Free Stitchinar: The Skinny on Embroidery Finishing

I asked, “What’s your biggest needlework-related problem?”

You said, “Finishing what I stitch.”

I asked, “What’s your 2014 Word of the Year?”

You said, “Finish,” “Focus,” “UFOs,” “End Zone,” and other things that mean “finally turn all this completed needlework into some sort of functional or displayable end product.”

All righty then, let’s do it!

Finish It in 2014

Step 1: Join the free stitchinar: Finish It! The Skinny on Embroidery Finishing

Assorted embroidery finishing supplies

Saturday, January 11, 2014
8:00 a.m., Alaska Time
12:00 noon, Eastern

We’ll put together a looooong list of finishing ideas and techniques, from framed pictures to accessories, from lacing to taping to sewing to edge stitching to decoupaging.

Sign up for this event even if you can’t attend live. We’ll post a replay after the event, and for a limited time, anyone registered will be able to watch it.

Win a Seat in a Finishing Class

A cross stitched piece that is stitched but not framed or otherwise finished.

Sure, it’s been sitting neglected for 22 years, but check it out: It wasn’t folded; it was protected from dust; and the edges are zigzagged. This piece is lu-uh-uh-cky!

Start digging through your stash and pulling out the unfinished embroideries.

Mike remembers me stitching this old New World Map design at Bristol Bay Lodge, our first caretaking gig. That’s from back before we started designing our own embroideries. That means it’s been rolled up in this plastic tube, stashed in an unheated storage space, moved to a heated storage space, carted here to the house, and stuck in a box in a crawl space for over twenty-two years!


All right. How old is your oldest unfinished embroidery? Post your shame in the comments here for a chance to win admission to one of this year’s finishing classes (value $39.97).

I’ll announce the winner at the stitchinar on January 11th. If you have a picture of your oldest unfinished embroidery, please send it to me at mail [AT] funkandweber [DOT] com.

Take the first step to finishing your embroidery in 2014: Register for Finish It! The Skinny on Embroidery Finishing.

Go. Now. Do it.

You know, it’s this putting-off-until-later habit that got you into this unfinished-embroidery mess to begin with.

And the winner is…


Congratulations, Barbara! I’ll be in touch via e-mail.

27 Responses to “Free Stitchinar: The Skinny on Embroidery Finishing”

  1. Hmm, I’d say about 2007! 🙂

    December 30, 2013 @ 4:14 am
  2. Jen

    Melissa, I call that brand new! Do you know how you want to finish it?

    Laurel, is it all stitched, and are you still interested in finishing it?

    December 30, 2013 @ 5:36 am
  3. I don’t what year exactly but I have one that I started back in the late 1990’s. :/

    December 30, 2013 @ 4:20 am
  4. Kitra Woodall

    I have so many unfinished cross stitched/embroidered/blackwork projects that I have filled up 7 or 8 empty diaper case boxes….and my daughter is 6 years old and hasn’t worn diapers in an age!!! The only piece I have ever finished was a birth announcement for twins who just graduated high school this year 🙂 I cannot wait for this seminar!!! thank you for sharing your inspiration with us!

    December 30, 2013 @ 8:27 am
  5. Jen

    Woot on your stitchy productivity, Kitra! Now, let’s get some of those projects ready to show off.

    December 30, 2013 @ 9:19 am
  6. Kar

    I have this leopard’s head painted canvas that I bought as a kit out of a magazine (McCall’s, maybe) in 1969 or 70 and started! It’s still waiting to be finished. I think I know where the threads are. I realized after I started that: One, 2 of the threads were so close in shade that I had mixed them up; Two, the registration on the canvas was off and Three, I really should have picked something simpler for my second attempt at needlepoint. I haven’t turned the first piece into anything either! But I did get it professionally blocked.

    I have since fallen in love with counted canvas, cross stitch, huck weaving and beading to name a few of my favorite techniques.

    I have a couple of small ornaments that need to be finished and hate the idea of having to pay someone to finish them for me. So your webiniar is coming at a perfect time.

    Thanks, Jen.

    Have a Happy New Year,

    December 30, 2013 @ 11:59 am
  7. Jen

    Holy leopard’s heads, Kar! I’m impressed you’ve kept the materials this long. Is the leopard’s head something you want to finish, or did it serve its purpose, and now you’re ready to let it go? You can see if someone else would like to inherit the kit, or you can use the materials for other projects.

    I’ve taken classes where the project is too big to be completed in class, and I knew going in that I wouldn’t complete the project on my own after the class. I still want to take the class because I want to learn what’s being taught, but I might prefer to practice on something other than the given project. During class, I make a portion of the project that can stand alone, and then I use leftover materials for something else–ideally something that uses the new techniques.

