Monday, February 20, 2012

Hermitting this President's Day Weekend ...

Stitching has been my first priority this three-day holiday weekend. Second priority was to catch up with the laundry, ironing, shopping and house-keeping. And the third and final priority was to get a bit ahead in the cooking department, freezing some healthy meals that I could heat up after my twice a week, 12 hour work days instead of ordering the take-out that sends my sugar numbers and my blood pressure sky-rocketing. Since Saturday was a bit chilly and my husband never feels the cold quite as much as I do, I stitched on my Jacobean Elegance afghan, on and off, during the day. Having the bulk of the afghan covering my lap and legs makes for very cozy stitching. On Sunday, I continued working on the afghan and finished the first "bud" block except for the back-stitched outline. This is an old Cross Stitch Sampler magazine chart designed by Lori Birmingham. Now, I have met Lori and taken classes with her at several CATS back in the day and this chart just doesn't look like what I accustomed to thinking of as her style. But I am really enjoying it anyway ... with my usual few quibbles, of course: it calls for skipping blocks between the flower and bud blocks but that gives it a very off-balance sort of look, to my way of thinking. So I shall be filling in every block simply alternating flower and bud in each row, across and down. I finished the block this morning. Later today, I'll make up a list of flosses I still need to purchase now that I have essentially doubled the stitching. I won't have to double it exactly since I am using 4 strands rather than the recommended 6 strands, which looked way too bulky to my eye.

I have to confess though, that chill in the air notwithstanding, the real reason I chose to pick up this project instead of my current class piece is: I have been avoiding working on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly & Hearts Sampler. It is always demoralizing when the first thing you have to do when picking up a piece after a hiatus is FROG. But that is the case here. Yes, I know the symmetry of the tracery band was off by only two threads but it would have bothered me to the point of ripping the finished piece off the wall and smashing the frame if I had left it uncorrected. So, I am a little obssessive about my stitching - what real stitcher isn't? The problem with frogging is that one doesn't have a progress photo to show, no forward progress having been made. Maybe in a few days time. I'll spend the later part of today on Holly and Hearts, but it probably won't accompany me to work on Tuesday. Since this piece is on scroll rods, it is not as portable as a piece I place in my spring loaded hoop. At least, it is a very tight fit in the zippered case I am currently using as a stitching bag. I'll have to switch the bag out for something a bit larger until I am finished with this piece or I will have to remove all the other "pending" pieces that I carry around in my current stitching bag. Since I really do want to take advantage of lunch hour stitching time to work on this sampler, making it portable is a priority. The plan is to finish the sampler this week and still have time to work on the matching ornament for the remainder of the month. As a chronic sufferer of StADD [Stitcher's Attention Deficit Disorder], I am already jonesing to resume work on Phyllis Mauer's Japanese Kogin Tea Cozy. It's also in the stitching bag and it keeps calling my name quite loudly and insistently. But I am determined to work through my class projects in a semi-orderly fashion, actually finishing one [in all its parts] before moving on to another.

At the end of 2012, I want to be able to say that I have caught up with my stitching self and haven't a single unfinished class project and only a very few [less than 5] WIPs in hand. We shall see how that works. Then in 2013, I shall be free to concentrate on sewing finishes though I shall be trying to do two a month this year. I will probably have to invest in a new sewing machine before doing so. One of my sewing machines was a gift from my mother back in 1971 [college graduation - talk about mixed messages, a domestic gift for an aspiring professional] and the other was a hand-me-down from my kid sister and is approximately 30 years old. I do believe I have run both of these machines into the ground. I no longer wish to invest in repairs when I should be coming up with replacement costs. I just dislike the thought of learning a new machine. I have flirted with the thought of buying a Bernina but they cost the earth and I don't do enough quilting to justify that expenditure. I suspect I will go with a Singer or a Kenmore. It's off to Consumer's Guide to check out my options.

And, on an entirely different topic: using the extraordinarily scientific and precise method of asking my husband to select a number between one and six, I have chosen Melissa J as the winner of the Tracery Dragons chart. I will e-mail her before I log off this morning.


Erica said...

If you find a sewing machine you like, please let me know. I am still sewing on my mothers old Kenmore from 1963. I still remember the day the Sears lady came to our house (what happened when you bought a new sewing machine), and showed us how to use it! I expect it to give up the ghost any minute now!

Margaret said...

Wonderful stitching. I enjoy reading your blog and watching your progress.
I am going to brave and ask if you would be willing to sell me the chart for Jacobean Elegance when you have completed your afghan. I have a piece of afghan fabric for which that would be most suitable.