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, April 28, 2013

The second band is finished!

And this is what has obsessed me this week:

The left side of the second band of Barbara Jackson's Tea Time Basket.

And the right side of the band.

This was a class I took online through Shining Needle Society. I had "ghosted" the class when Barbara taught it at one of Carole Lakes' guild chapters, but auditing the online class added so much to the experience!

I still need to stitch the scissors case, the pincushion, and the fob, but the major part of the stitching is complete.

Now I need to find fabric for the actual basket lining itself. This may necessitate a trip to a fabric, preferably a quilting fabric, store. Dearly Beloved is wondering why, since I have literally yards of fabric already. The problem is this: either the colors in the fabric I have don't work, or the fabric has such a distinctive pattern that it fights with the design on the band. What I need is a very subtle tone-on-tone fabric in a shade that cooperates with the colors of the silk used in the band. And that means that I need to mount an expedition.

It is quite possible that Dearly Beloved is in fear that I will go to a quilting store and be so seduced by the fabrics that I will take up yet another passion.

Little does he realize that the fabrics I've been accumulating are destined for that very thing . . .

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More basketing, less multi-tasking

After the workshop last week-end, I had a couple of logical options. I thought about starting on the finishing for the Elizabethan casket, but I need a couple of spools of thread to do that.

Then I started to reach for the Mermaid Treasures kit from Amy Mitten so I could baste the five-foot-long piece of linen.

Somehow the Tea Time Basket jumped into my hands.

By the time I toddled off to bed, I had completed this much:

You will notice there is some stitch-removal occurring in this picture. I was attempting to multi-task. I was watching a DVD, talking to Baby Girl with the cell phone balanced on my shoulder, and I was stitching. The result of all of this was that I missed a key plot point in the movie, I was answering somewhat absent-mindedly to Baby Girl's queries, and I got a thread off.

So I spent some time ripping, re-watching the movie, and talking to Baby Girl again to get what I missed the first time.

Anyway, as of tonight, this is where I am:

I think I'm going to continue to work on this for awhile, especially since every time I sit down it jumps out at me. Obviously it wants to come out and play.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wonderful Workshop

After doing the prework for this class a year ago, the workshop for Betsy Morgan's Elizabethan Casket Class was held over the last two days.

And I have finally mastered Aztec stitch!!!

I did not do this in class as I am unable to stitch in a class with results that anyone wants to see. I did this last night in the wing chair in my nest.

Actually, the class focused on finishing and most of the people there worked on putting a button bag together. As I was absolutely convinced that I would be the person who would iron the interfacing onto the stitched side of the piece rather than the wrong side of it, I did not participate in this part of the festivities. I did take notes and fiddled around on a doodle cloth, so I feel confident that the set of smalls will be completed in a relatively timely manner.

Betsy is a really, really, really good teacher with a very reassuring manner about the assembly of all the bits and pieces that make up this set. I so enjoyed myself that I am lined up to take two more workshops with her.

She had brought her current teaching pieces for us to see, and pictures do not do them justice. She's teaching a brand-new piece at Christmas in Williamsburg--so check out for information on that. Our sampler guild is already planning to bring her back to teach that and the other Edinburgh set she has recently designed.

Of course, the best part of taking classes is getting to see people who speak the same language and love doing the same things. And our group is planning to get together to continued working on putting all the bits and pieces together. I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Lovely Lady

I am sitting in a hotel room with this lovely lady from a class with Merry Cox a couple of years ago.

She now has a tree and some grass and part of a fence.  The fence and I are not cooperating, so I think it's time for me to go to bed and forget about it. 

Actually, I am thrilled to have this much done. I make this trip four times a year, and, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember that I frequently forget something necessary for stitching success when I make the quarterly trek. This time I have needles, instructions, threads, magnification, and scissors, as well as the linen itself. Eventually it all had to work out.

Speaking of reading blogs, there is something I have been wondering about. When you read a blog, how often do you like finding new posts? Do you like daily or almost daily updates?  Or do you prefer weekly or every-other-week postings?  Or do you enjoy infrequent but much longer postings? Inquiring minds want to know . . .

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lovely Ladies

This has been a wonderful week-end!

Baby Girl came home Friday afternoon so she and I could go the Piedmont Heritage Sampler Guild field trip together on Saturday.  And we did, spending the day with that group of lovely ladies!

Salisbury, NC, is a beautiful old town, with exquisitely restored and/or maintained Victorian houses. It also has a revitalized downtown, with loads of interesting small shops and dining establishments. Our first stop, of course, was Spring Robin, a cross stitch shop. The owner had invited Carol Sessions of Em-Li's and Threads of Gold to bring an exhibit of antique samplers and reproductions.

There was stash enhancement--I bought a repro from Carol and the fabric from Robin. Baby Girl fell in love with two charts, so they and the fabric and threads for them went into the bag.  Baby Girl has been more interested in knitting and crocheting the last few years--since you can wear things you knit and crochet--so I was thrilled to enable her with needlework again.

We then wandered around the corner to a deli which had outdoor seating--and we took advantage of the beautiful spring day to dine outside. There are a couple of us in this group who are working on the casket class with Tricia Nguyen, so we had fun discussing the information shared with us so far in the journey. It's interesting seeing how each of us is approaching the project, and we have all agreed, even if a casket never materializes, the class is worth much more than we've paid for it.

Then, we strolled a couple of blocks to the Josephus Hale house museum:

Is this not an imposing dwelling? The building itself started as  a girls' school, then passed through several hands until it became the property of Josephus Hale, a physician who lived in the house during the War Between the States. The house then stayed in the hands of his descendents until the 1980's so many of the furnishings and accessories are original to the house and the family. As usual during the time, the windows are literally floor to almost ceiling to allow cool breezes to move through the house.