    I hope I haven’t offended my teachers by doing this. It’s not them; it’s me!

    What I mean is it’s okay to let that leopard’s head go and not finish it.

    December 30, 2013 @ 1:33 pm
  8. Kar

    I think I’ll put the leopard in our “stash to stash” sale and let someone else have a go at it. I need the space for other things.

    I know what you mean about not finishing a class project. I take classes to learn new things or I like the teacher or discover that a technique or fiber is not for me. All of them valid, but not something that everyone understands.

    January 2, 2014 @ 12:37 pm
  9. Ann Piskorowski

    Hey Jen, you don’t have to count me, because I’m probably the oldest one in your ‘nutty bar’! I just had my birthday, so now I know I am! Anyway, my grandmother taught me to knit when I was five or six. When I was seven, she asked me where my knitting was. I told her it was home because it was boring. I didn’t know how to make anything! She then bought more of the same yarn, and instructions to make her a shawl. That excited me for a while, until I really looked at it! Full of dropped stitches and FILTHY! I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, so I just packed it away someplace! That would have to be late 1949! Told you I was old! At any rate, my grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary back 1965. That’s when I decided to bring out the shawl! The shawl was already about half done so I figured I would just finish as it was…. The first half complete with the holes and dirt, and the second half done perfectly! You see I had taught myself a lot of different stitches since the first. Plus made many sweaters in all styles and yarns, to the point where I was giving knitting classes in college! So, I wrapped it up with a card explaining what it was. When I saw my grandmother later, I asked for it back, and she told me she had thrown it out! She never got the card explaining I would fix it like new, but I left it to remind her of the fun we had while teaching me to knit! Just call me 12fingers!

    December 30, 2013 @ 5:56 pm
  10. Jen

    That’s a great story, Ann 12fingers; although, I’m sorry your grandmother didn’t get the message you would repair the first half. I don’t know, but I suspect I might have worn it had I been her, but I’m sappy like that–and I live in Alaska, once voted the worst-dressed state.

    You know, having a couple of extra fingers could come in handy…

    December 30, 2013 @ 6:16 pm
  11. Barbara

    I took out my oldest project a couple of days ago, determined to finally finish it–It is Lavender & Lace’s “Celtic Christmas”. I started it when I was married to my first husband, and that ended in 1995. I only have to add all the beads, and lace and frame it. I know it won’t really take that long once I get going on it–I think the problem with it and most of my UFOs is in my head thinking it’s going to be so difficult to do after so long; also in figuring out where I left off and finding all the materials. I have boxfuls of UFOs–a combination of embroidery, quilting, knitting and crocheting. I’ve decided to make 2014 a year of finishing projects!

    December 31, 2013 @ 6:43 pm
  12. Jen

    I think you’re right, Barbara: The project looks daunting–whether it’s locating materials or actually stitching–so we put it off. Inertia is hard to overcome.

    I’ve dug out an old sewing project I hope to finally complete this year, too: Roman shades for the darn good room. Let’s finish these in ’14!

    January 2, 2014 @ 5:09 am
  13. I suspect I have two equalling old. I have a St. Basil (not the Caole Lake version) that I bought in 2001, but not sure when I started it. And then there is the Tapestry Cat by TW. I don’t remember when it was published in the magazine but I started sometime between the mag version and it becoming a chart for sale. Neither are finished yet.


    January 1, 2014 @ 5:24 pm
  14. Jen

    They’re old if you feel they’re old. I’m pretty liberal in my own definition: I’ve been known to call designs “new” even after 3 – 5 years! Speed isn’t my strong suit.

    January 2, 2014 @ 5:11 am
  15. Jen

    Do you plan to Finish These in ’14, Jackie?

    January 2, 2014 @ 5:16 am
  16. Becca

    Well, I thought I would have the oldest (being in competition for Old Nuts), but there are some great stories out there. I have a crewel piece I bought opened, without directions, and with only part of the wool ( for a discount) in 1969 or 70. It did have the picture and I worked away at it. I learned a bunch of stitches in the process of working on that piece. I stopped when I got to a large area of couched long stitches. I never got back to it, but I never had the heart to part with it. I think I know where it is and I’ll try to send a picture. There is a part of me that really would like to complete it. I haven’t done crewel in forever!

    January 6, 2014 @ 5:47 am
  17. Jen

    I’d love to see a pic, Becca, if you can find the piece and take one. And maybe this is the motivation (read: challenge) you need to finish it!

    I think unfinished projects are a natural and necessary part of creating, so people who create a lot are bound to have them. Maybe it’s part of the learning and developing process.

