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Catharine Eastman
Singer, lab rat, and lover of cats
Singer, lab rat, and lover of cats

Catharine Eastman's posts

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I hadn't done any embroidery for a while, so I decided to fire up the machine and do a thing. As sometimes happens, it turned out to be much more of an experiment than I had planned on.

This is an Inky Dragon design from Embroidery Library ( It's not specifically designed for metallic thread, but the stitch packing isn't very dense, so I thought it should work okay.

I started out with one of Mettler's metallic threads, of which I have several but hadn't actually used in a project before. (It's the blue stuff). The thread broke a few times, and more importantly, the metallic blue exterior seems to be stripping off as it sews - see the white areas? That's not supposed to happen. I fussed with the tension, which didn't improve the problem, and started wondering if there was something wrong with my machine. I figured that switching embroidery thread would tell me something.

I had a spool of a different brand of metallic thread (Madeira, in gold). The project already looked pretty gnarly, so switching colors didn't bother me. Lo and behold, the Madeira thread behaves WAY better. You can see that there's no ugly white areas poking through the way there is with the Mettler.

It'll be interesting to try a small portion of a pattern which IS designed for metallic thread and see if the Mettler behaves badly in that context as well.


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I just found out about the Children's Gender Clinic at Stanford. I am delighted that such clinics exist!

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My church is looking for a new music director. Please disseminate this information as you see fit. Thank you!

Christ Church Portola Valley & Woodside is looking for a talented, creative and pastoral Music Director who can both conduct a choir and play the church’s famous Visser-Rowland Opus #97 Organ. Candidates must be enthusiastic about building a volunteer choir and continuing the high standards of its existing music program. This is a part-time (15-20 hours) permanent position with a competitive AGO scale-based salary. However, housing is not provided.

The current program includes Sunday morning and Wednesday evening rehearsals (except during summer hiatus), two worship services (8 a.m. and 10 a.m.) on Sundays, special services occasionally on Sunday evenings, organizing occasional concerts supported by our Special Music Fund, and annual events such as a concert with a sister parish, a Parish Retreat, and high holy days including Christmas and Holy Week/Easter. It also includes one weekly staff meeting. Applicants must consider themselves partners-in-ministry with the entire team, including the Rector, other staff members, and the congregation. While the position may not include conducting a children’s choir, the candidate must be willing to support the children’s ministries of the parish, and lead chapel for the Carillon Preschool classes with an organ demonstration once per semester.

For consideration, please email your resume to the Rector (no phone calls
please), the Rev. Beth Phillips, at

A fuller description is available at

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It's neat to know that, years later, an audio file that I recorded for is still being enjoyed. Here's an email that I just received:

"Dear Mrs. Eastman,

I've listened to audio through LibriVox for a couple of years now and never before e-mailed anyone regarding their reading. But I just had to complement you on preforming Toad's song in the last chapter of The Wind and the Willows. It was completely unexpected to hear it actually sang. I really enjoyed it- thanks!"

What happens when you teach a neural network about color names? (This tumblr post is short, well-written, and has some truly hysterical names.)

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Pretty fiber art!

I'm pretty sure this is a three-dimensional object, not embroidered. Kudos to whoever made it. Via +Diane Duane's tumblr.

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I made curtains! I feel Very Domestic now.

They're not great curtains as curtains go. But they should do the job of significantly reducing the amount of sun that comes into the office... which will make using my computer in the afternoon much more comfortable (the sun blasts right in that window and into my face), and should keep the office somewhat cooler in the summer.

I bought pin hooks, not really knowing any better. I think next time I would (1) use standard drapery hooks (with the 3 prongs) because they would stay perpendicular to the fabric better, and (2) use a full bolt width for each panel - these are a little on the narrow side when fully drawn across, and the 3-prong hooks would gather more fabric.

Now I need to make tiebacks, since the hooks don't really slide across that curtain rod at all smoothly.

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Interested in slightly unusual instruments? Check out this tumblr thread for a couple of amusing new instruments from Japan: the otomatone and Mr. Knocky. The otomatone video and the later Mr. Knocky one are worth your time - Mr. Knocky concludes with a very credible taiko-like performance. (I didn't watch the first Mr Knocky one so cannot comment.)

+Wendy Gale +Jay Lane +Jean Monroe +David Eastman

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And continuing in the needlework theme... Someone is VERY GOOD at both designing and implementing hand-embroidery. (Click through to see the reference image.)

Via quiescentre's tumblr.

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Believe it or not, the embroidery pattern below is all a single color of thread. The apparently different colors are created by sewing the fills in one area in one direction (e.g. left-to-right) and the fills in another area in a different direction (e.g. on a particular diagonal). The threads reflect the incoming light differently, causing the different areas to appear different colors.

Way to go, Urban Threads!
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