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.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

All dressed up . . .and didn't go

I spent yesterday washing, ironing, cutting, and attaching. I printed out directions and read them. I found stretcher bars and scroll bars. I sorted threads.

After all that, I didn't stitch a stitch.  I ran out of hours.

And today I went back to Obligation Stitching.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Biting off more than I can chew . . .

And that's the story of my life.

This is what I'd like to accomplish today:

1.  Cut and press the pieces for the Hari-Kuyo Needlebook--and make a trip to the fabric store for the iron-on interfacing needed:

Aren't these colors just amazing?  And the kit was beautifully packaged--and the first lesson extremely well done, a nice mix between video and written material.

2.  Mount the fabric and do the first lesson on the Pansy needlepainting class from Tanja Berlin through Shining Needle:

Despite the sharp needle, I am so looking forward to doing this. For one thing, I have some ideas for one of the caskets I want to stitch in Tricia Wilson Nguyen's casket class, and the needlepainting practice will help. For another, I need to get out of my counted thread comfort zone on occasion. This should do it.

3.  And then I want to wash and press the linen for this since the second part of the class arrives in a couple of weeks and I have yet to stick a needle into it:

I have not completely lost my mind--I don't plan to start this today but I would like to have it ready. The design is all cross stitch, and there will be evenings when that is about all I can handle.  Assuming that I can handle counting, that is.  Hmmmm. . .

4.  And I want to get the silks sorted and the linen ironed and sewn to the scroll bars for this:

Sally Munro, the upcoming online class from The Essamplaire.  Not that I have the last few online classes from The Essamplaire completed, but if you don't start, you'll never finish. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

5.  And then I'm going to go digging for some extra long scroll bars for this:

Ann Dale is truly big and beautiful.  I love the colors, I love the flowers she stitched, I love everything about this.  I would love to have a two-day work week and and five-day week-end in order to be able to stitch as much as I would like, but I have a number of years before that can happen.

I think I'm going to have to become extremely disciplined and set myself up a serious rotation system.  Or clone myself.  I'd like to have Calvin's transmogrifier (is anyone else a Calvin and Hobbs fan?  I SO miss those comics!) and have a well-behaved and industrious clone who goes to work and runs the vacuum cleaner and folds the laundry while I stitch and listen to old movies on TCM.

On with the day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

reality . . .

Not crazy about reality here.

Shortly after I wrote my last post, I glanced out of the hotel window in Williamsburg.

And it was snowing!

I am a child of the Carolinas, where snow is a major event. Even though our snows rarely last more than 24 hours, we all flock to the grocery store for the French Toast run (milk, bread, and eggs--and toilet paper, in case of Snowmageddon), then hunker down like we were making it through an Antarctic winter.  All it takes is a flake or two.

So my first impulse was to grab my coat and put my shoes on and go walking in the snow.

And then I became old. Old, old, old. SOOOOOOO old.

I realized I hadn't brought a cap and the scarf I had was more decorative than warm.  And I didn't have boots, just walking shoes, and the traction on them might not help if the sidewalks were slippery.  And if my coat became damp from the snow it probably wouldn't be completely dry before we left in the morning. And I have wonky knees and should be careful on slick surfaces.

Sigh . . .I really do not want to be a Responsible Adult.

Anyway, we stayed in. (When I mentioned to Dearly Beloved that it might be fun to go walking in the snow, I didn't get a response. I just got A Look.)

And then, on the way home, I thought about the Obligation Stitching I need to do.  I had planned to work on Mary Atwood until the end of February, then let her rest while I did the Obligation Stitching.  The Responsible Adult suggested that it would perhaps be a better idea to get the obligations fulfilled way before their deadline, so, after arriving home and throwing the first load of laundry in, I sat down to stitch on the first of the two Obligation Projects.

And carefully read the color number for the silk I needed to use, picked up the thread card, and pulled the wrong color. And stitched a whole row of Montenegrin in the wrong color.