    I should probably distinguish between unfinished projects and abandoned projects. I have far more abandoned projects than unfinished projects. Hmmm…I think I feel a blog post coming on. I’d better put my feet up and take it easy.

    January 6, 2014 @ 6:19 am
  18. denise

    My oldest piece is from 1988, my mom started it and when she passed it was not finished so now it sits on my shelf waiting, hmmm
    maybe I need to get it out and finish it, now sure the name of the pattern but it does have a lot of flowers

    January 6, 2014 @ 12:02 pm
  19. Jen

    Denise, that sounds like a great plan! I have a bunch of old needlework from my aunt and grandmother that is on table linens that are stained and worn out. I’m going to work on re-purposing those this year to salvage the needlework.

    January 7, 2014 @ 7:02 am
  20. Ann Piskorowski

    Hi Jen! Just me again! I was just thinking, and yes it did hurt! I have some needlepoint that I have had for about 10 years! It’s called “Quick Point” because you are supposed to be able to do it up quickly! Yeah, right! I started the first one I have four of them because I was going to make pillows and got really confused! Now, you have to understand I have done all kinds of needlepoint almost as long as I have knitted! I still have a lot I plan on finishing after your class! At any rate, the way they describe how to do it is all backwards to the way I have been doing it all my life! They say if I do any other way, I will run out of yarn! The only similar problem I’ve run into was when I was finishing up one, and I had enough yarn, but by the time I got done, I needed pliers to get the yarn through the canvas! No joke! They never said I was supposed to split the yarn, and it still am to dumb to figure that out!
    Maybe there is someone else out there that might have the same problem? Not dumb like me but you know !….Ann P.

    January 6, 2014 @ 12:50 pm
  21. Jen

    You’re not dumb, Ann. If the directions don’t mention separating plies, then perhaps the directions aren’t so great. Writing directions is hard; it can be difficult to know how much explaining is required, and then to find the right words is a challenge.

    I’m no stranger to needing pliers to get the yarn through the canvas. Honestly, I sometimes need pliers to get a needle through my tatting. Tight stitching is my bane. I have to say, though, that I don’t always consider that a bad thing. Breaking threads because something…now, that is always a bad thing.

    January 7, 2014 @ 7:07 am
  22. I have needlepoint, cross stitch and knitting from the 1970s, I have already passed on to Salvation Army Sewing patterns already cut out for 1990 body. I did finish a suit I started for my son when he was 5 to my grandson. I am currently working on an afghan I started when I was 16.

    I find that needlepoint has changed dramatically. When I was stationed in Azores before me retirement from USAF I finished the needllework portion of two canvasses but don’t know what to do with them now.

    January 7, 2014 @ 3:25 am
  23. Jen

    I hope you’ll get some ideas for how to finish those two canvases during the stitchinar, Hope. How big are they?

    I’m impressed that you’ve managed to keep those old projects: Being in the USAF, I’m sure you moved around a lot, and that requires both some serious hauling and keeping track. Well done!

    Speaking of old knitting…I guess I need to get out two early sweaters that I know are at the bottom of my closet. One is a cream color. I’m going to have to dye that one if I’m actually going to wear it, but that should be fun, so let’s do it!

    January 7, 2014 @ 7:15 am
  24. Kathy in Kenai

    My oldest unfinished piece is actually generations in the finishing. I have two pieces from my grandmother that are done but unfinished! One is a crewel piece of carnations on black silk that I think was supposed to be a pillow cover (a matching one is framed in my workroom). The other is a beautiful flowered needlepoint that has two parts. One is rectangular, and the other is kind of a chair shaped. I have been trying for years to figure out what it was made for, but have yet to solve the puzzle. Maybe a box of some kind or a small stool?

    So there you have it …..the oldest ones in my stash may be passed on to my granddaughter someday if I can’t figure them out! (Maybe I should put notes with all my UFO’s.)

    January 7, 2014 @ 9:38 pm
  25. Jen

    Could the rectangular piece be for the back of the chair while the chair-shaped piece is for the seat? How about a pillow to sit on the chair? I like the stool idea, too–something to put your feet up on when sitting on the chair.

    Oh, Kathy, let’s finish these!

    January 8, 2014 @ 4:44 pm
  26. CaTrena

    I have a crossstitch of teddy bears that I finished back in 1999. It was my first big piece that I worked and actually managed to complete. All of my flaws as a new stitcher is obvious. I will make this one of my 2014 finishes 🙂

    January 11, 2014 @ 9:44 pm
  27. Jen

    Hooray, CaTrena! It’s a milestone piece, so worth celebrating. It kind of reminds me of my Wild Life Rejects pillow.

    January 12, 2014 @ 6:45 am

Leave a Comment