Silence

may not be golden, not even considering that old song. But it certainly can be welcome.

As a child of the 50s, starting university in the 60s, med school in the early 70s, I was never one for background anything. I wasn’t much for TV, radio programs, or music in the background. I normally avoided turning on the radio in the car. I am explaining this to provide a contrast to the present day.

The first “cell phone”, aka Handi that came into my possession was in 1995 while I was stationed in Germany. Ostensibly it was so that the senior commander could find us hospital commanders anytime he wanted. In fact, I figured out relatively quickly that it make more sense to send that heavy, Motorola brick with the long distance ambulance crews. If they had a problem on the road, they could call. This would keep things “in house” rather than having to go through the German road support services and running up charges on my budget. Although that  was an eminently responsible decision, it didn’t make the powers-that-be happy. Instead I was handed a second brick and told that I couldn’t fob it off on anyone, to include the duty officer.

For a reference, Internet at this point was still dial-up at a whopping 1200 baud, the majority of discussion groups were on various University .Alt boards and the KnitList was a great place to find people, discussion techniques, and get help on difficult patterns.

Then there were flip phones, mostly on a pay-as-you-go basis. By this time, anyone who can read this has already had a mobile type phone for a decade or more. Probably close to two, now that I think about it. And that phone, for most is like an appendage.

It was interesting to be without it, even for a day.

 

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phoneless

Not  because I have anything against having a cell phone. In fact, for most of us, it has become a way of life. A handy little gadget that serves to handle photos, email, finances, directions, games, group discussions, texts…. That list seems to grow every day. Oh, yes, and passively watch things or listen to anything from books to podcasts, to sporting events, news programs,,,,

Nope, I am phoneless at the present as a matter of common sense. The Eldest’s phone developed a serious issue. The screen is blank, A dark, nasty looking black blank. The phone still works, but without being able to log in or answer calls that phone is not doing her any good. And, without a phone, it is really hard to call tech support….

We found one positive thing – since she is completely on Apple products, she was able to message me over her computer. The end result of my driving over was that I left my phone with her. I drove for years without a phone in the car. I can safely do that now. She has a toddler in the house. I think it is more important that she has a phone.

Tomorrow, we will take her phone to one of the Apple places and swap it out if they can’t fix it.

So today – no pictures as I don’t have my phone and using the heavy SLR is just a lot of work for an update photo. But I made progress on the three on-going daily projects to the tune of a total of ~1500 stitches today.

 

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Not snowing here

It is Sunday. The Football playoffs are still underway. It was snowing in Buffalo which amazingly seemed to be worse for the home team than the visiting Bengals. In local news, the 49ers managed to hold on to their ‘one touchdown lead” to secure their victory in the last few seconds of their game.

The Cal Women’s Basketball team never did get their act completely together and posted an amazingly painful loss to Utah. I brought neither stitching nor knitting to the game and really wished I had something to blunt the waiting. In a slight balance, there was more than an excellent turn out from the Cal Straw Hat Band, so I could enjoy at least that portion of the late afternoon.

Otherwise – I have three project in rotation – the promise to my friend Shelia to put in a thread length a day on the Teresa Kogut Silhowitches which has been languishing for almost a year. The fabric is 18 ct Relic from Picture this Plus and the threads are Vamp from Leo & Roxy which that blinding green is Celery from Forbidden Fiber Co.

Then there is Heart of My Heart from Tempting Tangles – again a thread length a day. 18 ct something from Fortnight Fabric and PR-034 from Silks4U

 

and finally, the rest of my time goes into Fish ‘n Ships by LongDog Samplers which has now hit 77%.

 

 

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presents

the problem with hand making presents is not being able to share what you are doing till after the present is gifted. By that time, well, one can be throughly sick of the whole thing. In this case, it is a small (as these these things go) full coverage piece for the youngest.

