I was not born with the skill, only with the passion for yarn and for beauty. Having the passion has made the hours more pleasant while trying to learn. Many many hours have gone by with needle and floss and what you have seen here on the blog are not my first attempts on embroidery.
Inspiration (or motifs) for embroidery are all over. When I look at the cookie I'm here having with tea, there is the shape of a cookie and some curves from a cookie presser (I don't know if that is the right word choice here) I could use for embroidery. There are fabrics, wall papers and books. Children's books are very good for sources for gathering motifs. Whatever shape or line or curve pleases my eye, I take it. There are also books for motifs entirely, maybe you want to take a look into this site of the Embroiderer's Guild, go for the book categories and there drawing and design.
I draw the motif into the right size. I study the lines and the curves and shapes and try to memorize the motion of the line or movement of the design. I try to know them thoroughly. And memorize them so that I don't need to transfer the design to the wool because I find it difficult. I like the freehand embroidery better. I just chalk in with tailor's chalk the main lines. I have the drawing by me so that I can see what I planned but I might choose to rearrange things along the way or add something or leave something out completely. I pick the color palette for the design but not for separate motifs, I decide the colors for them while I embroider.
Stitches depend on the picture and on the motifs and on the preferences as well. Today I feel the love for chain stitches but there is a soft spot in my heart for buttonhole as well, sort of like for stockinette and and lace.
The embroidery wool I use I buy from the Renaissance Dyeing. They have absolutely fantastic palette and really they have done all the work for me already when dyeing the wool. The wool is light and soft and a pleasure to make delicate and small stitches with.
I know what I'm about to say next might not work for everyone but this is so me that I'll say few words anyway. I'm built this way: I go for the mistakes, I search for them, I dig them out fiercely. I have to find them all not for the sake of the mistakes but for becoming better. Mostly the mistake is quite obvious to me, and instead of looking away from it, I underline it. I try to be honest. What went wrong and why the outcome is not pleasing? All the "what ifs" are good questions to me. I try to answer the questions too, find the solutions. This conversation is very private. Sometimes it takes time and there are occasions when I don't find a good solution. I don't tell myself that is is good when I know it is not. Very often I don't like my work when it is done. I don't think there are more than five things (maybe not even that many) that I have liked when finished. But I just have to keep on trying.
I can live with the mistakes. It is not the end of the world. I'm not afraid of them or making the same one again. Mostly they just leave me with a desire to try harder. Very exhausting at times. But would not trade this for anything.
Not even for ice skating.