Friday, July 11, 2014

Man plans - God laughs.... or just moving with the flow...

Well, just re-read my last post ... we were in Ireland a few years ago and I just realized that perhaps Yeats made up a poetic place and called it 'Innisfree' because I remember seeing the islands of Innisheer and Innismore, not Innisfree... will have  to research this a bit more...but the poem is still one of my favorites - the idea of finding and carrying a quiet place all our own within us at all times is something I try to be aware of.

I had made all sorts of plans and was actually well on my way of finishing up one of the submissions that as always has become larger than it needed to be to fulfill the MC requirements... but that was also okay because it would be a nice thing to have in the home.  Just as things seemed to be going well I noticed some pain in my right shoulder at the beginning of May... ignored it for a while until the pain got worse and stopped me from doing anything - at work or at diagnosis was a 'frozen shoulder' or 'adhesive capsulitis'.  Well, all plans came to an abrupt halt, and I am now keenly aware that I have to fully focus on exercise, flexibility, and movement also - seems to be a big issue as I get older.   Being Indian it is somewhat ironic that my body is telling me to do Yoga - something that a lot of family members always did and do ;)  Things are improving and I have regained some range of motion... keeping occupied by visiting places and putting mind over matter has helped; watching Wimbledon and World cup events have kept me distracted from focusing on the pain too much.

Just recently Mary Corbet posted more alphabets on her blog and I noted that she also seemed to be struggling with all of the great plans we make and envision...blogging does take up time and I always marveled at how some people blog so regularly. So during the Men's Wimbledon finals I printed out my initial... picked up the simple cotton cloth I was using to cover my current project (a 99cent handkerchief), pulled out a skein of DMC cotton floss and transferred the design without much thinking and measuring onto the fabric... mind you all this 'arbitrary' but determined activity is not at all like me!!  I usually pull out all possible threads and fabrics, all possible books on a topic, look at stitches and possibilities, study and think and then 'act'... but I was tired of not being able to stitch, tired of not being able to put my mind beyond the pain, and  also tired of all the fanciful monograms and whitework ideas that have been on my 'someday list of areas to explore more'. I also used a hoop because it was a matter of conserving energy - tried out both my hoop with clamp as well as my sit on hoop assembly after a very long time and realized that they are not bad at all for such projects!

So here are the results of this very spontaneous project  -  I now have a 'fancier' cover cloth... but most of all I was able to stitch!

My Interpretation of my Initial - Alphabet posted on

Closeup - My Initial - Alphabet posted on

Everything took a bit longer (two afternoons), had to take a lot of breaks, had to make the thread shorter in the beginning but I kept making it a bit longer as another form of exercise.. pushing myself just beyond the point of pain to 'unfreeze' this darn shoulder...

What I did on this was mostly by memory about whitework monogram techniques - I used almost one full skein of DMC white (B5200) thread; decided I wanted some padding... memory told me that usually padding in monograms was traditionally done with running stitches (staggered/bricked lines of running stitch)within the letter... so that is what I did - I used 3 strands of floss, outlined and filled the space.  Then I used 2 strands of floss in a diagonal satin stitch to stitch the letter, vertical and horizontal satin for the flowers and then stitched  the stems in a split stitch for the stems and then covered them with what they call a trailing stitch - basically a stitch like a JE/metal couching stitch but placed closely together covering the split stitch  outline.  I could have used a chain stitch or stem stitch - initially tried just the stem stitch but it was not too distinct, so then decided to just do a split stitch and trailing stitch.
 There are a few things I would have done differently by using various patterns and texture, adding other techniques, using a thinner needle, different threads etc. etc. if my shoulder was 'normal'  but this was a good exercise to work different types of satin stitches and gain some insights .... and the result is that I now have a monogrammed cover cloth !  This cotton fabric like I said is just  a 99cent handkerchief!  So this project cost me about $1.50 but gave me the satisfaction of finally tackling a 'monogram'... instead of thinking of my more complicated design using expensive linen and a variety of threads and putting it in the 'some day' pile.
And even though the process was a bit painful, my needlework proved to me once more that I was able to now focus on things for some hours at a time  in a controlled and focused way and so gave me a gauge as to how to structure my day at work and at home... just a different way to pace myself for a short while until my shoulder get better... and it will because the exercises are already working.

So, this was an example of Carpe Diem - a spontaneous decision after reading Mary's post in the middle of an amazing Men's Tennis Final.  I sent a picture of it to Mary to hopefully cheer her up and let her know that her blogging activities are not going unnoticed ... having a lot of ideas and interests is much better in my opinion than having none at all !  Sometimes we all get carried away with 'fanciful' ideas but sometimes 'simple' stitching is just as effective, important and therapeutic!

..... I mentioned earlier that blogging takes up a lot of time... well, I just spent an inordinate amount of time uploading two pictures here... but for some reason today it is a challenge!...let's hope the pictures show up ...

.... well, I finally figured out the issue on posting (I think) - Internet Explorer 11 is apparently an 'unsupported' browser in the 'blogger' arena... so I am re-posting again using Firefox...wish me luck!


Judy at TOC said...

What lovely work! ...and you have proved to me how a little bit done at a time can still be creative and helpful in the recovery process. Bravo!!

Maxine D said...

Nupur this is beautiful - I first saw this over on Needle and Thread, and although I am now primarily a paper crafter/cardmaker, I have spent many a year embroidering,so can appreciate the art of this beautifully executed N. I can also sympathise with your 'frozen shoulder, as I suffer re-occurring bouts of RSI.

Ann said...

Beautiful project--sometimes spontaneity is the best way to approach a project! Sorry to hear of the frozen shoulder. Been there, done that, and it will get better with slow and gentle movement.

Nicole M said...

I ventured to your blog to see your beautiful monogram as it was mentioned on the Needle and Thread blog. Lovely work, and I hope your frozen shoulder gets better soon!


Nupur said...

Thank you all for your kind words on my needlework activities and also for your good wishes for a speedy recovery!
I never expected Mary posting my first attempt/experiment with my initial...nor did I expect the appreciation you all have expressed
after reading portions of my blog!