Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: June 12, 2011

I was already to post this last night but my camera ran out of juice. Hence the Monday posting.

This past week has been one heck of a brutally hot week. It's been a strange Spring: wintry at the onset, followed by a monsoon and now a heat weave. Not your typical northeastern US weather. Reading and stitching in air-conditioned rooms has been the preferred recreation ... too hot to garden or cook and way too hot to do housework [but then any excuse will do when avoiding housework]. It's been the sort of week that you need to run the washer and the dishwasher around 5:30am and use a drying rack for the clothes to try and avoid afternoon brown-outs when air-conditioning really is a must. We usually don't have to do that till late July and early August.

In spite of all the indoor stitching time, I don't seem to have a lot to show you. My new TW piece, Tracery Dragons, just eats up stitching time. There are far more quarter stitches than usual ... and Teresa Wentzler is no slouch when it comes to quarter stitches at the best of times. In this piece, the quarter stitches are offset to make skinny little diagonals. Talk about counting twice and stitching once! More like counting three and four times to make sure these wicked little fractionals are in exactly the right place. I can sense the frog waiting in the wings but so far he has not made even a cameo appearance, thank the Lord! The frequent color changes and all the blended needles seem like child's play compared to the fractionals. I foolishly thought that because this piece required only 46 shades of DMC and was a bit smaller than the usual TW chart, it would take only a month or so to stitch. Not likely!! I usually enjoy Wentzler's work since I have a split stitching personality: enjoying the process as much as the end result. But I fear this piece will not give much joy to the process stitcher within. Furthermore, at the moment the piece has all the aesthetic appeal of a three year old's first finger painting: random blobs of color with no discernible design concept. I have to keep looking at the model photo to remind myself of my reason for stitching the piece. Never had to do that before.

The other potential problem with Tracery Dragons is that, though the chart was designed to be used with a dark fabric, I am using a mid-tone fabric. The floss toss looked fine but that isn't always a clear indication of how the stitched piece will look. I want to believe it will be okay since I dislike stitching on very dark fabric. I'll have a pretty good idea once I have finished cross-stitching and back-stitching page three of the chart ...and since that only involves the bottom two inches of the piece, I won't have invested too much time in the project if I decide it doesn't look right. I have some black linen I could use instead if necessary. I hope it won't be necessary, though.

This past week [and the next few weeks as well] will feature a lot of immediate [nearly] gratification. I have finally arrived at the smalls section of my Crazy January Challenge list. The first small piece is Jane Greenoff's Blackwork Owl. I have a bit of a thing for owls: I collect owl figurines of all sorts, I have a lot of jewelry in which owls figure as the main subject, and I stitch owl charts frequently. I posted a photo of progress on the owl earlier this week and hope to finish the piece in the coming week.

In addition to my small owl, I snuck four of my Town Square SAL pieces onto the CJC list, killing two birds with one stone. Here is Knotted Tree's Post Office. I stitched it in the suggested colors but I am not all that thrilled with the main brickwork color, Bluecoat Red. It's too bright a pink for aged brick. After all, the date says 1809. I would have thought Old Red Paint might have been a better selection but I don't dislike it enough to frog the whole deal and start over. And, finally, I have started on DeeBee's Designs' Town Square Church.

As to that Town Square SAL. Six people signed up to participate and contribute to the SAL blog. But there has been no activity on the blog since Rita's post in February. I am hoping that by posting a succession of small finishes on the blog, I can re-generate some interest in the project. In fact, of the six contributors, only Rita and I seem to be doing any contributing. I guess everyone is busy with other stitching. A project like the Town Square really has to capture the imagination ... I am using my Town Square finishes for a themed Christmas Tree: Small Town, USA ... and hope to have a least 12 done by the time Christmas rolls around. I had though of doing a quilt but decided that would be too much work. The Christmas Tree seemed a much more workable plan.

I think the stitching goddess must be smiling down on me since she arranged that the "smalls" section of my Crazy January Challenge projects should hit the rotation at the same time as Tracery Dragons. At least, I'll have the immediate gratification of some quick, easy and visually appealling finishes to help me get past the initial ugly duckling stage of the BAP.

And I managed to squeeze in one sewing finish: a gift tote using a small free chart called Erin's Garden once available on a blog that, regrettably, no longer exists. And I am showing a photo of an earlier gift tote finish now being put to good use: filled with books and sundresses for my 2 year old grand-daughter's 2nd birthday. It will be mailed to the West Coast Monday morning, even given the fact that it's going to an island, priority mail should get it their well in time for her birthday next week.

1 comment:

Hillery said...

I must say.... you do really pick those challenging pieces. It's been a while since I have done something so intricate, and I don't think I will again in the near future. Except, I have to finish my "Gathering Eggs" from Mirabilia. I am so close. Great job on all your projects. I know I haven't been around much.