It is the Year of the Dragon. Past years include – 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952.  Since I can do basic arithmetic – the Chinese Zodiac has a twelve year cycle. And, with the kindness and sensibility (not) of all the entrepreneurs there seem to be dragons everywhere. Certainly you see them on fabric, clothings, and in cross-stitch designs.  Somehow – since next year is the year of the snake – I don’t expect to see snakes everywhere..

Anyway – I spent a good portion of yesterday adding to my “No Time Like the Present by Modern Folk Embroidery.

57%. I keep meaning to do 100 stitches a day, but putting it on and off the Lowry Stand is a pain, so one day on the week for well over 1000 stitches is probably a better use of time. But I would like to have it finished before we leave for Iceland the end of August.

And…. I had mentioned this pattern to a friend. Going to the site to send a link, I noticed that there was a lovely dragon. Only about 4000 stitches and a monochrome at that. Jacob both designs excellent patterns AND provides all the historical and design information that you could ever want. This particular dragon is based on historical images from 1600-1642.

After consulting my color and design expert –

we both agreed that Falling Leaves was a better choice than Granite. Both are 16 ct from Forbidden Fiber Co. The silks come from a Silks4U hank. There is a color number somewhere…

The first 250 stitches –

I figured frame first, then Dragon. Unless I get bored.

Otherwise, I haver only two more days left on this cycle of chemo. I still haven’t gotten the craft room organized and …. I might just be missing that cat.

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Presenting Ms Pink Mushroom

In all her orange and beaded glory. Turned out she was well more than 8000 stitches which is about 3k over the average for the Nora Corbett series. She is also quite a bit bigger than the pixie series as well. She wasn’t hard, just frankly boring for a significant length of time. But done!

Stitched on Vintage Smoky White from Zweigart with the called for DMC and Mill Hill Beads. Backstitching wasn’t 3371 – I used a lighter chocolate silk which I have lots of left over from Treasure Island.  Started 18 June 2024 & finished 22 June 2024. Obviously it was the only project on which I was working.

Since I am caught up on all the SALs – I have four choices – 324, IAT (oops, No Time Like the Present) start something new, or pull out Broadway (Left over).

which is on 18 ct Rustic Aida with 3371 & 3750. I added another 320 stitches last night and will see if I can get down to the bottom of the clock so that I can roll the fabric on the scroll rods by the end of today…

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Actually, for most of  yesterday – I had quiet. I didn’t go anywhere nor did I have a ton of obligations landing on my head.  It was lovely. Mostly.  Be careful what you wish for; the quiet meant that I could look around the craft room and seriously consider what I needed to do to clean.

Faced with that awful task, it was much easier to relax and stitch. I even started adding some of the beads. Ms Pink Mushroom is at 80% and I am seriously thinking that I can finish her today.

Standing, looking out the kitchen window I saw the small visitor looking back at me. Didn’t think it had any interest in my lovely buckwheat soba noodles which were most excellent added to some tomato bisque soup (Is the use of bisque & soup redundant?)

I am pretty sure that this character along with another of the same size are part of this year’s crop of fawns.

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At least

I am done with all the orange. I am still stitching on Miss Pink Mushroom. Looking at the hard copy pattern, the dress and girl do appear to be pink. In reality – orange, many shades of orange; hundreds upon hundreds of stitches of orange. I managed a bit over 2000 stitches yesterday without going completely insane.  We also did the smog check so that we can get the car registration completed prior to the August expiration and made a Costco run.

But anyway –

here she is. I am about 75% complete. Unfortunately, that number of stitches doesn’t include those of 732 which will need to fill in that open space around her head and shoulders.

I am hoping today will be quiet. I need a day of quiet…

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I am still bored with the blocks of color in this particular cross stitch pattern, but I can see progress. I am thinking today of adding the beads as I go, just to provide me some entertainment. I am thinking also that adding in the backstitching on her arms and then her legs just might help as well. With all the stitching so far, I am barely t0 the half-way point. It seems endless. And there are two more in the series after this…

The errands yesterday felt easier than the endless greens. I still need to get to Costco. Yes, we are running low on laundry detergent, dryer sheets, etc but I just opened the last jar of Nutella this morning. That needs to be resolved….

