Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moving Anxieties

November has been chock-full of anxiety, hasn't it?  Sandy was here right before Halloween, so I started stitching my feelings during the storm.  The election followed, and though I didn't have any embroidery to work on, I wish I had because watching the returns surely gave me an ulcer.  At one point, Florida had a difference of 193 votes between the two candidates, which blew my mind.

We've also been in the process of moving, which means we've traveled to Charlotte and back in one weekend, finding a house (!!!) to rent, as well as coordinating movers, buying assloads of boxes, and packing, packing, packing.  In times like these, my focus can't be disturbed.  So I packed up my fabric and patterns first, before ever even considering another route.  I didn't--couldn't--be distracted by the sudden need to make a dress.  We also designated our dining room as the holding spot for all boxes, so the logistics of space disappeared quickly.  At this point, we're five-high in boxes, waiting for Friday.

I thought I could do it.  I really did.  I thought, as long as I keep my eye on the prize, I can get through this rough spot and get to Charlotte.  I decided my sewing room would be top priority, as Nicholas could unpack the kitchen easily.  That way, I would be able to work on a few things in between unpacking, getting new licenses and registrations, and just generally getting things back in order.


It didn't happen that way.

I think the breaking point came over the weekend.  I realized moving before Thanksgiving, so I could go to my parents' house for the holiday, just wasn't going to happen.  Nick's dad is graciously driving our U-Haul, and he couldn't get here until Thanksgiving day.  I had to cook a Thanksgiving dinner and dessert and then pack to leave the next day.  My plans were falling apart.  Dramatic?  Yes, but the holidays are of great importance to me, and not spending them with my family for the second year in a row was too much for me to deal with.  I looked around at our boxes of crap, of the dust piling up in the corners, and realized I had to do something.  I had to get my mind off of our depressing holiday plans.

So I started stitching.

Hand embroidery is great, at least for me, because it requires very few tools.  Even though my hoops, needles and floss were somewhere in a taped-up box, I knew I could go to Michael's at any time to buy a few things.  For under $10 I left the next morning with a seven-inch wooden hoop, about 15 colors of floss, and a pack of needles.  I spent Saturday night buying a handful of PDF patterns so I could stitch as much as I wanted.  Sunday morning I bought the supplies, and after we had run our errands and packed a few more boxes, I started embroidering.

I started with the Erin Paisley collection for Sublime Stitching.  I had been eyeing these since they debuted and, because the PDF was extremely affordable ($3.50!  For eight patterns and the reverse!), I finally bit the bullet.  I don't own a printer, so I used my iMac as a lightbox and traced the pattern on some Moda Bella solid white with a water-soluable pen.  Super easy.  

 In three days, I traced and embroidered all four animals.

I used similar methods for all four.  For example, the wreaths or frames around each are stitched using satin and stem stitches.  All four names are stitched with split stitches.  The animals themselves have two colors in their outlines: I used two lengths of two different colors for each, and stitched them with stem stitches as well.  All have pink noses, except the owl.

My problem is, I don't know what I'm going to do with them.  My mom pointed out they'd be good for a nursery, but I'm not having a baby anytime soon, and anyway, they're a little creepy (in my opinion) for kids.  I like them for adults, but the rabbit might be the only suitable one for children.

So I have two more days (we move Friday morning as soon as everything is loaded), and while I do need to bake brownies, roast a chicken and some root vegetables, mash potatoes and simmer some cranberries, I'm sure I'll have more time to stitch.  The closet and the kitchen are the last rooms to pack, and neither are bigger than my Yaris, so I think I can handle it.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!  I wish I could spend it with my family.  Next year, I suppose!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

French Knots and Sandy Stitching

As of Friday night, all my fabric is packed away.  I think I'm clinically depressed now.  No projects, no plans, nothing!  I like to keep busy and I like to have something to work on at all times, and while I'm technically working on setting up a whole new life in a different city, there's nothing to distract me.  That was my plan, after all; if my fabric was away, I could focus more on the task at hand.  But that task kind of sucks and I wish I was making a dress instead.

While Sandy was blowing through early last week, I started on a couple hand-sewing projects, as I didn't know if/when the power would go out.  I didn't want to rely on my machine if we wouldn't have electricity for days.  Thankfully, D.C. was lucky and we didn't lose power for even a minute.  But I still had plenty to keep me busy while I watched the news coverage of the storm.

I'll have a mini quilt up on Squaring Up tomorrow, but this was the embroidery project.  My cousin Jesse graciously let me sleep in her bed while I was in Charlotte a couple weeks ago, so I made this as a thank you.  I'll give it to her whenever I see her next, which could be very soon!

Jesse had a lot of blues and greens in her apartment (minus Grace's room, which is all pink, all the time), and I remember she picked up something chartreuse while we were out and mentioned she liked that color.  I chose four blues and a bright green I had in my floss stash.

French knots are...tedious, and for a long time, I didn't think this would ever come together.  Because I'm dramatic.  The knots are three-ply, if anyone was wondering.  To get the "j," I cut out a piece of stabilizer in the shape of the letter, ironed it on, and started knotting.  Once I had the basic idea of the letter's boundaries, I removed it and just went with what felt right.

My original plan was to do the entire hoop.  I now realize I was crazy.  This many knots took me two days.

But, I do like it, and it certainly kept me busy while I was worrying about the storm, and then the job, and then the move.  I'm still worrying, but now I have nothing in my hands.

On a different note, we've had a bit of trouble finding somewhere to live that fits our living criteria and is affordable and is in a safe neighborhood.  We wrote out everything we wanted today and we're hoping the universe takes note, because we'd like to move!  Please!

Images by Freepik