Friday, August 14, 2015

Today is the Yesterday

I am picky about colors. I am a perfectionist. I am detail oriented. I will always see the flaws in my work and think about the piece's distance from the original vision in my head. It keeps me striving, but it would be nice to leave those traits in a ditch somewhere, at least sometimes.

While photography just can't capture the beauty of metallic thread used well, I assure you that this piece is the most gorgeous thing ever and I am 100% happy with it. I thought I'd ruined it when I'd just stitched the variegated part of the border and the green metallic, but once I started adding the blue I was in love again. The pattern is in my shop now.

The quote is from Alan Mendelsohn, Boy From Mars by Daniel Pinkwater, a brilliant YA novel. It's a book that removed my feelings of self-consciousness about my vivid imagination, which I'd picked up when friends dumped me in 7th grade over issues like "doesn't wear brand name clothing/shoes, doesn't shave legs, doesn't wear makeup," things that many equate with an exit from childhood (I found the idea of being a Woman frightening and repelling). Pinkwater's YA novels helped me remember that imagination was valuable and it was totally find to still be playing Calvinball and pretending I was Caesar leading his campaigns in Gaul.

I'm currently reading The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger. As the youngest of five children, who siblings ranged from five to fourteen years older than me, it should be an interesting read. My siblings and I are certainly opposites of the stereotypical birth order traits (I think that birth order stuff is bunk, largely, in part because there are SO MANY other factors of equal or more importance). I really really need to start some early reviewer books I received, but I've not been able to focus well enough for print reading lately. 

I know I have a strange cat, because for her sitting in boxes is a sign of illness. Poor baby.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fizzy Good Make Feel Nice

This was a commissioned pattern that fell through, so I decided to stitch it myself and add to the shop to recoup some of the time spent on it. The quote is from Black Books, one of my favorite TV shows of all time, but taken out of context (in the show it refers to alkaseltzer). 

The pattern is in my shop now. I have another piece to put in the shop, but I'll wait to post it until then. I'll have to come up th another design quickly, as I'm feeling restless! I have print books I need to read though (one was an early reviewer I got, so I have to properly review that one as well).

My migraines seem to really be triggered by humidity, which is just mean since West Virginia is really humid. I wish I could easily try out living somewhere less humid, but it's just not very doable. I'd like to say I'm doing better, mental health wise, but that's hopefulness more than anything else. Glad to be excited about stitching again. I think part of that is giving myself permission to use non-DMC/Anchor threads. I don't want buyers to feel they have to pay for more expensive supplies or use threads that might go out of production any minute, but there are so many substitutes that can be found. Choosing colors is one of the most fun things about stitching, but I know not everyone wants to make that choice themselves.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wondrous Beauty

I liked this quote so much I stitched it twice (and I hate stitching the same thing twice). It's from a Moomins book by Tove Jansson (check then out if you haven't yet, I've read one and really liked it). 

The pattern is up in my shop now. Up to now I've been very hesitant to use any non-DMC thread in my patterns. A lot of people seem to have trouble choosing colors themselves and I felt like everything I used should be easily available. I've threw that to the wind with this project. Kreinik metallics plus "wondrous beauty" on both pieces is done with over dyed stranded silk from another Etsy sellers. I have pretty threads and I want to use them! I will probably try to stick to commercially available products though, since you never know when an Etsy user will close shop or get rid of an item.

Trying to capture the gorgeous gleam of the metallic border was frustrating and impossible. Then trying to have the colors be accurate on the black aida was as terrible as I remember. I love black aida, and I hate it. Everything looks so awesome on black though. Wish everyone could see these pieces in person.

I just finished an excellent book for book-lovers, When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning. It's about the drive to get books to servicemen (they didn't bother supplying service women, annoyingly) during WWII, and the creation of the Armed Services Edition paperback, specially designed to be light and portable and readable in any situation. Books soon became the most important 'luxury' for the troops, and many wrote letters to the authors and publishers. This program is basically what led to The Great Gatsby becoming an American classic (mixed feelings for me, I found that book so boring).

The program created a generation of readers who knew the incredible psychological value of reading, and won over many who hadn't previously been readers. It's a wonderful, feel good story. Interestingly, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was one of the most popular, despite being narrated by a young girl. Author Betty Smith received an average of four letters per day from servicemen and responded to all of them.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

what, so soon?

I've been in a stitching frenzy lately, I think partly in response to being in extra pain and needing a fierce amount of extra distraction. 

A good sign that your nerve signals are seriously messed up is this ridiculous mirror image pain. So sometimes you'll hurt the big toe on your right foot but the big toe on your left foot will also hurt, and sometimes it's the left toe that will hurt most and continue causing more pain than usual for months. Thanks a lot nerves.

