Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Stitch in Time

Most of you know that Troubadour has started the process to become a Team Oregon instructor. The beginning phase will see a few of his weekends taken up with auditing classes and, as I type this, he is heading to the range for his skills test. We've had weekends off together for over 4 years now, so this leaves me wondering how to amuse myself on the weekends.

He audited his first class last weekend so I decided to do our normal Saturday morning routine and head to coffee. It was cloudy, but it wasn't raining so I decided to ride Max instead of taking the car. The only time I've ever ridden by myself is to and from work. 3 miles there and 3 back again.

I managed to put about 11 miles on Max to coffee and back Saturday morning. If the weather had of been nicer I might have gone on a short ride on some of our many back roads just for fun. The rain was imminent so I headed straight home from coffee.

I did get a picture of Max in front of Coffee Culture to show I made it.

(Max missing Lucy - singing 'All By Myself')

When I arrived home I got a few chores out of the way such as hemming the bedroom curtains, cleaning and organizing the walk in closet and cleaning up the spare room. That done, I still had some time before Troubadour was due home.

I decided to drag an old hobby out of the closet. My cross stitching. I have been doing counted cross stitch for more years than I can count. The project currently on the rack is one I started over 5 years ago when Troubadour worked weekends and I needed to keep boredom at bay.

Here is my work in progress....Three for Tea, pattern by Nora Corbett for Mirabilia Designs.

(Three for Tea)

A close up of some of the sections with beading detail. Beading is hard to see on the pictures though.

When it is finished the stitched area will be approximately 14" x 18". It is stitched on 16 count cloth which means there are 256 squares or 'cross stitches' per square inch. It takes me approximately 1 hour to complete a square inch depending on how many colors are used and if bead work is needed. Yes, one project takes hundreds of hours.

The finished project will look like this stock photo from the internet (except mine has a lighter background color, which you can see from the photos above)

Prior to this project I stitched one titled "A Midsummer Night's Fairy", again by Mirabilia (my favorite pattern design company).

When I finish a project it gets gently washed, ironed, rolled up and stored in a plastic box waiting for an occasion to come up where it might need a new home. I have yet to frame one and hang it in our house, but in 2008 I found a use for the Midsummer Night's Fairy.

My boss' only daughter was getting married in mid-summer and Shakespeare had special meaning for the bride and groom so I pulled out the stitchery and added names and a date, framed it and presented it to them at their wedding.

(Prior to framing)

(after framing)

The size of the finished project with matte and frame was about 18" x 24". I have thought about making this one again, as I like it so much, but I think I'd do it on a lighter background next time.

For some reason pictures of a few projects haven't turned out well, but here are a few of my other favorites. Please note the pictures were taken after they had been rolled for a while so they aren't completely flat and it shows.

(Savannah Curtsy)

(Celtic Spring)

I actually had Celtic Spring framed and it was auctioned off at a silent auction for a local charity about 8 or so years ago. I am sure it went to a good home. I love it because it has so much bead work. All of the gold in the dress and robe and all of the border designs are beaded.

I did the following one for my brother for his birthday back in January 1999. This is a digital picture taken from a photograph of the stitchery.

I have a lot more I've done over the years but just wanted to include a few favorites.

So..... in case anyone wonders what I'll be doing during the cold rainy months while Troubadour is out on the range and auditing classes, now you know. During the nice weather I am sure I'll be out on Max for a ride. At any rate, I hope to at least ride to Saturday coffee and back even when the weather is sketchy, then come home and stitch away. With any luck I can be done this project before Spring.

- Au Revoir

"When your hobbies get in the way of your work - that's OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves... well." - Steve Martin


  1. I have challenge for you.  Can you do a cross-stitching picture that includes a motorbike?  That would fulfil two passions!

  2. Hi Trobairitz!
    That's wonderful cross-stitching and if you think that's an odd comment for a guy, I'm quite a fan as Jennie has been doing it for many years too. She cross-stitched teddy bears holding balloons for our granddaughter's first birthday. It took nearly 6 months of evenings to complete. She mailed it to Australia where the family were living at the time and it disappeared in the mail, never to be discovered. You'll appreciate the emotional turmoil after that event!

  3. I am with Gary, and thinking a Vespa would look pretty in cross stitch. My re-discovered winter activities will be swimming, and reading books I have acquired over summer.
    Riding alone can be fun too, kudos to you that you gave it a try. My longest solo ride so far was a 400 miles day trip. Not sure if I am ready for multi-day solo trips though.

  4. Your cross stitches are beautiful! I used to do it but gave it up becauseof tendonitits in my wrist & thumb :( i hope you get some nice rides in.

  5. Beautiful work! It takes a real commitment to get one of these projects done. And glad you were still able to get a ride in to Saturday coffee. And I guess I'm a fan of solo trips.


  6. Very nice. I applaud your stick-to-it-ness. I will admit I wasn't worried about you finding ways to keep yourself occupied and now that I know you do cross-stitch I'm even less worried. It will be interesting to see how you enjoy riding alone and to watch your own riding character emerge.

    And, again your work is stunning.

  7. @Gary - I haven't really seen any patterns for motorcycles, but I know there are computer programs that you can upload a photo and it comes out with a pattern and color key for floss. Hmmmm

    @Geoff - I am glad that Jennie enjoys stitching too. Booo on the postal service for losing such a cute project. I have done circus animals in clown suits holding balloons as a birth announcement before. They are fun to do.

    @Sonja - I think a Vespa would look cool. I have done one of a Metropolitan Nash car for the Mother-in-Law once.

    @Dar - I pace myself with the stitching. My back gets sore from hunching over before my hands do.

    @Richard - It does take commitment to get a project finished but I like that I can see the design emerge as I stitch it helps me to go on.

    @CircleBlue - If I get bored of stitching there is always yard work when the weather permits. We'll see how far I venture as a solo rider. I am not as familiar with the back roads and Troubadour usually leads. We'll see.

    Thank you everyone for the kind words in regards to the stitching. It is appreciated.

  8. Trobairitz:

    I'm not sure I could do such detailed work, but it is beautiful when finished. As for solo riding, I prefer to meet up with others "on the road". I get tired of talking to myself

    Riding the Wet Coast

  9. Glad that you made it out for coffee. Isn't it quite different riding alone? Completely different things going through your head?

    Beautiful cross-stitch work. Commendable to add the beading. Quite eye-catching. My mother spent evenings working on cross-stitch squares for a quilt that has never been made. I, personally, don't have the patience. So kudos to you. :)

    Love the America one with the colors getting lighter and lighter towards the bottom.

  10. @Bobskoot - It is detailed and pain sometimes to do the difficult parts of the stitchery, but worth it when complete. How could you get tired of talking to yourself? You have such good things to say.

    @BeemerGirl - It is different riding alone as I am not worried about when someone else is changing lanes or where they are turning. We'll see how far I venture out next weekend solo. The stitching takes patience, something I seemed to have gained more of over the years for some reason. I think Troubadour grounds me.