Sunday, August 31, 2008

Goodbye, Mandala.

No, I am not giving up on this project. But I have to say after spending most of yesterday stitching on this, I am done for a while. Putting in over 100 quarter stitches on 32 count does not result in a lot of fabric covered. The silk quarter stitches were not difficult (though frogging them certainly is), but the perle is still a pain, even on the cross stitches. This is not even all of the motif finished. There is still a lot of backstitching over the pineapple - black silk over the leaves and gold metallic over the fruit.

So this is where I will leave it for a while. Most of one motif finished, half of one motif started and a few stitches on motif number three. I don't even mind the Jessica stitches, but the pineapple is too much stitching on too little fabric. It is obvious that I won't reach my yearly goal of finishing eight parts of this project. I will probably finish Part Two and may even start on Part Three, but for the next two months this project will be packed away.

On the 10th of September (my husband's birthday) we will fly to San Francisco. On the 12th we will fly to Maui. This may be the last trip to Maui this year. We fly back to Nevada on the 22nd, just in time to drive to San Diego the following weekend and Los Angeles the week after that. Then October 8th starts the big trip. We fly to Frankfort, Germany that day and to Barcelona, the day we land. A few days in Barcelona, then we fly to Lisbon and get on the Seabourn Pride for a two week cruise of the southeastern Atlantic. We won't be back in San Francisco until November 3rd. I will be bringing my laptop (and my iPhone), but I don't know what kind of connections I will be able to find while I am gone. I am going to bring Bothy's Cut-Thru Rocket and I know I will get a lot of stitching time on the boat. If I finish the Rocket and the Michael Powell (plus do some sewing in the next week), I should have most of my yearly goals covered.

So starting today I am going back to work on the misprinted and abandoned Michael Powell Cottage Garden I. I have recharted the places that disagree with the model and will power forward on this piece. I still like it so much that I refuse to abandon it. I should get plenty of it done before we leave for Maui next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pictures for Fun

I stumbled across this while I was visiting The Blonde Librarian and just couldn’t pass it up. First, the rules:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

This would be fine if I could answer all the questions and I could keep them in the same order, but I like the pictures arranged this way best, so ...

The Questions:

  1. What is your first name? Kathryn
  2. What is your favorite food? Haute Cuisine (this is the dining room, Le Cinq, of the George V Hotel in Paris. They serve the best creme brulee in the world, for breakfast.)
  3. What is your favorite color? Periwinkle
  4. Favorite drink? Coca Cola. I don't drink coffee, but I still need my caffeine, so I start my day with a Coke every morning.
  5. Favorite dessert? Most any elegant dessert, but especially Vacherin, that is a meringue (sometimes with nuts) served with diced fruit and sometimes ice cream and sauce. Favorite dessert ever? The dessert tray from Square One, Joyce Goldstein's wonderful restaurant no longer in San Francisco.
  6. What high school did you go to? River Valley High School, Marion, Ohio. Sortof. I took their senior classes when I was junior, then ran out of classes to take senior year so worked at a bank and took advanced placement night classes from Ohio State Extension. The school is now closed for "being built on possibly contaminated ground."
  7. Dream vacation? Cruising some country I have never been to before, especially on Seabourn Lines. We will be going to Portugual, the Azores, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Gibraltar and Spain in October.
  8. What you want to be when you grow up? Wise
  9. What do you love most in life? My husband James
  10. One word to describe you? Intelligent
  11. (added) Second Favorite dessert? Cookies!
  12. Your flickr name? tropo
  13. (added) The favorite of your photos on Flickr? This one, the shores of Molokai from the air.
(ignored) Who is your celebrity crush? Uh, first David McCallum from The Man from U.N.C.L.E., then Cary Grant when I was a teenager, and not many others. There are actors I admire in particular roles, but having been in theater a long time, I too well know the difference between a character and a person.

