The Biggest Project I Never Finished

art, embroidery, work in progress

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a few unfinished projects lying around. Little things that you lost momentum on, or got tired of, or just forgot about. You tell yourself you’ll get back to them one day and finish, right?

I have lots of little unfinished projects. But I also have one big one–a cross stitch project so huge, so daunting, so seriously stupid in scale that it has followed me for four years without completion. I have moved twice, graduated from college, and gone through several jobs while sporadically working on this. It sits in my closet, shaming me into pulling it back out every few months.

This is it: the white whale of art projects.

Photo Jul 29, 4 34 13 PM

It’s a cross stitch portrait of accordion superstar Jason Webley.

For reference, each of those little squares in the grid is 10 x 10, meaning that each square contains 100 separate stitches. The entire piece is somewhere around 15,000 stitches, containing over 150 colors. The image as a whole measures roughly 9″ x 12″, so those 15,000 stitches are also freaking tiny.

Photo Jul 29, 4 34 23 PM


Photo Jul 29, 4 33 49 PM

Those are the patterns (note the plural) on the left.

I have worked on this for over four years. It has come with me on trains, on planes, and in various friends’ and family members’ vehicles, to at least three different states. I don’t know how many hours have gone into this thing, but it’s safe to say that I’ve sunk more time into it than is probably healthy.


Here I am working on it while on vacation in 2010. Look how adorable and naive I was, thinking I’d be finished in a couple of months.

BUT NO MORE. I could really use a win right now, and completing this monster is going to be the crowning achievement of my summer. I’ll be posting updates throughout the week, so stay tuned for some thrilling cross stitch action.

3 thoughts on “The Biggest Project I Never Finished

  1. good luck with this one! must be something in the air… I have a very similar cross stitch project, also half completed, that I’ve been wanting to work on lately (but unlike you, I’m not ambitious enough to want to finish it just yet). What’s the story behind the image you chose?


    1. Hi arini! I can relate on the lack of ambition, there’s a reason this has taken me so long. The original image can be seen here —

      I’m honestly not sure where it was taken, but the man pictured is a folk rock accordion player named Jason Webley. He’s been my favorite musician for years–and I wanted a sort of edgier portrait to render in cross stitch, so the idea of stitching someone with a microphone and a beer was appealing.

      Best of luck with your own project!


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