I was TIRED last night. (I think part of it is that someone turned the hot back on, and the humid came with it. The local weather guy this morning chirpily commented that it was "toasty out there yesterday" and my response back at him was, "Bananas. It was a stinkin' ARMPIT out there yesterday." Somehow, end-of-the-summer heat is less tolerable to me than midsummer heat)
So rather than figure out the sleeve cap decreases on the first sleeve of the Ropes and Picots cardigan, or lay out a quilt top and then have to "stack" all the blocks and pin them and label each row as to where it went, I decided to pick up an embroidery project.
I actually have an embarrassing number of these stockpiled. Part of it is, I tend to get all hopeful or optimistic about my time or SOMETHING when I'm in a good craft store....and I buy stuff I really don't have time to work up (or at least not time to work up THEN). And part of it is that I still kind of look at the world from a position of scarcity and being "trapped" in my small town....I remember when pretty much ALL we had in the way of craft supplies was the small department at the small wal-mart (this being before the Supercenter came, but even there the craft section is not great), and so I felt like those rare trips to Sherman had to be stock-up trips. (Especially in my first year or two, where it was maybe once every 2 months I got to Sherman, because I was so busy with prepping my classes). So I have six or eight pillowcase kits ahead.
(I'm the same way with books. Even though I have access to a largeish university library and I have many, many books of my own.)
But anyway. I pulled out one set I'd been working on for a long time - they had cross-stitched pansies along with butterflies. I had finished the first pillowcase, I knew that. I didn't realize how close to done I was on the second one....I just had a bit of outline stitching and a few lazy-daisy clusters to do.
So I finished it last night. (No photos, it was too late to think about grabbing one when I got done, and also I want to wash these first to get some of the wrinkles out of them).
I like embroidery. I forget how soothing it is. Part of it is, most of the stuff I do are the stitch-by-numbers kind of thing, where the colors are already specified and you know what color to use where. I know, that's not very creative - but there's something nice about not having to make even that small a decision when you're tired. So it pretty much comes down to all technique - making sure the stitches are even, that they line up if they need to be in a straight line, and so on. It requires a pretty close level of focus, and yet, at the same time, it's not really mentally taxing.
I think I find it restful because it occupies the part of my brain that sometimes slips over onto the track of worrying about stuff. I've also noticed that driving - at least, driving long distances in situations of fairly low traffic - does something similar for me, it eats up enough of my attention that I don't have that little squirrel-wheel of anxiety going on in my head like I sometimes do.
I have two other embroidery projects that I "cheated" and already began....so now I am free to continue on them as I feel like I want to. One is the horse-stamped pillowcases I bought last summer, which I will be using my own choices of colors for (since there is no detailed chart). The other one is a modern interpretation of the old "crinoline lady in a garden."
(Then again, maybe it's time for some more amigurumi. This fanart interpretation of "Colgate" (one of the "background ponies," I think her "official" name is Minuette) is so cute it almost makes me want an amigurumi Colgate of my own...)