There are those stitchers who love planning new projects. Picking a pattern, selecting fabric, organizing threads. In fact some love it so much that they have several to dozens of projects bags ready to start at a moments notice. (I know this because I have been known to watch what are called “stash dives” on various Flosstube YouTube channels).
I am neither so organized nor spendthrift. The idea of matching everything up does appeal. But what if I need that thread for another project? Or the fabric better suits a pattern that is newer, shinier? Not fickle, you understand but rather knowing myself all too well. When something is organized in a bag, not started, it fades from my awareness relegated to less than important. It isn’t new and shiny anymore. There might just be something more interesting to place in the active project bin.
Why am I fussing about all of this? Because I finished “Dreaming Frida” by Barbara Ana yesterday afternoon
Stitched on 16 ct orphan hand dyed Aida (from MyVintageNeedleArts_
and stitched in the called for threads. The pattern came from CreativePoppy and was a three part SAL which started 1 April.
So then, I could revert to the rest of the SALs (Stitch-a-longs) that are underway. Or I could start the new Barbara Ana SAL – Dreaming Garden. Note the theme going here? Which takes me to kitting up projects. Since this is a PDF downloaded pattern that this particular seller insists on password projecting, I haven’t been able to upload it to Pattern Keeper thus having to print and work off hard copy. (Note – same issue for other PDF readers.) Since there was thread left from the last, I could grab the 3-4 colors that overlapped. Then I went on a thread hunt (three places to search) followed by a fabric search. An hour later, I was all set. The twelve colors pulled and a piece of 18 ct Sunshine from the same dyer as above. The pattern is smaller than 90×90 so I didn’t want to take a chunk out of a large piece. After all, I might need it some day….. right.
And absolutely no way to reclaim that hour of search &
destroy find that I spent neither stitching nor organizing. I just do not get joy out of this kind of getting ready, putting things together. My joy comes from progress, not preparation.
That little bit? Most, but not all of the lower first page. Deceptive – with an estimate of at least 600 stitches it that little bit coupled with a lot of color changes (9/12 included in just this section).
when I started getting punchy, it was time for bed.
In case you are not aware, there is a volcano (with more than one vent) that has been erupting in Geldingadalur, Iceland now for over a month.
Perhaps the best live cams are
There are also short clips – such as this – where at the start you think it is just a big pile of grey till you see the molten lava just below the cooled surface.
And, if that isn’t enough – you can also follow HawaiiAnd Mt Etna (Italy) and St Vincent (Caribbean) earlier in April. What is next?
There were errands, just a few. And an exercise class followed by working on various stitch-a-longs of the cross stitch variety.
The third of three parts of the Barbara Ana “Dreaming Frida” was released. I can feel a bit snarky because there is more to do in this section than the other two combined. The first section was the keys->flowers on the bottom. The second section was the sun, mountains and houses above. Which leaves me all of the girl (just started with the rest of her hair, her face&head + some more flowers to go.
the fabric is a 16 ct Aida orphan from MyVintageNeedleworks. Stitched with the called for DMC.
Then there is Aster’s Amazing Adventure courtesy of Fuzzy Fox Designs out of Australia. This particular SAL started with 5K’s worth of lunar landscape at the bottom (not visible in this photo) and then adds a planet or so every week. This is through week 7.
with back stitching to be done later.
Little Dove Designs – Follow the Yellow Brick Road. I ignored the frame (which came out 2 weeks ago) to see if I wanted to play with this – and decided why not. Even with all the little red hearts.
Part 1 started –
stitched with the called for threads so far on ordinary natural color 16 ct Aida. Still have the rest of Glinda to stitch as well as the road. I think I just may add some shiny threads to Glinda’s crown and wand.
and lastly – Owl Forest (the Russian company) is offering another free stitch-a-long. This one is Alice in Wonderland. Past SALs include 101 Owls and The Emerald City which are still available for free on their website.
This one starts with an arbor in the middle (and the whole thing is not small). Rather than stitch green all day, I figured that I would make a start and do a bit each day…
stitching on white Aida with the DMC conversion since I figured this out too late to order thread from Owl Forest.
UCBerkeley is on a reading week. I have no more lectures to give. Even leaves me with the option to sleep in!
Sorry, been spending entirely too much time around bad puns. And some are so much worse than others.
