Monthly Archives: September 2008

Where, oh where…

…did July, August and September go? At least from a stitching standpoint…well, it was pretty much a bust.  But in those ninety days I had a wonderful visit with my mom here in Minnesota, Dan and I moved into a new home (new to us), celebrated 25 years married and went on an adventure weekend together, I designed, wrote and brought up a new website for the store, I unpacked aforementioned new house…well mostly unpacked, don’t look too closely :-), I hosted two stitching get togethers and in the process discovered the best margarita in town, I went to two knitting gatherings at the local store (fun, fun, fun!), had a very dear friend visiting for a few days, went to Needlework Guild retreat and had a great class with Kay Stanis, went to the State Fair, found a new church and started Bible study. So…all in all it was eventful three months if not terribly stitchy.

I think the thing I find most disappointing is my failure to update here more than I have, something I now intend to remedy with a…gasp…stitching related post.  I plan to start updating my hours stitched again, I will set goals for October and generally get back down to business.

In accordance with that goal I have been stitching a bit in the last couple weeks…well, stitching and knitting.  So without further ado, let me post progress photos on a couple of pieces:

First of all, I started knitting a dishcloth.  Yes, I know I can buy them for a dollar or so on sale, but this such a pretty cotton yarn and it’s a great way for me to try some pattern stitches to augment my novice skills.  I am about 2/3rds of the way through this project.  I will be keeping this one because it does have one fairly big mistake, but my hope is to make several for gifts to give along with a pretty hand-made soaps.  That idea was NOT original with me…thank you, Janet. 🙂

Ravelry dish cloth

Ravelry dish cloth

I put the scissors on the cloth to give a sense of scale and also to show off my BEE-UUU-TIFF-FULLL new scissor fob and point protector.  What can I say…a moment of weakness at the Guild retreat market.

Since I started with knitting, I will continue with knitting.  I am still working on my Meadow Afghan by Collinette.  I have finished the second repeat and am on to the third, which is the last full repeat of the pattern.  I plan to have this done in October apart from the fringing. Are you laughing??????? I wish the photos could more accurately convey the colors and textures of the yarns. They are fabulous.  I want to do another one of these someday in a different colorway and using the mitered block pattern. These kits are an investment, but they are beautiful.

Meadow afghan

Meadow afghan

…and a close up:

Close up of Meadown afghan

Close up of Meadown afghan

Now, please don’t think I’ve deserted my first needlework love…stitching.  I’ve been plugging away on ‘A Quilter’s Garden‘ by Emie Bishop.  I finished the kloster block outline and have begun the cross stitching.  I have substituted purples for the pinks of the orginal.  Here’s my most recent in progress photo:

In progress garden

In progress garden

I know it’s awfully light, but it is hard to get a good photograph of a tone-on-tone piece.  The fabric is Belfast platinum.  I love the piece and I really want to do her Christmas version of this as one of my next hardanger projects. I hope it won’t languish as long as this one did.

And lastly…at least for today…is a small experimental piece I did one morning just to keep my hand in on some freestyle surface embroidery skills.  I’ve been drawn more and more to stitching pieces that are not on a counted ground and am starting Japanese Embroidery lessons a week from today. (Yes, I’m excited and a bit nervous!) so this was just a practice piece I worked on a small square of organdy.  As the title says, it’s comprised of shadow work and stem stitches.  I actually like the way it turned out and am toying with doing a small album of designs in different stitches.  The pattern is from the Waverly Honor book.

shadow work and stem stitch

shadow work and stem stitch

I also got one piece back from my framer.  This is Western Skies by Laura Perin (alternate colorway) I love how it turned out!

So…as promised a stitchy post.  My projects for the weekend are to start recording my stitching hours again and also to set goals for October, especially since Christmas and year end are coming up.

In addition, as I look to Julie’s near term needlework future, I still want to work on some Christmas Ornaments (just got my new JCS Ornie Issue-:-))) and I need to get cracking on the next phase of my ANG Master Needle Artist submission.  I need to get materials pulled together preparatory to doing my paper and developing a design for a needlework piece appropriate to my chosen era.  Apart from those things, I have a little shopping to do so I have all the materials I need to bring to my Japanese Embroidery class which is Friday through the following Monday of next week. Also, in October, I plan to work my way through the Artist’s Way curriculum by Julia Cameron. I have the workbook and have started reading the book which has some really interesting notions about creativity and how to put it to work in your life.  So far, I’d say it’s a worthwhile read.

