Never Stop Learning!

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Whenever I ask folks how they learned to cross stitch, a great percentage answer in one of two ways: my mother/sister/aunt/grandmother taught me or (with some degree of apology in their voice) “I’m self taught.” I fall into the self-taught category and am here to say that there is absolutely nothing to apologize for.

Those who are self-taught are seekers. There is something they want to learn and they find a way to learn it. I gained most of my needlework knowledge from trial and error or a source like a book.

But when you’re in the company of another needleworker, you’re bound to start swapping tips. I’m sure I have learned as much from others as I have been able to teach. I teach and learn informally and formally. I learned the loop starting method many moons ago sitting in the backyard of a stitching friend in New Jersey. I have taught while shopping in a LNS or traveling by train, bus, or plane.

But I also love to teach in a more deliberate, planned way. Just before Thanksgiving, I had the wonderful experience of teaching at Country Crafts, a needlework shop in Greeley CO for the owner, Sherry Baker.

Sherry (left) was even able to dig out one of my old Spirit of Cross Stitch Video Library tapes!

Sherry (left) was even able to dig out one of my old Spirit of Cross Stitch Video Library tapes!

Sherry’s customers are the smilingest folks I have ever seen. They welcomed me with open arms and I felt like I had known them all forever. Isn’t that the way needleworkers are?

There was a whole lot of smiling going on!

There was a whole lot of smiling going on!

That feeling of being among kindred spirits is one of the very best reasons to take a class or go to a weekend retreat. You just get to feel so normal!

Another reason to find that class or stitching get-away-weekend is to learn new stitches or a new technique. In the Country Crafts class, I taught a series of whitework stitches to create an ornament.

My 'Sweet Little Christmas Ornament' is a dainty 4" tall.

My ‘Sweet Little Christmas Ornament’ is a dainty 4″ tall.

Every teacher has their own style and you’ll find your favorites over time. Generally, I will demonstrate a stitch and hit the do’s and don’ts. If I know the history of a stitch I include that, too. Or I tell the story of how I learned it. Every time I teach one of the eyelet variations I think of Ginny Thompson, the First Lady of Cross Stitch, and how she always used the analogy of diving into a pool when teaching an eyelet. I learned a lot from Ginnie!

I use technology to demonstrate close-ups on a flat screen TV. In this photo, you just see my instruction sheet!

I use technology to demonstrate close-ups on a flat screen TV. In this photo, you just see my instruction sheet!

Once I’ve demonstrated the basics, I circulate to help everyone who needs a little extra guidance.

Giving that one-on-one assistance is the part I like best!

Giving that one-on-one assistance is the part I like best!

Open yourself to learning and a teacher will appear, be it in the form of a just-met friend, a book, or a class full of smiling stitchers. I hope to see you in a class, too!

Here are a few places where I will be teaching in 2016:

July 7-10
Winston-Salem NC
The Work of My Hands Retreat with two full days of whitework techniques taught by Terri Bay and me and a special excursion on Thursday.

September 23-30
Pacific Northwest

Stitchers’ Escapes Cruise to the Pacific Northwest
An 8-day cruise sailing from Seattle WA with two classes taught by me on days we are at sea with special excursions in each port-of-call: Astoria OR, SanFrancisco CA, and Victoria BC.

October 13-16
Richmond VA
Spirit of Cross Stitch

A 4-day retreat  including classes with a variety of teachers, including me, Thursday through Sunday and a merchandise mall on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

October 28-29
Harrisburg PA
A weekend retreat for Cross Stitch Club members with a variety of teachers, including me, on Friday and Saturday and a merchandise mall on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

When you’re not stitching, be sure to take a look at my Etsy shop. If you’re a self-taught sort of stitcher, you’ll love my easy-to-understand stitch diagrams and clear instructions.

And go to Facebook and “like” the Jean Farish Needleworks page.  That’s the best place to leave comments about this blog.

 

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