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Block stitching

First – George’s follow up appointment yesterday morning went fine. As  Clint put it – the tea strainer over the eye look isn’t a particularly good one for anyone. Following that- he appeared to be an older dude trying to look cool with wrap around sun shades. He now has excellent distance vision in both eyes which presents a small issue when trying read messages on his phone. This could easily be solved with readers…

The only other challenge of the morning was the fact that I forgot to grab my phone on the way out the door. No phone – no app – no coffee. Nor did George have a way to call me when he was done. I don’t see the point in paying for parking for short visits so I normally drop him off, then hang out in the car with knitting a few blocks a way and come back when he’s done.  We managed.

This is how far I managed on Ms Pink Mushroom. Now, I think she might be a bit misnamed since she mostly seems to be various oranges (and the Ms Forest Mushroom seems to be pink – but anyway). There are huge blocks of color..

This puts me at 28% with huge chunks of color which just might explain managing all those stitches in less than 2 days.

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Went well

Apparently, he was the first patient on the schedule this morning and we were back home by close to 0900.  I happily crawled back into my stitching area and George went to “watch” the European Championships from the comfort of the couch. There just might have been snoozing involved till the sedation wore off.

I finished this month’s section of the Vampryum SAL.

as well as another section of the Herbalist (so small it is not worth including a photo) and moved on to think about a new project before deciding that the hot tub followed by some reading was a much better choice. 

About to head out the door to take George to his follow up appointment via a stop at Peet’s. It will be nice to see him again without an eye patch….

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Second Eye

As you probably don’t remember, I had my cataracts removed last summer. 4 weeks apart which means I spent that month with really weird vision. George, at the time, said – gee, I don’t think I will have to do that for years. Well, years turned out to be this spring. He did really well with the first surgery last month and has the second one scheduled for this morning.

This, of course, leaves me as the designated driver again for a while. I don’t mind all that much. The only downside that I find is that one can’t knit and driver at the same time.

No – I haven’t tried it and will not either.

Father’s Day here in the US passed reasonably quietly yesterday. My early run for cheesecake netted a variety pack and everyone found something that they were willing to eat.

Otherwise, Zoom calls, stitching weird creatures

and not being too irritated at everyone made up the rest of the day.

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There are days

In which it seems easy to get things done. You know? Those times when everything just falls into place, no thought needed, just able to easily and calmly accomplish everything that was planned.

And then there was yesterday. Admittedly, starting at 0630 isn’t early in my books. I needed to take the Youngest over to the tire place so that she could  have that tire replaced and get to her long list of weekend errands. They opened at 0700. Unfortunately, that particular place no longer has a lock box so we had to wait till the tow truck driver arrived with her car key.

Ok, I can deal with that. When he showed up, I headed home. The tires she had on the car were from Costco. The tread on the other three was in about as bad a shape as the one that blew. Now this particular daughter doesn’t drive off road. She drives on local streets with about 50% of her time spent on the freeway at legal speeds. She doesn’t drive excessive mileage. If you have Bridgestone tires from Costco purchased in the last 18 months-  go check your tire tread.

Getting back home, I attenuated to stitch. Or knit, or do anything that involved brain power. No dice, so took my fatigued self back to bed.  Over the course of the day I managed to finish this section of the Deadly Aquarium.

Included are a stone fish, a red lion fish, a blotched fox face, and some floating sea lettuce. None of these are particularly good for you…

The highlight of the day actually was watching Albania kick a field goal in the first 31 seconds of their European Championship Game against Italy. The rest of the game was Italy dominated but still….

I don’t particularly want to repeat how lousy I felt yesterday. This particular round of oral chemo seems to be giving me all the side effects I have avoided the last four rounds. Bleh.

Today is Father’s Day in the US. I brought George a latte from Peet’s and picked up cheese cake for the crew this afternoon.