It wasn’t a day for anything too complicated. I hadn’t signed up for any shifts at either place I normally work. Instead, I ran errands. Now Joanns is within about 3 miles of the house in one direction. Michaels about the same in the other. JoAnns, as it turns out, was missing several colors of DMC floss so I had to add the Michaels run. As it turns out, I should have just gone there in the first place. They have a new manager. Instead of total chaos in the embroidery section, it is now neatly and accurately laid out complete with signage and labels. Who knew?
I made it home with my floss (and a few other things that jumped into my basket) and spent the afternoon fighting with a couple of CD drives in a desperate attempt to play a couple of MP3 audiobooks… Ah, well. It looks like it is time to haul out the old MAC. I did manage some stitching, then we took dinner over to Shana’s.
It is still before 2200, but I am wiped and headed to bed.
(and now you know why I am not emailing everyone and boring them to tears…)
This has been perhaps the longest month for me since the start of the Pandemic. I am not really sure why. I could point to a myriad of factors, but in truth, it feels like all the waves over my head came crashing down at once.
It wasn’t just that I had a lot of conferences on my schedule, some of which have the audacity to start at insane times in the morning. Admittedly, those times are not insane – if you happen to live in Tel Aviv, Geneva, or Glasgow. But since my time zone happens to be GMT-8 while on daylight savings time, it is really early in the morning. Trust me on that.
Then there have also been the two courses at Cal which I have been participating in, some for my own interest and some as a guest lecturer. That pretty much wiped out all day Mon + Wed afternoon.
Add in working 2-3 days a week at one of two immunization sites (shifts are 10 hours + travel….)
Did I mention dental work?
Ok, all of that is probably more than enough whining out of me.
I will start fresh in the morning and perhaps have it together a bit more this coming month.
Given that I was offered slave labor by one of my daughters late this morning, I could hardly procrastinate any further on cleaning/organizing in the garage.
The end count was three huge boxes completely emptied. A pile of clothes to be charity donated. A large number of lose items folded and packed. Contents of previously unknown two boxes identified. A very large duffle bag with various family treasures packed by Maus (and taken home by her). The dear girl also claimed two completed cross stitches as “hers” and will do the finishing. A third will make an ideal present for a friend of hers – so that went out the door as well.
There is now a nice, clear, open space at the front of the middle section of the garage which can be turned into a metal stamping area by Daughter #2 who needs some place to pound other than her kitchen counter. One of the old sheepskins is now decorating the floor and will make a great and comfortable nesting location for which ever of her dogs needs to accompany her.
Back to the thing –
It was in the sleeve pocket of one of my uniform shirts. I am forgetting the exact name – I was issued three that last tour in Afghanistan. They were designed as essentially a long sleeve pullover which could be comfortably worn under kevlar. I think I remember someone calling them “tanker’s shirts” but I could be wrong. The zippered sleeve pocket was great, and not to be confused with the various other velcro closure pouches and pockets. It has a standard port as well as a location for a micro chip (not that I think I have a reader for anything that small anymore) and a regular port for ear buds. (Yes, my dears – this was long before blue tooth…
I am going to charge it and see what happens. If nothing else – I could find a card and load one of the dozens of audio books I found in the garage still sealed in our original household goods shipment boxes.
Cross stitchNot a lot has been accomplished today. I managed another two blocks on the Tetris upper border. Otherwise – the outline for the first tree in Caroline Mannings – Tree Hugger SAL. The fabric is 18 Aida Shale by Picture this Plus using the called for DMC. I need to add the Owl on the upper portion and fill in the entire tree…Only about 600 stitches more…
And I have almost a thousand stitches to go yet in the bottom section.
But I will say that it is shaping and up and actually a fairly rapid stitch as there are huge whacks of color.
is actually the official name of this stitch-a-long but I am likely to continue to call it the Space SAL (which is not the same as the Solar System SAL – just saying…)
There are only four colors of DMC pink – 961, 962, 963 & 3354. The fabric is 16 ct opalescent Aida which I ordered from DoveStitch but is actually Fabric Flair (if I am remembering correctly). I still need to add a dark navy stitch along the outside. And after all of this, I may change my mind completely once I see the section of the actual SAL.
This weekend the last part on this SAL (stitch-a-long) was released. Normally Patty releases her pattern updates on Friday, but delayed till today.
