Saturday, April 30, 2011

The USS Yorktown and My Family Tree

A few weeks ago, I went on a field trip with my Advanced Placement US History class to the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum, which has a pretty awesome website. If I'm not mistaken, it's playing the theme to The Pacific, which makes sense considering the USS Yorktown was in the Pacific Front during WW2. I've been watching a lot of WW2 documentaries (to the chagrin of my friends, who worry about my mental health watching all this war stuff), and seeing the Yorktown in action is pretty awesome. 

The field trip was cool, and the pictures in this post are from that trip. The students enjoyed themselves,  which is what matters. But I'm going to move on from that trip (because I don't want to violate privacy of the youngsters, they do well enough on Facebook on their own) and talk about my family tree and my first trip to the Yorktown

When I was fifteen or thereabouts, my parents took the family to Charleston. I think it was December, and it was very rainy. That is what I remember apart from the fact that my parents took us to Patriot's Point. The only thing I remember is going about the USS Clamagore, a WW2-era submarine, and being petrified of the enclosed space. 

I didn't like it. I don't like sleeping bags because my legs get tangled up, and I can't get out. I don't like submarines. I don't know how anyone on a submarine manages it, and I totally understand why they have to go through psych tests to determine if they're fit enough. That would be one test I wouldn't mind failing. 

Now, this was before the age of the internet, and my parents were intent on figuring out which submarine my great-uncle Ned Charles Cook was on when he went down in WW2. In the middle of the sub is a great room with plaques of the fallen submarines. My memory of the time thinks there was ten, but when I went a few weeks ago. I was wrong. There were at least thirty. This would explain why it took so long to find his name. I just wanted out. OUT! OUT! The sub was closing in, my brother was running around, my sister was probably trying to find a hiding place, and I couldn't breath. But no, I had to stay inside that tin can while my parents systematically looked for his name on thirty different plaques. 

And they finally found it. 

USS Barbel 
Cook, Ned C. 

I was so happy. We could leave now. I could breath sweet, fresh air, and harbor a grudge against my parents for the rest of the weekend and generally act like an ungrateful 15-year old.

Having been back on the sub, it is very much every nightmare I have in reliving my first experience. But, being an adult, I suck it up, quickly move through the ship, and ask everyone else for their photos.

As for the family tree, the internet has afforded a lot more information on Ned Charles Cook, MoMM, and the USS Barbel. I know that if my grandfather had the internet at his disposal while he was working on the family history, my grandmother would have been hard pressed to pull him away from the computer. It is a true labor of love.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welsh Guard FO

I've gotten a lot of small cross-stich projects out of the way this spring. Some were smaller than others, but I got tired of seeing kits lying around. I don't know why, because I always have a pile of them, but since they were so simple, it was an easy jump to working on them in order to segue from knitting (a winter project) into stitching (a summer project).

This is one of them. I love the Welsh guards--who doesn't see one and doesn't want to make them crack a smile? And the amazing thing is that they don't--even when they're throwing up they still keep marching.

That's dedication that I know I don't have. If I were on the job and needed to throw up, I'm gone. I'm going home and eating toast and drinking tea.

And for those who know me well, no, that is not Dr. Who's TARDIS in the background. It's the wrong color, and there's no door. It's just the little house that they keep their keys in. (I think that's why it's there, I honestly have no idea.)

As for the frame, that's from Hobby Lobby, procured during one of their frame sales, and the matt as well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sarah Ann WIlcox Sampler WIP Week 2

This is my progress as of April 10, 2011. I have even more accomplished now, nearing the end of Week 3, so more pictures will be up soon. I really enjoy working on samplers--I get bored of colors really quickly, so the variegation in the hand-dyed threads as well as the variety of colors has helped with my staying on track.

The one-over-ones, though, are driving me crazy. I can tell my eyes are getting older. When a student hands me work to look at, I'm struggling a bit more than I did when I first started teaching. I used to not be picky about bad  handwriting, but now I find myself asking them to rewrite things more and more. (That's for the ones that are just being sloppy, not the ones that have true handwriting issues because of an LD.) I much prefer the two-over-two because it's also quicker to stitch.

Name Changes

I decided to change the name of my blog to "What Had Happened Was." This catchy little phrase is uttered by my students when they try to tell me a story. Usually this story is either a) an out-and-out "story" (their word for dirty lies) or b) a story with some basis in the truth and smothered in a healthy heap of exaggeration.

Usually it comes out sounding like this:
"Miiiiisssss, wha' ha' happ'n'd was...."

They tend to lengthen some words and shorten everything else. If I had made THAT the title of my blog, then all two readers of my blog would be wondering what language that was.

This title fits me a bit better. Any number of weird things happens to me and the story is best told with this beginning. It's a clue to the reader that you're going to get a big dose of exaggeration.

And I hope you like the new template. I wanted something different, and at the same time I wanted to pick a color that was easier to read (the purple was my favorite, but I found myself squinting a lot).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sarah Ann Wilcox Sampler WIP

My current cross-stitch project is the Sarah Ann Wilcox Sampler. The chart is available from the Charleston Museum, where the original sampler is part of a collection. I like samplers because of the variety of colors and stitches. When I get bored with one part, it is very easy to move on to another part (which you may notice!). This is not as easily done on some other projects that I've done.

This is how much I've completed in a week:

The patterns calls for the use of silks from Needlepoints silks, but it also has a DMC conversion. I had the DMC colors picked out, but I liked the idea of using something different. I chose to stick with cotton as opposed to silks because of the price point. I ended up going into my local stitch store and just browsed. I ended up using threads from three different lines because those colors matched up best with DMC.

From Crescent Colours I am using Finley Gold and Cupid. Both are hand-dyed and have variations in the colors that give a very vintage feel to the stitches. From The Gentle Arts Sampler Threads line I am using Nutmeg and Gold Leaf. The majority of my thread comes from Weeks Dye Works, and include Molasses, Caper, Charlotte's Pink, Mascara, Deep Sea, Parchment, and Juniper.

Of course, this means that my finished product will be different from the original, but I've seen pictures of the original. It's old. It's brown. It's faded. I'm not worried. :)

Faith, Love, and Gentle Words FO

I recently completed the following sampler in a record two weeks! Usually it takes me longer than that to complete a project, but I really liked the colors and the quote on this particular project. The soft palette worked really well with a piece of linen I just happened to have!

This is the finished project:

I did make some changes to it. The entire pattern called for cross-stitch, which I found to be a boring prospect. I wanted to challenge myself with some embroidery stitches, so I added them in with my own flair. I kept the colors the same, though.

In this picture, I used Queen Stitch and Satin stitch for the flowers on the side.

On the interior borders, I used (from the top down) herringbone stitch, Scotch stitch, and Montenegrin stitch. These gave another textural quality to the pattern that I felt was lacking.