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Evaluating Your Embroidery - Impact

The following article was written by Cathy Studer in 2004 for the newsletter of the Needle Arts Guild of Toledo.

No part of this article may be published, reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever (including electronic, mechanical, photocopy) other than for personal or chapter/region use without written permission from the copyright holder.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines impact as the force of impression of one thing on another: a significant or major effect. defines impact as a forceful consequence; a strong effect, influencing strongly.

Both definitions talk about the strong or major effect that an item has. The overall effect or feeling of the piece is what is important here. In the first article I said that one judge referred to the items with the greatest impact as "zowies". These are the ones that immediately catch your eye and you have to stop and look, and then come back and look again.

There are several things that can be used to create a strong impact. Among them are color, design and presentation. Strong bright colors tend to catch the attention first, but I don't feel that this is necessarily the only color scheme that can create a strong impact. Just as there are many types of personalities, there are many individual tastes when it comes to color and design. What may touch one person on an emotional level may not phase another. Sometimes a light colored, flowing embroidery will give us a place to rest, to experience peace. This can also affect us in a major way.

To find what it is that creates an impact for you, ask yourself the following questions: What is it that may draw our attention to a piece of embroidery? What is it that draws us in? Is it the color of the piece, the way the color is used within the embroidery? Is it the design? What is it we like about the design? Is it bold or is it peaceful? Or maybe it is a happy medium. What about the stitching itself? Are we attracted to the texture of the stitches used? Possibly there is an unusual use of attachments. Maybe it is the variety of stitches and threads, maybe it is the simplicity. Do we like how the embroidery is presented? Does this draw our eye to the piece? Presentation can enhance or detract from our embroideries and can make a difference between an eye catcher or a ho-hum piece.

This week take out your needlework magazines and books and look at the pictures of finished embroideries. Find what it is that creates an impact for you. If possible, try to find similar designs stitched in a variety of ways and compare them. What is it you like about one and not the other? Observation is a great learning tool. Look at what others have done and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Look also at your own embroideries. I don't think there is one of us who could say that we were totally happy with each and every piece we ever stitched. This would have been better if I had... used a different stitch…used a different color…left this part out...or changed this... Make notes of these things, it is easy to forget them.

This page was last updated on September 24, 2018.