I need a coach to whip my cross stitch schedule into shape.

This is my problem. I have a rotation, 12 hours on a project than switch. I am supposed to be working on my #3, the black gryphon. Instead, I am obsessed with finishing this one.

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Look how close I am to finishing! A lot of this section is one color, no confetti. That goes really fast. I could finish it in one more 12-hour rotation. I’m SOOOO close, so why not keep going?

My stitching coach would be dressing me down at this point. “You put the rotation plan in place to finish all your WIPs. How are you going to do that if you get obsessed with #2 on the rotation? Get the gryphon out and start stitching!”

None of my stitchy friends are helpful here. They would all fail as stitching coaches since their behavior is no better than mine.

Fine, just a one more day on Serenity, and then I’ll start on the long-neglected gryphon.

Really, just one more thread.

I was supposed to have 15 WIPs in 2015′ but I have 17. We’ll blame it on inflation.

Here are a few I’ve added.

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This one is more of a UFO. I found it in the bottom of my basket, but it won’t take much to finish it.

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This one is on 10 count using Caron Watercolors, a really beautiful fiber. And 10 count is so easy on the eyes!

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This one is my first mystery project. I love Lizzie Kate patterns, and thus one is a treat so far.

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This is my first Bothy kit, I collect teapots so this will fit right in.

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The one is part of the sheep virtues series. There are 12, all pretty quick. I like the fabric, even though it’s small.

All the other projects are still ongoing, but I can’t finish it if I can’t start it!

I’m sure I’ll finish something in 2015, after all I have about 5 seasons of Supernatural to catch up with.

What’s a TUSAL?

It’s a large quadraped which looks a little like a llama, but it has nasty teeth instead of a beak for eating honey.

Llamas

No, it’s not that.

It’s a Totally Useless Stitch Along, this other blog explains it well.

http://www.itsdaffycat.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-totally-useless-stitch-long-2014.html

So essentially, you start with an empty jar and fill it up with all your bits from stitching. For no reason. This goes well with my current plan to start all the projects I have kitted out and put them into the rotation. That should give me a lot of things to work on this year.

I don’t know how many finishes that will give me but I can see a couple that that are close. Meanwhile I will save my ORTS, and take pictures. I missed the new moon on Jan 1, but I can pretend.

Yes, it’s that time to set goals for the new year. I will exercise more! I will lose that last 10 pounds! I will clean the basement and get rid of stuff I don’t need! I will read James Joyce’s Ulysses!

Ulysses

OK, now we’re getting silly, there is no way I am reading Uylsses. I really tried, twice but unless I am getting a grade on that book, there is no way I’m reading it. No matter how many Top 100 lists it ends up on.

It is part of this list, along with Don Quixote and 100 Years of Solitude. I hear those are tough as well.

This year, I am going to read some of those books, and also work on the Science Fiction version.which is here. I have read many of them, but there are many I’ve never heard of. If you only read a few, you should read Ender’s Game and Canticle for Liebowitz. Don’t watch the movie of Ender’s Game, it misses the whole point.

I will try to read Game of Thrones this year, I thought the show was awful, maybe the book is better.

When I am not reading and doing all the other things in life which are far too boring to write about, there is stitching. I am going to have 15 WIPs this year, because it’s 2015. I can tell you already that I will have more than that before the year is out because that’s how I roll. And I’m sure to have a few finishes in there too. I can see one or two which are close enough that a couple rotations should finish them.

I am going to add a couple crochet WIPs in there and I am thinking of another baby blanket, just because they are easy. I could also sell them to buy more craft supplies. Anyone have a new baby on the way in the New Year?

I also have some job-related goals, but that is still in the works and the subject of another blog.

Happy New Year, I hope it brings you many good books and a few finishes of your own.

Most stitchers, based on my unscientific survey of various Facebook crochet and cross stitch boards, have multiple projects.

In my case, I have ADHD when it comes to these things. I love the look of the complicated patterns. Those Heaven and Earth Designs are fantastic and gorgeous. But they are so huge. It’s a commitment. Like marriage or a car payment. You can’t see the end of it, so you plug away going through 30 pounds of floss by the time you are done.

