In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

(Well, it's sort of egg-shaped--and since I didn't pull out my embroidered "eggs" this year--it will have to do. It's the outline for the first of the two cartouches for Tricia Nguyen's Eve in the Garden of Eden project.)

The sun is playing peek-a-boo and it's warmer than it has been for the last week. My springtime allergies are in full bloom so maybe this means that this long, dismal, damp winter is finally loosening its grip.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Aside from rocking and drooling in the corner . . .

I have managed to stitch a little this week.

I started the framework for the next band of Ann Scutt:

And I started more of the outlining for the cartouche for Eve in the Garden of Eden:

I seem to be doing a lot of outlining.

We are continuing the battle of technology. With the last week of the quarter here, the system I use at work went down. Again.  I thought about having a screaming, raving fit, then decided that would do no good whatsoever, other than enlivening our corner of Cube City, so I did some deep breathing and reconciled myself to working some long hours next week so we can get our reports done.  As luck would have it, the meeting at which I present these results has been postponed for a week, so I now have another week to get everything done. I believe it was karma rewarding me for deep breathing instead of having a hissy fit.

And then, last night, a water main in our neighborhood broke. Thus we had no water from about 9 on. (Luckily I had taken my shower early!!!) Teeth have been brushed and faces washed with bottled water, there are bottles of hand sanitizer scattered around the house, and the dishes from last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast are in the sink. We are going out to dinner tonight. We have been reassured that we will have water by tonight before bedtime. That cannot happen too soon, since some of the few things I like about living in the 21st century involve modern medicine and indoor plumbing. Nothing more needs to be said.

Meanwhile, I plan to continue outlining.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting my momentum back

I do believe my stitching momentum is returning.

I managed to get another band on Ann Scutt stitched this afternoon. Granted, it's a small one, but it's done, and I'm back in the 17th century.

The stitching for Rhapsody in Blue is also finally, finally, finally finished!  I have not started the finish-finishing and I really want to get that underway, but I've run out of week-end. Evenings after work are not conducive to logical thought. Lately, they have been conducive to rocking and drooling in the corner, but not to thinking about how to put something important together. I have one more week before this quarter is over and we start running quarterly reports, so I do not anticipate using my brain cells for anything other than work this week. Martha Edlin therefore may get some face time, since I'm ready to start the eyelet alphabet. They just require time rather than concentrated thought so that's one direction to take.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble

This has not been a good week for technology around this house.

Monday night our internet access went in and out. Normally we can unplug the box thingie (technical term), plug it back in, wait a minute, and it reboots itself and all is well. Not so much on Monday. I argued with it and fussed about it and Dearly Beloved talked to our "service provider" twice. It finally started working, just in time for a thunderstorm to move in and knock our power off.

At that point, I had had three hours of prime stitching time sucked away dealing with trying to get online so I could download the finishing directions for Rhapsody in Blue.

Tuesday the internet was working and I was able to print out the Rhapsody directions but our landline went out. Yes, we are old farts traditionalists who feel that it's a good idea to have a back-up phone system in case of emergency (or the cell phone completely dies).  The lovely folks who provide phone service have said it will be fixed no later than March 27th.  Seriously.  What if we were decrepit old souls who only had a landline to reach the greater world?

Wednesday I went to work and tried to sign on to my work computer.  The little twirly thing (another technical term) just spun and spun and spun. I could have used that hour to sleep. Instead I dusted my desk and looked at the piles of things that needed to be done. And, yes, I did try to reboot. It was a system-wide situation, which they explained on the intranet page, which of course we couldn't access because we couldn't sign onto our work computers.

And then we come to today. My camera is not talking to this computer. We invested in a new laptop since the old one periodically goes dark. However, the camera and the old computer like each other and communicate very nicely. Tonight I thought I would  post a picture or two of what I've been up to this week and start using the new computer for everything. It isn't happening. What we have is a failure to communicate. And I am tired of dealing with it. I am signing up for an Apple class and taking the camera to school.  Meanwhile, the old laptop is groaning and the screen hasn't lit up yet, so there will be no pictures posted tonight.

