been branching out. Just now I’m working on a project with wool appliqué and embroidery with embellishments of beads and buttons. I’m having a great time with it and looking forward to stretching my skills even more.

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  247. Good morning from the beautiful Pacific Northwest! My most challenging project was satin stitching leaves onto a small wall hanging gift for a friend. First, I don’t seem to do satin stitches well, I have to learn to keep them lined up nicely. I also struggle with the Fishbone stitch. Thank you, Mary

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  248. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed is a cross stitch one. It’s the representation of a beautiful cat with tons and tons and tons of colors, LOL. It took me 2 years to complete and it’s a beautiful project that I will treasure for years.

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  249. The most challenging piece I worked on was a pulled thread project. I haven’t done much pulled thread work and wanted to learn more about the technique. It was very detailed and took much longer than I anticipated. I found a piece of fabric my late mom had in her stash that would be perfect for the lining, so really wanted to finish it. I’m really glad I stuck with it because it is is now a treasured piece and came out beautifully and is like having a small piece of my Mom with me.

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  250. My most challenging project….1 meter x 1 meter linen panel with many types of tropical fish using a myriad of stitches:silk shading, satin stitch, chain stitch, stem stitch, buttonhole stitch, backstitch, palestrina stitch,split stitch, French knots, fishbone stitch etc

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  251. A stumpwork strawberry I made in a workshop with Denise Forsythe. The strawberries were featured on a cover of Inspirations a couple of years ago. I’d always wanted to try stumpwork.

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  252. I think the most challenging projects are those we prepare for someone very special or for special events. Even if stitches or designs are easy, we hope the final result will be a good gift, it’s a gift from our hart. We hope people will love our work.

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  253. Mary, I have so loved finding you several years back, all your helps, tips, patterns and more at needlenthread.
    I think my most challenging project, that is finished (smile), is from Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano. My interpretation of her Garden Memories. Learning perspective in distance of a cottage among flowers. Especially when I cannot draw a square. I love the work and it sits in a beveled glass antique frame to enjoy.

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  254. Inspirations has a lovely newsletter with lots of eye candy!
    I embroidered four(4) napkins onto a bright yellow cotton blend fabric, which included daisies and strawberries! I was 16 years old, (many, many moons ago) which made it most challenging, as I was just learning to embroider (from my very patient mother). Inked tissue paper, ironed onto fabric with suggested stitches in the accompanied instructions – the most difficult for me – the satin stitch! They were destined for my hope chest collection and I still have them to this day 50+ years later!

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  255. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve ever done was a Victorian Christmas stocking for my first daughter. It was an intensely intricate picture of a little girl who looked like my daughter with a traditional pic of ol’ St. Nick.

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  256. Tanja Berlin’s Miniature Landscape was the most challenging embroidery project I have ever completed. I was inspired to stitch it because Tanja was teaching it in an online class and I wanted to learn long and short stitch in more detail than I have from books. Tanja’s online classes have been the best of any classes I have taken online or in person and the best way for me to learn. I would not normally have attempted to stitch on a such a tiny scale but I knew I would learn a lot – and I did – and the colors and design are beautiful. The Miniature Landscape is on sale as her kit of the month for December and I find the in-progress photos and extra instructions in her class PDFs really helpful. Her website berlinembroidery.com is wonderful even just for looking at her designs in so many different techniques.

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  257. I just recently finished my most ambitious, and challenging, project as a Christmas gift. It is a detailed depiction of my sister in law’s new house. I’ve never stitched anything where accuracy made such a big difference!
    It seemed like the most fitting thing to encapsulate a big year for her family, but now I have the bug and have started planning similar gifts for my parents.

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  258. What beautiful kits! I just finished a crewel embroidery project
    From the crewel work company. It was called Easops animals, and
    Each month you did a different bird or animal, for 11 months.
    I loved each one, and it was a challange to complete each months kit
    And keep on scedule, but I now have 11 finished pieces, and cant wait to
    Have them framed, in groups, I think. Seasons greetings to all!
    Sue in Bermuda.

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  259. Fiona Allen

    A Mountmellick embroidery! I was inspired by a visit to the town of Mountmellick where my great grandmother was born.

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  260. My most challenging project was a redwork Santa. It was challenging because it was so big, and intricate. I was determined to finish it just because I liked it so much. It has been coming out to display every Christmas for the last 25 years.

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  261. Last year I was asked by my Sister-In-Law to embroider a linen runner as a gift for her son and daughter-in-law’s first wedding anniversary. The theme was about the joining of two families together. My brother, an accomplished woodworker, was making the couple a maple buffet cabinet and the runner was to adorn it.

    The wedding had taken place in Sedona, Arizona, so to honor that, the design was a large Echeveria succulent in the center with the word “Familia” above it. I bought some adult coloring books of cacti and succulents and found the perfect picture to use. Having figured out the floss colors to use, blue greens and magenta for the petal edges, I outlined each petal for a few rows, leaving the centers open. It was stitched mainly in chain stitch.

    On each end of the runner I embroidered their monogram in satin stitch. Also on one side of the succulent was the wedding location and on the other side the wedding date.

    I was intimidated at first by all the choices and decisions to be made! However I persevered, and my family was thrilled with the result!

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  262. My most challenging project was a series of squashes, wool appliqué, highly embellished with embroidery stitches. There are 9 patches. A pattern for each came once a week during the pandemic, and I challenged myself to finish one each week.

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  263. Your giveaways are so generous. I love the Helen Steven’s kit as she has always been a favorite of mine. I hope I win!!

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  264. My most difficult project was done on sheer fabric. It was difficult to stop and start a thread because you could see everything from the front. Also the holes in the fabric were large so that made it difficult to be accurate. But I LOVE the look of sheer, so I persevered and finished three items as a gift for my daughter. They turned out lovely.

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  265. My challenges usually involve taking years to finish something, so finishing Villages of Hawk Run Hollow as well as Thea Gouverneur Coffee cups was a big deal for me

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  266. I love stumpwork and saw the cutest design with leaves and berries and decided I had to give it a go but I under estimated how fiddly it would be to work with all those teeny tiny beads to make the berries. I love your website, always something new to discover ,keep up the good work.

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  267. I stitched an icon of Christ in Opus Anglicanum techniques. It took a long time as I used very fine silk threads for His face and hands. It was my first attempt at such fine stitching and took me two years, between other projects.

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  268. The most challenging project I’ve completed to date is Thistle Threads Gentleman’s Glittering Nightcap. I was inspired by the glittery gilt silk twist and goldwork threads, but I also considered the project to be practice for eventually doing a stumpwork casket. Not only was it my first time using gst, but also my first experience with needlelace. And I have started my casket (one side complete!).

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  269. A simple counted cross stitch on aida cloth of a picnic basket with quilt. I was recovering from a stroke and my daughter thought it might help me with my lazy left arm. It sure did, it took me 6 months but I finished the project and it is now hanging on my wall. 7 years on I now belong to three sewing and embroidery groups and love it.

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  270. The most challenging project I’ve ever completed was probably Tudor Rose & Pomegranate by Cynthia Jackson. By coincidence this goldwork project was also part of the Handpicked series from Inspirations!

    It was my second goldwork project (after a great class I took from Mike Parr at the 2019 EGA seminar in St Louis) and it really tested my goldwork skills. I learned a lot from it and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

    But it doesn’t hold a candle to the challenge of one of my current projects: the Four Seasons Double Casket by Tricia Wilson Nguyen of Thistle Threads. But that one will take years for me to finish! I only finished four panels of it this year.

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  271. Years ago my beloved Godmother asked if I’d embroider a kit she’d seen. She’d never asked me for anything before. So then came the kit. My very first crewel project – a stand of birch trees and a waterfall. Satin stitching trees! Creating thread turbulence! Horrors! I did it with love.

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  272. The most challenging embroidery project that I ever completed was a decorative banner with various seasonal/holiday elements that could be attached/detached. My mother had purchased the project as a kit many years ago but never worked on it, so I was motivated to finally put it to use after finding it in her stash.
    Thank you for offering this great giveaway!

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  273. My most challenging project was also my first. I embroidered a pair of jeans in high school in the early seventies. It took me several months and I’ve kept them all these years even though I’ll NEVER be able to fit in them again! Embroidering on denim while trying to master the stitches is not something I’d recommend!

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  274. The most challenging piece I have done, which I have about one more hr. Of stitching to complete is Hazel Blomkamp’s piece called “Nigel”. It was an online class because the seminar was cancelled. I decided I wanted to learn needle lace and needelweaving and also challenge myself. When I began I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it but as she said in the class, look at one section at a time and enjoy the whole process..and that’s what I did. This piece gave me the confidence I needed to continue to learn next embroidery techniques.

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  275. I’m not sure if it was the most challenging but it was certainly the most tedious. Years ago I cross stitched a replica of a large Danish sampler. Oh, my, the counting! Since it was composed of isolated motifs – a lot of them – counting had to be accurate and there was no set pattern to follow. I enjoyed every minute but the stress of not wanting to make a mistake was constant. I’m certainly proud of the result and it still hangs on the wall of my guest bath.

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  276. The most difficult project I ever attempted was Fandango, an Embroiderer’s Guild Group Correspondence Course. I believe there were 18 that signed up and maybe one or two really understood what we getting into. Oh we stitched together, moaned together, cried together and stitched some more. Fandango is a Punto Antico project on 32-count linen. I am blind in one eye and have a small cataract in the other! I think 5 of the group finished and the remainder of us added it to the UFO pile.

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  277. My most challenging embroidery project was a sewing Machine cover with all new to me stitches. what a learning curve!

    Love all the tips and techniques I’ve learned.

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  278. The most difficult project I’ve ever completed was the Mistletoe Bell project by Julie Knidel that was in Inspirations a few years ago. I gave it to my aunt for Christmas and she keeps it out all year because she knows how much time went into it!

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  279. I’m afraid my embroideries usually aren’t very challenging lol, but the project that comes closest to being a challenge, was a cross-stitched, doll’s house-sized “persian rug”.
    No real inspiration behind it, other than I thought it was/is gorgeous 🙂

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  280. I have lots of projects that I have not gotten to yet but right now I am working on a Halloween Quilt that is turning out very cute.

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  281. I’m still working on my most challenging project, a confession stole. A friend watched me finish my 1st embroidery project, a scapular, & inspired me with templates she said I could handle. Whew, lol, 2 yrs later still a work in progress, but it will be amazing

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  282. Since my forays into surface embroidery has been quite simplistic, it’ll be a few cross stitch projects. I did a couple of Teresa Wenztler complimentary charts (Celtic Cross and Futurecast) … on Aida cloth. For those not familiar with her charts, Wentzler uses a *lot* of quarter stitches, which aren’t fun on Aida. Also, I had to select the colorway, something that was totally out of my comfort zone. But I did it.

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  283. My hardest (and, so far, only) finished embroidery project is a Victorian purse I designed and did entirely from scratch – the pattern, freehanded the embroidery, and basically did all of the newbie mistakes. I have a number of in-progress pieces, like buttons and another purse, but I’ve since learned how to trace patterns. Still, it was fun!

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  284. My most challenging project was a small needlepoint sunflower and the entire center was done in beading. I love it. I love all forms of stitching techniques and look forward to learning more. Thank you for these giveaways and the the great advice you always are so eager to share.

    Melinda

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  285. The most challenging project is something I’m still working on. It is counted canvas. I really enjoy surface embroidery and I haven’t done any counted canvas so it is challenging because I really have to keep counting and keeping track of what I’m doing. No watching a movie while doing this project.

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  286. The most challenging embroidery project I ever stitched has to be the wrapping cloth I made for my daughter’s 40th birthday. Fashioned from old, rescued, and new white cloth, with a bit of a wild fabric tossed in here and there for a spot of colour, it eventually measured just shy of 5 feet by 58″, had 97 pockets, and was covered in buttonhole lace, tatting, surface embroidery, beads, laces, and ribbon. A labour of love, it took 5 years to make, in between other projects, and I enjoyed every minute working on it.

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  287. It was a teeny, tiny (1″ x 2″) alphabet sampler with floral bands. It was done on 40 count mesh/gauze like fabric. I was only able to work on it for small amounts of time, even with a magnifier. I found a perfect little frame and it turned out quite nice. I’ll never try it again, tough!

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  288. Probably the most challenging is the one I am working on right now. The 17th Century-style beading project: “Beneath the Post Oak”. It is ALL beads (#15). Many techniques! Some things I have NEVER done! While it is a big project, I really wanted to learn something new and Rachael Kinneson is an awesome teacher and doesn’t let me fail!

