Blended Leg

Just a general needlework and cross stitch blog

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The unfortunate heron

So the flamingo was lonely in her menagerie and asked if maybe I could stitch a bird-like companion. Since I needed a project for the Stitch N Pitch game, I readily agreed to stitch Aury's heron, if I could find fabric and floss. I had a whole batch of Vikki's pretty D-bag skeins to choose from. Y'know I was tired of stitching the same colors, so I stayed away from my usual crimson/red/scarlet variations. I instead picked out a lovely shade of orange. I only finished about half of the project at the game. The biggest irony was looking at my color choice -- I'm a Washington Nationals fan and we were playing the Baltimore Orioles, so there I was at Nats Park in my red W cap stitching an orange bird at our home game. And yes, the Orioles wound up winning 2-1. Irony thy name is...


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stitch N Pitch 2009

I managed a few photos of Nationals Park, but none of the Stitch N Pitch event. They’re up on my Flickr account, if you’re interested. I'll add photos of the hat & my project later.

I attended my second Stitch N Pitch event last night. The Washington Nationals were hosting Baltimore Orioles in the second game of the vaunted “Battle of the Beltway”. The sad truth is both teams are hanging out in their respective division’s basements, so it was a fair match-up, but a frustrating one. There were a lot of Orioles fans in attendance, as evidenced by the ones shouting the traditional “Ohhhh” during the national anthem. At times, I felt like I was the visitor and not at a home game. That made it difficult to really enjoy the game like last year.

The Metro trip to the ballpark was still relatively quick and uneventful. The construction is still in progress around the Nationals Park and I unfortunately get the sense that it’s at a standstill.

One surprise once you’d entered the stadium – if you were one of the first 20,000 fans, you received a free hat! I’d forgotten all about the promotion. Even adjustable, the hat was way too big for me. I could have easily fit my other cap over it without any trouble.

The Stitch N Pitch event was again in one of the conference rooms. I’d grabbed a flyer from Needlewoman East when I was at last at the store. I hadn’t known where to go last year so I spent time hunting around.

This year was definitely smaller and more low-key. Sara Leigh Merrey of Scarlet Thread was gamely demonstrating needlepoint, even showed me to do a simple tent stitch on a “W” pattern. Tent stitch I learned was all about the intersections, which took some getting used to. I think she had intended to demonstrate counted work, but they’d changed things around. I showed off the Book of Ink Circles one last night. That conference captured a lot of sunlight, so it was perfect to see how my colors really looked.

There were other tables for cross stitch, knitting and crochet. There were no goodie bags this year. You could buy an eco-friendly bag for $5. Knitters and crocheters had the option of creating a square for charity. I wish they’d had an option like that for the needleworkers. I do still feel like the knitters/crocheters had a stronger community than the needleworkers.

Most of the knitters in my section knew each other by name. By contrast, I knew only one or two of the people from Scarlet Thread.

Unlike last year, they also had vendor tables for a couple of local designers and a couple of the shops, including some beautiful Quaker patterns. The crowd was definitely smaller this time around. Of course I showed up fairly early when the gates opened. They did schedule it for the Saturday of a major holiday weekend, so that worked against it too.

Afterwards I headed upstairs to find food & drink and my seat. They’d removed the pretzels from the place I’d gone to last year, so I made do with an order of French Fries and water. Water seemed like the smart play, since the soda had made me so thirsty, but it was struggle. Alas the drink vendor who came through our section only had beer and water.

I was seated in section 302, only a section away from where we sat last time around. They’re still great seats of the third base side and left field. You can’t miss the massive scoreboard giving you all the balls and strikes, useful when you need to look up and reorient yourself.

I had knitters on one side of me, although Donna LaBranche, who taught my baseball biscornu class, turned out to be seated only a few seats away on one side. And on the other, I had another family of which the daughter/wife was steadily needleworking away. I was a little worried when the older man broke out the bag of peanuts. I’m not allergic, but the smell does have a tendency to make me nauseous a little.

