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, March 3, 2015

Time, time, time . . .

I've been thinking about time a lot recently.

I'm finding that it takes me more time than it used to take to complete anything.  I used to be a needle so electric I set off sparks.  Now I'm back to candle speed.  I've decided there are three reasons for this.

I'm older and I don't do anything as fast as I used to.

The things that I stitch now are generally more complicated than the ones I did when I started stitching, with the exception of the crewel pieces I did then.

I've discovered that my stitching is better overall if I take my time.

The last one is probably the most important. I can tell if I just want to get something done and over with and when I care about it.  It has occurred to me that I'm happier with the results if I care about what I'm doing.

Well, duh.

At the same time, I have stacks and stacks of things I want to finish, finish-finish, and start-and-finish.

So I need to use the time I have better. Which means that I am not allowing myself to get online until I've stitched, since I can fritter away hours and hours and hours looking at what other people have stitched on Facebook and Pinterest and various and sundry sites. As we were driving home yesterday, I started wondering why I was looking at needlework when I could actually be doing needlework.

So tonight I managed to get a little more stitched into Merry Cox's Young Lady's Workbox project, a class I took in 2012.

Now I'm going to thread up another needle and do a little more.

Monday, March 2, 2015

back to the grind

We are home again.

Ironically, within minutes of crossing the James River, the sun came out and the temperatures began to rise. By the time we arrived home, it felt like spring.

This is not fair.

I have unpacked, done five loads of laundry, cooked dinner, and made an appointment with the dentist to see about the tooth that broke while we were away.  We made such good time getting home that I've even had time to stitch.  The critter now has a background.

I have another motif to stitch for the spine, but I think I'm going to play with something else for awhile. I don't do well with rotations, but at the same time, I think I'm going to alternate several projects for a bit. I took four different things with me to Williamsburg, but worked on this one for most of the time. The other things are jumping up and down and begging for a turn.

So they each will get one.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Retreating, Part Two

As we had snow, our plans were, once again, somewhat topsy-turvy--but our fearless leaders, who went to great trouble to plan enjoyable additions to the retreat, made it all work. I'm not sure how much they actually were able to enjoy themselves, but they did a tremendous job to make sure we were able to do all that was promised--and in some cases, like the trip to the textile storage area, provided so much more!

Friday's excursion was to Agecroft House in Richmond, VA. Agecroft started its life in England during the Tudor period, and was home to landed gentry for hundreds of years. However, the land under it was mined for coal and the foundations of the house were in danger. An American businessman heard it was up for auction, bought it, had it disassembled, and shipped it to the US, where it was reconstructed on the banks of the James River. He left a trust so that it could be turned into a museum, and, after his wife decided to move after almost forty years of residence in the home, this happened.

The curators scoured the UK and the world for furnishings and accessories that would have been found during the Tudor and Jacobean periods.

And they found them and brought them back--including embroideries. Once again, we were not allowed to photograph the pieces, but if you have an interest in 17th century needlework, there are some exquisite items on display. We were also lucky enough to see some pieces brought from storage.  Again, we could not touch, but there was drool.

Yesterday we had a chance to take some special classes. One of our participants led us in an introduction to bobbin lace.  I flunked bobbin lace. I learn much better if I have printed words and diagrams that I can study and digest, rather than oral instruction.

I was trying to explain what we did to Baby Girl, who came to take the second class which involved wiring our needlework for sound, light, and motion. She looked at what I had done in the bobbin lace class, put all of it into the tote bag I brought to carry the materials home, and kindly informed me that she would figure it out and either do it or show me what to do.

There are times when I wonder who is the parent and who is the child.

And I did not take the wiring class. I knew my limitations before going into that one.

I stitched instead.  And here is what I managed to get done between yesterday afternoon and today:

It's a critter. We had some discussion about the type. The tail is definitely beaver-like, but the body looks more squirrel-like. The fact that it is sitting in a tree would tend to identify it as a squirrel rather than a beaver since beavers are known for gnawing trees down rather than sitting atop them. I'm just thrilled that with several more hours for the background, I'll have another motif finished.

Other retreaters were working on samplers, both repro and contemporary, men's pocketbooks, casket toys, bits and pieces from the Cabinet of Curiosities class, quilt blocks, smalls of various types and styles, and I heard mention of beading. It was absolutely inspirational to see what was going on around me in the stitching room.

And I wish it didn't have to end, but we are heading home at o'dark-thirty in the morning, if Dearly Beloved has his way.

Sigh . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Dearly Beloved came up with a power cord from somewhere--I know not where and am not sure I want to know--but I am back online!

