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.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

One down, five to go

I have planted a tree.

And it has bloomed.

I have five more to stitch for the side panels. And critters. I should get to it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Last night I stitched dirt.

I could be nicer and say that I stitched the forest floor, but basically, it's really dirt.

The original plan was to stitch dirt and plant a tree in it. However, just as I started on the second row of dirt stitching, I discovered that, within a couple of inches of starting the first row, there was a big, tangled, globby glob of thread on the back--the kind of glob that happens when you should have put down the needle and stepped away from the scroll bars.

The imp on one shoulder whispered in my ear, "Hey, no one will ever know it's there unless you open your big mouth and tell the world."

I was tempted.

The the angel on the other shoulder whacked me on that ear, put her hands on her hips, and stated, "Now listen here, Miss Prissy. At best, you'll be able to see the shadow of the thread through the linen. At worst, it will make a lump on the side of the piece when it's put together. Either way, you'll always know it's there and it will drive you crazier than you already are."

So I grumbled and muttered and used foul language and ripped back and untangled the tangle and unglobbed the glob and restitched the dirt.

Tonight I plan to plant a tree.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little Boxes

I've started the prework for another Betsy Morgan class.

This is not the Betsy Morgan class I'm taking this coming week-end. This is the Betsy Morgan class I will be taking in June. It appears that I am fond of Betsy Morgan classes.  I almost dread to see what she is going to show us for future projects because I will likely want them, too.

However, this evening may not see any stitching accomplished. Our Fearless Leader, head of our department, is abandoning us to take another position in the company. She took us all out to lunch today at the restaurant we tend to prefer, mainly because of their guacamole. After the guac and chips and enchiladas and beans and rice, I have been in a carb coma all afternoon. We had a chef's salad  tonight for dinner--but I'm still ready to go facedown into the keyboard.  And that's after taking a walk after work to get the blood circulating. I think all it did was relax me that much more.

I foresee an early night.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fire and Ice

The mail carrier brought a surprise today.

(What am I saying--I knew it was going to show up at some point because I signed up for the class awhile back--I just didn't know when it would show up.)

Here are the supplies for Dorothy Lesher's "Fire and Ice."

There are lots of sparkly threads and beads and silks--all sorts of fun things.

For some reason, the people in this family are entranced by dragons, and both Baby Girl and I have several dragons designs in our respective stashes to stitch.

However, this is going to have to be a week-end project. Even with cyborg eyes, additional magnification, a white towel in my lap, and enough light to land a 747 (according to my late mother-in-law, the interior designer who preferred low, indirect lighting), I don't stitch well on black Congress Cloth in the evenings. Hopefully, we'll have enough sunny Saturdays so I can make progress.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Fidgets

I have been suffering from the fidgets all day. I have not been able to sit down and focus on anything, no matter what.

I got several more threads stitched into the sky on The Shepherdess before that lost my interest.

You will notice there is only a little bit more to do and the sky will be finished. Could I persevere? Nope!

I was in and out of the stash several times, looking to see what struck my fancy. Nothing grabbed me.

I sewed the linen to scroll bars so I could get the prework done for my next Salty Yarns excursion. And that was the extent of that.

My current book didn't hold my interest. There was nothing I wanted to watch on TV.  I went for two walks to see if that would get rid of the fidgets.

I even ironed Dearly Beloved's shirts for the week instead of waiting until the last minute to do one just before he had to put it on to go to work. They're all done. That's when he asked me if I felt OK.

I feel fine. I just have the fidgets. And I hope they go away soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Patch of Blue

Just a little blue sky--total of my stitching for today . . .

It was a gray, drizzly, chilly day and I slept late. I love sleeping late on gray, drizzly, chilly days. Usually I have to get up and go to work, so I took advantage.

Then we ran errands. all of which took longer than anticipated.

And then I came home and sorted laundry and just sort of puttered around. I had thought about working on Fair Maiden since I have replaced the Mylar I needed, but that seemed to require more brain cells than I had functioning this afternoon, so I did a little of this and a little of that and suddenly it was dinner time and cleaning up time and I hadn't threaded a needle all day.

So I threaded a needle (several times) and started the sky. And maybe I'll finish it tonight, or maybe I'll just be lazy.

I'm tending toward lazy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just a few stitches more . . .

I came home from work and thought I'd stitch for a little bit.

And then I thought I'd stitch for a few minutes more.

And five hours later, I have all the little bits and bobs in The Shepherdess finished.

There are some stitches here and there that I can't do until the sky and the rest of the lawn are stitched--that poor little sheep needs his fleece, for example--but everything else is done.

