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, 2016

On the Last Day of November . . .

Since 5 a.m. this morning, we have

  • loaded the car with all of our belongings (it looks that way, at least) and driven to Williamsburg
  • had lunch at The Carrot Tree
  • enhanced the stash at Haus Tirol

  • checked into the Kingsmill Resort and unloaded all of our belongings
  • headed for a special tour of the needlework drawers at DeWitt Wallace
  • realized we had left our annual passes at the hotel and returned to get them
  • went to DeWitt Wallace and found two samplers I really wish someone would reproduce

  • visited the Visitors' Center to pick up our new annual passes and tickets to an evening concert
  • dined at Christiana Campbell's
  • tottered back to our room, where I plan to collapse in a heap as soon as I hit Publish

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Today and tomorrow, and I will have blogged every day in November.

And I have decided that, until I retire or find at least four more hours in a day, I will not attempt daily blogging next November. For one thing, my daily life is deadly dull and boring, even to me. The more important thing, though, is that some days I either have time to stitch or time to blog.

Tonight I have neither. I'm trying to get the final stuff packed for our trip to Williamsburg. We have a jam-packed day planned for tomorrow and need to leave at 0 dark-thirty in the morning if we hope to do half of what we'd like to do.

So I need to get back to throwing things into the suitcase.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Seeing Stars

Between trying to do some Christmas decorating and starting to get ready to leave for Williamsburg on Wednesday morning, I did manage to get part of the background stars on Key to My Heart stitched.

I'm hoping to get the rest of them added before we leave.

And now I'm trying to decide if I even want to think about taking a stitching project with me. I'm taking four classes from Jackie du Plessis, starting at the crack of dawn on Thursday, and there is the boutique, so it's not like I'll have nothing to stitch.

But there is always the fear of having time and place to stitch, and nothing to work on.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ooh! Shiny!

Amazing what a decent night's sleep will do for one's attitude!

So we started moving things around to do a little bit of Christmas decorating today. We have a small-ish living room and generally we have to move furniture to get the tree in. We won't get the tree until we get back from Williamsburg--by the way, we're going to Williamsburg--but we decided we may as well get ready for that before we go.

So things are moved, and boxes have been pulled from closet shelves, and the Christmas china is sitting on the counter ready to go into the dishwasher.

No actual decorating, however, has occurred.

After a certain point, we start to get just a wee bit cranky with each other and it's best to go to our opposing corners and ignore each other for awhile.

So I started another new project.

I'm taking Key to My Heart from Michele Roberts through ANG's cyberworkshop program. This teaches traditional raised English goldwork techniques, which I have enjoyed doing in the past. Actually, at one point, I think I was taking an average of two goldwork classes a year, so this is like a needlework homecoming of sorts.

It is quite possible that I may be finished with the first lesson before the second one is posted.

And I may have just jinxed myself.

I should know by now not to make plans.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

This is where I stopped on Ann Almy last night.

It's a good thing I have a picture to show you, because a needle has not been threaded today.

I went to bed about midnight.

I woke up shortly after five.

I was unable to go back to sleep.

I am not a pleasant person to be around when I don't get enough sleep. I also can't stitch. That may contribute to the unpleasantness.

So I believe I will take my cranky self upstairs and put me to bed.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

As predicted, we're having a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving Day. I've had my turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, left over from Saturday, talked to Baby Girl who is cooking a feast with her housemates today, and pulled the meat sauce out of the freezer for our lasagna dinner tonight.

It isn't the traditional day I grew up with, but it's working out this year. And what's wrong with new traditions?

And I decided what to do with my long holiday. I'm going to work on something (or somethings) different every day.

Up today is a project that I sewed to the scroll bars months ago, then never stuck a needle into.

Here's Ann Almy after a couple of hours:

For someone who doesn't enjoy stitching letters, I seem to be doing a lot of it lately.

Maybe that's another new tradition  . . .

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What to do, what to do

I'm having a little bit of a dilemma.

I have four whole days with few or no responsibilities. We've had our Thanksgiving Feast, so I'm not up to my elbows in turkey and dressing. I have four lovely days for non-stop stitching.

Generally, when I have an extended period of time off, I have planned what to stitch and what to marathon on TV while I'm stitching. This time, not so much.

I could easily stay with Early Spring Lambs. I could potentially finish the whole project if I stuck to it. And I'm loving the border, which has a tapestry-like effect.

(Hopefully I can get a better picture tomorrow when I have daylight.)

But I could also pull out a sampler or I could do some finish-finishing or I could start decorating for Christmas. Or I could dive into the stash room and start reorganizing so I can find things without a major search-and-rescue mission.

