Monday, September 9, 2013

Stitching the Summer Away

I've been doing a lot of stitching this summer, mostly on the mystery sampler, which is coming along nicely. Sorry, but I can't post any pictures yet.  I took up knitting, and have completed two potholders.  Hopefully soon I'll be learning how to do socks, my ultimate goal in learning how to knit.  In the meantime, I liked a page on Facebook for a knitting and needlework store in England called Black Sheep Wools.  It's located between Manchester and Liverpool, and is now on my list of places to visit when I go to England.  (Some day, in the far distant future.)  They post links to free patterns on Ravelry that are too cute for me to pass up, so I've downloaded a few.  The Tardis ebook reader cover is my favorite.

My EGA chapter outreaches haven't been neglected this summer.  I completed some bookmarks and one Christmas ornament is ready to hand in.  There's a second Christmas ornament, but I haven't figured out yet how to frame it as a tree ornament.

Still, with all the stitching I've been doing, I feel like I'm making very little progress on my 20 Project Challenge.  There haven't been any more finishes, which is a bit discouraging.  Summer is over, the days are shorter, and I'm running out of time.  Perhaps I chose more than I could actually finish.  I can concentrate on five UFOs, in addition to the mystery sampler.  The five UFOs are part of the UFO Challenge for my EGA Chapter, and I have until next March to finish them.  They are Roses, Sampling the Snow, the Swiss Spot Sampler, the hedgehog, and the Drawn Thread Sampler.  Just finishing those will be an accomplishment to be proud of.

When I wasn't stitching this summer, I was reading a very good historical novel and its sequel, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  Novels about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are not in short supply, but novels which feature Thomas Cromwell as their central character are rare.  I think these are probably the only two.  I didn't know much about Cromwell before reading these novels, and was surprised to learn that he had lived in Italy and worked for Italian bankiing families before returning to England and working for Cardinal Wolsey.  Cromwell was also married, and had three children.  Both his daughters died as children, but his son reached adulthood, married and had a child.  Cromwell is a sympathetic character in these books, despite his role in Anne Boleyn's downfall.  He was loyal to Wolsey, yet supported Protestantism.  He tried to be a good servant to Henry, yet had to navigate his way through a treacherous court.  So many people surrounding Henry found themselves put to death for one reason or another.  Hilary Mantel's interpretation of why Anne Boleyn and the courtiers around her were executed is interesting and something I never thought of.  I'd like to read a good biography of Cromwell sometime.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the third book in this series.

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