That was fine with me. It is not like I don’t have enough other things to work on.
I was caught up, but for a small portion of the frame to the outside of the lighthouse.
The final part added a pair of seagulls.
1054 stitches later, I could claim I was done!
stitched on light blue Aida (sorry about the lighting) with Sulky instead of DMC. Main colors substituted included 1001 (Parchment) for the gulls and lighthouse, 4055 for the frame and little blue beach house,
My first DONE of February (and likely the only one).
Otherwise, I started a simple blanket in a half-log cabin pattern and just switch directions about every 12 rows/6 ridges of garter or when I get bored. It is a great project for Zoom conversations and meetings..
and I just picked up another new acronym. FFN = finished for now. It is perfect. Not for just any old piece of stitching or knitting; not when you are bored or frustrated. That is not the point of this little gem.
It is for when you have gotten as far as you possibly can on a piece with the current amount of pattern than you have. The classical use is for a section of a SAL (stitch-a-long) where the parts are released at regular intervals. There are those individuals who arduously keep up with the clues and have their stitching current to the most recent release. There are those who mutter along for a while, then fall behind, never to catch up. In neither group are those wait till the whole project has been released, then jump on board.
But for me – this gives me an expression which expresses that the particular project is not exactly a WIP (work in progress) because there is absolutely NOTHING else I can accomplish till the next portion of the pattern is released.
The following – for example – count as FFNs –
From CloudsFactory – there is no Planet B. A year long SAL delivered the first of each month.
Wonders of the Solar System – releases on the 15th
Dreaming Girl started 1 Feb and releases every two weeks.
But for now, they are FFNs
In contrast – the following are NOT FFNs –
In all cases, I finished the segment for the month well before the next portion of the pattern was released. BUT, all of these SALs have frames involved. The frames were released prior to the start of the year. To be FFN = I would have to have everything stitched that was available so far.
And I pretty much prefer to stitch frames as I go. There are several reasons, perhaps the biggest being that stitching a frame is a significant investment of time and materials without knowing whether or not I am actually going to like the pattern. By not starting the frame ahead of time, I can decided not to play. Now that I am committed, I will work on the frames both as I go and in any extra stitching time that I have.
Clear as mud – right?
Is what I am going to assume in this particular stitch-a-long.
The designers love musicals, so I should not be surprised. They released the frame for this particular piece well prior to the 1 Feb start. The frame is simple, but a freaking lot of stitches.
The portion of the frame that you see (the black marquis with the yellow spotlights) was stitched prior to this week. I had a few other things to complete first, so didn’t get the “B” started till yesterday morning. Thankfully,, it loads into PatternKeeper. I groaned on discovering that there was a measly (!) 2330 stitches in this section. Frankly, that is actually a bit much for a SAL that releases every couple of weeks.
But by late this afternoon, I managed the 1169 stitches that remained after yesterday.
I had no clue, but Jill identified the “can you hear the people sing” and Graeme nailed the musical. French flag rounds out a portion of the clues.
Probably aren’t necessary – I could cut floss with just about any sharp tool. But they are definitely an indulgence. Unlike kitchen shears which can cut just about anything successfully (not discussing poultry shears here) or fabric scissors which also come in a great variety with different material targets – embroidery scissors need only have relatively sharp edges and a pointed end.
Usually small, I have discovered that there is a huge variety of scissors ranging from the cheap to the incredibly and indulgently expensive. Now, I like shiny as well as the next person – but give me a choice between half a dozen to a dozen pairs or one pair costing more than 100$US and I am going opt for the variety.
Instead I go for the cute pairs –
These were just the three that came quickly to hand. I have a few more…
I mentioned last month that I was “participating” in a number of mystery cross-stitch-a-longs. Each SAL is released in segments on a regular (for it) basis. The most common interval is once a month. A few are every other week. The rare pattern gets released on a weekly basis – but this type of SAL is usually a short term project of no more than six components.
Not that you wanted to know any of that – but to avoid personal confusion, I print out a calendar each month I can write down the dates that patterns will be released. Allegedly, this will let me plan what I will stitch, when. In reality, I am likely to go with whatever shows up first, which ever looks the more interesting, or which ever is going to be the hardest to catch up on if I fall behind.
I may just have bitten off too much, but we will see.
Anyway – today is Wednesday, 3 Feb and I have completed my first three pattern segments for the month.