Or maybe I'll just jump around from one project to another.

At any rate, it will be just as much a surprise to me as it is to you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The sheep now have grass underfoot and are no longer floating mid-air.

And I've started on the framework for the back panel of the needlecase.

Who would think a simple repeating border would make ones eyes cross?

I'm having to be very, very careful with the thread. It's an overdyed cotton. Overdyeing cotton tends to weaken it a little. And the linen is very rough, so it's abrading the cotton even more. So, I've switched to a larger needle to make the hole a little larger so the thread can avoid as much of the linen as possible, and I'm being very careful to stab the stitches straight up and down. It's helping--there's not as much fraying.

Also not as much speed . . .

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Little Sheepish

We now have two sheep, currently floating about the ground, on Catherine Theron's Early Spring Lamb's pin pillow.

And then Barbara Jackson's annual ornament for SNS arrived in the mail.

I am very tempted to locate stretcher bars and mount the linen for this so I can start basting.

And then I would have three starts in three days.

And that way lies insanity.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

About Face

I know I said I was going to work on Christmas ornaments yesterday, but last night I had a very vivid dream about taking a class from Catherine Theron.  This morning the first thing I saw on top of the stitching basket was the project she designed for guilds for 2016.

I figured all this was my subconscious trying to tell me something, so I found scroll bars that would work, ironed the linen and sewed it on, and I was off.

Between domestic interruptions, I got this much stitched today.

Who knows what I'll stitch tomorrow . . . apparently I shouldn't plan on making plans. So I won't.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

So, our Thanksgiving has happened . . .

We had our family Thanksgiving today with our very small family, and it was delightful.  As usual, everyone ate just a little too much, and Dearly Beloved had to take a nap, and Mother was ready to go back to her retirement center the minute she swallowed the last crumb of her pumpkin pie.

Once the kitchen was semi-restored to normalcy, Baby Girl and I spent the afternoon hanging out. She was playing games on her computer and I was stitching.

And I have the beginning of "Three Laying Tools" started.

I know the rest of the world still has Thanksgiving coming, but I feel like I can legitimately start watching Christmas movies and listening to carols and doing some decorating. Since Dearly Beloved has issues with people doing all that before the Fourth Thursday in  November, I can at least stitch something Christmas-y.

Friday, November 18, 2016

More good mail

More good mail arrived today:

This is part of the Frostings club that was available through Tricia Nguyen's Cabinet of Curiosities online class.

I had signed up for this the minute it was first offered, and received the shipments. Then I was looking at the contents, and looking at what was still available in the Thistle Threads shop and what I want to use on my casket. The more I looked, the more sense it made to join up again and get a second set of threads.

So I did.

Again, this is probably the closest I'm going to get to threads again tonight. We're having our family Thanksgiving get-together--here--tomorrow. I am cooking.

So far the desserts are almost done. Obviously we agree with the philosophy that life is short, eat (or prepare) dessert first. I have one of the side dishes done and the sweet potatoes are baking prior to their transformation into a casserole. Baby Girl is bringing veggies.  The Saint is bringing Mother. That will leave roasting the turkey, heating the sweet potatoes, and baking the rolls for tomorrow. Dearly Beloved is running the vacuum cleaner for (hopefully) the last time this week-end, and I'm making a valiant effort to do the last bit of de-cluttering (which means moving most of my needlework projects upstairs).

And what will Dearly Beloved and I do on the "real" Thanksgiving?  I'm thinking lasagna.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Crewel Irony

And, yes, the pun was intended.

While I still can't settle down to a stitching project for the evenings at home, my lunchtime work project has been humming along.

And now she's complete:

So, two down, two to go. I may actually have the whole set stitched by Christmas.

Now if I could just find the frames to put them in . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Happy Mail

After an inauspicious start to the day, and a very long day at work, I arrived home to find this lovely, lovely thing in my mailbox.

Amy Mitten has done it again!

If I weren't so tired, I'd be tempted to leap in.

But I've been up since 4:38 a.m.

And I was sleeping last night, after a couple of nights when I didn't.

Yesterday the community maintenance man arrived with new triple threat alarms--good for smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide. He installed one upstairs and one downstairs, told Dearly Beloved that they have batteries good for ten years, and left.

I may have mentioned before that Dearly Beloved works nights. And, as usual, if anything weird happens, it happens on those nights when he's at work.

In the middle of the night, something started chirping upstairs.

You may not have heard, but the mountains in the western part of North Carolina are on fire, and the smoke has drifted our direction. My first thought (when I roused enough to identify the sound) was that the alarm was so sensitive it was reacting to that smoke. Not so. It turns out that the batteries that were supposed to be good for ten years actually weren't. So upstairs I had chirping. Downstairs I had a very supercilious voice telling me that the battery was low.