Which does not mean that there hasn't been stitching, because there was a LOT of stitching last night (and frogging, too). Part Two of Hawaiian Mandala may not have as many stitches as Part One, but it might take me as long to stitch. Not only are there tricky quarter stitches in the pineapple, but the #&^* leaves are stitched in Pearle #10 ... on 32 count ... sometimes over one. I hate it. I'd rather stitch a hundred Jessicas than one cross stitch on 32 count with Pearle #10. But I've stitched half of one pineapple, so I suppose that I am going to stitch the rest of them as called for. Grumble, mumble, sigh.

Today was a jury day. Everything is going smoothly and we got out early. I'm sure most of the jury panel wants to wrap this up by tomorrow, but it depends if we all vote for the same outcome. Maybe a picture of a finished pineapple tomorrow . . . and maybe not.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Serving Justice

I wish I could show you some stitching progress here, but it is not going to happen. Yes, I started jury service yesterday and brought Cut-Thru Rocket to work on, but the Nevada court system is a LOT more organized than the previous jury service I sat through in California. (No, DebiJean, I had no problem bringing in small scissors, needle threader and needle. I think they are only looking for guns and knives!) In California I sat for an entire day waiting to be called. Yesterday, although I was not quite awake at 8 am when I reported, they got all 1,000 people processed and shown a film by 9 am and the first group of 70 was gone and to their court by 9:10 am. I was in the second group and was lined up for a courtroom by 9:15 am.

Our judge is Timothy C. Williams. If I ever have to go to court, I hope I get a judge as articulate and compassionate as he is. He explained thoroughly the duties of a jury and how we would proceed. There was actually a lot of laughter as we went through the voir dire process, where each of us were asked if we could faithfully make a judgment on this civil, medical malpractice case and if we could refrain from judgment until all the facts of the case could be presented. I am now Juror #5 and will be back in court on Wednesday and Thursday (possibly Friday). This is certainly better than a criminal case or the O. J. Simpson case, which will be empaneled in the same courthouse possibly as early as next week.

The most interesting instruction from the judge was not to look up anything about this case on the internet. There was some instructions in the beginning pamphlet about not doing any private investigations on your own, but now with the internet, jurors could educate themselves about various aspects of a case to the detriment of the trial itself. We should come to our conclusions using only the knowledge presented by both lawyers and their witnesses. They were careful to exclude jurors who might have too much prejudicial medical knowledge. After the initial opening statements I am strangely not inclined to one side or the other. I am looking forward to the witnesses who will present testimony on Wednesday and to hearing from the other jurors after all witnesses are presented. Everyone says they are openminded, but will that really be the case when we have to decide responsibility and possible monetary damages?

I could have stitched this weekend, but I was working on a Sekret Projekt, so no picture for a couple of weeks. I am also relieved that this trial is dark today so that I can pick up James from the airport this morning. He is flying from Honolulu to Las Vegas and should be landing late this morning assuming the gods of flight don't have any more surprises for him.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Today’s SBQ was suggested by Dawn and is:

If you had to choose, would you rather spend money on overdyed floss or hand-dyed fabric?

I think this picture just about says it all. This is part of my collection of Vickie Clayton hand dyed silks. Eventually I want to collect them all. I used to have all of the Weeks Dye Works threads, though I haven't kept up with the new colors. I have a lot of GASTs, but am going to complete the collection with my latest order from an ONS. Yes, I do have a lot of hand dyed fabric, but I could trade it all for white and natural linen as long as I could collect hand dyed threads.

My husband decided to attend a seminar in Honolulu this Saturday. I am so glad that I decided to stay in Nevada (especially since I have jury duty starting Monday). His flight to San Francisco was delayed two hours at LAS and one hour on the tarmac with no gate in SFO. His flight to Honolulu this morning had a cracked windshield, so he took the next flight out . . . to Maui and now won't get from Maui to Honolulu until after 9 pm! I would be going crazy about now myself.

