Good news: my laptop is fixed! Apparently it was the video card. The good news was that said video card was part of a lawsuit Apple had against the manufacturer, so I got the $500 part replaced for free. The MacBook – it lives again!
I had a lovely time at Stitcher’s Hideaway this weekend. The winter retreat is organized as an alumni retreat – basically to get together and stitch for two days. No classes, no specified project. Just bring your own stuff and stitch. Some people were stitching previous class projects, but most of the attendees brought a project (or two, or ten) to work on as we chatted, laughed, vented, and ate way, way too much food. It was great to see familiar faces. This was my fourth Stitcher’s Hideaway, so there are a lot of familiar faces now. Some of the women I’m friends with on Facebook, and that’s definitely helped make it easier to jump in and be active. Surprisingly, my social anxiety didn’t kick in much this weekend, although I was absolutely exhausted and hermitish on Sunday when I got home!
While alumni of previous Stitcher’s Hideaway retreats get first dibs for the winter retreat, any space left after January 1st is opened on a space-available basis to whomever is interested, so we had a few newbies among the group. I sat with three of them for the weekend – Janice, Marie, and Lynn, all from Connecticut, for the weekend, and we had a great time. I hope to see them either at another retreat or possibly at a casual stitchy get-together in the future.
My scissor fob for the exchange was finished JUST in time for the exchange (hooray! Finish #2 of the year!) I was frantically finishing it in my hotel room on Thursday night. I’m pleased how it came out, although somehow the fabric still is a little wonky after putting it together. If you think you’ve seen this pattern recently, you’re probably right. I grabbed it from the most recent issue of Just Cross Stitch – it’s the fob that’s part of a sewing box set. I’m hoping to do the entire set for myself later. The cord is storebought from JoAnns. The tassel is simply the ends of the cord, pulled apart into a fray. In return, I received a cute crocheted frog-shaped fob that matches the froggy drink coasters I received at October’s retreat. The body of the frog fob is a sleeve for the scissor shears. I took pictures of it and all of the insanity stash from the retreat and put them on my Flickr Account. Warning – don’t go if you are on a tight budget! I think at least three of my purchases were brand new from Nashville Market releases. Between my purchases and the generous gift bags received by everyone at the retreat, I have definitely had a wonderful weekend of stash enhancement. I also won a gift subscription to The Gift of Stitching, which is great – my subscription runs out later this year, so I’ll be happy to jump on for another year.
I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, but really – when do I ever? I always misjudge how long it actually takes me to stitch things. Still, I made some nice progress on a couple of pieces. I brought four pieces to work on – Deep Blue Sea, Witchy Washy, my Mirabilia RR, and Four Seasons of Mystic. I threw a few stitches into the Mira and Witchy Washy, but nothing worth nothing into either.
I stitched most of the time on Deep Blue Sea, and finished a good chunk of the Rhodes Stitches in the center (all of the very light blue clusters) and balanced the light aqua cross stitches on the top, bottom, and two sides. I misread the chart and did the rhodes stitches in two strands instead of one. I like the coverage of the two strands, so I’m planning on doing the darker Rhodes squares in the same way, rather than frog everything. I’m planning on working on DBS again tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll have part one done soon. It’s just really, really slow. *sigh* I know I shouldn’t feel pressured with time on this one, but knowing that I’m two parts “behind” on the releases is frustrating me a bit. I know this isn’t a race, yet my brain won’t knock off being idiotic.
The other project I worked on was Jeannette Douglas’ Four Seasons of Mystic, which was the teaching piece for the October retreat. It’s not published yet – I’d expect it will show up in stores probably sometime later this year or early next. It’s a fun sampler full of different specialty stitches and different fibers. The satin stitches of the border are done in wool. Everything else so far is in various blends of silks with a small amount of metallics. I added a couple rows and swore a lot about my french knots, which I despise (I’m no happier with Colonial knots). I’ll likely be taking the blue knots out to redo, although I haven’t decided how I’ll approach it yet. The strand in progress is a basket that’s cross stitched over one. I adore this piece. There are just so many things to do that I can’t be bored. The stitches are intricate, so the bands go slowly. That purple band just above the word “Spring,” for example, are woven bars done with one strand over 3×3 threads. I needed to use my magnifier for them. Someone asked before on my blog, and I’m not sure if I ever answered – but the reason the bottom two rows are done is because I’d never done Jessica stitches before, and I wanted to get them done in the class back in October while I had Jeannette there teaching. So the trees and the Jessica on top of Jessica stars were done months ago. I finished the woven bars, Spring band, and the partial green floral band below it on Saturday afternoon.
It was a great time. I’m still a bit tired from it all, but it was a much needed break. Now I have through Wednesday off at home, so I’ll be splitting my time between some projects and some putterings.