Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

Seriously, is this one of the most hilarious things ever? Merlin is SO clever!

You may not notice because Merlin is so captivating, but if you look beyond and out our living room windows it’s snowing. Again. We’ve had more snow in the last few weeks than in several years put together, which still isn’t much, but it’s nice to see.

So Merlin, in addition to all of his other amusing and endearing characteristics, also plays fetch. He may be small, but he’s fierce! In the morning, but occasionally in the evening as well, he will bring me his “cork,” which is actually an edible cat chew called Virbac, to throw for him. Eventually he will eat it, but first he likes to play a few rounds of fetch. One morning, in a particularly boisterous mood, he even went more than a dozen rounds with me throwing it, him chasing, then bringing it back so that I could throw it again. One evening he brought it into our bed as my husband and I were watching TV. Best. Cat. Ever.

Taken yesterday, Merlin’s favorite spot to hang out.

In other news I am premiering a video on the Pearl Stitch later today at 1pm or 13:00 EST. Premiering on Youtube means that the video has been shot and edited and is scheduled to post at a given time and I will be watching it live with anyone else who cares to watch with me. We can chat live, just as we would if I was livestreaming, the only difference being that the video has been made already, so I can answer questions as we watch together. AND I demonstrate how to stitch the Pearl Stitch, how to end the thread if you run out in the middle of the stitch, how to join a new thread and I even demonstrate how to stitch the Pearl Stitch using my right hand while standing on my head, submerged in a fish tank with my other hand tied behind my back. Just checking to see who’s paying attention. I’m kidding about the standing on my head, fish tank part, but everything else is true! It will be lots of fun. Join in if you’re able. Here’s the link, just remember it won’t be available to watch until 1pm EST today, Thursday February 18th.

In other news, my friend Anna Bates of the popular Youtube channel, Quilt Roadies and I are doing a Facebook live video tomorrow, Friday, February 19th, at 1pm EST.

Now where’s my ToDo list? I have a LOT to do today and Merlin just brought me his cork again, so I have to play fetch with him before I do anything else.

Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

To Do Lists & FB Live Mishaps

Some people use calendars, others just keep everything they need to do in their heads, I keep lists. You know the old fashion, hand written list made on a scrap of paper or if I’m being really organized, on a note pad, preferably letter or even legal sized, as my lists tend to be pretty long.

Lots of lists I even have them organized into Designs, YouTube Videos, Livestream, and then a general ToDo list. This one is the beginning of what will become a two pager, just so you know.

I’m a big believer in lists. Also unexpected things happen throughout the day that can intrude, thus derailing my list. It’s comforting to know my list is still there, ready for me to continue checking items off once the intrusion has been taken care of or passed on its own.

Yesterday my friend, Anna Bates, of Quilt Roadies, and I decided we were going to do a Facebook live video together. We fully expected that as we both know our way around Youtube, have done livestreaming, set up large groups on Facebook, and in Anna’s case, even done a FB live video before, how hard could it be? Right? So when Anna’s husband helpfully mused aloud that maybe we should do a trial run before just launching in, Anna did what I would have done, shrugged this advice off, because we’ve got this! All I can say is that Anna was so utterly demoralized by the whole experience, she went on to do another video, this time on Youtube, just to feel better. And she does redeem herself in that video. Me, not so much. Instead I’m just writing this post about it, you know, to reduce the trauma. Oh! And by the way, Anna isn’t the “intrusion” in this story, but our failed FB Live so derailed me, all I could do for the rest of the day was work on my mother’s Making Waves: A Drawstring Bag, which is the second to last item on my todo list.

Still, Anna and I are determined, and one little mishap isn’t enough to keep us down. SO this Friday, February 19th at 10am PST, 1pm EST we are going to attempt another Facebook live video, this time, together! We even tested it out, as per G.’s helpful suggestion, and we’re good to go. This time (we are hoping) there will be a split screen with Anna on the west coast and me on the east coast chatting together about our stitching and all that we love. Unlike yesterday, when Anna, in a moment of desperation, (and a stroke of genius on her part) saved the whole mess by putting me on speaker phone so that people could, at least, hear what she was responding to, as my voice goes in and out. We did laugh though, quite a bit, even so. I will share this coming Friday’s video via my FB group, Ariane Zurcher Stitching Circle so anyone in that group will be able to watch it. In addition anyone who follows me and/or Anna on FB should be able to view as well. Anyway, that’s our plan. But no worries, we’ve got this. I swear.

Even with yesterday’s fumble, I was able to post this video this morning of my latest design onto YouTube AND I got quite a bit of stitching done. So there’s that.

My mother’s drawstring bag so far.

What’s on your To Do List?