And I have had two lovely days at the retreat.

Yesterday, after the snow that chased us from the Carolinas to Virginia, the sun was shining, the temperatures were chilly but not frigid, and we were able to stroll up and down Duke of Gloucester Street.  And I was able to spend several hours in the stitching room with a friend, always the highlight of these events.

Then, we got smacked with a Winter Wonderland.

Colonial Williamsburg shut down for the day and the restaurant where Dearly Beloved and I had reservations called to tell us they were closed as well.  Originally our group was going to go to the textile exhibit at the museum in the morning, then to Jamestown to see the Jamestown Jacket in the afternoon.

That didn't happen, but we had an even better experience.  Kim Ivey, one of the textile curators, got permission for us to tour the storage area where they keep samplers and bed rugs and stumpwork and purses and all sorts of things that made our collective heart go pitty-pat.

We were allowed to take pictures, but only for our own personal research, not for publication. There is a frog that will show up somewhere on something I stitch.  We were very careful to avoid touching anything, but there were collective gasps when drawers were opened and there was a strong possibility of drool with some of the pieces.

And we had more time in the stitching room.

I ended up with this on Eve in the Garden:

Tulip Tray has not been neglected. The night we finally arrived I was able to finish another panel:

I also brought two other projects.

I never think any project is going to take anything close to the amount of time it actually does. It is always a shock when I realize just how many hours a project actually takes. At least, though, here I have nothing but time to stitch (and go out to eat, and do some sightseeing, and occasionally sleep). Any I'm enjoying every single minute of it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Long and Snowy Road

We have arrived in Williamsburg.

It was only supposed to snow a little this morning as we left home, then it was supposed to clear up.

It snowed the whole way. The whole way. It is still snowing. It was not predicted to snow here until Wednesday evening.

And I may not be able to post this week. Dearly Beloved packed the laptop but not the power cord, and my battery was low to begin with, so I may not have power for much longer. I am displeased.

So, there may be many, many catch-up posts after we get home again.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


This pitiful little bit of stitching is all I've been able to accomplish this week:

I've been hibernating instead of stitching.

I should not be allowed to complain. We haven't had temperatures below zero and ten feet of snow and icicles that are fourteen stories high.

We have had single digit temps and an ice storm that shut down the state--I don't care who you are or what your driving experience is, you can't navigate safely on a sheet of ice, and we had one that extended from the Blue Ridge  to the Atlantic.

I don't do cold and ice. I do heat and humidity. I do sipping lemonade while languidly fanning myself on the verandah. I do glowing, not shivering. (For those of you who are not versed in Southernisms: Horses sweat,  men perspire, and ladies glow.)

Consequently, I have been piling an extra blanket or two on the bed and hibernating with a book instead of stitching in the evenings.

I do need to start thinking a little more about stitching, though. I'm heading to a retreat early next week, and I can't make up my mind what to take with me. It appears that, at the very least, there will be three tote bags going, just so I can make a choice when I get there. And a friend has asked me to bring my new frame stand. Dearly Beloved, who already has a problem with traveling (he doesn't travel, he moves everything he possibly can to reproduce the comforts of home in another place, so we look like we're leaving for a year instead of a week), is not inclined to find a place in the car for it to travel. He has made the point it's like a piece of furniture--which it is--and have I totally lost my mind--which I may have. I'm attributing it all to cabin fever.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

And this is it?

This is all I've managed to stitch in over a week:

This is the second panel for the Tulip Tray. I only have three more panels to stitch, and then I can put this project together.

Finishing . . . again . . .

I've been distracted by other things this week. For one thing, I've been attempting to accomplish some organization. I bought myself a five-drawer, rolling cabinet that just happens to fit under the drop leaf table by my chair to use for the threads and bits and pieces for my Cabinet of Curiosities, aka casket, from Tricia Wilson Nguyen's online class. It does not fit with the decor of our living room, but I have come to the conclusion that I am now old enough to be eccentric and I can put things where they are convenient for me.

And I'm trying to decide what projects to take with me for a stitching retreat I am attending next week. As I will be a couple of hundred miles from home, I need to take several things just in case the one I'm working on loses its appeal. It's one thing to be able to trot upstairs and plunder the stash if I want something different. It's quite something else when you're not close enough to the stash to do that.

I also have to have another part of me biopsied to determine what's going on. Apparently I'm becoming quite good at growing things in my body that don't need to be there, so we're going to find out what it is.

Consequently, threading a needle hasn't happened as much as I'd like recently. Hopefully I'll be able to rectify that this week.