Passionate Affair Come and Gone: My Relationship with Embroidery

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I must admit that I'm writing this post more for myself than for all of you. Last year, I had a short love affair with embroidery. It was passionate, and my fervent desire to create gorgeous pieces of art with needle and colorful thread was indeed all-consuming. And then one day, I just stopped. Kind of like when Forrest Gump reached Monument Valley and simply stopped running. I don't know if any of you have taken the Myers-Briggs personality type test. I have on several occasions -- and I'm an ENFP, tried and true.

Perhaps THAT's why I can never stick with any of my side-projects: "An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving." (Info from

Wow. A window into the essence of my very being. Haha. Or, just something that is a reality in my life notwithstanding. Back to embroidery. I enjoy it. But, like with knitting, I can never truly relax. I have made two projects since last year. The first is this bird with a cage. The second is an A letter monogram.

Looking at these photos is enough to make me want to take a sick day, stay home, and learn the stitches again. Er, maybe just devote some time over the weekend. Have any of you ever dabbled in craft -- only to find yourself completely forgetting how to do it a year later? Well, that's what this post is about for me. If embroidery is something that captures your interest, you only need a few things to get started.

What you'll need . . .
  • Needle
  • Colorful floss thread
  • Fabric of some sort
  • Fabric marker
  • Embroidery loop
  • Pattern (or not -- but I find it helpful)
  • Patience
  • Time
  • Sticktoitiveness

Method . . .
  1. Really, you just get a piece of fabric that is relatively thin enough so you can trace your pattern onto it with a fabric marker. Try a simple design. Or even draw your own. Go rogue, if you dare.
  2. Go online (and how convenient -- because you're online right now!) and learn some basic stitches. (Back stitch, running stitch, chain stitch, etc. -- all can be found with a swift Google search.)
  3. Consider purchasing (or going to your local library to acquire) an embroidery book. I have Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. Along with being a gorgeous book to leaf through, it's "full of practical and whimsical projects that are neither boring or stodgy" (from Amazon).
  4. Take 5 or 10 minutes each day to devote to your project. This way, you avoid burnout. It's going to be my new method (kind of like No Workout is Too Short or Slow, remember that?)
I think that last tip is going to be the key for me. As you see, ENFPs "are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they're doing." (Again, from

So, do you have a story like mine? Any half-finished projects hanging out in your closet? Anything you feel like resurrecting? Any other ENFPs out there? Or other Myers-Briggs types? I find it fascinating, really. Because, at least for me, a lot of the description is right on!

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