I find the designing process absolutely fascinating. Sometimes I come up with an idea right away and other times, I can't get any idea at all. I especially found this true for the two postcard exchange groups I belonged to.

At one of the Board meetings, Sandra (the editor of Embroidery Canada) approached me and asked if I wanted to join the postcard group she was organizing. Once a month a picture would be sent via e-mail and we were to interpret the picture in any needlework technique, fabric and threads. The design could only be 4" x 6" and we would send the finished postcard sized design to another person in the group. I said I'd like to join as it sounded like fun. When I got home, I wondered what I'd gotten myself into. I'd only designed one other needlework piece and I hoped I'd be up to the challenge.

The first picture came and it was a tortoise. I had no idea what to design. I put the picture on my typing stand so I'd see it every day. Nothing came to mind and it had been two weeks already. I was running out of time. I was staring at the tortoise one evening after I'd finished cleaning out my e-mail inbox and all of a sudden "Blackwork" popped into my head. Okay, so now I had a technique, but what was I going to do with it? I recalled an embroidery piece I'd seen that used a blackwork pattern to do the whole picture, only changing the colours of the thread and outlining the shapes. So now I had my idea. I picked out which blackwork pattern I wanted, drew the outline of the tortoise on the fabric and figured out where to change colours. Now, if only it worked when I started stitching. And, voila! It worked!

I now had the first one done and every month after that another picture showed up. Only once out of the 10 months did I use a purchased pattern. All the rest were my original designs. I didn't stuck to one technique. I've used needlepoint, applique, quilting, crochet, beading, goldwork, cross stitch, couching, surface embroidery and anything else that comes to mind and works for my design. I had so much fun with it, even though I didn't keep up with the monthly schedule, that when I was asked to join the second group, I signed up right away.

I finally finished the last postcard for the first postcard group about ten months after the end. The second postcard group decided to send a picture every two months and I kept up for the first six pictures. A picture of a Carousel horse came and I went blank. I couldn't think of anything for three months. As a last resort, I showed the picture to my husband and he came up with the idea of the Carousel horse as a star. It clicked and my idea was to use the Pegasus constellation with crystals sewn on the postcard for the stars. It seems to work with me that once I get hung up on a design, I have trouble coming up with an idea for the rest of the designs. So, it's a year after the end of the second group and I still have one last postcard to finish. Luckily, I have an idea for this postcard. Now, if only it works out in fabric and thread.



  1. Great post Linda. I was also part of those two groups and what I liked about them was the manageable size of the piece. I found it very non threatening to design a small piece around a theme.
    I am still in the postcard group and really enjoy this two month long challenge. To look at this years postcards go to http://postcardsagain.wordpress.com/
    Sue Thomas

  2. Very nice post Linda! Your blackwork turtle looks great as well as your horse constellation. I'm not in the postcard group but do a number of atc swaps instead.


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

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