So last night I pulled it out and restitched most of it in the correct color. And tonight I have an EGA meeting.  But somehow,  this coming week-end, I plan to not be a Responsible Adult.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Last Day at Jeannine's

Today was my last day at Jeannine's.  Tomorrow we head back to reality.

I'd rather stay here.

Anyway, today I totally, completely, and thoroughly completed one part of the class project.  I am taking home a finished item. This is nothing short of miraculous, considering that I started the morning by attempting to use a rotary cutter with the blade closed and could not get the very special glue dispenser to dispense without assistance.

However, I did succeed in making this:

This is a woven ribbon bodkin case.  You will note that it has a couple of bodkins in it already. And I will also mention that it's harder than it looks, which is why I was astonished to have it done.

Now I just have to make the purse it goes into along with all its friends.  I also need to make the friends.  However, today we will celebrate that I'm going home with a finished project.

And I would like to put in a plug for Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods, who comes up with all these charming ideas and teaches them very well.  I'm looking forward to taking many more classes from both Sherri and Catherine Theron who were teachers at Jeannine's this year. They made it fun and challenging and enjoyable.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day off and Day Four at Jeannine's

I didn't take a class yesterday. Instead, Dearly Beloved and I tottered and lurched about the Historic District.  Because it is President's Day week-end, we were treated to some special programming, which included an opportunity to discuss the matters of the day with Patrick Henry, among others.

The re-enactors who portray important figures in Williamsburg are nothing short of outstanding, and remain in character throughout the events they portray.  And they can be quite entertaining, reminding us that those marble statues were once real people, with faults and foibles like our own.

This journey through history ended by going to the Seafood Buffet at the Lodge. The Seafood Buffet ended in lurching and tottering back to our hotel room where we were comatose for awhile from a surfeit of crab au gratin, boiled shrimp, oysters on the half shell, and Strawberry Napoleons.

If I ever have to choose a last meal, this might be the one I pick.

Today I took a class from Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods.  To see the completed project, you may want to visit her website, ( and look at the Tulip Tray, since it will be awhile before you see anything of it on this blog!

And this is what I stitched today:

This will be the bottom panel of the wooden tray.

During the afternoon we learned how the wooden panels that make the tray will be laced together with ribbons.  Sherri kindly gave us a paper pattern to use to practice.  This is going to require thinking in three dimensions again. We know I don't see the world that way. This could get interesting. However,  several friends of mine also took the class. There was some discussion about a lacing party which could potentially involve cocktails before lacing.  This may relax us enough to handle the lacing, but if the lacing is unsuccessful, we won't care.

And poor Sherri had to deal with us.  Needlework teachers are simply not paid enough!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day Two at Jeannine's

I almost made it all the way around the book--almost, but not quite .. .

I have a wee bit of stem stitch to do along one side, then inner borders for each piece.  I so wanted to have it done before the end of class but I went to bed later than usual last night--then, of course, slept poorly.

Stem stitch is a very rhythmic stitch, especially worked in hand.  So rhythmic that it can be almost hypnotic.  As the needle went in and out of the linen, I found that I was nodding in time and  . . . almost . . .going . . .to . . . sleep . . .as . . . I . . . stitched . . .

(won't be the first time I've gone to sleep with a needle in my hand, but would have been the first time in public)

(not quite ready to be "that old lady who nods off in class")

So when class ended, I tottered back to my room and took a nap.  Now I'm wide awake and rarin' to stitch, so this piece will have a complete outer border before I hit the hay again.

And before I almost snored and drooled in public (doesn't that paint a lovely picture?), I strolled through the boutique again.

We have not yet attained saturation:

Oops, bad reflection on one--try it again with the other piece I bought:

Well, you can sorta see the parasol.

These are all sweet pieces from Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods.  I love the soft colors, I love the color transfer of the fabrics, and given that everything I'm doing is humongous, these will be nice pieces to have finished when I need to have a finish.

