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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Plugging Away

So, I've been working away on Eve's background:

I'd hoped to have it almost finished by now, but I've been distracted. I've been trying to organize the 473 projects* I want to take to my stitching retreat next week. And I've been fighting off a sinus headache--who expected things to be pollinating in February?  But . . . the daffodils are up, the forsythia is blooming, and the azaleas are budding.

And I am sneezing.

*I'm exaggerating a little. It's not 473 projects. It's only 268.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Progress Report

I didn't mean to let the blog go dark for a solid week--but the last week was not a pleasant one for a variety of reasons.

There were a couple of bright spots: Dearly Beloved came through and then some for Valentine's Day, and The Flash sang me a Valentine song of his own composition. It consisted of singing Happy Valentine Day in a variety of keys and voices, over and over. As hesitant as I am to say this, I don't believe he inherited his great-grandfather's glorious singing voice. Apparently it skips a generation--the Big Kid seems to have it.

Despite other things, I have been stitching:

I've finished the first band of Isabella, a Group Correspondence Course from EGA that I'm taking through my local chapter. It's designed by Barbara Kershaw--and it's reawakening my love of drawn thread.

Eve has more background. You will also notice that I'm filling in the background in amongst the little curlicue and furbelows--not making that mistake again!

I've decided on the crewel design for lunch time stitching. This Elsa Williams pattern was started by a dear friend who passed away. Her family donated parts of her stash to our guild, and we held a silent auction to benefit our activities.  Even though the way she stitched is not the way I stitch, I'm leaving her stitches in place so I will always have a little bit of her in my life.

And I started this little bit from Jackie du Plessis' Aubergine set while visiting Mother. This will make another set of toys for my collection.

One more work week, and I am off for a week in Williamsburg for a needlework retreat. A whole week. A WHOLE WEEK!!!!  I keep saying I should just take a couple of projects to focus on--but I'm having a problem doing that.

So, I've decided to take at least half a dozen different things, just so I can see how far I can get when I have a whole day to focus on a single project.

Good thing I've started about half a dozen things this year, so I won't have to make so many decisions.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Well, Duh

Last night I decided to start on the background of the front of Eve in the Garden.

The first strand of gold thread I tried to use twisted and tangled, and about half the gilt stripped off. Technical terms* were hurled about. Sadly, if you've been following Eve's progress, you will remember that I've had problems with the gold thread from the get-go.  I've tried stitching with a Japanese, handmade needle. I've tried large needles to make the holes in the linen larger. I've tried smaller needles, just to see if that would help. I'd gotten down to working with 10" lengths of thread, which meant constant starting and stopping.

Last night, I very nearly put Eve into time-out . . . again . . . perhaps permanently.

While I was trying to decide what to do with Eve, I was puttering around doing nothing much of anything, when a tiny voice from deep in my lizard brain whispered, "What about waxing the thread?"

So I did.

No tangling. No snarling. No twisting. Very, very little stripping of gilt. And I could use 15-18" lengths of thread without horrible things happening.

And I have this much done:

Based on previous experience, this would have taken me at least three evenings to stitch. It took about an hour last night, and a couple of hours tonight.

If I didn't have something that I really need to work on this week-end instead of Eve, I would continue with the background. I am going to be resolute and do what I have to do--but I'm going to move on with Eve after that.

*If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you will remember that "technical terms" refers to language that is not normally considered acceptable in polite company.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Oh Happy Day!

All the curlicues and little spaces around the center cartouche are filled in!!!!

I hereby vow that I absolutely will not wait until the end to do those areas when I work the background on the front piece.

However, I am absolutely thrilled to have this much of the background done. Quite frankly, I thought it was going to take every evening this week to get those teeny little bits filled in. Now that they're done, I can move on to the background for the front. Actually, I may be deadly dull and boring and continue to work on this and this alone until I can start playing with the fun stuff.

We'll see how that plays out.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Some Assembly Required

I didn't have much time to stitch this week-end, but I did get the embroidery for this little project finished a few minutes ago.

Measure Twice
Jackie du Plessis

This is another of the small projects in my travel bag. However, with some changes in my job responsibilities, I'm not traveling as much as I once did so I've decided to pull some of those projects out to work on.

I'm going back to Eve's background for the weeknights, so I'll try to get this finish-finished next week-end.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

PhD's and other things

In my local EGA chapter, we have a PhD program--which stands for "Project half Done." Each year we get to pick up to three projects we want to complete in the coming year. For each one we complete, we get a chance to win the drawing for a gift certificate to one of the local shops. If we don't get something on our list completed, we have the option to roll it over into the next year.

I've been rolling mine over for three years. One of them is complete, but I put it in a safe place and can't lay my hands on it at the moment. One of them is stitched but not assembled. And then there is Eve.

I've been putzing around with this project since 2010. I want to do the fun stuff on it. I have to get past the background before I can get to the fun stuff. And that background has been the albatross around my neck.

Until this week.

This is my busy time at work. And I'm still getting over the plague (cough, cough, whine, whine). So I've been using up my energy and what brain power I have at my job, then coming home to fall over in the wing chair.

Well, this is not productive.

So Monday night I picked Eve up and did a few strands of gold. And then a few more. And I have found my busy season/plague recovery project.

Except for filling in the curlicues around the center design, I have one side complete!

And now I have some momentum going, and I'm going to start the other side's background (once the curlicues are filled in--and leaving them to last is not a mistake I'll make on the other side!).

The only problem with this is that it's about as boring to post progress pictures as it is to watch grass grow and paint dry. And I think I might get burned out (again) if I don't take a break once in a while. So on the week-ends, I'm going to do other things.

One of them may be this:

I won one of the door prizes at last evening's sampler guild meeting! And how appropriate for February and Valentine's Day! And it's a complete kit so I don't have to scramble for the bits and pieces to use--it even includes the backing fabric!

Since every time I plan a stitching routine, I fail miserably within two weeks, it will be interesting to see how this goes.

But right now, I think I'll go and stitch another strand or two of gold thread.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Plague Project 2

The plague has lingered into a second week, which means I must have picked up and put down a dozen projects. The only one that seemed to move easily is this:

Pot of Gold Sampler Accent for March
Periwinkle Promises

When this series of projects first floated to the top of the stash, I planned to work on one a month through 2017, just so I'd have at least one finish each month of the year. Now it appears that I have completed the samplers for the whole first quarter. I think I'll take a break from them for awhile.


I think  know the meds have been doing a number on me. When one of them makes you jittery and headache-y, and one makes you loopy and foggy, and the third just gives you a generally queasy feeling, it's hard to focus on anything that requires sustained concentration.

I feel like Grace Slick should be singing "White Rabbit" in the background. 

Hopefully I'm finally over the worst. I've finished taking one of the pills, and one I don't need as often, and I only have two more days of the third, and things will get back to semi-normal, and I can do more for longer. 

Or I can continue to sit in my corner and stare into space.