pick up a thread and follow it, small stitch experiments

Part of the  day today was devoted to waking up the experimenter in me. It needs some encouragement so I gave it an assignment, an easy assignment. I’ve been filled with reasons why I can’t do things lately so it’s a baby steps approach: make something small, make something fun, start without knowing.

One thing leads to another, if you let it.  But first you need to start. Sometimes without knowing where you are going. If the experimenter in you needs some encouragement too please join me in the little assignment.

Start by gathering things, inspiration, things to think about and things to work with.  Arrange and rearrange and look for happy accidents.

fabric and found things for inspiration

ammonite fossil(P S – the fossil above is an ammonite. It was a gift and I love it.)

And then try something, listen for the whisper of an idea, pick up the thread and follow it. Follow it around corners and into shadows and back into the light. Keep following and keep responding and noticing.  Be curious.

There are no mistakes, only information,  a yes and, why not, lets see what happens process.

hand stitched amulets

I like what turned up today, my little stitch experiments feel like amulets to me. And they were indeed medicine.  I had fun and lost myself in the process. And I’m just getting started, the idea has momentum and there is lots more for me to explore here. If the amulet idea appeals to you as a shape for your experiments I hope you try it and I’d love to see what you come up with.

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  1. This is really inspiring! I love the amulets you created and the idea of using creative energy to make amulets!

  2. I admire your drive and your mind. You are special to me I always look at you posts. You are blessed.

  3. Bonnie Totten

    You are so blessed!! LOVE your style. Please continue to share you talent!

  4. Alejandra

    Lovely post! I am experimenting myself tomorrow!

  5. Lovely I really need a push
    Have you looked at Janet boltons applique work? I think you would love it

  6. Beautiful..I have some scraps of old lace…you have inspired me to make something ,Thankyou xxx

  7. Cela donne vraiment l’envie de faire des choses comme ces amulettes ravissantes qui, très certainement, portent bonheur à qui les possède. Je les trouve mystérieuses et esthétiques. Bravo pour l’inspiration et le déclenchement de l’inspiration chez les lecteurs !!

  8. I do this too! I use an embroidery hoop and experiment with stitches and scraps. I find it’s therapeutic, keeps me curious, and keeps me learning.

  9. Oh thank you so much for the wonderful idea. . I need to get creating agian.

  10. Oh thank you so much for the wonderful idea. . I need to get creating agian.

  11. You are such an inspiration I am truely happy and my heart sings when I see one of your posts they are a ray of sunshine in a sometimes foggy day .

  12. There are so many snippets of Nature just outside the doorstep and oodles of remnants of forgotten fabrics on racks in second hand stores begging to be given new life.
    You have inspired such and what a perfect way to retreat from the heat and let the imagination be creative…
    Thank you.

  13. I love getting your posts, look forward to them. This one supplied some much needed inspiration. Thank you

  14. Why is everything on your worktable beautiful and fascinating? I want to pick up each and everything to explore! This is an exercise that I am going to do, cannot wait to begin – thank you!

  15. Gunilla Hilden

    I have made free Embroidery for years and years and niece suddenly I cannot make a single stitches. It seems my inner situation is a huge obstacke. BUT NOW I will try to follow your advice. Wish me Good luck! Thanks so much!

    • Do not despair, we all go through learning processes. Keep trying, eventually you will notice the changes in your work. Keep them all and compare your advancement. Patience is the key word to keep in mind.

  16. I am at a stuck phase for various reasons. This is so helpful and I am liking your results a lot. Thank you.

  17. Diane Powell

    I love your art. Thank you for the free patterns. They will help me see if my hands can tolerate the tiny stitches. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  18. Ann, I recently discovered your art. I’m an instant fan of your freely creative ways. You are such an inspiration! I’m a “professional” bear artist since 1993, known by the name Fool’s Gold Bears, and now Foolsgold Arts. My work can be found on my website and I am a BearPile artist. It’s my delight to become acquainted with you and your art.
    Laure Waytek

  19. Mary oark

    I love all your ideas, I am a scrap hoarder, my sister in law ca me over with bags to help me get rid of some of my scraps, needless to say she left with the bags empty, I save the tinest scraps especially if they have texture, I am so glad I found your website, you are so inspiring

  20. Gostei muito disso; estou para fazer uma cirurgia cardíaca e afastada da rotina habitual. É dessa forma que me agrada passar os dias de espera.

  21. someone shared your site with me and I love it. I sometimes hold a small swatch of fabric, cord, etc that I am crazy about and I don’t know what to do with it. So I shove it into one of my many ziplock bags. I always thought it had to be incorporated into a larger work, collage etc. but now I realize, it can be its own piece of art!! You have given me inspiring ideas.

  22. Ida Rogers


  23. Mrs Philomena Hali

    I totally agree Ann with the ‘pick up and start’ attitude – no assessing just doing with out overthinking. Then the contemplation of the process begins to develop other ideas and soon you are on a roll of fabulous creativity that warms the heart.
    All your bitzy -bits are beautiful and inspire – colour & texture together. Love your stuff. xx

  24. chris wackett

    One of my best discoveries was finding that I could just play with no plan and no outcome . Just make stuff , sometimes it works mostly it’s rubbish ! But it doesn’t matter , I had fun trying . I keep all the bits in a big box and am amazed how often I find just the right thing for another project there . I nearly always opt for big ( hah ! Huge) intricate immersive projects , ones that take a long time to complete so I find random play where there’s no compulsion to finish very relaxing and it so often inspires yet another project ….a colour combination , a shape ….even an emotion expressed can lead to something else ….I love being so immersed I look up and think crikey is that the time ?

  25. I’ve just discovered this post by you Ann, and I love this. I just found myself doing a similar project with small amulets, involving the heart shape. Inspired mostly by the Mexican “Sagrado Corazon”. I’m still doing it now. But I think I’ll probably do something like “a label a day” for the #100daysproject. Let’s see is I can keep up.

  26. Thank you Ann. Our doll club has just started a monthly slow stitch project and your ideas will contribute greatly to the project. The object is to make either a costume or assessory for a hand sculptured cloth doll at the end of the sessions!
    I will be able to inform the ladies of your website and blog to become inspired etc.

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