Thursday, August 31, 2006

Deadlines and Last Minutes

My column deadline approaches -- not on little cats feet like the fog, but with steady tread. I've been steadily stitching on the goldwork piece. The Or Nue section looks pretty good. It was interesting discovering the need to really accomodate the thickness of the couching thread. It isn't so obvious when you do regular or pattern couching as you can do some compensation. With the Or Nue you have so many stitches in a line that you need to leave space. Of course it looks like a lot of space when you are doing the stitching -- all up close and personal like, but it fades to very little when you look at the piece overall at 2 or even 3 feet. It doesn't have the same density as the regular or pattern couching, but it is only noticeable if you know what you are looking for when you view the piece.

The 2 remaining areas will be a diaper pattern that reminds me of leopard spots and diamonds. It won't be done on time, but will be done within the next week or so.

I really dislike stitching to a deadline especially when something else comes along. The EGA meeting program was on things for Halloween. We did spiders, bats, brooms, witches hair, and talked about all the variety of thread that can be used in odd ways for various effects. FUN!!!! The teacher gave us a smattering of threads for pumpkin colors. Think I'll do a bargello pumpkin to try out the different bits.

Also wrote the article for the upcoming newsletter for the West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild. The column is on Pattern Darning. Took a different approach than the Needlepoint Now column so they are completely different pieces. Also charted another pattern from Ellis for the project. It is a neat band of "S" and "Z". When I redo my website I'll add the webbed version of the article.

Between running fast (or at least typing fast), we have had some wonderful weather here. It finally cooled back down. The high has been in the 60/70's and low in the 50's. We have had fog, but also some beautiful days. We have one major anomally in our garden. There is this one orchid that is definately blooming out of season. Normally we get orchids November to March (this year was May). We saw it coming, ever so slowly at the end of the regular season and then it kept on growing slowly. It really is a beautiful spray of 12 orchids. I'll leave you with this different type of eye candy for now. We are off this weekend to an invitational tournament in the Sierra Foothills. The people are interesting and it promises to have some very good medieval feasts for the dinners.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Bit of This and a Byte of That

Goldwork - have finally dipped my needle into doing Or Nue. I designed a section of my column piece in Or Nue and now I'm stitching it. So much to learn about thread control. It makes a VERY big difference if you keep the lines of stitching straight. Stitching is very slow going and because of the scale (28 count - 1 row per thread with 1 stitch per thread). Of course doing anything from a chart/counted is hard for me. On the other hand it looks GREAT!!!! I am so pleased. Yes I will post pictures, but since this is for the column it will have to wait until the magazine comes out in November.

Sharon Boggins has been doing a 100 stitches for 100 days on her blog In a Minute Ago . It is amazing to see the level of detail that you can get with simple stitches. Change the thread, the length of stitch, vary the spacing -- so many variables. She is going to give a class online at if anyone is interested. I don't have the time to stitch along, but I love seeing the variations. Maybe next year I'll do a series on various threads. Apart from the time and discipline, I think I could easily do 100 threads for 100 days. Maybe it is just the teaching bug in me that wants out or maybe it is just the idea of playing with threads.

Getting frustrated with a lot of the drivel and misinformation that is on the web and on various lists. Part of me wants to step up and put up a website with better information. In time I might, but need to concentrate on my current projects and then finish reworking what I do have up on my website. I've been itching to put up the historic smocking and pleating information that I gathered a couple years ago. Several others have put up some information and their projects, but it really is the tip of the iceberg.

Been doing some fun stuff -- like I used to do before I was so immersed in the SCA offices. (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

Last weekend we went to the Napa Valley Wine Library Tasting. The event is held at the Silverado Country Club on one of the "green" areas. 30-50 wineries pour tastes of their current releases - this year was red varietals with no cabernet or cab blends. They also have wonderful cheese (hurrah they had 2 goat cheeses), breads, and water(s). Think Rubicon Estate's Edizione Pennino Zinfandel was the best overall with the Freemark Abbey 2002 Syrah a very close second.

This weekend - Saturday was varied. Started with the farmers market - need those fresh fruits and veggies. Then over the hill to "man" the booth for EGA at the County Fair. It was lots of fun. Haven't been in many years, but the smell hasn't changed. The husband came along to relieve me at the booth. Did a bit of shopping and visited the bunny rabbits on the way out. I love looking at them, but don't think I want one.

Then over to Berkeley to met up with friends for dinner and music. The friends were stuck in traffic so it was just the husband and I for dinner. It was a new place, but sister to one I've known for years. Sea Salt - focuses on sustainable seafood. The dishes were very good - not great, but I'd eat there again. Then off to the Freight and Salvage for an evening with Oak, Ash and Thorn . They are a capella music trio that sings traditional folks songs from any different venues - medieval, riverboat, modern, etc. so long as they are about drinking. I knew one of the current members and the other 2 original members before they became a group. An evening with them is always poinant - most of the time you laugh so hard you cry. Met up with friends we planned on meeting and some others as well. A good evening all round.

Had two realizations as regards music lately - first, husband and I waltz well together. We can't tango - 6'5" and 5'6" don't work together. We have been trying to do some swing. PBS was doing some pledge thing with some good dance music. Husband and I hear the music very differently - he hears it as a musician hears notes. I hear it for the dance beat - which may or may not be the same. With waltz, husband sometimes looses it when he can't hear the key 3 notes - as in when the musicians play a variation. It matters little to me as I can usually find the dance beat in anything.

The second musical realization is that I can't have music on with a strong verbal emphasis when I am doing work that involves words. Thus, I can't listen to Oak, Ash and Thorn, when I'm writing my blog. As the husband says "its just another quirk of The Robin".

Lastly before I forget, I've finally opened a Live Journal blog. This will be my main blog, but because of the way Live Journal does its community of friends and some of the people I like to keep in touch with, I needed to have an account. It is called Stitching Along with Friends.