Ross Detwiler pitched extremely well, even getting himself out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning. Young Justin Maxwell performed highway robbery of the best kind in center field by snatching a ball before it went over the stands for a home run for Adam Jones. Great catch and apparently made the ESPN highlights and well deserved. Unfortunately Maxwell miscalculated a later hit that allowed the Orioles to score, so he still has a lot to learn. Christian Guzman had a gorgeous home run. But it still wasn’t enough. The Nationals eventually lost 2-1. The Nationals just weren’t capitalizing on our chances, compared to the Orioles. But it was nice to see both Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman playing in person. They were both injured by the time I saw the team last year.

I did get quite a bit of cross stitch done on an Aury menagerie freebie of a heron. A gorgeous bird flew over the stadium during one of the late innings. My seatmate suggested it might be heron and maybe I was a good omen. I didn’t have the chance to point out the critical mistake I’d made in choosing my colors for that project. I was tired of shades of red, so I’d picked this lovely pretty color in my d-bag flosses from Vikki Clayton. There was just one problem: the floss was orange. Yes, I was a Nationals fan stitching an orange bird. The irony was not lost on me.

Speaking of That Bird, he made an appearance during the President’s Race to trip up Teddy from sprinting to victory. I cried “Foul!” as it were. I’m sure the Orioles fans were pleased. They were quite vocal in their support, especially when they introduced Redskins players’ Mike Sellers & Antwaan Randle-El. (As I quipped, Randle-El could do dear damn near everything they threw at him, so maybe they should try baseball! It might have helped.)

After the game, I hiked down Half Street back to the Navy Yard to find a Metro train to L’Enfant and then home. I actually have very few complaints about getting to the Park or back home, compared to some DC events.

All in all it was a good game, but I think it’d be improved by going to the game with a few friends. Also I hope that next year Nationals have a better team and a different opponent.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book of Ink Circles updated finally!

I've been slowly getting back into working on my Book of Ink Circles project. I ran out of several major colors, which slowed me down. After reordering from Vikki Clayton, I've been slowly getting parts done during the hockey playoffs. I'm still not wild about either shades of blue, especially the lighter one.

Uncertain what to do next, I asked the designer. Tracy Horner offered some color suggestions. One idea was to swap the blues, making Magpie Warbles the dominant color in this corner and using my purple as a shadow. The end result created an interesting z effect with the center cross because of the way Mahogany variegated. I found I liked the old Ultra Maroon I still had left over. (I don't know if it's the new floss or a dyelot issue, but all of my colors are a lot lighter than before. Serves me right for not buying enough at the time.)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"The flamingo is ridiculous looking bird."

So it's been awhile since I've posted here. Time just has a way of getting away from you, doesn't it?

Quite a lot has changed since that last update. My old haunt, Needlewoman East, has shifted almost entirely towards needlepoint. They still carry a good selection of specialty threads, but from a cross stitch charts and fabric perspective, I'll have to look elsewhere. Scarlet Thread moved from Vienna to Great Falls and sadly will be closing next month. There a few stores left in the Northern Virginia area, but not a lot of them are public transportation friendly.

The latest scan is a Quaker-inspired flamingo created by Aury. She publishes some lovely freebies of different animals and they're very easy to stitch up. The blog is bilingual in Spanish and English. For threads, I used a Vikki Clayton mystery spool. When I saw the color initially, I couldn't imagine what I'd use it for. I tend towards more muted colors. But this color seemed perfect for this particular bird of paradise. West Wing fan that I am, she's nicknamed "Claudia Jane".

Hope to post some of the older updates, including my Olympic stitching, my first needlework class, Stitch N Pitch and continuing trials of the Book of Ink Circles. I'm back-dating those posts and marking them "flashback" in the tags, so readers can find them easily. I tried doing them as new posts, but that was going to get confusing fast.

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