Monday, February 21, 2011

Living in The Ice Dragon's Kingdom

First, here is a photo of the dragon as it was last seen on 2/6/11 ... you will have to read to the bottom of the post to see a current photo ... or just scroll down, if you wish to ignore my ramblings.

Wednesday: Today was a sick day for me. One of those 24 hour bugs that run rampant through school buildings. So, I stitched The Ice Dragon's Kingdom, on and off throughout the day. Even I am impressed by my progress ... and I tend to overestimate what I can accomplish in any given time frame. The border is nearly done and sizable sections of the picture where it overlaps the border are stitched as well. I am hoping to finish the piece this month. I can't seem to put it down and that bodes well for a quick finish ... even though it is approximately [I don't have the chart in front of me for an exact count] 150 x 200 stitches, with at least 2/3rds of that solidly stitched. Rachel called this piece addictive and truer words were seldom spoken.

Thursday morning: Got in another two hours of stitching early this morning but noticed that, although I have been careful with my border stitching, there may be some frogging in my future ... one of the long branches of a pine tree extending into the border should end three stitches from the outer border but, in fact, ends two stitches from said border. I have some careful counting and re-examining to do ... which will probably result in frogging some 60 or 70 stitches. That's what I get for stitching when I am sick!

Even though temps are supposed to rise to the low 50s today, I made myself my favorite winter comfort food. Steel cut oats [2/3 cups] cooked with 1 cup skim milk and 1 cup water as well as 15 raisins [portion control is a Type II diabetic's friend] and then sprinkled with cinnamon. I have a special double-bottomed saucepan [bought at the Virginia State Fair nearly a decade ago] that I use just for oatmeal ... and the occasional poached egg ... one of my many culinary quirks. Technically, it is still winter and I am still not feeling well although I'll be going into work ... so, oatmeal seemed an appropriate breakfast choice. Yesterday, I existed on several mugs of chicken broth, sipped slowly, alternating with mugs of green tea sweetened lightly with agave nectar ... so I was craving something a bit more substantial to start my day today.

Of course, what I'd really like when I am sick is someone who'll do all the tea brewing and broth serving for me ... somehow it doesn't seem fair that after decades of caring for my family whenever one of them was sick ... there's no one around to pamper me. The kids are grown and on their own, my husband went to work [quite reasonably, after all, since I just have one of those viruses that are so common at this time of year] and I am my own nurse. I think wives/mothers/homemakers should unionize and stipulate that provision be made for the pampering of sick female empty-nesters ... a retirement benefit of sorts, if you will. After all, those of us who still have a husband in the mix, tend to them when they are sick: even if we have to go in to work, we make sure that everything the sufferring spouse needs is near at hand [TV remote, handkerchiefs, huge to-go mugs of tea and broth, extra blankets and pillows, lunch already prepared and waiting in the refrigerator]. Though I have to confess that during my own husband's recent illness, I took him at his word that he was good to go for the day and could make his own tuna sandwich or nuke a frozen meal ... only to come home at the end of one of my 12 hour days to find he'd eaten nothing since the breakfast I had made for him. I was suitably guilt-ridden, especially since I hadn't called home once during my very busy day. I lost several Good Wife points that day! I did stay home from work the next day to care for him but I am not sure that covered the first lapse.

Thursday evening: Found the problem, and frogged back to it. The correction has been made and progress resumed: finished the outline and the webbing in the left wing.

Friday: a good bit accomplished today. I am continuing to work on the left side of the chart, filling in the rock in the lower left corner and a good bit of the face of my dragon. I even began to outline him a bit, so I could get a little of that satisfaction in seeing a design really come together.

Saturday and Sunday: Filled in the left wing ... boy, does this design just eat up Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid. I can see I am going to have to replenish my stock before I am through. As it is, I will have to cancel a back-order for some needed fibers with one shop that hasn't managed to produce the needed floss since December and replace the order with another more reliable shop. I never did have the #41 VFB from Kreinik and the #870 Anchor Marlitt I needed ... so I may as well order an extra spool/skein of the #032 VFB and the#800 Anchor Marlitt, just in case I should run out. The clouds in this piece are supposed to be done in half-stitches but I have never liked that effect ... I may do them in full cross-stitches and that will require more floss. By Sunday evening, I had gotten tired of stitching in the white Marlitt which required such careful counting since this chart is difficult to read. The dark sage green card stock on which it is printed is bad enough but the grid is very small and the symbols tend to blur before these aging eyes. I had to move my magnifying lamp constantly back and forth between the chart and my linen, counting and recounting both chart and stitching to ensure that everything will meet up properly when I get to the right side of the design.

Monday: In between chores and cooking, I managed to get a good deal more done. To give myself a bit of a break from the mind boggling white Marlitt, I switched to one of the lighter green pine trees at the upper left of the design ... an easier count ... and once done with it, I can backstitch the left wing for a little more instant gratification in really seeing the picture. Being snowbound yet again, kept distractions to a minimum and provided even more time than usual for stitching. Only seven more days of stitching if I am to finish him this month, as hoped ... and I am still awaiting the delivery of some flosses needed to finish my dragon ... it is no longer looking good for a February finish, especially since I'd like to meet a few of my other monthly goals vis-a-vis the Autumn Faerie, The Quaker Sampler and the Jacobean Elegance Afghan. Well we shall see!

Looking forward to Tuesday: I'll give the Dragon another day of stitching before switching to my other WIPs, which isn't really as impressive as it sounds since Tuesday is one of my 12 hour workdays. A half an hour before work and another half hour at lunchtime is probably all I manage to squeeze in.


Rachel S said...

Oh my Gosh, you are really moving on this one. It looks so good. SOOO pretty!

Linda K's Creativity Works said...

You are making great progress on your is looking great.

Keep it up.

Happy Stitching

Kathy said...

Dragon is looking fabulous. Sorry to hear you weren't feeling well but you put the sick time to great use. :)

Bonnie said...

Goodness, you really made a lot of progress. Looks fantastic.

Blu said...

What a ton of progress! The wing looks spectacular!

Jennifer said...

Wow! Awesome progress!!! It's going to look gorgeous when it's done.

Speaking of steel cut oatmeal, I do ours in a mini crockpot over night. I just saw one at Walmart the other day for $10 - it's a 2.5 quart crockpot and it's so easy to do the oats in. I follow a modification of Alton Brown's Overnight Oatmeal recipe - it's one part oats to four parts water, so I find that 1/2 cup oats and 2 cups water, plus a little extra or a splash of milk or cream, works best for my husband and I. Makes plenty. I butter the crock with a little butter and add a pinch of salt, plus a small handful of dried fruit - which you can skip and add in the morning.