|Source: Gilcrease Museum|
© Public Domain. Courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa, OK. From the Library and Archives of Canada website.
That might sound a little overdramatic, but I experience actual nervousness. Maybe it's the fear of failure. There is indeed risk involved, although the sensible among you might be thinking, "Good grief, it's just embroidery." I may identify a bit too closely with my work, in that I find self-validation through what I make.
I was able to find proper crewel yarn for this piece. Such a difference from the smooth 4-ply I used for the last one! The Appleton crewel thread is very fine, softly spun 2-ply, which makes a finer line, allowing more detail, but also requiring attention that the thread doesn't come unspun. I think it works, but it felt so different in my hand I was worried that I was embarking on a major mistake.
This anxiety may also have something to do with the fact that I am not an experienced embroiderer. Yes, I have done quite a lot, but I usually learn as I go, rather than master a technique before I begin. I sat in front of that last counted cross stitch piece for a full day before I started the single thread backstitch outline. What was the problem? A simple stitch, a clear chart to guide me - it should have been easy. But I had never done it before, and needed to gather my nerve.
Neurotic, perhaps, but the feeling does help me to understand the trepidation a beginner might feel. If I was teaching, I would just say to dive right in and not worry if it's not perfect. I need to take my own advice!