Sunday, 20 October 2013

That's handy! (Part I)

I'm still poorly.  I've coughed my lungs up so many times I'm surprised I've still got any left.  And I'm astonished at the body's ability to create so much snot.  Which is now, apparently, in my Eustachian Tubes and has made me go deaf on my left side.  And I also woke up at 6.30 this morning with a sinus headache, one of those bastard ones that doesn't really respond to paracetamol.  Thank the Gods I included Sudafed Sinus in my online grocery delivery which should be arriving within an hour or so (I'd already decided there was no fecking way I was going to be facing Sainsbury's on Monday - they can bring it to my house instead).


Still, on the bright side, I've managed to do quite a lot of work on my current cross-stitch project.  I rather like doing cross-stitch.  It's easy and is a bit like painting with coloured thread.  I did a post back in November 2011 about rediscovering cross-stitch when I did my series of Mexican sugar skulls, and then more recently I did my Alan Measles cross-stitch which you may recall.

Anyway, I fancied doing another and recently found a couple of patterns that appealed to my inner Goth and current obsession with all things skeletal; one was of an x-ray of a hand, and the other an MRI head scan:

I got both patterns from nerdylittlestitcher on etsy for less than a couple of quid each, I think.  That's just for the pdf pattern, of course, you then have to buy the black aida fabric and all the embroidery floss but I think it came to less than £20 for the lot.

I started by printing out the hand chart on 4 sheets of A4 and joining them together.  Located the central block of 4 squares and marked them on the paper.  I then cut my aida fabric to size and found the middle by folding it in half, then half again, then ironing the central point.  I then did something I don't usually do and that's basted in each block of 10 squares with thread so that it matched the squares on the chart.  Protip - be VERY careful when counting out the 10 squares because it's incredibly easy to miscount.  And that can be very disconcerting when you come to doing the cross-stitch later because it suddenly doesn't line up.  Ask me how I know.

Also, for a pattern that seemingly at first sight is just a couple of shades of grey, there are an AWFUL lot of different colours in it.  Often just one stitch, here and there.  But it's best to be scrupulous about putting them in because that's where the magical shading happens.

And black aida fabric is a bit challenging to work with until you get used to it.  I've found it's best to have a lamp shining on your lap (and preferably put something light coloured on your lap) so that you can see the holes in the fabric and where to put your needle, and I also need light behind me so I can see the front of the fabric as well!  This generally means I'm only working on it up until mid-afternoon because I sit with a window behind me, and the natural light starts to go by then.

This is turning out to be quite large and so is going to take a long time to finish.  But that's okay - there's something weirdly addictive about cross-stitch.  I started it back in early September and have tried to do a bit each day although I've done more this week due to this stupid bloody cold.

Anyway, have some photos:

The chart - four sheets of A4 with the central squares marked.

Close up of a section of the chart.  Each symbol relates to a colour.

Close up of the same section of chart, as it was being worked.

As far as I've got, as of this morning.  The oval cameo thing with the stylised letter 'K' on it is a magnetic needle holder, so I don't lose my needle!

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