I have a couple pieces I’m working on simultaneously at the moment. One is a piece I began for my Improvisational Stitching Workshop. We are having SO much fun! As I was working on it, I decided to do a video on one way I like to create organic looking shapes. That video is premiering at 1pm EDT today, so if you’re around, come join me as I will be watching with you and can chat as we watch. Typically I go online a few minutes prior to the release time so that I can chat with anyone who is waiting. The Premieres are lots of fun and a way to connect with each other.
Another piece that I’m working on is what I thought was going to be a Stitch Along and then got stuck and decided to play around with a few different ideas before I committed one way or the other. That piece is just beginning to take shape. So far so good. I talk about it and begin working on it a little in the video below.
And then finally I’ve got another improvisational stitching piece that I’m just beginning and that is much larger than what I have done before. It measures about 44″ x 36″. So exciting!
In other news we continue to steam ahead on my website, which we’re hoping will be up and running by the end of this month. And I’ll be adding some fun workshops, a newsletter and lots of other things, so stay tuned!
By the way, that silk scarf I’m wearing in the photo at the top of this post? Yup, that one. It’s made by my friend Pat Pauly, who does the most gorgeous work. If you aren’t familiar with Pat’s work, go over to her website. She’s fabulous!
I’m doing a Dorset Buttons Gone Wild 3-hour Workshop via Zoom. (It will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube, but will only be available to view if you have purchased the workshop. You can reference the entire workshop later or whenever you like once the workshop is over.)
When: A 3-hour workshop: Saturday, March 20th from 2-5pm EDT
Cost: $40.00 – I accept payment by check, through Zelle, Venmo or Paypal using my name: Ariane Zurcher and email address: email@example.com. Tell me in the comments how you are paying so that I can make a note of it.
The workshop is limited to 30 people, first come, first serve. I have 19 spots left, so reserve your spot now!
What you’ll need and what you can expect:
Have at least a few rings to make the Dorset Buttons: https://amzn.to/2PyqNH3 whatever size you like and a couple different threads. I recommend 3 wt and 5 wt threads to begin and then a few specialty threads such as 4mm silk ribbon, Aurora, Oriental Linen, Soft Cotton, or whatever else you might like to try. For the first couple you might want to use some thread you have lying around that you don’t care about to practice.
#18 Chenille needle and/or #24 Chenille depending on the thread weight you want to use. A tapestry needle will work as well, and you will also need a Milliners Needle so that you can experiment with making some wrapped stitches on the Dorset Button. We are thinking out of the box, so think about what else you might want to add!
I will demonstrate a number of different variations on the traditional Dorset button, incorporating lots of different materials and threads that I think you’ll find exciting and different! You will have completed at least one or two Dorset Buttons by the end of the workshop. ❤️
*Optional: For those of you who are really adventurous, I suggest purchasing, if you haven’t already, my glasses case and/or scissor’s case. If you choose to go this route, prep the linen, with the lighter color linen wave and whipstitch on the wool circles as the instructions describe, so that you are ready to apply your Dorset Buttons to the wool shapes. I embellished the background as you can see below. If you are signed up for the workshop and would like to embellish as I have, let me know in the comments and I will send you instructions.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment that you want to reserve your space and then proceed to payment.
Later today I am doing a livestream on what to do with those odd looking Silk Cocoons. A lovely follower of mine sent me one a few months ago and I put it aside, not sure what to do with it. Then someone in my Facebook group: Ariane Zurcher Stitching Circle asked what does one do with such an interesting and weird looking thing. I replied that I had no idea, but I had one sitting next to me, still in its little bag. Another helpful soul then suggested (dared me) that I do a livestream demonstrating. So I am, because I can’t let a dare suggestion like that go unheeded. If you’re curious, tune in today at 1pm EST.
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.
When I was in my twenties I had a brief moment when I was an “actor”. Being an actor is kind of a prerequisite to living in New York City as a young person. Of course that meant that I was also in the restaurant business. How else can one support an acting career if you aren’t also working a job with flexile hours that both allows you to pay your rent and go to auditions during the day? Exactly. Actors in New York City are a dime a dozen, as they say.
One audition I went on was for hand soap or maybe it was hand lotion, I actually can no longer remember. I had to stand and gesture, while the camera was trained on my hands. It was during that audition that I was told I had prominent veins, something I was not aware of until that moment. So I would hold my hands above my head and when the camera began to roll I would put them down and do whatever it was that I was supposed to do, hoping beyond hope that my veins would behave themselves. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
Now I work with my hands all the time and being vascular is not a hindrance, thankfully. However because I am often demonstrating something to do with stitching for my YouTube channel, I am painfully aware (usually after the fact) that the blueberries I was cooking with or the Caran d’Ache pastels I used to dye an old t-shirt have stained my fingers strange and unnatural colors. Sometimes I’ll notice that a cuticle needs to be trimmed or I wonder if that arthritic lump on my left index finger is getting bigger or I become painfully aware of the lead that is embedded into the skin on the tip of my right index finger from that time I jabbed a pencil into my finger by mistake. These are the kinds of things that I now see, but wish I didn’t. Still, it’s important to know one’s priorities and well manicured, beautifully kept hands and fingernails is not something I’ve ever felt I had time for. I work with my hands too much to make that practical, but even so, I do my best.
I’m grateful that hand modeling career never took off, as I would surely be out of work now. It’s important to find gratitude where one can. ❤️
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! ❤️