Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Assertion Of Self or This Ones For The Boys

I frequently post my completed projects to craftster and enjoy letting others know what I think of thier work (remember what they say: stealing your idea and making it for my room is the sincerest form of flattery). I ran across this post by a fellow male stitcher, appropriately named MrXStitch, who included this information with his latest project:

"I've been a lot more public with my stitching, doing it on trains and public places, and it's been an interesting experience for me and suprisingly emotional"

Of course my first thought was if you just change the word "stitching" the whole sentence takes on a new meaning and describes other things I like to do on the train and in public. Seriously, if the spelling/ and grammar errors didn't tip you off, this blog is by a 14-year-old.

Once I actually paid attention to what he was saying the implications of it got me thinking. I've been stitching publicly for a while now but not always so. When I first started I would go to my local craft store after closing for thier potluck/UFO night (UnFinished Objects). I would make something fabulous - because I am more awesome with a pan then I am with a needle - but once I got there I was still to embarrased to stitch in front of anyone. I brought my project, I showed my progress and I even discussed my future plans. But I would not stitch. Stitching was a great stress reliever with my last job and I loved doing on my lunch. But I would park the car in the corner of the lot and go out there to stitch.

I would do it at home. My sister and her kids would give me a little laugh but in that "family tease each other about everything" way. but the hardest part was doing it at my current job. I work in a box taking calls and we are painfully slow most of the year. I brought my stuff and kept it in a drawer for a month before I took it out. Then I just left it on my desk for a week to see if anyone said anything. Now, it's all I do at work. I make things for people. I get a lot of questions. But I also got asked to participate in a company craft fair. Well until it came out that most of my stuff was not work appropriate.

But there is still a stigma. One of my tattoos is on my neck. Yep, my neck. But its not because I am tough. You wouldn't know it unless I told you or you and I had being a HUGE nerd in common, but its from Star Wars. Still when asked how a man got into cross stitching I mentioned it was to relieve stress. I kid you not my coworker asked "Did you learn to do it in prison"?

Somehow the man cross stitching and the neck tattoo and wanting to relieve stress led to the conclusion that I had been in the klink. And that was emotional for me because how many people think the same thing and don't ask? I have been called many things by the uneducated and mostly unwashed masses. I've had trash thrown at me because they think a guy with an embroidery hoop can't start some shit.

But as equally important are the conversations my working in public has started, the compliments and oohs and awwws I have gotten at my work, and the friends that I have made because of it.

With that, I am a HUGE fan of MrXStitch. His work and his ideas and his creative use of unwanted projects has been a big inspiration to me. I cant imagine someone so talented and funny having to needlepoint in the dark alleys behind unreputable craft stores.

So this one's for you, Sir! Consider this your Cross Stitch Coming Out Party. Sorry we forgot the chips. Luckily there is a hooker in the corner. And by hooker I mean someone is doing crochet. But men like us were probably already thinking that!

Any good crafting in public stories? Share 'em in the comments section people!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

240.8 Stitches Per Day: The Old Gold Maturity

So no picture update last week. I just dont feel like I had gotten far enough to warrant one. It was a crazy week. I just could not find my motivation. Fortunately I did find most of it between the couch cushions so I have a lot of ground to make up.

I had no shame in mentioning in my last post that I planned on faking a lot of the sky. I am still working on the largest of the two suns and I had to stop and write this. The next big block I am getting ready to do is mostly divided into two colors. 676-Old Gold Light and 729-Old Gold Medium. My apologies if you dont use DMC floss as the numbers wont make sense but I am sure you get the idea. I myself only use DMC exclusively on larger projects so I can keep track of the multiple shades. When doing something in single shades such as straightforward red, blue, green - think my Tetris cross stitch. I just use what I find on sale at the store. I think its usually Jalynn or something like that.

But I digress. Needless to say when I got to the Old Golds I thought "Hell yeah I can just pick one and run with it". Yes there is an obvious shade difference in the two. I personally question if 676 is Old Gold light or more of a light gold. I guess what I am getting at is that I dont want to skimp and cut corners. I am gonna do the two seperate shades and when its all done I may be the only one who ever notices. There is a good chance I will have forgotten. But I want to do it right. I dont know if this is what they are talking about when they say "artistic integrity" or if this is some new personallity trait that (hopefully) will make its way into other situations in my life. I kind of hope so.

Anyway, that's enough out of me for now. I am going to be paning for gold the rest of the night.


*Updated Update* No matter how "old" the color, the jerk at the bank said I could get more for Fool's Gold then DMC's Old Gold. I yelled "Nu-Uh. Needlework warms the soul, let's see your precious fool's gold do THAT". It would have been much tougher sounding without the crying though.