The plan is that I will work on those areas when I need to stitch but I'm too tired to do any serious thinking about stitching.  That is the plan. It is quite possible that I will hurl that plan to the four winds and keep on working until I have this finished.

Stay tuned and we'll both figure it out.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pollen-Free Grass!

In what little time I had tonight to stitch, I planted trees and grass:

And this greenery doesn't make me sneeze or cough or itch!  My kind of gardening . . .

I really should be working on the prework for the  June class I'm taking from Betsy Morgan at Salty Yarns. I really should.  But I'm having too much fun on The Shepherdess to put her down.

I always do my best work under pressure.

Let's go with that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I am totally gobsmacked, amazed, falling-over-in-a-heap.

We had a speaker at tonight's EGA meeting. Susan Edmonson is a designer, quilter, and mixed media artist, and her works simply took my breath away.

I wish I had her kind of brain.

Anyway, you can see her designs at And then you can be gobsmacked, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All the Way Home

I'm home again, soon to be back in the rut . . .

I had planned to sleep in this morning and wend a leisurely way home, but of course I woke up at the crack of dawn and could not go back to sleep. Believe me, I tried, I really did. I think Baby Girl was somewhat displeased that I was up and on my way out so early, but she was gracious about it.

Obviously since I wasn't home all week-end, there were household things that needed to be done.

I didn't do them.

I made the executive decision that I was still on vacation, so I plopped into the wing chair and stitched all afternoon.

The Shepherdess was the easiest thing to pull out of the bag, so that was the project I worked on. There is now a house floating in the air and the shepherdess has a bottom half. She also has either a naked sheep or a ghost sheep--the household is currently debating which it is.

I have some other bits and pieces to stitch before I start the grass, so the sheep will stay in its current state until the grass gets worked around him. I can't add his fleece until then.

Luckily the weather is getting warmer so he won't suffer from the cold. Dearly Beloved just said that ghosts don't feel the cold so it doesn't make any difference.

And he wonders why I didn't mind going off without him . . .

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two Thirds of the Way

I'm almost home--we're back at Baby Girl's from our week-end at Salty Yarns.

It was a fantastic setting for a class--oceanfront, comfortable seats, incredible lighting--can't say enough good things about the set-up. The Lankford Hotel is an old, rambling property with the idiosyncrasies that older hotels have--it reminds me a lot of the beach hotels from my childhood and the mountain inns where Dearly Beloved and I have stayed over the years--but the place was scrupulously clean, the towels thick and fluffy, the beds comfortable. In addition, our room was equipped with frig, stove, and microwave.

And the hospitality cannot be surpassed. Sara and Sally and the family made a newbie feel very welcomed, which is one strong reason I will return two more times this year.

The next time I go, however, I will get there early enough, by hook or by crook, to really spend time in the shop. I know they're stocking up for the season, but I do not think I've ever been in one shop with as many goodies per square foot as Salty Yarns.  Baby Girl said she had made two circuits of the shop and hadn't seen everything. I said, did you see the room with all the threads and fabrics. Her jaw dropped--there's another room? Why, yes, there is.  Amazing, simply amazing.

And there was stitching.

This is what I stitched in class:

The class was the Button Lovers Brag Book, taught by Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods. If you ever get a chance to take a class from Sherri, run, don't walk, to sign up. She is an extremely thorough teacher who writes some of the best directions of anyone. Every step is clear and well-thought-out. And I love the color palette she uses in this particular piece--very soft colors that will allow the buttons to glow (and the fabric is not green--don't know why it looks that way in this picture).

She had also brought the models for some of her other teaching pieces--she will be teaching two of them next year, again at Salty Yarns. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her newest design, which is an amazing wooden basket filled with smalls. It makes me swoon.

There was also some stash enhancement at Sherri's boutique table:

One is a companion for the class piece, the other two I just fell in love with.

I did actually do some stitching the evening before class. The people attending workshops generally tend to meet in the lobby after class and late into the evening, and Baby Girl and I joined in Friday night.  I got this much done on The Shepherdess:

She almost has something to sit on . . .almost. I'm going to have to stop stitching her skirt and get her lamb worked in.

But I'm not sure whether to continue with her or get started on the prework for the Betsy Morgan class I'll go back to Salty Yarns to take. I have the pre stitch kit:

So, what to do, what to do . . .the best part is that I'm back in the mood to stitch again!

Friday, April 17, 2015

All My Bags are Packed

I'm ready to go.

