Cretan stitch - blech. So boring. Three pages of doodles in my sketchbook produced nothing original. The only variation I truly like is when worked as leaves but that's been done and done and done.
So I pulled out the excellent Stitch Magic by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. One exercise is to randomly pick descriptions from a list and work the stitch in that manner - like it or not. My exercise was: cretan - vertical - needle weave - irregular. Double blech!
Here is the ugliest piece of embroidery I've ever stitched:
The original exercise in the book is meant to be worked over and over again - heavily - to almost obscure the base fabric. Frankly, I was already bored with this tiny sample. I probably should do the exercise properly at some point, however I disagree with the authors that working with a combination one dislikes will produce the most unexpectedly wonderful results. If I dislike a stitch, a colour, a thread, etc, then I've already checked out.
On my Fly Stitch post I specifically told myself to always remember I dislike stitching without a plan. So much for that. WHY do I keep trying crap that I already know I hate?
And WHY do random / haphazard textile experiments look wondrous and avant-garde and often beautiful when others do it, yet when I look at my own experiments all I can see is a messy sneeze?