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  289. I started a cross stitch kit back in the 90’s that has more than 80 colors in it. I still don’t have it done!

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  290. My most challenging project was Mary Corbet’s Lattice Jumble Sampler. I was inspired to try because this pattern is very different from anything I had done before and the colors drew me in. The stitches were a real stretch for me, but I had fun in the process and it came out beautifully. Hope I can win one of these kits from Inspiration!
    Thanks
    Beth R.
    Pennsylvania

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  291. The most challenging needle work project I have started but not completed, because it is challenging. It is Inspirations rose box. I chose it because I like stump work and I thought the box was pretty. I hope to complete it in 2022.

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  292. Years ago I purchased a Colleen Goy moth embroidery kit in Umhlanga in South Africa. Not long after this I had to fly home to Zimbabwe where my mother was in hospital, terminally ill. I would sit on the verandah of this beautiful old hospital, just outside her room, embroidering this intricate moth, to try and cope with the inevitable loss of my Mum. One of the nuns would came and sit with me and we’d just chat, about my Mum, who had worked as an RN in that hospital for years, about embroidery and just about life. It was hard because it was an intricate embroidery with lots of new stitches, but also hard because I created it whilst my Mum was preparing to leave this world.

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  293. Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I completed a crewel pillow case. I taught myself the stitches – there was no you tube back then. I still have that pillow!!

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  294. The most difficult project I’ve completed was a reproduction sampler I stitched about 25 years ago. At the time I didn’t know any better, but there was a border that should have been traced onto the fabric but I stitched it by eyeballing the chart. This was also the first piece I stitched that wasn’t all cross stitch. In addition to the “freehand” there were several other charted stitched involved. I completed it in order to not be like my mom – she was a great starter of projects, but not a great finisher of projects.

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  295. The most challenging stitching project – hmm… Perhaps it was the first embroidery project I did many, many years ago that included all sorts of new-to-me stitches. It could also be the latest finished project, Ann Morison – with 16-leg Algerian eyelets. Or – it could be Coming to America because it was so big and I love looking at it on my wall – finished!! I like challenges!

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  296. My most challenging in a fun way was a kit using a lot of new stitches to me. So I learned and felt quite proud at the final product.

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  297. My most challenging embroidery project was one for my oldest daughter. It was in a wooden picture frame that was a window into a little girl’s bedroom, with all the bedroom decor embroidered, including the bed, wick was a pocket for an actual (also embroidered) doll and her embroidered doll to slip into. It was an adorable little kit from Creative Circle, more than 30yrs ago. The biggest challenge was that the fabric ravelled TERRIBLY. Oh – and trying to keep it hidden from my then 2yr old daughter!
    And, oh, my goodness, this mushroom is just so stinking CUTE!!!

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  298. Sue Spargo’s 2021 BOM Truffle Duffle. Thirty 6″ by 6″ embroidered panels of mushrooms on felt and cotton appliqué. So many new stitches. Still working on it.
    Love the mushroom kit!

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  299. the most challenging embroidery project I’ve ever completed was a design by Susan O’Connor with wee tiny stumpwork flowers on top of all the beautiful silk thread stitches.

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  300. I am 74 years old and have watched the ups and downs of many crafts throughout the years. It has been a joy to see embroidery grow to become a means for so many to express themselves in so many different ways: beauty, one’s inner thoughts and emotions, social commentary, tradition, to name a few. And it has been fabulous to have teachers devote time and energy to share their knowledge on-line so that this particular textile wonderfulness can be shared with so many. Thank you, Mary. And thanks to Inspirations for seeking out and presenting such a variety of projects designed by some of the most creative designers. I am set in my ways and really only like to do certain types of embroidery and I also think that trying to design one’s own embroidery or even choose the threads when using a kit helps you to grow in this medium. But I recognize that to learn a new technique through a kit or to “collaborate” with a designer (I think Helen Steven’s designs are lovely) to bring forth a finished embroidery is also inspiring and worthy of effort.

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  301. My most challenging embroidery were two picture wall hangings for two grandchildren. I wanted them to be fun and yet something they could appreciate when they grew older. I tried to personalize them and hope they will want to keep them.

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  302. The most elaborate stitching were 2 Norwegian Kloster wall hangings. I did them several years ago. I have also done some counted cross stitch pictures.

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  303. My most challenging project was a cross stitched sailing ship. The multiple shades of brown, creams, and blues with differently blending of the colors within the sails taught me a lot about tracking where I was stitching.
    We are a Navy family and the ship was for my son. It took me 4 years to complete it and another 20 to get it framed:)!

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  304. Stumpwork Strawberry with goldwork.
    I was fasinated with the stumpwok techinque and no classes avaliable (this was about 15 yrs ago) So, I bought some books and just went at it. I LOVE the techinque and have completed dozens of different projects each with a new aspect of stumpwork.

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  305. My most challenging embroidery was a crewel work cat when I was still a beginner. It was a challenge because of following a chart and trying to figure out which colors went where. The cat’s face was hidden in a bunch of flowers. I finished it because I loved the piece. I should say that this was a dimensions kit.

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  306. The most challenging project I have ever done was of the Holy Family. It took a couple of years but I finished for my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary.

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  307. I recently completed “Maureen, the Owl” from “Crewel Creatures” by Hazel Blomkamp. I got the book as a gift after seeing it reviewed on this website. The pattern was very tricky, with many stitches and techniques I had never tried before — so I really learned a lot! The needle weaving was challenging and fun and rewarding. The resulting project gets raves from all who see it.

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  308. I have just completed my first full embroidery project so it was all challenging but loved every stitch I put into it. I am hooked.

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  309. To me all of my embroidery projects present some challenge as I find that I choose a project to learn a new technique. The one that thus far has presented me with the most complexity is the one where I used a doodle cloth the most. This project was the picture of a bee with outspread wings. After outlining the wings, the first area stitched was the interior of the wings in needlelace stitches. Oh, this surface embroidery technique is exquisite and I quickly learned that it requires a certain consistent tension besides a knack to compensate for the space shape. Hence, I needed to do much practicing before I reached a level of proficiency when I felt competent enough to stitch the actual piece. Even the other sections of the “Bee” introduced new techniques for me – new stitches like weaving and beaded flowers. It is now framed and hangs in a spot where I pass daily. I am very pleased with the result.

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  310. Having worked as a Christian Educator for 20+ years, the first time I saw Mary’s liturgical symbol patterns, I knew I had to try them. Each symbol was so meaningful to me, I was inspired to make them for Christmas gifts. The first ornament I had silk thread (a first at the time) and size 15 gold and white pearl seed beads. I had never worked with either but finally completed my project! It wasn’t perfect but kept trying. Now, several years later, I stitch them every year for Christmas gifts and the quality has improved tremendously!

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  311. The most challenging project I’ve actually completed was probably two embroidered books I made for friends. Each is made with embroidered covers (simple part – worked on those plastic canvas squares you can get), embroidered pages (some cotton and some felt) with embroidered felt ornaments in various pockets and bound together with thread and beads. It is probably safe to say that, whatever their deficiencies, they are unique! The content of the two books is quite different: one is a memorial; the other a celebration. Both feature felt-cat-chains and various fold-out bits. They are a bit weird. There’s nothing particularly difficult about them. They are just very, very peculiar to both the people they were designed for and in methods and construction.

    The most challenging project I have not (yet!) completed is a piece of canvas-work which has developed in somewhat unexpected and various directions.

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  312. My most challenging embroidery project so far is a set of bread basket liners with quotes about bread with illustrative pictures simple and decorative embellishments. Challenging because it’s my first endeavor from scratch.

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    1. I must add a correction…..the most challenging project I ever completed was a pre-stamped cross-stitch quilt top I made for my mother. After about three blocks I hated the process but did finish the twelve identical blocks. Boredom was the obstacle….all those big printed X X X X X.

  313. Passionflora by Jenny Christie Adin. An amazing stumpwork project I was lucky to get to do a class with Jenny on a trip to England

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  314. Hi Mary,
    This is Cindy Matz. I would say the most challenging embroidery project I have tried is a table runner with sunflowers. In the picture I could tell they used thread painting, though I didn’t know it had a name at the time, nor had I found your website and all your helpful emails and projects. So I purchased a variety of yellows to try my hand at this new thing I’d just discovered in embroidery pictures!

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  315. The most challenging embroidery I have done is crewelwork similar to the Inspiration crewel picture. I loved learning and working on it. What inspired me to do that embroidery was that it was so beautiful and it looked challenging. It helped me learn new techniques.

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  316. The most challenging embroidery project was my first stumpwork class and I was inspired by seeing the beautiful work done by a member of my EGA guild.
    Thanks Inspirations and Mary!

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  317. I think the most challenging, fun and enjoyable pieces that I have stitched would be a Sampler of the Niagara Region. It had rows and rows of many intricate stitches, beading and some wonderful specialty threads on a piece of fine linen.

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  318. I discovered stumpwork at the beginning of the covid epidemic…….I had bought the book “The Complete Book of Embroidery by Jane Nicholas”………..Determined to learn…. I stitched her “Dragonfly and Berries” pattern…….thru perseverance I learned this beautiful embroidery technique during the covid confinement at home……Probably the most difficult project I’ve taken on so far…….Now I’m hooked!!!!

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  319. The most challenging was a wedding dress stitched for my daughter. One thread over 0ne thread. All white, cream, ecru, tan, etc. Very hard to see the differences. Someone asked what it would cost to have one done. I told him he didn’t have enough money. Only done as a labor of love.

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  320. Many many years ago I purchased a crewel embroidery kit. The drawing was of 2 Asian birds and was adapted from antique Chinese wallpaper. 16 x 20 inches. Whew!!
    Considering I’d never done crewel before, it still looks pretty good after all these years!!

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  321. The most challenging embroidery project I ever did was a counted cross stitch picture of a magnolia flower done on black fabric. It called for about 14 different shades of off-white, cream, and ecru and probably about as many shades of green. I finally realized that it didn’t really matter if I made “mistakes” as no one was ever going to look at the pattern and say, do you see this color here – it’s the wrong one. It came out absolutely gorgeous. I gave it to my mother, and got it back when she passed. I remember her every day when I look at it.

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  322. Our chapter did a GCC called Maharaja’s Elephant by Mary Long and I signed up not knowing what I was getting myself into. The whole body of the elephant was a specific pattern and had to be followed carefully. The elephant’s ear was done separately and attached after everything else was done. It was challenging, but I was so glad I did it. It is framed beautifully and makes me proud to have accomplished it.

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  323. The most challenging piece of embroidery I have ever done by far is to finish an incomplete piece of crewel work which was given to me by a friend and had been started by her husband’s great grandmother over a hundred years ago. I was in awe of the skill of this incredible needle woman and felt it a privilege to be able to complete it, although humbled by the comparison between her work and mine!

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  324. My most challenging piece is the one I’m currently working on. A Ukrainian cushion by a talented NZ designer , Julie Clemett.

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  325. My most challenging embroidery project ever was Jacobean Brilliance, a goldwork class I took in 2013 with Alison Cole. It was my first foray into goldwork and the class time was just not quite adequate to master each technique. Somehow I had managed to get some of my gold threads into the wrong packages and finally reached out to Alison, who set me straight. It is a lovely piece and well worth the number of times I unpicked a stitch to try and lay my gold threads just so! For all of my classmates who haven’t finished the piece yet because they were going to improve their skills first, the only way to improve your skills is to work away at it!

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  326. My biggest challenge to date is ongoing; I decided to create a set of four seasonal dish towels for each of our married nieces. I am using mostly your designs (I did draw one of my own) and have learned some new stitches to use on them. The primary challenge is the timeline. I have made 27 dishtowels in 18 months.

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  327. Probably the most challenging was a cross stitch kit on a very small linen which I did because I loved the pattern and colors.

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  328. Hi, Mary,

    The most challenging project for me was my first one, a (supposedly) cross-stitch nametag for the local Embroidery Guild, because I didn’t know what I was doing. How to start and end threads, when to carry threads, how to keep track of a counted chart … nope. I didn’t know any of it.

    I ended up making a freestyle surface embroidery nametag instead. It was cute!

    Beth

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  329. In all honesty, I don’t remember. I have stitched so much took a break from embroidery and started knitting. Some of the things I am working on now are a challenge.