Stitched on a 16 ct mystery dye from Under the Seas, it is only 90×90 which means 8100 stitches. I actually started it on the 9th and am now on the third day of stitching. Unlike with the large piece from Fox & Rabbit which had only the single color, there are 42 colors of DMC in this piece. Given that it is small, to get detail it means confetti. No way can I managed a large number of stitches per hour or per day. I am about 1000 stitches in with it seeming like endless to go…

After it is gifted in March – I can share both the pattern (from Artery) and the finished piece.

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forgot to post

Obviously, I wasn’t quiet with it for the last few days of 2022. Posting a belated finish –

Leo Rising by LongDog Samplers. Stitched on a 16 ct BeStitchMe fabric that came in (I think) the Space Mystery Box with Threadworx over dyed floss… Finished 27 Dec 2022

 

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and more rain

It has been on and off raining all day. Mostly off, except of course for the times that I needed to be outside.  Of course, then it rained. I will not bore you with errands. Or runs to BART. Or the grocery store. Or….. it was a day like most of us have complete with the thoughts of “how did I ever manage to get any of this done when I was working full time?”

I have two stitching projects in the queue which need to be done for a some upcoming birthdays. The first is an Artecy pattern – it is a 90×90 full coverage. I liked the pattern against the bluish green which mean that I needed to do a bit of gridding.

This is ~500 stitches of the 8100. The fabric is a mystery dye from Under the Seas in 16ct.

 

 

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bouncing cages

My intention this morning was clean up. Right, like that is going to happen.  Instead, we wound up over at Shana’s where George played with Lev while Noah and I put together a trampoline which now resides in her garage. A very active toddler, Lev is not really happy with the rain, the refusal of all the adults in his life to let him get soaked in every bit of puddle he can find, and the general restrictions of being stuck inside.

My answer? The kid loved bouncing. He has been bouncing on his bed, couch, chairs, and people. Why not a kid designed trampoline. The modern ones even come with sturdy netting up to parental head height and have a zipper door with an outside latch.

Completed in a reasonable amount of time (and yes, two people were really needed) Lev made a test bounce. and Bounce and bounce – non stop for about 30 minutes after which it was food and lights our for a much needed nap.

George & I went to the Cal Women’s basketball game against Stanford which started at 1600. The women just aren’t hitting the baskets (especially free throws) at critical times. Stanford was off. As a result it was a close game especially in the fourth quarter. Stanford pulled it off due to a missed Cal basket and several free throws.

But the Straw Hat band had a decent turnout for the school still being on winter break; augmented of course by almost a dozen alumni.

not much stitching accomplished.

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FFN

is finished for now. I have managed to get the entire floral thing with pot stitched. It equals  78% of the total stitches needed for this section. The rest of the stitches are a single stitch border which will go around the entire piece. I have no particular reason to stitch it now rather than later.

 

The whole motif is more than 80 rows high so that the top portion can’t be seen anymore as it is rolled up.  It took another 1267 stitches to get to this point.  It meant a couple of extra strands (7 ½ total rather than my usual six) but I really wanted it done…..

Now it is on to the rest of my projects….

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How Hot?

Like many others, I prefer stitching full coverage pieces on pre-gridded fabric. I am not so naive as to believe that I can keep track of stitches at any significant distance. Counting errors happen. Since I prefer stitching along the diagonal (10 wide or 20 wide) and park threads to be used later it means that having to count where to park a thread is a common occurrence.

I finished one of the Spangler StoryKeeps in Dec 2019. Since then it has languished in the “I need to finish this” pile. Farewell to Anger was my next full coverage piece and was completed in June 2020. See earlier in this particular paragraph re:nothing further done.

So today was the day. After meeting Dani & Alex for breakfast, I stopped at one of the hardware stores and purchased a couple of silicone tubs. We don’t have a tub, I don’t trust leaving anything in a sink, who knows the past history of any buckets. My friend Jill had warned me that you need hot water to dissolve those grid lines.  Tubs in the shower – check. Add water – check. Obviously, for safety reasons, we have a reasonable heat limit on our water heater.  I attempted to work with as hot as I could get from the water heater.

after 10 or so minutes with no change – I filled the electric kettle. Once boiling, I pulled out the smaller piece, added the hot water and dunked it back in. It worked! So I pulled it out to hand up, and added that water to the bigger tub. No change so repeated the drill with the kettle.