And, less fun but also very important, I work on Saturday (and both Dan and I are so very grateful for the continued blessing of employment we both enjoy) and, of course, I hope to cheer my Vikings on to victory on Sunday after church.

So…that’s my world for today.

I’m hoping that this post finds everyone who reads it happy, healthy and in stitches.

Blessings,

julie

…It doesn’t take monumental feats to make the world a better place.  It can be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in a grocery line. –Barbara Johnson

Peace…

….Shalom, Paix, Мир, 和平, Frieden, Pace,平和, Paz, 평화, Vrede, سلام, शांति, Fred, Rauha.

How many more lives are to be given? How many more resources wasted? How many more atrocities committed? How many more families decimated? How many more photos like this affecting every country on this extraordinary planet we all call home?

Dear friends of the threaded needle who share a conviction that prayers matter, please join me on this anniversary of a very dark day in my country’s history in a prayer for peace…not only on American soil, but in every land. How much could be accomplished if we lived together in harmony? If we accepted differences? If we looked for what is right, rather than the wrong in each other?

May we never forget the victims of violence all over the world. May it never cease to be something we are horrified by yet may we always find a way to hope.

My path to hope is remembering that one of the names of God is Jehovah-Shalom…the God of Peace. I find it comforting to know that peace is part of God’s very nature and one day this is the promise…

He will swallow up death for all time,

And the Lord God will wipe tears away from ALL faces,

And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;  Isaiah 25: 8 (emphasis added)

May all who read this…irrespective of their beliefs, language and location…have their lives touched by peace this day. And…because I am an American and love this land I call home, may God bless and have mercy on this beautiful country and her people.

Peace,

Julie

A philosopical post…

…so quit reading here if you are expecting spectacular news about needlework.  Actually…I did have the sisterhood over on Saturday so I put needle to fabric…and FINISHED the kloster blocks on my hardanger piece. More about that when I take a photo.

First I need to ask those of you who have emailed me about stash for sale to please be patient with me a little longer.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can navigate around my stitching room, but digging bins out of the closet is still a few days a way. I have to first clear at least one horizontal surface…not the one holding my laptop 🙂  Apart from some of the Lori Birmingham pieces listed which have been spoken for, most everything is still for sale.  I just need to make certain they made the move and I can lay hands on them.  I promise I will be in touch within the week and I do thank you for your interest.  Between moving, traveling and company…not to mention work at this moment…life has had its little challenges.

And…speaking of challenges: (How’s that for a connection? )  Something that has been on my mind a lot the last few weeks is how much more freeing the phrase ‘I can’ is as opposed to ‘I can’t’ and it’s close cousin ‘I’m afraid’.  ‘I can’t’ narrows my world far more than heart disease or age.  ‘I can’  or it’s cousin ‘I going to give it my best shot’ keep me engaged…living while I have life.  I will probably stumble, I may even fall (although I don’t really want to think of that in the context of the following paragraphs)….but at least I tried.  This is even Biblical, although I confess I thought about that only this morning after two weeks of tossing these ideas around in my head.  Paul said “I can do ALL things…” and then he goes on to explain how…I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ Who strengthens me.’

Okay…little less comfortable here.  This tells me where my strength is (or should be) sourced.  Not in my own fortitude, but in God’s. In His will, for His glory. Oh. Gulp.  I guess that probably means I should drag my sorry butt out of bed on Sunday morning and seek Him in His house with other believers. I guess that probably means my beloved Inductive Study Bible should alter its role of being an impressive paperweight.  I guess that means I need to work on my vertical relationship….to assist in all the ‘I can’s’ I have on my list, not to mention to deepen this most important relationship of all in my life.

Does God care that one of the HUGE goals in my life is to walk the Mackinac Bridge?