Originally I was going to put Rhapsody in Blue together this week-end. This would require using the sewing machine. I have a new one. I haven't used it yet. (It intimidates me just a wee bit.) I think this may not be a good week-end, given the way the week has gone, to deal with learning another piece of technology.

I have decided that the safest thing to do is to dive back into the 17th century. I have band samplers calling my name.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Still Slightly Discombobulated

Daylight Savings Time has me in my usual spring discombobulation.  It feels like an unusually severe case  of jet lag, and it takes me a couple of weeks to recover. I've been cranky.

And I have hardly had a needle in my hand. I wanted to stitch, but it just didn't happen. This is quite possibly another reason for the crankiness.

However, when Gay Ann announced she was starting a Midnight Star stitch-along, I dug the one that I had piloted out of the finished pile, so I do have something to show. I wanted to play with the colors a little, so I went with the silver metallic canvas instead of dark canvas and light threads. This was REALLY out of my comfort zone and I have not a clue what I'll ever do with it, but it was fun to stitch.

I do believe that I may take the center motif and stitch it in Christmas colors. I think it would make a fantastic ornament.

I think it would look totally different hung on point--if you tilt your head just slightly you can see what I mean.

And that means I have to figure out what very safe place I stashed the directions so I can try that out.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sleeping and some stitching

Apparently I have been wearier than I thought.

I slept in yesterday. My usual version of sleeping in on Saturday morning means I get up between 7:30 and 8. Yesterday it meant that I slept until almost noon.

Dearly Beloved mentioned that he checked to make sure I was still breathing since I never do something like this, then he tiptoed around because if I was sleeping this soundly, obviously I needed the sleep.   Actually, I had places to go and people to see. I went no place and saw no one--other than Dearly Beloved, of course.

However, I did get some stitching done when I finally staggered out of bed.

(Staggering is a good description.  When I was in my twenties, I had a friend in her fifties who told me she could never sleep in because she started hurting if she stayed in bed too long.  At the time, I thought that was the weirdest thing I had heard from one of my "elders" in a long time.  Now I understand exactly what she meant.)

Anyway, here's Band Ten on Ann Scutt:

I've been trying to figure out exactly how I got the linen mounted so crookedly on the scroll bars, but it hasn't bothered me enough to remount it. When I take the side bars off and let it hang, it straightens out.

I also started stitching the motifs for Rhapsody in Blue:

Yep, it's on stretcher bars. Even with all the body in the linen and the fact that's it's totally cross stitch, my stitches are ever so much prettier when the linen is mounted. It also means that the necessity for ironing the piece to within an inch of its life--not a terribly good thing to have to do with overdyed silk--is gone. And I can use both hands to stitch, which means that one hand doesn't cramp holding the linen.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

No Good Vacation Goes Unpunished

I took the day off on Monday to do laundry and all the other stuff that usually gets done on the week-end . . .but I wasn't home on the week-end to do them. However, the sun was shining brightly (which hasn't happened often this gray, gloomy winter) and it seemed like a very good idea to stitch while the washer and dryer were churning away.

So I managed to stitch Ann Scutt's Band 7, the first repetition of Band 8 (it's a Montenegrin band that will be repeated as a dividing band for the rest of the sampler), and Band 9--and part of Band 8 (again) and Band 10.  And, hallelujah--there was no reverse stitching!

Had Ann misbehaved on these bands as she did on Band 6, she might have been placed in time-out indefinitely. But she behaved very nicely and will stay out to play with a couple of other things that I need to work on in the next couple of weeks.

That is, assuming I have time or energy to stitch. I walked into work on Tuesday to find that my email and inbox had exploded. I have worked late a couple of nights, plus had our sampler guild meeting last night, so stitching time has been nonexistent.

And I am starting to twitch. The week-end cannot come too soon.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Home again

Now that I'm home again, I can show you the classes I took at Jeannine's.

And this is what I actually stitched in class. 

