Sissies (noun, plural) : wimps
Common use in South Africa: "Don't be a sissy." As in, don't be afraid.
Hand embroidery is not for the faint-hearted. It requires skills similar to those found in endurance athletes.
Determination : Seeing a project through to its end takes a large dose of determination and will power, especially if it's a large project and you have a deadline.
Endurance : It always takes twice as long to get that section done as you think it's going to take. This requires a certain level of patience and endurance in the stitcher, to keep going when your inner sissy is screaming for you to stop.
A high pain threshold : Needle pricks, neck, back and shoulder ache, cramping fingers and stunted eye sight after hours of stitching are common injuries among hand embroiders. You need to be able to withstand these and push through the pain.
Mental strength : This comes into play particularly when unpicking is required. Knowing you have to backtrack when the finish line is right there in your sights is a particular kind of torture known only to those who have lived to tell the tale.
A healthy attitude towards failure : Sometimes needlework projects just don't work out as planned. Knowing when to let go graciously and accept your failure is vital, even when you know that taking this course of action will result in a UFO that taunts you with its beady little eyes and knobbly filthy fingers from deep in the bottom drawer.
But when the end is in sight and the elation starts to build, when you finally put down your needle and survey the hours of stitching before you, that feeling – the one where your heart rate increases ever so slightly, your breath comes a little shorter and a grin creeps its way across your face – is like, well, winning a marathon.