Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Tradition of A New Year's Start

Chessie & Me's Behold The Bee
Begun by Cynthia 1/1/2004, finished 2/21/2004

Cynthia and I are members of a New York City stitching group called the Metrostitchers. In fact, it was through the Metrostitchers that we met, became friends and ultimately started Arachne's Silken Web. This is a terrific group of needleworkers whose membership is gradually spreading around the globe, no longer restricted to the metropolitan New York area. [If you would like more information about joining the Metrostitchers, just send us an email.]

Olde Colonial's Home Is... Tuck Pillow begun & finished 12/31/2002 (left)
Olde Colonial's Mimi's Pin Cube begun 1/1/2004, finished 7/2004 (center)
Amaryllis Artwork's Little Peace Angel begun 1/1/2005, finished 3/2005 (right)
All stitched by Theresa

The Metrostitchers began a tradition many years ago of starting a new project at New Year's. No matter how many projects we have going, we each start something new on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day to honor all those needleworkers who have gone before us--the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends who have taught us to love fiber and thread, and whose legacy we carry on every time we pick up a needle. Large or small, complicated or simple, as long as it involves fiber and needle and hasn't already been started, it's a New Year's Start.

Scandinavian Stitches' Nordic Hearts Ornament begun by Theresa on 1/1/2008

We both had to do a little research to figure out what we each started over the years. I was surprised by two things: that I had finished so many of those starts and just how many years I didn't follow the tradition! It's actually been hard for us to stick with the tradition because for so many years we have been consumed at New Year's with finishing new designs to be released at the February Nashville Trade Show.

By the Bay's Winter Hill started by Cynthia on 1/1/2009

A New Year's Start can also be an opportunity for experimentation -- such as testing a new fiber on a favorite motif, or trying a new stitching technique like blackwork. Cynthia did just that on 1/1/2003 - using a variegated Gloriana Silk Pearl and a Leon Contrad blackwork motif. As you can see, her experiment shows that the twist of the silk pearl gives a very intersting textural look to the blackwork.

There's no deadline for finishing a New Year's Start. Some never are finished, others just take a very long time. Cynthia started Girl's Night Out on New Year's 2001. Progress has been slow and steady. Cynthia has hinted that she's going to put a few more stitches in it this New Year's!

Ewe & Eye & Friends Milkpaint Silks Kit from Kreinik

For Cynthia and I, the New Year's Start is an opportunity to take a break from Arachne design work and stitch pieces by other designers. After all, we are stitchers first. Cynthia's New Year's Start this year will be a new block on Carriage House's The Village of Hawk Run Hollow. And yes, indeed, starting a new section of a large project that has distinct sections is considered a new start!

I'm still 'examining my options.' I'll post a comment when I finally decide! I am busy at the moment though, finishing the Nordic Heart's Ornament.

We hope you will join us in this tradition, and let us know what you start!



  1. I like your explanation for a New Year's start. Now, I have another reason to start something new.
    My new start will be Chatelaine's Desert Mandala.

  2. Kathy - you definitely get the spirit! Plus, it's a way to carve out stitching time during the busy holiday season. That Chatelaine piece is gorgeous - and quite an undertaking. Good luck with it.

  3. I ultimately started two things: SamSarah's E is for Elephant and a model of a small motif that we are contributing to a very special sampler. More will be written about that in future blogs. I also had a Happy Dance - I finished my 2008 New Year's Start - the Nordic Hearts Ornament.