As I said, it’s a work of art which you are glad to hang on your wall and gaze at. But at some point on the process of stitching, I need a finish. It keeps my motivated. So in between the Big Ass Project (BAP) you have a Portable Project.

My current PPs are an afghan I have been crocheting for 3 Winters now and the Christmas ornaments. The ornaments are the 12 Days of Christmas, I started at 12 and am working backwards. Right now I am on 8 Maids a Milking.

The afghan is a log cabin pattern. I don’t do a lot of crochet in the summer because it’s just too hot. All that yarn on your lap is not fun. But it’s fairly portable at this point. Soon it will be a non-portable project because it’s just too large. Then I guess I need to find another, maybe a prayer shawl. They are very portable.

My problem is that I have too many stitching friends on FB who post gorgeous pictures of what they are working on. And, since we have similar tastes, the same pattern is often in my stash. So i have a moment of weakness and there is another project started. I would like to blame those friends but I’m sure that when I post my projects, other people have similar reactions. I apologize in advance.

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So what is the solution? To paraphrase Dory in Finding Nemo, just keep stitching!

Just a note to my followers to wish you all a happy day, no matter how you celebrate it.

I hope the new year brings many joyful experiences, many starts and finishes for all the stitchers and much success.

But not too much success, adversity builds character.

ayn rand

(NB: This was originally posted in December of 2011 and caused some consternation among a couple of my acquaintances. One in particular ranted against commercialism and spoke about teaching her child the spirit of Christmas (despite being a declared atheist). Then she spoke about how many presents her child got from Santa. My goal is not to isolate any other acquaintances, but to get you to think a little. If you don’t celebrate Christmas as your holiday, I still wish you the peace and joy that is the heart of that Mass for Christ.)

Some people who are not Christian or at least not followers of any established “organized religion” sometimes get annoyed at us with our insistence to “Keep Christ in Christmas!”

They mock us as we have magnets on our cars or buttons on our winter coats as we happily wish a “Merry Christmas!” to all the poor retail folks who are banned from saying those words by Corporate Order. They seek to ban nativities in the public plaza, and stop any government agency from posting Christmas symbols. They never seem to make such a fuss over the Menorah.

Well, Merry Christmas to you too!

I know some of the arguments:

  1.  Christ was not born in December; he was born in the spring, so we are celebrating the season at the wrong time.
  2. The traditions of Christmas are derived from pagan customs so the holiday as it is celebrated now is not really Christian.
  3. Christmas is cultural holiday now, and belongs to everybody.

I will take those one at a time.

  1.  Yes, there is plenty of evidence that Jesus was born in spring. There were lambs in the fields, constellations, etc. The date of Christmas was decided in the 300s by one authority because the various churches were all on different calendars. The reason for the Mass of Christ (CHRISTmas) still remains the same regardless of what day we celebrate it. The date is like something the Catholic Church calls the “accident” The event we celebrate, the birth of the Savior, is the substance. We as humans need the accident because we live in one plane of time with a past and future and we need dates. God does not; all time is the same to Him. So we could celebrate this Mass anytime of the year, but we choose to do it December 25th. So the fact that He became flesh in spring instead of winter doesn’t mean anything.
  2. When the early Christians were trying to convert the pagans, it was convenient and expedient to adopt the local customs. They banned the midwinter festival at first but people still celebrated, so they created an alternative. So there are a lot of traditional symbols which are really pagan. Red and Green are fertility colors, St. Nick could be interpreted as Odin the all-father. But it really doesn’t matter, see #1.
  3. I like the idea of a holiday we can all have. We all get the day to see family, be nice to each other, stop shooting at each other and just get along for one day. But all those folks who want that day are latching on to a day the Christians chose to celebrate a Christ-centered event. Besides, I wonder how Jews or Muslims feel about Christmas becoming a “cultural holiday” when many aspects of it don’t necessarily celebrate their culture. Doesn’t that make in more non-PC?

I have a proposal.