I'm waiting for the mail to bring me two more shades of Kreinik before I can finish up this baby. I wish it was easier to capture the total shine of metallic thread in pictures. The quote is from a Moomins book, though I'm not sure which one. I read one Moomin book, the first published in English, Finn Family Moomin Troll, and I think I understand why they're so popular (in Europe that is).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wonder Woman!

 Finally stitched the last Wonder Woman pattern of the bunch I designed a while back. This one is my favorite, because this Wonder Woman totally gets me. The number of times I'm standing in my kitchen or bathroom totally bewildered as to what brought me there is sad (I mean, there's only so much I could possibly want in the kitchen or bathroom).

The pattern is for sale in the shop now. Maybe I'll do more in the series later, but I don't have any concrete ideas at the moment.

I finally mailed a birthday/new baby package to my friend Christine, so I can post all those pieces now. Her daughter's name is Maisie and she enjoys the Maisy books so this was an obvious choice to stitch. I created the pattern from a coloring book image, and you can find it in my free pattern section. She's a Beastie Boys so this onesie was a given (though I'm still only partially happy with it, and I didn't pay enough attention to wear the fabri-solvy had wrinkled up, making my crochet hooks extra wonky). And then a name piece for the new baby. There really need to be more interesting and neutral alphabets out there. If I go temporarily mad maybe I'll try to make one.

After the onesie I had a desire to do a super detailed embroidery of a skein of floss, but I think I've regained my common sense now.

I'm working on a new pattern using a quote from a Moomins book: "There's no need to imagine that you're a wondrous beauty, because that's what you are." It involves lots of metallic gold thread. Which, by the way, the difference between trying to use DMC's metallic flosses and Kreinik's thread is night and day. Kreinik is so so easy. I still use the thread conditioner on it, but I don't think that's a necessary step. Plus they have such a HUGE range of colors and different colors of glow in the dark thread and they're made in my home state! I didn't realize they were a West Virginia product until I got my order for the dragons piece. So pleased to support my fellow West Virginians.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Very Pretty Hate Machine

Super ironic that I finished this on the day the marriage equality ruling came out. My hate is focused on bad drivers, people moving my books, listening to people with no knife skills chop carrots, etc... I reserve dismay, shock, and confusion for people who think that marriage is strictly a religious matter or who want to take certain parts of the Bible literally but not all of it (as a mortal, I don't think you get to decide what should be literal and what shouldn't, that's ridiculously presumptive). Not to mention that they've forgotten the whole separation of church and state thing.

Anyway. New pattern in the shop. Sometimes a random, tiny moment of a TV show, movie, or book sticks in your mind for reasons you can't really explain. Such is the case with me and this moment from an episode of Celebrity Deathmatch with Trent Reznor. Steve Austin encourages the glum Reznor with the mantra "I am a very pretty hate machine," (Reznor has an album called Pretty Hate Machine) and thus a smidgen of late 90s TV was forever lodged in my brain. I used to say this a lot when I was younger and wanted to be imposing and intimidating more than anything else. But I was 5'4" and generally petite with a chirpy, expressive voice and an endless imagination so no one was ever intimidated.

I usually stick to DMC floss in patterns that go in the shop, but this seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Caron Wildflowers thread I'd bought a while ago. Hate Machine is a dark red, purple, and blue in person (hard to capture with the camera). I also finished the second corner of the tablecloth I've been stitching. I changed the centers of the daisies to a lighter brown, which I like much better. I don't think I'll change the first corner though, it will just be the test corner. The pink and blue threads in the tablecloth are from the Etsy shop Spiraldyed Fibres. The yellow is from Nina's Threads, and the green is Caron Waterlilies. Everything but the flower centers is done in silk (centers are just DMC).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Just Drawn that Way

 New pattern finished and up for sale in the shop! Doing that fill took so long. Probably at least eight hours.

I wish metallic thread photographed better. Any Jessica Rabbit quote really needed some glitz and it does provide it well. I've altered the bust highlights in the finished pattern.

The metallic went okay once I started doing the one thread folded (with slipknot at the needle eye) method and started using the Thread Heaven conditioner. The silver was way easier than the red though. The red peeled easily to show a bloody silver core. What is DMC thinking? Surely they could use a red core? 

I'm working on and off on this Ink Circles pattern. I also went a bit nuts ordering pretty silk floss from an Etsy seller. The really vibrant ones tend to be less vibrant in person, just so you know. The yellow-orange is really gold-brown in person and doesn't look as nice against the blue as in the photo, but oh well. I was eager to try out the silk floss on something.