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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Decisions, decisions

I'm trying to make up my mind about the week-end's activities.

I haven't been able to stitch much this week. In fact, this tiny little pin keep is the only thing I've managed to stick a needle into for about the last four days:

It's one of the bits that fit into Merry Cox's Schoolgirl Workbox.  I could work on the other two pieces that go with the set.

Or I could finish the last piece on Chrysanthemums in Autumn and put it all together.

Or I could start something new.

If I could find the fourth 7" stretcher bar--if you have three 7" stretcher bars, it may be assumed that there is a fourth, right?--I could start "The Wind Doth Blow," which is Barbara Jackson's 2015 ornament for Shining Needle Society.

If I dug in the stash, I could assemble the materials for this lovely set that just arrived from the Swan Sampler Guild.  They do take such good care of their away-Swans!

Or I could jump into this project, offered by Needle in a Haystack with Jackie du Plessis:

This is Part Three of a six-lesson finishing program. Each lesson teaches a different finishing technique. As I am finishing-challenged--you may have noticed this--it's a wonderful way to learn the tricks of the trade while sitting in my corner at home.

I could also make up my mind about blogging in November.

For a number of years, there was a standing challenge to the blogging universe to post every day in November. It was lots of fun to travel from one blog to the next, reading posts and gaining inspiration from the projects being worked. Alas, blogging seems to have fallen on lean times, with fewer and fewer posts. Some of my favorite bloggers have vanished completely, little realizing what a hole they have left.

I'll admit, I haven't been posting as frequently since Mother's "event" which is what she is calling her stroke--when she admits anything at all happened. I'd like to get back in the habit again. Maybe daily blogging will kickstart that effort.

Maybe I'll just flip a coin on all of this and see what happens.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Not much stitching has been going on around here for the last few days.

I almost have the workbox case for Merry Cox's Schoolgirl WorkBox stitched.

But that's not much for the last few days, mainly because I have been totally and completely distracted by this:

I have been carrying this around like a security blanket and reading it like a bestselling novel since it arrived. There is more than a wealth of information in its pages. With this, Tricia Nguyen's Cabinet of Curiosities online classes, and Amy Mitten's instructions for her Casket Toys, I think I can stitch anything and have it look like its 17th century predecessors.

Of course, I have to pick up a needle to do that, and there has been another distraction.

Dearly Beloved and I are getting serious about downsizing, and we have been working on doing just that. Quite frankly, I can't tell a lot of difference yet, but then again, we have been living here for about 25 years and we have a hard time letting go of things. We're not hoarders (other than books, needlework projects, and woodworking tools) but it would be nice to simplify.

And the good thing is that I found the telescoping magnet wand I've been searching for so that the next time I drop an entire box of pins or an elusive needle,  they will be easier to retrieve. Dearly Beloved is very tired of locating them with his feet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

More Good Things

I haven't been blogging much lately. My fingers have been busy stitching rather than typing.

Betsy Morgan's Can't See the Forest is assembled:

I do love this little box and wish I could figure out why I didn't just go ahead and put it together as soon as the workshop ended. I could very easily have done so.

I've finally worked enough of the gold background stitch on Eve in the Garden to meet the motif:

I've made the executive decision to fill in the large areas, then go back and work around all the little curlicues and fancy bits.

Just out of curiosity, the other night I turned off the lights and lit a candle near the design. The gold simply sparkles in candlelight, so I completely understand why this type of stitch and material would have been used in the 16th and 17th centuries. I'm just afraid it's going to take me months in the 21st century to finish. It will be worth it, I keep telling myself.

All the leaves are finished. I still need to work the bases of the flowers, but I decided earlier this evening that life and sanity would be better served if I did them in daylight.

And this lovely thing appeared in my mailbox the end of last week:

This year's Barbara Jackson Christmas ornament has moved onto my list of fall-into-winter projects. It has occurred to me that I never got last year's ornament assembled. There may be a Barbara Jackson finishing frenzy one week-end to come.

Now I'm trying to figure out what I want to work on tonight from the fall-into-winter list. I'm leaning toward the Merry Cox project, especially since I think it's on the top of the pile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Good Things

There have been good things happening in my little corner of the stitching 'verse this week.

The first good thing:  Chrysanthemums in Autumn is moving right along:

I'm really pleased with the way the leaves look--it's been awhile since I did much surface stitching, but it's all coming back.

The directions said to just work detached buttonhole between the petals, but I liked the way it set off the design, so I outlined each petal completely.

If I am diligent and industrious, I could potentially finish the stitching on this by the week-end.

The second good thing:  Betsy Morgan took pity on me, and sent me a piece of silk so I can finish Can't See the Forest. That's on the to-do list for Saturday. And this time, I have highlighted the measurements I need to cut so I won't think I'm doing one thing when I should be doing another.

The third good thing (and this is a blatant plug for somebody and something):  SNS is offering Jane-Ellen Balzuweit's Royal Garden as an online class.

Of all Jane-Ellen's wonderful whitework designs, this is my absolute favorite. Actually, I started it a long time ago--I am ashamed to admit it has been languishing, partially stitched, for over ten years--and what's worse, I think the lady is the only element that needs to be worked.

