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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wonderful Williamsburg

We're here!

We did get up early, but (through no fault of mine, I hasten to say) we didn't leave quite as early as projected. However, we made good time and had plenty of time to check into the hotel, drag what appears to be enough luggage to supply the troops landing in Normandy on D-Day (we have not learned the art of traveling light), and get ourselves to DeWitt Wallace in time to visit the samplers in the drawers in the textile area.

(If you ever get to Williamsburg, the storage drawers are unlocked on Wednesday afternoons so you can gaze to your heart's delight.)

There are several samplers in those drawers whose reproductions I have stitched (thank you, Joanne Harvey!) and, of course, those are the ones I am happy to see, especially when you consider the differences in linen and threads between those the original stitcher had available and the supplies we have now.  There are some differences in proportion and size, but the overall flavor is there.

In the same area, the current exhibit focuses on embroidered fashionable accessories.  There are gentlemen's nightcaps for those of us who are taking or have taken Tricia Nguyen's class on the glittering nightcap.  There are embroidered pocket and aprons, and there are sweet bags.  I love sweet bags.  I am working on having a wall of stitched sweet bags.  Any time I get a chance to stitch another one, I am on top of it. So seeing these tiny delights on display made my heart go pitty-pat.

Then we descended upon Christiana Campbell's tavern for dinner.  We have enough left-overs for lunch tomorrow (thank goodness our hotel room has a frig).  After a very long day and with a very full tummy, I am close to going facedown on the keyboard.

And I have threaded a needle today.  I had to sew a button back on Dearly Beloved's sweater.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just in Case

There is a way to tell if you are truly a stitching fool, and that is to see what you pack prior to going to a workshop or seminar.

Obviously, if attending a seminar, you plan to take a class or classes, thus you will have a new project or projects.  Frequently, the seminar will also include a boutique or shop of some sort, meaning that there will be even more potential projects to add to the stash. Depending on the venue, there may be a merchandise night or expo or other event at which needlework items are sold.

However, if you are a stitching fool, you have to pack a project or two, just in case.  Just in case you're there hours (or minutes) before the event starts and you have time to pick up a needle.  Just in case you feel like stitching but you've hit a spot on the class project that needs more intense thought than you may be capable of by the time the late evening rolls around.  Just in case you wake up very early but already have the class project carefully packed to go to class.  Just in case--well, you really don't need a reason, you just need to have something to work on.

So, you pack a project or two (or three, or four) to take to the event where you are going to be totally immersed in needlework.

I will be the first to admit that I am the textbook definition of a stitching fool.  Therefore I am trying to decide what to take for my just-in-case project.

After all, we are leaving at o'dark-thirty so we can visit DeWitt Wallace and look in the drawers in the textile department.  And we do have early reservations at Christiana Campbell (our favorite tavern in the Historic District). So it is quite possible that I will have an evening in which to stitch, plus the early bird classes don't start until noon the next day--so I will also have a morning of possible stitching time.

Normally I would take smalls because they're (obviously) small and will fit in a corner of the big tote bag.  However, after looking at the basket full of smalls that need to be assembled, and because I'm taking a class that will create more smalls, I don't think I want to add to the list right at the moment.

This leaves either something on canvas or a sampler.  It's easier to travel with something on scroll bars than it is to travel with something on stretcher bars--you can always take the side bars off a scroll frame and roll up the sampler.  So, sampler it is--but which one?

Should I take something that is basically cross stitch like Ann Wheatley?  Or should Martha Edlin accompany me to Williamsburg?  Much more complicated, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and really want to work on her (despite needing to rip out one of the critters because I mis-read the chart late one evening when I should have been in bed).

I need to decide.

Of course, I could take them both.

Dearly Beloved is muttering about renting a moving van just to get us there.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Head Cold

Not sure if it was caused by an overdose of turkey sandwiches, if I've been fighting off a cold (stuffy head with occasional explosive sneezes and generally achy feeling), or if it involved my eyeball and brain trying to coordinate the changes in my vision, but I have been all but comatose for the last four days.

