I just can’t tell you how thrilling it is to go to my website and write a new blog post! For those who may be confused, last week I was still posting on my old site, which now is housed under the umbrella of my new website! I know, I know, I’ve already talked about all of this at length and I’m not going to do another post all on the fabulousness of my new website, however I just have to say that as I sit here typing this I’m silently bouncing up and down and squealing with joy. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It’s been such a long time in the making!!
So. Now that I got that out of the way, what are we going to talk about?
Oh! Before it slips from my mind, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. It’s just to the right of this post. ❤️
The other thing that leaps to mind is that I just released a new video on my YouTube channel.
This video begins with an 8 minute riff on life, aging, Merlin, facial recognition, the results of my MRI and whatever else flew into my mind as I was recording. So yeah, there’s that. However don’t despair, I did some stitching too.
In other news… okay there IS no other news. This is my life in a nutshell. It’s evidently a very, very tiny nutshell. 😂 So I will add a few videos of other people’s lives that came up when I went to schedule this video. The first is my favorite Golden Retriever, Bailey and his new best friend.
And then I had to share this one, because going to Africa to see the gorillas has been on my bucket list for decades now.
I wasn’t familiar with Keith Urban and his music until I saw this pop up and hit play while waiting for my video to finish uploading. How great is he? And Nicole Kidman? Love them both.
Enjoy the weekend everyone and don’t forget to check out my upcoming workshops!
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love making Dorset Buttons. And like so many things that I fall in love with, I went head first down the Dorset Button Rabbit Hole and have yet to reemerge! So much so that I just taped and uploaded another Dorset Button video, which will be premiering later today.
Last summer I made my first Dorset Button video, but this winter I decided to make another, slowed down version, and then did another that is a deep dive into the dorset button and variations to it. That video is available to all my patrons who are on my Patreon page. It covers: how to secure your dorset button once you’ve created one. What to do if your thread runs out in the middle of making one, how to make all of the variations shown above, like the tree and creating stitches on the outer rim and using different threads and thread weights. So much fun!
The Dorset Button popular in the 1600’s was replaced by machine made and mass produced buttons in the 1800’s. However many of us who love to hand stitch also love the dorset button. It is not only a fully functioning button, it is also decorative and therefore can be used in a variety of ways. For my mother’s Making Waves: A Drawstring Bag (which I just sent to her yesterday) I used almost a dozen dorset buttons to embellish it. I love how it turned out, and hope she will too.
For my next design, I’ve been playing around with lots of different ideas and one of those ideas is how to use the largest plastic rings I have with some variation of the Dorset Button. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m going to keep playing and see what I come up with.
In the meantime, here are a few more close ups of some Dorset Buttons I’ve made in the last few weeks.
I wanted to write this post on Saturday, February 20th, because that was exactly one year ago when I launched my first video for my Youtube Channel, Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand!
Since that day, just over one year ago today, I have made and posted 248 videos! Yesterday I did a livestream, where I’m obviously feeling quite a bit more comfortable filming and posting. I went from having 0 subscribers to 3,865 subscribers as of yesterday. I say this not to brag, but more as a mark of where I began with YouTube and where I am now. Because in this crazy time of the pandemic, when everything can feel really, really off and sad, I also want to remember some good, which means honoring my own personal little milestones.
Here in the United States we hit more than half a million dead from COVID19. It’s a grim reminder of the perilous and tragic times we find ourselves in; a time when so many of us have been unable to see those we love, whether that’s our aging parents or young grandchildren. It’s been a period marked by disconnect and fear and worry and yet, we have also made different kinds of connections. Zoom calls and classes have taken off. Who would have thought any of us would know our way around a Zoom meeting?!
Personally this has been a year of massive and intense learning. When I began my Youtube Channel I had no idea how to upload videos, make thumbnails, do livestreams or premiere a video. I also taught myself how to create a design from paper sketch, to computer, to downloadable PDF file, write instructions, and in the last 12 months I’ve posted 8 new designs in my Etsy Shop, conducted an 8-week Zoom Workshop, with another one in the planning stages, created a Facebook Group: Ariane Zurcher Stitching Circle (which has 1.2 thousand members) and a Patreon page!
And here are a few of my other designs from the past 12 months.
And along the way I began to explore what I call Improvisational Stitching.
This has been the most intense year, both incredibly sad and scary globally, as well as exhilarating and exciting on a personal level. It’s been both. I have met thousands of new people from all over the world and for that I’m so, so grateful.