The Golden Girls

Friday, March 13, 2009

240.8 Statiches Per Day: Blocking Out The Sun

So most of the week was pretty slow at work. I decided to take a stab at working on one of the suns (for those who are unfimiliar with Tatooine or didn't see the first post, there are two suns in the portrait). I figured this would be the hardest thing so far since I can really fudge the sky if I am getting bored. Is anyone really gonna notice I didn't switch from peacock blue to peacock blue - light? Probably not. But I wanted to not skimp on the sun. I want it to radiate heat. I want you to have to cover your eyes and drink some ice water when it is done.

I did not know the suns on Tatooine appearently have some violet in them. Something I did not know about Star Wars...or at least Star Wars cross stitches.

For a day and a half worth of work (we were a little busier today) I think it came out nicely.

Still a lot to do just on the first sun but theres a lot of sky I can fake too!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blast From The Past: There Is Nothing Like Your First

Because following just my Obi-Wan portrait is comparable to watching grass grow I thought I should post some other things here from time to time. But since I am not working on any other projects at the moment other then Obi-Wan, I thought it would be cool to post some of my older stuff. I am sure that most of it can be found collecting dust at craftster.org but its my blog so I'll post waht I want to. Including spelling errors, apparently.

So here is my first self-designed project. I have a shirt with the Pac Man ghosts on it so I made a chart from that. Oh if I had known about sites like
http://www.spritestitch.com/ back then. It took me almost a day to come up with something I thought looked right. I like to tell people (like my pastor's wife) that it's not dirty, it's more of a gladitorial challenge being issued by the ghosts. Ok, you got me. There is nothing there but some Pac-on-Poltergeist challenges of lust love.

I never got around to framing this. It went straight into my binder of completed/forgotten projects and still has the indentation from my embroidery hoop. Windy actually suggested framing some of my stuff and hanging it around the house. Maybe this one will see a second life. Hopefully it will be better then the Second Life I played. 46 hours a week playing my electronic self who still sat at a computer. But I didn't have a beard so maybe that was an angel showing me how my life could have been.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

240.8 Stitches Per Day: Meetings, Trainings, Meetings About Trainings and Trainings On How To Have Meetings

Bloody Hell.

It seemed like everything was working against my very simple - and dare I say reasonable - goal of 241 stitches a day. Sadly I have not even had time to count how many stitches I have but I know it's not a lot. There was one day I never even made it to my desk. It was all meetings as mentioned above!

Ok it is a lot. But it's not where I need it to be.

I decided to "frame" the top and start the left side. I thought it would give me a sense of accomplishment on every stitch I did if I could see how much closer it brought me instead of feeling like it was one more stitch towards an infinite and unattainable horizon. Someone call the cops. I know all that poetic sadness just stole your heart! Seriously, I am a fugitive of love, people.

Back to framing the piece. It is much smaller then I had anticipated. After crunching some numbers and some Cheetos, as well as looking at my receipts, it appears I have "chosen" a 12-count cloth, not 14 as previously thought. So the pic is gonna be a little bit smaller, which is find because the detail will be a little bit more in your face. Plus it will look more like an actual photo. At least when I take my glasses off.

To test that theory I hung the finished computer sim of the portrait on a wall and walked towards it without my glasses until I could tell it was not really a portrait. Needless to say I was right!!! I also have a bloody nose and a small hole in my wall. Yep, I was right.

Stitches to date: Don't ask, don't tell

Monday, March 2, 2009

WTF Was I Thinking?

First day working on Obi-Wan at work. 253 stitches. I thought I was done half way through my day. I thought I hit 241, or at least 240.8 and I was gonna stop there because momma didn't raise no overachiever. Also no third grade graduates but I think that's her fault not ours. But what felt like 240 was really 214 (isn't it funny how 14 and 40 sound AND feel kind of alike?) so I found a quick block of 39 squares that were all the same color and in a relatively straight pattern so I could get them out quickly.

Also someone asked how many colors are in the finished piece. 72. Wait, 72? Really? I knew I should have done that silly looking Obi Wan from the Clone Wars cartoon. Probably would have been like 5 colors and even then I wouldn't really need to fill in the white if I used white cloth, right?

Honestly while I was not expecting 72 colors I did allow for up to 75. I feel if this is going to be my only piece with this kind of scope then I want to go balls-out. My apologies to any readers of the fairer sex. Not because I use language like "balls-out" but because you have no idea how great and natural it feels to be balls out and thus probably can't appreciate the analogy.

I have two other big pieces I want to do but both are based on simple art or cartoons and thus 8 colors tops and all primary ones at that. This is my crowing achievement, I hope. So even though 72 colors at what feels like breakneck speed is probably gonna drive me to crazytown, I hope it will all be worth it.

Total stitches to date: 671