I am a beginner embroiderer and I wonder what my goal should be for any given piece of embroidery...when I look at a new pattern, how can i gauge how long it will take?
My mother tells me my stitches are very tiny (only a few threads long on my stem stitches). I Just finished my first peice of padded satin stitches for a monogrammed pillowcase. It took me an average of 30 minutes to do one padded scroll. This seems so slow to me and i wonder what goal I should be working toward?
Before I answer your question, Eleanor, I must ask one myself. Are you wanting to do embroidery as a relaxing hobby or to earn money? If it is as a hobby then the time it takes to complete a project is not that important (unless you are doing it as a birthday or Christmas present).
Putting myself under pressure to have a piece of work finished by a certain time rather spoils the enjoyment, I feel. I would rather just fit my embroidery time into my schedule as, and where, I can. As long as I see progress over time then I am happy.
If on the other hand I am stitching a new design to launch at a particular show or exhibition then I make a start, and set the stopwatch on my iPhone for the first little while. Once I reach a suitable stopping point, I check how long it has taken. I then roughly work out how much of the design has been completed and how much there is left to do.
If I have completed say 1/4 of the piece and it has taken me 4 hours, I then can say it may take me about another 12 hours to finish the project. I then schedule in a further 12 - 14 hours between now and the time I must have it complete by, to give myself a little leeway. I have to leave time for mounting, framing or whatever before the show, also.
You will probably find that as you gain experience your stitching will speed up. But do please take the time to enjoy the process. :)