In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

There and back again

Last week, Baby Girl and I outraced Dorian (actually, we out-plodded Dorian, one of the slowest and most devastating hurricanes because it was so slow) to go to my Happy Place.

I took classes at Salty Yarns with Jackie du Plessis.

Here is the beautiful box that will hold the exquisite smalls for a project named Gardenesque:


We didn't get much stitching done, but we worked through the steps to make the pincushions that will fit on the top (most people got theirs done, mine looked like lopsided pimples so I decided to wait until I got home where I wouldn't embarrass myself too much) and to make the fittings for the drawer.

You can't see the drawer in this picture, but it will contain a marvel of engineering that will hold scissors, a thread winder, and a waxer, and also has a built-in button container. I was working on carving out the openings in mat board and foamcore that form the basis for the drawer fittings but stopped when I broke the blade of the knife I was using.

Yes, I broke the blade. It flew through the air. Luckily it didn't hit anyone and I found it almost immediately, so there were no injuries in the making of this etui--but it ended my interest in carving for the day.

But that was not all.

We also had the opportunity to make a fan/needlebook and its holder, designed especially for Salty Yarns.


The scrims will be the blades for the fan, and we were also given a mermaid thread winder by our hostess with the mostest, Sara Rutka-Karst.

I should add that the shell holder really looks just like a clam shell. It is amazing.

And there was the usual fabulous goody bag:


In keeping with our mermaid theme--when I get all the goodies stashed away in my sewing corner (aka kitchen table)--this will be the project bag for the fan and its holder.

But it's going to take some time to get all the goodies stashed away--it was a wonderful, bountiful collection of sewing aids and appurtenances:


As usual, Sara, Sally, Mary, and their families took extremely good care of us. I'm always so happy to have the chance to take classes there and hope I can continue to totter to Salty Yarns for years to come.

Baby Girl did not take classes this time. She drove us there and back and relaxed in between. I took classes and caught up on my sleep. It was the perfect vacation.

Now, have I jumped right into these projects since I've been home?

Nope.

As expected, my email inbox and desk blew up while I was gone and I'm still catching up. I may catch up by November 2020. I am breathing deeply and making every effort to avoid stressing out.

So instead of setting up the linen and jumping right in (for one thing, I've got to get a new knife--Dearly Beloved has decided I can't be trusted with any of his), I decided to continue working on Swan Bower. I'm getting very close to a finish for the stitching.


And I have Cherry Berry still in the finishing stages, and the Winter Casket Toys to the finishing stage, and I'm working away at Tsubaki . . . .

And I've added another lovely Barbara Jackson design to the list:


The beautiful handmade basket and the materials for a class through Shining Needle Society arrived a couple of days ago.

I am so lucky to have the opportunities I've had for stitching projects and classes--but I really need to plug in the electric needle and get to stitching.

So I am.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Never make plans

I was going to go off track this week-end and finally, FINALLY get the Winter Casket Toys assembled. I always like to have a special project to stitch when I have a long week-end or holiday, and this project has been in the works for far longer than I would like.

Well, this is what got put together yesterday:


This is one side of a thread winder holder. I did get the pocket that will go in the middle ready to go while I was working on this toy yesterday--and then there was another component that I spent most of the afternoon stitching and unstitching.

And stitching and unstitching.

And--well, you get the idea.

I finally admitted that my problem was that I really couldn't see as well as I wanted and my little clip-on magnifiers were not strong enough. This means the Dazor has to come out. Any by the time I decided on that, it was getting late in the evening and I couldn't focus my eyes anyway.

So I was going to do that today.

Except I was unwell in the middle of the night, complete with chills and headache, and I still feel a little quivery today. 24 hour virus? Maybe . . . anyway, this is not the day to do anything that involves focus and concentration.

I was making really good progress on Swan Bower before I decided to do something else this week-end:


And maybe I should stick with that.

Or maybe I should sip some chicken broth and go back to bed. What a waste of a week-end!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

You learn something new every day

I made good progress on Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower set this week:


There are a couple of changes to the original design.

The eggs in the nest that Betsy stitched and charted are sort of a dark green/gray. I asked Dearly Beloved, who is my authority on all things wildlife, if swans have dark eggs. Amazingly, this is one question that he could not answer.

So, Google to the rescue!

It turns out that swans lay eggs in a variety of colors, from whitish to beige-ish to blue to greenish to grayish. There was a photograph of a nest that had mostly whitish eggs, with one that was close to the shade of the thread that Betsy used. However, the caption for the picture said that the egg turned that color after the nest became wet.

I decided my swan parents built their nest close enough to a body of water to be safe but high enough to avoid flooding. Besides, I thought, given the light and airy effect of the stitching, white would look a little better. So my eggs are white.

I also did plain cross stitch instead of long-arm cross on the multicolor bands above and below the woven ribbons. This was not a conscious decision. This was a mistake. Somehow I missed the line in the instructions that told me to work those bands in long-arm cross.  I decided to leave them as they are, since who would ever know?

Other than the people who read my blog, of course.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Two Swans a'Flappin'

I actually found a few stolen moments this week-end to stitch.


This is half of the needle book that will be installed in the center of Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower Etui.

I thought about outlining the white swan, who almost doesn't show up against the lovely pale yellow linen, but I think it shows up sufficiently well, so I'm leaving it.