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  330. Oooo….that mushroom makes my heart skip a beat!!! My most challenging piece was a piece of counted work that I designed myself. It was an ocean scene with a sunrise done in multiple types of bargello in various types of threads. On top of that I attached Stumpwork fish in Stumpwork weeds and a Stumpwork jellyfish. All of those elements were covered with fine tulle to simulate them being underwater. So fun!!!

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  331. My most challenging embroidery project was my first project, a dresser scarf with morning glories that my aunt gave me to do when I was bored on summer vacation. Ever since then the challenge of my projects has been eclipsed by the joy of stitching and creating!

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  332. The most challenging project was embroidering hidden messages and pictures into a quilt. It was huge, and I needed to plan the placements of all the hidden items carefully. It was both a joy and very tiring.

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  333. My first embroidery projects were cross-stitch and they were quite small. A friend had started Theresa Wentzler’s “Peacock” and I fell in love with this design. It is 22″ x 14″ and took over a year and a half to complete. It’s now hanging in my dining room and I’m extremely happy with it. From there I have gone on to other forms of embroidery.

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  334. I only recently started embroidery, as a way to occupy my hands while my new-born son was nursing or sleeping in my arms. The hardest piece I’ve done was a crewel embroidery which was similar in design to the Helen Stevens piece above, but less detailed. It has a ring of flowers and pine cones and greenery, and inside the ring are two small dragonflies. I put it down several times and almost didn’t finish it but I wasn’t willing to give up on it and I didn’t want to start another piece until I had completed it. It turned out beautifully so I’m really glad I took the time and effort to finish.

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  335. I embroidered 12 different vintage dresses to sew into a quilted wall hanging. I was inspired by another embroiderer/quilter who made the quilt and shared her version with my quilt group.

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  336. My most challenging project to date was the Poppy Pin, designed by Allison Cole. It was my first time working Goldwork. Thank goodness it was a instructed course offered at our Canadian Embroiders Seminar. I certainly has given me the confidence to look for other courses in Goldwork for future projects

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  337. The most challenging project for me was a stamped baby quilt of a bear sitting among books ready to cross stitch. It was already quilted and finished. So all the stitches needed to be done ‘between’ the layers to keep the back of the quilt neat. Also, I had to decide right from the beginning if I will cross stitched the X point to point or leave a tiny space as the stamped quilt showed. I chose to quilt point to point. The quilt turned out beautifully and it was for one of my grand-daughter.

    353
  338. My most challenging project was a cross-stitch poem I made for my new mother-in-law when I was first married. I worked on it for months & had to redo parts of it…& it was stored in her attic all the years I knew her so I should have made one for someone else! Oh well. It did not stop me from creating for others myself & others!

    354
  339. My most challenging project to date is one designed by Cynthia Jackson of Canada, a gold work Mariner’s Compass. It enabled me to improve my skills with metal threads, and I was thrilled that it came out so well. To top it off, my framer did a super job with it when we decided it should be in a 3-D box that looked rather like a porthole. I felt both of us extended ourselves on this project.

    355
  340. I haven’t done an embroidery kit yet! I have done red work Kits. My last one was ABC of Christmas and so happy it is done for this Christmas for my grandsons to enjoy. Would love to try an embroidery kit, a little scared I wouldn’t be able to complete it.

    356
  341. I tend to overthink things so designing is a big challenge for me. Creating an embroidery for the quote “Be as a lamp onto one who walks in darkness” was difficult. I ended up incorporating a number of new techniques to get the results that I wanted but it was for an art show so it did get completed and to my delight someone curating another art show requested it. Very satisfying in the end.

    357
  342. My most challenging was a hardanger table runner when I had only made one small Christmas ornament before. I really liked the design and the effect. It took me three years to get it done. Unfortunately a couple of years later my puppy had a chew on it. I haven’t been brave enough yet to try to mend it .

    358
  343. For me the most challenging embroidery is always counted cross-stitch. It is so easy to make a mistake! While I have persevered with a few of them, I have learned I prefer embroidery designs using a greater variety of stitches, including thread painting.

    359
  344. The hardest thing I ever did was a little reticello kit. I’d need to do a lot more of it, before I would be even moderately proficient. I chose to do it because I love withdrawn thread work and of the styles, love reticello the most.

    360
  345. The most challenging piece I have stitched was an amyrillis shortly after my first child was born. I decided to do it in petit point on high count silk gauze – hard on the eyes, fiddly and thousands of stitches! I stuck with it and finished it but did decide that petit point was not my thing….

    361
  346. The most challenging embroidery project I actually finished is an Elizabethan inspired bag in silk and gold. I went to the class some years ago and was slow in finishing it because of the level of perceived difficulty. I was easily led into doing other work, but under the last lockdown, I decided to buckle down and finish. Now I need to decide whether to complete the bag, or put it into the lid of a wooden box.

    362
  347. I have a cross stitch pattern of a large basket of flowers & a lady’s hat with a veil on a table with a Battenburg table cloth. Lots of mixing floss colour strands & partial stitches to get the blending effect. Veil is done with metallica thread over the cross stitch. I have still not finished the piece. It will be a vintage item when done!

    363
  348. My most challenging piece of embroidery was when I wanted to learn other styles other than cross stitch. After enrolling in a goldwork class to learn more techniques, and though initially finding the project quite daunting, I found that just taking “small bites at a time” the whole experience was do-able! And that was the start of my journey down this fascinating rabbit-hole world of embroidery. Hooray!

    364
  349. That’s easy: far and away the most challenging embroidery project I’ve completed was the ring-bearer’s pillow for my daughter’s wedding. Because I sew much of my own wardrobe, upon announcing our daughter’s engagement, people immediately started asking me if I was going to make her wedding dress. I was ready with this reply: “NO, but I AM embroidering the ring bearer’s pillow!” It took me months to accomplish as it was a counted thread design on very fine linen with their names and the date of their wedding added. Just finding the right design took many weeks. I’m a sharp needle enthusiast rather than a cross-stitcher and I had many mistakes to correct before it was all over. In the end, the pillow turned out very well and it is prominently displayed in their home these many years later. Interestingly, when the wedding photographer and I had a discussion on the topic of making wedding dresses on the day of the wedding she said she’d never photographed a bride wearing a home sewn dress who was happy with the result and congratulated me on having the wisdom not to try to sew my own daughter’s wedding gown.

    365
  350. It’s not an embroidery project, but one I’ve worked on for two years. Not two years straight, but they were started last year and intended to be gifted in 2020. The Christmas stockings [3 of them] of wool felt were finally finished and sent a week ago, now adorning son’s fireplace.

    Designing them came with its own challenges, then cutting tiny pieces and having to use a magnifying glass to tell if the needle was coming through at the right place.

    Wish I could share a picture of them.

    366
  351. I am currently working on my most challenging project. It is a piece of whitework based on a design by Yvette Stanton.

    367
  352. The most challenging project I did was to offer to embroider my brother’s wedding ties (for him, his groomsmen, and the dads). Mostly because my siblings got cheeky and added surprise wedding socks and undies embroidery to it! The socks and undies were covered in puns and a lot of fun, but embroidering underpants was not fun!

    368
  353. My most challenging stitching project was a needlework casket, five panels with many different stitch types. I stitched this as a personal challenge and to create an heirloom keepsake for my daughter.

    369
  354. The hardest embroidery I ever did was on a 10″ Victorian Doll dress. The free hand embroidery was done with hand dyed DMC thread to match the lace trim. The dress was made with navy blue water silk taffeta. I must say I surprised myself. It turned out quite nice.

    371
  355. What a rabbit hole. I spent hours on the Inspirations Website drooling over kits.

    Hardest thing I have every stitched was a silver work and blue silk book cover.
    Metal work is so darn finicky.
    The silk shredded.
    It was SOO hard, I almost quit at least a dozen times.
    There were days that I wanted to throw it on the floor and stamp on it.
    You can see it online at the SF School of Needlework & Design.
    I did it for the “When This You See Remember Me” Challenge.

    When the book was complete, I filled it full of motherly advice to my son on the occasion of his 30th birthday. There were also tiny map pockets inside that my husband put secret treasures in. Although everything was lost in our home during the Greenville, CA fire, my son saved this one thing.

    372
  356. My most challenging embroidery piece has been Becky Hogg’s Heron. I loved all the different metal thread used, but tying back the passing thread was tedious!

    373
  357. One of the several challenging projects that I’ve stitched is the project for Cynthia Jackson’s Tudor Embroidery class. It has it all, goldwork, surface embroidery, applique….Wonderful class and a wonderful project.

    374
  358. Wow, those are beautiful – especially Helen Steven’s pattern.

    The most challenging, hmmmm. I’m definitely not as advanced as most stitchers here, but i’m making a series of octagonal blocks that that will be a sampler. Like satin stitch is a monogram, french knots and colonial stiches make up a maze (different greens, of course.

    What motivated me was being able to do it and giving something special to my sister. I’m using silk for all the ground fabric so it will look vintage and fit in with her living room filled with antiques.

    375
  359. My most challenging project was a CQ book featuring a page for each of my female ancestors as far back as I could remember. I wanted to have a keepsake for my daughter of those who came before us.

    376
  360. I attended a workshop for a stumpwork wren amongst bracken. The wren was spectacular in form and very detailed elements. … way above my skill level….and I stupidly purchased a red robin to do in similar form!

    377
  361. The most challenging embroidery project I have done was a combined gold work/stumpwork design by Alison Cole called Gloriosa Lily. I was inspired to try this as it is so lifelike and beautiful. I also wanted to be challenged and learn new skills. The petals of the lily were to be double sided as you can see both front & back of them and stems of the lily were wrapped with diagonally laid smooth & rough purl. The wrapped stamens were “fun” as well. I had the benefit of starting this project in a 3 day class with Alison at BATB in 2018.
    It felt wonderful when I finished the project and had it framed.

    378
  362. The most challenging project I’ve done is one I’m still working on (4?yr). It is a large hardanger piece titled “Summer Classic”. I still really love it. But it is white on white and I have half the outside border left to do which is just 3 different stitches with 2 weights of thread. So, I keep getting distracted by projects with color or other stitches. (Lol)

    379
  363. I would have to say the most challenging piece I did recently was the Armillary by Cynthia Jackson. The detached piece was a little difficult to get correct. I was inspired to do the piece because I took the class before it which was the compass. They are gold work pieces and I love doing gold work.

    380
  364. My most challenging project was the Marbek nativity. The finished product is 5 panels, I stitched it on 22 count hardanger fabric over one. It also uses a lot of metallic thread. I think I spread the stitching out over 6 years. I’m very proud of it.

    381
  365. My most challenging project (to date!) has been my Elizabethan casket, designed by Maree Talbot. I started the first panel way back in 2007 and finally finished stitching the last panel this year. As soon as I first saw Maree’s beautifully designed box I knew I had to make one! I have yet to put the panels into the box – bit scared of that part – but the stitching itself is finally done.

    382
  366. Inspirations Strawberry Fayre Heart. Since Hurricane Katrina, my mother-in-law moved five hours away. It was a nice way for us to meet often and work on the project. Then Covid Hit. Just this past month, we were finally able to get together and complete it. Took us two years. They came out so beautiful! Love you MeMaw.

    383
  367. My most challenging embroidery was a floral design. It had bullion stitches and I could not get it right. It was such a pretty design that I wanted to try it.

    385
  368. The detail and beautiful threads can make a person’s hands twitch. The most challenging would be one I am working on now, A William Morris design. I really like all his work – furniture, fabric, wallpaper, glass.

    386
  369. Seeing as how I am new to embroidery I have not attempted anything really hard. I don’t want to start something that I can’t do. That could inadvertently lead me to just get disgusted with embroidery as a whole and I sure don’t want that to happen. I know my limits for sure!

    387
  370. Hazel Blomkamp’s crewel design “Pertinacity” is the most challenging one I have done. Completed earlier this year. She uses stiches in quite novel ways. Her instructions are excellent and her colour choices great.

    388
  371. My most challenging embroidery project has been some pillowcases. I was inspired to finish it because I wanted something pretty in my room.

    389
  372. Unfortunately, I believe all my most challenging embroidery projects are not completed. These projects include some gold work and some double-side Chinese embroidery.

    390
  373. Brian the bee from Hazel Bloomkamp was the most challenging . The lace part was ok with practice but the beaded flowers were very confusing. After four tries I finally got it and that was with class videos . Now that it’s done I am glad I kept working on it. I learned a lot of new techniques and love the finished piece.

    391
  374. Hardanger on raw linen. My mother passed away and it was one of her UFO’s. I only knew basic Hardanger and had to learn needle weaving skills to finish it. It turned out beautiful and will be gifted to my daughter.

