Sunday, January 1, 2017

Facing Down Failure

I always try to choose something special for important days, something to inspire Blog's readers or make them think. For the first day of 2017 I've chosen this article by Tricia Nguyen, written for the people in her Casket of Curiosities class.

It may not seem relevant to those of us who mostly do needlepoint,  but think about it--how many times have you not started (or even purchased) a canvas or chart because you think it's too hard or you have no clue how to get started?  Tricia is teaching a class for those who want to design and then stitch a reproduction 17th Century stumpwork piece for a casket or mirror.  Her students are taking on a huge challenge.  

Tricia knows a lot about failure.  A little background here--she's a materials engineer who is dyslexic.  Between helping understand how 17th Century threads and stitches and stumpwork were made so that she can teach them, she brings reproduction techniques and materials back into production for her classes, and works with kids on the First Lego League robotics challenges and contests.  Failure is just another daily occurrence for her, on par with getting meals on the table, dealing with the day job and of course stitching her brains out.  Moms learn quite early to take failure in stride and move on to the next challenge.  

Please read Tricia's article carefully and think about how it applies to your personal stitching. Then take on a challenge despite the fact that you are going to fail.  That's not such a bad thing, you know.  You are going to learn from the things that aren't perfect the first time.  You are going to learn A LOT.

So promise me you will fail in 2017, ok?  It'll make me happy to know you are learning.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright December 4, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.


  1. Not a problem! I fail regularly. My stack of "almost" designs is most impressive!

  2. You need have no fears for me, Jane. I've got one piece currently waiting for me to fix its messy bits, another piece which contains a couple of design elements that just won't do for the intended recipient, so I'll have to fake something (shudder!) and after that, I'm going to step right out of line, find a piece of fine wool and embroider in outline a picture that I've sort-of got in an old (out of copyright - yay!) book, except that it's in black on white and much too complicated, so I'll have to simplify the outlines of leafless trees, modify the rising sun which is far too big if it's to be in colour, and of course add colours. And then find suitable threads etc, stitches etc and a large barrel of moonshine because, sister, my almost-teetotal days are numbered.

    All the best from South Africa where the temperature is 33. That would be centigrade!

  3. I have some ripping to do myself as my latest attempt is a Big Fat No No, but it'll be better when I work on it again. Maybe.