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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Seriously Girly-Girl

Deep down inside, I suffer from a terminal case of prissy. Put ribbons and bows on something pastel, and I melt.

 This is what made me melt today.

I put together the accessory bits for the Posies set--scissors fob, scissors sheath, and teeny needle book. I even managed to get the ribbon on the scrimshaw thread winder. All have been added to their Shaker carrier.

I could go ahead and start the assembly of the main piece of the set. I could. But having made it through this much finishing in one day without a total breakdown, I'm going to stitch instead. I have four pieces calling my name. Loudly. They're even louder than the dust bunnies.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Carrot or Stick?

Last night I worked on the cute little bunny from Eve in the Garden:

And about the time I started filling in the body, it was time to go to bed.

Wednesday I pulled Cashmir out of its bag, and after I figured out exactly where I was (after all, the last time I worked on it was . . . gulp . . . 13 years ago), I finished the center motif, added the first border around it, and started the second. There is spaghetti all over the canvas that I would love to have worked in, but, again, it was bedtime.

On Tuesday, it was Jack-in-the-Box night. I finished the outlining and started the design on the lid of the box. I was really getting into it, but . . .do you see where this is going?  Bedtime.

And it all started on Monday. I had stitched in all the stems and leaves and had just threaded the needle to start the roses on the Fair Maiden Workbag, when, you guessed it, it was past my bedtime.

Every single night this week, I was all excited by the project I was working on when it was time to put it away and get ready to work on the next project in the Ellie Plan. It's been really hard, but, wow, am I interested in getting back to each piece. This may be the secret to Ellie's success. The interest stays high.

Now it's the week-end and I can work on whatever I want. And I want to work on them all. Simultaneously. I may make Dearly Beloved pull a name out of a hat.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stitching and Sightseeing

There was very little needlework going on this week-end:

I made it all around the front of the bag for the Fair Maiden's project and started the stems for the roses. There were a few tense moments when I did not think the two sides of the bag were going to meet in the center of the bottom. Actually, there were more than a few--but they did meet and a major sigh of relief was heaved.

This was all the stitching I did because Baby Girl and I went gallivanting yesterday. There are two sites near Jamestown and Williamsburg that I've wanted to explore for quite some time, and Baby Girl was up for a road trip.

So, fortified by fast food breakfast biscuits, we headed out early to the great state of Virginia to visit Bacon's Castle and Smith's Fort.

You will be expecting pictures. You won't get them this time. I left home without my camera. Baby Girl said, not to worry, we could use hers. Her camera battery was dead, which we discovered when we arrived at Bacon's Castle.

Anyway, Bacon's Castle is one of three surviving Jacobean brick houses left in the Western Hemisphere. The other two are in Barbados. The house was in possession of only three families in its almost 350 year history, and each generation left its stamp on the dwelling. For example there is an Italianate addition on one side, built by one of the families in the 1800's.

However, they do have one room set up as it would have been in the 1600's when the house was the talk of the countryside--one room in the house would have been larger than the average entire home at that time. Plus it had four floors under one roof, another amazing thing for the early colonial period.

Another room is decorated as it was in the mid-1700's when the owner updated the house to reflect the Georgian style popular in the new capitol, Williamsburg.

We had hoped for stitched textiles, but there was only one and I believe it was in the wrong place. There was an "Irish stitch" pocketbook in the 1600's room and I don't think those were popular until the 1700's. This is something to research further.

The bare bones of an English pleasure garden can be found at one side of  the house. There is also one surviving house that would have been used by the slaves, the only one of nineteen that were known to be on the property.

And, our docent mentioned that the house would quite probably be featured on an upcoming episode of Ghost Hunters; their crew had visited three times and had some interesting findings.

After that tour, we rode the ferry to the Williamsburg side and had lunch in one of the taverns, then rode the ferry back to the other side of the James and went to Smith's Fort.

This is a mid-1700's Georgian house which would have been typical for a successful farmer or businessman. It was mostly furnished in that style, although they have a striking William & Mary cabinet and a number of chests that date from the 1600's. The thing I really wanted to see, though, was the stumpwork panel found in a corner of one of the upstairs rooms.

This piece is a combination of embroidery and bead work. The embroidery has darkened and faded over the years--the beads are still as vivid as they probably were when they were first stitched to the piece. It also has a wide needlelace band that was probably glorious in its original gold and silver state. That alone was worth the trip.

And we are very probably going to visit both sites again. The next time I promise we'll have a functioning camera!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life gets in the way . . .

When all goes well in my little corner of the world, I get a couple of hours in the evening to stitch.

I haven't had that this week for a variety of very good reasons, and this progress report on the Ellie Plan is going to be pretty pathetic as a result.