No Mandala picture today. Yes, there are more leaves done, but I am waiting to finish one whole pineapple before I take another picture. And this weekend is the Christmas Cross Stitch Ornament SAL. I really should find something Christmasy to stitch, but I might just skip this month. Then I could finish a pineapple and kit up something small to take with me to jury duty. Hope everyone has a great weekend. It's finally cooling down in Nevada. No more days over 110ºF and soon plenty of days under 100ºF.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Leaves

This Part is going much faster than Part One. I have started on four of the eight leaves that sit at the bottom of the pineapples. One leaf is almost done as soon as I stitch the last Jessica stitch.

Oh, those Jessica stitches! I don't think any of them are exactly correctly stitched, but they seem close enough. Besides when I put a bead in the center of them, it will be hard to tell if I put all the threads in the right holes. I'd rather be stitching Algerian eyelets again. The half stitches are also tricksy. Usually they are all in the same direction, but these change directions on each leaf. AND the instructions say to stitch them with one thread. I don't mind that when there a dozen or more to do, but there a just seven half stitches in Waterlilies Jade (066) per leaf and they are all interior stitches. So I am not going to go back and stitch those seven with one thread when I have a needle loaded with two threads. In a design this big, I really don't think it matters.

Next I have to tackle the Rhodes Stitches on the pineapple. First I have a confusing mess of confetti and quarter stitches around the Rhodes. Even enlarged, the chart is pretty hard to read in these squares because there are so many backstitching lines. Then the instructions say to stitch the Rhodes with a simple five stitch pattern, but the chart shows a much more dense nine stitch pattern. I'll have to stitch one and see if five stitches will give enough coverage.

I don't mean to sound as if this pattern is too difficult for an average stitcher. I was a little intimidated by it when I put the first stitches in the center of that 29" square cloth. But I choose to do a Big A** Project and I am happy on how great it looks, even now. There are just some technical challenges that I actually am enjoying. If I really wanted stitching that makes me crazy, I can always pull out my 129 square needlepoint teaching pumpkin with the dozens of orange threads in 129 different patterns!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Successful Weekend

And here is the completely stitched Part One. No beads and gems yet, but much of the work is done. Including the thirty six Algerian eyelets . . . in 32 count.

I was somewhat worried about stitching them, but they turned out fine. They were more tedious than difficult. And once that was done, on to Part Two!!

This part should not take six months as there are are only four pineapples and a lot of border to stitch. The biggest hurdle is moving the fabric on the Q-snaps so that I can stitch the top and bottom motifs. Oh, and more specialty stitches. Four dozen Jessicas and Five dozen Rhodes Stitches for the Pineapples. And a ton of backstitching in this part. There wasn't much backstitching at all on the last part. I am considering moving this project to scroll bars, but I really like how lightweight the Q-Snaps are. Maybe I should be stitching this on a floor stand, but I can guarantee if I had to use a floor stand, it would only get stitched on rarely.

The next part has an entirely different color palette; all greens and oranges and reds. Unlike some people, I love stitching greens, so this part is fun. Later there will be parts all in red and black (volcanoes) and plenty more blues and greens. Not many beads in this part either.

I said I would move on to another project when I finished Part One, but I am enjoying stitching this so much, that I will probably continue on. James leaves for San Francisco and Honolulu tomorrow for a week, so I will have hours to quietly stitch. Though I am also looking forward to getting out the sewing machine, so maybe it will be finishing and sewing and not much stitching. Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Getting Closer

Even though I finished Bad Hare Day on Friday, since this is the Stitch-A-Thon weekend, I wanted to finish something else. And here is Hawaiian Mandala, Part One, with the cross stitch done. I still have 36 Algerian Eyelets to finish before I can move on to Part Two. And yes, I will have to come back to this when it is out of the Q-Snaps and add hundreds of beads and dozens of gems. This was one of the easiest sections to finish since I could just follow the pattern in other sections of the design and hardly had to look at the chart at all.

Since I have seen this meme on many blogs now, i have decided to play along.

So who reads my blog??

1. As a comment on this post, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember! And if we've never met in real life, leave me a comment of your favorite post I wrote and why it was your favorite.

