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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pitiful, just pitiful

This is the only needlework I have to show for the last week and a half.  Pathetic . . .

First I was under the weather, then we had a minor family emergency which required an overnight trip, then I couldn't lay my hands on the instructions for the project I wanted to do--talk about a panic attack!--then by the time I found the directions, I had lost interest in working on the piece, and finally, work has been crazy since it's fast approaching the end of the quarter and I have quarterly reports to do.

So there has been little to no needlework going on.

Hopefully I'll be able to hurdle the majority of the work-related pile o' stuff tomorrow and can take a deep breath. Once I can take a deep breath, I can actually sit down and stitch instead of thinking about how much I would like to sit down and stitch.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flurry of Finishes

After I finished Lady Jane's Garden and blogged about it, I still had finishing supplies strewn about and several more hours before bedtime. So I rooted around in the finishing basket and found several things that did not require a sewing machine to complete.

Just a couple more pinkeeps and a pin box . . .I think I have more pinkeeps than pins at this point. Like I said before, I do love my toys.

And it was a good thing I at least have this much to show, since I was struck by the Galloping Crud at 3 a.m. on Monday morning.  The terminally perky triage nurse at my doctor's said I probably had the infamous "Something Going Around," that as long as my temp didn't go above 102, I didn't need to come in, and my resistance was probably low because I had just fought off an infection a few weeks ago.

So I asked how to rebuild my resistance and she said to avoid small germy children and big germy groups of people.

Anyway I have spent the last three days grumpily sipping ginger ale (when I could) and nibbling saltine crackers (when I could) and listlessly staring at the TV when I wasn't asleep under a pile of blankets. Dearly Beloved was most concerned because I didn't pick up a needle.

And this would have been a good week to pick up a needle!  The Christmas Ornament edition arrived from Just Cross Stitch.  The latest edition of Needlepoint Now appeared in the mail box.  The kits for Mary and Bess, the companions for Elizabeth, came from Gay Ann Rogers.  The latest Nibble kit came from Thistle Threads.  The first lessons for both Barbara Jackson's Tea Time Basket from Shining Needle and the bird thimble holder from The Essamplaire were posted.

I have finally returned to the land of the living--actually went to work today and managed to stay the whole day--with any luck I'll be able to stitch a bit before I go to bed.  Which won't be very long from now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lady Jane's Garden

Since this three-day cycle included a whole week-end, I thought perhaps I should do some finishing.  This project was taught by Jackie du Plessis through Shining Needle. The parts have been stitched for months.  Many months. Sooooooooo many months.

And everything fits into the Shaker basket.

As usual, I learned something while doing this:

  • I love toys, especially stitching toys.
  • I hate finishing.
  • If I'm going to have toys, I have to put them together.
  • I better get over my dislike of finishing.
  • If I think I'm doing something wrong, stop.
  • If I don't stop, at least don't do anything permanent.
  • If I do something permanent, don't try to take it apart since it will make things worse.
  • Accept the fact that it isn't going to be perfect and move on.
  • My sewing machine is definitely dying.
  • The more finishing I do, the better I'm getting at it, although I have a long way to go.
  • I still hate finishing.

So that was the week-end. The one time I was out of the house was when I took four pairs of pants to the local dressmaker to hem. Ironic, huh.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the attention span of a gnat

I have the attention span of a gnat.  A hyperactive gnat, at that.

I started filling in one of the vines (?) on Martha Edlin.

It's not horrible to do, just a lot of reversible cross stitch. And I got restless. And I started thinking about how much I need to do on this sampler to finish it by the end of the year. And I got stressed about it--to the point I called Baby Girl and asked her to remind me that needlework is supposed to be fun.

Dearly Beloved asked me why I had to finish by the end of the year.

Well, actually, I don't.

Actually I never have to finish it if I don't want to.

This flies in the face of all that makes up a first born girl child who is responsible for the turning of the world on its axis.  That thought, though, was quite liberating.  I am not obligated to work on this!

(I do want to finish it. I don't want to make myself miserable doing it.)

Since I didn't really feel like stitching, I caught up on my blog reading, mainly because reading all these wonderful blogs on stitching usually inspires me to stitch.  On Anna's blog (Stitch Bitch), she was talking about working a sort of rotation, in which she works on one project for the first three days of the month, another one for the second three days, a third for the third three days, and so on and so on and so on.  That's a bit too much like a rotation for me. I have tried that and failed at it.

But there was something about the idea of three days.  And it occurred to me that any time I take a four-day class or workshop, the time goes something like this:

On the first day, I am rarin' to go, excited and interested.

On the second day, I'm settled in and really focused.

On the third day, my momentum is starting to slow.

On the fourth day, I'm done, through, finished, over it all and ready to go to something else.

So why not apply that to my own projects at home?

So here is what I'm going to try for the next few weeks.