Actually, I've already taken the first step of the journey to Salty Yarns. Baby Girl is accompanying me, and as her home is on the way, I came up earlier this evening to spend the night here before the next stage of the trip.

This has been a very discombobulated week. There has been a minute amount of stitching, but I forgot to pack the little piece I've been working on--so no stitching picture of it. I had an ANG meeting Wednesday night--but I sat down after dinner to just close my eyes for a few minutes--and Dearly Beloved woke me up at nine to ask if I wouldn't be more comfortable if I went to bed. My work computer had some issues Thursday and Friday, so I had to work on a loaner that wasn't programmed with everything I needed to do my job.  And the traffic tonight was horrendous--the drive that I can usually do in about two and a half hours took almost four.

However, I've had sushi for dinner, and tomorrow is another day. I'm not sure about the internet access for the next few days, but I did remember camera and camera cord and computer cord. I have technology, so as soon as I'm able to write again, I most definitely will.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Singin' the Blahs

Not a stitch has been taken, not a needle threaded in over 48 hours.

I have spring fever and don't feel like doing anything productive. At all. Blech.

I expect to come out of this in the very near future. I am heading to Salty Yarns and the Maryland shore this week-end to take a class from Sherri Jones of Patricks Woods. And hopefully I'll be able to pick up the pre-work for the class I'm going to take from Betsy Morgan at Salty Yarns in June.  And, yes, if you've been keeping score, I'm taking a class from Betsy with my guild in May and this other class in June.

But meanwhile, I'm going to do nothing.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The family Grande Dame who orchestrated yesterday's family event decreed that everything was under control and that all who attended were free to do as they liked, whether that be taking a stroll outside or watching the Masters or just conversing with each other.

So I found a sunny corner in the living room, listened to family gossip, and stitched. It is simply amazing what can be accomplished in a whole day of nothing but needlework, with the occasional foray for food.

I finished the prework for Betsy Morgan's Edinburgh Etui and Reticule classes, which I will be taking the first week-end in May:

And I finished a band and stitched two more dividing bands on Mary Atwood:

These bands are also stitched reversibly.

I've been asked about reversible cross stitches. You don't see them much in contemporary cross stitch designs, but they were the default method in the 17th century, when Mary stitched her sampler. Since cross stitches were used to mark linens, and since you want them to be neat on both sides, they needed to be reversible. Depending on the type of reversible cross you use, you get a variety of different looks on the wrong side.

And the stitches do not have to cross the same way on the front. They can go every which way, it does not matter. You may have to make more than one pass on the front (or back) to get the effect you want. It's actually a very liberating way to work--you find yourself turning the linen up and down and sideways and poking the needle hither and thither to get the reversibility.

There's an additional bonus. Because of the layers of thread, the color is intensified simply because there's more of it.

I've decided it's a good mental work-out as well. It's hard to worry about something when you have to focus on the pattern your needle is creating. And I am convinced it's another way to create more neural pathways in the brain to help stave off mental decline. Who needs to subscribe to a brain-game site when you can ply your needle?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

slow . . . very slow

Look at this very tiny band:

There are three different kinds of stitches in this thing:  diagonal cross stitch, reversible cross stitch, and double running. This is one thread's worth.

That may be as far as I get with this one for a few days. Although I no longer have to sit very still with my eyes shut and my hands clenching the arms of the wing chair to keep from hurtling off the surface of the earth, I'm still a little woozy. I have made it into the office and lived to tell the tale, but doing anything more complicated than maybe the background on a piece of needlepoint is quite possibly beyond my capabilities. This little bit of a motif took over an hour--mainly because of reverse stitching.

And I may be off the grid for the week-end. I have to make a command appearance at a family thing, and I'm not sure if I'll have internet. I'm not sure I'll be able to stitch, depending on what social engagements have been planned. I'm taking a couple of projects--I can't leave home without at least a couple of projects--and the laptop--but whether anything will see the light of day is unforeseen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

V is for Vertigo

I am dealing with my semi-annual bout of vertigo, brought on by a sinus infection, brought on by the pollen level. Currently I am heavily drugged with a variety of medications, but at least the spins have stopped.

Before the world started whirling, I had managed to finish the second alphabet on Mary Atwood:

And it is stitched reversibly so the back is a four-sided stitch:

I am very proud of this although it definitely gave me brain cramps to do.

Maybe I'm blaming the pollen for being dizzier than usual when I should blame stitching in a reversible manner.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Beginnings (I hope)

Yesterday I was channeling my inner Crankypants.

First there was the Mylar problem with Fair Maiden, in which I forgot the whole "measure twice, cut once" mantra.

