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Cross Stitch Cross Roads and Challenges

Hi Everyone

I’m writing this piece somewhat off the cuff compared with many of my other pieces, which I try to plan and mull it over a bit before I hit the publish button. To date, this blogging about cross stitch has been an interesting experience and somewhat of a roller coaster ride! I’ve had fun learning about the blogging process and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t subject-wise and when to post my pieces via WordPress, Pinterest and Facebook.

One of my challenges with writing my posts for this blog is trying not to be so much like everyone else, that for anyone coming across my posts, they aren’t thinking ‘oh, another post on how to… or how not to…’ I definitely want to share my experiences with cross stitch with all of you, but do it in a way that has you thinking a little differently about cross stitch – in a good way! So the challenge for me is to make the journey for all of you fun and interesting without losing any of you along the way or scratching your heads, wondering what on earth I was thinking whilst writing my pieces!

Another challenge I’ve been having an interesting time with, is converting my photos to cross stitch patterns and making them easy and fun to stitch, whilst ensuring they are as realistic as possible. I’m using the software program PCStitch and I’m annoying myself with trying to get it the way I want it to be. Yesterday for example, I was playing around with the image below, trying to convert it into a pattern.

Photo by Kristen Gawronski – Name of flower unknown – photo taken at CIT Reid Campus, Canberra, Australia.

At the moment, it’s a 40 page pattern (roughly) because I’ve wanted it to be stitched on 14 count fabric and the measurements are about 40 to 45 inches wide and 20 to 30 inches high. I’ve also trimmed the image down to incorporate more of the flower and less of the background. The additional challenge I’ve found with this is trying to get the colours right and the detail as I love the contrast of colours in this picture. I’m very detail orientated when my brain is in the right gear and it’s something that frustrates me at times, as it can take me forever to get something done – if at all! The hilarity is that cross stitch is one of those things that requires time and patience!

The cross roads I’m at, at the moment are trying to figure out what I want to do. I’m at a really good stage of my life and I want to make the most of it. Career wise I feel like I’ve achieved most of what I want to do in my profession and I’m ready for a change. The challenge is figuring out how much of a change that is going to be! For a long time now I’ve had a keen interest/passion for conservation and preservation of cultural heritage information. Which means working with places such as the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia. If I go down this path, I will be able to maintain my comfortable lifestyle with minimal disruption and I’ll be pretty happy. I’d still be working as a public servant – something I’ve been doing for the majority of my working career, I’m familiar with the office politics and the benefits are very nice.

The other direction would be developing my photography and graphic design skills (which are quite basic at the moment) and building a business around cross stitch and photography. This concept is super scary and exciting. I’ve never started up or owned my own business before and from what I’ve seen and heard I know that it’s a lot of hard work and responsibility.

However, I’d be doing something I’m super passionate about – writing and cross stitch and being creative. Which translates to continuing with this blog, producing and selling patterns, cards, images and finished products which are are just a few of the possibilities. Then there are finishing services, lessons and videos to name a few.

Additionally, the arts and crafts industry can be extremely fickle. For many people, it is a nice to have rather than a necessity. So when times get financially tough, they are less inclined to spend money on a nice picture to hang on their wall or pattern to stitch. Additionally, if the true monetary amount was placed on a stitched picture that represented the amount of time spent on it and the resources used, the average amount would be in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. Which leaves me wondering who would buy it? Who is my audience? Who are my customers?

Off and on for a few years now, I’ve been working on business plan to try and figure out some of these issues and questions I’ve just raised and there’s still quite a lot I need to figure out and develop. I do feel like I’m on the right path though with getting this sorted out and this blog is a big part of that!

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of what a dear friend of mine said recently via live Facebook post. She talked about valuing what we do and the experiences we bring to our roles – regardless of what they are – and being rewarded for our time, experiences and the services we provide. These rewards can be in the form of money, gifts, the people we are working with, the pride within ourselves and seeing the differences we are making to those who are receiving our services and products. Additionally, she talked about quality over quantity and the value that something gains over the quality of it rather than the quantity of it. To me this means not being afraid of putting a high price on my products and services because my products will be originals. It also means putting the time, love and effort into my products and services to produce such beautiful and quality work, that the monetary factor shouldn’t be an issue.

In summary, I appreciate that it sounds like I’ve made my decision about my career direction. My gut instinct tells me that I have. My head and heart however are regularly fighting with my gut and I’m needing/wanting to get a lot more things sorted out in the background (e.g. finances and sussing out this archival side of things to see if it’s the right fit for me) before I take the terrifyingly big leap. If nothing else, this can be my side-hussle until I’m earning enough to be able to support my current lifestyle.

Thank you all for bearing with me while I find my voice and until next time…

Happy Stitching!