Fear can grip you in the most predictable and unpredictable moments. It’s common to look at a newly-purchased blouse and hesitate to put it in an embroidery hoop. I don’t sweat much if it’s a $10.00 tee-shirt. But a $90.00 blouse? Well, hesitation would be a good thing. Hesitation makes me evaluate, plan and act. I would print templates of the embroidery designs and audition them on the blouse. I would tape them in place, put the garment on and then stand in front of a mirror with a critical eye. Once I’m satisfied with the placement, I would test the design and stabilizer combo on similar fabric before tackling the $90.00 blouse. That’s how I overcome that fear.
The last few months have been a wonderful whirlwind of Stitching Sisters events across the country. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many readers of the print magazine and blog. My last Stitching Sisters event for the season wrapped up in Salem, Oregon at Rich’s Sewing Center. I really enjoyed meeting the students and, may I add, what a beautiful state! I decided before leaving the area to overcome a longtime fear—yes—I chose to zipline through the forest. I still remember the sage advice the zipline trainer gave me– “All you have to do is take one step. Look up, don’t look down. Keep your eyes up.” What an amazing, frightening rush!
After racing through at ridiculous speeds through a forest—I had to ask myself – is there anything more fearful? Have I overcome all that is to be feared? Not quite, I had quite a hurdle waiting for me in Dallas.
I returned to the Designs office—just in time to go before a video camera and film with none other than Nancy Zieman! Nancy and I have known each other for years—I’ve had the opportunity to work with her on her TV set in Wisconsin numerous times. The professionalism, calm and experience she and her staff bring to the industry is astounding. And now I was returning home with the opportunity to show her my new TV set—and to work with her on a new product we’ll be introducing in the Fall. Just like the ziplining experience, I was faced with a rush of thoughts. Would she approve of the set? Will the cameras work? What if we film and there’s no audio?
I remembered the zipline trainer’s words, it all begins with one step. I told myself to stop worrying and get doing! I made some final preparations before picking up Nancy and then it was back to the studio to get a full day’s work jammed into one afternoon!
Through the years, I have loved working with Nancy and have learned so much from her – for those of you who don’t know – I actually learned to sew at the age of 27 by watching Sewing with Nancy. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her that I learned everything from her but that’s the truth. Later, she taught me how to be a fair business partner, how to lead a team and how to love what you do. One thing I still haven’t mastered but she most certainly has – is the ability to survey a situation and define a clear path to complete the project at hand. She’ll tell you she’s bossy, but I’ll tell you she’s a leader and she’s very smart. It’s delightful to work with her.
Nancy and I taped each of the segments with ease and I can’t wait to share the new embroidery product with you! Just as the $90 shirt, the ziplining or taping experience have proven—keeping your eyes open—staying focused and embracing your fear/challenge will always lead you to a path of success.
I see so many embroiderers with a bit of fear in their eyes when they’re about to begin a new project. Afraid to start, afraid to ‘mess it up’, afraid to take that first step. I always encourage them to plan, evaluate and then press go. After all, unlike ziplining, it’s not muscle and bone we’re worried about, it’s just fabric and thread!
So tell me, have you also been a student of Nancy’s? Have you learned to sew, quilt or embroider from her on TV or maybe in person, at a Love of Sewing event? Leave a comment and tell us what and how you’ve learned from Nancy and you could win a $25.00 coupon for use on any Designs product on our website.