Sunday, December 19, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 14

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is well and they're able to make time for themselves in all the extra swirl of the holidays. 

It's late on the Saturday night for me -- I think I'm the latest, time-zone wise, in our stitch-a-long group -- so I'm going to keep this short.  

Here's where I was on "Great Wave" last time:

And here's where I am now:

I finished the top half! I'm so excited about this! 

Tomorrow morning I'm going to roll the frame (always a thrill, eh?) and get ready to stitch the bottom half. I'm looking forward to getting to know the bottom half of the print as well as I know the top half. 

Our next check-in is in 2022, so until then I wish you joy and health and warmth and light, no matter what holidays you observe. 

Soon I'll be checking out the blogs of my fellow stitchers to see their beautiful projects. I'm sure they'll inspire you, too!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 13

Hi everyone! I hope my American friends enjoyed their Thanksgiving, and that you all found the Black Friday bargains you had hoped for. I work in ecommerce so this is a busy time for me, but I managed to get myself organized so I haven't had to log in and work since Friday evening. (Sure hope I didn't just jinx myself!)

In the intervening three weeks I actually took a week off (hooray!), so I'm feeling pretty relaxed and happy. And I feel like I got a lot of stitching done, despite not taking this big piece with me. Here's where my "Great Wave" was last time:

And here's where I am now:

I'm not sure how I got this much done, except that there was less confetti stitching, and more big blocks of color. I have the top halves of 17.5 columns complete, with 2.5 more to go. I'm pretty sure I can get another half column done by our next check in -- can I get the entire top half done?

The weather has been very wet and wild -- "atmospheric rivers" drenching the lowlands and causing the rivers to rise. I know we need the rain (and the snow in the mountains), so I hope everyone is safe. And it means I have few distractions or desires to linger outside! 

I'm looking forward to checking out the blogs of my fellow stitchers to see their beautiful projects. I'm sure they'll inspire you, too!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 12

Hi everyone! I can't believe it's been three weeks! Hopefully everyone had a sufficiently spooky Halloween and a festive Bonfire Night. I have been reading about how this weekend's "king tide" at the coast -- when the earth is closest to the sun and the moon is closest to the earth, high tides and big waves are expected. So here's where my "Great Wave" was last time:

And here's where I am, three weeks later:

It's really getting "wavy", isn't it?! I have the top halves of 13.5 columns complete, with 6.5 more to go. I'm working on another stitching project that's been taking up a lot of my time, but I should be able to have another half column done by our next check in. 

Oh, and me and my sprained ankle limped our way through the half marathon, and we had a great weekend away. And the very kind race director made sure I got bib number 100 to celebrate. 

And my ankle? It's much better now. We joked that we really got our money's worth during the race as we spent a long time out there!

But this is a stitching post (though it reminds me I do finally need to write up my race report!) -- so I'm looking forward to checking out the blogs of my fellow stitchers to see their beautiful projects. I'm sure they'll inspire you, too!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Witchy Stitchy 2021

This year I participated in the 2021 Witchy Stitchy Challenge -- a challenge to stitch for at least half an hour every day in October. Apart from the weekend where I was staying in a dimly lit cottage where I couldn't see to stitch, I did it. I also made a point of not working on my big "Great Wave" project, and focused on some Halloweeny items, and, in the last couple of days, an early Christmas present. And voila!

It will take me a while to decide how I want to finish the two small motifs -- in theory I'll turn them into ornaments for my Halloween tree. And I'm happy with how both the small Mill Hill "Taboo Kitty" ornament and the Hook, Line & Tinker "gnomework" kit turned out. 

It was great to have the motivation to stitch every day ... and the freedom to have a couple of skip days and not feel bad about it. So all in all, a big success!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 11

WOW. This is the 11th check-in with this project. And there's a looooooooong way to go. Here's where I was last time:

And now, three weeks later, I'm here:

Maybe it's because I know this artwork really well, but I love that it's really starting to look "right"!

By our next check in I hope to have another column done. I've realized that slow and steady is the way I'll be able to complete this. Sometimes I'll have a little productivity spurt, and sometimes I'll barely make a dent. 