So step one has been accomplished! The lines are gone! Hopefully they will stay gone once the pieces dry…

 

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New Bed

We. have this bed –

It came from Germany – shipped in summer of 2014. George says it was new when he bought it. The mattresses were decent but not exceptional quality. The catch, of course, is that they are European size, not US which means if we want the much needed replacement, they would have to be custom made….

Not a great option by any standard. So we went bed shopping. One of the challenges of this room is that there is a door in one wall, windows in the next two walls and the closet in the last wall – so placement of the bed is either going to partially obstruct a window. If not, then a dresser will be accomplishing that mission.  On Tuesday we went bed shopping. As much as I would have loved to go to Fenton-McClaren, the lead time on their manufacture is a minimum of six months. My back would really prefer not to wait another six months…

So, we found a bed which was delivered today.

The frame is “cherry” and we can still access the windows.

In stitching news – I am now at 52%.

with mostly the big flower pot to go.

 

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and the storm rolled in

there was a huge storm that rolled through on New Year’s Eve which dumped an incredible amount of rain, caused a lot of flooding with winds that added damage for good measure. The only good thing that came out of it, as I mentioned before, was the lack of fireworks.

There was another “bomb cyclone” as it is being called as part of an atmospheric river predicted to hit the area starting about 1000 this morning.  All my initial plans became OBE due to weather concerns. Naturally, the roads were clear, there wasn’t any rain, and I wondered. Ran errands for most of the day, finally getting back home just before 1600.

And by 1700 the storm had rolled into my area. Both the wind and driving rain seem a lot stronger than last weekend. Slight lull after the first few hours, but we are back at driving rain with winds continually changing directions. Glad to be tucked up in my cozy chair.

I have been making steady progress on the Fox&Rabbit 2023 Royal Gardens Mastery SAL. After 4 days of stitching, my 3900 stitches puts me at 42% complete…

 

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and I make plans because?

Seriously, the first thing that happens is that I make plans. Then they fall apart. Perhaps I should be glad that my ideas lasted a whole three days.

And yes, I am still on track with Royal Gardens –

with another 1000 stitches added today. That puts me at 31%. And last night I added another 407 stitches to the Dark Goddess Frame, With more than three/twelve frames complete – I am fine with this waiting till the first of next month.

And then an email dropped in my box with the link to part 1 of Snarky & Modern’s Gothic Valentine SAL. Huh? Oh, yes, I signed up for it part way through their Hanukkah SAL. Six parts finishing ~ 7 Feb.  Total size? 68×57. This is not exactly huge. There are a total of four colors…. Can I manage ~ 200 stitches once a week? Probably. In any case, I added it to the list with the caveat that if I get behind because I am bored with it – I will just toss it. Grabbing a piece of nothing 14 ct pink DMC (what? I want to be able see it when it is done and there is B5200 involved – I pulled out 815 and managed the 178 stitches.

yes, it is most of a heart. Surprise, Surprise…

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New Year, New start(s)

Ok, this is now truly 2023 and I am not making any resolutions. Perhaps determined not to increase the WIP pile without finishing out projects from the last couple of years but it seems more than silly to make resolutions that are only going to stress me.

I had actually pulled out a binder, document protectors, and had planned on running off face sheets on some of the PDF patterns that I would like to stitch this year. I then spent a couple of hours fighting with the printer. I think it might have won because I still have two sheets that absolutely do not want to print. There are a couple of Mystery Stitch-a-longs on my list, two must stitch for birthday presents (need to be done and FFO’d by March), and then a number of random patterns which appeal. 

