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, July 14, 2018


I've been chaining.

The little blue dividing band wasn't horrible.

The green one wasn't horrible, but just as I got the pattern in my head, the middle section changed. On purpose.  Then just as I got that pattern sequence in my head, it changed back.

This created new neural pathways, hopefully, and not just brain cramps.

I'd hoped to be just a little farther along on Frances Burwell this week, but I spent some time taking out stitches that had been very carefully stitched in. There were two lines of backstitching, one on each side of the sampler. On the original, the sampler had a rolled hem that was folded to the backstitched line--something that I hadn't noticed on the original when I visited her in the textile display at Williamsburg's DeWitt Wallace Museum.  I will be looking for it the next time I have a chance to see her.

Anyway, those backstitched lines ran right through parts of the patterned bands. The more I looked at them, the less I liked them. They were downright intrusive.

The only thing I can figure is that the original owners wanted to fold the sample so it would fit into a specific frame. I don't have to worry about that.

You will remember that I don't change things very often. I work reproductions as closely as I can to the original, given the changes in linens and threads. I work reversibly if the original embroiderer stitched the sampler reversibly even when I could finish the project in half the time if I just did plain old cross stitch. Yes, it's a little OCD, but I'm a first born girl child and we tend to be perfectionists and rule followers, except when we're not.

So I've decided I'm now stitching an adaptation rather than a reproduction.

After all, if I start to feel guilty about not being as exact as possible, I can always put them back in.

That way lies madness.

*apologies to Aretha

Monday, July 9, 2018

Big Honkin' Band the First

The first big honkin' band is done.

It was not without travail. I had to resort to a sharp needle to do the satin stitch for decent coverage. There is no DNA left on the sampler, but I did leave some on other surfaces during this process.

Alas, there will be no stitching tonight--or anything else that involves close attention to visual detail.  My annual eye appointment was today. My pupils are still dilated and the world is slightly fuzzy. About all I can do is blankly stare at the TV across the room (and I'm not so sure I'm typing anything that makes sense).

Is it a sign of true obsession that while I sat in the chair waiting for my eyes to dilate I tried to figure out the best way to handle the reversible cross on the small dividing band that comes next?  And is it a little sad that I'm a little sad that I can't see if what I figured out will really work?  And should I be concerned that I might forget what I figured out by the time I can see again, due to my rapidly advancing age?

I had to hand over my Medicare card and I'm still feeling the sting of having one.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Fourth in the way that makes you happy!

I am following my traditional Fourth. I am inside, in the AC, watching a documentary on The Revolution, and stitching.

And, as of today, this is where I am on Frances Burwell:

I was going to work each chamber completely before going on to the next, but I discovered last night that it was very, very difficult to see the pale green silk thread against the cream-colored linen under artificial light. So, my goal today was to get the outlines for the big flowers stitched while I had daylight.

I did--but it wasn't easy. We've had cloudy skies off and on.  And, of course, the minute I finished off the last thread, the clouds dissipated and the sun is shining brightly.

I believe I'll stitch a little cream thread onto the cream linen while I can.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What happened?

Ok, June ends in just a few hours and I'm trying to figure out what happened to April.

Does it seem to anyone else that 2018 is rushing past at breakneck speed?

Just six months left . . .

Meanwhile, I finally fixed all the errors I made on the last chamber of the fifteenth band of Frances Burwell and finished the stitching. I also added the missing stitches of Band 16. I have reached the halfway point in terms of number of bands on the sampler:

My original plan was to bounce to another project when I got this band complete, but I'm having so much fun back in the 17th century I believe I will stay here for a bit.  There are two big honkin' bands to work, plus a few smaller ones, and I'll be ready to start the pictorial section at the bottom of the sampler. And it has a house that looks remarkably like the architecture of Bacon's Castle in Virginia, which is the reason this sampler appealed to me in the first place.

If all goes well, I could potentially have two big samplers finished in 2018.

If time slows down a bit and doesn't continue to zoom as it has.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Home Again

It was an absolutely wonderful week-end!

Our hostess and the planner of the event is delightful and was so very warm and welcoming to this newbie. I discovered I've taken classes with others who were taking this one, and met the infamous Cathy of Needle and Thread--we've followed each other's blogs for years. What a pleasure to meet her in person,  and, for the icing on the cake, she brought some pieces from her collection of Hungarian embroidery. I've admired them on her blog, but to see those exquisite pieces in person was more than I could have hoped.