In the meantime, I've also been making progress as part of the Witchy Stitchy challenge, where I'm working on some cute cross-stitch motifs. It's been much more challenging than I expected to stitch on such small-scale fabric, even though it's aida, and I've only managed to complete one motif so far. But it's CUTE:

In other stitching news, many of you will recognize this fella, Mr. Tiger:

I submitted him to the Washington State Fair (or "The Puyallup Fair" as locals call it) and won an "honorable mention" ribbon. I suppose it would only be honorable to mention to you that I was the only entry in the category! Still, I'm pleased with getting a ribbon at all, so that's fun. 

I'm drafting this early as I'm headed out of town for the weekend. We're going to the super adorable town of Port Townsend, where I'm going to be running my 100th half marathon! Well, running is an overstatement -- I sprained my ankle badly last week, so I'm still hobbling a bit. But I've waited quite a while to get number 100 done, so I'm going to grit my teeth and get through it. (Do not try this at home -- I'm aware it's ridiculous!)

I plan on spending my Sunday evening with my ankle iced and elevated, and reading through all the rest of the blogs in this stitch-a-long. I'm sure their amazing, creative, diverse projects will distract me -- and enchant you if you check them out, too. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 10

Hi everyone! I don't know where the three weeks went. After last check in, where I managed to get a LOT of stitching done, I was here:

I was so happy to start stitching the actual wave. With some "oh my goodness tomorrow is check-in day so I had better get my needle moving" activity (I'm not alone in this, I suspect!), I'm here:

It's fun to have some of the deeper blue of the wave coming in ... and that subtle but detailed sky. 

Of course, the wave will be much more in focus when I add the backstitching... but that's a LONG way off. 

Halloween, on the other hand, is just right around the corner! I'm going to be participating in the Witchy Stitchy challenge, where I attempt to stitch 30 minutes 27 of the 31 days in October. I Witchy Stitchy 2019, where I believe we only stitched for 13 days, and that was hard enough -- but I got a lot of stitching done. While I do plan to keep working on the Great Wave, I always like to do some seasonal stitching ahead of my favorite holiday. 

Someone in this stitch-a-long, I believe, was stitching from this pattern set, and I fell in love with it. So I bought it last year and then put it aside until now. A couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at ice-dyeing and -- once I recovered one of the pieces from the raccoons (seriously, this happened) and washed the fabric, I really like how it turned out. So expect to see some of this work during our next check-in!

Until then, do check out what the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are up to. It's always inspiring to see their amazing projects:

See you in three weeks!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 9

Hi everyone! I hope you're all sitting down because ... I got a bunch of stitching done!!!

Here's what I was last time: 

And here's where I am now:

Yep, that's BLUE! I stitched 21/2 columns and am now officially 25% of the way done with the main stitching!

Getting to the blue was so inspiring I just kept wanting to stitch. Not be to wishing this project was behind me -- I mean, there's a long, long way to go! -- but it's exciting to feel like I'm really into the pattern now.

I am going to keep working across the top of the design... where there's so much water coming! 
Don't forget to go and check out what the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are up to. It's always inspiring to see their amazing projects:

See you in three weeks!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 8

Hi everyone! Another check-in, another "late" posting. I'm one of the folks on the far end of the world, so I usually try to get my post scheduled for just after midnight my time. This time, frankly, I just forgot! 

I've been working, slowly but surely on my Great Wave piece, and continue to be amused by where I see it. This was hanging on the wall of a nearby ramen restaurant:

If Godzilla really was in my picture, would already have stitched his head! 

Here's where I was last time:

And here's where I am this time:

The keen-eyed of you will notice that I've completed another column! (And notice that I keep "stitching outside the lines" when I have some thread left on my needle...)

I am now about 1/6 of the way done with the stitching... so there's a long way to go. Here's some perspective. I'm working on the top half, the bottom extends a little past the "roll" of the frame. And all that to the right...

BUT I'm still enjoying it and -- here's the exciting thing -- I'll have my first bits of light blue in the next column!!! But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

I'm going to wrap this up so I can check out what the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are up to. It's always inspiring to see their amazing projects:

See you in three weeks!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 7

Hi everyone! Apologies for the late posting -- usually I manage to get these written on Saturday and then scheduled for just after midnight my time so that those of you IN THE FUTURE don't have to wait until late on your Sunday to see my check-in. 