Normally I have more time to stitch on a week-end, but we went to visit Mother yesterday, and that's an all-day trip.

Mother has taken up Wiii Frisbee golf and Wiii bowling. The Saint and I are amazed. She is doing quite well at both, which is even more amazing, since neither of us think she has ever touched either a real Frisbee or a real bowling ball. Ever. Mother is revealing hidden talents.

However, we do wish she still had some filters. Luckily the majority of the people she insults are either too deaf to hear what she says or have no short term memory so they don't remember it.

Bless her heart.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Another Slip

Well, I got the rest of the tent stitch for the Golden Accessories done:


The blank spots will have small gold work motifs worked into them, and then they will be assembled into another set of smalls. That is on another slip of paper in my projects-to-be-finished bag. This means that I am not getting something out of the workbasket but putting it back.

There seems to be a problem with my logic on this, but I'm not going to argue with myself about the way I wrote the projects down. What may cause problems is if I pull out a slip that tells me to finish-finish something that hasn't had the embroidery completed. I believe Dearly Beloved will allow me to draw another slip in that case.

At least, if he knows what's good for him, he will.

Yes, it's been a long, difficult week, and I'm a little cranky.

Anyway, that meant I got to pull out another slip so I would have four projects to work on, and Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower was the choice.


I took this class last year at Salty Yarns, and finished one of the accessories in class. I started the outlining for the fob in hand after the class was over, but decided I wanted to put it on scroll bars to do the rest of the stitching.

And didn't have a scroll frame free at the time. And I was absolutely not going to take an unfinished project off the right size bars to start another project. It takes me forever to sew things to the bars to my satisfaction ( due to that first-born girl-child perfectionist thing, plus classes with Joanne Harvey) so once something is attached, it stays attached until the project is done.

Do not ask how many things are on scroll bars all over my house. Just don't. Because I don't know. And I don't want to.

See, still cranky.

Anyway, this was one of those slips that said both stitching and finish-finishing, so you may be seeing this one for awhile.

And since I love Betsy Morgan's projects, that's fine with me.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Painting myself into a corner

On one of my last posts, I mentioned that I was trying a new method to get some started projects to the finish line. I wrote what I wanted to do on each project on a slip of paper and had Dearly Beloved pull it out of bag.

I did not realize that he was going to assume responsibility for making sure I did what I had written on the slips of paper.

For Pineapple Perfection, I had written, "Finish embroidery for Pineapple Perfection and put the set together."

Well, I got it embroidered but I wasn't feeling the love for finish-finishing because I never feel the love for finish-finishing. I was thinking I could just mark out the first part of the order and put the slip back in the bag. 

Oh, no, this would not do.  Dearly Beloved was adamant that I should do everything on the slip before I pulled another one. And, he was right. The whole reason for this was to get some things finished, done, completed, and out of the workbasket.

So this is the result:


And I am very happy with the whole thing.

As always, the finish-finishing took much longer than I had anticipated. And the whole time, my stitcher's ADD was screaming for some alternatives when I just didn't feel like sewing bits and pieces together.

So I made a deal with the devil Dearly Beloved.   This time I could pull out four slips. And as soon as I finish something on one of the slips, I can pull another. And I can alternate among those four slips.

So the next projects on my to-do list are:
  • assemble Cherry Berry
  • finish the tent stitch sections of the Golden Accessories
  • stitch and assemble Tsubaki (I have got to remember if I ever do this again to put stitching and finish-finishing on separate slips!)
  • stitch a band on Hannah Thornbush (at least I had sense enough NOT to write finish Hannah Thornbush)
So, onward and upward. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Why I should not stitch when I'm tired

Look at this picture closely.


If you look very closely, you'll see a row of tiny eyelets on the piece on the left. This will be the front of the scissors case that goes with Pineapple Perfection.

Then, if you look at the bottom of the piece on the right, you'll see more teeny little eyelets. They aren't supposed to be there. This is the back of the scissors case. They are supposed to be on the bottom of the front of the scissors case.

How I managed to make this epic goof is beyond me.

I will admit I was very tired last night.

And why was I so tired?

We traveled to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia last Friday to visit The Wild and Wonderful Flash. It was a tiring trip through the mountains--we had to deal with the Friday afternoon "lake traffic" before we even made it out of our home county--then it took a solid hour to go from the Virginia/West Virginia border to the town of Princeton. Princeton is nine miles from the border. We do not know why there was so much slowly moving congestion. By the time we finally arrived at our destination, it was almost 8 o'clock and we hadn't had dinner--so we grabbed a bite to eat, then visited until almost midnight. And then were up and out the next morning. And spent most of the day with The Flash and his parental units. And then drove home on Sunday.

The Flash is currently constructing a Lego city that is about the size and density of Manhattan. To accompany it, he is writing and illustrating a comic book about the citizens of this city. There is a hero, and a villain. Apparently by the third comic book in the series, the villain becomes reformed.

We generally live a quiet life and this much excitement is more than we usually have in a month. Dearly Beloved, who is retired, has had all week to recuperate (not that you can tell the recuperation from his regular schedule in retirement). I had to go back to work on Monday. And it's been a busy week.

So, I am tired. Very tired. And I have decided that tonight I'm not even going to try to thread a needle, much less cut out eyelets that are in the wrong place.

I'm just going to sit in my corner and stare into space until bedtime.  Which may be any minute now.