In a new rhythm for the summer—a rhythm that gets violently shaken up again in a few weeks—and taking everything slow. Letting thoughts marinate all day to do RealJob stuff passively and then feverishly write for hours once the big ideas work out. My desk is a “book station” that I wander by and interact with as needed; that is, rather than sitting still to do all that thinking, I putter around doing sleep-walker tasks like washing dishes, taking walks, and stitching. Luckily, I’ve gotten to do more writing than other stuff for the past few weeks, but a few stitches still happened.

Months ago I worked out how to design my own intricate stitcheries. Yes, there are very good software convertors for images, but the colors are often mapped weirdly and I don’t appreciate the chunky (and clunky) renderings. So I take images (photos or my own drawings), print them on paper, break them down into a rectangular grid, and then chart each rectangle into a spreadsheet. An engaging process in its own right, I have moods when charting an abstract rectangle is the most perfect activity. There is some opportunity for improvisation on the small-scale; I contemplate the subtle differences between DMC 666 and DMC 817; I toggle the same tiny square on and off a zillion times just to see how one square changes a particular effect; and I daydream about all the stitcheries I hope to design in the future.

studies in red
This is a screenshot from an old design from December.

It might be a sickness. A touch of Pixel-itis?

And now it’s really what I want to continue to learn to do. My laptop is bulging with prototype charts of designs and there’s no way I’ll ever stitch them all. For now, I’m just going on instinct to decide which ones to turn into textile form…actually I mainly choose the ones with new techniques in them so I can see whether the decisions made to create the charted image translate well. So far, there’s been just one disaster. But that brought on some BigLearning.

Even though I someday hope to employ some stitchery minions in my workshop, right now I’m more than thrilled to do each and every stitch myself so the learning accrues through every possible sensation.

studies in red

Stocking the flosses, choosing the base fabrics, organizing, re-organizing, arranging the lamp “just so”, and even cleaning these cheater reading glasses are moments in which I love to dwell.

And sometimes it all pays off with a design that seems to be working out.

studies in red

This is just one quarter of the image… I struggled with gray-scale months ago and I think it was due to the lack of grays in my palette. But there is enough of a DMC red spectrum to capture the subtleties that are my goal. And I think I’ve now learned enough to tackle that gray-scale again? Eh, who knows? It’s all a great adventure.

Here’s hoping we all have a peaceful and colorful week!