Staying at home is good for finishing projects that got off to a great start but then languished incomplete due to waning interest.
Spray paint. More than 2 years and 7 months ago, I brought home some sad patio chairs that I intended to paint beige with teal straps. I did mange to paint one chair solid beige during the first week but then lost interest in going further. A week ago, I pulled out the three year old can of teal spray paint and finished the job. Sort of. There’s still one chair untouched.
Needlepoint. Many years ago maybe 6, I saw a beautiful English needlepoint kit on eBay that I had to have. I made a high bid on it but then went on a business trip. The auction closed while I was sitting at an airport gate and someone outbid me. I was crushed. And that is why 2 years ago, I saw the same kit, brand new, on eBay again. I was so happy and thankful that I got anther chance at it that I didn’t want to risk losing it again so I paid the But It Now price. It arrived within days and then sat collecting dust while I alternately ignored and cursed over the work-in-progress I had already going on. Very few additional stitches but a lot of curses happened on the WIP until three weeks ago when I just bought another frame and and started work on the beloved. It’s fast going , is simple enough that I can hold conversations or follow a tv show in the background while I stitch. As you can see, I already have about 2 inches done across the top.
Doorway plants. This isn’t much to write home about yet – see me in about 3 months when it all fills out and it’s magnificent – but I never got the doorway plants right before. The entrance looks symmetrical but it’s not so I needed similar plantings in matching pots of different sizes. I think this is it. I don’t expect you to get all excited about this especially since I half-assesd it and worked around plants that survived sun and freeze in other locations. The photo is noteworthy to show you a slice of my life that is hardly meaningful to anyone else but charms me every time. I put those blinds up on the sidelights of the door to block Stedman from licking the glass whenever anyone came to the door. Or a car drove by. Or the mail truck pulled up. Now whenever the glass separates us, he lifts up a slat with his nose. I think he’s trying to see out but he never managed to actually get a look. Every time I come back from being out, I’m greeted by crooked blinds and a little black nose. It’s charming.
I’d like to be able to say that i fonsihed recovering the dining room chairs, or the chair in my oyster-painting studio, or the gold chair that I resprayed brown and now I need a new piece of fabric to cover over the hot pink zebra, but none of that has happened. Maybe I’ll get that all done during the stay at home order for Wu Flu Part 2.
I’m taking a break from this blog for a while and writing at a new location with a singular focus on needlepoint. I wasn’t going to say anything here but WordPress outed me. It’s not easy to see which blog you are writing from when working on an iPad and this is the second time I posted something here instead of at the other one.
Many of you have figured out that I’m gone to another place and some have asked for the new location. Since the cat is out of the bag, I’ll tell you.
But be prepared: it really is focused on needlepoint. So if you are not interested in an ongoing chronical of stitch rip out restitch or the more thrilling I made a mistake I’ll just put a new stitch right over the old one , you won’t find much to interest you.
[Preface: I have a thing against popular bloggers giving advice or swaying reader opinion when they themselves are have mental disorders and deficiencies. It’s not reasonable to use your public platform in this manner. People, generally those not fully formed who merely enjoy your writing come to think of you as a role model and are very susceptible to adopting your opinions, valid or not. I include myself in this group of mental defectives even though I only have a dozen regular readers. Evidence below as I reveal my plan to spend 60 hours creating an asswipe.]
I finished the vintage 1991 Black Ikat piece, even though I ran out of yarn and had to buy some online knowing that the dye lots (and the decades) would be different. I had a feeling this was going to happen, so my strategy was to use the vintage yarn in the center and supplement with new yarn if necessary around the edges. That was a plan that paid off. Out of 5 new skeins, only one is of a noticeably different hue.It was a disappointment right from the start when i realized that the colors that I expected to pop against the black background were fairly dull and uninteresting. I thought this was going to be some colorful patches with incidental trim of small boxes at the edges, but it turned out to be a wild riot of confetti rings with non-colorful color blocks in the center. Please congratulate me for sticking with this one to the end – 178 hours worth of work. When I ran out of yarn, that was the perfect excuse to ditch this one but instead I acted like and adult and persevered to the end. Maybe I have finally changed my life-long behavior of leaving things partly done and walking away. Said the leopard to her own spots.
Now I’ve started a small piece of simple design. It’s called Brussels Carpet based on a pattern at the Smithsonian, kit created in 1994. I’ts 10″ X 12″, the design is simple and uses only 6 distinct colors. Piece of cake! I figure this one will take ~ 50-60 hours because the pattern is so simple and repetitive. The joke is on me because so far I’ve put in about 20 hours and only got this far:
Instead of a simple tent stitch, I ‘m using a Victorian Cross Stitch which is two crossed stitches in the same space that a single slash stitch would be. I had to, due to the crappy nature of the yarn that came in this kit. The effect is that of tiny little knots and gives the piece the appearance of a handmade carpet. I’ve been spoiled by working my first 3 pieces with the luscious spun as a single strand Appleton yarns. This kit came with “Persian Yarn”, which is code for three stand lengths, that need to be separated so that you can work with 2 strands at a time. Which is bullshit and was a disaster. What a ghastly, bumpy, uneven mess that was. So I ripped out the small patch I had done and used single strands in the VCS . I believe that should give me enough single strands to finish the entire piece. If it doesn’t then I’m just going to trim away the unsticthed canvas and use whatever is left as an asswipe.