So, before 5 a.m. I was teetering on the step stool trying to punch buttons or open the things to exchange batteries (assuming that I could manage that while mostly asleep). I finally gave up, put a pillow over my head, and tried to sleep for at least another 30 minutes.

It didn't work.

And then I had a major report to write at work--no stress there--and I was getting just a wee bit cranky by the time I headed home.

And dear Amy Mitten had sent me a box of toys, and all the cranky went away.

And now I'm going to bed.

(The maintenance man came by and swapped out the defective alarms for other alarms. Apparently he got a bad batch. I was not the only one roused in the middle of the night. Apparently, though, I was one of the few who didn't call him, starting at midnight. I think he was probably crankier than I was.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

And now for something completely different

This is what I intended to work on tonight.

It's the third in the Twelve Days of a Stitcher's Christmas series--Three Laying Tools.

I was intending to start it until I was putting the stretcher bars together.  And one of them split. Completely, from notch to notch. I asked Dearly Beloved if he thought it could be glued back together, but he explained that it was along the grain line, so no.

It appears that I will have to go back upstairs and stand on my head in the stretcher bar bin again.

Sigh . . .

Monday, November 14, 2016

Breaking up?

Or taking a break?

I came home from work, fell into the wing chair, and stared at Rebekah French.

And I absolutely could not pick up a needle to work on her tonight.

Now part of this may be due to the fact that I woke up at 4:18 this morning and could not go back to sleep, so I've been dragging all day. Part of it may be due to the fact that we're having our family Thanksgiving on Saturday, and I am not ready for Mother's white glove inspection--she may have had a stroke, but she can still spot a speck of dust from the length of a football field. And part of it may be due to the fact that I've already finished three big samplers this year and I need to play with something else for a few days.

However, what I believe I will do is go to bed early tonight.

As soon as I dust again. And vacuum. And dust again in case the vacuum stirs anything up.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Making myself stitch

Well, there is one good thing about blogging every day in November--it also means that I need to stitch every day.

Today wasn't a big stitching day.

The basic vine now reaches across the sampler. It still needs the colored leaves along the top filled in. I still have the fidgets, though, and I'm not sure that will happen tonight.

BTW, we went to see Dr Strange this afternoon. If you're into Marvel movies, this is the most visually amazing of them all. I want to go back and see it again. And there's a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming in late spring. And a new Pirates of the Caribbean out next year.

I guess my Geek Flag is still flying, despite my advancing years . . .

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Little bits

I have managed to get a few more stitches into Rebekah French today:

Do you see the rust color at the beginning and end of the first row of the satin stitch alphabet?

That's used to fill in the sawtooth border all the way around--double strands of it.

The more I look at the amount of thread I have, the more I believe that I don't have enough.

Now, it's been five years since I started this sampler, so the dye lot has surely changed, and I am not inclined to mix dye lots. I have already decided I will need to order more thread, and I have also decided I won't start filling in the border until I have the new skeins. And, I'm also aware that it may take awhile to get the silk, since very few shops carry a full range at all times, so it will likely have to be ordered. And those orders take time to arrive.

So I'm trying to decide if I want to put Rebekah back in her pillowcase until the silk arrives, or do I keep on working on her, only to have the whole, entire, endless border to do in one swell foop.

If this is the most difficult decision I have to make this week, I'm doing well.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Move along now

Nothing to see here.

There has been no stitching tonight. I had a daylong, off-site meeting at work that ran long, then when I got home, we had conversations with The Flash who wanted to wish Dearly Beloved a happy Veteran's Day--then I decided to start the laundry, only to have the handle on the less-than-a-year-old dryer break off in my hand--then the pizza we ordered didn't come so we had to deal with that--and at this point, I think trying to stitch would be a grave mistake.

When you say you're going to blog every day, you have to blog every day. Even when you have nothing to say.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Best laid plans

The plan was to finish this row of satin stitched letters tonight.

The reality is that I apparently can't count to four this evening, since every single letter I've started over three threads rather than four. This has resulted in ripping and roaring.

 So I'm going to bed as soon as I show you what I've done--so close to the end, but I'm afraid to even try another letter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

More Angel

I feel in need of some angelic intercession tonight, so my office angel now has her halo and wings.

This is the only stitching I've done today. I've had the fidgets--I've picked up and put down half a dozen things since I got home, and nothing works.

So I'm going to call it a day, totter upstairs, and read my book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Office Angel 2

Since I never threaded a needle last night, I wasn't sure what I would blog about today. Then I thought about my office project.

