Bermuda sloop part six: into setting sun

My usual column didn’t run last week due to a family emergency. However, I did manage to use the time to work on the Bermuda sloop cross stitch some more, and to think about future projects.

Since the first page of my cross stitch had been completed, I needed to move the cross stitching hoop over to prepare the right-hand side of the cross stitch to be stitched with the same tension I had used for the left-hand side.

Adjusting the cross stitch hoop to the right hand side of page one was a delicate procedure. When I first placed the cross stitching hoop on the material, I simply had to focus on an area that I wished to start on and make sure the cloth was tight. This was not a choice when positioning the hoop for a second time.

I had to move the hoop over and frame it along the left-hand side over the already-stitched material. This time, it was not a matter of getting the material tight within the hoop. Instead, I had to place the material within the ring without damaging the stitches I had recently worked to put in place.

I managed to get the material stretched within the hoop and tensioned the screw that holds the material in place. The stitches I had already made folded down into place in the hoop and looked like they would be okay.

Before I could move on to working on the right-hand side of the cloth, I had to figure out how to anchor my threads from the left-hand page. I carefully looped my string under the upper-right hand corner stitches of the first page of the cross stitch, and began stitching off toward the right.

I discovered that working on the right side of the cloth meant that the left side was hanging down heavily with the weight of the stitches and draping over my left hand. Being left-handed, I found that I had to flip the material with my left hand in order to reach under and pull my needle through.

I decided against rolling the already stitched portion of cloth up and securing it out of the way. I did not want to risk harming the stitching I had already made. So I continued working, pushing the material out of my way with every stitch.

I moved on to stitching, focusing on the sky above the ship for this week. A series of dark blues, purples, and light grays combined to fill in chunks of the sky and create an array of colors which would make the darker sky in the left-hand corner stand out just so.

In the center of the sky on this page was a giant gap that stared me in the face. Blacks, greens, and browns went in this section, which I could tell from looking at the pattern was meant to be the pirate flag atop the Bermuda sloop. For now, though, I left it be, and continued working on the colorful sky.

As I worked my way down the right-hand most side of the page, I took great care to make certain the x’s on the outside were neat and crisp. The cleanness of the project would depend on these stitches being perfect, as they would form the outer edges of the design.

As I worked my way down the outside of the cross stitch, I watched the yellows, oranges and browns begin to merge together to create the sunset that had reflected across the rest of the piece. I found myself smiling, a well-needed smile, as I worked toward what would surely be the brightest point in the entire project.

And then I opened my thread case to fetch out this brightest thread only to discover that I did not have it. Once again, I had been foiled by the inability to find a DMC color of thread. I skipped over the spots for now, and continued down into the sunset and toward the water, where the golden hues from above had been darkened by reflections and turned into a variety of browns. For now, I had skipped over the Bermuda sloop on the right-hand page. I would have to double back and stitch it later in the week. Glancing over the pattern I would soon be working on, this side of the sloop appeared to contain fewer colors and wide swaths of the same few shades, which would make it easier to work with in the long run.

Join me next week when I work on getting the right hand side of the ship stitched into place and approach the third page of the cross stitch.

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Gretchen Richards is a reporter at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She is a fifth-generation artisan, skilled in numerous art forms. She enjoys sewing her own clothing and custom purses, making quilts, and weaving. She is skilled in knitting, crochet, embroidery, counted-cross stitch, and working with cloth of all types. Gretchen also paints with acrylic, practices calligraphy, and is skilled in metal-working and book binding.