    392
  375. I love all levels of embroidery and like to have a few on at the same time so that i can choose how i feel , then stitch that.
    I think any goldwork would be my difficult one to stitch.

    394
  376. I created a piece for a Challenge proposed by the San Francisco School of Needlework, using a bundle of odds and ends of all sorts of metallic threads donated by Kreinik. Just sorting through the bundle of threads was beyond fun! and working them into a design was inspiring.

    397
  377. Oh wow, the kits in the article are beautiful. I especially love the mushroom pincushion!
    My most challenging project was a tablecloth with lots of satin stitch, it was a lot of work, but totally worth it. I wanted a gift for my mother that was special and that she would think of me when she used it.

    398
  378. Each time I try something more advanced that becomes my most challenging project. I’m more likely to finish something if I have a person in mind to give it to.

    399
  379. I am not a highly skilled embroidery stitcher but I enjoy stitching as much as the best. Recently I’ve been looking at more contemporary designs. I like Sarah K. Benning’s work so I purchased a pattern she designed for The Washington Post some years ago. The set of patterns represented readers, of books, in various locations. I purchased the girl reading in a comfy chair surrounded by stacks of books. It was challenging. I was very proud of the result. It illustrates my granddaughter, the best of readers. It will be a gift.

    400
  380. The most difficult project is to finish a lovely cross-stitch picture given to me by a friend whose wife passed away, It’s on small count Aida & my eyes don’t see like they used to. I WILL finish it though so her work will not go to waste.

    Thank you for the opportunity of all these give-aways.

    401
  381. I love all the designs from the Inspirations studios. My favorite one shown here is the Mushroom; so delicate and heralds of autumn.

    402
  382. This was an easy question to answer: Teresa Wentzel’s Angel Procession. It is soooooo pretty, I am in love with the picture. The cross stitching on the other hand is tiny and changes A LOT! I am not very far along and have thought maybe, for me, I chose too small a weave. Still thinking….

    403
  383. Most of the embroidery projects that I have done have been challenging in some way, either by using a new technique or intricacy or size. Sometimes the type of thread used makes it a real challenge! However, the one project that stands out for me is a section of the Bayeux Tapestry, which is large, includes many figures and animals, and was mostly done in a stitch that was new for me. It took me a long time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and learned a lot about the times and the story of the Tapestry itself. At times, I thought that I would never finish it. The color palette was quite restricted (only seven colors), and facial expressions were tricky to do.
    The Inspirations projects all look very interesting, and it would be hard to pick just one!

    404
  384. I took a Brazilian embroidery class years ago with some friends. I loved all the beautiful stitches even though many were a challenge. But I did finish my project and love it!

    405
  385. Three exquisite projects! Each one a challenging bit of work. What’s not to love?
    My most challenging project was a painted desert scene worked across the back of a denim jacket in dmc 6 strand linen floss. If it hadn’t meant so much to my dad, I would have given up! But I finished, and it was the best piece I ever did.

    406
  386. I am a huge fan of Inspirations magazine.Their instructions are fabulous & easy to follow with great detail.I love them.

    407
  387. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve completed was a more contemporary piece where I had to choose my own colours and stitches. This is a way out of my comfort zone! I was inspired to do the class because of the tutor. She was very encouraging and I learnt so much from her.

    408
  388. My most challenging work was probably a full coverage cross stitch of a rocky beach scene at sunset…. lots and lots of blended threads… and it took a long time to work on.. it’s also one of the few pieces that I’ve completed and kept.. even after all that time spent working on it I wasn’t tired of looking at it. Stitching wise I completed a Tanya Berlin goldwork and blackwork butterfly that I found a challenging endeavour, but so worthwhile when it done.

    409
  389. Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it! Completed? Honestly? So far the most challenging for me was a cross stitch piece with many thread color changes. Lots of frogging but I completed and gifted it! In 2022 I will be branching out into surface embroidery!

    411
  390. My favorite and most challenging stitching project was Jean Hilton’s Gleneagle. I loved all the different stitches and enjoyed making every one of them. A friend made one at the same time so we compared notes for how to complete some of the stitches.

    412
  391. In the early seventies, I stitched a mobile for my niece that involved 14 nursery rhyme scenes. I knew little about embroidery but had an Erica Wilson book for guidance. It was a real challenge.

    413
  392. My most challenging embroidery project was the 1st stumpwork pattern. I wasn’t totally sure if I could figure it out. Since then it’s become my favorite embroidery technique

    414
  393. More pretties that are exciting to contemplate making! As for my most challenging project – it actually WAS a challenge. Several years ago the San Francisco School of Needlework issued a challenge to make a project using a provided packet of Swarovski crystals. I decided that I wanted to also use the fact that I was ‘in’ to crazy quilting at the time so I created an undersea scene that not only had embroidery but I also created all sorts of underwater creatures with different mediums including crochet. I was quite happy with the end result!

    415
  394. The most challenging project for me has been the hand embroidering of a signature quilt I am doing for my youngest daughter Renee … we lost her sister Andrea … my oldest daughter in January of 2019 … the inspiration for it was of something that JoAnne Talliaferro mentioned to me about doing a quilt … one that might be a remembrance type of thing … it got me thinking and it finally came into fruition once I decided what it was I wanted to do and it really grew and grew … my hope is that she can wrap herself in her sisters love when she is sad … It has taken me two years …. I am almost finished …. it has the name of her sister .. family members … a friend that passed 3 months after her sister did … friends that were close to them both … images of things that reminded us of her sister … and some hand painted squares also …. it has been tough .. very emotional at times and yet very healing at others …

    416
  395. The most challenging project was an embroidered Christmas stocking for my daughter. Just deciding what design and which stitches to use was was fun and daunting. It’s done and it turned out lovely. Yay! I received a request from my daughter to stitch her a stocking so I did. It took 2 years though.

    417
  396. I was going to stitch a little octopus and attach it to a little wooden box. Without a real plan I started, stopped, revised, and edited. The final project included learning about using bleach to mottle a background, disassembling the box to refinish the outside & line with velvet, adding shells & other finds. It turned into something totally different from my original imaginings but totally worth all the extra time.

    418
  397. This past summer, Cynthia Jackson offered an online class on Tudor embroidery, and part of the class involved stitching five different designs using techniques popular at different times during the Tudor period. I just completed those five projects, set up as a single sampler. While I had used some of the materials and had experience with some of the techniques, others were new and challenging.

    419
  398. I think my most challenging project is one I’m still currently working on. It is a quilt I’m designing for my oldest daughter with the theme of Little Women. Each block is a combination of applique, embroidery, and stumpwork. It’s 3D and I find the faces to be the most difficult. I’ve finished 6 blocks so far and I am very pleased with the results. I’ve finished the most difficult blocks, but it’s still going to take a bit of time to complete the whole thing,, but I think it will be worth it.

    420
  399. My most challenging project was an Elizabethan band sampler (from an Australian designer) which had over 50 different stitches in it, some of which were VERY tricky …… inspiration was the beautiful colours and being able to try all those stitches – loved (almost) every minute doing it and now enjoy looking at it every day on the living room wall.

    421
  400. The most difficult embroidery project I worked was in Japanese Embroidery. Part of what made it difficult was that you had to be very exact about the location of every stitch. I didn’t feel like there was much creativity or much of ME in it. I didn’t want to finish it, but I did anyway. We lived in Japan when I was a child, so our house had a lot of beautiful Japanese decorative items.

    422
  401. I am currently trying to stitch a pelican, based on the wall paintings by Sister Concepta Lynch in the Oratory of the Sacred Heart in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. The Oratory is well worth a Google! The background is intensively drawn with Celtic style curves, loops and arabesques, altogether a really challenging project.

    423
  402. My most challenging project this year was a ribbon project with angels and roses. What inspired me to finish was the joy my grandma would have and receiving this gift for her bedroom.

    424
  403. Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home was the hardest thing I have ever stitched and put together. I did learn a lot and very happy I completed it.

    425
  404. I made a black and white copy of a picture taken of my mom from WWII. I embroidered an outline of her face. It looks exactly like her. I was inspired to create a likeness of her that I created.

    426
  405. Dear Mary,

    Where do I start. I am always inspired by the aesthetics of a project, how wonderful it is going to look, the colours are going to be just right etc. Hence, everything I make ends up being a huge challenge as I continuously modified the project along the way, even if it is someone else’s design or kit. This makes every step a bit (understatement) laborious as I try to “improve” on the project. If it works out, it is great, if not … it usually goes into a bag and eventually finds it’s way to the back of my wardrobe, possibly never to see the light of day again.

    Best regards
    Louisa

    427
  406. My wall sampler – 33 years ago my mother sent me to the craft shop with $30 to buy myself a birthday present. I came home with a cross stitch book and the challenge was to fit in a small piece representing everyone in the family or what happened during the year on one item. Needless to say it became a family dinner conversation and grew with us. Guessing games of I spy (PB – it started as polar bear and with time became pig’s bottom. With age it became more and more inventive) and memories. There is one mistake but no one has found it yet. A challenge of love.

    428
  407. My first ribbon embroidery was very challenging has it was all new to me. Thankfully, there are plenty of books and video’s on the subject that helped a lot.

    429
  408. My most challenging embroidery project is the one I’m trying to get done now before Christmas. I can only do it when my partner is not around, so it’s not getting done. AARGH

    430
  409. I did a large winter animal woodland scene for my parents. Took me a very long time to complete but was worth it as they loved it so much.

    431
  410. Frankly that any embroidery project that the final finish of assembly (not framing) is my most diffecult.

    432
  411. The completed embroidery project that was most challenging for me was an otomi/tenango project, about 18 x 15. I was drawn to the explosion of color used to embroider traditional designs, a melange of animals and leaves and flowers, bearing resemblance what is seen in nature, but stylized in the best tradition of folk art. Anyway, it was a combination of two any aspects of the project that challenged me:
    1. There were only 2 basic stitches I needed to learn, but all the references I could find were in Spanish! I was able to borrow an e-book from my library, Mexico Bordado, by Gimena Romero (very nice book by the way – I ended up buying my own copy).

    I should have been able to learn the stitches using the diagrams, but my brain just would not cooperate. Youtube didn’t help me either (same brain fog). Finally it occurred to me to type the written instructions from the book into a Spanish to English translation website and it finally clicked! Its a very cool stitch for filling space and I’m glad to know it. I’m willing to bet it appears in English language books under a different name but I have not come across it (yet).

    2. Having FINALLY taught my fingers what to do, the sheer amount of embroidery to be done was also a little daunting. Nearly every square inch of the fabric is covered. However to be honest, although it took longer to finish than most projects I have done, it was easily one of the most delightful, both in the process of doing it and the finished piece. Its just a riot of color. Choosing and working with colors with no rules was so fun. Its been on my mind to start another one now that the winter gray is here.

    433
  412. My most challenging piece was a Tony Mineri designed needlepoint! My stitching buddies egged me on and kept telling me I was a better stitcher than I really was! I learned from that piece I knew hardly anything since I was self taught from kits I had picked up over the years.

    It was a great experience and I love the piece and because of that experience I know I can stitch anything but I have invested in a lot of equipment now, a lot of books and of course I am a huge fan of your terrific site Mary. Thank you for all you do

    Merry Christmas

    434
  413. My most challenging project was the Gawthorpe Needlecase by Jenny Adin-Christie. Lots of new techniques and a wonderful, useful tool once it was complete.

    435
  414. …besides darning socks and jeans (which is not really embroidery), I once tried to embellish thin curtains, so the pattern would catch the light as it entered the window, like what I often saw in folk craft on visits to Portugal

    436
  415. Hello Mary! The most challenging embroidery project I have attempted is Hampton Court by Jenny Adin-Christie. It is a wonderful design with many, many small components. I was drawn to it because it was such a challenge and the finished piece is lovely. Jenny provides a beautiful kit and instructions and I so much from completing this project.

    437
  416. My most challenging project to date was Hazel Blompkamp’s Pertinacity. It is a large modern crewel project designed to fit on a footstool and has a textured appearance with lots of highly padded elements and areas of complex needle weaving as well and a large variety of stitches. I loved the colour and appearance of the piece but never intended to use it as a footstool

    438
  417. My most challenging embroidery project to date must be my South Park one (sorry all, not based on the TV show, but based on my favourite park in Wimbledon that we lived near). I started the embroidery for a challenge – still working on it 3 years later. It will be a keepsake of my time in London.