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Not that many

I mentioned yesterday that I had found a counting error on the Whales. One too many waves in the series below the large whale had led to the Compass Rose being too far toward the center which affected both the position and size of the smaller whale’s tail – and so on and so forth. After thinking about it again, while sitting on the couch at Miriam’s house, I elected NOT to frog somewhere between 300-500 stitches and instead tossed in a couple of extra star fish, an additional sand dollar, and called it good.

Then I turned around to find that the CAT (you know, the one who stayed with me for a few weeks) thought a goat cheese puff from Acme was just what he desired.

Thinking of whales – I remembered this photo in March 2015 taken off the cost of Cabo San Lucas

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it is back

Imagine my surprise when I received a call early yesterday afternoon from Apple. Instead of next Monday – my laptop was ready for pickup.  This would be well worth changing plans and heading to the store in Emeryville.  Once again, it was obvious that I could make much better time along the frontage road than on the freeway. There is something petty but delightful about passing traffic which is at a standstill.

It took little time to park, walk over to the store and sit down till my laptop was brought out. The woman who brought it out and explained what had been done (and the fact that my data wasn’t deleted) was close to my age. This was a second career for her, previously she had worked at SFO as gate personnel and had loved the job.  When offered early retirement…. In any case, she said she would be retiring again this fall as there were other things she really wanted to do.

A small bit poorer (but not charged for labor) I stopped at the Bundt Cake shop (Chocolate Chocolate Chip) prior to driving home via Safeway.  The rest of the day passed quietly. I knit on yet another garter stitch blanket while we watched the Indiana Fever manage to get a win over the Atlanta Dream before heading back upstairs to stitch.

It was at this point that I discovered a counting error on the Whales that needed to be solved: one choice involved frogging about 300 stitches, the other involved fudging two columns on the smaller whale, dropping another large motif and adding two smaller ones. I went with the second choice obviously.

that compass rose should have been placed one curl closer to the larger tail. But then, that wave should have been only four curls….

I will finish it today and now need to decide what is next……

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North American Whale

Is the third in LindyStitches’s Endangered Species Stitch-a-long. Issued every other month for a total of six, each is complete in and of itself rather than being a partial segment of a whole design. There are some unifying motifs.  The Amur Leopard was issued in January, the Savanah Elephant in March leaving the North American Whale released 20 May as the third of the sixth.  I started it a few days ago and it is now at about 60%.

I am current on Sapphires in Sunshine – the most recent Tempting Tangles SAL.

I did a bit of substituting on the silks, using what I had on hand. The two blues are left from the OwlForest Treasure Island. The other two variegated flosses (golds, blue-purple)  are from BeStitchMe.

And finally – a visitor yesterday afternoon was contemplating leaving when I startled him…

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone in my hand – so didn’t capture that “oh NO!” look that was on his face.

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almost dead battery

Is not something you want to discover in any item critical to your life, sanity, or transportation. In my case, it is my MAC. Over the last couple of weeks I noted that it wasn’t charging past 80%, then 75%, then headed downwards. Not good. The other thing that wasn’t good was the discovery that the systems clock was steadily losing time. It was topped off yesterday morning when I woke up the computer to find that it thought it was 0001. Right, just a minute after midnight.

Trust me – I am not up, working on a laptop at that time of night.  

After working my way through the Apple support site yesterday, I had been able to make a service appointment at the Emeryville Apple store in early afternoon. I managed to get there early, smart enough to drive along the frontage road of I80 and enjoying the fact that I was not stuck in the traffic at a standstill on the other side of the barrier.  The lovely IT woman helping me has worked in their tech support for the past nice years.  (We also had a side discussion about knitting and walked her through my incredibly simple garter square blanket pattern. )

She was able to quickly confirm that yes, my battery was dying and needed to be replaced.  Still no clue about the system clock which may turn out to be another serious worry. Lovely. Since this MAC wasn’t listed in my device list, she looked it up – 2019. Oh – yes, I had purchased it when I was in grad school at UC Hastings (Now UC San Francisco School of Law or some such).  Five years. $250 to replace the battery vs $2k to replace the MAC.  