Left over from 2021 – four SALS which are all 60-80% complete. Four projects were ditched. And three regular projects. From 2022 – I have the 11/12 Zodiac Girls which just need beads and backstitching with the 12th yet to stitch.  The Spangler StoryKeep  is at about 50%. I ditched two mystery SALs. Fish ‘n Ships from LongDog is a bit over 50%. 

So I guess my plan is 23 in 2023 and will pull in whatever else I can find for old projects as I finish up 2021&2022. Adopting Gable Stitcher’s terminology – anything more than 10 years old is a legacy project. I really need to make decisions on them (I think there is one from 1986, one from 1994, and a couple from ~ 2013 which I am firmly placing in this bin) but there is really no hurry. Compared to the amount of supplies on hand – these take up absolutely no significant space or worry.

So – New Year, New Start(s)

  • Fox & Rabbit’s 2023 Mystery SAL called Royal Gardens. The pattern is free this year only. So download it if you think you might want to stitch it at some point in the future. I am using Silks4U I think it is PR164 but anyway it is green The fabric is 18 ct Fiddler’s Cloth. Part 1 is 9277 stitches (ugh). The pattern works just fine in PatternKeeper. Otherwise there is no way I would tackle this.  My plan is about 900 stitches/day till Part 1/12 is done.  This is ~ 1900 stitches in…

 

  • Dark Goddess by WitchesGarden (pattern here on GumRoad). Since it isn’t huge like the other one – I am just using an ordinary piece of blue 14 ct Aida. The frame was released this month. Each of the next six following months will see 2/12 Goddesses released. I may not finish the frame this month (36xx stitches) but will finish enough to complete the frames for the first 2-3 goddesses. The recommendation was for dark fabric which I just can’t deal with. So I may wind up taking DMC 06 and backstitching along the columns of DMC 05 so that they stand out more

what was your start this year (if you did one)?

 

 

 

 

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The tossing of the ORTs

In every fiber craft that I can think of, there are always left over bits. In weaving it was thrums – those left over warp ends. In sewing and quilting there are scraps. In knitting/crocheting – I am not sure what those bits of left over yarn are – but I am amazed at how many patterns there are for those leftovers. And I think all of us have jars of left over buttons….

In cross stitch – the bits of left over floss ends are referred to as “ORTs” which stands for “Old Raggedy Thread.” What amazes me is how many different ways stitchers hang on to them – displaying in jars – filling glass/plastic ball ornaments. I have even seen a clear lamp base stuffed with bits of thread.

Me? If I am organized they go directly in the wastebasket, get swept up or gathered up and tossed on my rare cleaning days. So imagine my surprise when I discovered I had a coffee cup next to my living room stitching chair with the remains of several projects…

So I dumped it out. 

Looking at the combination of fibers – I really think that these are the left overs from any stitching I did on my floor stand in the living room. Starting in 2020 with Farewell to Anger and progressing to a few other projects, the last of which was the Tiny Modernist – Zodiac series of 2021 which I finished on time except for the frame which dragged through the past year and wax completed on the 31st.

The only possible place for these ORTs?

and I felt like I was tossing a bit of the Pandemic at the same time… New Year, new start?

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Goodbye 2022

and no Yellow Brick Road in sight. In fact, unfortunately, the rain has stopped. 

Why do I want more rain when it has been pouring for the last few days? It isn’t like I really want to disrupt more people’s lives, further trash the airline schedules which are already suffering from lack of crews. It is just with rain we do NOT get fireworks. Neither environmentally sound nor a good use of money – I just don’t get it. But then, I don’t understand people blowing things up…. and there are enough dogs in the neighborhood which howl with those kinds of noise.

Otherwise, it has been a lousy couple of weeks – to recap….