Now I had planned to try to blog every day in November. I was not going to announce it before the fact, I was just going to try and see if it worked, then announce the attempt next year.  However, it is very hard to blog about stitching (or anything else) if you've spent several days wrapped in an afghan propped up in the wing chair.  Periodically I would have a turkey sandwich (with cranberry sauce), then go back to . . .nothing.


Just pitiful.

What I had planned to do was chain myself to the sewing machine and ironing board.  I literally have a basket full of smalls that need to be made into something useful instead of pretty little bits of embroidery. And I love smalls, especially the ones that have neat little pockets and slots for things and things that go into the slots and pockets.  Realistically, how many toys does anyone really need--but they're just so much fun to play with!  And so pretty!  Ever since we decided a quiet Thanksgiving was in order, I planned to spend the time assembling. That did not happen.

Today I stirred myself enough to make some lists and start gathering clothes together since we're leaving for Christmas in Williamsburg before the sun rises on Wednesday.  They open the storage drawers in the textile department on Wednesday afternoons--I don't think any samplers have been added since I was there in February, but it's still fun to look.  We are planning to arrive early enough to have lunch in the museum cafe, then I'm going to drag Dearly Beloved around to look at samplers and doll houses. Then I will go with him to look at guns and muskets.

Meanwhile, I believe I will have another glass of orange juice.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


So many things to be thankful for this year . . .

  • First and foremost, my family.  Dearly Beloved, who has cheerfully tolerated my obsession with all things needle-related, even expressing sincere interest at times, as well as tolerating my other obsessions and idiosyncrasies.  The Big Kid,  who is not only a responsible adult, but also a caring daddy to The Flash.  The Big Kid's Wife, who makes him happy.  The Flash--'nuff said.  And Baby Girl, who is truly one of my best friends (and co-conspirators!)
  • My friends, many of them made through the Carolina Sampler Guild, ANG, and EGA.  We would probably be friends anyway, but this love of needlework makes our bonds even stronger.
  • My job.  I'm happy to be employed, but even more than that, I'm happy to work with a delightful and diverse group of people whose company it is a pleasure to enjoy.
  • The designers and teachers who have brought us so many lovely designs to stitch and who have taught us how to stitch them.  We are also incredibly lucky to be needleworkers at this time, when there are so many threads and implements to enhance our enjoyment. 
  • Williamsburg. Every time I step on Duke of Gloucester Street, I feel as though I've come home.  Add to that, two of my favorite stitching events are held there every year.
  • Chicken crepes and French onion soup at the Blue Talon in Williamsburg
  • Spring at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina.  The azaleas alone will take your breath away.
  • Fall in the mountains of West Virginia. Glorious colors as far as the eye can see.
  • The glow of candlelight in tall brass candlesticks.
  • Spring and summer trips to the local farmers' markets, choosing fat, red tomatoes and sweet, juicy peaches
  • The end of the year, from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve,  a time for special music, and Scrooge, and the scent of the Christmas tree perfuming the air.
  • Crisp white linens on the table with the good china and crystal
  • Books. Lots of books.
  • Antique stores with treasures waiting to be found
  • Samplers. 
  • Emails from friends and blogs to read
  • A lazy day for needlework and a good book

Monday, November 21, 2011

New cyborg eye

My left eye was de-cataracted this morning.  The so-called "feel good" drugs they fed me have left me really woozy.  Again, I have the incredibly dilated pupil and the clear eye shield. And reading is difficult and stitching impossible.  And I am not to do anything strenuous today, so no housecleaning or pre-emptive Thanksgiving cooking.

So bored . . .

Hopefully I'll be back to my cheerfully cranky self tomorrow because another day of daytime TV will drive me absolutely bonkers.  I think I may have to stick The Tudors in the DVD--if I'm going to have over-the-top soap operas or "reality TV" at least I can have pretty costumes to blearily stare at.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Eagle has Landed

Actually, the bluebird has lit on its branch.

Here's where I started this morning:

Four and a half hours later:

And about an hour ago:

I need to sew on spangles and tweak his tummy accent--it's too strong.

