Archive for January, 2011

Days four and five

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Days four and five:  Tuesday and Wednesday, January 25 and 26, 2011.

Not too much to report.  Slow progress on Raspberry Lemonade.

I’m thinking I may change things up a bit this weekend and do some knitting.  The question is, what to work on?  The afghan?  The socks?  The baby blanket?  The shawl(s)?  Hmmmmm……

On the other hand, I have some other cross-stitch projects that would be fun to work on as well.  One of them is a two-color project from Artecy called Rabbit, based on a William Morris design.  I’m finding this restful because it is only two colors, so the amount of thinking I have to do is limited to the actual counting of stitches.  And then, of course, once I get the one color stitched, all I have to do is fill in the other color in the empty spots–no looking at the chart at all!

Clearly, I’m in initial stages with this project.  I’m stitching this on an 18-count linen in a dusky blue-grey.  I chose different colors than those in the pattern, and they are rather unconventional–a dark russet brown, and a light mauve-y pink that I really have no name for.  I think that together they look complicated and unexpected, especially combined with the blue-grey fabric.  I’m hoping I will still think so at the ending stages after putting in hours of stitching!

Day three

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Day three:  Monday, January 24, 2011.

Last night I worked on “Raspberry Lemonade” and watched Anthony Bourdain on the the Travel Channel.  Progress is slow, but steady.

A close-up:

Each of the four corners of the piece is the same, so no surprises here, and I can usually stitch away without much checking of the chart.

Days one and two

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Days one and two:  Saturday and Sunday, January 22-23, 2011.

This weekend I worked on a cross-stitch project that I started last summer.  It’s called “Raspberry Lemonade,” and is a design by artfulstitches on etsy.  . 

I really like this woman’s designs, and this is a very nice chart.  I have been eyeballing her other mandala designs ever since I purchased this one last summer.  Like many cross-stitch charts and knitting patterns found online now, this is sent as a pdf file to your email account after you purchase it.

I enjoy the way this chart is actually fairly simple and uses comparatively few colors (few enough to make this a portable project) but looks complicated.  Another nice thing about this design is that, because of its basic geometric design, I don’t have to constantly look at the chart.

Another, closer view:

My goal is to have this project be my first monthly finish of the year.  I’d like to have it done by Feb. 15, 2011.  I’ve decided that since I started by year-long project a little late in January, my goal date for monthly completions is going to be the 15th of each month.

Today:  more work on Raspberry Lemonade.

Stitching every day

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I bought this book for my new Kindle:  365:  A Daily Creativity Journal:  Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life.  When I ran across this book, I was in search of a daily meditation book I could keep on my Kindle, something like Barbara Crafton’s The Sewing Room:  Uncommon Reflections of Life, Love, and Work.  A creativity journal was not really what I was looking for, yet, as in all things, what I find is often not what I was searching for.  I’m not even really sure why I bought this book, to tell the truth.  It simply “spoke” to me.

Of course, I’m quite familiar with the concept of a daily creative effort and the way in which committing to such an effort can act as a spur to creativity, a path to discipline, and even a spiritual practice of sorts.  Growing up, our father got up every morning quite early before going to work and sat down to write.  When I was a small child, he wrote on a typewriter (accompanied by much cursing, as he was a poor typist).  Later, he upgraded to a DOS-based computer system and word-processing program, complete with daisy-wheel printer.  Now, of course, he has an up-to-date (well, fairly) computer with an ergonomic keyboard and laser printer.  There are times, however, when he goes out-of-town or stays with family, that he still writes in longhand with a clipboard, paper, and pen.  The point is, in the 40 years of my life, I could probably count on one hand the number of times that he has skipped his morning writing session.  Very few people have this kind of discipline.  As a child, I took my dad’s discipline for granted, but when I really stop to think about it, it is astounding and awe-inspiring.

So, with such an example before me, I really have no excuse.

My new book is written by Noah Scalin, a man who resolved to make a skull a day for a year.  He used all kinds of media.  Some of his projects were small, and some were very large.  Some were permanent, and some were temporary, recorded for posterity only in photos.  Some were solo efforts, and some he made with friends.  The only rule was that he would make one image of skull each day.  All other factors were variable.  He recorded his efforts over the course of the year in a blog, and now has written this creativity journal as well as published a book of the skull images.

Yesterday I sat down and did a little brainstorming about what my year-long project might be.  A number of things occurred to me, but with Scalin’s advice to keep the outlines broad enough to remain interesting and flexible, I decided on these two year-long resolutions.

1.  Stitch every day for a year.

2.  Finish one project a month for a year.

Number one is cheating a little, I admit, since I normally stitch every day anyway.  By stitching, I mean knitting, cross-stitching (which I have been doing a lot of lately), sewing, and quilting.  I am deliberately keeping my definition broad here so as to leave myself lots of room to switch media and projects at will–something else I typically do anyway.

But resolution number one leads me to resolution number two–something a little harder for a craft transient such as myself.  I have many, many unfinished projects languishing in dark corners, drawers, and bags.  You see, my vow is to finish, not just any project, but a currently unfinished project every month.  At least one a month.  In any medium.  There are many possibilities here–afghans, sweaters, socks, shawls, quilts, cross-stitch projects.

Let the stitching begin.