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually really funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

I don't know if I will get around to leaving a lot of comments today, as I am in Furiously Stitching Mode, but tomorrow for sure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Hare Day!

Yes, the Hare is FINISHED. Hooray. The face isn't quite as charted in the pattern, but it seems fine to me, so I am going to leave it that way. This finish is brought to you by No Agenda, the podcast by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. It's a rather strange podcast because they talk about politics, food, technology, music, and socks in a totally random order. But I had about six months of episodes downloaded, so I just listened to six or so episodes in order until the stitching was complete. Some day this will be framed and hung in the bathroom next to my mirror.

This is the Stitch-A Thon Weekend, so next up is Hawaiian Mandala. It doesn't look like much needs to be stitched in order to finish Part One, but a lot of those little boxes will be filled with Algerian Eyelet stitches. That alone should take a couple of hours. I don't know if I will start Part Two now. I have pulled the threads for it and enlarged the charts, but I might just move back to Bothy's Cut-Thru Rocket. I do need to finish it before the end of the year.

The other two WiPs sitting on my To Be Stitched table are Rouge and Michael Powell's Cottage Garden I. I had a lot of complaints about Cottage Garden I, so when I asked, I was sent an updated chart. Sigh. The only problem it fixed was the Z and z symbols. The wrong color thread for the chimneys and the missing shadows on the house are still wrong. I could make adjustments from the model, but I don't think I am up to that right now. Maybe later. I do want to finish it as I do love the picture and the colors, but it will take more brainpower than I have this weekend. We are both still unwinding from the convention we ran and the trip to Denver. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Post Denvention Report

No matter how much fun they try to squeeze into five days, eventually it ends. If you have been reading Ruth's blog, you have seen pictures of the panels and readings and autograph lines and Hugo winners. Here are my best memories from the convention -- Perry Middlemiss and Rose Mitchell, the co-chairs of Aussiecon 4. Yes, there were dozens of other people working the Site Selection and Conversion tables, but without these two, there would not have been a bid or a convention. And so it goes ... Seattle and Reno are bidding for the worldcon in 2011, Chicago for 2012, and Texas for sometime. All of these bids had tables collecting money from presupporters and all of them hope to join the Long List of worldcons and worldcon chairs.

And so the thousands of fans picked up their goodies from the dealer's room and the art show and made their weary ways back home. You didn't see any pictures from the art show because photography is forbidden there, but now that I have my lovely additions to my collections here at home I can show you some of the amazing art that is offered by science fiction artists. We have a small collection of science fiction art, mainly focusing on rockets and spaceships. This is von Braun's Mars by Michael Carroll. Both my husband and I loved it from the moment we saw it and are so glad that we could bring it home. But it is not all paintings and watercolors and digital prints. More and more artists are doing 3D art; large bronze sculptures, models of spaceships and aliens, quilted and stitched pictures and bags, and ceramics.

This is a Mayan Quatal Pitcher and Casserole from Peri Charlifu. He is well known for his Lord of the Rings pottery, with beautiful elven verse on it. Much of it goes to auction and sells for hundreds of dollars. This is his latest branch into ethnic occultism using Cholan glyphs. I am not really a LoTR fanatic and do not favor delicate painted pottery, but I found this pottery absolutely irresistible. I asked him to make more. We also bought some more traditional pottery from a shop in Georgetown, Colorado, but although beautiful, it isn't as unique as this.

Monday morning we got up bright and early and hit the road. We made a detour south to see some more of the Rockies -- from Denver to Fairplay to Buena Vista to Aspen to Grand Junction again. Again the geology was overwhelming. I was so glad to have the Roadside Geology books so that I could know what I was looking at. This is the canyon of the Arkansas River near Buena Vista.