I had a very sweet email this morning from someone who is worried about how I seem to have suffered through this, what with all the ripping and so forth.  This has not been suffering. This is my usual MO.

The first or second national seminar I attended, and I cannot remember now if it was EGA or ANG,  I heard something during a conversation with several teachers--and I am so sorry I cannot remember who it was who said it.  What she said has stuck with me, and the more I stitch, the more I find it to be true.

Beginners rip out a lot.
Intermediate stitchers rarely rip out anything.
Experienced stitchers rip out a lot.

Add that experience to the fact that I am a first-born girl child and you will understand why I rip as much as I do.  First-born girl children (as those of us who are will attest) are responsible for the turning of the world on its axis in the approved manner--and we tend to be perfectionists.  If we're going to spend time on something, it's going to be done right or it's going to be done over until it is as right as we can get it.

(Interesting factoid:  Dearly Beloved is also a first-born.  The Big Kid obviously is, and he is married to another first-born.  There is a wide enough age gap between the Big Kid and Baby Girl for her behavior to be more like a first-born than the usual second-born child. It's a good thing we all have an extremely healthy sense of humor.)

The next thing to do is to put it all together.  I don't believe I can face that today--besides I have been glued to the wing chair for so long it would probably be a very good idea to get up and move about a bit before I petrify.  Actually, I have the Friday after Thanksgiving off and I think I may open up the sewing machine and pull out the ironing board and have a finishing week-end.  I have several things that could be put together, and it would be easier to do it all in one swell foop.

So after un-petrifying, I think Martha Edlin and I will spend some quality time for the rest of the week-end.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angry Bluebird

There is a famous photograph of a bluebird, all ruffled up.

Google Angry Bluebird to see him, if you are not familiar with the image.

I'll wait a minute while you do.

My bluebird is looking a little like that.

Marsha says that if you are not happy with the placement of a stitch, just stitch over it to avoid tearing the felt while ripping out.  I have not been happy with many stitches so I have been stitching over them.  I believe I have too many layers and I am still not happy. And my bluebird is looking about as ruffled up as the one in the photo.

I am totally OCD when it comes to my embroidery projects and I hang onto every scrap until the project is completed.  This means I still have the templates for the padding and an inch or so of felt left.  I think I am going to cut another piece of felt in case I need it, then very, very carefully cut out my stitches.  I also think I'm going to trace out another bird on another piece of linen and practice on it until I get the shading the way I want it. Then I'm going back to the needlecase and try my bluebird again.

Otherwise, I'm afraid my expression will be as peeved as the bluebird's in the photo.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Padding the Bird

which has nothing to do with stuffing the turkey.

Tonight I stitched the padding for the bluebird down and it looks like this:

Quite frankly, I'm relieved.  I was concerned after I stitched in the flowers that I had too much flora for the fauna--or, in this case, avis.  (Woo Hoo--five years of Latin finally came in handy for something other than crossword puzzles!)

But now that I have the padding in, I think the dimensions will work, and the little bird will stand out from his background sufficiently.

I also pencilled in the direction lines for the long and short shading, which makes the poor thing look like he has some sort of disease.

I'm very happy the lines will be covered by stitching.

Now to thread up and start stitching.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nothing to see here . . .

This blogging every day is HARD! Especially if you have nothing particular to say.

I was supposed to go to our ANG chapter holiday party tonight and would have, except I thought it was scheduled for December 16.  It was scheduled for November 16.  I should have known this because I sent out the newsletter just last week. I think I may have too much on my tiny little mind at the moment.

But not stitching.  Last night was clean-out-the-refrigerator night and it still needs to be scrubbed down. We also had to discuss the Thanksgiving menu, especially since this will be a quiet one with just Dearly Beloved and me.  Lest you feel that we have been abandoned, please don't. We're actually kind of looking forward to it.  I'm thrilled because I have talked Dearly Beloved into giving up green bean casserole this year.  Of course, I am giving up my mother's cornbread dressing, so it's only fair.  Actually, I want turkey only for the leftover turkey sandwiches.