And the furnishings are magnificent examples of Victorian design. Since the rooms are so spacious, they did not look overdone as they can so easily become. Surprisingly, we could have taken pictures but I was so fascinated, I . . . er . . . .forgot to.  Which gives me a perfect excuse to go back. (Alas, I saw no samplers, but there was a great deal of needlepoint--as there would have been during that period.)

Home again, and of course with all the inspiration from talking to other sampler lovers, we had to stitch. I didn't get a picture of Baby Girl's progress but here are the other lovely ladies from Saturday:

Barbara Jackson's Tea Time basket again-it's been an enjoyable piece that's easy to pick up and put down--and the motifs make it feel as if there is immense progress being made. The saying and the ladies are over-one, and I will admit I'm glad to have that part finished. I'm a little concerned about the lady on the right; her posterior looks as if it's looking for a place to perch. Or perhaps her bustle slipped.  Or, the breeze that is propelling those sailing ships is blowing her skirt back. For whatever reason, she's stitched and she's staying that way.

On with the day . . .I need to get myself ready for a work-related trip, as in, which project do I pack for the two evenings I'll be in a hotel room.  I also need to get myself ready for the Betsy Morgan Elizabethan Etui workshop that starts Friday. Since I stitched the pieces last summer ahead of the group so I could do part of the pre-work programming, I should make sure I have all the bits and pieces together and ready to go. Which means I have to locate the scroll bars again since I needed them for something else--now I have to sew the linen back on to them and find a small embroidery hoop and make sure I have the leftover threads and get it all in one place.  And by the time I do all that plus the chores that didn't get done yesterday, it will be tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


It's Spring and I need color!!

Ann Scutt is lovely, but very muted, and I have had enough gray, gloomy days with muted colors lately. I will return to her when I need those soft shades, but right now, I need something bright and happy.

This is about the happiest piece I have in progress at the moment:

With the exception of my name (which I have to chart out), the first band of Barbara Jackson's Tea Time Basket is complete. I do love the colors and the design and the balance and the stitches. I think this is going to be on the top of the heap in the stitching corner for the next few days.

There are two significant people in my life who have hinted that they would love to "someday" be the possessor of this basket. In other words, when I kick off, there may be a fight over it. I have threatened to leave it unworked and whoever stitches it, gets it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

While watching The Avengers . . .

I finished another band on Ann Scutt:

I believe it's going to be awhile before I get another band completed. I'm beginning to feel just a wee bit weary of this limited color palette.

And my kit for Amy Mitten's Mermaid's Treasures arrived. I need to baste a good bit so I can move to the next step when a new class is posted. This may also require some stash diving to locate the correct scroll bars for the project.

I'd like to get Rhapsody in Blue assembled, too. So many projects, so little time--which I supposed indicates I should get off line and pick up my needle again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flying my Geek Flag

I have joined Baby Girl and one of her best friends for a week-end of watching DVDs.

Best Friend bought the set of Marvel movies for the Avengers--with all the bonus features and then some. We are spending the week-end watching the whole thing--well, maybe except for the Hulk, which we all have agreed was pretty lame compared to the others.

Yes, I am a geek. I grew up reading Bradbury and Asimov. I was a major fan of Classic Trek when it originally aired, and I can't wait to see what happens with the next reboot movie coming out in May.  Even though I head to Williamsburg every chance I get, I really hope the hotel has Syfy on cable. Currently my must-see TV includes Arrow and Grimm along with NCIS, Castle, and Elementary.

And, while I can debate the relationships among and between sisters in Pride and Prejudice as opposed to Sense and Sensibility, I can also hold my own in a discussion about Kirk versus Picard.

Meanwhile I am also stitching on Ann Scutt.

Dearly Beloved does not feel left out, BTW. He is at home, watching his own marathon. Twilight Zone. Baby Girl and I gave him the complete boxed set for Christmas and he has been waiting for me to leave town so he can turn out all the lights and watch it as if he were in a movie theater. We have decided that this is a major difference between the genders. Here, we are all multi-tasking--Baby Girl is knitting, I am stitching, Best Friend is web-surfing, but we are all keeping up with the action.  The males in our lives need to focus on one thing at a time.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

One more band down . . .

Ann Scutt has Band 12 finished!

This one stitched with unbelievable ease, so easy, in fact, that I am sure I have missed a major design element which I will realize when it is framed and hanging on the wall.

I am not going to dwell on that at the moment.

Band 13, or the first of three bands which all have the same directions, is started. I am calling it Band 13a.

And I am planning to devote a bigger chunk of my evenings to embroidery again. Since the first of March, I have stitched very little and I've missed it.

(This is going to sound like a major digression, but I will get to the point. Eventually.)

A couple of months ago we were forced encouraged to read a book on time management at work.  There were several points about planning ones tasks in order to maximize focus and clarity.  I am quite good at this, but with the technical difficulties we have encountered in this, the last month of the quarter, no amount of planning could have foreseen the way the workload had to be handled. Consequently, by the time I arrived home, I had the clarity and focus of pea soup. This resulted in hours of web surfing (Pinterest is a major mind- and time-suck!) and staring off into space but very little productivity.

However, now that the quarter is as done as it can be--and we have survived, bloodied and bruised but unbowed--I can resume my natural inclination to pick up a needle the minute my evening chores are accomplished. And with any luck, I'll get back to a couple of hours an evening with my embroidery.

Which I am going to do. Now.