Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yes, I have ADD

I've had a great day stitching on a new sampler and listening to a good book.  Can't ask for more than that.  My new sampler is little, so there's a good chance I'll be actually finishing it in the foreseeable future.  It's the 1859 Anna Thies Sampler and it looks like this:

I got the pattern from Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, Fall 2009 magazine and it was reproduced by Permin of Cophenhagen.

It has the Berlin Woolwork influence I love so much and did previously on a completed sampler.  Yes, I do complete things!

This is only a little bit more than 10" x 10" so there's hope I'll finish it.  I've been wanting to do it since 2009 and I thought it was high time I started.  If you look at my finished work, you'll see I'm absolutely capable of completing long projects.  But for some reason, ever since my husband got sick, my ability to concentrate has been shot.

I love the kitten and the roses and the butterfly and the robin red breast.

I've lost the light to take a progress pic, but I'll take one eventually, when I've got more to show.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here's my next project

Meditating on this while stitching it will be wonderful.  It looks like it was designed just for me because it couldn't be more my style.

I guess I can only get it as a kit, so I'll be switching the Aida cloth out for my preferred linen.  

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendships
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Living in the USA

We just got the bill for my husband's week long stay in the hospital.  Just the hospital.  Not the surgeon, not the chemo, not the anesthesiologist, not the tests.  Just the hospital stay.  Are you sitting down?  $54,000 US Dollars.  Whoa.  And the food was lousy and the bed was uncomfortable.

Sweet Balm of Hurt Minds

Since this is a blog that is, in part, about insomnia, I have the joy to report that last night I slept like a baby.  O sweet, sweet sleep.  I think when I have a moment, I'm going to search for poems written as odes to the raptures of sleep and post some here.  I had had a string of nights of little to no sleep and my perceptions of reality were pretty hellish as a result.

The take-away good news is that one good night of sleep can bring complete relief.  Relief, relief, relief!  That Shakespeare guy was pretty smart. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good News!

Goodreads (see them on my sidebar) just sent me an email saying Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry will be released tomorrow! This is #17 in the William Monk series, my all time, hands down, not even a close competitor, favorite book series on the planet and I had lost track of when the next one was due. I'm thrilled. Unfortunately, the audio version, my preferred format, won't be released until August 9, 2011.  Groan.  This is going to be a test of patience. 

I Can Not Sleep

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,--

I can not sleep. I can not sleep. I can not sleep!

My mind hurts and I need sleep's balm. Why won't it come? I have somewhere I need to go in the morning. I can't stop crying. Grief is a close companion these days. I wish my husband was well. I'm suffering losses right and left, just like everyone else in this life. I need the chief nourisher in life's feast. I can not sleep.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The projects I work on lately tend to be long and complex.  After joining a cross stitch forum, I learned about the art of rotation.  It's wonderful:  you simply have several projects going at once and when you become weary of the current one, you rotate to the next.  It really works!  After taking a break by working on something else, when I return to a previous project with fresh eyes, I'm exhilarated again.  It appears some stitchers are on a strict time schedule rotation, but I'm not like that.  I just stitch on something until I don't feel all that excited about picking it up again.

I've decided to take progress pics when I rotate because it is so much fun and quite motivating to watch a project grow over time.  So here is Tradewinds by Teresa Wentzler.

And here is my progress, so far, right before I switch to something else:

This is my first Wentzler and it's full of scary firsts for me.  Her designs are notoriously complex but oh so worth it.  I haven't been cross stitching for long; I just took it up after a quilting blow out, so I have a lot to learn.  So far, I've done my first fractional stitches and blended threads.  Not so bad once I got the gist of it.  I'm looking forward to learning diagonal satin stitching, the large diamond eyelet, the fan, the Algerian eyelet, one over one, and beading in this project.

My choice of this project was influenced by a poem my dear friend Laura posted.  I had ambitions of stitching it under the ship, but it's just too long.  I love this poem and think of it as I'm working on this project.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
Ah, it is here we fail! We give the wheel
Of our small bark to Him; but then we trust
Our hand upon His hand,
And dare to stand
Beside our Master, lest He wreck our keel.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
Leave all to Him; believe He knows thy course,
Thy dangers, and thy safety--all--then just
Abandon all to Him:
So shalt thou skim
Borne briskly on before the Spirit's force.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
There is an "also" we too oft forget,
And so are plagued and worried. Oh, we must
"Trust also," then our soul
Shall cease to roll
In restlessness and reason and regret!

Commit! and then, committed, trust His Word!
Has He not said that He will bring thee through?
Trust His strong arm; and when wild storms are heard,
Believe He holds them still
By His strong will.
Trust Him, the Wise, the Faithful, and the True.

Trust Him to manage all that thou dost now
Commit to Him--the ship--the sails--the sea--
The sailors, thy strange crew. And ask not how
He will do all for thee,
But trustful be.
Lie down and rest from anxious worry free.

-- Unknown

Thanks Laura, for the inspiration.

My husband loves this project and has claimed it as his when it's finished.  I'll stitch for him gladly and with love.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What happened at the Netherfield Ball?