Anyway, I have read over the directions for stitching the bluebird on the needlecase, and I have read over the directions for assembling the Glitzy Ornaments, and I have decided that my tiny little brain can't handle either one tonight.  So I pulled out Ann Wheatley and I'm going to see if I can get a letter or two more stitched in.

For someone who has nothing in particular to say, I seem to have said a lot.  So I'm shutting up now and threading my needle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Enabling . . .

Amy Mitten, who does mystery samplers and reproduces antique samplers and dyes threads and is the author of the very necessary "Autopsy of the Montenegrin Stitch" is hinting at a wonderful thing to come.  She is planning an online class and is providing clues on her website,  Look under Tutorials.

Thus far, we see thread winders--made of needlework and origami--as part of this experience to come.

I do love the internet!  So many opportunities and you can stay home in your jammies to participate!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hidden Treasures

When stitching the Bluebird Needlecase, you're offered the option of stitching areas that will be hidden by the needlepages-until they're lifted to retrieve a needle.

So I did.

This is what the hidden areas look like before they're hidden.

There is a spiderweb stitched in Accentuate on the right side--it's hard to see but it's there.  You can also see the needlepages that will go at the top of each piece.

I have not yet picked up my needle tonight.  Instead, in light of the OMG-Thanksgiving-is-next-week-and-Christmas-is-right-behind, I came home from work and cleaned the pantry.  I needed to inventory the baking stuff anyway, and clear room for holiday provisions.  And we were having a leftovers night (since I want to clean the frig tomorrow) so it was a good time to do it.

There is a Certain Person who lives here who shall remain nameless but who is called Dearly Beloved--on occasion--who likes to experiment with new flavors.  He has been accused to going to the grocery store to sightsee.  He especially likes to try new combinations of seasonings in crackers.  He brings in boxes of crackers, tries one, decides he doesn't like it but eats another to be sure, then sticks the box on the pantry shelf to go stale.  I can tell you with certainty that in this household there are four crackers that will be eaten:  Wheat Thins, Premium unsalted top saltines, multigrain Club crackers, and Carr's cracked pepper water table crackers. The others will not.

And then there is the cereal.  He does experiment there, too, but he's better about eating the majority of the box--except for the last bowl's worth.  For some reason, he cannot eat the last bowl in the box.  So we have a shelf of almost finished boxes of cereal.  (When I eat cereal for breakfast, I eat oatmeal because I was indoctrinated to believe that people need hot breakfasts and cold cereal is not-quite-proper. Cold cereal is for eating on nights when you don't want to cook and there's no one at home to fuss about it.)  Those almost-finished boxes of cereal are also left to go stale.

I threw out enough grain tonight to feed a subcontinent and I am very unhappy about the waste.  I don't think I'm going to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about it, but I think the next "new" cracker that appears in this household is going to show up at every meal until the box is gone.  And there may be a "Cereal Surprise" breakfast one week-end.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not a stitch . . .

Dearly Beloved and I went Christmas shopping today.

As a result, I stitched nary a stitch today, so no bluebird singing on its branch to show.

I did spend an enjoyable interlude this evening talking to a friend about the overall state of needlework in the world.

But  I did not thread a needle all day.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

At 3 a.m. . . .

I was going to try to blog every day in November, but didn't make it yesterday.  Dearly Beloved and I were both wiped out when we arrived home from work.  We briefly discussed going out for dinner, then broke out the emergency rations (frozen pizza) and tottered off to bed early.

I think I watched "Grimm," but don't ask me to tell you what happened.

Anyway, this meant I woke up at 3 a.m., wide awake and unable to go back to sleep.  After trying a number of different sleeping positions (why is it when you can't sleep, you suddenly have more arms and legs than normal and no place to put any of them?), I gave up and got out of bed, lurched downstairs, and stitched.

And this is what I did in the middle of the night:

Dark, out of focus--middle of the night (which looks like all my other pictures)--but I have branches and a start on the leaves and a cobweb.

