Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Belts and beads. Beads and belts.

Hi there. Anyone want a friend? My former buddy Judy just called and asked me if I knew that so-and-so beat so-and-so in today's Olympic hockey game. The game I'm watching when I get home. She's up for grabs .... she stitches fast, but spoils all exciting moments by previewing the ending.

I downloaded pictures! Are you impressed? First a little current WIP. I've hauled out Beatrix Potter for the last couple days and finished off one small motif and started another.
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At least stitching every-other square in beads is less annoying than EVERY square. And I must say that I'm really liking the cream beads on cream. I might just have to pull out that big cream motif and put it in in some beads. Then again, why prove I'm completely insane?

And I am finally capable of showing you The Belt!
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Ostensibly, the BIL is happy, but..... the funniest bit of it all (once I got over the fainting spell) is that the BIL called and announced it didn't fit. After much fussing it turned out he hadn't tried it on yet and it was only 1 hole off from the designed-to-fit-at hole which meant it was only about an inch off. My sister pointed out that that inch could have less to do with belt-making choices than with the foodstuffs on the Caribbean cruise they'd just returned from.

Happy Olympic viewing to you all -- I will not tell you who won what... despite already knowing. Sigh

Ruth's new nomination for dumbest TV announcer:
One of the guys announcing the aerials competition in ski jumping -- when discussing the American team member who was in the hospital having had his appendix removed in emergency surgery, the announcer said "He has an appendix so he can't ski." I'm now using the I-have-an-appendix excuse for everything I can't do.

The same announcer is double nominated in the stupid category for his statement: "Minsk used to be part of the Soviet Union but now it's its own country"... about 2 sentences after explaining Minsk was a city in Belarus.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic excitement brings out the worst (possibly best) in me

I love the Winter Games. It's the skiing. What more could you want -- scenic vistas and the divine swishing sound. Sigh. As far as the indoor stuff it's all about curling.... Go Norway! [Certainly you have been following the saga of the Norwegian Curling team's pants. If you have somehow missed this great moment in sports, just google "Norwegian curling team" -- you can even add pants as a separate term if you want but pretty much all your initial hits will get you The Pants.]

Under the influence of these lovely Olympics (thank you, Vancouver!!!!!), I have been stitching indiscriminately. And, strangely enough I am loving EVERYTHING I stitch and everything I'm not stitching at a given moment calls desperately to me. My worst problem is getting started because that involves putting all but one pile of threads and fabric aside. Yeah, I don't know what's gotten into me either. Usually I'm obsessed with one thing at a time.... and usually that obsession is NOT the thing I am/should be stitching on.

The Games has made me give in to startitis.... again. It should be simple, but there's a saga. You knew there ha to be. I have started Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow.
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OMG what was I thinking. Annnnd, yes, dear firends, to add insult to injury, I'm doing it over 1! Ok, to the saga. First I look at the chart, which I love and think, "it's perfect if you don't consider all the mustard toning." I like mustard as well as the next hot dog fan, but oxidized mustard is not an attractive color and I don't get the use of it as a tonal element in charts willy nilly. You feel the saga coming now, right? What's an anti-oxidized mustard girl to do but start changing colors.

So, one square at a time I started pulling threads and replacing them with actually "attractive" (to me) colors. I don't change all that much, just enough to ease my tortured eyes. -- so, 12 times I did this:
Their colors:
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My colors:
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Their colors:
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My colors:
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12 times! Do you know how long that took? 6 hours! 6 fricken hours. And, then for another whole week I tweaked some more and some more. I'm finally all tweaked out I think. I hope so since I have started stitching. lol

Ok, I have to run to a bday party part 2 of 3, but I also need to get some other pics in because my BIL has "gotten a good belt"--
Damn! Sorry some idiot didn't upload those photos.... wonder who that could be???? hee hee

Sorry... another time.

Remember, GO NORWAY CURLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

......................... Lookie what I did

First off-- the belt is here! Yahooooo But I am lame! Boooooo. I neglected to get a picture of it. Tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow... unless of course my county washes away overnight..... which could happen.

But, in other news -- the stocking is done-ish -- the stocking is done-ish!
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All I need is a couple more nights of take-away stitching and I'm done! Woo hooooooo
{for all you non-needlepointers, take-away rows are the rows of stitching you have to do around the outer edges of a piece so that the finisher has something to sew into or mat to. They always come last and always seem to take for bloody ever.... and they are so annoying because you get all excited about being done and then you get that big "but....... now I have to do the take-away rows" sigh.
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I'm loving the stitch for the name section and I can at least live with what I made up for the upper cuff.
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Now I need to finish those rows and get backing fabric ready. tee heee! I'm so excited!

In my exuberance [since I didn't feel like take-away stitching] I hauled out another old friend and made GREAT progress:
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What? You can't see my oodles of stitching?
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I did the eye in the rocking horse. lol Hey, it was 2am. I needed to go to bed.

Then last night, also in honor of the stocking accomplishment, I hauled out another UFO --
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I got all of the central chest put in and the head and neck bands --
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Oh, and also a little of the bordering color --
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Exciting, isn't it?

Today I even hauled out another languishing piece --
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my Quaker a la Six Mains, and I got a whole quarter inch of peacock put in!.... That tells you more about how short my lunch was rather than how slow I stitch --
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Ok, I've been sooo bad. I owe many DC scenes, so let me start with one of my adventures this time. In between my last trip and this one I discovered a famous American sculptor in our family tree, one Hiram Powers. So I did a little Hiram Hunt while in the city. Here are some examples of Hiram's work --
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Oh, to have that much talent!

