I consistently carry some kind of project in my purse or my car with me for the down moments when I find myself sitting and waiting. It is almost always some kind of portable handwork – knitting, embroidery, needlepoint. I like having something to keep my hands busy, but that allows me to talk and interact with others while I am doing it. I find it especially nice to have something to work on when I travel. Besides being portable, it needs to be easy to pick up and put down. I always used to have a book on hand because I love to read, but when the girls were little, I found that I never got around to reading the books because they talked so much. (Understatement.) That is when I started carrying some kind of stitching. I could work along and listen and converse and laugh all the while.
Presently I find myself waiting alone more than I do with one of my cohorts, but I am still stitching along. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from completing a band of ribbing on a hat or two needles worth of yarn on my needlepoint in the thirty minutes of a guitar lesson or the fifteen minutes before play rehearsal is over. Plain and simple, it's just a good use of my time.
My newest project is Carolyn Friedlander's Alturas. I have wanted to make this for a long time and bought the pattern from her last spring at SewDown in Nashville. And, of course, I was heavily inspired by Cheryl's version. It is just so beautiful! In searching for my *perfect* palette, I consulted my stash and settled on Liberty. Just that, Liberty of London Tana Lawn in all of its floral goodness. I'm not worrying about the colors or the scale or how in the world I am going to hand applique all. of. those. pieces. Instead, I gathered 70 five-inch squares and cut a handful of backgrounds from my very favorite Kona Snow. I took eight prints from the top of the pile and packed them in my handwork pouch (complete with thread, needles and embroidery scissors) for a quick day trip to Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to a five hour delay at O'Hare on our way home, I had all eight blocks prepped and ready for needle turn applique by the tie we landed.
I'd be lying if I told you I had gotten further than that. I haven't. I am so very, very close to finishing my other traveling handwork project started almost exactly two years ago. Anna Maria, you are going to be so proud of me.