Projects for the New Year

I suspect that I do the same thing with my needlework projects at New Year’s pretty much the same way that others choose a list of New Year’s Resolutions – in a manner of speaking.

I am almost done with the Pascha Basket Cover that I am embroidering for a friend in my parish. It isn’t traditional, and not something that I would have chosen for myself, but I think that it will be very nice when it is done. I should finish in the next week or so – and then I will post a picture here (as soon as I get the film developed – I am one of the few without a digital camera 🙂

Other projects are still the icon of Christ the Teacher, an Elizabethian Stag using Appleton Crewel wools and am waiting to get a couple of designs from my priest for some liturgical embroidery. I am also preparing to start teaching cross-stitch to some of the younger ones in my parish – we will be cross-stitching Orthodox crosses on bookmarks – the cross I have chosen is a traditional budded 3-bar cross and they seem to like it quite a bit (the model that is, we won’t be starting until later in the month).

Tonight we have a Vigil service for St Basil the Great, who is commerated on January 1.


Progress on Projects

For me at least, embroidery and needlepoint seem to go at two speeds – which reminds me of the old fable of the Tortuoise and the Hare. The icon I am currently stitching for almost 2 years on have seen times when I may go three weeks without picking it up – then I may stitch large parts of it in a month. As far as this particular project is concerned, for me, it is about my frame of mind. While it is not an actual icon, but a chart of one, the subject is still Christ and I just won’t work on it when I am distracted or watching movies. The time for working on this project is when I can give it my complete attention, and sometimes are better for that than others.

However, the other projects seem to have the same two-speed approach, but different reasons for them. I have learned to set a deadline for myself for completion because if I don’t, I wind up with just too many WIP (works in progress) at the same time. I try to keep in mind that I can’t take any of my projects with me to complete them after this life 🙂 so I try to not have more than 3 projects going on at the same time. Sometimes this counts the icon, sometimes not…

It is very easy to get philosphical about needlework, and I suspect that this is common to all creative activities. While there may seem to be a rather large difference between painting, carpentry, weaving, needlework and others – creation of beauty is a very large component – and yes, often something practical at the same time. If it has come from the heart it shines through – regardless of the ultimate

Foot surgery and humility

Recovering from major foot surgery is a great teacher of humility. There is something about living alone and being told your foot can’t touch the ground for 6 weeks, so you hop around the apartment on a walker, long-suffering parish friends come to help you to and from church. Suddenly those 12 steps to get to the door of the church seem like Mount Everest, though Mount Everest may be less difficult to climb than those 12 steps. Other parish friends help with a wide variety of daily chores that you never dreamed of not being able to do for yourself.

From the walker eventually to a walking boot and crutches, and while things are getting easier, you can’t actually carry anything with crutches… and so the process continues. I tend to be rather stubborn, independent and set in my ways all this just blew all of THAT right out of the water.

Currently I have progressed to a cane, and am transitioning out of the walking boot into an ankle brace and over-large gym shoe. Full healing won’t come for another 3 months, but this is certainly the right part of the healing stage to be in, swelling is going to continue to be a major problem. The next step is to learn how to stand…. we tend to not sit much during our services. Certainly no one has a problem with me sitting in church, but it just doesn’t feel right to not stand – especially in certain parts of the Liturgy. However, God knows why I am seated, and I can only take this one day at a time.

There is a line in Psalm 50 that now gets my attention more than it once did … “Let the bones you have crushed rejoice again…” Times like this are often lesson times about far more than physical injuries that need repairing. 10 weeks alone in an apartment is a great retreat, even if a bit forced. Hopefully some of the lessons have sunk in and I will come out of this a little kinder and wiser than when I went into it.

That is enough rambling for today, next time it is back to the needlework 🙂

Current Projects

As most needleworkers, I have several projects in process. One is a Pascha Basket cover for a friend in my parish. For those who may not know, on Pascha (Easter), Orthodox Christians get together after the Pascha Service and have a meal with foods that we have fasted from throughout Great Lent. These are traditionally brought in a basket (though not really needed) and of there is often a decorated cloth that covers this basket until everyone gathers after the service. This is a cover of my own design, and I will post a photo here when it is far enough along.

I am also working on an Elizabethan crewel kit from The Crewel WorkCompany, Inc. (I generally don’t use kits, but this company’s kits are high quality). The kit is the Elizabethan Stag and I will post a link to it in my next post..

The third project is that of an icon, Christ the Teacher, you can find it here This is a very large project that I began work on in Feb 2003, and I expect to take at least another 1.5 years to finish. I am stitching it in petite-point which does take quite some time and is truly a labor of love.

I have read blogs galore over the past year or mor…

I have read blogs galore over the past year or more, and always thought that I could escape being dragged into the “blogoverse”, but it appears that I have indeed been assimilated.

I have two main loves, one of which is the foundation of my life. I am an Orthodox Christian, and from time to time I will post about that, and perhaps talk about my journey from a very different past to the present. I dearly love fiber arts, particularly embroidery, crewel, needlepoint and gold work, and what I love best is to do liturgical embroidery, and I suspect that I will speak more about this. Or not, we will have to wait and see what comes out of my keyboard in coming weeks and months. Welcome to my stitching garden.