Good morning…

…and welcome to Friday. It is Friday, right? I’m afraid I’ve lost much of this week to the haziness of pain medication and sleep. No, it’s not my heart. My heart continues to function as right as rain. (Just out of curiosity, how right is rain? Does anyone know where that aphorism originated? Dust bowl era Oklahoma, perhaps?) Anyway, I digress…

Actually what happened was a broken tooth last week, then a lost filling. That led to more hours in a dentist’s chair than I care to contemplate and finally to a root canal and a build up/cast for a crown. Not only has this severely damaged my budget, but it has also led to a rediscovery of why I brush and floss. I WANT MY TEETH TO LAST FOREVER!!!! I spent last weekend with a bunch of temporary goo where the filling used to be and ended up with the nerve exposed to air. It is NOT an experience I would recommend. However, on the upside, everything except the seating of the permanent crown is done and I have not had to resort to mind-altering drugs in the last eight hours. That’s progress.

I also feel constrained to point out that despite aforementioned dental and financial stresses, we are incredibly blessed. All I had to do to convince myself of that was to watch the news and weather this morning. Yes we have had the rain, but have had no where near the trouble that other places very close to us have had with flooding, tornadoes and the like. My heart and prayers go out to each and every one who has been affected by this rather strange and awful manifestation of Mother Nature.

So, in a nutshell, I have a sore tooth and we are not underwater nor have we been blown away. I am deeply thankful yet mindful of others who have not been so fortunate. (I should have put the summary first, ala Heather‘s ‘Jiffnotes’ for her posts. Thank you, Heather. 🙂

On the stitching front, when I have worked the last few days it has been on Santa Fe Square, by Gay Ann Rogers. It’s a geometric and the stitches are straightforward and well diagrammed. It was perfect for the drug induced haze I was in for most of the week.

Uh…that came out wrong, please don’t read that as Julie recommends being stoned whilst working on geometric needlepoint, okay? All I meant was it wasn’t terribly complicated….

Before I insert foot in mouth further, let’s talk texture. Texture is one of those things that sets needlework apart from other, more two dimensional, art forms. Texture is why I typically don’t glass my pieces. I am from smoke-free, pet-free home (I just wish I could say dust free) and having no glass allows full enjoyment of not only color but, you guessed it, the texture that makes each needlework piece, be it counted thread, free style embroidery or needlepoint, unique.

Let’s take Santa Fee Square for example. Here is a close up of one of the outer borders:

Santa Fe Square detail

I wish I knew how to get a better close up but this will suffice. Gay Ann’s use of different fibers, raised stitches such as the Rhodes and even some pulled thread like the Four-Sided stitch I was working on gives the piece relief as well playing different stitch densities off against one another (lacy vs. solidly filled). The end result is a border with great visual interest. (Not to mention being totally fun to stitch!).

Insofar as my over-all progress on this piece is concerned, I am still working on the outer set of borders. After that, I get to fill in the middle. This is where I ended last evening:

Santa Fe Square, progress photo two

Actually, I did finish the Four-Sided stitch border and moved on to the Tied Scotch stitch…more on that next post. But in the spirit of that texture thing, I will say that we move from the lacy look that pulling (HARD!) on the Four-Sided stitch gives to a thick raised diagonal in a heavier thread. WONDERFUL!

I thought I would also post a photo of my usual set up for stitching. Be it counted thread on linen or needlepoint, I most often work in a frame and I prefer to work two handed, my left hand under the linen/canvas, my right hand above it. Because I use this technique, one of my most indispensable pieces of needlework equipment is my Lowery stand. I love (insofar as it is possible to love an inanimate object) this little stainless steel gem. It is lightweight, easy to adjust, packs easily for a weekend away and can be set up to hold most every kind of frame. I usually use either stretcher bars or q-snaps and so purchased the stand with the side clamp.

I have a Daylight magnifying lamp that fits to the Lowery with an attachment and makes my work area very easy to see, no matter the count of fabric I am using. (Read that–really good for middle-aged eyes!). The best thing about the stand is its range of adjustment. I usually sit in a desk chair with good lumbar support and I work with my canvas at about chest level, so I don’t have to bend awkwardly. This allows me to work for longer periods and with less fatigue. Here’s what my stitching area looks like:

Stitching work space

So…that’s the end of my commercial, but if you’re thinking about purchasing a floor or a table stand, please do check them out. if you have questions about mine, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. I feel I should point out that I do NOT work for Lowery nor do I own stock in the company! 🙂

Well…I guess that’s enough rambling for today. It’s time to think of getting to work and earning enough to put my money where my mouth is….groan! 🙂 I hope your day finds you peaceful, happy and with needle in hand.



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  • geeky Heather  On June 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Feel free to use the JiffNotes…I haven’t trademarked them, LOL! =) It’s fun to see this piece develop (in fast-forward for me, since I’m behind on reading!!)

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