Marsha has a neat way of working the branches in whipped stem stitch.  The thickness you want the branches to have determines the number of strands of floss used. So for the largest branch, she suggested three strands. When you reach a point where the branch . . .well . . .branches, you drop a strand and stem stitch the next area with two strands. For the smallest branches, you use only one strand for the stem stitch, then whip back up it with that one strand. When you reach the area where you dropped a strand, you add it back to the needle and whip to the next dropped strand, and so on.  It's hard to see from the picture, but the branch has more dimension and weight where it should, looks more fragile where it should--and then I'm covering a good bit of it with leaves!

This technique would work nicely on other projects--I think it would be a very subtle way to handle the branches of a tree on a painted canvas, for example.

She also suggested using an overdyed thread for the leaves so that shading automatically occurs, giving them more depth and a more natural look.  Unfortunately, the skein of thread I have doesn't have quite as much variation in tone as I would like.  I thought about using another thread but Dearly Beloved says that he can see the variation--and one of the things you find about having cataracts is that they throw your color perception off.  With that in mind--and since I would really like to have this in the completed pile, I will probably leave it as it is.  This is a project I took primarily as a learning experience.

Hopefully I can get the rest of this area and the background for the bluebird stitched tonight, which will give me tomorrow to start the actual padded embroidery.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Her name is Jane Lemon--the other author on goldwork I couldn't remember.

Of course, it hit me the minute I hit publish.

Oh, so shiny . . .

I had to go to the dentist today.  This is NOT my favorite way to spend an afternoon, particularly when my desk at work is piled high and I am happier when it isn't.  However, it was time, so I dutifully went off and had my teeth cleaned and checked.

But then, when I got home,  this wonderful book was waiting for me:

Oh, good grief.

You will have to stand on your head to see this.  Technology gets me again.

Anyway, this is an amazing book on Goldwork, written by Hazel Everett, published by Search Press who comes out with extremely well done books on embroidery.  It is a phenomenal resource covering materials and techniques, as well as some lovely projects.

I've been lucky enough to take a dozen or so classes from Michele Roberts in goldwork, and there is nothing that will surpass taking a face-to-face class from someone who is an expert in the technique.  However, this book is tremendously helpful in providing reminders about some of the little details that can slip your mind after the classes are over.  The section on materials alone is worth the price of admission!

There are other good resources in this technique--the A-Z book from Country Bumpkin and Tracy Franklin's books immediately come to mind (there are others that have slipped out--one that I love is by Jane . . . er, something . . . she does brilliant ecclesiastical embroideries and I am going to feel like an idiot for forgetting her last name when I locate the book after I post this).

There are two projects in the book that brightened up this gray, dreary day spent having my teeth poked with sharp metal objects.   The instructions for the cover design are included (and I am going stash diving shortly to see what threads and wires I already have)--and then, there is this little guy:

Baby Girl likes dragons.  Christmas is coming.  Maybe I should remember that Christmas is coming faster than I would like to think.  Maybe I should plan for next Christmas.

Anyway, tonight I'm stash diving and planning and plotting.  Shiny is fun!!

Oh, and before I end this, I should perhaps clarify the last post a bit.  First of all, sincere thanks to all who commented and sent me tips and hints on doing random stitches.  In actuality, I don't do random because I don't like random, not because I can't do random.  When I first started embroidering, I was about six years old. After the obligatory pillowcases and dresser scarves, I did crewel for about 10 years, primarily because in the 60's that was just about all there was--the only canvaswork available was mostly prestitched centers that required filling in the backgrounds (BORING!) and the only cross stitch was stamped (also boring and hard to cover the stamped X's.)  I also embroidered stuff on my jeans and denim workshirts and purses and bags and all that stuff because it was the Age of Aquarius and you needed stuff embroidered on your apparel. And that, in particular, was pretty random.

When counted thread techniques and counted canvas designs appeared, I was in heaven.  It's a matter of preference, just as some people who use yarn prefer to knit and others prefer to crochet.  So, yes, I just had to vent  in the post because now, I really don't do random unless I absolutely have to, and apparently I have to on this piece.

But tonight, I'm planning to play in the shiny.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leaves and buds and blossoms, oh my!

We have stems for the bluebird to perch on and for the spider web to dangle from on the Bluebird Needlecase.

