Finishing the Stitch Lexicon
This Saturday marks the arrival of the last set of 5 stitches for the embroidery stitch lexicon making it to 206 embroidery stitch tutorials total. There will be new stitches in the future because there are still stitches to be discovered, but the list I made when I started this journey is finally COMPLETE. I still can’t wrap my head around this.
When this journey started in May 2016 it was more of a challenge to myself how many stitches I can find. I’m not a collector of things in real life, but I love to go and seek knowledge. If you know the knowledge seeker foxes from the Avatar – the last Airbender series (the animation series, not the movies with the same names), I would love to have those at hand. Little minions to collect all the techniques, the methods and the stitches. This is the kind of “stuff” I love to collect.
I also know the collection will never be complete. There are so many embroidery techniques, the stitch variations are simply endless and there is also the realm of combined stitches which have their own names and stories attached to.
It might seem that everything has already been invented.
So many people use embroidery again now and many brains and hands mean INNOVATION. It might seem that everything has already been invented, but this is simply not true. Yes, the underlying principles, forms, and structures are the same as a thousand years ago. Nevertheless, there is so much room for new combinations, materials and let’s not forget technology. I mean, I have 3D printed embroidery hoop that is glowing in the dark….
I’m looking forward to adding new stitches to the lexicon when the time comes. For now, let’s celebrate embroidery and the many possibilities it gives us to express ourselves, calm us down, help us to connect and hold up the bond to the many people before us who used their hands to pull a piece of thread through fabric with a needle.
Did you know…?
Here are some facts around the making of the stitch lexicon.
The materials I used for the lexicon are all vintage supplies.
When I first started the tutorials I thought it was really dumb to do it that way because I didn’t know if the materials would be enough. If I ran out of fabric there was no way I could find another one that’s exactly the same. But both – fabric and thread – were the exact things I liked most to embroider with, so I took the chance.
The fabric used for the lexicon is a linen men’s shirt from an heirloom company from Bavaria/Germany I found at a thrift store. Although it looks gray in the pictures, it is actually a muted green fabric. The gray patina that quality linen develops over time makes it appear gray in the pictures. Luckily, the shirt was a plus size and the stitch lexicon fitted all on the back of the shirt. So basically you could embroider all 206 stitches on the back of a cotton shirt, too.
It took 3 skeins of my favorite vintage pearl cotton thread to finish all 206 stitch tutorials. These skeins were given to me by my best friend with a lot of other embroidery floss from her grandmother.
The first stage of this lexicon was a basket with index cards full of all stitch names, translations and a picture of the stitch.
I still use the index cards to add translations and mark which ones are finished. One day, I plan to make a printable version of the cards, so everybody can have their box filled with stitch-cards. What do you think?
It took 4 attempts to get the stitch lexicon in the format it is currently having.
It started with individual blog posts first. Then I made pages with all tutorials of one stitch family but with very bad formatting. The third version was a new website which I spent one month figuring out. I then ditched it after putting in all 206 tutorials twice. The final (for now, haha) version is the one you can see now.
The very first tutorial was published on May 21st in 2016.
I continued to publish one tutorial every day until July 1st that year. From there I installed the 5 tutorials every 2 weeks that ends this week on August 26th, 2017 with the last set.
The majority of tutorials (about 120) were done in September and Oktober in 2016.
I had a very tough time with personal issues during these months. Luckily, the tight schedule of shooting and editing the embroidery stitch tutorials helped immensely to not go insane. Making tutorials was my therapy so to speak.
In the beginning, nobody knew about the stitch lexicon.
The lexicon was not visited much until today – exactly one year ago in 2016 – a very kind person on Pinterest pinned all of my tutorial pins to one of her huge boards and they became viral instantly. Because of her, I got so many visits and comments! It encouraged me to make more and stick with this enormous undertaking – the biggest in my blogging life so far.
Translations are the hardest part to find!
The translations for the stitches were a hard part to find for other languages than English and German. With the generous help of María Tenorio, I got a lot of the Spanish translations finished. THANK YOU! I still dream of a day when I find all stitch names in French, Portuguese and Italian. I still need help with translations. If you can recommend a good embroidery stitch book in any language other than German and English (even Japanese – I can read that ^^), please contact me.