❤️

Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

1,000 YouTube Subscribers and Some Gratitude

Eight weeks ago today, I posted my first video to the YouTube Channel I created, On the Other Hand. Yesterday I hit 1,000 subscribers!

What began as an idea to benefit Left Handed people who love to sew and hand stitch, has grown into a much larger more all encompassing vision and where I demonstrate all kinds of things: tutorials for left handed embroidery stitchers, tutorials for left AND right handed stitchers, tutorials on how to do things such as make a perfect circle, emboss silk velvet, make a perfect stem, use Sue Spargo’s Spoke Easy, make a tuffet, applique tips, how to make a mask, suggestions, and encouragement to any and all who share my passion for creating, designing, stitching and fabric. And in the coming months I will be making more YouTube Videos devoted to design and the creative process.

These are two improvisational pieces that came out of my demonstrations of stitches used during my YouTube tutorials.

When I began making videos I watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to make Youtube videos. There is a certain humor in that. I also watched a great many videos giving suggestions for anyone beginning a channel on everything from how to create a banner, to how to insert links into your video, how to make thumbnails, how to edit on iMovie and lots of other topics involving the making of videos. YouTube is its own sprawling beast, with “influencers” and people who are making a LOT of money through their youtube channels. And some of the biggest influencers are people who make videos advising others on how to make videos. Does anyone else find that hilarious?

I began this channel planning to post a video once or maybe twice a week. I then decided I would post Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This plan was quickly revised to posting two videos a DAY, seven days a week! It has gotten totally out of control!!! On one day I posted THREE videos in a single day, but that was because Sue Spargo began telling me the stitches she will use on the following day’s circle for her #InstaStitchWithSue project, which I then created a playlist for, because it’s so popular and so many people are following her and it. For more about her project go ‘here‘. She is also telling me the stitches she is using for her popular Block of the Month. (I have almost finished all of the stitches she’s using in April’s block.)

My #instastitchwithsue Project

To say I’m grateful doesn’t cover it. During this time, when things are in such upheaval, when the future seems more fragile than ever before, this channel has grounded me, challenged me and kept me very, very busy! That so many people are now watching the videos I make, commenting and reaching out to me, means more to me that I can express. Yesterday morning I posted the video below to express my gratitude to Sue Spargo, her family and the people who have subscribed, watched, and followed my channel.

There is one other person who has shown me more support than anyone else, and that is my friend, Anna Bates. I’ve mentioned Anna before, but I cannot write about my channel and its growth without talking about her. Anna is the person I first mentioned my idea to, over a year ago when we were in Tucson at a Sue Spargo Workshop held at Tanque Verde Ranch by Madeline Island School of the Arts. Anna was the one who first encouraged me to go for it. Anna has continued to be my biggest cheerleader, giving me shout outs on social media, her blog,Woolie Mammoth, and on the weekly blog she writes for the Quilt Show. Without Anna I would not have more than 1.000 subscribers in just under 8 weeks. Making the adage – “Together we can do so much more than any of us can do alone” truer than ever.

Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Thank you Anna. ❤️

Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

Coping During The Pandemic

Since launching my YouTube Channel Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand on February 20th, I have gained close to 550 subscribers! Much of this is due to the enthusiasm shown to me by the members of the private FaceBook group, Friends Who Like Sue Spargo Folk Art Quilts (thank you everyone!) and my friend Anna Bates, who has been so generous and thoughtful in giving my tutorials a plug. I met Anna at one of Sue Spargo‘s not-to-be-missed workshops held by MISA (Madeline Island School of the Arts) in Tucson, Arizona. Anna has a blog and a popular YouTube Channel, Quilt Roadies, as well as a weekly blog on Alex Anderson and Ricky Tim’s The Quilt Show, which has a massive following of devoted sewers. So if you don’t know Anna, go check her out. She’s wonderful.

The Email I received last week from YouTube

Since that launch, (my first tutorial – needle turn applique for left handers) I have fallen into some semblance of a schedule. I’ve been posting new videos Monday, Wednesday & Friday. I try to post one tutorial a week devoted to an embroidery stitch from Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching Book specifically for Left Handed Stitchers. The other two videos are either focusing on sewing techniques such as How to Make Hexies, How to Make Perfect Circles and How to Needle Turn Appliqué or tutorials on stitches that are not hand specific, in other words for both left and right handers. In addition I am blogging Tuesday & Thursday. (At least that’s what I did last week and am planning to do moving forward.) I still haven’t figured out how to squeeze in time to design new products, but am hoping to do that too, once I get better and quicker at shooting these videos and editing them.

