Thursday, April 30, 2020

Wrestling With Mermaids

I should have known.

In the wee pre-dawn hours this morning, with my eyes finally blurred with sleep, I leaned over and looked up at the clock: 2:45 a.m.

 That's late even for an insomniac like me.
I rubbed my eyes and shook my head.

I should have known.

{"A Mermaid's Longing"}

Mermaids are nothing but trouble.

Oh, yes....they live up to their legendary reputations of alluring beauty and temptation, but trouble nonetheless.

As a general rule, mermaids (and mermen for that matter) were, historically considered dangerous to man.  Their siren songs have lured many a hapless sailor to his death.  If offended, a mermaid could throw a heck of a temper tantrum (rivaling me in my toddler years):  wreaking havoc in the the form of floods, storms and other disasters.  Their gifts, though beguiling, usually brought misfortune.

{"A Sailor's Delight" by William Holbrook Beard c. 1891}

To see a mermaid on a voyage was an omen of shipwreck.

And when I was enticed to stitch The Mermaid of Salem Bay, I was surely headed for a shipwreck.

Mermaids are not typically my "thing," but how could I resist? This beautiful selkie is called "The Mermaid of Salem Bay" for crying out loud.  (Did I say that already?)  And I have been looking for a few nautical/coastal-ish things for the lake house. How more apropos could it get? How much more of an omen did I need?

But I should have known.
Nothing good can come from a witch of the sea.

It started with this: 

{Sorry for the blurriness, but hey...I'm going on very little sleep here....}

The design is from one of my very favorite (and very trusted) Italian designers, so I assumed the "1 on 2" was just a lingual faux pas and it really meant to be 1 over 2.  
But....1 over 2 on 30 count???
Nonetheless, I dove in.  (Get it, "DOVE" in??)

After a few nights of stitching, I really began to question my assumption as I did not like the coverage of the floss.  So I broke down and messaged the designer.  
She immediately replied and begged my forgiveness and stated the model had actually been stitched 2 over 2.

So...the frogging began.  (Notice a watery theme here??)
An entire stitching night of freakin' frogging.

And then I started over.

I liked the coverage better....BUT, soon ran out of the skein of floss I had started with from my stash for the green portions of her tail: Gentle Arts "Mountain Mist."
NP...I went to my LSN and bought more....
Except that it wasn't the same green....even with all the variations in the variegation, the tones were off....completely off.

So...I ordered more skeins of the floss online...from several different sources...only to encounter even MORE variations, none of which were the same as my original skein.

Heck...I threw caution overboard (ok...I won't say it...) and forged on.
 BUT, after many nights stitching, I began to be dissatisfied with all of the colors of the piece.  They looked (at least to me) NOTHING like the model...and it was the sultry siren of the model after all that had lured me into this. However, I was stitching on a specialty linen that cost a pretty lira...ummm...euro...and could not risk ruining it by ripping everything out.
Besides, I don't have one of those slick lift n' snip things that some stitchers have. 😉

Then I got to the 1/4 ~ 1/2 ~ 3/4 stitches. 

I have been stitching for a long, long, time...and have done complicated specialty stitches in my day...even was proficient at Hardanger...but I have never quite figured out how one knows by the symbols given if something is a "1/4" stitch, a "1/2" stitch or a "3/4" stitch. 
And...why...WHY...would you have two little "x"s representing one in a single square like this...where no backstitching even goes?  
Someone enlighten me please??  I get it when you're sharing a "square" between two different colors...or when you are trying to add definition and shape...but hmmm...I think I missed a memo somewhere along the line.

And then last night (a/k/a this morning to some of you), this happened:

Me thinks my eyes must be permanently damaged because I cannot rightly discern any true difference between the symbol used for the "Freedom" and the one for the"Blueberry" backstitching on the legend.

Sometimes if the siren sings loud enough, the symbol for "Blueberry" looks a smidgeon thicker and/or darker than the one for "Freedom," then I look away from the legend to the actual pattern and those dark lines look all the same.

I should have known: If you wrestle with a mermaid, you're not going to win.

(Anyone in need of any Mountain Mist floss??)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Weary....Just Weary.....

I know many of us are weary of many a thing of late.
Weary of the same walls around us, weary of being told how far to stand from others, weary of not being able to share a good meal with good friends, weary of not being able to "touch" our loved ones, weary of wondering how long this will last, weary of there being no toilet paper or cleaning supplies when you finally find your bra and go to the store.

And weary of being weary.

Easter morning greeted us with another round of the white stuff....I can't even be sure of the totals...I know it could have been worse...but it certainly couldn't have been at "all" in my book. That, of course, was followed by bitter winds and unseasonable cold (as in single-digit kind of cold).
And, yeah....I'm weary of that too.

Snow Dog, however, seems more than content.

I have no finishes to show you...and trust me when I say my WIPs aren't worth showing right now.
I did splurge on a 9.5 cutter blade for my Townsend cutter....I am seriously considering undertaking a simple, but large (ok, large to ME), hooking project (I can't believe I am thinking of doing this)...and know I will need a very wide cut to even give me the courage to THINK I want to do this.  (I know torn strips would go faster and be more economical but while I love the look of torn strips, there is something about tearing them in less-than-precise widths that rubs my OCD personality the wrong way.) 
 Someone talk me outta this.

I know this may come as shocking to you, but I have not much else to say.
So I will leave you with this photo of my niece and the "new kid on the block."

Doesn't get much cuter than a girl and her goats. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hermitage Interruptus

I interrupted my hermitage this morning to exercise my great American privilege of voting.  
Our town hall is not far...especially as the crow there is not much to see along the way.  I neglected to take a photo of the town hall.  I suspect many of you would find it amusing if not charming....all 1 room of it.

But I can never pass this old homestead without a pause.

I know I am not alone wondering what lives were lived here...what memories were made....and why did it end like this? Will the good earth just swallow things up again someday??

(No one even bothered to remove the license plate.  Next time I go by, I will need to look more closely for a year on the plate.)

(These were just two of the many vehicles "resting" here.)

The old "suicide" doors as they were called (like the doors in the car in the above photo) are not much seen these days, although they are making somewhat of a comeback with new safety features of course.
I have always found them intriguing - if only for their namesake.  They actually harken back to the days of horse-drawn carriages and were convenient for the ladies and their large (often hooped) skirts.  They could simply "back into" their seats and easily step out at journey's end. 
They were particularly popular during..and are most usually associated with...the 1930's and the era of the "gangsters."  They were an easy way for rivals and undesirables to be "disposed" of, shall we say?
I also believe that these were the types of doors on the car that President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated. 

The doors today that open in this manner are obviously no longer referred to as "suicide" doors...and car manufacturers are chagrin at the reference I am told.  Those bold enough to include them call them "coach doors," "rear-access doors," or "freestyle doors."  And, as I mentioned, there are now safety features. Most won't open unless the front door is opened or if the vehicle is going more than a minimal speed.

Stick with never know what kind of useless information you will pick up LOL and you can never know what to expect with my posts, can you?

How my mind wanders these days.

In any event, I have voted.  I only found two typos in the ballot.  A new low record for our county.

Even with my lollygagging, I was home in time to "finish" finish this little piece.  I punched it years and years ago, but never "did" anything with it after the punching was done.  After I framed it, though, I realized that I was going to do a decorative stitch on the wool around the punched area.  Oh well.  Serves me well for taking so long in the finishing I guess. I love the French knot "flowers" on top of the blooms.

("Night Burglar" by Sean Williams/Threads That BindSean )

Until next time, be well, stay well.