Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fancy Fail, Brain Tangle, Cow Punching

I was very excited recently to receive my mail-order embroidery punch needle set, along with a gigantic bag full of brilliantly-colored embroidery floss. I’d been hanging out a lot on my Punch Needle Facebook page, and I became enamored of the amazingly detailed and beautiful work that I saw there. I had visions of gorgeous, ornate florals, lush landscapes, and scintillating portraits dancing in my head, but I only had one large yarn punch needle and was not able to do the elegant, detail-rich designs that I so pined for. As it turns out, merely having a nice set of embroidery punch needles does not guarantee that one can instantly create visionary art. It’s trickier than that.

First off, the process of learning to separate the embroidery thread strands without getting tangles and knots has been maddening. I read a great deal of elaborate advice about thread separation on my Facebook page, much of it involving fishing reels and weights, but it was all too confusing, and in end I decided the best thing to do was just struggle through it by hand. However, this makes it extremely slow-going, because there is a limit to the length of strand I can separate. I find myself spending more time separating the floss and threading the needles than actually punching the cloth. Also, with more detailed designs comes an increased need for attention to technique, which as it turns out, I am lacking in. I’ve gotten away with it in the past because I haven’t been doing anything elaborate, but now I actually have to pay attention. The upshot of all of this is that I’ve decided to put the fancy needles away for a while and punch me a cow design using the big, clunky, forgiving yarn needle. Why a cow? I do not know, but a cute cow seem fun and relaxing, and I’m tired of pulling my hair out trying to get all artsy.

Speaking of artsy, I’ve been spending a good deal of time this weekend working on some edits for some poems that are going to be in an upcoming anthology. For some reason, I’m finding it extremely difficult to make decisions. I haven’t written much poetry since finishing the novel, and the poem section of my brain seems to have atrophied. I don’t believe in overthinking poetry too much either when writing it or reading it, but even simple decisions about commas are feeling loaded and daunting to me. But on the plus side, it has inspired me to sit down with my gigantic Wallace Stevens anthology and start reading poetry again, with the aim to find my way back into writing it again eventually.

That’s all for this week. I’m off to go punch a cow and hopefully untangle my muddled brain in the process. Enjoy this beautiful ancient Swedish cow-herding song:


--Kristen McHenry

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