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, January 29, 2020

Moving on . . .

I planned to put Tsubaki's carrier together this past week-end. I did get all the pieces pressed and the Mylar cut out--and that's when Ode to Jane Austen started calling my name very loudly.

So, I finished the piece that goes on the inside of the top:

I really enjoyed doing the border--the stitch pattern for the leaf outline was easy to remember so all I had to do was count the number of units and zip along--didn't even have to refer to the chart after the first one!  And then those flowery things were fun to stitch, especially with the change in color from the overdyed threads.

I'm not going to say much about the letters . . . I may have mentioned a time or two--oh, who am I kidding!--I have mentioned at least on a monthly if not weekly basis on this here blog how much I do not enjoy stitching letters. I do not know why I don't like stitching them, but the fact remains that I don't. But I forged through and finished.

Then I looked at the other parts of the design. There is a section of the needle roll that is nothing but letters and numbers, all cross stitch over one.

Hmmmm--it just made sense to get the part I would least enjoy stitching over first. So that's what I started.

This is where I was when I realized I had misread my notes and had neglected to check my notes against the chart and I was cross-stitching all these complicated letters over one thread in the wrong color.

This is where I was for the nano-second that I considered removing all those teeny tiny little stitches that made up all those complicated letters.

This is where I was when I decided that perfection is over-rated (I know, this is me talking--maybe I'm getting wiser in my advanced age) and that no animals were harmed in the stitching of this project and I'm not getting graded and this error will not go on my permanent record.

This is where I was when I determined to view this as a learning experience and a reminder to never trust my notes completely especially when I'm stitching the project almost two years after I took the class.

And this is where I was when I realized I had miscounted the border.

That had to come out.

It has to be accurate because it's part of the assembly process.

So that came out.

And, by golly, I will get this stitched before I let myself pick up another section to stitch.

Doing the finish-finishing on Tsubaki is looking more enticing all the time.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Zen Finishing . . . NOT

I got it in my head that I could do some finishing after work.

Now maybe I could do the sewing part of it, but not the measuring, cutting, and ironing part. I should not be allowed close to a rotary cutter after either a visit with my mother or any intense work day--and I've had both since last I wrote.

So I decided to go back to Zen stitching and have picked up the kit for Ode to Jane Austen again.

Here is where I am after an evening of stitching:

I'm enjoying the rhythm of the leaf pattern and it fits into the soothing type of stitching that fits my life at the moment.  After work, I need to have something that will be easy to pick up.

But on the week-ends, watch out! I plan to wield that rotary cutter with a vengeance tomorrow and get the carrier case for Tsubaki underway!

Friday, January 17, 2020

More small finishes

I have actually managed to do some finishing after work this week, although Zen stitching it is not!

I have a thimble cozy and a thread and pin organizer, which is a series of accordion pockets attached to each other. I was planning to show it with the pins inserted, but I discovered that the pins I intended to use were too long and stuck through the bottom. I think I am in the market for shorter pins.

I could start working on the carrier but I think that's pushing it on a Friday night. So I've been trying to decide what to stitch.

Now I did get a lovely thing in the mail earlier this week:

Looks like a lovely gift!

And it was, basically from me, to me by way of Sassy Jack's, who also included a needle minder and a needle and the equivalent of a book plate to go on the back of the frame when I finish this beauty.

But I'm trying to avoid starting anything new quite yet. I'm still thinking about finishing 20 by 20, so I believe I will work on something that's already started. Now it's just a matter of making a decision before it's bedtime.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

small finishes

So . . . I decided to do some more finishing this week-end.

And I have a pin cushion and a scissors fob for Tsubaki.

And this led to a long discussion between Baby Girl and myself.

Normally when I work an etui, I count any of the accessory pieces as part of a unit. I don't count them as separate pieces.

Or should I?

It would certainly get me to twenty in 20 faster.

But it feels a little like cheating.

So what do you think?

(In terms of vast, universal discussions, this is very trivial and makes no difference whatsoever--but I'm curious.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dreaming about Stitching

Not a whole lot of stitching has happened thus far this week, but it certainly has been on my mind.

After I finished Cherry Berry on Sunday, I sort of puttered around for the rest of the day. When I finish something, I feel the need to organize the leftover materials and put the pages of the directions back in order and stash the leftover threads in case they might be needed in another project. And then I have to think about what I'm in the mood to begin next, so I must have picked up and put down half a dozen things before I went to bed.

On Monday, I drove home thinking about putting Tsubaki together, and decided that I'd start with the scissor fob. But then there were a couple of minor domestic disasters and several interruptions--so by the time I pulled out the project bag, it was almost bedtime and not a good time to start on anything.

Apparently I really needed to stitch, because I dreamed about it. All night long. I dreamed about Hannah Thornbush, and let me tell you, in my dream I was whipping through those bands. No needle was ever so electric.

So last night I pulled her out and started stitching.

My needle wasn't quite as electric in reality as it was in my dream.

There are some very small white satin stitches that weren't there before.

This is not a good project for Zen stitching.

Come to think of it, this may have been the project I was doing last year when my elbow blew out and I had to stop stitching for the longest month of my life.

So I put her back in her pillowcase for another time.

And then last night I dreamed I was stitching a beautiful night scene and was creating the Aurora Borealis with yards and yards of Kreinik size 4 braid. And in my dream, my cousin the architect had decided to do an installation with my design and he was using miles and miles of Kreinik size 32 braid.

I am not going to do either of those things tonight. I should be going to my sampler guild meeting.

