It doesn’t seem like it’s been so long since I posted my January Ort photos for the Totally Useless Stitch Along (TUSAL). No matter—I still have added quite a few snips and strings to the container.
Kind of pretty aren’t they!?
And then I dropped the container in the dogs’ bed, so everything got shaken up and turned around!
What was the top is now the bottom!
But here’s a new one for you. I have a good number of orts still on the fabric!
All the color you see represents orts not yet in the jar!
I was working so diligently on a model that Sabine Taterra-Gundacker will soon be posting as available at her sensational e-store, European Reproduction Samplers. This one is a reproduction of the sampler created by Martha Stone in 1840 when she was young, but exact age not certain (that I know of.)
It is a simple but charming design representing two young girls in their fancy dresses with what were typical toys of the time. A couple cupids add to the charm. And the whole thing is surrounded by a continuous strawberry border. I’m thinking the girl didn’t clean and cut up too many strawberries because her color gradation is backward. And the right side and the left side are not symmetrical—that kind of bugs the perfectionist in me.
But for heaven’s sake she was just a kid! Imagine yourself at 7 to 9 years old and no pattern to stitch from. You sit down with some fabric and thread and “color.” When you think if it that way, this kid was a prodigy! Shoot, many of us adults don’t do as well!
The hard part, well actually two…
The first hard part was not correcting what I perceive to be her mistakes—changing the gradation of the berries and making the border symmetrical between berry groups.
The second hard part was realizing after 17 hours of work that I made a mistake back in hour two of work. I was off one stitch. It affected the left and bottom borders, one that I had already completed and the other had a good start on. So, I started unstitching. (Some call this frogging because you “rip it, rip it, rip it!”) The more berries I ripped out, the more uncomfortable I was with the idea of continuing with the fabric. The red thread (DMC 304) was discoloring the white fabric slightly. Because I really thought it would show, even just a little, I started over completely.
See how they run!
But the new work is looking beautiful and I am happy with how it looks. I am triple checking my count because I don’t want to go through this again. And I want my piece done when Sabine is ready to post the finished instructions. So, I’ve set all my other work aside temporarily.
So far, so good.
I don’t like running colors or threads…this is the back
So why did this happen and how can you avoid doing the same thing?
Let me say that most of my stitching during my stitching life has been when I lived alone with no television and no pets. NO DISTRACTION! It’s a lot like meditation. Very easy to be peaceful and calm when you’re isolated and have no interruptions—when you have total control of your environment. Not so easy when you’re folding clothes in the laundromat on a Sunday afternoon. Not so easy when you’re walking down a sidewalk of Washington D.C. when all schools in the country have sent their school children for their spring trips. Not so easy when your dogs are barking (i.e. screaming) at strangers walking by or jumping on your knee indicating it is time for a walk in the wilds. Not so easy when your partner decides—just as you get that empty mind thing going (i.e. counted the 30th stitch of 42)—it’s time to talk about where we want to retire!
It is time to learn to meditate/stitch in the middle of living. It is an incredible challenge. But that’s living. It’s a challenge to walk and chew gum. It’s a challenge to move from left to right brain in milliseconds. It’s a challenge for a vegetarian to live with someone who doesn’t eat beans, cheese, or rice! These are the sorts of things we choose to and that also that we must do sometimes. And we do it. And I will learn to stitch with distractions, just like when my monkey brain jumps into the calm pool I can get it to sit still.
In stitching terms, this mean I must:
- recognize I’ve been distracted
- determine when the distraction began
- go back to where I was at in my stitching when the distraction began
- recheck my work
- when I pick up my work anew, recheck from the beginning to ensure dealing with my distractions didn’t distract me further previously and contribute to unrecognized mistakes!
It’s all about recognizing, accepting, and assuming one’s place at the baseline to continue. Pretty simple. Right?!
Until then, there’s the Totally Useless Stitch Along. Which is a lovely piece of art in progress. (And so, not so totally useless!) And when my jar is full, all those scraps will be turned into Prayer Flags! More on that later! Until then love the froggy green!