And I am sure the economy of the needlework world is glad that I have not yet completely reached saturation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day and Day One at Jeannine's

I hope everyone had the Valentine's Day desired.

I did--we came to Williamsburg so I could attend Jeannine's Gathering of Embroiderers.

Dearly Beloved scored big points.  He had flowers delivered to the hotel room so that they were there when we arrived.

I think I'll keep him.

And then today I took my first class, Catherine Theron's "No Place Like Home" Stitchery Book.  Eventually, the cover will look like this:

At the moment, mine looks like this:

Please note that I managed to stitch in class.

Catherine teaches a very low-key, relaxing class.  She covers everything thoroughly (and makes trellis stitch seem not only do-able, but easy)--yet she allows people to stitch on the parts they want to do. There is no "hurry up, park your needle, get to the next part" in her classes. For a plodding, methodical stitcher like me, this is heaven.  No spaghetti all over the linen, no little bits of something started but not finished, each part completed before the next is started--I love it.  And I like getting the framework finished so I can enjoy the more entertaining parts at my leisure.

The boutique opened this afternoon. While smaller than in some years past, there was a lot to see. This one is usually dangerous for me, since quite frequently, people who are downsizing their stashes use the opportunity to make unfinished class pieces or limited edition designs they will never stitch themselves available for others to enjoy.  In the past, I have enjoyed.  Oh, how I have enjoyed.

This year I realized that all the pieces that were available that I might want, I . . . er . . . already have.

It appears that saturation has been reached.

Dearly Beloved is thrilled.

(Probably I shouldn't mention to him that there is a new Shining Needle class on Dresden Lace open for enrollment.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Do you see what I see?

I finished Bands 9 and 10 of Mary Atwood the other night, and took my usual excellently focused and lighted photos.

Please note the sarcasm.

As I looked at the piece, I saw a pair of flirtatious eyes looking back.

Do you see them, too?

I asked Dearly Beloved if he saw anything unusual about the band.  He said, "besides the eyes looking back?"

It is very likely a good thing that we found each other.

Baby Girl came home for a week-end visit so I didn't stitch as much as I might have otherwise, although we had a pleasant evening--I stitched, she knit, and Dearly Beloved dozed in his corner of the couch. I do so enjoy having her around!

Baby Girl left this morning. I discovered this afternoon that I am lacking in thin, fine sewing needles, which I need for one of the classes I am taking at Jeannine's.  I am not quite sure what constitutes thin, fine needles, but I went out and bought a package of the closest thing I could find to what I thought I needed.  
I'm hoping tonight to make a little more progress on Mary--would love to finish Band 11, but the bands are getting larger and more complex, so each one is taking longer.

And I should think about packing clothes at some point.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Enabling Alert

Adding to the general ridiculousness of the stash of projects, I have found more things that I must do.

Shining Needle has a couple of things with deadlines drawing nigh that have lured me in:

Carole Lake and Michael Boren:  Another Anasazi piece to go with the two that Carole has already taught.  Their classes are fun to take, their pieces are fun to stitch. Please note that I completed both of the classes they taught last year at Shining Needle. Please note that apparently I have become very good at starting things and then very good at becoming distracted by something else shiny. The fact that I have completed two of their classes speaks well for them.  'Nuff said . . .

Jackie duPlessis: La Vie en Rose.  Again I am taking this to help overcome Fear of Finishing. While I am still not what I would consider either proficient or skilled, I'm getting better, and Jackie's classes are a big part of the process.  If nothing else, I have overcome Fear of the Sewing Machine.  And Jackie has such nifty smalls--all kinds of little pockets and goodies to put in the pockets and neat things that go together.  They make me very happy.

Gay Ann Rogers:  It's time for the annual Heart Sale and I do love this group of hearts so!  There are flowers and pearls and hearts within hearts!  Be very aware that they will only be here for one week and one week only.  And be aware that there are things that really strongly appeal to those of us who hide an inner prissy girly-girl underneath our competent and logical exteriors.

