Monday, December 17, 2007

This is the counted cross stitch project I've been working on since 2001. It is based on a painting by Christian Riese Lassen. I've been trying to get a picture of it ever since I got my digital camera in March. But my camera doesn't have flash and apparently it doesn't handle bright light outdoors well either. I thought it was my ineptness at photography and the digital technology that was ruining every attempt I made to get pictures. I guess it was at least as much the fault of a cheap camera.

I decided to see if I could get a decent scan of it. I had to do it only half at a time and because it is stretched on a frame the scanner lid could not be closed. It took me six tries on the bottom half to get it centered right and to block the light enough. My mom came in to the room twice during the process to show me pictures she had found and to tell me the stories behind them. She talks with her hands no matter what she is holding in them which is why we have not been able to work in a kitchen together since I was in my late teens. It was bad enough when only she was legally blind. Put the two of us together and it isn't pretty. *

Anyway she was gesturing as she told a story about a picture and she knocked the scanner lid over which jarred the canvas and that scan didn't work. A little later she walked in carrying a big album of pictures open in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other and the album bumped the canvas frame in the middle of another scan. But as you can see I finally got a fair enough scan of both halves.

I'm still a long way from done with this. Although I have finished the background of X and / stitches, there is still a lot of detailing stitches to lay on top. Those stitches are more like embroidery than cross stitch or needlepoint. There is also the two rows of gold X that frame the entire picture. I am working on the first one which shows on the top half. Another row will go around it with a blank row between. Those X are made with two strands of gold floss combined with a strand of metallic gold. I had so much trouble getting the stitches to lay flat and working more than three stitches without knotting, that I took out most of a side and the top of that first row and started again laying down one strand at a time. First a single strand of embroidery floss, then the metallic gold thread and then the second strand of floss.

Most of the work on this was done in 2003. I commonly worked eight to twelve hours a day on it. When I started writing again in 2004, I stopped working on it every day. And when I started sitting with Ed's grandma that year, I took it over to her house to work on it and left it there so I worked on it only when sitting with her. The light in her front room was an artist's dream with those huge picture windows on three walls. When Grandma died in June, my sewing stuff was brought back to the trailer house but by then the good full spectrum lamp I'd been using before had died and my prescription glasses had been damaged. It was too hard on my eyes. Both of those issues have been dealt with since Thanksgiving so I hope to start working on it again. Though not iin eight to twelve hour sessions. I don't want to give up my writing but I do want to add back some of the other passions in my life and fine needle work is one of them.

This is my last night at my Mom's. I'm going to be spending tomorrow night in Vancouver with my sister-friend Jamie who will be taking me to the bus stop at six-thirty Wednesday morning. I have spent most of this evening packing. Still a ways to go on it and I have to get it to a certain place before I let myself scan anymore pictures. I didn't get nearly as many scanned as I'd hoped. I spent so much time searching the corners, cupboards, and crevasses of this house for the boxes and albums. I don't think they have all been found yet either. I also spent hours sorting them. It seems that just as I get it set up to take off on the project I've got to quit and who knows how long before I can get back to work on it again or where those pictures will migrate to in the mean time. It was two years between visits this time. I hope it won't be that long again.

*Though it is true that I alone in a kitchen is a sight not all that pretty. I started my day by nearly setting fire to the kitchen when I turned on the wrong burner for my coffee water and there was a skillet with a wooden spoon setting in it on that burner. The skillet had been used to caramelize onions for dinner the other night so there was a tiny bit of olive oil in it still. I went to check my email while I waited on the kettle and a few minutes later I started smelling smoke. By the time I got back in the kitchen that wooden spoon was black half way up the handle and the spatula end of it was smoking. Both the spoon and the skillet were done for.

0 tell me a story:

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