The internet went from bad to worse right after my last post from the ship. We docked right on time, one of about eight ships (and just about the smallest) in Miami. I did the usual transfer to the airport then caught a Lyft to meet a cruising & cross-stitch friend for coffee. Her partner in crime & Flosstube was running late. Ok…. then I received a txt from United that my flight was going to be delayed resulting in my landing in Houston about 30 minutes after my connecting flight. If I wanted to get home today – it was going to be on a flight leaving in the next few hours. Back to the airport. Dropped off my luggage, bailed through security and made my flight. Which was then delayed. This turned out not to be a problem as my connecting flight (now Denver) was significantly delayed due to a medical emergency requiring a stop in Lincoln Nebraska.  So – I left Miami 4 hours earlier than planned and arrived at SFO about 20 minutes earlier than my original connection. 

My one bag popped up almost immediately. The second bag was listed by United as being “rerouted” with no record since Miami check-in…. It arrived, as the last bag up. If it had been lost? Dirty clothes. Oh, gee…

So that was the fun of the 17th. The 18th was the first night of Hanukkah, a Cal Women’s Basketball game and Dani’s birthday. 

Monday and Tuesday I pretty much slept. Wednesday I made a trip to the VA. Appointments went fine. COVID booster and flu shot.

Thurs-Sat I felt like, oh never mind. By Sunday I was almost feeling human again. This past week has been rain, errands and a fair amount of cross stitching.

I am not at all sorry to be saying goodbye to 2022.

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Calmer, blue seas

the weather seemed to break sometime last night. Certainly this morning the skies were clear although a steady march of waves was clearly visible. We are cutting across them at an angle while contributes to the occasional bump and shift.  It must be calmer, I am certainly seeing what are new to me faces among the passengers.

0200 brought another time zone change. This was our third? fourth? I am clueless at this point as it doesn’t really matter. I am on ship’s time which I am assuming will wind up with US East Coast by the time I dock.

I headed to the main dining room again for supper. Most notable was an incredible beet salad. Yes, I know that many people don’t care for beets. I do, so ….. tiny minced bits with a few nuts and some citrus. Whipped goat cheese on top.

Made good progress on the right upper lion –

It feels like I should be further, but at least I am past the 50% point. There are a lot of stitches in those lion bodies and the bottom two are rather large.

 

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ten weeks

away from home according to my rough look at the calendar.

To recap – Berkeley – SFO – Vancouver – Quantum of the Seas (Hawaii)- Quantum of the Seas (Brisbane) – Labrador QLD – Quantum of the Seas (Tasmania) – Labrador QLD – Maryborough QLD – Labrador QLD – Adelaide. ->Singapore->Frankfurt->Lisbon. Star Legend (Windstar) en route to Miami.

After a bit of quiet yesterday – I woke to rain and rough seas again early this morning. Things settled (more or less) by late afternoon. There is nothing exciting enough to report today to pay the tariff for any extensive time on line….

 

 

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More of the same

I can’t say much more about this particular crossing except that the coffee continues to be good, the sea rough. Most of the crew and passengers are still in a good humor.

I spent most of the day stitching. This is Leo Rising – by LongDogSamplers. Looks to be 16 count and I am stitching with Threadworx. This is the middle of the three lions on the left side.

Presentation for the food seems to be important.

It still doesn’t make me like risotto any better.

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High seas, low

expectations.

If anything, the seas for today and into this evening are going to be even rougher than yesterday. My cabin is on Deck 4. Some of the waves are coming perilously close to the lower edge of my porthole. Certainly some of the spray is covering it completely.

For example – just randomly – it starts like this


progresses to this

and finishes with my not being able to see out through the spray.

Most of my fellow passengers seem to be doing fine. Certainly the amount of coffee and tea being consumed doesn’t look like it has abated at all…

meanwhile, I am contemplating a nap…

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Still rocking

or perhaps stronger rocking? As is obvious, the Atlantic is not being quiet. Seas are predicted to go from the current 3 meters up to 4-5. Not being stupid, I use the handrails – I am assuming they are there for exactly this reason. 

But the light in the Deck 8 lounge is good, the coffee is amazing and I can chat with a continuous stream of people if I choose.

The first of the six Leo’s is complete and he has gained a couple of friends…

 

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