As a TextileArtist.org‘s Stitch Club favorite (and the mother of the pair running the place), Sue Stone has hosted several projects since it’s inception. This one is a text-focused project from 2021 that I only recently completed. Actually, I had this finished back in July, I think, but I have been focusing on other passions of mine recently (Pikmin and Zelda!) rather than blogging. I’ve also been working on my digital art skills with a suite of Adobe courses through LinkedIn’s Learning, which I get for free through work, as well as learning Norwegian so I can chat with my friend in her language for a change. So, I’ve been creative, just in unusual and non-blog-worthy ways.
My piece reads “She wanted to be in the woods with her tea so she went to Shawnee” in reference to a solo trip I took earlier this year. I did a solo road-trip circa 2006 and enjoyed it immensely so I wanted to try again. The 2006 trip came without a destination – I simply took the highway west until half my vacation week was over, then turned around to return home. Anything that caught my eye was a stop along the way and back. I made it to Yellowstone National Park without realizing it was also buffalo mating season and Sturgis Bike Week – aka, there was nowhere to sleep but my car, which was another adventure in itself. Stuff like that happens when you don’t plan, so you can’t get mad! I also saw Devil’s Tower and the Badlands, among other hot spots.
I want to live slowly, again, like I remember from my early years. So, if the purpose of my first solo trip was to experience the freedom of no obligations to others, no destination, and no set schedule of checking in or showing up anywhere, then the purpose of this trip was to experience limited technology (audiobook in the car, and kindle at the house, only), no clock (the biggest treasure, perhaps), and the adventure of hiking in the woods as a solo woman. I hiked a lot of trails at different sites and except for the few really touristy ones I visited, I was literally alone – on the roads to get there, in the parking areas, and for the many hours spent hiking. I know, I know: “That’s dangerous!” you say. Don’t worry, I checked – no bears in the Park! Except for my heart stopping a few times when I inadvertently spooked a deer a few feet away, or a giant snake crossing my path (probably 8 feet long), or maybe the creme de la creme of being pinned between a bobcat (!!) and an unknown creature lying in wait in the tiny cliff ledge I had to use to back away from the cat (the other animal turned out to be a very frightened raccoon, I must add), the trip was fine. There was one day my friend visited with his sisters, and our hike took longer than expected (well, I kind of knew it would but didn’t argue the point much), landing us in the uncomfortable zone of night approaching – but even then I was undaunted, having supplies and, of course, others to get through it with. Honestly, I am much more concerned with random men in my own city than anything that might happen out in the woods, statistically speaking. I’m going back solo next year, so ner.
I wanted something relaxed and low key, so I scouted places I could get to in a half-day to maximize my vacation time. I had been to Shawnee National Forest growing up a few times and have always wanted to revisit its Garden of the Gods, so as soon as I realized it fit the bill, I found the most adorable tiny home to stay in and packed my things! There was a pair of bunnies out front every day, and the house had some bunny decorations, too (hence the bunny in the piece). The property was safely tucked behind an electric gate and had acres and acres of its own to explore – lots of turkeys and deer and turtles and birds, oh my! My favorite highlight was an ethereal possum who was unaware of my presence just feet away. The home had a swing on the front porch where I spent most of my time while there – amazingly, there were no mosquitoes and the weather was just absolutely beautiful. I took lazy breakfasts and long dinners each day on that swing, reading my book, drawing, watching the nature that was up close and all around the cabin. There were plentiful wood bees about and studying them was really interesting. One day it rained and I basically spent the entire time on the swing that day listening to it fall, except for the short jaunt to a town for lunch just to see the local area.
As for how I made this piece: this was the first time I used Adobe to lay it out before I began. What? I actually planned?? Well, yes! Mostly because I really wanted to capture a famous view of Garden of the Gods and to get the text to fit just right. I’m very happy with the stone outcrops; these are made with scraps of different fabric patterns and with the stitching over them, you can hardly tell unless you look closely! The stones, trees, swing, tea cup, and bunny are fused appliqué with some stitched accents. And the border is half vintage green velvet ribbon and half viney trim. The lettering is a combination of straight and fly stitching; in fact, nearly all the stitching is simply straight stitching or backstitched. I wanted to keep everything very simple to keep in the mood of how light the trip made me feel. A definite highlight in my life!
As a truly unexpected bonus, I had enlisted in the Shawnee Challenge, which I had learned of through Hiking with Shawn. Turns out, my hard efforts of finding cell signal to log my adventures proved fortuitous, for I was one of the winners! I got a super nice dark green hoodie and beanie, and a light green t-shirt (see all the choices winners can select from here). So cool! Thanks, to the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest for hosting the challenge, President Roosevelt for thinking ahead for people like me, and all the groups who’ve worked hard to restore the area. 💜