But the weather here in Seattle has been so nice -- and much cooler than three weeks ago! -- so we spent yesterday playing and took the paddleboards out on a nearby lake:


It hasn't been all play this past three weeks (not that any of you would fault me if it was!). Work was extra stressful with a new project launch an a new team member who joined at the 11th hour and wanted to make her presence felt... which meant scrapping a lot of work that had already been done. Sigh. 

But more importantly -- I did some stitching! Here's where I finished up last time:

And here's where I am now:

A whole other column! There is still so much to do... but progress is being made. So much sky...

I have realized that it's harder for me to work on big, framed projects during the summer. In fall and winter we spend evenings indoors, which is more conducive to sitting down with a big frame. So I have found myself picking up small projects that I can more easily take outside. 

I'm going to wrap this up so I can check out what the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are up to. It's always inspiring to see their amazing projects:

See you in three weeks!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 6

Hi everyone! Greetings from the Very Hot city of Seattle. Less hot today, but... boy, it was hot. 

I'm happy to report that I made a tiny bit of progress on my Great Wave piece -- and all progress is good progress!

But here's where I was:

and here's where I am now:

I am absolutely sure that the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long have been much more productive than I have, so check out their blogs and see:

See you in three weeks!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 5

I don't know where the last three weeks went, but I have literally not completed a single stitch on my Great Wave piece. 

Some good weather, a weekend away, a couple of in-person races (the first in over a year!) and, well, I guess that's where the last three weeks went!

But here's where I am on the project -- it should look pretty familiar! And I still love the sky so much.

I am absolutely sure that the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long have been much more productive than I have, so check out their blogs and see:

See you in three weeks, and I PROMISE to have done at least a tiny bit of stitching!

Monday, June 7, 2021

North Olympic Discovery Marathon Half Marathon race report

The bright morning streaming into our great VRBO woke us up plenty early, which meant we had time for a leisurely breakfast before walking down the ZigZag to get on the shuttle to the half marathon start. This race -- like the marathon -- would be a point-to-point race, so participants were bussed out to their respective starting spots and would all run toward the same finish line. 

We had been to the race expo the afternoon before -- a nice little affair, very well laid out and organized. We bought some RTP swag -- I mean, how could I resist these silicon pint glasses???

We also showed our vaccination card to receive a VACCINATED wristband, which meant we could board one of the vaccinated-only buses, so we didn't have to wait as long. We also picked up a wristband for the EAGLE CHALLENGE, so that we could pick up our handsome challenge medal at the finish. 

Finally, we picked up our nice, long-sleeved shirts and our race bibs. I'm gonna say it again -- these Run The Peninsula races are great!

We got on the shuttle -- which was admittedly weird because we were on a bus with a bunch of people. I mean, we had all been vaccinated and had to prove it, so it was as safe as possible... but it still felt weird. 

The start was next to some soccer fields that were near the trail, leaving room for a water station, a bunch of porta-potties, and plenty of room to space out in corrals. 

Of course we visited the porta-potties. Nice organization with the flags to create spaced-out mini lines!

We got in our corrals and, of course, took the obligatory pre-race photo. Ahh, I'd missed this all so much!

Again, small waves were started about a minute apart, and we never felt crowded.

Classic starting line photo -- both of us looking at our watches!

I'll be honest, I didn't take many photos of the course, which followed the lovely North Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles. Lots of lush green woods and fields, and only a handful of street crossings. And the occasional funny sign like this: 

Or this useful, soothing sign: 

(I mean, I would be happy to know that any gunfire I heard was at a gun club rather than lunatics picking off runners on the trail!)

The race was pretty small, which I loved, which also meant we were stretched out along the course. Every so often we would pass someone, or someone would pass us. Eventually the lead marathoner -- who did have a one-hour head start! -- passed us by, running strong and led by a bike escort to keep his path clear. Exciting!

Just past our halfway mark the course split temporarily, with the half marathoners doing a little out-and-back on a quiet road to pick up some distance. It was the first time we really had much of a view of the rest of the pack, and I was reassured that there were still a lot of folks behind us. Always makes me feel a bit better!

Soon we were headed down a long gradual descent and back to the shoreline for the final very very pretty 3 miles. Full disclosure: I didn't take this picture on race day; I took it when we were in Port Angeles for the Elwha Bridge 5K in January and walked this stretch. 

