I chose too big of a project. As explained in other posts, for Christmas, Jason’s family exchanges one name, we make or purchase a gift and may donate the balance of the budget to a charity of our choice. We drew names (were assigned names) in October of 2006 for Christmas 2006, which was eventually celebrated on New Year’s Eve. I searched and contemplated and hunted and stewed to find just the right gift for my person-Granny. There was not doubt in my mind that it would be handmade, I fancy myself a crafter. I don’t usually craft large gifts because of the time involved, but I found a wonderful cross stitch stocking that was solid stitching in a normal sized stocking shape. Granny likes cardinals, so I was on the look-out for birdies. While at a local chain craft store, I happened upon this stocking with a light gray-blue background fabric and two beautiful birds, one male & one female. It reminded me how unfair life seems for the girly birds, so plain. Since discovering a male and female cardinal at my own feeder this winter, I have changed my mind a bit. The female is absolutely gorgeous in her own interesting manner.
Of course I purchased the stocking kit, thinking it would involve a few hours of work, but it would stitch up in now time. The last major stitching project I did took me two years to finish, but I was a kid when I stitched it. I finished most of that project while working in an office at a family camp in northern NY. Needless to say, after putting several months of effort in, it was clear to me that I was not going to finish on time. I had already purchased several small trinkets and treats to put in the stocking and realized I was going to need a new thing to use instead. While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my mother turned me on to loom knitting. She was hoping to craft with her granddaughter, my niece. After venturing to a local chain craft store the day after Thanksgiving, aka black Friday, we triumphantly returned to my parent’s house with yarn and looms. I was so intrigued by how fast we knit up hats, that I purchased a set of looms when I returned home. After conferring with Jason, I decided to purchase some thick acrylic yarn, I didn’t know if she was allergic to anything, safe than sorry side. I knit up a cute little hat and put all the trinkets, treats and treasures in the hat.
I brought the cross stitch to Family Christmas and showed it to Granny, nearly everyone else had seen me stitching. I put it away every time Granny was around, so that put a slight damper on pace. She graciously allowed me more time to finished and asked for me to make it into a wall hanging instead of a stocking, which was not a problem. I put it down for a few months, my arm was tired to stitching. When I was ready to pick it up again, Jason had proposed, I had a wedding to plan, I had been invited to visit MCF in Africa, and my world was spinning. I stitched occasionally, but not as often as I should have. I even took it to Africa in case I wanted to stitch on the plane or in my free time. I was too tired on most of the planes to do anything more than ready mindless books and sleep. Free time at MCF was spent doing other things, like playing with children, taking walks, and enjoying Africa.
It returned with me untouched, but I had renewed determination to fit it in around finalizing wedding details. My plans never seem to work out exactly the way I hope. I didn’t end up doing the big push to finish until Christmas this year. I told myself I had until New Year’s Eve to finish it, so I took it to NY and stitched in the car when I wasn’t driving. The steering wheel prohibited efficient stitching. I am happy to say that while I haven’t maintained proper verb tense while writing, the end is in sight. My new end date is tomorrow, GR Family Fun Day. I just may make it. The frame and hanger won’t be finished, but the bird stitching is finished, with only the made up border in my head to finish.
On the subject of the border, I am a Photoshop/Illustrator girl. Not because I love it or detest anything else, because it is what I learned. They are the tools I had at my disposal while working as a graphic editor. I have since switched to GIMP for Linux & Windows. The Gfig filter is giving me fits. How does this fit into Granny’s present you ask? Thank you for asking, let me tell you, I decided on a rectangle border around the edges, but since it is a stocking shape, I would have empty space in the top left and bottom right corners and what better to put there than a coolie swirl. I grabbed a compass, printed some cross stitch graph paper and drew and erased and drew and erased and drew and erased. Then I remembered that Jason was playing with a spiral tool on the computer the other week. I popped open GIMP and tried to add the spiral filter to my existing graph paper, no such luck. Because my brain is constantly troubleshooting and comparing, I decided to eliminate variables. The only was to get the spiral tool to work correctly was to draw it in the filter with the graph paper underneath, save it all, close it all, open a new, blank image, open the filter and magically, it appeared. I have stitched one of the spirals and am enthralled with it. I did have a little consultation with Jason, so I may owe him a fee or credit or something.
Stay tuned for pictures . . .