No choice there. But I won’t get it back till next week Monday. Given a choice between having it shipped back and picking it up? No, not letting a carrier drop kick it into my driveway where it can be run over. Meanwhile, I am without my computer. 

Arriving home – stitching seemed to be in order. But, until I remember how to really cut, edit and transfer information from my iPhone to a PC – pictures are going to be lacking.



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It is early

this morning, rising when the sky is still that grayish color with the consistency of flannel as I look out the window toward the San Francisco Bay. The lights are gleaming red, orange, yellow, white from the Berkeley Marina stretching from the waters back through the flats till they are hidden by all the trees on the slopes below me.

Apparently the habit of rising early to feed “that cat” hasn’t completely gone away. It is easier to pin the responsibility there than to acknowledge age and lack of simple bladder capacity  My desk has returned to chaos in less that a day. I now have to decide how to tackle this room to make it more friendly both in use and location of supplies. At least all the flosses I needed yesterday were on hand.

Speaking of that – it was easy to stitch the next entry in the Herbalist SAL. It would have been easier had I botherer to complete stitching the frame so that the new section landed in the correct location. A bit of frogging, a watched Flosstube later and it was fixed.  It was also drop day for Dragon #6 from The Field Guide to Dragons SAL.  This particular purple guy is supposed to be Fáfnir from the Germanic & Nord legends. I don’t remember him being purple but since I didn’t remember anything, I went to Wiki since we were obviously discussing mythology, not anime or various video, computer, or board games.

In any case –

Here he is, tucked in near the Wyvern & the Welsh Dragon.

The sky is starting to lighten and I can see bands of clouds now starting to be clear against the grey of the sky.

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Last night

I spent 15 minutes searching for some thread. It was specific specialty thread for a particular project. I had just finished the Tree House –

This is Fabulous House #6 by Cottage Garden Samplings. Stitched on 18 ct Vintage Stormy Clouds (Zweigart – of which I bought enough at the beginning of the year for all 12) stitched with the called for threads. Started 2 June 2024, completed 9 June – all ~8k stitches of it. 

Finishing a project  freed me up to start something new. But after a quick start, on LindyStitches North Atlantic Right Whale – Sea Glass seemed the next obvious choice. From the name it is obviously not a DMC color. New projects get dropped in a project back or the bin once started. But before that? I am not particularly a fan of kitting things up which ties up fabric, floss, etc for something I might never get to. So there I am – cleaning off my desk in search of the thread which I remember arriving sometime in theist couple of weeks. Not. of course that this particular surface didn’t throughly need it. No picture will be provided. I don’t need to embarrass myself that much.

Then I moved on to checking on the back desk, two open bins – one of which has the current projects and the other the recent additions to the stash.
Nothing in any of those locations. Where else? Oh, yes the ironing board. And there they were – four small skeins of floss just waiting for me.

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editing required

Often I write these daily missives first in my head, then transcribed to WordPress. Some might think of this as journaling, perhaps it is. But since I was near a diary girl (complete with pink, glitter and an easily snapped lock) when young, it probably isn’t an accurate description.

Journaling? Not since that modality has been co-opted by the therapeutic realm.  Rather I consider it recording observations and progress in a medium that is both fleeting and permanently housed somewhere that none of us ca easily reach.

But the “what”? That has changed over the years since I first started an email list in 1998. That is well after all of us were born, but significantly prior to all of today’s insanity of social media. The “what” is no longer a daily record of that Bosnian deployment, the military, or life in Germany, the UK, the US, or wherever I found myself on travels.  Craft interests have always been included. Weaving wasn’t compatible w

ith deployment, nor was hauling along a spinning wheel so knitting came to the forefront. I am still knitting as well as sewing but primarily finding cross stitch as my major focus. This is partially because of the portability and being currently relegated to home due to health reasons.

I am leaving the mess below as indicative of what happens when a bleary eyed woman attempts to catch some thoughts when waking in the middle of the night…..