The other issue that makes this slow going is that the symmetry of the pattern demands perfection in stitch placement . I ripped out some parts of that rosette three times already. I’ve got to stop doing that – what looks so dire and obvious under the magnifier I use when I work is imperceptible to the naked eye. I think. The thing about ripping out VCS – because they cross over on the back side as well as the front – is that its more cutting the stitches to pull them out rather than pulling back single stitches to get to the point things started to go to hell. Which wastes yarn. So, hello asswipe of the future.
So yesterday, hot hot Sunday, stayed inside in blissful air conditioned comfort but nothing good on TV to provide background noise. Turned to BET to watch House of Payne which is a show I sort of liked when it was in production.Left the channel on as I stitched and cursed my way through my terrible hobby. A string of black chick flicks came on one after the other. In general, I like a chick flick as background noise – they are the perfect light entertainment. I was struck by one PSA that played frequently for a project called DeEscalate Don’t Kill. It was the first video at that link, a general message for peace and understanding . My first thought was that the people who need to deescalate are probably not spending their Sunday afternoons watching movies about how to balance successful careers as lady lawyers or corporate VPs with your love life or when to tell your new man that you have children. But when we got to the part where the general watching public was invited to “upload a video telling us how you feel about [recent police shootings] for a chance to be heard on BET.”, I realized that this effort was probably not going to do much to deescalate things.
On a personal level, I’m not fan of the police. I do believe they profile to select the people they stop. I, for instance, fit the profile of a Slightly Tardy Business Woman Just Trying To Get To Work On Time and have been stopped, bossed around and ticketed for speeding many, many times. Perhaps I am a public menace but they enver tell me theya re stopping me for safety reasons. I keep my mouth shut even though I desperately want to ask them why they are not out chasing criminals or actually stopping obvious out-in-the open crimes. (Answer: because its less dangerous for them to stop business women than is it to engage with real criminals)
On the other hand, I am very grateful for police when it comes to crowd control. Republican Convention this week, flames fanned by the deceitful media – anything can happen, including a measure of Blue Flu to avoid being picked off by domestic terrorists emboldened by the irresponsible president. Who can blame them? For all the 20 year old knuckleheads who want to riot, create mayhem and get their mugs on TV, go right ahead. This goes for 40 year old paid agitators, too. but people with baby carriages, young children, old grannies and physical disabilities – stay away. You can work out your rage by uploading a video expressing your rage from the safety of your tear gas-free home.
Pro-tip: don’t wear a sleeveless sheathwhen you crouch under overgrown shrub roses to clip some weeds away. Too bad I didn’t advise myself before I did exactly this. Now my inner upper arms are a stuck with the finest of thorns. How that happened I don’t know. At least I hope it’s tiny thorns. At the other end of town, I have a single bug bite on my instep which itched like hell for less then a minute and then blew up into a two NCC hump with a red bullseye. I suspect that was from a spider.
Also my main needle pulling finger fell victim to the tiny thorns. Which is just as well because I have lost enthusiasm for the piece I’m currently working on. I was excited about this one because I thought the bright colors would stand out against the black background (plus the name of it is “Black Ikat”. Isn’t that positively riveting?) but these colors are drab.
I have about 25 stitching hours invested in this one so far and I’m thinking this is going to be 150+ when all is said and done. The only reason I have the fortitude to keep mushing on is that this is my third piece and my plan was to wait until I had 3 pillow tops stitched and blocked before I pulled out the old sewing machine to turn them into finished pillows. So I guess l’ll stick with it.
I have no time for hobbies during the week so this is how I spend my free time – gardening and needlepoint. And they both have me stuck at the moment.
Congratulate me! I finished the Boxing Hares pillow cover. In fact, I’ve been shopping for just the right insert so that I can turn it into a functioning pillow while my passion is still hot.
I’m not a fan of the stuffed to the point of exploding look you get when you buy a firm foam insert but I don’t have the pocketbook for enough down to fill a 16 x 16″ cover. that’s what I”m going for: super squishy, soft but refluffable, slightly slumping when upright. So I found a really great synthetic insert that’s “filled with a special 100% polyester gel fiber.” It’s got the look and feel that I want but question: what is a polyester gel fiber? Siliconized micro denier gel fiber, no less.
Is that something that will degrade the wool threads over time? I put in 200 hours on these hares and I do not wish to see all that work disintegrate. Needlepointers, please chime in.