Eventually we neared the finish -- again, how great to have a small crowd of spectators at the finish line! To hear applause, and to have our names called out by an announcer!

And, of course, we held hands as we crossed the finish. :)

After the race we got out handsome challenge medal for completing the Eagle Challenge, having run the 5K the day before. You know I can't resist a challenge, right?

There's so much to love about this race, and this series in general. Always quality swag, and it's great that it's different and useful for each race in the series. Excellent communication from the race organizers, a well-marked course, plenty of volunteers, well-stocked aid stations, and nice post-race food. I'm already considering the series again in 2022 (perhaps?), and looking forward to the next race in the series. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

North Olympic Discovery Marathon 5K race report

Late in 2019 a friend told me about a race series over on the Olympic Peninsula called "Run the Peninsula". The medals and swag were great, and it seemed like a great chance to plan five weekend getaways over the course of 2020 in one of my favorite parts of the state. 

We ran the Elwha Bridge 5K in January 2020, and then, well, COVID-19 hit and the rest of the series went virtual... and we dutifully completed each race, reported our results, and collected our medals.

When the series was announced for 2021, we decided to sign up again -- even knowing that at least the early races would be virtual. In-person events were held for the 2021 Elwha Bridge 5K and 2021 Railroad Bridge 10K, but we just weren't feeling like it would be safe for us to participate because we weren't able to be vaccinated yet. 

We even went to the race locations -- spending the weekend quietly in Port Angeles for the Elwha Bridge 5K in January and in Sequim for the Railroad Bridge 10K in April (but just running different stretches of the trail to avoid needing to be around a lot of people). 

But it was really exciting to be fully vaccinated and ready to attend our first in-person race in over a year!

In normal years the NODM 5K takes place the same day that all the NODM events do -- but in order to reduce crowding at the start, both the 5K and 10K were moved to Saturday. Even better, the organizers added a CHALLENGE. 

Now, I love a race challenge -- running events back to back is one of my favorite silly running things to do. So of COURSE I signed us up for the 5K for the Saturday!

We got up early and took the first ferry from Edmonds, making it to Port Angeles in plenty of time to get great free parking right near the start. 

First and foremost, it was so great to feel that "before the race" vibe ... even if it did make me feel a little weird to be around that many people. 

We picked up our bibs and shirts, dropped them off at the car, and then milled about. 

The permits for the race required everyone wear face coverings and the start, and the vast majority complied (happily). 

Eventually we were asked to go into our corrals. I'm not gonna lie, this made me slightly edgy -- this was the most people I had been near since February 2020! 

The organizers did a good job of separating out the corrals, sending a few dozen out past the start at one-minute intervals. It's a great way to start a race just to reduce crowding -- even in non-COVID times! I was jittery and antsy -- it's been a long time since I ran a race -- even though I wasn't trained or even really prepared to run. I was just excited to feel the "pre-race feeling" again. 

Finally it was our turn, and we slipped in at the back of our corral. Perfect. You can see the gap behind us, and the back of the race director as she held the next corral back. Oh, and you can see our masks, which we pulled down not long after this pic as they weren't required for the actual race. 

The race was an out-and-back along the lovely Olympic Discovery Trail. Almost pancake flat, and we just moseyed along. We chatted with some other runners, made a point of thanking all the volunteers we saw, and got to the turnaround surprisingly smoothly. 

Then back the way we came, this time into a bit of a headwind. It was fun to run into the finish chute with ACTUAL SPECTATORS. Not a lot, mind you, but people clapped and cheered. 

And, of course, we crossed the finish line holding hands :)

We picked up our medals -- super handsome, like everything in this race series -- as well as some post-race snacks largely for the experience of picking up post-race snacks like in the "old days"!

In general, this race was excellent -- great organization, great pre-race communication, nice shirt, gorgeous medal, a pretty, traffic-free course, well-stocked water stops, and generous post-race food. We even got to trade a tag on our bib for a post-race beer at a local restaurant (which we did later in the day). 

I certainly didn't run my best 5K -- heck, I barely managed any running at all. But being able to participate in an in-person event was exciting enough. And the next day we would be running the half marathon!