Friday 15 June 2018

Hagseed and Cacti

My homage to the cactus is born of the fact that it's the only houseplant that I can reliably grow. I'm so not a houseplant person: I totally lack the constancy. I'm here today, gone tomorrow and when I get back a few days after that every plant in the house has given up the ghost and gone off to live in the great green plant heaven of the ever-after. Every plant that is with the exception of my valiant cacti. Cacti and I can be relied upon to get along splendidly together. They generally survive and flourish in the barren desert of my care regime.

The other day I was looking for inspiration for a series of workshops that I'm leading at the end of the month, and hit upon the cheerful countenance of a desert cactus. I'm supposed to do an introduction to cross-stitch, but, as we've only got a short time (an afternoon) to complete the group project, I decided to work in half cross-stitch to keep things moving. I came up with this design (below), and then spent a day or so, interviewing everyone I met to make sure that what I'd come up with actually looked like a cactus.

Since then I've had a couple of dry runs to make sure that the pattern translated okay into stitches on canvas.  This one (below) is worked in tapestry wool on 14 point canvas, but I think it ought to have been done on 12 point. It's a bit puckered and pulled.

This one has been worked on 14 point canvas, but with mercerised cotton embroidery floss. 14 point is definitely the right canvas for this thread, but I prefer the more subtle colour palate of the wool.

Which one do you prefer? I think I'll go with the mercerised cotton as the proportions are better suited to what I'm trying to make.

And this week, having been in the house on my own all week, I've been reading like a totally contented bibliophile. I'm a big fan of Margaret Atwood, and I've just finished Hag-Seed. It's such a show-stopper of a title, and a really great read - or listen if, like me, you're into audio books. I hadn't previously known that a hagseed was a thing, but it is. The Merriam Webster defines it as the offspring of a witch. Say it out loud and with menace. Hagseed! You immediately get the idea that a Hagseed is not someone to mess with. It's gone right to the top of my favourite words list.

Anyway, back to the book:  it's a great tale of revenge served cold, cleverly woven around the text of Shakespeare's play The Tempest. I enjoyed it not only for the drama that the characters were living through in their own time, but also for the lit crit on the Bard.

Image result for hagseed

All the best for now,

Bonny x

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