Lots of things and most of them not very good.  Sure, Jane and Mr. Bingley got tighter, but Lizzy was stuck with horrid Mr. Collins and Wickham never showed up.  Mary sang badly and too long, Mrs. Bennett behaved more absurdly than usual, if that's possible, and Lizzy was just plain generally mortified.  Yes, Mr. Darcy finally deigned to invite Lizzy to dance, but she was so over him.

If you have no idea what I'm on about, I'm telling you the juicy gossip about my good friends in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

I'm in the planning stages of stitching a sampler to commemorate the evening.

A Ball at Netherfield
by Stitching Parlor

I'm changing out the fabric and the thread and some of the colors. It's starting to come together although I don't like the first couple of pinks I chose.

Dancing was very important in this Regency society and it's also important to me.  After all, my own parents met at a dance, so where would I be without it? 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Disappointed Again

I've all but given up on American TV but my husband, with his theater background, is ever hopeful.  Tonight we made sure we were home to catch the premiere of The Killing.  It's an American remake of a wildly popular Danish TV show called  Forbrydelsen. Critics are gushing about it.  Since I liked what the British did with their translation of the Swedish Wallander series, I was hopeful.  And I love a good murder mystery.

Alas, I was disappointed.  Disappointed and bored.  The story has been transplanted to Seattle and all it does is rain.  Rain, rain, rain.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and I am severely rain intolerant.  It has the exact same plot as Twin Peaks without any of its wonderful strangeness.  Instead, it's just a bunch of pale and mopey people standing around looking morose.  In the rain.  I don't care who murdered Laura Palmer, er, I mean Rosie Larsen.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gender Roles and Stitching

I commented on a friend's blog post about male quilters and my fingers just flew.  Something about the subject really sparked my thinking, perhaps because my husband is a former theater costumer and was a clothing artisan in Santa Fe.  Living through the feminist "revolution" affected me profoundly in some good and devastatingly negative ways.  Anyway, since I wrote it, I decided to copy it here.  The comment was a reaction to an article that seemed to me to perhaps subtly imply men are exceptionally competent quilters and I think that may have raised some hackles in the overall general discussion.  After all, I thought the whole feminist hullabaloo (minus the political, societal, spiritual, and economic subtexts of the movement) was supposed to be about individual merit, period.



I'm confused about it all, I admit. Gender roles have always thrown me. Or mystified me. Or something.

I'm really girlie, take my word for it -- pink and lace and ribbons. But I was one of only two girls in my advanced calculus class in high school. Where were all the girls? The other girl and I became great friends and sat together. Sometimes she was late to class because her class before that was shop, in which she was the only girl, and it was at the other side of the school building. And she was a great ski racer. She taught me to crochet during that class. I mean it, that is during the class, because sometimes it got kinda slow. The Japanese American guy (another potential for stereotyping, like in, of course an Asian was in advanced calculus) that sat on the other side of her never exhibited the least bit of interest in our crocheting until we got A's on our tests and then he wondered how we managed to do both at the same time. And of course, girlie me ended up with a career in accounting. I probably would have loved engineering but it never occurred to me. How many women were engineers in the 1970's? And every engineer I've ever met has said he would have liked to be an accountant.

All this is to say, I'm baffled by folks who get unsettled by what they perceive to be the crossing of the gender line because for me, it has always been highly nebulous and by my era, permeable. Yet, men and women are very different. I'm not sure if they feel, perhaps unconsciously, that it threatens Western Civilization.

As I understand it, quilting started because printed fabric was incredibly expensive to manufacture and purchase so women, the homemakers, were forced by economic circumstances to sew little bits of it together. Now, in our post industrial revolution paradise of riches, we are at leisure to turn quilt making into an art form. Again, as I understand it, and I'm no quilt historian, after some resurgence in the 1930's, it rather died out again until women gave new interest and life to quilting in the 1970's. Maybe any resentment comes from women now because they feel like men only recently jumped on this art form bandwagon in any noticeable number and are therefore getting undeserved recognition simply because they are men. It's impossible to say without seeing their quilts. To me, it's all about the quilt. But I must say, I'd be surprised if they are finer than what Japanese women are doing.

Date Night Again, Already

It's time for our off chemo week frolic into the land of food.  Chemo is messing with my husband's taste buds big time, but cheese cake is still something that appeals so we're off tonight to The Cheesecake Factory.

Not my favorite restaurant in the world.  I find the endless menu confusing, the heaped and heaving plates (platters) of food instantly appetite killing, and the cavernous and strange Egyptian/Deco blend decor kinda scary, but hey, I certainly have nothing against cheesecake and it's all about making him happy about food, so I'm in.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Want One!

"I have not wanted syllables where actions have spoken so plainly."
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kitschy Coo Part Two

Okay, having never been to the mid-west, except for a couple of awful business trips (no offense, mid-westerners), I had to ask, in regard to my husband's comment on my prior post, "Honey, what in the world are you talking about?"  It seems as if my art education had a woeful gap.  Here she is in all her bloomer glory:

I'm reveling in Pinkie and Blue Boy kitsch!  In fact, I may have to start a collection!

Hey!  It could be worth a fortune someday!

Kitschy Coo

I announced to Andy I want to stitch Pinkie.  "You're kidding," he responded.  Well, no.  I was once again informed I'd never stop surprising him.  Is that good?  And Blue Boy, too.  What's so surprising about that?  Turns out they're kitschy.  Are they?  Well, I kinda like kitsch.  So there!