And this is the road from Buena Vista to Aspen over the Independence Pass (12, 095'), the highest point across the US Continental Divide. The road and the scenery were simply spectacular, but even my husband got a bit of vertigo standing by the side of the car and looking down. Maybe it was the altitude (7900') or maybe it was the fact that parking was difficult and expensive, but we were not impressed by Aspen. Unless you like overpriced stores, multimillion dollar mansions, and large jets, this is a charicature of a small town. We were glad to get back to Grand Junction which is a real and lovely small town with equally spectacular views (though probably not as good skiiing). We were so exhausted by all the mountain driving that we ate an early dinner and were asleep by 9 pm. I got up at 5:45 am (letting my husband sleep until 6:30 am) and we were out the door before 7 am. Although the scenery on I-70 is still wonderous, we just wanted to be home. We got home at 2:30 pm (helped by the one hour time difference between Mountain Time and Pacific Time).

And so I leave you with this. I only stitched 1.2 stars in the last ten days. But I promise to keep stitching until this is finished. Then I will move back to Hawaiian Mandala and finish Part One. I will need to start another smallish project to take with me starting on the 25th, when I have been called to jury duty. I hope this lasts no longer than my previous jury duties (a day or two). Amazingly enough I should be in Nevada until September 10th! I'm even going to drag out the sewing machine and get some finishing done and maybe even some sewing projects on my yearly goals.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Today’s SBQ was suggested by Outi and is:

"What do you do to your thread clippings? Do you just scrap them or do you use them in something else?"

Since I stitch in so many different places, I really don't have a central place to save my orts. I have taken a few pictures of orts after a particular design is finished (this one is from the basketball baby bib that I did last year), but in general the orts collect in a neat pile until it is time to clean up the stitching area and throw them away.

Today is the last full day of the Denver Worldcon. If you actually want to see what it is like, you should look here. Although I am carrying around a digital camera and a video camera, as usual, I forget to use them. And frankly I'm mostly in one place (Site Selection) and it is not terribly photogenic unless you like pictures of draped tables and paperwork. Today is more of the same. I have a ton of books to be autographed by Stephen Baxter and S. M. Stirling (and others). Now that Australia has won the worldcon bid for 2010 (voting closed at 6 pm last night much to the consternation of a women who knocked over a table when she was five minutes late and found that we were closed), I will be working the Australian Conversion Table. Yes, voting will get you a Supporting membership (you can nominate and vote for Hugos in 2010 and vote for the 2012 Worldcon), it doesn't actually let you attend the 2010 Worldcon. If you want to do that, you have to pay some additional money. Attending memberships will never be cheaper than right here just after the vote, so people line up in droves to buy their attending memberships. Membership fees will double by the time the convention is actually held, so it helps to buy one early. Again, like most SMOFs (Secret Masters of Fandom, also known as convention runners), I was too busy working and politicking to actually go to any panels. If things work out, I should have some exciting jobs in the future.

As Ruth mentioned, tonight is the Hugos, the annual awards for the best novels, stories, dramas, editors, and fans. It is highly competitive and usually highly controversial. There are so many different reasons why people vote for one thing over another. One well written book may not be "science fictional" enough to get the most votes. One writer may be so popular that their nomination wins, even though it is not the best work. One drama may not have been seen by many voters and may be overlooked. And like the Oscars, one nomination may win because of the past efforts of the nominee. Whatever happens, I will be in the audience. I ran this ceremony in Los Angeles and was stage manager last year in Yokohama, so I am a quite interested in all that goes on. All will be revealed tonight!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Road Trip

Yes, there is a bit more stitching done on Bad Hare Day, but not as much as I thought might be done. The visit from our friends took up way, way too much time that we should have spent organizing and packing. But we worked hard all Sunday afternoon and left at our scheduled time -- Monday morning at 7 am (or maybe 7:30 am, but when you are being aggressively early for a non-morning person, what's a few minutes more or less?) There was not too much traffic in Las Vegas, but the drive to Utah (through a piece of Arizona) was pretty boring. I don't mind if it is dark when when we drive it again on our return.