Ok, I can't resist, one recent funny. I'm at my LNS and a frequent customer asks worriedly if we have more than one piece working at a time. We laugh and say of course. She says oh so you have 2. We say no, we have many. I explain that just the night before I had started a stitching book based on one a fellow shop maven uses. She makes a page for each piece as she starts it and notes the threads she gets for it, the ideas for stitches, and what she eventually has it finished with. I think this is pretty handy so I start one by making a list of everything I can find that I have started. So I explain this to the lady who is worried about having too many projects, and a little while later when I'm helping another customer she asks if she can look at my book. Sure. No problem. Well, as I keep helping people she occasionally calls out a question, and I one point I hear another shop regular explaining to her that she can make up her own words. I eventually finish the covey of customers to find that my little lady is ... are you ready... copying down MY to-do list. lol Honest! She eventually left and everyone in the shop is laughing and wondering if she wrote down my list of stuff to do, does this mean she is going to finish everything for me? Now what I really want to know if I put my list of household chores in there, will she do them for me?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

....................................................... Kathryn got me thinking.....

You know our friend Kathryn, well she blogged about feeeling guilty for leaving a project to sit, alone and unfinished, despite "promising" to finish it. She got me ruminating, and I think the guilt (at least mine) relating to a given project is determined by the interaction of two sliding scales-- one for interest/passion for the project as it will be when completed and one for time since purchase (aka The Aging Factor). Of all the things I have hanging around partially stitched I feel most guilty about ones I have been working on for a long-ish time AND still really want to have done. Next on the guilt-o-meter are the ones that I've had around a long time, but don't quite want/need as much as I did when the needle first met canvas. Bringing up the rear are the ones which I started for a given purpose which is now completely passed but that I could use them in another form/for another purpose -- I feel no guilt on those whatsoever. I finally liberated myself to the point that those items that languish unworked for a long time and which I can't fathom a use for any longer go straight into yon trash can when I unearth them at the bottom of a stitching bag. Don't gasp! You know you wish you did that too!

Speaking of guilty projects-- wanna see what I've been up to?
Beatrix got an airing and not only did I finish the jumbo beaded flower (what was I thinking?????), but I even got another motif (blissfully bead-free) done:
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On the stocking I settled on a stitch for around the name. Here's the first stage partially done:
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And here it is with stage 2 begun -- the Silk and Ivory base stitch is getting a cross angle in a white, opalescent Tiara braid
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You can't really see it so well in the pic. I'm sorry. Trust me, it's really, really cool.

And I finally have a shot of a finish for you --
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Ok, so it's not the biggest piece ever--- at least it's DONE!

I have to leave you for now. I need to get ready to go off to a ...err... talk? Neil Gaiman is having an evening of conversation on campus so I am off to be entertained. -- Don't forget to wear red tomorrow for the American Heart Association's awareness campaign on heart disease in women!

One final thought that Kathryn spurred with her guilty discussion. Given the "faithfulness" of all stitchers for their projects [oh come on, you know you leave one lay when another looks better/prettier seems more fascinating/important, etc.], if we were spouses we'd all be paying huge alimony settlements for well, "stitching-around." Bunch of fickle, undependable, and unpardonably loose women and men -- that's what we are. Nathaniel Hawthorne would certainly have made us wear a scarlet letter.... of course if we had to stitch it ourselves it could be a year or two before we got it done.

Monday, February 01, 2010

........................ a belt -- a belt. My kingdom for a belt.

Ok, it's not nearly so dire as that, but no, gentle reader, there was no belt delivery this weekend. Sigh. The lack of a "new" finishing rush may be credited by some with keeping me from starting ANOTHER new project, but really it was mere stubborness. You see I threaded up probably 5 needlepoint canvases, and put one on stretchers, but I didn't start a single one because I was obsessed with working on the nutcracker stocking. I would show you my startlingly wonderful progress, but some lame-brain left her camera at home. Ninny.

I can show off some progress from last week --
I have made it this far on my Vierlanden:
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I'm thinking of making this a regular weekly feature. Ok, who am I kidding? I'm going to TRY and impose some structure on my chaotic, mood-driven stitching, and force myself from whatever has obessed me at the time. I would really like to finish this some day! Honest I would.

I even made some progress on Beatrix Potter--
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Why did I think that beading was a bright idea????
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I do like it, and I like beading, but I liek finishing even more.

And finally, for now, over Christmas I started the Friendly Stitcher's SAL from last year, "A Stitch A Week." You may have seen it around on blogs. It is garden themed and quite lovely.
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My progress thus far is part of the gridding. I'm doing it on Wichelt's hand-dyed "summer sky" jobelan with the gridding of Thread Gatherer's Silk and Colors "Pearled Blue."

Sorry, gotta run -- after all, lunch is calling. I always answer lunch's call. lol It would be ruse not to.

I finished up Toobin's The Nine yesterday. It really has no thread. I love the Court so I was able to enjoy it despite that failing. If you are not as enamored of the Court as I, I would suggest you save yourself for other options. And yesterday I finished Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. Now I know why it always appears on the must-read lists at cons. It was a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see the changes in genre fiction over the decades.