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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


The kit for Catherine the Great from Gay Ann Rogers arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.

I have been inventorying the supplies since I got home from work:

The thread colors are subtle, but there are beads and lots of glitz, as befitting the Empress of all the Russias.

Now I need to find stretcher bars and decide how best I want to organize the threads to make it easiest for me to stitch.

There are times when I enjoy organizing as much as I enjoy stitching, and I think tonight is one of those nights.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A new start

After I've finished the stitching on a project, it takes me a day or so to figure out what to work on next. It doesn't make any difference how many projects are sitting by my chair or lurking in the stash room, I seem to need some time to decide on the next focus piece.

And sometimes, I take a day off completely.

Yesterday we went to a movie (Age of Ultron and yes, we are that kind of geek and yes, we were the oldest people in the audience), then we went for a late lunch, and then we had to come home and take a nap and then we had to decide on something for dinner and then it was fairly late in the evening.

However, I have today off, so I could play in the stash a little before bed and not worry about staying up too late.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do next, so I thought I'd get something set up for my traveling project. I have two week-end trips in a row coming up, and one must have a stitching project if one is to travel.

So Briar Rose came out. It has my usual hotel room stitching requirements: not too many colors, fairly small, no complicated stitches. I decided I wanted to use stretcher bars rather than a scroll frame or a hoop.

And the most amazing thing happened!  I found two sets of 10" stretcher bars that match in construction and size!  Inevitably, I'll find two of each kind--like regular size and minis--or two of each kind that have rounded edges on one pair and squared off edges on the other--or four whose connecting ends are not cut to mesh with any other stretcher bar in the world. These cooperated on all fronts!

So I ironed the linen and tacked it to the bars and found the center and then I just had to put a thread in.

And that's when I realized this was not going to be a travel piece.

The linen is dark--you can't tell from the picture, but it is very dark--and the count is teeny--and I need full light and magnification to be able to see the stitches since they're over one thread.

So this is the current home project and I'll have to decide on something else as the travel one.

I will be stash diving again today.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

All the grass is planted

and the sheep is fleeced and The Shepherdess is ready to be finish-finished!

I'm fairly pleased with the shading in the grass, much more than I thought I would be. I do have a couple of hints on working that part, if you're doing this class with Barbara through Shining Needle.

First of all, thread up several needles with various shades of green thread, even the ones you don't think you'll use. You may surprise yourself--if you lay the thread out next to a stitched area, the one you think is absolutely horrible may be exactly what you need to make that section pop.

Secondly, take pictures as you work. This may sound weird, but the camera will show you things your eyes don't see when the work is right in front of you. I hadn't planned to have so much of the lighter greens in the lower section, but without them, the whole area was just . . . boring.

I have read over the finishing directions and think I can do what they say.  Of course, since I'm still on cough syrup for this cough that is never, ever going to go away, I am in an altered state of consciousness. With that in mind, I may wait until Barbara goes over that section in the online class.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yard Work

I'm still planting grass in The Shepherdess's lawn:

I had a dream of getting the grass finished before I went to bed tonight. The only way that will happen is if I stay up until tomorrow night.

I don't think so.

I think I'll resume the yard work tomorrow, bright and early. Or bright and not-so-early. Sleeping in sounds so much more attractive than planting grass. I will say I'm much happier with the shading in the yard--so far--than I was.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Covered in SABLE

Ordinarily at this time I would be heading out for my ANG chapter meeting. However, as The Plague Cough has worn me down to a mere shadow of my usual self, I'm staying home and going to bed early.

(I am just about ready to resort to my Great Aunt Maggie's cough remedy:  Bourbon, sour apple honey, and lemon--family lore states that she also added a little bit of kerosene but I'm not going there--it would flat take out a cough and leave you limp in its wake. As a small child, I remember holding my breath to avoid coughing and thereby avoid the cough remedy. It didn't work.)

Meanwhile, Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy has ramped up in the last couple of weeks and I want to stitch on everything immediately if not sooner.

This online class, also through SNS, started today:

I can never resist a Jackie du Plessis project and wouldn't it be amazing if I actually stitched and finished one during the course of the class!

Judy O'Dell of the wonderful frame stand is offering a needlebook class online with an unusual technique involving crayons and threads. As Baby Girl has all the family art supplies, I may need to raid her stash for once to be able to stitch this.

I've been craving this class from The Binding Stitch for years, literally years, and Marcia offered it online and I signed up.  I rationalized it to Dearly Beloved by telling him that these opportunities don't come along very often and one should grab them as quickly as one can.  He replied that I seem to have a lot of opportunities that I have grabbed. I am ignoring him.

And then there's Catherine Theron's Strawberry Needle Roll. I believe this may become my travel project, assuming I ever stop coughing long enough to go anywhere.

The Shepherdess has not been abandoned. I've decided to sneak up on the problem area in the grass by working the other side of the yard first and gradually working my way towards the part that caused me angst and agony.

But for now, I'm medicating and resting. Blech!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tearing out the grass--and my hair

Here you see what I've accomplished in the last two days of stitching:

I had a vision of the way I wanted to shade the grass on The Shepherdess. Obviously that vision was the product of the codeine cough syrup I have been sipping in a vain attempt to control the nasty cough I have as a reminder of The Plague.

When you look at something while you're stitching it and say, "That ain't right" and you keep stitching, when you put the project down and walk away from it, still saying "That ain't right" and you come back to it and put in another thread, and when you wake up at 3:22 a.m. saying, "That really ain't right"  you know it's time to rip it all out.  And that you should have followed your first instincts, when it all started to go wrong, instead of forging on ahead.

So tonight I came home from work and ripped out.

I am re-evaluating the shading on the grass.

However, if my poor example doesn't scare you off, please be aware that, as of today, this project is available as an online class through Shining Needle Society. I have been singing the praises of SNS since its inception--after all, what is better than taking a class in front of the computer screen while wearing comfortable clothes, i.e. nighties or sweat pants. If you're not on the mailing list, email Kate Gaunt at for the information.

Kate, who runs the operation, wrote some very kind things about my blog and me in the intro to the class, and she and Barbara Jackson, the designer and teacher of this delightful design, have asked me to be a guest in the class.

I can't decide if they need a class clown or a stellar example of what not to do, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blue Skies, nothing but blue skies

Well, maybe a little more than blue skies--the sun has rays and the other bird has legs and a beak:

Now I'm going to see how much grass I can plant. The sooner I get it planted, the sooner the sheep will get his fleece.

Then again, the new Longmire book from Craig Johnson has arrived. I may read instead of stitch. That is, of course, if I can grab it before Dearly Beloved runs away with it.