I can work on anything I want to, but I have to commit three days to it. At the end of those three days, I go to something else for three days. After that, I can go back to the first project, I can go to something else, I can work on finishing, I can do anything.  If I complete a project, yay!  If I don't, I will eventually.

You have no idea how ridiculously happy this has made me.  In the grand scheme of things, this is of little import. I fully understand this. But my outlook on getting things done and setting goals and worrying about finishing something by an arbitrary date that I set for myself (what a nimrod thing to do!) has changed entirely.

And since needlework is supposed to be fun--Baby Girl has reminded me--this is making it fun again.

This is the current three-day project, a Merry Cox class from Christmas in Williamsburg last year. She's been calling for quite some time and I'm happy to start working on her again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Attacking the Plan

I was going to do the top half of the framework and fill in some of the fun stuff before moving to the bottom half.

I was.

I didn't.

As I was merrily stitching along, I suddenly realized that I had most of the stitch pattern in my head--it's very repetitious--so it seemed wise to take advantage of that fact and keep going.

So I did.

It took hours and hours and hours.  So I am very, very, very happy to be done . . .except the whole framework is solidly stitched.

Sigh . . . this is NOT going to be a fast band to stitch.  At all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Plan of Attack

I started the humongous big band on Martha Edlin last night:

There is a whole lot of this to do. This is barely scratching the surface.

Usually I try to do all the framework or the borders for any piece.  A, it's boring, and B, once it's in and everything meets up correctly, the other stuff fits in nicely and you have a place to start counting the other stuff. However, the side bars on this scroll frame are not quite long enough to work the bottom half of this framework.

Now, obviously I'm going to work the top half across the band before I think about the bottom half of this framework, but I'm now trying to decide if I want to fill in some of the colorful parts before I scroll down.

What do you think?  Get the framework done in an efficient manner and then play with the fun stuff? Or get some (or all) of the fun stuff for this part stitched before scrolling down to the area for the bottom half?

And yes, I could go get longer side bars . . . but . . .longer ones than the ones I'm using are not as comfortable for me to handle, so I am taking that option off the table.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I can't get no satisfaction--but I did

Last night Martha Edlin and I sat down together. At this point, I have two more floral bands, three alphabets, and a spot section to complete and she will be done.

This is better than having umpty-leven floral bands, three alphabets, and a spot section to complete. However, if you look at the sampler overall, this is a good third of the length.

That's a lot.

I'll be the first to admit the projects that call my name are the big ones. I mean, just look at all those luscious stitches to create, those intricate designs to reproduce, those incredible threads to ply. And then, either stitcher's ADD or burn-out . . . or both . . . hit.

I really don't want that to happen with Martha. For the most part I've enjoyed her, even though there are times when I look at her and wonder what I got myself into. (This is not the only thing in my life that pertains to, but this is a stitching blog. We will leave it at that.) It was obvious that I needed to have a feeling that I had something--anything--completed.

So I hit up the finishing basket to find one small thing that could be put together relatively quickly and painlessly.  In other words, no sewing machine involved.  I came up with a bunch but decided to keep it to two, especially since I do want to get some holiday stitching done on Martha.

So (drum roll please) here they are:

These are both small projects that Jackie duPlessis sells. I generally pick up a pile of them when I go to Christmas in Williamsburg just so I will have quick projects when I need to have quick projects.

The pincushion has a really pretty woven ribbon at one end, which of course I should have photographed before I sewed it on. The other piece is the top of a neat container which Jackie calls a button container. I have placed some antique buttons in it.

This is a close-up of the embroidery on the top:

It was fun to stitch--free form sprigs and French knots around the flower buttons--and, as we know, I don't do a lot of free form--so I broke out of my mold.

Now that I have two finished projects, I feel ever so much better and am ready to tackle Martha again. I should probably plan to do this more often, since I am appalled at the number of things I found in the finishing basket--especially since I found one that not only do I not remember buying, I don't remember stitching!  That's when you realize you've buried too many things in the finishing basket! Or that my absent-mindedness is worse than I thought.

Dearly Beloved is convinced that I can auto-stitch. This may be proof.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dithering over

After several days of dithering, I settled down again to (surprise!) Martha Edlin:

And a close-up--remember, I'm stitching reversibly, so the crosses are going every which way.  I'm not sure why blogger has chosen to set this pic off-center, but after battling to add it, I'm going to leave it right where it is.

I would really love to finish Martha this year.  Of course, now that I've said that, it won't happen. It will be nice, though, to have an extra day this week-end to stitch. And that's how I plan to spend the entire day tomorrow. Martha's biggest band lies before me--once it's stitched, I can really feel as if the end of this project is drawing nigh.

However, I'm still slogging away at the stitching for Remember Me. It is going to be beautiful when stitched, but it isn't getting any more interesting to do.  It is my "strand a day" project.