Monday, February 22, 2010

Stitching Endeavour's De-orbit Map

You know how you have a million project ideas floating around in your head at any given moment? Things you've wanted to tackle for a while, but the timing just seems off? And then - in one blissful moment, your idea meets with the perfect resources and just the right amount of time and you're able to pull it off. Isn't that just one of the best feelings ever?

It's a rare feeling for me, but I take it when I can get it, and I got it last night.

I've wanted to embroider a shuttle's de-orbit map for a long time. The instant I saw one, my brain pinged, "STITCH IT!" which I think is a common occurrence for embroiderers. We see any kind of line drawing and immediately think, "Hey! I could stitch that!"

I particularly love the old school computer display look of the de-orbit maps (thanks for the Wargames reminder, Matt) and just love the idea of the symbolism of such a simple path home for such a complicated vehicle and mission. It seems though, that all the previous missions whose de-orbit maps I've wanted to stitch have never come together at just the right time - with all those magical elements meeting.

I started eyeing Endeavour's de-orbit maps a couple of days ago, and knew that if there ever was a time for me to make this project work, it was now. How could I not stitch the de-orbit map of the first shuttle I've seen launch? I didn't want to jinx her landing, though, by stitching the first de-orbit map only to find that she was delayed or rerouted to some other location. So I waited and held out hope that the pesky weather would clear and I could get to the business of stitching.
And it did. Just more than one hour before she was set to land, she was given the all clear for weather and the go ahead to execute the de-orbit burn that would commit her to landing. I literally jumped out of my chair, ran to my craft room and gathered my supplies. I had one scrap of black fabric, perfect for the background. I grabbed one of my many containers of embroidery floss, and it just happened to have every color I needed. I printed the map, transferred it with carbon paper and was off.

Two weeks ago, in the wee hours of a chilly Monday morning, I was in the press room at Kennedy Space Center, waiting to see if Endeavour would be given the all clear for weather and a "go" for launch. They'd gone back and forth and back and forth, and the speculation, coupled with the increasing crowds and noise in the press room, started to get to me. I bundled up, grabbed my laptop and escaped to the water's edge at the press launch viewing site, with the giant countdown clock just behind me. It felt so nice to break away and soak in the moment, with very few people around me. It was a privilege to sit there and watch Endeavour on the launch pad, knowing her crew was busy inside hoping just as hard as I was that they would be launching soon. I was so glad I took the time to escape and quiet my surroundings so I could focus on what was going on.
I felt the same way last night. As soon as Endeavour was given the "go" to land, Twitter went haywire - all abuzz with racing comments and recap of what was happening on NASA tv. And while I adore Twitter, stepping away from it for one hour to stitch and listen to the soothing (to me, come on, I'm a dork!) chatter of Mission Control was one of the best things I could do.

I kept the project small - about 5 inches square - and stitched as fast as I could. But you know as well as I do - you really can't rush stitching. And you can't multitask with it either. So I stitched and stitched and stitched. And just as I was getting to the part of stitching the flight path, Endeavour showed up on the screen as a little red triangle, slowly (well, actually pretty darn fast) going down the same path I was stitching.
With just under 10 minutes to spare, I completed the stitching and was able to sit back and watch her landing with a giant smile on my face. (and, yeah, tears streaming down my face)

As I looked at the piece this morning, I can see its glaring imperfections. Uneven stitches, could have worked the final bits of the flight path in a more interesting way, didn't have time to stitch in all the numbers, but I don't care. I'm so glad I jumped up and forced myself into a project. It took me less than an hour to complete something I've been thinking about doing for almost a year.

Image courtesy collectSPACE

What can you whip up tonight?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gone Spacing

Crafting is still happening (in fact, I've even been teaching in the midst of all this space craziness!) but I am knee-deep in the bliss of STS-130 so I'll report back on the classes and astronaut embroidery update soon!

Want to join in the mission fun? Follow me on twitter!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Embroidered Peg Board & a look at my craft space

Over on CRAFT, we're just wrapping up one of our most fun and most popular series: Make Space For Crafting. During the last month, we've featured numerous craft spaces of some of our favorite crafty peeps as well as loads of tutorials and projects that are perfect for organizing your own craft space. I love that we've had spaces from tiny craft closets to vast, gorgeous studios, and projects that range from fast and easy to more elaborate. I highly recommend checking out the complete series archive.

I just posted up a peek inside my craft space last night. Mine's not completely finished - I still have some art to hang on the walls and a curtain to hang over my closet and roman shades to make/purchase/hang, but it's getting there, and I love it oh so much. Having my own space - especially since I work from home - is so important. I can go in there and really feel comfortable and inspired to work. Love that.

One of my favorite things in my craft space is my peg boards. Peg boards are one of the handiest organizational tools around, and I decided to gussy mine up with some embroidery with yarn. I love having over-sized embroidery stitches up on my wall.

Check out the piece and more pictures over on my Flickr stream. Do you have any favorite craft spaces to share? Any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments. Our main Make Space for Crafting series may be over, but with response as great as we've received, we're working on ways to keep it alive in some form.