Sewing for Masochists

Yesterday's sewing was a battle between persistence and surrender. As always, it started with slow-stitching. I stitched up most of the current embroidery hoops-worth.

I could have spent a little more time and stitched up the basket, but it seemed like a good time to get after those dreaded cast-on stitches. It took about a half hour to stitch just one forget-me-not, but it looked pretty good when it was finished.

My biggest challenge with these is remembering to let the needle drop and unwind itself before moving on to the next petal. If I don't do that, the floss tends to tangle as I try to pull the needle through all the little loops I've made. Also, allowing the needle to unthread, although it actually works out fine if I leave enough floss to rethread it before pulling the needle through. And if you've never tried this stitch, none of what I'm saying will make any sense. If you're curious, you can watch Meg Hawkey's video tutorial. If you can't see the video, then click right here.

And, oh you! You forced me to her website where there's a sale going on, and...well, you guessed it. I spent a smaller-than-usual fortune, but only because everything was on sale. Geez. Stop tempting me, wouldja?

But to get back to the forget-me-nots, I was tempted to do another, but the first one took so long I decided to hold off until this morning. I'm hoping to finish the remaining two so that I can get on with my life.

Outside, I noticed the cherries are turning red. I wonder who will get them this year. Us, or the raccoons.

One would think with a pack of coyotes running around, the raccoons would be in short supply. I suspect we owe last year's success to the coyotes clearing the property first.

Another flower has opened on the calla lily. There are at least two more still to come. I'm sort of hoping they'll all open together before the first one starts to fade. This has been the most delightful of garden surprises this year...well, but then there were the poppies, and those were pretty great too.

The echinacea are making progress. This is the purple...

This next one will be more yellowish-orange when it's fully opened.

The pink one is a different, taller plant, and its petals are just getting started.

Some of the hydrangeas are beginning to open. This one is the smallest of our five plants. It gets more sunlight than the others, and it has been slower to grow. Nevertheless, it is the first to bloom this year.

It's neighbor to the right is just getting started.

The tomatoes are a bit of a puzzle this year. I think I'm relearning why I abandoned the San Marzano tomatoes in favor of the Romas. These are not doing as well as I'd hoped. There are about half a dozen tomatoes nearly full-sized now, but very little else happening on the plants. We think they may have been too wet, and so we've turned down the watering schedule and given them some fertilizer. I'm hoping they'll take off.

The first flowers have started forming on the zucchini.

Oh and that reminds me, I tried this new recipe last night. This one used CSA onions, zucchini, and the remainder of the salsa verde from last year. Our farmers tell me the new crop of tomatillos should be on us very soon. In any case, this was really good and got two thumbs up from Mike. These are Skillet Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce. I liked this because it's all made in the same cast-iron skillet, although you could use any skillet. It doesn't have to be cast-iron. It uses jarred salsa verde, and goes together pretty quickly. I could even do this in the RV without driving myself crazy.

I offer this up as a way to use your bounty of zucchini without alienating all your friends and neighbors. Just to be clear, it is still legal to toss any spare zucchini into the open car windows of random strangers. This activity is especially well-suited to grocery store parking lots.

Moving on, my next masochistic project for the day, Return to Clementine. I left her here the day before, and I wasn't at all sure this was working.

Overnight, I came to the conclusion that I really needed to start looking for some larger pieces to literally fuse it all together, and so I focused on getting the ears finished. A cat isn't really a cat until it has its ears and whiskers. When I stopped for lunch, I had her this far. She's starting to show herself.

Clementine is a shy cat, and I think her pawtrait is shy as well. By day's end, I had her this far, and I was feeling a lot better about her.

Today, I'll start adding her body below the face, and I'm hoping I can finish up with the fabrics by the time I quit for dinner. These really start to come to life when I add in thread, and so there is still much to do before she's finished.

It's another easy-going day here at the Three Cats Ranch. We've had some rain, and we're expecting more, which is just fine by me. I can spend my time on fabric and fur kitties, without needing to get out and water my squirrel-chewed plants.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Deb and Karel said...

I love reading your blog everyday!! I like your idea about randomly tossing the zucchini. We have 3 plants that I think are going to get out of hand quite quickly. Thank you for the recipe, as I have been looking for new ideas. I always feel inspired by your accomplishments!

Julierose said...

Oh Clementine's light ?pinky/lavender? bits are just so purrfect-- I think!! It is really coming together so well..
Those callas are gorgeous--I've never tried to Summer any here in the Northeast...I love the pinky interiors...you may have predicted what curves will become!! It's now apart once again--*SIGH* this is getting obnoxious...
hugs, Julierose

Shirley said...

She is going to be absolutely beautiful!!! You do such a wonderful job on the animal portraits.

Quilting gram211 said...

I so enjoy your blog. I love seeing the cat pawtraits you do. Your do an awesome job with each one. It’s amazing that putting the ears “on”
makes a big difference.

Cathy said...

Clementine is coming along beautifully! I never doubted you! On those cast-on petals, you can always take a little hidden tacking stitch to get them to lay down (or otherwise obey your every command) after they’re stitched. I can’t wait to see that cute piece in its entirety. It almost makes me want to pick up my embroidery again.

Dots said...

I love to watch your cat pawtraits come together. You were worried for nothing. As I looked at the Clementine picture on today's post, I could clearly recognize her. It looks just like her picture. Amazing work! I love your blog.
I don't embroidery but want to when I see your work. You just keep it all going.

piecefulwendy said...

The title alone had me laughing before I even began reading :-) I was also delighted to know your little diversion to Meg's website ended up with a package coming your way. Warms my heart to know I'm not alone in those little side ventures! Well, if you have to have coyotes, and they clear the raccoons, that's something. Those enchiladas look great. Maybe I should send you my three cat photos, and have you do pawtraits. One was black/white, one all white with a touch of grey (wouldn't that be fun?) and Wilbur, who's golden. You whip them up so fast! Clementine is looking really good.

quiltzyx said...

Meg Hawkey makes those stitches look so easy, doesn't she? But your little flower is lovely, so you must be doing it right too.

The color on the Calla Lilies is beautiful! Gotta love those $1.00 bargains!! I hope you & Mike will need to use the tractor to pick all the cherries again this year...

What a difference an ear makes on the pawtrait...

Yummy sounding/looking enchiladas. Love me some tomatillo salsa too!