Since life as we know it has ground to a halt, here in New York City, I realize that I’ve been managing my stress by working and am working pretty constantly these days. Between preparing, shooting and editing new YouTube videos, making masks, and coming up with new video ideas, I have taken on the task of revamping my various websites, including this blog, with the intention of eventually containing everything under one roof. As I have disparate sites: Ariane Zurcher Jewelry, My Etsy Shop, this blog and my YouTube Channel, it’s tricky to figure out how best to house them all under a single site. Added to this is the fact that I am not a computer geek and not only do not know the terminology, I also don’t know how to do any of that, but I’m learning. And what better way to spend this time of self quarantine than to do all of that or at least this is what I tell myself. I also am not sleeping much…

At some point this blog will get folded into a larger site; until then I plan to keep posting Tuesdays and Thursdays here.

Stay safe everyone and, if you’re like me, keep stitching!

Fly Stitch Sampler
Merlin Plays Fetch & Other Breaking News

YouTube, Blogging, Stitching & Life

Things have been busy around here. I had the idea to start a YouTube channel over a year ago. My thought was to go through Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching book and demonstrate every stitch (but for left-handed stitchers) featured in her book, one stitch a week. I discussed my idea with Anna Bates, my friend over at Quilt Roadies, who encouraged me to go for it. But I knew I couldn’t do anything until I’d gotten Sue’s okay. Not only was she okay with my idea, but we then discussed launching YouTube channels together, each doing the same stitch on the same day, linking our channels to each other’s, and we even filmed a couple of episodes at her store in Ohio.

In Tucson where my YouTube idea first took root!

But life has a funny way of inserting itself into the best laid plans. Things happened, we had to delay the launch and then finally, last week, Sue told me to go ahead with my channel without her. For those of you who do not know Sue Spargo, she is one of the most hardworking, dedicated and talented artists I know. She has an extremely successful business, both brick and mortar, as well as online site over at Sue Spargo.com. She teaches all over the world, has a wildly popular Block of the Month club – this year she is doing TWO, one for those who desire something a little simpler and not quite as time consuming, and another, which features more advanced stitching. All of this is to say – everything she does, she does incredibly well.

Whew! Okay. So…

Last week I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I launched my YouTube channel. I knew it was going to be a fairly steep learning curve, but I hadn’t taken into account just how steep! I had to teach myself how to edit video on iMovie. Then I learned all about banner art and thumbnails, which required downloading a couple different apps (that I also then had to learn how to use.) I read all about how best to monetize your channel once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers and a ton of watched hours. I then had to read about monetizing your blog, because if one is already monetized, it makes monetizing the other a lot easier. I watched hours and hours of YouTuber’s videos and finally my husband, Richard, who for years owned and ran a very successful ad agency, and I sat down and brainstormed. He came up with “On the Other Hand” for my channel, which is just so brilliant. Love that, and him. He also helped me design my YouTube banner. It looks pretty good, right?

My YouTube Banner

Finally, I began taping and, I’ll admit, feeling kind of old, because, while I would be far more comfortable keeping the camera zoomed in on the stitching, I also get that people want to see the person behind the hands. Looking at yourself during the editing process is a lesson in humility. Most of the up and coming YouTubers out there are young and beautiful and most definitely not almost sixty years old. Did I just say that? Yup. I did. I’ll be sixty in another six months. Pretty much clinging to these final months while still in my fifties. As in seriously white knuckling it… But it’s all relative. I know, twenty years from now, I’ll look back and think – Wow! I was so young.

Photo of hands stitching a Pekinese Stitch is far more preferable than a photo of myself

So yes, it’s ALL relative.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.

I now have three videos on my Channel: Ariane Zurcher – On the Other Hand. The first is how to needle turn appliqué left handed.

My first YouTube Video on my new channel – Ariane Zurcher – On the Other Hand

The second video is how to whipstitch

Notice the thumbnail here? I’m getting better!

And the last one, uploaded Tuesday evening, is how to stitch the Pekinese Stitch.

The Pekinese Stitch (I had to delete the first one and redo the music as it had copyright issues! Learning… lots of learning…

All the videos are directed at left handed stitchers, because we left handers have to bush whack our way through most tutorials, figuring it out on our own. I have, in the past, come up with some very creative looking hand stitching that in no way resemble stitches in any embroidery book known to mankind. Yelp!

I also give tips on how to thread a needle, thimbles, which needles to use for which stitches, how to make a quilter’s knot and, as time goes on, I’ll discuss all kinds of other things as well. In my Pekinese Stitch Tutorial Merlin, our mischievous kitty, even makes an appearance, wreaking havoc with my attempts to stitch and teach! So watch and stitch along with me. Don’t forget to give a thumbs up, and subscribe because I’ll be posting at least once a week, and not just content for left handers, but for anyone who loves art, design, stitching and life! Hopefully there will be some laughter in there too. Laughter is good.

Yup, that’s me…