So, to all of you who’ve joined me during this truly bizarre time, thank you. Let’s keep laughing and stitching! ❤️
If you’d like to laugh and explore stitching (or in my case attempting to) with silk gimp and the thicker gimp that Painter’s Threads hand dyes, this was the live stream I did yesterday. Warning: We laughed A LOT.
My attempts at using the crinkly silk gimp became more comedic than informative… However, I am determined to continue investigating this beautiful, if challenging thread, and what I’m able to do with it. So this is just the beginning. By the way Mary Corbet, who is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to threads, stitching, and everything and anything to do with embroidery, is such a great resource. If you click on her name above, it will take you to her blog. She also has a YouTube Channel, where she demonstrates stitches.
So here’s the thing… I am a designer first and foremost. I love playing with threads and seeing how I can use an unusual thread in a different way. My approach to hand stitching is from a design point of view. When I’m working with a thread, like gimp, whether the crinkly silk gimp or the thicker cord Gimp from Painter’s Threads, I am thinking about color, texture, and how I can use it so that it creates something interesting. As I design, I’m considering size, shape, dimension and how all of that fits into the piece I’m working on.
For my River Rocks Pouch, I used all three of these gimps in different ways. A couple of the shapes on that pouch I added gimp French Knots, which I love.
I’m off to the last remaining quilt shop in New York City in a little while. I’ll be filming it, and will post tomorrow morning. So if you want to come with me on my little adventure, tune into my Youtube Channel Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand tomorrow. Until then, here’s to exploring and stitching!
The news here in New York City, more specifically Manhattan, is that non-essential shops, restaurants, etc will continue to be in lockdown. Tell that to the Irish Pub less than a block away that is a thriving hive of activity, selling burgers and free shots to any who “need” it. As we were hit harder than anywhere else, this means that for some of us, we have been doing the whole #stayhomestaysafe thing since the end of February. Hence the Irish Pub giving out shots and being deemed “essential”. Which, I’d like to just say here, is both funny and kind of tragic at the same time.
The good news is the gym remains shut, and therefore I do not have to wake up at 6:00am and think – should I go workout or remain in bed staring at the ceiling wishing I could go back to sleep, knowing I won’t be able to, and then going, begrudgingly, at 6:30 or even 7:00 to the gym anyway, having spent the last hour facilitating between whether I should or shouldn’t go, thereby losing not just an hour of my time to the gym, but more like two hours, which really starts to piss me off.
The bad news is I’m at an age when going to the gym and getting exercise really shouldn’t be optional, and is therefore “essential,” but since I feel like I’m still in my late 20’s, I forget. Maybe I should get that drug made from jelly fish that’s supposed to help with memory loss… And then there’s the emerging new fad – running. Not running on a treadmill, but actually running outside. For those younger than 40 this will strike you as “new,” for the rest of us this is one of those – oh right, I remember running when I was in my 20’s, when everyone wore those nylon running shorts that looked like two petals overlapping and when you ran they’d kind of flap. For many of us it wasn’t attractive then and still isn’t now, though I hear that running attire has vastly improved, except I wouldn’t know firsthand as I have zero intention of going for a run down the still-sort-of-empty streets of Manhattan.
Anyway running is more a re-emergence much like culottes or what we called in the 60’s petal pushers, but that are now referred to as capris. Amazing how a new name and a little marketing can make any old thing seem new and tantalizing. (This was less a regression and more a tangent, but really what does it matter? It’s not like you have anywhere to go or anything else to do, right?) The point is, running has become a ‘thing’ again. Or so I’m being told. One of my girl friends runs now daily, though she insists she doesn’t run as much as she jogs or, as another friend of mine called it, a slow slog. Later I learned that she had actually said “a slow jog” but I mis-heard it as “slow slog,” which I like better. AND it made me reconsider my whole – You won’t catch me running unless it’s away from something or someone and I’m in grave danger of being physically injured. I even caught myself thinking – I could do a “slow slog”… tomorrow. Clearly I need the magical elixir that only a jelly fish can provide. Which, by the way, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?????? Who knew jelly fish had these super powers, let alone magical ones and how does whatever they have, have anything to do with memory and memory loss? I cannot be the only one asking these questions. Or am I?
Don’t answer that.
So another few weeks or maybe months of #stayhome, making the whole #staysafe part of the hashtag questionable, because really, who is “safe” when you’ve been cooped up inside for going on three months or more? Or do we need to redefine the word “safe”?
Regardless, I have some stitching to do and another couple YouTube videos to record, edit and post.
Don’t forget to #stayhome and do your best to #Staysafe and if you’re feeling really adventurous go for a slow slog.