Starting in St. George, Utah, we saw more interesting geology. It helps to read out loud about the terrain you are covering from The Roadside Geology of Utah and The Roadside Geology of Colorado. Although I have been to Bryce and Zion and driven I-80 through Salt Lake City, I had never actually been in the middle part of Utah. I have to say that I-70 has to be some most beautiful and spectacular scenery along any interstate. Most of the distance from the western beginning of I-70 near Cove Fort to just past Rifle in Colorado is part of a unique geologic "bubble" called the Colorado Plateau. The entire area covering four states is geographically horizontal, but surrounded by folded and uplifted mountains. Here there are gorgeous sandstone mesas capped by basalt or other hard rocks with more fragile mudstones and sandstones partially eaten away by flowing water or just water freezing and thawing. Much of the sandstone has copper in it, creating the beautiful red and pink mesas. The picture above is from the Colorado National Monument, a park just outside of Grand Junction, Colorado. It has a 26 mile drive through it with numerous stopping points to admire the incredible canyons.

Just past Rifle, Colorado, the real Rocky Mountains begin. Here the land is uplifted (11,192 feet above sea level at the Continental Divide) and folded. But it is also much wetter, with more vegetation and trees (covering up the geology). Although beautiful in it's own way, I much prefer the lower elevations. We visited several lovely shops in Georgetown, Colorado (elevation 8530), but after an hour of sightseeing, I was winded and glad to get back in the car again. We drove on to Denver and checked into our hotel. We didn't even unpack, but went right over to the convention center to get our badges and check out the area. We saw some of our long time friends and shared a dinner of snacks.

This morning we both woke up early. James went to hang his art in the Art Show and went to work in Treasury. I went by Site Selection and helped them set up. At noon we started taking votes for the Worldcon in 2010 (Melbourne, Australia is uncontested but a vote now gives you a Supporting Membership and a discount on an Attending Membership). It was surprising to me how many of the voters I knew, even if just casually. I had a lot of fun talking to my Australian friends and discussing the function spaces that they will be using. Those of us who run conventions never tire of discussing function space usage and committee organization. I didn't see Ruth today, but I did get three books signed by John Scalzi and talked to several other authors I know. Tomorrow will be more of the same -- getting a book signed by Patrick Rothfuss and sitting site selection. We also have a dinner planned at a very good restaurant with some foodie friends of ours.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Some More Hare

As you can see, more letters, more borders, and more hare. There I was. Peacefully stitching his body back and forth, back and forth, and then the needles ran away from me and I was off the reservation. Do you often have a plan of what you are going to stitch and then suddenly you just have to stitch something way over on the other side of the piece? Or you are calmly stitching letters, when a flower calls your name? Maybe I just wanted to stitch his edges because I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to run into the border just below him. Maybe that was just an excuse not to stitch back and forth and back and forth. He's not going to be done in July, but he is pretty certainly going to be finished in August.

I got this much done because I was sitting and waiting for some friends from the Bay Area to arrive. They did, but not until 3 am. I was asleep, but James stayed up to let them in. This normally wouldn't be a problem, but then they slept until 3 pm this afternoon. We were waiting for them to get up in order to get some food. Boy was I hungry when we finally got to Lucille's (a tremendously delicious BBQ place). And they are going to have to leave again on Sunday. That's a long drive for a short visit. But we also have a long drive ahead of us on Monday. We are heading for Denver, but stopping in Grand Junction, Colorado, and arriving in Denver on Tuesday. We have our books for the trip, The Roadside Geology of Utah and the Roadside Geology of Colorado. On previous trips we have covered New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California. I read out loud while James drives. Luckily they are organized along the major highways, with plenty of pictures.

I still have to organize the dozens of books I want signed at Denvention (the World Science Fiction Convention). This is a chance to get autographs from lots of east coast and European authors you never see on the West Coast, like Charles Stross and Ian McDonald. I am starting to get excited to see them and all of my friends that I never see except at conventions. You might be amazed at all the stitching that goes on in the panel audiences (OK, and some knitting, too. But it is hard to knit a dragon.). Hope everyone has a glorious and productive weekend.