And of course, there was the class itself. Jackie did a stellar job of explaining some complicated assembly directions and went over every step of the process.  I am always in awe of the way she plans and executes her designs and this was no exception. Ode has definitely moved into the current project basket.

I even got a little of the design stitched after class on Sunday:

I also stitched a bit on my travel project on the way to Indianapolis:

But then it was time to come home. We divided the trip in half on the way up, but had decided to take a different route home and do it in a day.

We traveled from 5:46 when we pulled out of the driveway of the hotel until 5:36 yesterday afternoon when we parked at home. We were not driving all day--we took frequent breaks and had a leisurely lunch (a little more leisurely than intended since the waitress apparently forgot to put our order in)--but it was a long, long day.

I took today off for laundry and recuperation. It is quite possible that I should take tomorrow off, too, but I plan to go to work anyway.  And I have stitched a bit today.

Am I working on Ode?  Surprisingly, not today. I want to press the linen for this first piece and mount it on either scroll or stretcher bars before I start to work on the insides. And that would mean finding the right size scroll or stretcher bars and that would mean another archaeological dig in the stash room. I decided that was too much like work after a day mostly spent in a car.

So Frances Burrell came out to play.

There actually was more ripping than stitching. I discovered that I couldn't count to 15 on the last "chamber" so I had to redo it. I think I have it fixed--I've only counted it about forty-leven times to be sure--so now I can add the pretty posies and move on.

To the next band, which is now shorter than it should be.

sigh . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2018

All in All, a good week

Despite a raging sinus headache which turned out to be a sinus infection that also invaded an ear causing a little lightheadedness and vertigo--this has been a pretty good week.

I fixed my mistake on Fragrant Fragaria:

The dive bombing birds are still two threads too low but I can live with that.  The embroidery for the needle roll is now complete and on to the next part. (After I get back home, more about that later.)

Monday was Good Mail Day.

It's always fun to get packages from Tricia Nguyen and Jackie du Plessis.  When packages from both arrive in one day, it's more like Christmas than Christmas!

Threads from Tricia:

Goodies from Jackie's Facebook sale:

(I may have gotten just a wee bit carried away.)

On Wednesday, while I was sitting in various medical offices being "worked in," I remembered where I just might have stashed a project I've been thinking about for a week or so. Not knowing exactly where it was has been like an itch you just can't quite reach. I was very happy to find it where I thought it might be when I got home. I was even happier when Dearly Beloved returned from the drugstore with the antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and anti-vertigo meds.

Especially since, after working half a day on Thursday, we embarked on phase one of a trip to Indiana.  Phase Two was yesterday. All day. (Don't ask about rain delays, construction delays, traffic delays, and I'm-not-sure-what-caused-them delays.)

I'm taking a class from Jackie this week-end, her Ode to Jane Austen. Assuming we can follow the directions to the meeting place, I'll be in my happy place in just about 90 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

When in doubt, read the directions

Except I was in no doubt at all. I just made an assumption.

So Fragrant Fragaria is in time-out until I'm in the mood to frog and restitch part of the border, which is two threads too low.

I made the assumption that this pocket was exactly the same size as the one before it. It isn't. It's two threads higher vertically . . . so I need to take out the top border and restitch it. Then I can stitch in the flowers that spring from the branch and the stitching on this will be done.

That is something I'm just not in the mood to do at the moment  This means I need to find something else to stab this afternoon.

And that leads me to another topic. I've decided to reboot the rotation a bit.

For one thing, I absolutely hate the timekeeping. I had a little notebook where I had entries that went something like:

started 7:21. stopped 9:19. Subtract 14 minutes for conversation with The Saint.

Good Grief--who needs this kind of aggravation for something that's supposed to a pleasant pastime rather than a time study.

Then I was trying to remember when I stitched something. I have another little notebook where I keep a list of projects completed by the year in which I finished it. And when looking at the notebook, I realized that I get more projects done when I work on something for an extended period of time, rather than skipping hither and thither blithely through the stash or working in a structured rotation.

So I'm going back to the clump method, where I clump a few projects together and focus on them. I plan to keep the basket by the chair full of the projects I was going to work on in the rotation, since those are the ones I want to do--I'm just going to work on them in smaller batches and see what I can get finished. I really need a couple of finishes!

But it won't be Fragrant Fragaria today. Maybe tomorrow.