As I mentioned last week and shortly before I took off on my little vacation, I did some traveling recently. And of course I took some embroidery with me!
After all, the plan during my sisters’ reunion was relaxation, and I always figure embroidery is a terrific tonic for relaxation.
And I knew a few of my sisters were bringing knitting along, so it made sense to bring some stitching, too.
And since I was driving, I had plenty of room to tote stuff! Yay!
My first mode of business, then, was to pack up a subtle, nondescript tote bag with some embroidery supplies.
I contemplated several different projects that I have going, but I decided that the key to actually stitching during the break would be to take some very simple embroidery – the kind that doesn’t take much thought, planning, or attention. After all, I’d be more likely to pull out a project if I didn’t have to pull out too much of a project.
So, looking ahead to a summer kids’ class I have in mind, I stuck with some basic flour sack towels with simple designs.
Reasonably, one towel would have been enough. But you know how it is: what if I finish one, and want to do another? What if I finish several and want to do several more? And I have all that room in the car. What could it hurt?
So I set up something like ten flour sack towels to take along.
I filled up my tote bag with the towels; with a large collection of random threads that would work for casual embroidery; a box with all kinds of suitable needles in it and other tools; a couple pairs of inexpensive little scissors; and a few hoops.
And then I thought about hotel rooms along the way, and considered that I might want to stitch in one of them. And we all know that hotel room lighting pretty much stinks, right? So – since I had room in my car – I packed up my Stella Two light, which boxes up easily for travel.
And then I thought…What if I didn’t want to hand-hold a hoop? Ok, I’ll throw in a floor stand. After all, I’m driving, and I have room!
And I’m going to use it all, right?
The first opportunity I had to take out any stitching was my first morning at my sister’s house in Pennsylvania. I was up early, and alone, and while all the roosters and sheep had settled back down after their initial morning salute, this fellow above was up and alert.
Now, I know that many people stitch with their cats. And many stitchers love cats.
I like cats, but I like them from a distance, being highly allergic to them. I love to watch them, and I think I might even like to cuddle them, if it weren’t for the fact that they’re cats, and 1. they only cuddle on their own terms; and 2. they interrupt my ability to breathe.
So, early one morning – my second morning away from home – out came my stitching.
I established myself in a comfortable chair. The house was quiet. There was a bit of morning sunrise going on, and it really was the perfect situation – until I became the object of scrutiny of a cat.
We considered each seriously for several minutes, each saying nothing, neither moving, each wondering what the other intended.
In the blink of an eye, intentions were clarified.
The little beast landed on my lap, right on top of all my stuff, before I knew what was happening. And then he proceeded to poke and prod his face into mine. I have a hands-off policy when it comes to cats due to the allergy situation, and I couldn’t get the recliner down to jump up.
“Shoo,” incidentally, means nothing to a cat.
After a minute or so of curiosity, during which I tried to snap a reasonable photo so that I could prove to my sister that I was assaulted by her cat, the thing turned around, tail in my face, and enthroned himself on top of all of my embroidery supplies, covering them up completely with his inky black bulk.
Since vocal commands mean absolutely nothing to a cat, we had to come to a different sort of understanding.
After a good scrub down with soap and water, I re-established myself to stitch, with our respective territories now established.
With several hours of solitude-aside-from-cat before me, and a good plan laid out for stitching, it promised to be a perfect morning!
I opened up a new skein of coton a broder #25, so that I could start my first towel.
I pulled the wrong end from the skein.
So I pulled the other end.
And I ended up with a massive clump of thread.
You know how it is with pull skeins! I’ve written about their secrets before. But even when you know the secret of how to conquer the pull skein, you can still mess one up right heartily with very little effort!
I spent the next hour or so separating that clump and cutting stitchable lengths, which I braided to keep under control. Then I had the bright idea to open up all my other skeins of coton a broder, separate them, and braid them.
That way, I was guaranteed to have Absolutely No Problem with thread the rest of my vacation.
And it worked!
I didn’t have One Single Problem with thread from then onwards!
And you know why, don’t you? Because that was the last time I touched my embroidery supplies the entire time I was gone.
But you know how it is – the pace picks up, your attention is pulled this way and that, and the next thing you know, you’re overlooking the ocean on a sunny morning, with a cup of tea…
It was tough, but I survived!
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