Where did THAT come from you may ask (quite legitimately, I might add).  Here we are talking theology and now bridges? Zoooooommmmmmm. You might even be thinking I’ve lost it.

But it was a visit to the Mackinac Bridge that started this whole train of thought.  The week before Labor Day, I was in Upper Michigan. I can’t be in Upper Michigan without being drawn to that spectacular conglomeration of cables, pavement and towers spanning the Straits of Mackinac.  Bridges are a passion of my life. I have driven the Bay Bridge at Annapolis…that’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, folks. The UBER bridge of the DC area. The bridge even my brother is afraid to drive over and he’s not afraid of anything!  And I have driven it 4 times (2 round trips). Not only have I driven it, but I got a rush out of it. (Whilst hanging on to the wheel for dear life:-))

And…just to show how passionate I am about such things, I have detoured hours out of my way to do the Mackinac….and others of its kind.  In fact, if I believed in this sort of thing, I would be a civil engineer in my next life! I love bridges…the higher the better and my favorites are suspension bridges.  And…it just so happens that every Labor Day they close two lanes of the Mackinac and 70,000 people walk its one way five mile length.

Isn't it GLORIOUS?!?

GLORIOUS

This is my dream. I want to be right in the middle of that 70,000 strong crowd.  I want nothing between me and the bridge but my feet. I have wanted it for years. I can walk the five miles…even with the incline. I can do this…I will do this…even when people look at me like I’m bloody nuts…it is a dream…a goal…a…

Well…except this last time I was over it the love affair seemed to pale.  IN fact, I swear the bridge grew. It was a whole lot higher than I remember. In fact, it was dizzyingly high. Questions started to come.  How many cars have gone over the side?  I WANT DETAILS!!!!!!!!!  Okay, pause, breathe…this is a walk I’m considering. No cars involved. Whew.

Oh…the little voice started again…but what if a really big wind comes up in the middle of aforementioned stroll across the water?  A tornado? A HURRICANE!? (In Michigan???) Or even worse what might happen if a mongo huge ore boat manages to give up acres of open water to aim directly at a supporting pier while I’m blissfully swaying 250 feet directly above?

I started to listen. I didn’t even look up at my beautiful towers. This wasn’t me, was it? Normally, I beg, plead and endure endless teasing because I’m willing to pay six dollars a lap on this beautiful, swaying, useful creation of man (mostly in the form of U.S. Steel American Bridge division and the brave members of the Bridge Builders Local 212 (not accurate, but you know what I mean).

Six bucks…lunch…not only lunch, but given the number of laps I usually like to do maybe even a nice dinner. A new knitting or needlework project. Think about this, people…how much more of a passion can it be when I would give up more colored string to cross this bridge when I don’t even need to get to the other side?

But be that as it may, this time the what-ifs kept it to a simple back and forth and I was ready to move on to something…more grounded. In my mind, fear prompted me to whisper a sad goodbye to the walk dream and left me feeling…well…a little older.

I was halfway to the next destination before this really started bugging me. I mean REALLY!!! I was riled. Am I going to let my world be narrowed even further by stupid fears of what might be?  Come on…I’ve had my heart stopped, cut open, a vein from my leg sown in and had it restarted…by someone who was little more than a (very) gifted stranger.  How can I be worried about a measly little ore boat. Sheesh!

Psalm 139 says that God Himself has numbered my days. That means that when it’s time for me to go out I am going to go out wherever I am…fulfilling a wonderful dreams, stretching my boundaries or cowering in a corner. And no matter what is going on…even if it’s the most wonderful thing in THIS world…I don’t want to be here one moment outside of God’s plan.

My conclusion?  First I’m going to get my sorry butt out of bed on Sunday to work on that vertical relationship. Second, God really does care about my dreams…because He’s the one who made me.  Third…see ya next year Labor Day on this really long, high bridge. I’m looking for anyone willing to travel that road with me (in defiance of wind, errant boats and swaying cables)

Next time I’ll be here with photos of my new stitching room, photos of travels, a few progress notes on (gasp) stitching and e-mails to all those that are faithfully waiting.

Here’s to ‘I CAN’!!!!!

Blessings,

Julie