I wrote these daily mulisdices udually first in my habd, theb transctibebthen to wordpress. You mihjt what tinthein of it as jiurnaling, perhsps it id. But since ibwas never a doary girl when yoing 7it orobably isnt ab an accruate desceiption. And jourbaling? Net since tgat modality has been coooted by the theraaoutic realm. Rather, rexording obsevations and progress. Of what? The.  It has changed ovee the years since 1998. No longer about military deployments, or life in Germany UK US or wheew evee i found myself on travels. Craft interests were assws. First promarily weaving and spinning which wwas over taken by kniitting which has in tern given wat to embroidery & cross srirch

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Cycle 5

Says it all. This is 5/6. I am back at the SFVA this morning. I had enough sense this time to get my port accessed and blood drawn prior to seeing my oncologist. So I was able to finish early enough to avoid the worst of the traffic. It also meant that I could stop at Acme Bakery on the way home. Not only did they have apple tarts, but also cherry puffs. Unfortunately, I was too late for the peach tarts.

Cross stitch is too complicated to deal with – so I take knitting with me. Now I am going to crash early.

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Ms Fiddle Fern

Another Nora Corbett – I started her 23 May 2024 and finished her this evening. She is stitched on 32 ct sapphire linen with the called for DMC, a substitution on the Caron Waterlilies since there weren’t more than a hundred stitches in the one color and forty in the other. I still had both a lovely red and the chocolate left from Treasure Island just hanging there on a floss right. The beads (more than 350 of the little suckers) were the called for…

I otherwise traveled to Scotland and Wales via Zoom this morning to chat with friends. Not quite as fun as meeting Sandi’s sheep in person or exploring Edinburgh with Beverly, but it will have to do.

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Hand Drawn

Seriously, I don’t know why I hadn’t figured this particular bit of insanity out before.  Someone had mentioned it, but it was too insane to be believable. Color me educated.

Background – prior to the advent of good design software, all patterns, whether cross-stitch or knitting, were drawn by hand. In some cases, the grids were hand drawn as well. Once there was software, two things happened. The first was that essentially all designers for cross stitch switched to the computer programs. The second was a serious increase in patterns which were designed, but not test stitched. That second issue is as serious an issue as the first.  I have Dover publications from the 1980s which have hand drawn patterns. There also was a tendency, if the pattern included a lot of colors, to reuse symbols, but change of the color of the symbol. Think about it for a second – here we have a pattern with 20 symbols in green and 20 in brown. I asked a friend – he said that both looked the same to him. So obviously the idea of male stitchers (red/green color blindness) wasn’t a consideration.

The guilty party who STILL hand draws symbols is Nora Corbett. Her lines – Nora Corbett & Mirabilia – are extremely popular and are never, ever available in PDF. Well – when everything is hand inked – that makes sense – there isn’t anything other than a hand drawn graph with symbols which can be easily printed into hard copy. And she hand draws it all. As it turns out –  with scanners, skinning, and software generally available, it hasn’t made a serious dent in piracy of patterns. But what it has done is make life a bit more challenging for those of us who are older, visually challenged or both. Hand drawing is closer to art skills and it allows for less precision…

I have no qualms about skinning patterns that I own; it is little different than making a copy for my personal use. I can revert to the original at any time (which I do for backstitching) and it certainly increases my enjoyment of the process, truth be told.

Off Soap Box.

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My Week

Starts on Wednesday. Now that I have figured out why I have had problems with the calendar over the last several months I might feel a little less off. And the “starting on Wednesday” was obvious once I spent more than a few seconds thinking about it.

My Oncology appointments are on Wednesday which also starts Day 1 of 21 days of oral meds. Wednesday -> a final Tuesday before leaving me seven days medication free…

So here I am on a  Monday- and it really doesn’t feel like the beginning of the week at all. Rather, it feels like the last two days of the week as this medication cycle ends. 

I am working on the MFA and Fiddle Fern. Pictures will be added when I have the energy.


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