Then I decided I should put the print-outs from the most recent online class postings into their notebooks, only to discover that I didn't have enough page protectors. Since these are all long-term projects, I want to make sure that the instructions are as well-preserved and maintained as possible.

As much as I love Shepherdess, I got off one thread and ended up ripping everything I had stitched on her skirt.

Generally, I was out-of-sorts and ill-tempered.

Dearly Beloved was ducking and covering, because when I am out-of-sorts and ill-tempered, I'm really out-of-sorts and ill-tempered.

On the third walk I took yesterday in an attempt to raise my endorphins, I gave myself a stern talking-to.  As a wage slave, I only get two days off a week to enjoy myself completely, and here I was, ruining one of them with my own bad attitude.

As I have always told my children:

Life is short

Misery is optional.

Deal with it and move on.

So I came in, sat down, and thought about what I really would like to do, other than turn back the clock and start the day over.

There have been yearnings to stitch a complicated sampler stirring in my heart for several weeks now, and so Mary Atwood came out of her pillowcase again. I had worked one of the two alphabets weeks ago in one form of reversible cross stitch, and she needed the second one done.

I stitched in her initials, worked the dividing band, and started on the alphabet. This is the reversible cross that results in a four-sided stitch on the back of the work.

Like so:

Please excuse the strands from the waste knots. One thing I need to remember to ask Joanne the next time I take a class from her is how they started the threads so they would be invisible from both front and back. I know to end the threads by running them behind the cross stitches on the front, but how do you start them? Inquiring minds want to know.


Another thing inquiring minds want to know:  When did the Post Office start making Sunday--and Easter Sunday at that--deliveries?

I was sitting here with the Sunday newspaper earlier, when I heard a thump on the front stoop and a quick knock on the door. As I didn't expect a delivery from the Easter bunny--or anyone else--my curiosity was aroused. Naturally, I went to the door to find a box from Amazon sitting on the doorstep and a PO truck pulling out of the cul-de-sac.

As we do not have Amazon Prime and didn't request expedited delivery, I am puzzled. I'm not complaining, mind you, but I am puzzled.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

me no brainin' good today

After spending last evening doing absolutely nothing blogworthy, with a needle or without, I had decided I would work on the next step of finishing the Fair Maiden Etui today.

This is what it looks like after I've taken apart everything I've done so far, which, quite frankly, wasn't much.

The minute I cut the first piece of Mylar to the wrong dimensions, I should have packed everything away and gone for a long walk.  Or I could have put on my shoes and headed out to buy a new piece of Mylar to replace the one I miscut.  But noooooooooo, I had to try to make it work.

And it didn't.

So I have pulled it apart and put everything away and will wait for another day.

Maybe when the moon is not full.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pretty Woman

My little Shepherdess is coming right along.

At the moment she reminds me of the china half dolls that are made into pincushions to adorn one's dressing table.

I've been trying to avoid becoming obsessed with making one of them, mainly because I know if I start with one, I'll have to have every single one ever designed. I have enough obsessions as it is. I don't need any more.

However, after seeing a friend's work at sampler guild last night, I'm wavering. She's been collecting antique and vintage pin cushion dolls for years. In fact, she used one of her half dolls as the base for the design featured on the cover of SANQ recently, and it was beautiful.

Actually, if I could get my hands on the one Bobbie Chase designed for an EGA seminar a number of years ago, and the one Rae Iverson taught at her Arizona gathering, I would be a very happy camper.

Of course, I may be stitching from prison because I may have to murder one of my neighbors in the near future.

He is No Longer Married. He has purchased a Harley. While I understand the primordial allure of the basso profundo rumble of a Harley motor, I do not appreciate it at 5:15 a.m. when I have another 45 minutes of restful slumber available before my alarm clock starts yelling at me.

One of my other neighbors is in the restaurant business and rarely gets home before 2 in the morning. He, however, is very considerate of others. I never hear him come in. His problem is that he has only had two or three hours of sleep when the revving starts. I do believe he is more irritable about the situation than I am.

Actually, I think the crankiest is the couple with the fairly new baby who has problems sleeping as it is.

It has occurred to me that we may have a Murder on the Orient Express situation shaping up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fool

I've been to a sampler guild meeting, the moon is almost full, and it's April Fool's Day.

If you think I'm stitching tonight,  you are incorrect.

On another topic, based on the results of my very unscientific survey and emails from friends, I am going to continue to post more frequently. I will not promise to blog every day because even I run out of things to say (shocking, I know), but I'm going to lurch and totter along with this thing.