    439
  418. My most challenging project was a blackwork piece with shading using different weights of thread as well as stitching density.

    440
  419. My most challenging project has been two 90cm long bell pulls worked on black fabric. One is purple irises and the other daffodils. My husband asked me to do them to sit side by side on a wall in our lounge room. So he was the start of my inspiration but when I finally completed them it was for my Mum who enjoyed watching my progress but sadly passed away before they were complete.

    441
  420. I’m new to embroidery & none that I’ve done are challenging although I learn something new with each project. I’ve been doing crewel work & my current project is Circle of Life by Margaret Light. I love her work. I do have a (for me) challenging project picked out from her book, ‘A Fine Tradition’. It can be done in either DMC floss or Appleton’s wool. I find floss very challenging in that it’s difficult for me to see even with mags, so I’ve decided to stitch the floss version. It uses 2 threads at a time, so I’m just dipping my toe in.

    442
  421. Wow, another wonderful give away.

    My husband and I built a wonderful garden on our acre of land and enjoyed it for 28 years. When we decided to move into a retirement center, I wanted to create a memory of that garden. After lots of thoughts and sampling, I decided on a bell pull featuring the flowers we grew from the smallest ground covers to the tallest trees. I created them with ink and embroidery. I also created the stream that ran alongside our garden and the stone path my husband created for us. The embroidery still delights my eyes as I pass it going to my studio.

    443
  422. My most challenging project is an embroidered basket of flowers. I’m trying to do a different shape basket on a 14 inch square piece of white fabric. My goal is to do enough squares to make a wall hanging. Each square has a basket with different flowers and using an assorted number of stitches. I have 4 completed.

    444
  423. The most challenging embroidery project I ever created was a large brooch of Frida Kahlo. I had never done a face before and it was an educational experience using different colors of thread to get the tones of her skin realistic.
    Frida. the Mexican artist, inspired me as she is my muse. She suffered with pain throughout her life and I too have suffered with pain and at times the inability to move my body as best that I would like to.
    I have had fibromyalgia for going on 36 years. There have been recent articles about the possibility that she too had fibromyalgia.
    It’s a daily struggle but I still persist in creating with my embroidery thread.

    445
  424. I completed a petite project from EGA. It was a clover done in gold work. I’ve never done gold work before and the chipping just about undid me. Finally I finished and actually had it framed! Wow!
    It would be such a joy and honor to win anyone of these kits!
    Thank you
    Terrigoodwin26@gmail.com

    446
  425. I haven’t really done any challenging embroidery projects yet. Maybe I’m afraid to start one. I generally don’t do kits, so winning one of these would be a change of pace. They definitely would push me out of my comfort zone.

    447
  426. My most challenging piece was Winter Solstice by Kay Stanis. I took this silk and metal class the second year I joined the Embroiderers’ Guild and was in way over my head. But 10 years later I finished it for a special charity auction and was amazed how my skills had improved!

    448
  427. The most challenging piece I ever did was a piece that had drawn thread work in it,and was scary cutting and weaving then doing the stitches in the open work,but it was beautiful when I finished it

    449
  428. It was a wedding veil for my daughter-in-law, which had an original design of a small swallow bird in flight at center back, surrounded a triangular cascade of tiny bows, flowers, oak leaves and acorns, a tiny heart with their initials and two tiny acorns tied together with a bow in the center bottom scallop. The pattern repeated all along the scalloped edges. Small pearl beads were added throughout the veil to mark their wedding date: 10 in the central motif for the month, 28 for the date in the edge scallops and 20 randomly placed for the year. The sunflowers, oak leaves and acorns all had special meaning to my son and his bride and was their wedding theme. Silver metallic thread was used to embroider everything. But the pearls were sewn on with invisible thread. It took almost a year to complete. The challenge was that the fabric & thread type were difficult to work with and knowing there was always only one chance to get every stitch right… no ripping. It took sooooo much patience.

    450
  429. In the ‘80’s, my parents visited the Isle of Barra in the Northern Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. They brought back a postcard with a picture of the small castle. I decided I would enlarge the picture and re-create it in thread. I did it… But it was definitely the most challenging thing I had ever done or will ever do.

    452
  430. The most challenging piece I ever stitched was a depiction of a poster from the 1920’s which was originally painted by Alphonse Mucha, one of the leaders of the Art Nouveau style. It was love at first sight. The advertisement was for a book publisher and as an English teacher and avid reader I loved that. It was in all my favorite colors. And it was just beautiful. The stitch count was 300 x 407, solid stitch, which resulted in a 21 x 29 inch piece. The stitching wasn’t difficult per se, but the sheer size was overwhelming at times. There was 89 colors of floss. It took me 2 years on and off. But I just loved it. And still do. It just brings me joy.

    453
  431. My most challenging project was a cross stitch pattern that I bought in Holland on a trip there. It was a large sampler and was one on 32 count linen. It sat in my closet for a number of years as I had never stitched on linen and was afraid to try. I finally got it out and it took me a looong time to finish it, but it now has been framed and hangs on the wall in our bedroom.

    454
  432. Inspirations kits are beautiful! The most difficult piece I made was, as it happens, from an Inspirations kit—a drawn-thread linen hand towel. It was a success, although I did simplify the most difficult section. A friend, bless her, liked my version better!

    455
  433. I haven’t done any embroidery that is particularly challenging. My current project is a quilt called Bee-utiful designed by Pamela Morgan. It has bee-themed embroideries at the centre of 20 quilt blocks. I like the theme, the fabrics and the sayings embroidered on each block, such as Bee Kind, etc. When I need to do a stitch that I haven’t tried before, I get wonderful guidance from your tutorials. This quilt design is available from Moda Bake Shop and there is a Facebook group.

    456
  434. As a beginner I found the strawberries project a nice learning experience and it made a nice gift for my sisters birthday.

    457
  435. I bought 2 large Elsa Williams kits many years ago. I have been working on one of them, on and off over the years. The project is challenging because it’s rather large and mostly long and short stitch for the entire project.

    When I bought the kits there was no internet so I felt lost and didn’t work on them for several years.
    With websites like this one and YouTube, I’ve learned a lot making the stitching more enjoyable as I have improved.
    I’ve renewed my interest completing these projects.
    I believe I will complete one of them by the end of 2022.

    458
  436. My most challenging is the embroidered doll I made for art class in high school. it was my final project & the doll pattern I had called for some kind of clay to make the face & hair. This was well before the internet & living in a small town, it just wasn’t available. So, I decided to wing it & create the face & hair with embroidery. At this point I had more experience making doll clothes, than embroidering, but that didn’t matter. I knew what I wanted to make. After finishing the doll, I also made a silken purple dress with lace buttons & little flowers embroidered on the skirt.

    459
  437. The most challenging embroidery project was probably a tiger surrounded by flowers that used over 20 embroidery stitches that were all diagrammed but I had to figure it out by myself. This was long before the internet!

    460
  438. The most challenging embroidery I have done was a sampler cross stitch of quilting designs. I enjoyed doing it but the amount of counting was enormous. When it was finished I gave it to my mother. I needed a challenge as I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone and try something different.

    461
  439. I stitched a heart motif on linen for my granddaughter’s 11th birthday. It had a lot of satin stitch and that is one I have trouble with. But it turned out well

    462
  440. Thank you for doing these give-always. One can always hope!

    Inspirations magazine projects are always inspiring. My most challenging project to date has been either Helen Stevens’ red poppies or an American Embroidery Guild magazine piece of holly. Both are/were technical skill challenges. They turned out fairly well, but I hope to achieve even better technical skill on my own designs.

    463
  441. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was a monstrance cover I made for our parochial vicar. I was asked to make it and I was inspired to embroider it by a late 1800s monstrance cover that I had seen. The piece was stitched on silk satin and trimmed with gold cording and gold bullion fringe.

    I always look forward to Inspirations newsletter and I would love to win one of these kits.

    465
  442. I’m not really sure how much I challenge myself in my stitching projects. I think just managing to complete the increasing number of ornaments I need every Christmas is probably my biggest challenge, though the ornaments themselves are not challenging. It’s more about just keeping up with them.

    466
  443. My first formal embroidery class was pulled thread sampler. I am still stitching after all
    the decades and have stretched to many more kinds of embroidery.
    I am always ready to tackle a new project or stitch.

    467
  444. The most challenging embroidery piece I’ve stitched was a large crewelwork wedding sampler I did for my sister when she was married in 1982. The design was very detailed in the Pennsylvania Dutch style and it took me more than 6 months to complete it. It featured satin stitch, straight stitch, french knots, stem stitch, and backstitch. It made a very impressive wedding gift.

    468
  445. I just started embroidering this year so every project is still a challenge. So far, I only finished one project that was completely original – a single tree by the ocean at sunset. It’s very simple but was by far the most challenging. I have never been very good at getting ideas out on paper, never mind material. Choosing colors, figuring out stitch direction, etc took forever! I wanted to do an original piece to create a baseline or a “before” picture. I plan to do a version of it each year – and hope to see improvement over the years!

    Thank you very much for all the information on your website!

    469
  446. The most challenging project I completed was Trish Burr’s O, Tannenbaum, as it was my first time doing whitework. It also had elements that had to be symmetric on the left and right. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot, and will definitely embroider more of Trish’s whitework with colour patterns.

    470
  447. The most challenging embroidery project was my first one when I was 16 yrs old. I had received an Erica Wilson kit for Christmas even though I had never embroidered previously. It had numerous birch trees in spring time, which was reminiscent of the area my mother remembered as a child.
    Immediately afterwards I created a sampler of stitches featured in a from a library book I borrowed. I wanted to include them in future projects and needed a way to retain the stitch. ICYMI this was pre-computer so while there was photo-copying the easier and less costly method was the sampler.

    471
  448. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve made was a wedding gift for my niece. It included her favorite Bible verse and an image from a pattern that was her great-great grandmother’s.

    472
  449. My most challenging was my first ..Erica Wilson Crewel Kit of small animals..I ripped out the frogs eyes at least a dozen times before I got it right..made me love it even more when I finished!

    473
  450. The most challenging project I did was a large white work sampler for my oldest daughter that took me 241 hours of stitching and 31 hours of reverse stitch ( unpicking!). She absolutely loved it

    474
  451. I have studied Women’s history mainly focusing on The 18th C woman in the Ct- Mass area.

    My most difficult piece was a repro of a silk stomacher

    475
  452. My most challenging embroidery was the first Gingerbread Village piece I did. I had to perfect my back stitch in order to do it. My ‘go to’ stitch before this was the stem stitch. I had to learn how to make my stitches so they flowed together rather than look sloppy.
    Now I really like doing the back stitch and use it on most projects. I have been doing the stab stitch method instead of the sewing stitch and keeping my hoop tight like a drum. I have learned to enjoy my slower embroidery. After all it is a process, not a race.

    476
  453. The most challenging needlework project wasn’t embroidery; it was knitting a sweater and skirt set as my very first knitting project. It had a lacy pattern that involved yarn overs, skipped stitches, knitting through the back, purling through the back…you get the idea. My teacher said if I was patient and practiced the lacy bits I could do it and she was right. Sadly once it was completed I found I couldn’t wear it because it was wool, and I discovered I was allergic to wool. Sigh.

    477
  454. I made a cross-stitch wedding sampler for my sister. It took a long time. I was inspired, as always, by the beautiful colors and design. Thanks for all that you do to inspire and teach.

    478
  455. My first big project( with only an embroidered handkerchief as a guide) was a dress with embroidered cuffs and collar. The embroidery was all satin stitch and it took me a good while to get the hang of it. It did get finished and eventually became my wedding dress.
    I started it because I loved the embroidery on the hanky.

    479
  456. I answered this in an earlier post, but wanted to give a hint to everyone who looses needles when they do embroidery, or even lput needles in a pincushion. I lost several needles recently while doing embroidery. I now put a knot in one end of my thread and before I slip it into the background for latter use, I pull that knot to the needle and leave the rest as a long tail. It is easy to reverse the thread in the needle when ready, or if one is not s knotter, to just snip the knot off. This works great in a pincushion to keep needles from sinking in too far. I hope this helps someone. Thanks for reading this. Janis

    480
  457. The most challenging project I have stitched is mary corbet 12days of Christmas. I was just learning embroidery and was challenged to learn a wide variety of new stitches. I wanted to give them away for Christmas presents.