I know I promised to show my finished ones, and I will, as soon as we find the memory stick that Dearly Beloved very carefully transferred many of my pictures to.  I went through and deleted the truly lousy pictures and labeled things a week or so ago--then Dearly Beloved suggested that perhaps we should have a back-up and put things on a memory stick. Somehow he deleted them from the computer in the doing. Then he very carefully put the memory stick Away.  In a Safe Place.  Let us just say that he needs to have a memory stick inserted somewhere that will jog his memory about where he put the memory stick.  If he has lost the pictures of The Flash, divorce will not be an option--but murder will be.  And I read a lot of murder mysteries, so I have a lot of ideas.

And now:

If you are not familiar with Susan Elliott, who blogs at, hie thee hence and visit her site.  She executes the most exquisite embroidery in the most phenomenally creative way, and records what she does with the clearest photography I have ever seen on a blog--or much of anywhere else.  Many of the things she stitches could be classified as crazy quilt-inspired--but she takes it to another level.

She is offering an eClass, teaching a needlebook she made for herself about a year ago.  As we all know, I have fallen into the 17th century and have a difficult time climbing out, but this is THE most practical thing, with THE most whimsical, joyful colors--in short, I succumbed.   And I am very much looking forward to going off in another direction with my embroidery.  (It involves using a sharp needle.  We all know that sharp needle + Stitching Fool + Stitching Fool's general klutziness = blood in places that we don't want blood to be, but it's irresistable.)

And now I'm going to spend another hour or so with Mary Atwood.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous

Yesterday I thought it might be wise to start accumulating the things I need to take when I go to Jeannine's Gathering of Embroiderers next week.

Obviously, since I'm a stitcher, I think about supplies first, clothes second.

Anyway, I had gathered a number of things when I thought it might be nice, for once, to take scroll bars with me.  I always prefer to stitch with my linen or canvas or congress cloth supported, but frequently you don't know what size scroll bars you should have before you get to class.  Generally I end up stitching in hand for the day or so I'm in class, then come home and mount the linen. For once, I thought, maybe it would be nice to start out with everything all mounted up.

So I dove into the stash room to locate some spare scroll bars.

I didn't have any spare scroll bars.

They're all occupied.

I didn't think much of it, just came back downstairs and clipped the 40% off coupon from the Michael's ad, then hopped in the car and  headed out.  Major success--I found one of those sets of scroll bars that have something like seven different sizes AND it was a set that still has the tapes rather than the Velcro for mounting my linen.  I came home triumphant.

And then it hit.

I have a blue gazillion sets of scroll bars and they're all occupied.

Well that's a scary number of WIPs and UFOs and things that go bump in the night.

I should probably do something about that.

Do you suppose everybody could just stop offering lovely things that I really, really, really need to stitch?

Probably not.

Sigh . . .

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just a wee bit obsessed . . .

I, the poster child for Stitcher's ADD, have worked on only one project for over a week.  I have not even pulled out another project to look at, much less put a needle into.

Mary Atwood has had all of my heart and soul and stitching time.

Here she is, after a week's worth of stitching:

I had started Band 9 last night when it became obvious I could no longer focus on 40 count.  Normally, I would pull out something else with a lower count to fiddle with, but I am so taken with Mary, I looked over the directions for future bands instead.

It may be the soft colors. It may be working in double running, which I like to do. It may have something to do with fairly short bands, so there's frequently something new to stitch. Whatever it is, I am just a wee bit obsessed.

I need to add some reason and perspective.  I have a couple of online classes that will start soon, one at the end of this week, the other at the beginning of next.  I have a couple of "obligation" projects to stitch and their deadlines are fast approaching. I leave for Jeannine's Gathering of Embroiderers next week, and I should be getting my things together to take for that. (And of course, Mary is going to go with me. You had to ask?)

But today, I'm going to work on Mary.