I believe I have my work cut out for me . . .except, having taken today off as well for re-entry purposes (grocery store, laundry, all the stuff that usually gets done on the week-ends), I think I'll work on Ann Scutt for a bit while I have natural light.

And, on the "motherhood is a terminal condition; you recover when you die" theme:

We were taking a leisurely trip home yesterday, having decided that we'd stop on the way to have lunch and a visit with Baby Girl. She lives about halfway.  We were back on the road from that visit when my phone rang.

It was my sister, otherwise known as The Saint. The Saint has taken Mother to the beach for a few days.

Mother had decided we should have arrived home. As we had not checked in to let her know we were safe and snug in our own little home, we were obviously dead in a ditch somewhere. Therefore, The Saint needed to call the highway patrol to have them locate us and save us from whatever dastardly event had befallen us.

The Saint had decided, instead, to see if she could reach us.

And, yes, I did call Mother the precise moment we pulled into our driveway.

I have warned the Big Kid and Baby Girl that this may be genetic.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Last day . . .

It's the last day for me at Jeannine's Gathering of Embroiderers.

Sob . . .

I think the thing I will miss the most is getting to see the same faces from one year to the next, people who always come to this event and whose company I have enjoyed in many, many classes. I know I stitch more competently and speedily at home, but there it is an isolated activity. Here, there are others who also speak stitching.

In the last few days I've had conversations about:

  • adding Office Depot to my list of LNS (because of the paper, ink cartridges, page protectors, and notebooks for the printing for the casket class), 
  • the various ways of storing stash, 
  • the various ways of hiding stash from significant others, 
  • the problems with broken and bent needles, especially when you don't realize you've broken or bent one and can't figure out why your silk is fraying
  • the necessity of keeping the scrimshaw pieces you purchase to go with certain smalls with those certain smalls
  • how easy it is to stitch and how difficult it is to actually finish-finish something
  • what will happen to our stashes when we're gone
  • how archival do we actually have to be
  • where favored and favorite teachers will be teaching next
Dearly Beloved is very good at faking interest in listening to my discussions and concerns, but he isn't as vitally concerned with these concerns as another stitcher.

I do have a couple of stitching trips planned for the upcoming year, as well as a workshop my sampler guild is hosting in April, so all is not completely lost. And I am going to make more of an effort to stay in touch with people whose company I have enjoyed ever so much at this venue.

The good thing is that Jeannine is planning to hold stitching retreats (come and stitch on your own projects) in the fall and again next February, so I have that to look forward to.

And I will.

Friday, March 1, 2013

So much time, yet so few stitches

Earlier today I finished the second day of a wonderful two-day class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks.

And Dearly Beloved and I have been in Williamsburg for three days now.

With no responsibilities--no job, no meals to cook, no house to clean--you'd think I'd have stitched my little fingers to the bone.

Not so much.

I never stitch much at stitching events. It's contrary to everything one would expect. After all, I had the opportunity to stitch for at least 12 hours in class, plus evenings in the room. What I have accomplished is one petal on Jackie du Plessis' Rhapsody in Blue (the project I brought to work on before the event began) and about three steps out of umpty-leven on Barbara's Sweet Heart of Mine project.

Now, give me that much time at home in the wing chair, with my feet propped on the ottoman and a couple of movies to listen to on the DVR, I would have had all of the stitching for Rhapsody done and one whole panel of the stitching case for Sweet Heart of Mine completed. I know this.

Apparently I have become old and set in my ways. If I don't have my chair, my lights just in the right position, my scissors in the correct spot, my ort jar handy, the stand for my charts positioned just so, my  big cushion at my back and my feet up instead of down, I can't stitch.

Dearly Beloved just said it has nothing to do with increasing age and decrepitude. He reminds me of a workshop I took over 15 years ago for which I had done about 40 hours of pre work--then I went to the workshop, stitched in class for two days and in the hotel room the evening between class sessions--and came home with a motif that measured about 1 1/2" square. He learned in that one moment to never, ever, EVER ask, "Is that all you got done?"

Because, obviously, it is.