The current cross stitch project (“Canal Home,” by Artecy in Aida 18 ct, 72 colors) is going to take a while. It’s larger and more challenging, with a lot of what cross stitchers call “confetti”–many different colors in a 10×10 square of fabric.
But what is life but a whole series of confetti challenges? Managing lots of picky little details in a short time or (in these Covid-days) in a confined space shared with the family. As you can see from the photo, I’m doing a couple of things to make the work easier. I’ve marked out the 10×10 grid (in hard-lead pencil, since the project is large and pencil takes less time than my usual red thread). I’ve also penciled the grid numbers onto strips of masking tape and taped the strips directly onto the fabric–better, I’ve found, than marking the grid numbers on the fabric. The tape is movable and any residue on the fabric is covered by the all-over stitching.
I’m a “cross-country” stitcher: I work in one color at a time, across several squares (rather than trying to manage all the colors at the same time in a single square). It’s a color-focused way of connecting dots: forget that you’re trying to create an image and work dot-by-dot. The image will emerge, given time.
I use a needle holder to keep all the threads handy. (This is two holders, taped together because my table space is limited.) Looks messy, I know. But all the thread olors are where I can get at them when I want them. I keep the project thread stash in a separate box, organized by the DMC numbers.
And in the end, when all the dots are connected and all the stitches crossed, the project will look like this. Trust me–or rather, trust the chart-maker. It will.
On the desk. Hemlock (China’s 28th adventure) just came back from the layout editor/formatter. The cover is done so we’re ready to get the printing process in the works for September 2021 publication. Half-finished: The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker, set in September 1935. It is astonishing (well, to me, anyway) how similar our current political situation is to that year, with Huey Long preaching his populist message against the backdrop of FDR’s New Deal and increasingly powerful adversaries abroad.
In the garden. It’s spring (as of yesterday at 4:37 am CT), and Meadow Knoll offers many works-in-progress. The native plums and redbuds are in bloom, there are golden daffodils and bright blue vinca, and the meadow is full of tiny anemone stars. The salvias seem to have survived the winter, but the Great February Freeze-Up may have killed our huge Lady Banks rose and the New Dawn on the deck trellis. I’m watching. And hoping. But I’m also thinking of what I’ll do to replace them, if I have to. And I’m glad to have the photos and the memories of those wonderful plants.
And that’s life, too, isn’t it? We’d love to keep all our favorites safe, but unexpected events strike out of the blue and knock our ingenious plans and fine hopes into a cocked hat. (If you’d like to know where that old metaphor might have come from, look here.) The best we can do is pick up a new color or new plan or new hope and move ahead. With more dots.
Reading note. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.– Steve Jobs