Saturday, May 4, 2013

Metta at the Mudflats: Or, How to Take your Heirloom Project to the Beach

she gets out of the box!

We've had a stretch of unseasonably nice weather and my fantastic husband gave me the gift recently of a the day off.  So I did!  I went shopping, and toodled around a bookstore or two, and found a little corner of the world nearby where I've never been before.  I serendipitously found myself at Mud Bay, the southernmost extent of Puget Sound.  Mud Bay is aptly named. 

See?   Muddy. 

But, since I couldn't find my usual travel project on my mad dash out the door, I decided to take Metta Putfarken with me. She's my favorite right now anyway, and even though she's a big ol' broad, she travels ok if you treat her right.

What you see there is only three pages of this huge, 35-page Vierlanden sampler.  So I might still be at this one a while and if I don't bring her sometimes she'll never get done.  Even though the pattern is a reproduction, I can't leave well enough alone so I'm doing my version in shades of green rather than the original red.  With Metta's seemingly-infinite variations to the pattern, you can't tell me she wouldn't have liked it this way, too.

Unless she hated green or something.  But she is long since gone and *I* like green so that's good enough for me.

Those seven spools are different shades of solid, variegated, and "twisted" dark green HDF single-strand silk.  The linen is 40-count Sassy Fabric linen in a color I can't recall right now but it's a pretty, warm-toned off-white. 

I admit to some initial trepidation about shlepping this big, heirloom project all around creation, but to me, something I spend this much time with on the couch should share the rest of my life, too.  So this is how I am careful to manage it.  Turning around at taking a picture of the work space I found here in the muddy environment, you'll see it is relatively mud-free:

This is a perfect stitching-in-the-wild spot.   Relatively sheltered logs and roots over coarser gravels with less sticky mud.  And a view.  I find the best style of travel projects are geometrics and those which I don't need to refer to the patterns too often; if the second half of a sampler element or a rosette is a mirror image of a first half already completed, I might not need to pull out the pattern at all while I am sitting in a spot like this.  Less bobbling about = smaller chance of slipping and dropping something in the dirt.  In this case, the pattern is still safely in the project bag propped up on the right. 

A pouch to manage the threads is also important, of course.  Many of my projects use little 'floss-a-way' bags on a ring, with a hole punched in the corner to feed thread through from a spool, and in my opinion good travel projects are monochromatic or often use only a handful of colors.  But because this isn't my first rodeo, when I travel with Metta I still travel with the handmade pouch I made for this project, though, because I just get so much satisfaction from using pretty things.  And look, this one matches the mud!

You might also notice that I am managing all the excess fabric by loosely rolling it up.  I really like these little stitch clips for that.  I only use them when I am actively stitching in a setting like this and otherwise they live in the project bag or floss pouch.

And, my final tip: always remember it is just fabric and thread.  A little sand is just going to brush right off. Worst comes to worst, it can be washed.  

For me, stitching in nature is even more therapeutic and meditative than stitching in front of the tv.  And if you're spotted, good!  The handcrafts can use more visibility.  And if you get a little mud on the corner of your linen, oh well.  Think of the stories that piece of cloth can tell, someday. 

If you ever stitch in the wild, take a picture and show me!  I'd love to see where your creations have gone.  Maybe we can start a movement.   Or just get a lot of satisfaction from fresh air and fine linen, at the same time.  Ahhhhh.