Friday, November 21, 2008

It's been a little over a week ...

... but what a week it has been. I got back from the Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway safe and sound, exhausted, exhiliarated, sated with stash. There were doorprizes and fantastic goodie bags as well as the opportunity to make purchases from Chris's Collection on site mini-shop. The instructor was Sandy from The Sweetheart Tree ... an extremely personable instructor who not only taught her class pieces but shared a wealth of information about the stitchery business ... lots of insider glimpses into the joys, problems, pitfalls and everyday routines of a designer's life. The class pieces were an elegant sampler and complementary ornament ... very lovely but really slow going for me ... lots of symmetrical vining [read back-stitching] which is what slows me down. Happily, the sampler also includes a fair amount of specialty stitching and bright shiny beads ... both of which I really enjoy. I used to think I liked back-stitching, too. Most of the back-stitching I have done in the past has been outlining which, especially in the Teresa Wentzler designs I so love, makes the picture come to life. The backstitching in these projects is quite different ... huge [or so it seems to me] sections of delicate tracery which looks great when done properly but therein lies the rub ... make one tiny mistake and the whole symmetry is thrown right out the window. I ended up doing quite a bit of frogging ... think five steps forward and one step back. In fact, this is all I managed to stitch during the retreat:

On the ornament
Take note of that neat stitch at the top of the piece ... it represents nearly an hour and half of stitching/frogging/stitching. It is called the Amadeus stitch and has to be done just so ... but the result is worth it ... it's also much easier to stitch the second time around, once you get the internal logic and rhythm of the stitch.
And, on the sampler:
Looking at these photos, I can't help but wonder just what I was doing all day for two days. Sandy said her model stitcher took 25 hours to complete the sampler ... I figure it'll take me about 40-50 hours, allowing for frogging time. Granted, there was lots of eating, chatting, and when absolutely fed up with backstitching, working on other projects: I finished the Miribilia Halloween Faerie while on the retreat and learned how to make my own twisted cording. Then there was the Christmas ornament gift exchange, the visit from Santa and the Show and Tell evening. And the frequent visits to Chris' Collection shop ... it was amazing all the stuff she managed to fit in one motel room. But still, I usually have more to show for two days of reasonably solid stitching.
Tomorrow, I'll put up picures of the completed Halloween Faerie and two or three WIPs: my Thanksgiving ornament for the Seasonal ornament blog/group SAL, the Brightneedle sampler needlebook [one of the charts in the goodie bag that I couldn't resist starting immediately] and a Homespun Elegance stocking for my husband that I bought from Chris while on retreat. So much for the November goal of no new starts except the ones planned. My digital camera battery ran out of juice and is currently being recharged.

Here's a shot of the room, from the perspective of my seat in the back right corner ... Sandy is up front teaching away as Sue Donnelly [the organizer] and her right hand, Deborah, stitch diligently right in front of me ... yeah, yeah: pictures of the backs of people are not particularly interesting ... but you have to understand the layout of the room: I would have had to climb over 8 people to get out of the back row and get a better perspective.

Santa admonishing me to "get it together" ... for some reason, I had a fit of the giggles while fumbling to get this shot.

It was a wonderful retreat but then it was back to work with a vengeance: two 12 hour days Monday & Tuesday followed by a regional meeting for most of Wednesday and then, yesterday, a nightmare of a day with the delivery and distribution of a major fundraiser: $12,000 worth of Corbi's pizza and cookie dough. The program made a profit of $4,895 so I guess it was worth it. But I am not looking forward to confronting the people who did not pick up their goods on distribution night ... now that the parish school is closed, we no longer have huge refrigerators in the building which is now totally devoted to after-school Religious Education programs. We made repeated phone calls, begging folks to come and get their orders. But there were still 15 or so orders left at the end of the evening. So, I put the stuff in the coldest room of the building, the old kitchen. I couldn't have moved them to another building even if I had been willing to schlep all those orders around. All the parish center refrigerators and freezers are chock fill of turkeys for the Care and Concern Committee's holiday basket distribution on Monday and Tuesday. I couldn't leave it outdoors for fear animals would get into it. People were warned not to order if they couldn't come to the assigned pick-up, that no refrigeration would be available ... but I very much doubt that they'll accept responsibility for the loss ... but I am not giving refunds for spoilage. So, if this is my last blog ... know that I have been lynched by angry parents, a martyr to fundraising.


Erynne said...

Good to see you back and the way you described the retreat, makes me wish I could have attended something like that! No fair, you Americans have all the fun...boohoo. ;)
I hope those folks that didn't pick up their goods, refrain from giving you a hard's their own bloomin' fault!! I swear, some people lack basic common sense!
Beautiful stitching by the way.

Erynne (who thinks you should just do away with that "no new starts" rule, mwwaaaaah!)

riona said...

Well so far only one of those who missed the pick-up night has taken me to task ... Parent: "why wasn't I notified?" ... Me: "you were: on Orientation Night when we announced the date and warned you not to order if you couldn't make it; the date was clearly printed on the name label on the front of your fundraiser packet along with the same warning; there were two posters in the building with the date clearly marked and we put an announcement in the parish bulletin" ... the reply, "oh, who has the time to read bulletin boards and notices ... you should have sent home a reminder with the children." I give myself a lot of credit for not asking if she would have had the time to read the reminder, i.e., if her child remembered to hand it to her.