Monday, August 25, 2014

If you build it, they will come!

I've been looking for an embroidery group on meetup for the longest time, so today I took it upon myself to create one! I got my favorite cross stitch project out and started back up in a very conspicuous place. And then I fucked it up in a way that can't be fixed. Oh well. I've done too much to turn back now! I must have started this in 2000. I've done other things since then. This one has a lot of very tedious stitches, but I love the design. The original was featured on Antiques Roadshow. Anyway, I remember how much I love cross stitch, so I'm having a really nice time.


My focus since last Wednesday has been piano interspersed with reading. I have no interest in knitting, sewing, or dolls, but a vague interest in taking up cross-stitch again. I don't know how long this will last. It takes a while to create a habit, I should look it up, but my excitement with playing piano is carrying me through. I have my little goals and I've been meeting them everyday. It's hard on my spirit to be playing such easy music compared to what I played in college, but I believe I can reach a very high level if I can keep at it.

I think music and math are the highest pursuits, and I feel invigorated by trying to fulfill my potential. Math isn't going anywhere for me, but music could fill the rest of my life. I may take lessons on my own terms next year. I have terms, lol. One hour every other week, my choice in literature, no writing on my music unless I do it, and no recitals. A lot of teachers won't accept those terms.

I've been really happy. I've wanted to read a lot lately. I read Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. I wanted more, so I found a list of classics on Good Reads that I'm going to work on. I've always regretted not reading the classics. I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird now. Next on their list is Pride and Prejudice, if you can believe that! Yes please! Many of the books will be free on Gutenberg, but I had to pay for Mockingbird, not much.

I am retrenching in some areas of my life, reducing the drama I was exposed to, but I'm still going to get out once a week, to keep my psychiatrist happy. I guess it will be knitting for now, but I may look into cross-stitch and see if there are any groups.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Old Friend

I've been alternating piano and Jane Austen today and it's been wonderful! What a perfect day! I'm going to buy some hard to find music tomorrow for my someday stack of music, music that was accessible to me on my other instruments that I hope to someday play on piano. I hope I can stick with it this time. I was quite advanced on woodwinds and I know if I just stick with it, I'll have that fluency with piano, too, and nothing feels as good as that, having the vast repertoire of piano at my fingertips.

But today I'm playing level four, lol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I put my dolls away. I haven't been interested in them or sewing for several days. I'm all focused on knitting now, and from the depths of memory comes a renewed longing to make music. I'm so distracted right now. We plan to move when our lease is up in June. That is very definite. But where to changes daily. I've renewed my plea for climate over housing. Housing in the Texas valley is extremely affordable, housing in other places that interest me is prohibitive. I'm tired of being hot most of the time. I need to move.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Some Good News

First, this is a scarf I'm making to match my hat and gloves.

I got a couple Martha Pullen books yesterday for a good price on Amazon. It resparked my interest in historical costume and Dresden lace, which is white on white fancy embroidery. I started thinking I would drop knitting. The horizon doesn't hold much cold weather for me, so there is really only doll knitting to do. If I'm doing historical doll work, there's no reason to keep up the knitting.

But today something really good happened, and I'm knitting again. A while ago, seems like a couple months, but probably not that long, I applied for a scholarship for a TKGA course on professional finishing. Today I got word that I got it. I am so excited! Inspired again by knitting and very very grateful. This course has four lessons and then a project. The project is a complete cardigan, which uses most of the techniques covered in the course. I just happen to have a current cardigan project, and I didn't want to finish before taking this class. So I'll get to finish it this year. I'm so happy!

I also have yarn for a big coat that is unnecessarily difficult, or tricky. I wanted to have this course information before making it.

So it's a good day for knitting! And now I'm getting back to it. ..

Sunday, August 10, 2014

well, that passed

Thank goodness. That dollmaking bug passed. I'm happy to buy my dolls today. I'm quite fickle, though, so that could change at any minute.

I'm still working on the same design element on Hannah's underwear, a hem stitch. Real simple, but over 64". It's taking quite some time. Of course that never really bothers me, but this is the first time I've made something for such a large doll, and this is the first time I've sewn by hand. I haven't put a full night on it yet because I've been really tired lately. I foolishly allowed myself to run out of thyroid hormones. It's been two weeks since I ran out and I'm really feeling the fatigue.

After this hem stitch, I'm going to put in two pin tucks. This is just for the bottom ruffle. In the skirt, I want to do three rows of drawn thread work to echo the hem stitch, separated with two sets of two pintucks. The skirt is 32" wide.

Did I say I have a doll in the mail? Probably. I'm really excited about her. I'll save for fabric next. The stuff I prefer has gone up $40 per bolt. Then I need a red head Hannah and a black Hannah. That should be enough Hannahs. That will make four.

I found an old briefcase thing the other day and I've decided it's perfect for keeping my design tools together. It has four file sections and one deep section. Lots of pockets in the front. It's an accordion-type thing.

I have too many ideas for what to do next. One involves knitting with cashmere! Yummy! One involves designing a fitted pieced sweater for a predominantly red fair isle cardigan. Another is a possible picture embroidery type thing, a forest scene, inspired by some of the work Maggie Iacono does on her pinafores. She paints but I would be embroidering. But I don't know how to do crewel, so I don't know how that would work out.

Well I have just enough beans for a half pot of coffee. I plan to drink it all tonight and do as much sewing as possible! But first I'm going to look at some books on whitework. I get so distracted. Probably why it takes me so long to finish things.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Path to Madness

Oh no. Here it comes again. That aching desire to create a doll. It always leads me to mental dis ease. Is it a coincidence that I accidentally went off some of my meds this week? I wonder.

We've been book purging, which has made me think about my favorite books, which reminded me of a particular book on dollmaking, which ignited this old feeling. I went searching for all my favorite dollmaking books and put them all together in one place. I've never even looked at this Robert McKinley book. I've probably had it twenty years. I think I'll read it now.

I've been gradually changing the way I think about the things I make. I've decided to keep them. This is so freeing. I no longer have to worry about whether someone else will like what I like. I'm the only one whose opinion matters. It has taken a long time to get to this place. I've always given away what I make and I am left with nothing of lasting value.

This goes somewhere. Maybe if I try dollmaking again, for me and not to sell, maybe I can chill out enough to actually finish something.

So I'm going to read this Robert McKinley book on dollmaking and see if it has something that plugs the holes in this silly fantasy world of mine.