Yes! This year's Christmas embroidery designs are ready! I don't know if I'll ever get used to the side of business that requires planning Christmas in the middle of summer - but anyhow, they're done!
It's been a bit of a process getting these ready - in the earliest stages of planning, I dug out the three finished Christmas hoops from last year - and honestly? I thought two of them were just awful. One of them was...OK, I guess. It's funny how a year can change so much - but on closer reflection, it made a lot of sense.
Looking at those hoops, my mind flashed back to November last year, when I realised oh-so-late that I should have prepared more for the festive season (if you know me, you'll know that in the past I've had a somewhat...relaxed approach to deadlines. I'm working on it). I rushed together a few designs, using some Christmas imagery that was quite traditional, but not particularly inspired (for me, at least).
Thinking back on that time stirred up that weird sense of discomfort - the one that everyone has at some point, I think - that happens when you're just not proud of something you've made or done. They felt unfinished - and the more I looked, the less I liked them (I'm not even including a picture of them here - I just can't).
So, I scrapped them. And it felt really good! Despite the all the hours, and effort, and stress that had gone into stitching each one - plus everything else that comes with preparing a new design - all I felt was a huge sense of relief when I decided to chuck them. I kept one - the Christmas wreath, which was the only one that I was semi-pleased with - and took it back to the drawing board for some edits.
Then, I just gave myself some space to think on it...and slowly, slowly, two new designs - the Dove and the Reindeer - emerged. Giving myself plenty of time to play around with them and test them out has led to me loving these new ones - which is how it should be!
Having a look at my past embroidery patterns - however cringe-inducing it felt for me - turned out to be a great way of reminding myself how far I've come in the past year. Plus, I feel like I've learned a couple of lessons in that process, too: first, that forcing and rushing out new designs - based on what I think I should be doing - is a bad idea, and will eventually be seen as a waste of time, a year down the line. Everyone works differently - but for me, an idea has to swirl around in my brain for a while before I'll put pen to paper (or needle to fabric!) and be happy with the results.
And second - not to feel guilty if you want to ditch a piece of work! If you're just not feeling it, then follow your gut - give yourself permission to scrap it and start again, without the guilt of leaving an old piece by the wayside.Trust me, it feels really good!