Escape Velocity

I started this piece well over a year ago, shortly before I broke my wrist. It started out as a tiny doodle in a notepad. I constructed a big honking spiral, transferred it to the back piece of an old army shirt (it doesn’t fit me anymore, might as well recycle it, right?) and started stitching.


It ended up in a drawer for quite a while after the Labor Day broken wrist fiasco — even once I had use of both hands again, the bit of work I’d done on it didn’t feel right. I finally picked it up again a month or two ago after thinking about it quite a lot. But after putting a little more work into it, the stitches were messy due to my trying to enlarge the stitches toward the outer part of the spiral, and it also didn’t look like it was going to be anything like what I’d first imagined when I made the tiny squiggly sketch. It looked like this:

Brenda made an excellent suggestion as to how to make the stitches neater. But it still didn’t feel right. I realized the problem was that I was trying to take a super structured approach to recreate the image in my head — but the image in my head was pretty chaotic and the way I was going about it just wasn’t translating it at all.

So I ripped it all out and started over. I stopped trying to plan it and just stitched. And stitched. And kept posting slightly blurry progress photos on Instagram.

For the past two weeks it’s been the only thing I’ve worked on. I’m rarely able to stick to one project at a time, but I really, really wanted to enter it in the state fair fine arts competition, and the deadline for that was today.

I finished it last night (much later than I should have been awake on a work night) and gave it a bath to wash all the water-erase marker off it, hung it up to dry with a fan pointed at it, and laced it onto a piece of half-inch foam board this afternoon to take the entry photo. I just submitted the entry — fingers crossed! The competition is juried and they get tons of entries, so I don’t know how much of a chance I have. I felt pretty nervous about entering since I’ve never done anything like that before — but I realized that if I didn’t enter, my chances of being accepted were exactly zero, so I didn’t have anything to lose, right?

FO: Escape Velocity

It’s the first time I’ve ever done an embroidery project where I just started stitching and figured it out as I sent along, and I’m pretty thrilled with how it came out.


  1. Sandy H
    May 30, 2015

    I. Love. This. Absolutely wonderful. {{clicking madly}} like like like like like like like

  2. Jaye
    June 1, 2015

    Nothing to lose at all. I think it looks great and is clearly successful.

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