I love going to my sampler guild meeting--it's one of my favorite things to do. However, the coworker who shares my corner of cube city came to work on Monday with a horrible cold. She proceeded to share her explosive sneezes with everyone on our side of the office because she believes she is vital to the turning of the world on its axis and therefore indispensable. She did stay home yesterday and today, apparently because this is turning into something resembling the flu more than an ordinary cold.

Not unexpectedly, late this afternoon, I started to feel a tickle in the back of my throat--then I started losing my voice. So I decided to stay home and mainline orange juice and dig out the echinacea and avoid spreading the plague.

Am I going to stitch? I think I'm going to bed.  I'm getting more stitching done in my dreams than in reality.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

First Finish!!

Cherry Berry is complete!!

The Inside

The Outside

I have to admit that the strawberry and cherry that fit into the tube at the bottom of the etui were the hardest parts to do. That's a wee, tiny tube and I had to keep cutting the size of my berries down so they could fit. So I started with lovely, plump berries and ended up with somewhat skinnier versions.

And I have to admit that I cheated in creating the tube.

I had started putting this together months ago and could not get the tube insert to be round, which it needs to be. I used a variety of highly colorful words to encourage it, but to no avail. I finally put the whole thing in time-out until it decided to behave.

Apparently, the solution to this dilemma was percolating in the back of my head all this time.

What I did was cover the Mylar piece with silk--then I found a dowel that was the size I needed, wrapped the silk-covered Mylar around the dowel, and used rubber bands to hold it in place. Then I set it aside while I made the storage case.

Now, I have to say that this caused a great deal of discussion in the household. First of all, there was the trip to Home Depot to find a dowel of the right diameter. I think I discombobulated both the nice man who was helping me find the dowel and Dearly Beloved with my request. Then I explained to Dearly Beloved I needed rubber bands to hold the Mylar in place.

One thing you need to know about Dearly Beloved is that he has an antique cabinet which he has turned into storage for all sorts of bits and bobs. (I would love to turn it into storage for all sorts of embroidery bits and bobs, but I haven't been able to persuade him of the brilliance of this idea as yet.) So, when I asked for rubber bands, he rummaged through his cabinet and brought three different types for my deliberations. He also mentioned that he had several other types if any of those three didn't work.

Anyway, as I said, I wrapped the Mylar around the dowel and the rubber bands around the Mylar--and then let it sit. And this drove Dearly Beloved crazy because he wanted to see if it was working after about 15 minutes. I thought I was going to have to slap his hands a couple of times to keep him from taking it apart to see if the Mylar was going to hold its round shape.

I did sew the sides together while the Mylar was still wrapped around the dowel, so Dearly Beloved never did see if the Mylar would hold its shape on its own. But it worked and I got a round tube.

In the grand scheme of life, this is a very small triumph, but I'll take my triumphs wherever I can get them!

One down, nineteen to go.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Halfway to the Finish Line

The storage case for Cherry Berry is assembled.

The Outside

The Inside

Tomorrow I will start to work on the sampler roll that fits inside the box that fits inside the storage case. 

One thing I would like to do is find some nail polish the color of the silk so I can paint the tops of the pins in the pin keep to match the set. Right now, white pins are what I have, so white pins are what I'm using.

I have discovered that I can do some finishing work in the evenings after work, but I have to admit, by the time I get organized to do anything, it's almost time to go to bed. I'm trying to figure out how and where I can leave things set up so I can spend a little time with Dearly Beloved, yet still get a few things accomplished.

Or maybe I can just find a good book for him to read that will occupy him happily while I slave away over my work table.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Twenty in 2020

Before you say anything, you're right. I have gone bugnutz crazy to think that I could finish twenty projects this year.

I was thinking of a new start on New Year's Day and was hoping that maybe I, Bathya might wander my way in time to do that. When the mail came yesterday without Bathya, I started rummaging in the stash to see if there was another sampler that reached out and grabbed me.

What reached out and grabbed me was the realization that I have at least half a dozen (maybe closer to a dozen, but I don't really want to admit that) samplers already started. And then there are all the smalls and etuis and workshop projects and assorted other things that I have stuck a needle in at some point before something else shiny came along and lured me down another rabbit hole.

And then I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across Elizabeth Hurd's post about her 20 in 20 system. Elizabeth is a needlepointer who does some incredible stitching (she's started writing a column in Needlepoint Now, btw). Last year she and a friend were both feeling overwhelmed by all the projects that had been started, so they challenged themselves to finish 19 in 2019. The deal was that they could substitute other projects for the ones they originally pulled, there was no guilt or blame if they didn't make the goal, and new projects were welcome. They cheered each other on, and Elizabeth finished twelve of her projects despite the fact that she moved in the middle of the year.

I have decided to try it. I'm not making a list since the minute I put something on a list, I immediately lose interest in it. I'm just going to pull things out that I'd be happy to have done, and make a deliberate effort to pull things out of the finishing basket and get them finally finished. What's the use of stitching something if it's never assembled?

So, today I am working on the storage box for Cherry Berry, and this is where I am at the moment.

There are some accessory pieces that will be attached to the storage box and I'm going to start working on those.

I am not giving up on Zen Stitching, especially for evenings after work. And I can still start new projects. In fact, I have agreed to stitch a model that will be perfect for Zen stitching, and it should come my way in the next couple of months.

To be honest, I'm not sure how long this goal will survive, but I hope it will give me a more productive year stitching-wise than 2019 was. And hopefully I'll have something to blog about as well.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!