So I am auditing the class.

The problem with whitework is that it doesn't photograph as beautifully as it looks in person, but believe me, this is one gorgeous piece, worked in about 35 or 40 different stitches. To see the whole thing, you need to look at the information at Shining Needle Society, and if you're not a member (it's free to join and you won't be driven crazy by multitudes of emails), contact Kate and she will get you on the mailing list.

I will repeat again. I am not remunerated for plugging SNS. I'm just so happy it exists, if for no other reason than to get me into trouble, that I want everyone else to have the opportunity.

And I am really happy that this class is going to push me to finally finish a piece that has deserved to be on display for way too long.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I finally filled in all the petals on the chrysanthemums!

Marsha had suggested that we manipulate the color runs in the overdyed threads so each petal would be a different color. I looked at the strands that I have, and I have pretty short color runs . . . sooooooooo I would either have to drag the thread from one petal to another fairly often, or end off and restart threads. Both methods use more thread, and I was a little concerned that I might not have enough if I used either technique.

So I decided to make sure that I didn't start any petal in exactly the same place and that I altered the brick stitch pattern from petal to petal. I still have to do the detached buttonhole stitch around each petal, which will add texture and help delineate each section.

This project is moving much faster than I expected it to. I had planned to rotate among my fall projects, but I have such good momentum on this one that I may just continue working on it for a few more days.

And momentum is always a good thing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A little bit backwards

Rather than emptying out the finishing basket, I seem to have added something else to it.

I think I may have to set aside one Saturday to put Christmas ornaments together. As I have been reminded today, it's getting closer faster than you'd think.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It was a dark and stormy day

I think I should have just crawled back into bed this morning and pulled the covers over my head.

After yesterday's finishing debacle, it was obvious that I needed to do something other than attempt to stitch, but I am stubborn and pigheaded and contrary. I had already decided that Sunday was going to be the day I would spend hours working on the background for Eve in the Garden, so I set her up on the frame stand.

And one of the knobs, which had separated earlier in the week, came apart again. The knob that holds the screw that holds one of the arms is no longer connected to the screw. We had tried gluing it together, but it isn't going to hold. Not even with epoxy.

So I decided to work with the frame propped up on my knees and that was working sort of OK, when the skies darkened. Again. With more rain. And then the power went off. Until about 15 minutes ago. I gave up on trying to stitch gold thread with no illumination. And now it's time to get ready for the week to come.

Luckily I do have something to show for the week-end:

Yesterday the holiday brochure from Colonial Williamsburg arrived,which put me in the mood to dig out one of the Barbara Jackson ornaments I bought at Haus Tirol last year. I still have two more to stitch from that expedition, and the new one from SNS should arrive soon.

Hopefully the sun will arrive soon, too.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

One of those "best laid plans" kind of days

The intention was to work on finishing a project from the finishing basket today.  And then the plan was to blog about getting something else completed.

Epic. Fail.

I totally misread a very important direction in the instructions and cut the finishing fabric incorrectly, and I do not have enough in either the kit or my stash in the correct color to re-do it. So until I am able to acquire more, that project has gone back into the finishing basket.


I did make some progress on Chrysanthemum last night so the stems are all done and I started filling in the flowers.

As to what I'm going to work on tonight, I'm not sure.

Anything that involves carefully cutting fabric is definitely not in the plan.

Friday, October 2, 2015

rain, rain, go away

It is raining again. It has been raining now for two weeks, with the exception of this past Wednesday when a glowing ball of fire appeared in the sky for a brief time--we were told it is called "The Sun"--then it was covered by clouds again.

Joaquin is not supposed to hit our coast, but he has taken care of the severe drought we were in and then some. We have literally gone from severe drought to super-saturated soil in two weeks.

So I plan to stay in and stitch and finish this week-end. I got a good start last night.

The flowers are outlined and I have one stem worked for Chrysanthemums in Autumn, which seems like a particularly appropriate piece to stitch at the moment. I'd like to get the rest of the stems done tonight.

The plan, subject to change at a moment's notice, is to finish another project from the finishing basket tomorrow, then to work on background for Eve in the Garden for the rest of the week-end. Then I'll decide what I feel like doing after that.

Or, as one of my co-workers suggested today, this would be an excellent week-end to live in ones jammies and watch stupid TV.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September? What . . .when?

I turned the page over on the calendar and tried to figure out what I did in September.

Whatever it was, it didn't result in much stitching or blogging.

I did studiously ignore the dust bunnies this past week-end, and managed to get the last accessory piece for Fair Maiden finished:

I am very happy with the whole kit and caboodle, and will now move on to the next project in the finishing basket this week-end. Tonight I'm going to dive into the Fall-Into-Winter basket and see what I come up with.

Hopefully things are getting back to normal in my little corner of the world. I have only one more major project to do at work and Mother is making good progress in her recovery. And Dearly Beloved is much better since his tumble down the stairs at work.

Oh. Yeah. That happened.

Dearly Beloved took a tumble down a flight of stairs at work. Aside from some spectacularly Technicolor bruises, he seems to have survived without permanent damage.  I'll take that back. He has sustained considerable damage. To his dignity.