I am kicking my own arse with this TIF thing… which in this case is an obscure way of saying “Ohmyladyit’sthe23ofJanuary” and panicking. Ok, not really panicking. Just kind of being tensely aware.

I did come to an arrangement with the bird. It’s not full resolution, but we’re going to be “grown up” about the whole thing, agree to disagree and move on from there. And in excellent news, it turns out that I can make French Knots! I’m very happy about this. You will laugh at me (and rightly so!) but see, when I was (four? five?) really young, someone gave me an embroidery kit for christmas. The kind with a picture of a flower or something stamped in thick black ink on a tiny square of cotton, and every detail you are “supposed” to embroider is included, even the dots where french knots should go. But it was real fabric, a real (if plastic) embroidery hoop and a real needle, and craft offerings to that point had been pretty much in the Flexible-Bodkin-and-cardboard-with-holes-punched category, so I was pretty happy about the whole thing.

I used to work on the embroidery while my mom was reading to me in the evening, which was nice and cozy (and allowed for some supervision while the clumsy five-year-old wielded a sharp needle). I don’t have the scraps I embroidered any more, so I couldn’t tell you what they looked like when I was done with them, but I know that for one of the flowers, in order to cover up the stupid dots of ink that they had in the middle, it was necessary to learn the french knot. So I did. And that was fine.

I’m sorry, did you think this story was actually going anywhere? No, not really. All that happened was that I was relatively competent at french knots when I was five, but then forgot how and have never done it right since. And no, I’ve never bothered to look it up because I’ve never cared that much, I just kept wishing my five-year-old brain would spit out the correct information and let me get on with it. Well, it turns out that all this time all I’ve been doing is twisting the needle the wrong way. I mean c’mon, you’d think at some point I would have done it right just by accident! Probably my five-year-old brain has been trying to explain this to me, and I just haven’t been listening. I told you that you would laugh at me. Go ahead. Point and snicker as well, if you like. “Look, there goes the chick who for more than thirty years was too stubborn to just bloody well ask someone how to make a French knot!!!”

All of this is just to say that there was at no point any danger of my knocking y’all off your feet with my spectacular embroidery skills. Fair warning. That was, fortunately, never the actual point of the project I selected, more like an unavoidable side effect. Oh, I could have dodged the issue. Heaven knows, there are lots and lots of not-embroidered ways to put images on fabric. But I didn’t feel they would be true to the point and nature of the piece, so embroidery it is. I believe I had some charming notion of sitting cosily by the fire in the evenings and stitching. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Except that doing so would involve: a) lighting a fire; b) sitting; and c) having the brainpower left, should either of the above come together, to do anything other than read a novel. Then that little fight with the bird happened, and now I find myself heading toward the month’s end and thinking “grr… must embroider… grr…”

However. I stand by my choices, and I’m not throwing in the towel yet! Especially since I’ve got past the bird thing.

There are actually two birds. Here is the one I like better:

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And here is the other one. It’s finished, but… well. You see.

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The purple swooshy, which I hope will read when all is said and done as a strand of yarn or thread which the bird is building a nest from, is a bit much, I think. Designwise, it’s probably better without. But I wanted it there, ‘cos frankly if I’m doing the Embroidery-because-it’s-the-right thing on this, I’m going to put a little code in it, and the yarn has to be there (in my mind) for it to say what it does.

Here’s one of the bottom gores, still awaiting french knots:

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So I’m getting closer to assembly!

In other news:

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I finished the socks Sunday morning, which means I spun, dyed and knit them in two weeks. I think that’s pretty cool, since two weeks is my normal generate-a-pair-of-socks time anyway, and that’s just knitting. Mind you, I didn’t get much else done! We just won’t talk about the state of my kitchen right now, ‘k?

Blackie is getting close to pushing out a lamb – we had no idea HOW pregnant they were when they came to us, and we’ve never done this before, so we don’t really have a “due date” on either of them. Blackie had some calcium problems in mid December, (she’s fine, we’re giving her beets every day, which she thinks is a super-great treat) and that gave us a “well, it’s about five more weeks” sort of clue, but we don’t know exactly, so we’re on LambWatch – which is like when the weather station goes on StormWatch, except more fun and also there will actually be lambs. Right now she is very fat and her udder sways and bounces alarmingly when she gets excited and runs over for hugs or treats.

And finally, there will very soon be an update on the Tree Bog, for those who care – the worst thing that could happen did, and it was No Big Deal. I love my toilet. Is that weird?

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