What have I been doing of late? Well, being lucky, I can work from home, so that’s been taking up most time, especially with major deadlines in the past week. In the time that’s left over, I have to stay busy, and not as a sacrifice to the “cult of productivity.” Mostly because unless my hands are occupied, my thoughts wander to dark places.

I have subdued a reluctant sewing machine and run up some face masks for my family:

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I’ve been knitting a pair of socks from a gorgeous ball of yarn I had put away as being “too good for socks.” Well, I deserve nice things, too.

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I’ve done some casual research, and found another rendition of The Old Castle design, dated to 1590-1610. I added it to my round-up of the designs in that family.

And I’ve embarked on a new stitching project. It’s a curious one that has no short explanation behind it, and in a way – it’s the ultimate FanGirl project.

As I’ve mentioned before, The Resident Male (pictured above) writes prime SF/fantasy. He is currently working on the second book in his Blair and Terendurr series. One of the delights of living with an author is that you get to read the output long before it escapes into the wide, wide world. And if you are really lucky, parts are read out loud to you as they are completed.

One of the stories in the forthcoming second book features a rather unusual band of confederates. I can’t go into more detail because I don’t want to post spoilers. But they have a motto in an other-worldly language, “Lucus Orthai Ta,” which translates roughly to “Life’ll kill ya.” I thought it would be fitting as his #1 fan to make a present for my author: an embroidery of this phrase, framed with The Dance border I posted here last week.

I started by combing through my usual haunt for unusual alphabets, Ramzi’s Patternmaker Charts collection of near 100 year old Alexandre, Sajou and other pattern booklets and leporellos, The one I picked is the third one on this page. They don’t get much more baroque or difficult to read than that set of squiggles. Perfect for an alien language.

And so I present the start – working out from the center and in cross stitch for the lettering, on 44 count almost-evenweave linen in “art silk,” it will take me a while to get to my skeleton army in double running stitch. But I will…

As for the story, you are just going to have to wait for him to complete the second book. It will be worth the wait!

4 responses

  1. I look forward to seeing progress pics of this! It’s going to be beautiful. And thank you so much for pointing me towards Patternmaker via one of your earlier projects. So many wonderful fonts! Mostly I use the smaller, plainer ones but I have used some of the weirder ones – for example to stitch KLAATU BARADA NIKTO for a film-and-science-fiction-loving friend, and WIP on a workbag for myself. (I work from home, too, and it does waste valuable crafting time.)

  2. A technique question. Ensamplario Atlantio II, plate 4 pattern 20, the bottom one of the three. I’ve stitched the diagonal grid using double-running stitch, but how would you recommend stitching the detached lines in the centre of the grid squares? Ordinary running stitch, back stitch, or as rungs of a ladder with a zig-zag reverse? Thanks!

  3. Hmm. That’s an odd one because the free-floating verticals north and south of the crossed stitches are off count. It would be tough to do this one on Aida, but not a problem on even weave worked over 2×2 threads. In the latter case the hole in the very center of that 2×2 box is accessible, while in Aida, it’s solidly woven and a struggle both to eyeball exact placement and to pierce with a blunt needle. (Makes note to self to put a footnote on this problem child to warn others).

    My initial approach would probably be to establish the diamond grid in double running, then go back add the verticals in plain running, working each column, then turning at the border of my area to be filled in order to head back in the direction from which I came, but one column over. It’s certainly possible to do the verticals in ladder or zig-zag logic as you suggest, but I think that the simplest manner of working in this case would end up being the most thread-economical.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks! Will send a pic when done.

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