Monday, May 11, 2009

one step forward...

and two steps back...

Knowing that this was full-moon weekend and the beginning of a long Mercury Retrograde period, I should have known that this would be a difficult weekend. I felt like I was at war all weekend. The first battle was against the ants.

They invaded about a week ago and no matter what we did or cleaned, we could not discourage the little beasties. This weekend I took absolutely everything off the kitchen counter, scrubbed all of it, wiped down the counter with ammonia, and put (most but not all) of it back. I reorganized for better use of space.

And I moved my mom's orange-juice squeezer off the counter and into a cabinet--after I polished it up a bit. We don't use it often enough for it to sit out all of the time. We had kept it out simply because we enjoyed looking at it, so space aged in it's 1950's glory. But for now, it will reside in a top cabinet where I squeezed out some space.

The cleaning actually escalated the ant wars. With their main territory rendered inhospitable, they took off to explore the rest of the kitchen. They finally found a jar of applesauce in the back of a cabinet with some sauce on the outside. Yum! Once we found that and washed the ants down the drain and then vacuumed up most of the rest of them and cleaned the cabinet, I didn't see many at all this morning. Detente.

Our weather was very changeable so I was battling sinus congestion and headaches.
The fight extended to my stitching this weekend. I did more ripping than stitching. I had gotten off track with my finishing-projects goals and I needed to get back to it. First I picked up my EGA Indiana State Day model project.

(There's a close-up on my Flickr page, and also another view of my oh-so-clean kitchen counter.)

It's a lovely Hardanger project designed by Jamee Jecmen for an amulet pouch. This is the front flap and the start of the back. I have not done the cut section in the middle yet, but otherwise the front is complete.

I have lost my ability to count. I have lost my rhythm for counted work. Off and on this weekend, I felt like I'd lost my mind! I've been doing Hardanger for, oh, thirty years. I used larger linen than the original design (24 count). And still I couldn't count a row of simple buttonhole! I ripped as much as I stitched.

Even the double back stitch, which I know, well, backwards and forwards. When you get the rhythm, it's like zipping a zipper. And each time I turned the corner on the octagon, I lost the rhythm and spent ages trying to get it back, stitching and ripping.

I kept putting the embroidery down to battle ants so I'm going to blame it on the ammonia. My aging eyes and brain cells have nothing at all to do with it (that's my story and I'm sticking with it!).

I did finally bully my way through it and get the front stitched (no way was I going to approach the piece with scissors on a day like Saturday).

I decided that on Sunday I'd go easier on myself and picked up the cross stitch quilt design my mom had begun. I've talked some about it before. My sister, sister-in-law and I matched colors to already stitched areas and added a couple (that I haven't used yet and may not).

I got two squares done after some ripping and new color choices. But they're done. The upper left design is coming along. I have colors selected for some of the open areas and I kind of have a plan for the rest.

I began working on the center piece, but that orange next to the green, it's going to have to come out. I like the way it perks things up but it's just too much--it takes away from the flower.

I've hemmed and hawed over the last two (the center and lower right). This morning I drew the shapes of the already stitched areas on graph paper to experiment a bit and figure out what the rest of each square should be. One step forward and two steps back.


Paula Hewitt said...

blaming the ants and ammonia for your inability to count stitches - clever! sometimes life is just like that - i have had times where the simplest thing (not that i find hardager simple :) ) just seems beyond me. both projects are lovely - the cross stitch quilt pattern is great.

Anonymous said...

Love your story. It's so REAL. Hope your week has been better. The sunny days were lovely...I hated to see the rain come again!
Hope this weekend is superb! And by the way...your stitching is ALWAYS lovely no matter what!