    481
  458. I think the most difficult embroidery project I encountered was “Roses” by Di van Niekerk. It was the first large, silk ribbon piece for me, and I started the class late. I had to beg and plead to get in and then work like crazy on the tedious background to catch up. Every rose was made in a different technique, the birds were my first Stumptown attempt. What inspired me to attempt it were: I didn’t know better!! And I just fell in love with the piece the first time I laid eyes on it. I had done a beginning silk ribbon class and really enjoyed working with, and the colors of, silk ribbon. So I jumped in, learned a LOT, and was rewarded by winning 3 ribbons for it at our county fair. WOW, what a thrill the whole piece was from beginning to end.

    482
  459. My most challenging project was my first crewel embroidery project. I love the look of crewel but found working with wool a little challenging.

    483
  460. I thought i could stitch OK so enrolled in a course of Elizabethan Stitching! Well, talk about a novice sitting in a Master class!! So out of depth but a long time and perservering, and being the worlds best unpicker it is finished!!

    484
  461. Most challenging was the 2019 Linen and Thread stitch along. Large and ambitious, plus having to choose my own colors.

    485
  462. My most challenging project was The Owl and the Pussycat design by Jenny Adin-Christie. I fell in love with this design the moment I saw it.

    486
  463. My most challenging embroidery project is a replica panel from the Bayeux tapestry. I chose to stitch this panel because one of the major figures is one of only a few people actually named in the whole tapestry. He is Eustace de Boulogne and my historian husband traces his family back to the descendants and followers of this person who was a cousin of William the Conqueror. We placed a special order for this panel with Chantal James when in Bayeux some years ago.

    487
  464. My most challenging project has been a series of the 4 Seasons in the life of the Superb Blue Wren.
    I have completed Autumn, Winter and Spring and although I have the Summer design in my head I cannot seem to get working on it! Somehow it feels that if I finish this project I will lose my relationship with these gorgeous little birds which have been voted as one of Australia’s most loved and popular for 2021. I can’t get over this “hump”. Maybe next year?

    488
  465. A simple cream on cream monogramed buby rug, with a scalloped edging, ended up being one of the most challenging projects I have finished. First was the hunt for suitable wool flannel. Then I under ordered, the amount of tapestry wool I need. The next lot I got was a different colour, even though it was the same number. Another order of thread, same brand, same colour and a different cream colour. The stitching was simple, just all different shades of cream, strategically placed. By the time I got to the tricky scalloped bound edge I was running rapidly out of time. A very late night/morning saw the rug finished.

    489
  466. My most challenging stitch was completing the squirrel design from Mary’s ‘A thousand flowers’. It was the size that was the challenging part- the fabric stitches count chosen was so teeny tiny so as to fit the round inside a pocket watch! I used a lamp plus a magnifying lamp and even so I could still only manage about 20 minutes at a time. But it was worth it as I won first place when I entered it in the Sydney Royal Easter Show Competition! Very proud of my achievement!

    490
  467. The most challenging embroidery project was a tablecloth. I’ve not done much though so it wasn’t too advanced. I’ve got some ornaments on the horizon that will be rather challenging for me.

    491
  468. My first challenging embroidery was a smocked dress I made for my baby sister when I was 12. This was done at school, and we had to trace the dots for the pleats. I was so relieved when it was finished. Lots of unpicking but I didn’t mind that too much as I wanted this dress to be so pretty and the best I could do.

    492
  469. My most challenging stitch to date has been Jenny Adin-Christie’s Alpine Sampler design. It has elements of silk shading, stump work and gold work using a huge variety of materials and stitches and I absolutely love the finished piece! I decided to stitch on a holiday at The Alpine Experience which runs from a chalet in the French Alps – a lovely experience which I treated myself to for my 50th birthday.

    494
  470. Well I’m more of a starter than a finisher so my finish list is short and the UFO list is long. Even when I finish the stitching most of them end up laying around without making it into a usable form. I did finish a pair of large old world Santas that went into a charity auction years ago. I worked on each for about 6 months and they sold them for about $35.
    Merry Christmas everyone and good luck. Thank you Mary.

    495
  471. My most challenging project was a cross stitch of “Praying Hands” on 32 ct fabric. I stitched it to remember a small plaque of Praying Hands owned by my mother.

    496
  472. It was an Inspirations kit, The Jewel of the Sea, being 3D was a whole other level ! Absolutely loved doing it though and I must admit I was extremely pleased at myself when that wonderful little turtle was finished.

    497
  473. I stitched “Mary Hurst 1661” charted by the Scarlet Letter. It stretched me way beyond my comfort zone. I was in a stitch a long group and that support was great.

    498
  474. These kits are lovely. My most challenging embroidery project was learning to needle paint using your tutorial. I still haven’t finished it! I wanted to learn a new technique and I’m still working on the process.

    499
  475. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was a panel of a basket of flowers. A man asked a local quilt shop to complete it for his stage 4 mother with cancer. She only just started it and would not ever get to see it done with her own hands. The quilt shop called me to get it done. It was quite large and it had a deadline of “as soon as possible “. After I finished in time for Christmas, they made it into a pillow. It had texture and dimension. I did it at a ridiculously low price because the man loved his mother and gave her something meaningful. It was going to be the perfect gift! Email me if you want to see the finished pillow.

    500
  476. The most challenging project was a Heaven & Earth pattern that my mother asked me to make for her because the arthritis in her hands does not allow her to hold small objects like needles anymore. 18 x 27 petit point on 25 count fabric. It took 3 years to complete working on it everyday. I would send her photos every month via a Pinterest board…….secretly I was very happy to have finally gotten it finished, hung, & framed!!!!

    501
  477. My most challenging project is still a work in progress – Owlfred by Hazel Blomkamp.
    I chose him because of the variety of techniques, including new-to-me needleweaving and needlelace, the colours used, and his expression. Oh, and I liked his name
    Thank you Mary for all your hard work for this lovely online community.

    502
  478. I have every Inspirations magazine ever published and love every one of them. Their kits are lovely too. Thank you for the opportunity to win one.

    503
  479. The most difficult piece I have finished so far is a cross-stitch(!) design of a page of medieval illumination. It was rated “Expert” but I thought, It’s cross-stitch, how hard can it be? Well, the chart had tons of fractional stitches, embroidery on top of cross stitched areas, metallic threads and braid, and miles of backstitch on open linen to depict the vines adorning the borders of the design. It looks fabulous, though!

    504
  480. The most challenging stitching project I completed would have to be one I designed from a photo taken of a view from a holiday beach house. I wanted it to look like a stained glass window so it has couched metal threads outlining shapes making up the sea and island scene. It took two years to finish and I was inspired by how the view made me feel each year we spent a week there.

    505
  481. My challenging embroidery project (that I completed ) was 4 beautiful wool felt appliqué/embroidery Christmas stockings. I still love them. I need to make two more for my 2 granddaughters that have come since. I plan to order kits and start them in the new year.

    Thank you, Mary, for inspiring us all.

    Merry Christmas ✝️⛪️

    506
  482. I am an avid crossstitcher but last year decided to learn a new type of embroidery–crewel work. I took an EGA group correspondence course and completed a Jacobean piece. It was so much fun! There were quite a few new stitches involved (and a lot of frogging). But with help from your instructional videos, Mary, I was able to create a lovely embroidery. Thanks for all you do to help the embroidery community!

    507
  483. My most challenging project was a hardanger piece. I chose to stitch it because there were many different filling stitches and I wanted the challenge in order to learn the stitches. While it was a big challenge I really enjoyed doing it and love the piece.

    508
  484. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for the giveaway. The most challenging project I have completed was actually a multi prong effort. I had 5 dear friends and family members I wanted to give embroidered pillows for Christmas. Needless to say, when I decided this they were all uncompleted! I had to stitch daily and prioritize them. As there were different styles and stitches, it was challenging. I did finish on time for Christmas and it was extremely gratifying to see how my projects were received!

    509
  485. My most challenging project was a sunflower kit because the large centers of the sunflowers were all French knots. I had to do so many French knots and they are not my favorite.

    510
  486. My most challenging piece so far has been “A Tribute to Tiffany” by Kay Stanis. A lot of specialty stitches and fibers but oh, what a beautiful finished piece.!

    511
  487. My most difficult one is the one I am trying to do right now. It is a kit, fairly simple looking, from a class our stitchers group hired a teacher. Being fairly new to embroidery (& 81 yrs) is proving to be a real challenge. I have picked out one section six times, but who is counting.
    I will finish it !!
    Judy Rhodes

    512
  488. The challenge for me is more in the finishing process (pillow, pinkeep, etc.) than in the actual embroidery. My most challenging finish was a cross stitch piece that I finished into a kiss-lock coin purse. I was so intimidated by the finishing process that I waited several years after finishing the stitching before even attempting to assemble it into the coin purse. It actually turned out looking pretty good.

    513
  489. I would say that I was most challenged by completing ‘Life Cycle of a Swallowtail Butterfly’ by Jane Nicholas.

    514
  490. Alison Cole’s 3D Toadstools in gold work and stumpwork. I wanted to learn both techniques and I was taken by the beauty of her design. Thanks Mary.

    515
  491. The most challenging pieces I have ever done was “Sojourner’s Sampler”, by Theresa Baird. She created it for a guild in California with flowers and bands representative of that state’s heritage and flora. I changed the flower colors and some motifs to match ones in my home state of MInnesota, and changed some of the bands to represent my own family’s heritage. It took almost 3 years to complete and uses 20 stitches found in antique samplers.

    516
  492. The most challenging project I ever tried was a hummingbird in Trish Burr’s whitework with color, but it came out so well that I have since made two more of her patterns and am contemplating a third.

    517
  493. I don’t have any projects that were challenging but I have some crewel work projects from the Crewel Work Company that I need to get up the courage to get going owing on and need to just dive in and start.

    518
  494. I have done various forms of counted embroider for decades and enjoy other forms of embroidery mostly by looking — I look at the gorgeous work of artists like Helen Stevens (been a fan for years and own many of her books) and feel too intimidated to try the work myself. So, so far, the most difficult work I have done was a wedding gift for a friend. It used many forms of counted work, including Hardanger, but the color theme was too pink to suit me since my friend was smitten by forms of purple. I changed the pinks to purples but then also had to change the balance of the colors of floss to go with the purples. It was a challenge but, if I do say so myself, the finished piece was beautiful. Like most projects, I chose it because it had the potential to be a beautiful piece and because it presented a challenge.

    519
  495. I think the most challenging embroidery project for me was embroidering a face. It was my first serious foray and the subject called for a fairly realistic execution. I did manage to work it the way I wanted but it was a very nerve wracking process.

    520
  496. The most challenging project I have completed was a birds in flight piece. It was a kit and there was barely enough thread to complete the sections. Also, some of the threads were so close in value that it was easy to make a mistake. . .which I did. . .I still love the piece so I’m glad that I persevered!

    521
  497. My most challenging project was an wall clock. I designed the face and had to include the numbers in the right spot. I used Brazilian embrodery for the flowers and was nervous for a while since I wasn’t sure the watch hands would be able to pass by the flowers without issues (lucky they did). I did this as a Christmas present, I try to give an embrodered piece as a gift to my sisters.

    522
  498. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve completed so far was my mask. I traced the pattern pieces onto my fabric, then filled them up with freehand flowers of all sorts. It makes it easy to wear it when I get to show off my work as well!

    523
  499. My most challenging project was a celtic tree of life, completed for my grand-daughter’s high school graduation. I chose this because she has an interest in fantasy, dragons and celtic drawings. She loved it and I learned much about celtic crosstitch!

    524
  500. My most challenging embroidery project so far is an applique quilt that I am enhancing with embroidery stitches. I have learned some new techniques and I thank you for your videos which are such a great help.

    525
  501. My most challenging project is/was a counted and ribbon embroidery, Fuchsia Greenhouse, by instructor /designer,Merrilyn Heazlewood, at the National Embroiderer’s Guild Of America Seminar. I am a crewel embroider and don’t do counted work because of visual problems,however, this piece with it’s flamboyant colored fuschias took my. breath away. I had to tackle this piece. The counted work is /was very difficult for me and I have done a great deal of reverse stitching…but I love this project…and Merrilyn was very patient with me!! Unfortunately,I continue to work on this project in between working on 12 large needlepoint Christmas stockings for an increasing number of grand children.

    526
  502. My most challenging embroidery is the one I have almost completed – the Home Sweet Home workbox – and I’m putting the final few stitches into the roof as I speak. The complications are in the sheer scale of the design and the combination of stitching and construction, but I was inspired to try it, firstly by yourself Mary! Your book review really tempted me and then I followed Janet Granger who blogged about her journey stitching the box and that gave me the extra confidence to make a start. It’s been both a challenge and a delight! 🙂

    527
  503. They are beautiful! I think my biggest challenge was a dragon I did a while ago. It was done on a dark fabric and used mostly variegated threads. I always struggled with Chain Stitch and most his scales needed it!

