Archive for June, 2008

Wow!  I am truly amazed.  Sometime very late Saturday night my blog received its 10,000th visit. 

I would like to give some special giveaway to celebrate, but being in transition, I can’t right now.  So I’ll be picking out another milepost in the near future on which to do that.  It will probably be some of my hand dyed fabrics.  So stay tuned. 

I started this blog on December 4 of last year, expecting that a handful of people might view it occasionally.  I have been so surprised that so many people have visited.  Thank you to all of you who take the time to take a look at what I’m doing and writing about, and especially to those of you I’ve gotten to know through your comments and my visits to your blogs.

I will be very glad to complete the snail trail.  While I do enjoy counted thread work, it’s not my favorite technique, and this piece has been much more intensive than I expected.  I shouldn’t be surprised, though, because most pieces I design end up being more difficult to execute than I expect.


Just one more section to go.  I might be able to make the deadline!


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I was able to complete the second corner section of my blackwork snail trail yesterday.  The “story” these corners tell is of waiting with varying degrees of patience.


The other two corner spaces will mirror these across the diagonal.  As I see the picture I’m thinking the brown corner is a little too dark for the rest of the piece.  I’m hoping it will balance better when the opposite corner is put in.

Making my way through these last corners of stitching is much like the waiting we’re doing to get into our house and get to work.  Both require a great deal of patience, which I don’t always have.   

I’m anxious to complete this piece by the end of the month for the challenge, but it does require quite a lot of patience to keep at it.  Normally a piece like this would take more than a month to complete and other projects could be worked on around it.  I have worked a tiny bit on some other things, but this one really requires most of my attention to stay on schedule.

We went for a walk yesterday along the Lower Appomatox River Canal.  It was really much too warm for a long walk, but we did manage part of it.  Mishka kept wanting to stop and rest in the shade. 

We walked to where we think the canal system starts on the river.  It is no longer in operation, and we climbed up on the lock mechanism where I got some interesting pictures.







This is part of the dam at the beginning of the canal.  We think this is where the water was raised and lowered to move barges along the canal.

We walked the tow path where barges would have been towed along by horses or maybe oxen.

I’m not sure what they used here.





It was fascinating to study the gearing mechanism that was used on the locks.


These are actually quite large.











This gear is two to three feet across.



I think old things like this make cool pictures that can provide inspiration for work in fiber and textile.  I especially like the texture.

Can’t you see something pleated in mixed media from this?


Not sure what I’ll do with these, if anything, but they’ll go in my design source file. 

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The first corner section of the snail trail is completed.  Three more to go.


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I’ve moved into the final corner sections of the snail trail, but because they’re much larger sections, it is, of course taking longer to fill them with blackwork.

The first corner is started but my goal of at least one section per day will probably need to shift to one every other day because of the amount of time it takes.  One section is like doing two of the smaller ones.   

The first corner is done with another fill-in pattern.  This one looks a lot like dogwood blossoms to me.  I actually saw some late blooming dogwoods the other day on a walk and that inspired me to use this pattern.


It will be a real stretch to finish this piece by the end of the month.  My goal now is to finish it by July 2, when we move into our house and I start my new job. 

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Another section on the snail trail was completed yesterday.  Now I’m moving on to the outer round of triangles. 


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In our travels yesterday we took the Jamestown Ferry across the James River from Surry to Jamestown.  It was a beautiful day for the fifteen-minute crossing.


The Williamsburg,


the Pocahontas,


and the Surry, which we rode.  The landing at Jamestown is the site of the original Jamestown settlement.  We didn’t visit Jamestown on this trip, although we have in the past.  I understand a lot of new things were put in for last year’s 400-year celebration. 


I caught this great blue heron on the pier at Jamestown posing with a navigation light.  The bird was as undisturbed by the ferry pulling in as was the light. 

I’m continuing to make progress on my snail trail blackwork project for the June Take it Further Challenge


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Last night I completed another section on the snail trail:


I really like this pattern (on the left) that is another from the selection of blackwork fill-in patterns I’ve been using.  Now I’ll be filling in the other two sections to mirror these.  I’ll need to complete one section a day to finish this piece by the end of the month.

Yesterday we walked the Dutch Gap Conservation Area Trail at the site of the 1611 settlement of Henricus.  There’s an historical interpretation center there, but it’s closed on Mondays so we didn’t visit that part of the park.  We were there mainly to walk and enjoy the outdoors anyway.

This park is along a portion of the James River where two loops of the river were bypassed by a canal dug by Union troops during the Civil War.

There are hiking and biking trails as well as a water trail that can be traveled by canoe or kayak.  

Here are some pictures I took:


All along the walk we were surrounded by butterflies and dragonflies.  We were serenaded by birds all around.  The dragonflies were in a myriad of colors:  blue, bright green, black and white, red-orange, glistening gold.



The park is a wildfowl refuge and includes a heron rookery.  We saw several great blue herons and egrets.  There are also many kinds of warblers in the park.  Although we didn’t see any we definitely heard them. 


Mishka, who can keep up with us on mountain bikes in New Mexico, wilted in the Virginia heat and humidity over the 4.5 mile walk.  She wanted to slow down and rest in the shade whenever she could.


Near the end of the walk we spotted this amazing sculptural tree trunk.  There are leaves and branches at the very top, forest canopy height.  The trunk looks large enough to make comfortable seating for one or two. 


Although the weather was quite warm and humid, it was a great walk with some beautiful sites. It would be fun to return and do the water trail and visit the historical site.  

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