Here you see the barest beginning of the outline for the front panel of the Fair Maiden's Workbag. It's worked in Gilt Silk Twist, one of the threads that was developed as a result of the Plimoth Jacket project, and I do love the way it looks. There are those who dislike working with it. I am not one of them. The trick is to work slowly and to use a handmade Japanese embroidery needle. To do this, you have to locate the safe place you stored the Japanese embroidery needles. This can take time. And try your patience.


And here is the beginning of the outline for the Jack-in-the-Box, one of the toys that will end up in Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest. I'm not sure why I didn't have time to stitch Tuesday night--it was one of those evenings that seems to have just vanished.


You see what I managed to accomplish when I took Cashmir in a class at ANG National. I have yet to take another stitch in it. I do have a very good excuse--last night was the first meeting of the 2014-15 year for the Carolina Sampler Guild and that's where I was for the evening. Since I was presiding it would have been rude to stitch. Actually I don't think it would be possible to stitch and preside simultaneously.


Here is the sweet little bunny from Eve in the Garden. I would be stitching away on this, but I need to change the stretcher bars. One of the bars has cracked and the whole piece has gone wonky (technical term). This means I need to drag out the stretcher bar box--and it probably means that I will need to change out all four bars, because, of course, you can never replace just one stretcher bar. If you find the right length, the way it's notched will never match the other three.

Actually, I really need to decide what I want to stitch for the next couple of evenings. With the week-end coming up, I have free choice time. And, since I am abandoning Dearly Beloved to his own devices and heading to Baby Girl's home for the week-end, I should get packed and ready to leave. Baby Girl and I are going gallivanting Saturday. We're in dire need of a road trip.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Very Little Labor on Labor Day

After working on finishing all day Saturday, I decided not to ruin spend the rest of the holiday week-end with the sewing machine and a sharp needle.

So yesterday I caught up on the stack of magazines that's been piling up for a couple of months and read almost half of the most recent John Sandford thriller and put away the left over threads from Journey and Morning Has Broken and filed their instructions.

This morning I decided on the current Ellie Plan projects.

Monday: Fair Maiden's Work Bag and accessories

Tuesday:  Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest, starting with the Jack-in-the-Box

Wednesday is Joyce Lukomski's Cashmir, a blast from the past. I took this class from Joyce at ANG National in 2001, held in DC.  The day after I returned home from that seminar was 9/11, and needlework took a back seat for a bit. I ran across the kit a couple of weeks ago and decided it would be my next canvas piece.

Thursday is still Eve in the Garden.

The week-ends will continue to be free time, although I'm going to try to force myself to do some finishing one day a week-end until the finishing basket is empty. It's so full it's pushing the lid up and things are escaping. Before they take over the world, or at least my house, they need to be put together. Otherwise they may unite and form a new life form, and we've all seen enough scary movies to know we don't want that.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's a start . . .

This was an absolutely horrendous week at work.

In fact, I just about decided to retire and join a contemplative religious order with a strict vow of silence so that I wouldn't have to talk to the public, which, for some reason, has been particularly difficult to talk to.

This was tempered by two things:  Presbyterians don't have contemplative religious orders, first of all. Secondly, Dearly Beloved pointed out I'd probably have to take strict vows of poverty and chastity as well, and he didn't think that would work out for me.

So I stitched instead. Every minute that I was not at work, I stitched. Stress relief, doncha know.

Today I started the finishing process for Pocket for Posies. I started with the easiest part first.

The carrier is lined and accessorized--now I have to start working on the smalls that it carries.

As usual, finishing has taken longer than I had hoped. I really think I start losing IQ points when I try to put things together. It doesn't stop me from trying, and it doesn't stop me from taking classes which will result in having to put things together, but there are days when I feel absolutely fumble-fingered and dimwitted.

And I really want to get this all put together. Jackie du Plessis is teaching the Fair Maiden's workbag at Salty Yarns and at Needle in a Haystack, and that's making me yearn to pull that kit out and work on it. I was going to slot it in on the next round of Ellie's Plan projects, but I'm sort of wanting to get it all done and assembled. I may have to modify the Ellie Plan again to make that happen.

And then there's Sherri Jones' Mr. Butters class though Shining Needle Society. The stitching directions are to be posted on Tuesday. There's another project I really want to do. And the friends who took Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest with me have been bringing their finished chests and toys to guild meetings, another reason to pull that out as well. I'd like to work on Eve in the Garden again, too.

Maybe I need to find a contemplative order that will allow me to stitch all day.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Journey's End

And Journey is now finished!

It's very sparkly!

I was hoping a closer shot would show just how sparkly, but sparkly doesn't really come through in a still shot.

I think I'm going to move on to Pocket for Posies, Posey for short, then decide on the next round of projects. I'm going back on the Ellie Plan, but I think I'm going to work on smalls for awhile. After two big projects, I want more immediate gratification!