    528
  504. The most challenging embroidery project I probably completed was a wedding sampler that I did using Mary Corbet’s stitch sampler alphabet. I’m a counted thread designer that works with square space, so it was out of my comfort zone to stitch curves and coils, but the end result was stunning and the married couple loved it, so that’s all that matters!!

    529
  505. My comfort zone is cross stitch and hardanger. On pinterest I saw a small blue flower that had been embroidered on a spool holder. So began my biggest challenge to date – Home Sweet Home. Its still work in progress but I am enjoying it and am pleased with each different section.

    530
  506. The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was my first attempt at learning thread painting using long and short stitch. I drew out a simple pansy and went from there. You would think long and short stitch would be simple–and it is once you get it down–but learning to shade subtly takes some doing and a lot of practice. I’m still learning! I was motivated to tackle this project because of all the beautiful work I see out there and I wanted to challenge myself to learn the technique.

    531
  507. Learning to needlepaint for the first time (from a Trish Burr tutorial) was my most challenging embroidery project. It’s now become my favorite hobby!

    532
  508. The most challenging embroidery project was a stump work botanical wreath. Using Jane Nichols first stump work book I picked out different elements ( flowers, leaves, berries, a ladybug) and made my own design. Stitching the tiny elements and cutting them out wasn’t too bad. Putting it all together was a real challenge. Deep round frame with domed glass to finish. Proudly hanging in my living room.

    533
  509. The most challenging piece I ever stitched was a piece of Japanese embroidery titled Bevy of Beauties. It consists of 36 separate butterflies on a dark blue background, all done in both flat and twisted silks. It is both an extra wide and an extra long piece of fabric which made it very difficult to reach to stitch the butterflies in the center. The piece is spectacular, I knew I had to have it even though I knew it would be difficult. It is finished and framed and every time I look at it I admire the beauty of it.

    534
  510. This is a fabulous giveaway. Inspirations Studio has stunning kits. I always look at them and think, “ maybe one day”.

    535
  511. my most challenging project was a table cloth and napkin set. My sister got the stamped set at a garage sale and was so pleased that she had gotten it for me. What could I do but tackle it! Large rectangular cloth with embroidered flower groups and matching napkins. Was proud of myself for sticking to it.

    536
  512. Years ago, my son chose a needlepoint design of a leopard. It was a Dimensions kit, well printed with lots of shades of yellows and browns. I remember the challenge of deciding between the light,very light, medium light, gold, yellow, beige, brown!

    537
  513. Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it!
    Being new to embroidery completing any project is challenging. But am working on crazy quilt that I seen at a quilt show and thought it was amazing. so this is my challenge am working on and putting different stiches together can get a bit confusing but I will sooner or later conquer.

    538
  514. My most challenging project was a stump work picture from a kit from Insperations magazine, challenging but glad that I finished it. Love the kits!

    539
  515. My most challenging & also completed embroidery project is A SEA TO STITCH by Elisabetta Sforza. I stitched the monogram letter “M” for my name. The minute I saw an advance copy of this Album I knew I had to learn and stitch it and finally I was able to purchase the Album and start this new adventure of stitching a most gorgeous and intricately dimensional design in the Sea of Research color way. I even sent a photo of it to Mary who was also working on the letter M as well. Elisabetta’s approach and instructions are very different from other designers with the added challenge of language translations that are not always clearly understood which took lots of re-reading and using an intuitive approach to what she was trying to communicate. I adore this project and have since downloaded her NEW accompanying design from Inspiration Magazine “Sea Shore” which I will start in 2022. This design work was exciting to look at and I just had to tackle it. And I did.

    540
  516. My most challenging project was probably a series of red poppies in different styles embroidered onto a linen skirt. I was inspired by a painting at a friend’s house, and I wanted to make something I could wear. The stitches themselves were simple enough, but I was essentially doing the entire thing free hand, plus I was too inexperienced to know that I should have used a backing or stabilizer. It turned out ok, but more importantly I learned a lot!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    541
  517. A kit from Hazel Blomkamp I completed a couple of years ago called MidnightMeander has been my most challenging embroidery. It was on black dupion silk which was a challenge in itself! Also lots of shading, beads and wonderful stitches to enjoy. I’ve had it mounted in a round circular box that was specially made and it sits on a table in my hallway.

    542
  518. In a way, all of my projects to me are a challenge –in just getting them finished before I get started on another that has grabbed my interest. It’s hard to be project monogamous…..
    Love the Inspirations magazine and kits!

    543
  519. One of my most difficult and enjoyable projects was making a group of items for my niece’s wedding. She requested using her mother’s wedding dress which was exactly fifty years old and making wristlets for herself, bridesmaids, flower girls, and handkerchiefs for the groomsmen. I decided in addition to make heart shaped pillows for both the bride and my sister since the weddings were exactly fifty years apart. The lace from the wedding dress was fragile so I machine embroidered monograms on top of the Lace backed by the Satin on each wristlet and monogramed and dated the pillows for each couple. I was happy that pillows were a surprise and delighted each of the women.

    544
  520. Thank you for doing this again this year. It is such fun!
    The most challenging project I took on was a Chinese pattern, supposed to be for a plate, that I saw in a newspaper. I thought it could be done as cross stitch. It was, but it was much bigger than I thought, and I didn’t realise until it was time to frame it that it was actually an octagon. the pattern is a century old at least and represents a wish for sons, wealth, a long life and health in the whole community.
    I was glad I had it to do, as I was really badly injured in an accident and could barely walk for months. This project took my mind off the pain and worry and now, whenever I see it, it reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

    545
  521. The most difficult thing I ever stitched was a book cover. I actually was inspired by your Bible book covers! The book I chose was Farmer Giles of Ham, my family’s favorite read-aloud (for kids and adults alike). I designed the overall pattern (using one motif from the book illustrations) and used only threads that I had on hand. I worked it on espresso colored linen on a slate frame. It was my first time using silk shading or split stitch filling, which was really exciting but also really nerve-wracking. I also didn’t really realize how tiny the design was until I started trying to stitch it. But I was really careful, and I think it turned out well, even with its large smattering of techniques! It included couched goldwork threads, beads, some tricky satin stitch, split stitch in a lot of applications, and fishbone stitch. The front cover motif depicts a dragon in a flaming forest. It’s not every day you get to stitch something that unique! It’s probably my favorite embroidery project to date, and I plan to make more book covers.

    546
  522. Wow! It never ceases to amaze me how generous your needlework friends are, Mary!

    The most challenging embroidery project I’ve ever completed has to be a good-sized stump work piece I designed and stitched to cover an ugly circuit breaker box in a stairway at our last house. It was in a conspicuous place, was naturally not very attractive (to say the least), and to top it off, the door wouldn’t stay shut. I had the idea to cover it up with a piece of embroidery, but none of the patterns I had was the right size. I’d bought one of Jane Nicholas’s books on stump work some years previous and not yet tackled it, but I decided the time was right. Jane’s instructions were wonderful, and I finished a piece with various flowers, berries, insects, snails, a worm, etc. and had a ball doing it!

    547
  523. My most challenging project was my mom’s Christmas present last year, a pencil case — not because it was technically challenging, but because I ended up doing all the embroidery Christmas Eve! I made it for because she’s was going back to university, and we all got her school supplies last year.

    548
  524. What a wonderful Give-Away! I haven’t completed that many works yet. But of the ones that I did, a monogram according to a design by Elisabetta Sforza was the most challenging. I chose to stitch it because it was a great way to learn and practice surface embroidery stitches.

    549
  525. The most challenging project for me was a set of three matching paraments for my church. I was inspired to tackle it because there had been a dry-cleaning mishap on the current set and damage was noticeable. Although the damaged set had been machine made, I heard myself saying, “How hard could it be? The embroidery is all satin stitching.” It took three years, and many choices (and re-stitching) to replicate the original design, but the paraments are still in use 10 years later.

    550
  526. Hello!
    The most challenging project I’ve done up to date is a crewel embroidery project I made for my sorority “mother’s” wedding. This was back in the 70’s, so there were lots of oranges, olive greens, and browns. LOL! I’m guessing it’s long-gone! There were many different stitches, but fortunately, good instructions.

    I actually started salivating when I scrolled down to the photo of ‘Four Corners.’ It’s just GORGEOUS! The colors are positively yummy!

    551
  527. My most challenging project was The Tree of Life by Lynne Payette taught at an EGA Seminar (my first seminar). This was my first non-counted embroidery project and I was so overwhelmed by the “go-with-the-flow” versus “put-this-stitch-here” mentality. My little engineer’s brain was way outside of it’s comfort zone! Now that I’ve done many non-counted pieces, I really need to finish this!

    552
  528. I’m not sure what project has been the most challenging! I find each and everyone I stitch a challenge which means every project is interesting. Designing my own designs has an added layer of difficulty. Stitching is always fun, relaxing and satisfying.

    553
  529. Thanks for the chance to win the mushroom (which would be my preference)!

    The most challenging project to stitch was probably Catherine Jordan’s Tree of Life Journal, because it took me way out of my comfort zone. It took me several years, but I did finally complete it.

    The most challenging finishing of a needlework project was one I just completed, Bird In Hand Sewing Companion by Catherine Theron. I had a difficult time with all the necessary hand sewing to put the thing together. But I persevered, and finished it.

    554
  530. I can’t say that I have done a very difficult embroidery, but cut work does intimidate me.

    555
  531. I made a silk ribbon embroidery pincushion for my friend who gifted me her Bernina 1630 over 10 years ago.

    556
  532. The most challenging embroidery I’ve completed so far is a toss up between my very first Goldwork project and a Silk Shading Macaw I stitched for my eldest granddaughter last year – this was also my first attempt at Silk Shading. I’m very proud of both attempts.

    557
  533. The most challenging project I have done is Scott Lee by Jean Hilton. It was out of my comfort zone and I am so proud of it!

    559
  534. I completely hand stitched, embroidered, tatted and crocheted an heirloom baptism gown for our fifth child. A true labor of love!
    Carrie G PlaneNut

    560
  535. I completed a large blue & white embroidered quilt filled with several scenes of snowmen playing in their “Winter Wonderland.” There are patchwork stars in the border. The difficult part was keeping the fly stitch evenly sized and spaced along the many seam lines between each snowman block. It turned out beautiful, but I had to rip out and restitch a lot of stitches!

    561
  536. I copied a large adult coloring book page and did a blue bird with a single thread. It was called thread painting I think and the stitches looked like feathers.

    562
  537. The most challenging embroidery project I have even undertaken (so far) would be the most recent – I always want to learn something new, so anything that looks like a challenge is always worth thinking about.
    This time I wanted to do some smocking and embroidery in a little dress for my granddaughter in Australia. I am not sure about her size (approx age 3-4) so it was going to be guesswork from the start. I found a pattern called Periwinkle, on the Inspirations website – this had everything. Unfortunately it also had a complicated form of smocking – called (I think) honeycomb, which can be stretched after being stitched. And the bodice was lined. And I decided to put more piping than it called for. And I made an error in cutting out the back, & ended up adding another piece (with piping) to the lower back. I am sorry that my version of it doesn’t look exactly like the pattern – but I have been through a tremendous learning curve, and will try smocking on a simpler pattern next time! I hope it fits her, and looks OK.
    Oh – the embroidery part went very well! I was able to use seed beads and different colours, and that part looked very nice.

    563
  538. Hello,
    In my mind challenging means difficult to achieve. I have not worked on difficult to achieve projects, and I have tried and taught myself embroidery techniques that are considered to be challenging. For me the challenge has been to manage my time so that I can devote a block of time to stitching. Between an 8 hour day, add the comute, add my family’s needs, add time for study in order to be ready for advancement opportunities.
    May I dare to hold a needle? For my mental sanity, I must. It is just as important as finding a block of time for execise and my physical health.
    Thank you,
    Katherine P GR

    564
  539. I picked up a wool appliqué table runner at Festival and decided to do a different stitch on each stem or vine. Deciding which stitch and which type of thread on each item was more challenging than expected.

    565
  540. Doing a cross stitch rose design all over a dress facing each other in those days when computers were not available. The design was one sided and printing a mirror copy proved to be a big task- finally managed getting one on a transparent sheet . The design took a long time to complete.
    My inspiration was my Mother’s loss-stitch designs.

