Emerging From the Sea of Boxes

     I've been packing up or discarding those physical reminders of the last 28 years of my life over the past two weeks. So far, I've got the 15-yard dumpster in the driveway almost half full. I fear that I'll fill it up. Yikes! It's hard to make some of the decisions, and many of those are just being put off till next week, after the initial whirlwind I'm finishing up in the next day, or two, or three. It all has to be completed by next Friday, when the floor cleaners will come to try to spruce up my tired hardwood floors. So I'm taking a little break this morning before the carpenter/electrical-guy/all-around handyman and painter get here.

     I didn't stitch much last week, but since my last report, I have gotten a little bit done on a few of my projects. Pease pardon the photos this time, as I took them under less than optimal conditions, free space being at a premium around here just now.

     I did get started on From Molehill to Mountain at my ANG chapter meeting Thursday a week ago. When I left the meeting, I think I had all of four stitches in place, having spent the class time making decisions, planning, thinking, taking time out for a real quick meeting, and then finally placing those few stitches as everyone was cleaning up and getting ready to leave. When I got home, I sat right down and proceeded to finish Areas 1 and 2 of the first block. Yay! What you see basted are the sashing lines to the left and bottom of the block I'm working on, with the ever-popular pink hairtape holding the threads that will get woven in once I have enough worked to allow that. I'm happy with the color so far, the variegated thread, Dinky-Dyes Mardi Gras, and the lightest cotton floss of my primary color.

     On another night I tackled Stars once again. I'm oh-so-gradually getting Vivien Leigh finished. All I need to do are the triangles in the border. I stitched the bottom center one and realized it requires manipulating the variegated thread, Silk 'N Colors Peacock, in order to get the right color balance. There's a rather drab section in the length I'm using that just doesn't work for me. So I'll cut it out.

     Last but not least, I've been working on the 2011 ANG Stitch of the Month and managed to get caught up! I see a lot of pink hairtape in the stitching of this piece, along with a lot of Hilton lengths of thread to complete these stitches without having to start a new thread midway through. Ack! I'm hoping soon to be able to anchor some of these threads. They really bother me, coming from a cross-stitch background and being used to anchoring threads right away and not having any of these ridiculous away knots awaiting a place to go.

     So that's where I am. Perhaps I'll be stitching more after next week.



Two Languishing WIPs and a New BAP

     I have a confession. Writing this blog is a good escape from the duties that surround me and a nicer way to start the day. (Yes, I know, it's a little late to be starting the day. Work with me here.)

     You may be wondering whatever is going on with Stars for a New Millennium. The short answer? I'm still plugging away at it, but not nearly as much as several of the other stitchers in the group. One is finishing up the sashing and border as she closes in on finishing the piece. Two others are vying for who's going to be the second to complete, with that happening in the next couple of weeks for them (I think). Another won't be far behind them. That will leave a few of us to get together a few more times before it's down to one, me, struggling to finish this beautiful but very complex project. So here's where I've gotten since our January marathon stitching retreat:


     On to the even more lame progress report, the woefully neglected Prelude to Peace. I'm not very far along. I managed to stitch a few of the crescent fleur-de-lis motifs successfully and some of the small jessicas, but that was a while ago. Here 'tis:

     On to my newest BAP, a piece I'll be working on with my ANG chapter this year, and perhaps will be keeping up with better due to peer pressure (totally in my own mind). It's From Molehill to Mountain (FMTM) by Pamela Gardner. It's conceptually similar to Stars in that it's a quilt pattern. It's not the same by virtue of having fewer blocks and being more of a color study than an exercise in how many layers and threads can be used in one stitch without driving the stitcher out of her mind. The stitches are by no means simple in FMTM. I just don't think it will be as much of a struggle to interpret what's going on while stitching. The interplay of the colors that I've chosen is the primary focus. (Of course, I could be totally misunderstanding this project. Who knows? I am, after all, the Remedial Stitcher.)

     We start stitching tonight. Our homework after the last meeting was to get the canvas or congress cloth (I'm going with congress cloth) along with enough thread to get started (colors selected based on the presentation and discussion at the meeting before last) and baste in the grid. I'm ready! Well, I do have to pick up some more skeins of the lightest shade of my main color, but I'll do that this morning or afternoon.

     So how am I going to do better with my stitching on all these long-term projects? I have to stitch a little bit every night, a different project each night. I've been trying to do that this week, and so far I've managed to stitch every night. If I keep it up, I'll have the bonus of having something to blog about too. It will also take my mind off the stress and emotional toll of selling the house I've lived in longer than any other place in my life.

     I guess you could say these are belated New Year's resolutions, the stitching and making the transition from homeowner to renter.



Forgive Me, Reader,

for I have strayed. It's been two months since my last post.

     What, you may well ask, have I been up to in all that time? Well, some stitching, much working on scarletthread.com, a lot of planning for the next stage of my life. Taken together, it has felt like I've been doing a lot of running in place, flailing about, getting not a whole lot accomplished in any of my endeavors. The biggest thing that's had an impact on my ability to focus is my decision to sell my house, downsize, and move to an apartment in a neighborhood where I can walk instead of drive for most of my daily living needs. Big changes. It's been a relief, permission to let go of a lot of things I've been holding onto for way too long. Of course, we'll see how I feel in a couple of months.

     I have been stitching, or at least doing stitching-related things. I joined another chapter of ANG, the Shenandoah Valley Chapter, which entails a two-hour drive (one way) to go to a meeting (haven't quite managed that yet). My friend and I recently drove to and from Harrisonburg two days in a row to participate in a workshop with Orna Willis, Tesselations Again. I've been fascinated by this design and jumped at the chance to have Orna teach it her very own self. What a great two days! Not only did I learn a lot in the class while having a great deal of fun, but I also met another wonderful group of stitchers. Orna's explanation of tesselations, her process of developing the design, and the difficulties of translating tesselations to the grid of canvaswork made me appreciate the design even more and has inspired me to ruminate on designing one myself (way in the back of my brain right now). I've done more stitching since returning from the class a few weeks ago and fully intend to keep at it regularly till I finish it. I chose to do just one quadrant rather than the full piece, knowing that I really don't need yet another BAP right now. Here's where I am so far.

     Don't you love the colors? This is on Congress Cloth, so I can fool myself into thinking it's not that big a piece. I love the layered stitches Orna chose for the triangular shape that's the foundation of the piece.

     This week I finally finished stitching the 2010 ANG Stitch of the Month Mystery. Woo-hoo! I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Since I'm planning to finish it as a pillow, I decided not to include the beads. (This will come as no surprise to those who know how much I dislike stitching beads. Hahahaha.)

     Of course, you know what this means, don't you? I can finally start the 2011 SOTM! After developing several custom colorways for scarletthread.com customers, I decided it was my turn. Initially, I was just going to use Ro Pace's original Flowers of Italy colorway, since it's so beautiful. But I became enamored of Thread Gatherer's Silk 'N Colors Desert Sage and ultimately decided to see what I could come up with. I'm using that along with Dinky-Dyes, Needlepoint Inc., and Rainbow Gallery Splendor silk flosses; Soy Luster; and New Metallics. I may have to change the metallic, as I'm not sure it will work on the Congress Cloth if I have to blend it with another thread.

     Now to find the time to get started. Funny thing is, I was really looking forward to working with the J.L. Walsh Silk Perle and ended up not using it. Another time, another project.

     I have more to talk about, but it's very late and I have a handyman coming bright and early in the morning to get started on a few projects to get my house ready to sell in about a month. I've made small progress on other WIPs and have another BAP I'll be starting on this week. I will be back soon (maybe even tomorrow if I can find the time).