Now we have the word that strikes fear in my needleworker's soul.


We're to stitch the leaves and flowers randomly.

I don't do random.

That's why I mostly stitch counted pieces, where everything has its place.

Not sure how this will go.  There may be ripping.  There will probably be ripping.  Because I really don't do random.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Done with the Nun

stitch, that is.

If a tremor, or, more likely, a quake, is recorded on the Carolinas border, it is due to my heaving my large and lovely self out of the wing chair and performing a major happy dance.  Dearly Beloved is bemused and amused.

So now I have what has to be the longest and most tedious part of the stitching of the Bluebird Needlecase out of the way.  If there is anyone out there who has stitched this project and would differ with me, I do NOT want to hear it.  Right now, I am reveling in the fact that I have no more nun stitch to do and I can get back to the fun stuff.

Everyday, I'm shufflin' . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to the 17th Century

I can't face nun stitch tonight.  I can't.

I am going to work on Martha Edlin instead. I'm almost ready to start filling in some shapes on the band I've been stitching, and that sounds ever so much more appealing than nun stitch.

So the Bluebird is going to flutter away for at least one evening.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is the stitch that never ends . . .

If you were a child in the 60's, you might remember that Shari Lewis and Lambchop had a Saturday morning TV show.  (If you weren't, Shari Lewis was a ventriloquist and Lambchop was her alter ego--she also was a guest on the Johnny Carson years of the Tonight Show.)

Anyway, she had a song that started, "This is the song that never ends . . ."  and it just went on and on as long as your mother could tolerate it before she told you to go play outside for awhile.

That's how I feel about what I've been stitching since last night.

I'm on Lesson Two of the Bluebird needlecase.  In reading over the instructions, I found that part of the lesson included working the nun stitch around the six panels that make up the needlepages.  It was at the end of the lesson, but I thought, well, that's somewhat tedious so it probably would be better to go ahead and get it over with.  Besides, how long could six little pages take to nun stitch around.

For-bloody-ever, apparently.

I have been nun stitching for HOURS.  I still have two-and-a-quarter panels to nun stitch around.  I am not a particularly slow stitcher (which is good, since I change my mind and rip things out on a regular basis) but I feel like I must be going in slow motion on this part.

Now, Marsha did give us a way out.  She said if we didn't want to do the panels, we could always use wool felt for the needlepages.  "HA!" said I, the overachiever.  "That's taking the easy way out.  The linen pages will be ever so much cuter!!"

And now I'm committed.  And it this takes much longer, I may have to be.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Third Time's the Charm

Here is the final "B" for the back of my Bluebird Needlecase.

This is the third attempt.

I found a similar letter, but without the flowers.  It was smaller, so I thought I would cross stitch it over two threads.

That looked too big and clunky, especially since everything else is over one.

So, it was ripped out.

Then I found another, flowing Italic B.  I loved it.  I counted out the stitches and it was too big so I didn't even stick the needle into the fabric.

Then I found this one.  I liked the lines and thought the spray of flowers at the base would go well with the filigree at top and bottom.  And I counted wrong and it was too far over to the right.  So I ripped it out.

Finally I did what I should have done before I started stitching.  I basted the center lines, found the center of the letter, and stitched from the middle out.  At this point, it was after midnight and I could no longer focus my eyes.  This morning, before I even had the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, I plopped myself down in the wing chair and got it finished.

I'm finally completely ready for the second lesson! (The project has four lessons, and the online class ended over a month ago. Sigh . . .)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bluebird of Happiness

OK, I pulled out the Bluebird Needlecase to work on last night and did not take a stitch.  I have to make a decision about the initial for the back of the needlecase.

First of all, which initial(s) do I use?  One or the whole monogram?  If only one, first name or last name?

Then, what kind of lettering do I want to use?  Stately and classic?  Gothic?  Floral? Straight lines or flowing curves?

I did find two alphabet books that I have treasured for years and years to help make the decision. Back in the 70's there was a lovely lady from South Carolina named Rose Ann Hobbs who published a couple of books of alphabets. They have been my go-to resources for everything from monograms on wedding present linens to Christmas stockings, and there is bound to be something that I love in one of them.

