Friday, 15 November 2013

Progress Pics and Fluff

So here they are: where I am on the Maidens of the Seasons II.

Unluckily my scanner bed is too short to put all of the Winter Maiden in on one go, so it's spliced together from two shots, hence the line; nor is it wide enough to put both Maidens on at the same time. I haven't added any more to the Autumn side since I posted about it in June this year. There's a mistake in the bottom rows where I had begun to work on the lower half that I need to figure out and fix. Ever since then, the Winter side has had more attention, and it isn't looking bad! The shading is blocky and sloppy and irritates me something awful, but I'm going with it. It'll look better when it's all finished. I hope. I'm missing two colours that will fill in the stripes on the far right of her and over the arm, so those will remain blank for a while. Since I've replaced the beading, the medallion shapes on the white trim were just squares of blue, so I outlined the entire section supposed to be beaded with the same dark blue as the center, and I'm debating doing the same with the blue strips between each. They look more like shading than deliberate designs like the medallions though, so I'm not sure I will - it just depends. The bird she's holding will need a colour change as well - it calls for 317 and 318 as the shading for the bottom of the bird which I'm guessing is a dove. 317 is a seriously dark grey, while the top of the bird is white. The middle colour is a white shade not even distinguishable from plain white, and gives no transition from the top to the bottom, so I'll have to find a grey to go between the white and the dark bottom, or replace the darker shading completely with lighter greys/creams.

The bottom is nearly reached! I'm just a little bit away from the very base of her, so it's rather exciting to stitch! I'll be a little sad to move back to the Autumn side to catch up, though I much prefer the shading and style of Autumn's side. I said before I like the nearly stained-glass appearance of Winter's side but the artist in me complains at the uneven transitions between lighter and darker colours in the sleeves. The chest, with the purple before the collar, did a brilliant job of transitioning the darker into the lighter with no middle colour, using dithering around the edges. The insides of her sleeves on the other hand are just blocks of different shades, no attempt made to connect them aside from using higher and lower numbers in sequence.

Next time, I'm picking a project that is more artsy, so I'll stop fussing, honestly.

On another note, it's been nearly a year since I started this project! I posted the first picture of it back in December 2012, my first attempt at linen. I wonder how far I'll be on 9 December this year, the actual anniversary?

It's halfway through November, and I'm not halfway through my novel. I'm about eight thousand words short. I wrote 7,000 words two days ago, straight out, no breaks, in an attempt to catch up and erase a 21,000 word shortage. You're supposed to write around 1,667 words every day. If you write that many every day, you end up with 50,000 at the end of November. Whee! But it's not as simple as that. You've got to come up with it all on your own. Even with a fleshed out outline, there's still a lot of work to do describing your settings and moving characters from point A to point B in a hopefully 'seamless' manner. Ha. Cross stitching from a pattern is relatively easy - it's got the colours all picked out for you, the stitches marked, you've just got to thread the needle and go. It's rather like having an outline, full character descriptions, and dialogue ideas given to you, and being told to write the novel. Not much effort. But I will succeed! I've written three novels and over a dozen short stories, I can write this! Ugh. . . .

I look forward most to descriptive scenes. It's where I feel the strongest and the weakest at the same time. I want to give readers a full sense of the world they've entered, from the smells and tastes to the scenery and clothing. My favourite parts so far are the beginning when the first pieces of the story are being set up and I get to describe the heat of summer; how the skies are so close the stars threaten to fall right into your cup, as well as the revels the city holds for the summer solstice (the new year in that world) where the fresh seafood and early vegetables are all brought in for a feast. Since I'm so in love with Hanbok, I've incorporated that style of clothing in the novel, and I love being able to bring that into the scenes, describing billowing skirts and the towering hairstyles of the rich ladies and gisaengs.

At the same time, I wonder if I'm describing it well enough. Would the average American who has no idea what Hanbok looks like be able to imagine what I'm talking about? Hanbok seems to be left out in the idea of what Asian clothing can look like - Kimono takes center stage, with some versions of Manchu and Hanfu Chinese styles appearing alongside. It's one of those things that bugs me about Oriental cross stitch patterns, or patterns that do 'Around the World' sets - Korea is left out every time, and it's such a distinctive piece, something just as recognizable and beautiful as Kimono that surely it should be included? It's also a cause for celebration if I do find patterns with Hanbok in it, and is why I love Soda Stitch so much. I suppose it's not my place to complain about it, though.

Anyway, that's enough writing here for someone who's supposed to be working on a novel! I'll go work on actually adding dialogue someplace in there. . . . .