- First up is a 12 month SAL by TinyModernist called Zodiac. There is a rather large and complicated frame which was available, and I could have stitched ahead of time (Dec) but I didn’t since I was finishing up December projects. In January, I decided that “frame as you go” was good enough. That meant that the 1200 stitches of the fish required completion of the two circles on the right hand side. If I stay ahead of things this month, I will fill in a bit more of the decorations around the frame. This pattern segments are published monthly.
2. Second up is Dreaming Girl by Barbara Ana. This is an every two week pattern drop. Unfortunately, this pattern is not compatible with PatternKeeper, so I have no clue as to how many stitches were in this first part, but I have the feeling that it is over ½ of the total.
3. And I finally was able to pick up fabric for the Wonders of the Solar System by Climbing Goat Designs (no, I couldn’t possibly make this up). The first planet – Mars, was released the 15th of last month which means that I will see the next planet up in less than two weeks. Pattern Keeper compatible – 827 stitches to the Red Planet.From here, I have a start (for the third time) on this year’s Linens and Threads Mystery SAL and a number of others in the queue. Progress will be made….
On Tuesday mornings, I have been meeting one of my neighbors for coffee and a walk. The coffee is picked up from Peet’s and we have been hiking around various streets and neighborhoods here in the Berkeley Hills. The variety of houses is just amazing. Many of the streets are winding and, as you might have guessed from the name – it can be pretty hilly. Not as in up and down but as in UP or DOWN.
When you get to the other side of Marin from where we live, it gets interesting from a geological perspective. I will insert some pictures of Indian Rock (huge rock formation) probably next week since I don’t have any good ones from today. But back to the terrain. There are a lot of huge chucks of rock. As in protruding from the ground in front of people’s houses taking out a large chunk of their front garden. Large enough to obstruct the view from main floor windows.
I don’t think today that the city would even permit to build in this area, but the first half of the last century, I don’t think any one was quite as fussy.
The residents of one house have a sense of humor. What do you do when you have a huge outcropping in your front yard?
why, you place a statue of a golden bear. Not a small one nor light weight being solid metal and bolted on.
In case you need to see something that has not changed in spite of the pandemic – it looks like the falcon pair at UCBerkeley has returned to their tower and are getting ready to settle in for another year.
Here are the links for the various live cams…
Grinnell just watching…
I started out thinking today was going to be pretty much of a loss. Not in terms of family, but in the realm of getting progress on any of my cross stitch projects.
There was the 0500 broadcast from WHO re: Neglected Tropical Diseases (leprosy among others) and the next in a series of occupational medicine broadcasts re: the construction industry at 0900. From there I made a mad dash over to the Eldest’s house (meeting up with the youngest for errand running) in order to make the 1100-1200 & 1200-1300 schedule. Even tho all were not “Zoom” since Cisco’s Webinex was in the mix – I was totally & completed zoomed out.
So anyway – Maus wanted to cruise the thrift (charity) stores for some household items and used furniture. Over the next few hours, we stopped at four (or was it five?) Goodwill locations, a consignment furniture store, and Out of the Closet. She made out like a bandit. Found some picture frames, candle sticks, a most excellent tea kettle, serving bowls, and a couple of vases.
I purchased one picture frame at a Goodwill – then found this lovely thing –
Obviously (grin) it is a jewelry cabinet – a top that lifts up for precious storage on top, four draws with dividers inside, two draws below.
Now, I don’t have jewelry. But I have floss, beads, and lots of notions. This lovely little cabinet is going to replace a number of cheap, plastic containers and look elegant in doing so. Price? $25US. After it airs out a bit, I will move it to a place of honor in my sewing room.
There is this old expression that says – “It never rains, but it pours.” Said saying was also co-opted by Morton Salt, but I see no reason to go there this morning.
After all, the Bay Area has had enough disasters this year without going and hunting for me.
Need I go on?
Well, yesterday – Tuesday 26 January 2021 to be precise, we just added torrential rain to our growing list of disbelief. It rained and rained. Plus the wind blew, rather important as this tale proceeds. This morning – we woke to the following on our back deck:
Just so you know, that second picture was taken after I hauled this huge branch off the deck and tossed it over the edge.
