Lesleyanne asked if I'll be stitching another HAED. There's a short answer to that - NO, never, no way! This project was a true labour of love for me - with the emphasis on labour. When I started it, I really had no idea what I was signing up for. I suppose the fact that there were 36 A4 pages of charts should have given me a clue - but, no! It took a while for the penny to drop! I have learned so much about myself while stitching this project, and much of what I have learned has surprised me. Here are some of the insights this project has given me:
- I honestly thought I enjoyed stitching. In fact, what I really enjoy is putting in those last few stitches in each project. I enjoy starting new projects and the 'finishes' more than the stitching!
- I've always been a one project at a time stitcher, and I tend to get a bit obsessive once I start a project, often stitching when I should be doing other things - like sleeping or housework. I usually took from 6 -12 weeks to finish a big project (like L&L Angel or Santa). What surprised me was the stress I felt when I finally realised (after 1 month's solid stitching resulted in just one page finished) that even if I stitched nothing else all year I was not going to finish JOF in the year. I decided to stitch exclusively on JOF for several months each year and then put it away till the next year, so I could stitch other projects and have some finishes. And I decided to call every page of JOF stitched a 'finish'.
- I found that I will compromise my standards. The first thing to go was the linen fabric - it lasted just one stitching day, and I replaced it with 22 count Aida, which I found much easier to work with. The next thing to go was the full cross stitches using one thread. I replaced that with continental stitch using two threads. I preferred the look of the cross stitch, but from a distance the continental stitch looks just as good (and gives a much brighter appearance), and it takes half the time. And using the loop method of starting halved the number of ends I had to stitch in. And I have to admit that there were several times in this project when it all got too much, and I got lost in a sea of confetti stitches. Hard as it is for me to admit this, when that happened I resorted to abandoning the chart, and just filling in the missing stitches with whatever floss seemed to go best. And if you're wondering why my stitched design is two stitches wider than the chart, I'll just say that at the time it seemed easier to add two stitches to each row than to pull out the 6900 stitches I had just stitched in order to correct an error that even the designer wouldn't have been able to detect.