    566
  541. My most challenging embroidery project was a geisha. I really like it and I’ve decided to keep it for myself.

    567
  542. The challenging embroidery project I completed was by Jessica Long Embroidery, the embroidery is called “Modern Cameo”. The face is completed in straight stitch with different shades of grey giving definition to the face, the hair is also in straight stitch with flowers and leaves in the hair, some of the leaves are stump work which I have never done before. What inspired was the effect the face has with the shading. I didn’t realise there was stump work when I purchased the pattern but I enjoyed the stump work and enjoyed the project.

    568
  543. most challenging project is a White work project converted to my own selection of
    threads and type of stitches.

    570
  544. Actually, what has turned into the the most challenging one is a very simple cross-stitch idea. I wanted to make something to adorn a shrine and of doing some simple letter with only a very little ornamentation….well, it is still not completed over a year later and has been more challenging then I originally thought.

    571
  545. Thankyou Inspirations for your wonderful gifts. My most difficult piece is my current crazy embroidery piece, which I haven’t attempted before. Having to chose your own colours and stitches , just given the design . Challenging.

    572
  546. My most challenging has to be a lovely bird kit I purchased from Di van Niekerk. I just love her work and thought I’d try one of her designs. It has been extremely challenging but well worth it.

    573
  547. Tell us about the most challenging embroidery project you’ve ever completed, and what inspired you to stitch it!

    The most challenging embroidery project I ever completed was… nothing I’ve done has ever been challenging. I’ve only stitched things that were very basic *shrug*.

    574
  548. Scary Eyes Pocket Dragon – not because of the stitching but because I lost the pattern after stitching everything except the dragon. Took 15 years to find someone who had a copy of the out-of-print pattern and had to show her the piece to prove I had it at one time. Started it for my son’s 11th birthday when reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebump books and finished it for his 25th.

    575
  549. I am a new embroiderer, so I have accomplished a lot of experiments but no projects. The most challenging project I have in mind is the israelites crossing the red sea with the text in Hebrew as the split sea, but that is a very long way away from me.

    576
  550. My most challenging project was completing a kit showing a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry. While the stitches were not hard to learn, I was still new to embroidery and as a large project it was quite intimidating at that time. But I have always loved the history of the tapestry and so I persevered!

    577
  551. The most challenging embroidery was Leafy Tree as this was the first embroidery piece stitched after being in what I refer to as a ‘black hole’ for some considerable time. Since stitch Leafy Tree I have gone on to stitch other pieces, taken online classes and enjoying the whole process. Thank you Mary.

    579
  552. My most challenging needlework piece was a counted cross stitch of the Bible verse Isaiah 40:31. It used 3, 2 or 1 strands of floss to give depth of field and mixed strands of different colors for many stitches. It was a gift to my mother.

    580
  553. I absolutely love the 4 corners piece!!! I agree that the design and color choices are the most challenging so I mostly stick with kits.

    581
  554. The most challenging project I ever did was one of my first…about 60 yrs ago…I had to enlarge a lemon tree design from a magazine, find the yarns( ended up splitting tapestry yarn) and learn a miriad of stitches as each lemon was done in a different stitch as well as a number of the leaves…and it was stitched on a coarse burlap! It still hangs in my guest room.

    582
  555. The most challenging project was “Little Bee-Eater Friends” from Trish Burr’s “Color Confidence in Embroidery” book. I was challenging myself to learn how to needle- paint birds. The project is these two adorable birds sitting together and reminded me of me and my best friend. I just had to stitch it!

    583
  556. After my children were born I stitched a cross stitch birth announcement for each of them. I was inspired by my kids to try out embroidery once again. It was a challenge since I hadn’t stitched since I was a child!

    584
  557. My most challenging completed project has to be a hooped design I did as a gift for my retiring yoga teacher. I decided to do it so last minute, there was no time to get supplies, so I opted for kit with a wreath design I bought from a charity shop. It was very old, there were no diagrams, only bizarre stitch names and no picture of what the finished project looked like. I figured out what I could in the few days I had, substituted the rest, and she absolutely loved it!

    585
  558. A miniature needle point carpet on 32 count canvas for my dolls house based on a full sized aubusson carpet. It took me years!! Over 60000 stitches…..

    586
  559. I challenged myself by designing and stitching a photo I took in the mountains near Idylwyld, California. Translating a Pine tree hanging onto the edge of the road took quite some time to get the correct colours and stitches. This project took nearly a year to complete.

    587
  560. Brazilian Embroideries are the most challenging projects for me. I was inspired by my instructor whose finished embroideries are perfect.

    588
  561. The most challenging embroidery project ever completed was ‘Strawberry Thief’ by Nicola Jarvis-I fell in love with the design just decided I needed to expand my horizons as it were and try something more challenging than what I was doing at that point!

    589
  562. The most challenging projects I’ve ever completed were a Goldwork course from the Royal School of Needlework and my very first Silk Shading attempt. The Goldwork course was a birthday gift from my family and, after completing it, I’m now inspired to attempt a very ambitious Goldwork dragon this year. The Silk shading work was a Macaw I embroidered for my granddaughter who loves Macaws. I’m very proud of both works.

    590
  563. My most challenging embroidery project was actually two projects – I made baby quilts (almost a full size in reality) that had outlines of the hands of parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I made them somewhat different in design, and one quilt had a lot more hands to put on than the other! The two babies were born just three weeks apart and it took me a while to get these finished. They are fun to see on their beds now (the girls are now six).

    591
  564. My most challenging project was a vertically smocked cover for a Moleskine book. The project was in a publication from Inspirations Studios. I had a Read pleater but ended up getting a bigger pleater from a different manufacturer to make the measurements come out correctly. There are slight differences in the spacing of the pleater—-and that makes all the difference.

    592
  565. My most challenging embroidery project was the very first project I ever did. I stitched a happy Saint Patrick’s design on a pillow cover for my boyfriend. The stitching was not challenging, but I was so worried that he wouldn’t like it! That made it extra challenging for me.

    593
  566. Hi Mary, The most challenging project I am (still!) working in are the four Queens from Fox collection (Queen diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs). My parents bought them for me for my 40th birthday and I have only completed one and am half way through the second 11 years later!

    Have a lovely week!

    594
  567. Beautiful kits! My most elaborate embroidery project was rose pillowcases for a Christmas present. You have to finish Christmas presents.

    595
  568. Hi, as I am a relative new commer to embroidery I don’t think I have done anything particularly challenging as yet. I do mostly counted work as no transferring of pattern to fabric is involved. I do find that challenging! It would be lovely to win one of the kits from Inspirations as I get their magazine and it wouldn’t have to be posted so far as they are in Australia and I am in New Zealand, just over the ditch!

    596
  569. My most challenging project was the first piece of goldwork I completed in 1977. It was the first time I had tried a piece of creative embroidery. I was hooked from then on. I based the embroidery on a much loved children’s book.

    597
  570. I designed and embroidered a cushion cover in wool for my mother.
    She kept it with her for the last few months of her life.

    598
  571. The most challenging embroidery project I’ve ever undertaken was a red worked king size bed quilt/cover. The design itself wasn’t too terribly difficult, it was the scope of the project which was so daunting. I had the quilt top set up on a huge frame with rollers, so that helped, but I had no idea just how much stitching would be required to finish the piece. I made it through all the audio books in the Poldark series, (7 or 8 in total, I think, at about 45-50 hours each) and still managed to listen to a few Anthony Trollope novels as well. I’m an glad I decided to do the project though. I will always love my bed covering & appreciate all hand embroidered objects as labors of love!

    599
  572. The most challenging embroidery was Mary Corbett’s Hummingbird. At the stage of my embroidery this was stretching my abilities. But I really enjoyed the process and it now hangs pride of place in my home and is greatly admired. Thank you Mary.

    600
  573. I think my most complicated embroidery was the 3 clerical stoles I made for my husband. All silk and gold on a rough weave wool fabric. Doing the practice board for learning was very easy in comparison. But working on that wool was almost impossible. Thank you Mary for this give away! Linda in NC

    601
  574. The most challenging embroidery project was learning to do Brazilian embroidery. I had to practice the dimensional stitches for quite a while before I got the hang of it. Thank goodness Mary has a great stitch dictionary on line that I can refer to when I need a refresher course>

    602
  575. The hardest embroidery piece I have ever done is a minature Christmas tree with ornaments and presents under the tree on silk guaze. The cross stitches are so small you can barely see the stitch. I always wanted to do a minature piece and this sure fit the bill. It included specialty threads, as well, so the ornaments and gifts sparkle beautifully. I could only work on it an hour or two at a time it was so fine. But every holiday season when I get out my Christmas works I still love looking at this accomplishment and can’t believe I did it!!

    603
  576. I guess the most challenging embroidery project I have done is one I call Indigo Moon. It is worked on a piece of indigo-dyed cotton and reminded me of the reflection of the moon on water so I embroidered literally thousands (possibly millions) of tiny french knots to emphasise that. The piece has now been purchased the our local Art Gallery and was on show for several months this year.

    604
  577. My most challenging project was investing time and effort into a EGA individuual correspondence course many years ago. There were two components to the ICC which was a study of 17th century samplers. One component was to work a 6-part band sampler, each part representing each of the 6 lessons. The second component, in addition to the stitched sampler, was to compile a notebook filled with homework assignments from each of the six lessons. As each lesson was completed, the sampler and the notebook lessons were mailed to the teacher for review and either approval or instructions for correcting. The final lesson required a written essay. This was a two-year project and the finished sampler now hangs in my home with glass on both sides so the reversible stitching can be seen. I’ve worked many complicated pieces since then, but this was probably the most all-consuming for time and effort.

    605
  578. Beautiful kits.

    My most challenging project isn’t done yet, but parts of it are. It’s Home Sweet Home by Carolyn Pearce, and every part has brought a new challenge. Half my time on it is spent in frustration, and the other half is spent enjoying the sense of accomplishment.

    606
  579. The most challenging piece of needlework I have done was a pulled thread sampler done on congress cloth done many years ago as an EGA class project. What made it so challenging was that it was very difficult to correct mistakes after pulling threads tautly out of the square of the weave. Pretty when finished though!

    607
  580. The most difficult thing I’ve ever stitched was your dragonfly – because I only had one shade of blue metallic and no beads. On dark fabric too! It took a lot of imagination and mixing threads but it turned out pretty alright in the end

    608
  581. The most challenging project was some pillow cases I stitched in college. It was the first project I picked up in years and I had to relearn and restitch a lot. It helped me relax during a difficult year so I kept at it.

    Thanks for a chance to win one of these lovely kits.

    609
  582. So far, I’ve never completed a challenging embroidery project. I have a couple of UFO’s that are quite challenging. One is a church kneeler – challenging because of it’s size and color changes. The other is a reticella needlecase. It was a seminar project and I have yet to ever finish a seminar project.

    610
  583. The most challenging embroidery I’ve done was a very small-scale petit point rose. I did it because I got a magnifying glass I wanted to see how small I could do the work.

    611
  584. Hi Mary – thank you for such a lovely competition!
    My most challenging project was first settling on a project and then actually stitching it – for my mum’s 70th birthday! It had to be special!
    So I boldly decided to do my first thread-painting project for her!
    A butterfly I framed that turned out alright.
    With minimum practice along the way and lots of snipping and re-stitching, I had a go at least – and she definitely knows it was handmade – but with lots of love!!

    612
  585. I find needle painting projects, however small, the most challenging as I need to think so hard on which direction the stitches need to be laid out. And after all that thinking, come execution time, it doesn’t quite look like what I thought it would be like. Phew!!!

    613
  586. My most challenging embroidery piece is “Around the world in 80 stitches”. Though I love counted cross stitch, speciality stitches are a challenge for me and this project has 80 of them. Aside from minor motifs I haven’t tried much in surface embroidery.

    614
  587. These kits are gorgeous! Thank you Mary and Inspirations Studios for sharing these in the give-aways this year!

    I’m a beginner embroiderer, and most of what I’ve done so far is cross stitch. I think my most challenging project so far is the crewel embroidery piece that I’m learning to embroider. Thank you Mary for always being such a treasure trove of information, inspiration and for always inspiring us to continue learning.

    Merry Christmas!

    615
  588. The most challenging embroidery piece I completed was a book cover. It was the first proper piece I was doing and was still new to hand embroidery. Every stitch I used, I learnt as I went along from Mary’s website/instructions. I almost gave up several times, but pushed on as it was a cover for our Holy Book.

    616

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