We have cleared the cars off the parking pad (which involved heading to Dani’s work and getting her keys) and are now waiting for PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) because an additional branch or three has taken the power line which runs along our property line down. So far, we haven’t lost power, I think this line mostly supports the two houses just south of ours and up another one of the typical long, twisty driveways.
and it is almost time for yet another Zoom session (YAZS?)
I am sure that I forgot to mention that I received a call last Saturday from the San Bernardino SFVA call center. This lovely woman identified herself and asked if I would be interested in being scheduled for a COVID-19 shot at the SFVA.
Oh, duh. YES! and was scheduled for 0800 this morning.
I was up early for a conference originating out of Geneva. It turned out to be worth a lot less that the time involved so I was on the road with coffee from Peet’s in hand by 0630. Traffic wasn’t particular friendly going in as the marine layer (aka FOG) was blanketing the Bay Bridge, slowing everyone down to a crawl.
I finally managed to wend my way to the parking garage, get checked in through the outdoor screening process and hiked up the stairs to the first floor (the one above street level for those not familiar with the European norm of floor naming).
There were no signs. None. Not a one. I finally found someone at 0755 at the medical clinic who could point me in the correct direction. Not Building 200 – Building 1. And outside the auditorium for check in.
Ok, I can do that, arriving just as the clock rolled to 0800 and got in line. And waited, and waited. About 15 minutes later, one of the staff came out to apologize for the delay, citing personnel turn over due to illness. Ok, if someone is sick, I really don’t want them administering shots.
As it turns out, the line was a mix of employees returning for shot #2, employees showing up for shot #1 and about 5% veterans mixed in just for good measure. The actual process went quickly, I hardly felt the needle going in. The immunization was recorded in both my electronic medical record and on a card placed in my hot little hand. As soon as my 15 minutes was up, I headed out the door, through the city and back across the Bay Bridge.
I even made a stop at Acme Bakery as a reward for myself since there wasn’t a line.
By evening I had the expected sore arm.
which is not one of the 8-bit games that I remember, but forms the basis for this month’s PixelPrime segment of the SAL. I elected not go with one of the alternative power-ups, but stitch with pretty much an original interpretation.
Unfortunately, I think my color choice on the one character is a bit dark. I could restitch him, but probably won’t. As you can also see, I managed to extend a portion of the frame.
While I am thinking about it – the original program in the US was on Nintendo in 1987. If you want the background – probably about the best short vid is here on Youtube.
You all remember Tetris – right? The Russian origin 1984 game that addicted millions.
That fun game with blocks fall from above which had to be slotted such that you filled up layers. In most games, the layers disappeared as you filled them up with the goal being to survive for ever (as the blocks fell faster and faster) or to complete so many lines at each level…
As I started looking into the history of the game (the reasons why should be evident shortly) I was also looking at what colors were normally used in the blocks. I branched from there out to other 8-bit games of that era (meaning early 80s through mid 90s). There are seven different shapes, originally grey scale which morphed into distinct colors. Standardization of the colors did not exist for the first 15+ years of the game.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because PixelPrime decided to release a SAL based on the old 8-bit games. I was a bit floored at the size of the initial frame (17k stitches as computed by PatternKeeper).
Rather than stitch the whole frame – I decided to stitch each portion as that month’s segment was released. As it turned out -the first section started in the lower right corner. The fabric is 14 ct Aida, the thread is Sulky.
and a number to go.
Release dates on SALs (you remember – Stitch-a-long) can vary.
There is the ever popular first of the month. There is the alternative every-other-Thursday. Or Friday. Or every three days. Or the 15th, the 25th, the…. you get the idea. For someone participating in one or two SALs, keeping track is not an issue. I have more than two, so printed a calendar in order to be able to track what is due when. This is important for a couple of reasons: the first is that I don’t like getting behind; second being that, while some designers mail out their patterns, others don’t; third is that the list seems less intimidating when spread out.
So today – I am going to mention two SALs (which both came out actually on the 31st)-
1. Besides the sea – by FourBoysAndAnNLGirl (Etsy here). Patty designs clear, easy to stitch designs. This is a five part plus frame lasting about six weeks (give or take). The first part, a cute lobster, wound up being a bit fatter on my fabric than initially planned. I looked at him, decided I would leave him fat rather than frog and restitch. The fabric is 14 ct White Aida, the threads are Sulky 12wt
leaving me only a portion of one creepy critter and a pink bellied bird to complete.