I haven't had as much time during my lunch hour to stitch as I did with the first little angel, so this one is taking longer.

I am surprising myself, though, by how much I'm enjoying crewel embroidery, even if I have to work with a needle the size of those spears they threw at Moby Dick.  A sharp needle, I might add. However, I haven't added any DNA to either of these pieces. Yet.

I think I just jinxed myself.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Technical Difficulties

There almost wasn't a blog tonight, and there won't be much of one since our internet connection has been in and out all evening.

I have torn up one corner of the living room getting to the equipment carefully hidden behind furniture so we don't have ugly cords running every which way.

I may give up on gracious living, and just leave the cords hanging out, fully exposed.

Anyway, here is a bit of the next alphabet on Rebekah French.

I think I'm just going to sit here and mutter about technology until bedtime.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Eyelets? Check!

All the eyelets are stitched, including the ones in the dividing band below this alphabet.

And there was much rejoicing.

The next alphabet is all satin stitch, which I enjoy, so I may stay with Rebekah for a few more days.

I am still thinking about a rotation, even if it never seems to work out well for me. This may be the only time the schedule I made sees the light of day--or it may make me decide to try it.  I can be more than a little fickle when it comes to planning where my needle will land.

Anyway, here it is:

Sunday: Rebekah French
Monday: background on Eve in the Garden
Tuesday:  Barbara Jackson's projects for SCR through EGA
Wednesday: Tend Thy Sheep, workshop from Merry Cox
Thursday: Behold Thy Beauty, workshop from Jackie du Plessis
Friday: Key to My Heart, cyberworkshop from ANG
Saturday: finish-finishing

Now that I see it in print, I am totally overwhelmed. I think I'll mull it over for awhile longer. Meanwhile, Rebekah is right by my chair with all her supplies.

Inertia may win this one.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Not what you'd expect

Last night I pulled several projects out and lined them up. I even made a list, assigning each to a day of the week for a rotation.  And I rummaged around in the auxiliary finishing basket and pulled out a stack of things to work on today.

And this is what I ended up stitching.

I know, I know, I said I didn't want to do any more eyelet letters.

And I wasn't gonna, at least not for a day or two.

But I have a philosophy that if you have something you really don't want to do, but that you really should, for whatever reason, it's better just to do it and get it over with.

So I hitched up the Granny panties and did more eyelets today.

I have to admit, though, that I am through for tonight. The "W" just did me in.

Friday, November 4, 2016

What to do . . .

The dividing band between the two rows of eyelet letters is now done.

I was very sorry to see it completed, because it means that it's time to work the second row of letters.

I don't wanna!  (whine, whine, whine)

I generally don't mind eyelets but there seems to be an excessive number of them. Rebekah must have loved them to have worked such big letters in them.

And I could be very easily distracted. I have the first lesson for an ANG cyberworkshop, Key to My Heart, all printed out. I just need to find stretcher bars and my goldwork toolbox to start on that.

I have the auxiliary finishing basket to empty--we're not even talking about the main finishing basket.

There is much, much, much more gold thread to stitch into the background of Eve in the Garden.

I could start on the projects in Barbara Jackson's design for EGA-SCR's online class.

Apparently, though, I'm leaning towards taking my book upstairs, crawling into bed, and going to sleep early. This is when you know you've become "mature." A book and early bedtime on Friday night sound very, very appealing.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Crossed Eyes

Rebekah French came out of her pillowcase tonight so I could work on the eyelet alphabet.

It is a little possible that my stress level is higher than I thought, and I may have taken it out on the eyelets. They seem to be pulled just a wee bit tighter than perhaps would be optimal.

However, I do not believe I am going to remove them, try to smooth out the linen, and restitch.

I think that would send my stress level into the stratosphere.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stitching but No Stitching

Instead of plopping in the wing chair and stitching tonight, I went to my sampler guild meeting, where I saw some exquisite embroidery, and talked about needlework, and thought about future projects--but did not pick up a needle.

In terms of blogging every day, this is about the most pitiful entry ever--but you really needed to be there. You would have enjoyed every minute and hated to see the evening end.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


So tonight I came home, plopped down in the wing chair, and tried to decide what to work on.

While I was contemplating, I realized that Eve in the Garden was sitting right there, so I picked that up. And worked a little more on the background.

Now if I blog all of November, watching this happen is going to be boring to both you and me. So I'm still trying to decide what else I want to stitch.

But I still can't decide. It's likely made worse by the sugar buzz. There was leftover Halloween candy all over the office today. I have been introduced to Life Saver Gummies. This was probably not a good thing to have happen.