So, tonight, one way or the other, I will decide.  Maybe.

(Or I could make twisted cording and tassels and finish off my Glitzy Ornaments.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cyborg Eyes*

I spent the afternoon at the eye doctor.

The Monday before Thanksgiving I will have the cataract in my left eye removed.  Previously I had the cataract in my right eye removed and the astigmatism corrected.  Apparently I grow a type of fast-appearing and fast-growing cataract.

It's not the surgery that is freaking me out.

It's hearing the doctor say I would no longer need to wear glasses.

Hmmmmm. . .

I have worn glasses for fifty years.  Literally.  The first pair was a lovely blue with sparkles "to bring out (my)  twinkly blue eyes," the optometrist said.  Along the way I also had a couple of tortoise shell pairs, then I was the first girl in my high school (and second person) to wear wire-rimmed spectacles, which immediately meant that I must be a hippie-freak-radical-weirdo-chick.  Quite possibly, I was.

I've had oversized frames, teeny-tiny frames, and rimless frames.  I've been wearing bifocals.

And now, I may not have glasses at all.

Not sure how to handle that.

*Baby Girl came up with cyborg eyes.  After the surgery on my right eye, the pupil was dilated to the point you could not see the iris.  To continue rockin' the Borg look, they taped a clear plastic eye shield over the eye.  Of course, I was trying to stitch, so I had on my regular glasses, and my magnifier (that sits on my head and suspends the magnifier in front of my eyes).  She took a picture which hopefully I have managed to locate and destroy on all possible places it could have appeared.  But she has referred to my artificial lens in the right eye as my cyborg eye ever since.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Carolina Casket stitchers

A week or so ago, I talked about meeting Tricia Nguyen at Winterthur and seeing the goodies that will be her "Cabinet of Curiosities" class--where the stitcher will create her own, special embroidered casket a la 17th century.

I signed up that very day.

Today, those of us who have signed up received a message from Tricia--the response thus far has been strong enough that plans are already underway for Casket Class Part Two--and this is before the general announcement for the Casket Class Part One has actually occurred.  Wow!

And one of the things that Tricia would like to happen is this:  that groups of stitchers get together, as we did for the Plimoth jacket, to stitch and work out problems and design issues and enjoy the process.

I live just about smack dab in the middle of the border between North and South Carolina.  Would anyone like to join me when the class starts?  We could be the Carolina Casket Stitchers--or the Carolina Casketeers (groan, but, sadly, it's growing on me--too much Monty Python in my impressionable years--I tend to go for the ridiculous)--or a much classier name of someone's devising.  Shoot, I'm up for road trips at any given moment (given work schedule, of course)--we could definitely travel to Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia!  We could go farther, actually--could you imagine taking over a hotel or resort area with a bunch of Casketeers?

Besides, who else is going to ever understand this mad obsession for all things casket-like?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Walneto nearly did me in

After spending time in the 17th, 18th, and a bit of the 19th centuries at Winterthur last week-end, I felt the need to jump into the 21st.

So I picked up Carole Lake and Michael Boren's Glitzy Diamonds set of Christmas ornaments.

And I was fine on the Double Fan Doubled.  I was fine on the Diagonal Padded Waffle.  I was quite fine on the Eight Point Star.

I ripped out the Walneto three times.  I even changed colors to see if that would help. It didn't.  I looked at the pictures posted for this class (through Shining Needle Society).  I read the directions.  I looked at the pictures again.  I do not know how I finally got it, but it's in and it sort of looks like the picture.

Finishing is next.  It's going to wait until the week-end since I still suffer from Fear of Finishing and need  vast amounts of time to deal with it.  I'm sort of thinking about making tassels to hang from the bottom of each, which means I need to decide which of the threads to tassel and which to make the cording from--and after the Walneto trauma, I think I need to go back to the 17th century for awhile.

( I was having trouble with the camera tonight. More likely, the camera was having problems with me.  This is the best of the half dozen shots I tried. )