Christmas is now divided into two holidays. You can celebrate a non-religious, non-Christmas holiday like Festivus. (Stole that one from Seinfeld.) You can have trees, Black Friday shopping, turkey and ham for dinner and all of that. But if you are going to leave Christ out of it, then you can’t use any overtly Christian songs or symbols.

No “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” or “It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” No angels on the tree, no baby Jesus underneath it.

Or you can celebrate Christmas, the real thing. The people who do celebrate the day as a Mass for the birth of Christ get those carols and the lights and the angels and the baby Jesus under the tree.

We still wish you peace and good will. We are still your friends and relatives and we still love you. We still would love to see you at Church, but what you are celebrating is the accident of Christmas; a holiday without substance. If you don’t want to come to Church, that’s OK, come to dinner. Please bring a dish to share.

 And on that note, if you rant against the commercialism of Christmas and say people have lost the meaning of it, and then you fight to get into Walmart at 3am on Thanksgiving you are like the pot calling the kettle black. You have removed Christ from the Mass, not Walmart. You are using that date as a reason to buy toys for your kids. Maybe you shopped locally (Thank you!) but you still did it.

I know that you can have the whole Black Friday shopping event and still keep Christ in Christmas, it’s not impossible. For some that shopping day is a family get together. Don’t go overboard with the shopping thing.

This is America, and we have religious freedom. That means I get to celebrate the Holy Day of Christmas and you get to celebrate your way. Religious tolerance goes both ways, I don’t try to change how my Jewish friends celebrate the holiday.

If you want the right to celebrate it without Him, you have to let me celebrate it my way too. And that includes the “Keep Christ in Christmas” magnet. (http://www.kcnativitysets.com/)

So Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.

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This is the list of WIPs. Not included are things that need to be finished, like the Christmas ornaments I need to sew. Or things I’ve put on hold, not sure if I want to finish them.

It’s a nice even dozen. So then I took a D12 and assigned them a number. I will spend 12 hours on each and hopefully there will be a finish at some point.

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This is number 1. Recognize it? Shiny!

If you don’t you’ll have to wait until my next post or find a geeky friend to explain. And then maybe loan you the DVD.

I’m debating about posting a more seasonal/political rant. It’s a minor rant about Christmas and saying Happy Holidays and atheism. But last time I posted it, a couple people on FB unfriended me.

Well, if you don’t want my opinion, then you shouldn’t ask.

Would any of my 7 (yes, 7!) followers unfollow me, I wonder. Freedom of religion is one of the founding ideas of this country, and I defend the rights of any atheist to be just that. I have no desire to convert anyone. Just wanted to clarify that.

I will ponder as I stitch.

Instead of any major stitching today, I am looking at the many things I have in various stages. I need to re-institute the 12-step program.

That’s working 12 hours on a project and then switching no matter where you are on it. I find it derails easily when you get near the end of something and just want it done. That is why Iris was finished recently.

I have one crochet project with a deadline, so that will come first. After that I could go for the one that is closest to being done. Or the one that I haven’t worked on for the longest time. Or the one that looks like more fun. Or I could list them all here and let my 3 faithful readers decide.

I have a Halloween one that I wanted to get done by October, but that didn’t happen. I could work on that now so it is done by next Halloween. It is all one color so it goes pretty fast.

There are a lot of options with this. But I don’t want it to be a stressful thing. This is a hobby, not my job.

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That bright orange fabric is the Halloween project.

I am going to make a list, assign a number and roll some dice. We’ll let God decide, if He wants to intervene.

My main project today is sorting through 8 grades worth of pictures. It’s a little break from stitching.

Before we get to the words, let’s start with this.

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Iris is done, the pattern called for the largest size of Mill Hill beads but as soon as I added that first one, I thought it was too much. I like her without them. And she’s my Iris, so I can do that.

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Here’s a closeup. Her wings are my favorite part, so much bling!

I think I will concentrate on my Christmas ornaments, sew up a few of those and next year restart the rotation properly again.

The Christmas tree sits undecorated in the front room right now. It’s a live tree so you have to let it adapt to the room and drop needles all over the floor. So I can’t finish it up for a couple days anyway.

Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas.