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.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

It's a . . . dragonfly . . . ?


There's a bunch of these little critters flitting around Mary Otter's sampler. Some look possibly like butterflies, but this one looks like a dragonfly to me.

The beginning of the teeny little floral border is stitched:


It took longer to stitch than the bigger border above it.

I think that's going to be the story of this quarter of the sampler. With very few exceptions, it's stitched over one, either tent or cross over-one. 

I've decided to go ahead and stitch the verse--letters, you know--not my favorite part of a sampler to stitch. Then I may get the Queen stitch borders on the sides worked in, and then go back to the floral border that twines around the saying.  And then there are the parrots on each side.

Oh, didn't I mention that there are parrots?

There are big honkin' parrots in this part of the sampler. Just wait and see. . .

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Diversions

In the last twenty-four hours, my mail carrier has done his best to provide me with diversions.


This beautiful assortment of lovely stitching things will eventually become Racheal Kinnison's limited edition ornament for 2017.  I am absolutely craving to start this and to work on last year's ornament as well. I'm also trying to avoid drooling all over the silks.

And then more diversions:


A new Marvel movie and a new Virgil Flowers book from John Sandford.  Hmmmmmm . . . I can stitch with a movie on but I haven't figured out how to read and stitch at the same time--at least not with the printed page.

But I am remaining faithful and true to Mary Otter.


The next vine is started and I'm having to watch it like a hawk.

For one thing, there's a leaf that looks sort of like a dirigible.


Well, it would if the picture weren't quite so blurry.

For another thing, Mary got a little distracted and the vine doesn't exactly follow the same pattern from one curve to another.


I choose to believe that Mary wanted to go out and play rather than stitching away on her sampler because she was all over the place on this. Some curves go up, some go down, some meander off track just a tad.

I guess I'll just meander with them.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Poor neglected blog

I feel like my blogging mojo has flown out of the window.

But it has been a little bit hectic around here . . .

The first quarter of Mary Otter is stitched!!!


The second quarter is all over one. I think it may take awhile to see much progress.

Then I spent some time in the dentist's chair getting my teeth cleaned AND a permanent crown installed, all on the same day. My jaw felt like it was unhinged. It still does, a little . . .

Then we had trouble with both cars, which is never a good thing for the budget . . .

And then we went to W Va for the week-end to help celebrate The Flash's ninth birthday. He had a tremendous birthday party and lots of goodies and he may come down from the excitement in about a  year when it's time for his next birthday.

However, we have discovered the trick for at least a temporary calming effect. We gave him a book. And like his parents and grandparents and Aunt Baby Girl, he can be mesmerized by the printed page. And he was.

And I am now going to bed very early since tomorrow is Monday and I need to rise and shine. And hopefully have a somewhat less active week.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Whew!!!

I didn't think I would ever get this part of Mary Otter stitched.


I like Queen stitches, really I do--but there are a lot of them in this border. The vine isn't so bad but the strawberries and their little leaves involve a lot of starting and stopping. A LOT of starting and stopping.

Normally I do all of the borders on schoolgirl samplers, just to get them out of the way. Mainly it's because, after a while, they get boring. Really, really boring.  And I like getting them out of the way before I start the fun parts in the middle--sort of like eating all your peas and carrots so you can have dessert.

However, at the moment, I think if I have to do another Queen stitch, I might start frothing at the mouth.

So I'm going to do some of the fun stuff in the middle before I go back to more . . . and more . . . and more Queen-stitched strawberries.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Deadly Dull and Boring

That's me.  Since the last time I wrote, this is all I've managed to stitch on Mary Otter. Or anything else.


In my defense, I did have to work late three days out of four this week, and I had an EGA meeting on the other night.

Ironically, I never get anything stitched on guild nights, no matter what guild it is. I talk about stitching, I look at stitching, I get excited and inspired by stitching, but I don't get to actually stitch.

And that brings me back to Mary Otter.

She is one big, beautiful girl.

And she is a model for a designer, which means she takes priority. After her teaching career ends, she'll come back to live with me, but until then, she really belongs to someone else. So I need to put the pedal to the medal and the nose to the grindstone and sharpen the electric needle and avoid any other cliches and get 'er done.

When I first looked at her photograph, I thought I might be able to stitch her by Halloween. After getting the charts, I thought it would be closer to Thanksgiving. Now, after really studying all her details, I think it might be Christmas.

Which means that Mary Otter will be about the only subject of the blog for awhile.

So, I can talk about Mary for the next three months.  Or I can let the blog go dark. Or I can let you, Dear Readers, weigh in.

What say you?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friends and Family

Not much stitching to report this week. Mother had another episode which is not unexpected when you're almost ninety, and we had friends from Key West in town, waiting to get the all-clear to go home. Mother is back in rehab for a few days, and the Floridians are wending their way home as of today.

And Mary Otter has had a few (very few) stitches:


After the past week, I really, really, really need to have some quiet time with needle in hand.

And that is exactly what I plan to do all day tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September Strawberry

I've started stitching Mary Otter.


It is a very good thing that I like stitching Queen stitches because the entire border is made up of Queen stitch strawberries.

I have not counted to see how many there are.

I don't believe I will do that.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

There and Back Again

I was not planning to go dark for so long--but with my sore finger, stitching was not on the agenda for almost a week.

Actually, as I was packing for my expedition to Salty Yarns, Dearly Beloved asked (somewhat plaintively), "You are going to get to stitch while you're gone, aren't you?  I think that will put you in a better mood."

Cranky?

Me?

Cranky?

Obviously the stress-relieving qualities of time spent with needle in hand cannot be overstated.

Anyway, Baby Girl and I took off for Ocean City for a relaxing week-end. She wandered around on the beach and boardwalk. I took another lovely class with Jackie du Plessis.

This is what I hope to eventually approximate:


It is called Tsubaki and the picture does not do it justice.

This is what I managed to stitch:


On the bottom are the pieces for the scissors fob. On top are the first two outlines for what will become the thimble cozy.

Now, what I'd love to tell you is that I am going to work on this project until it is completely done.

Not so much.

Because the materials for Mary Otter are staring at me and I am going to put a stitch or two into that first. Actually, the plan is to work on Mary in the evenings and Tsubaki on the week-ends.

And we'll see which one gets to the finish line first.

(As usual, the hospitality at Salty Yarns and the Lankford Hotel were unsurpassed. It's become my favorite venue for classes.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Stitching Report

Friday night I stayed up way too late to get the second chamber of Frances Burwell's sampler filled in:


I love this pansy--something about the red petals really liven up the sampler.

After two days of fiddling with teeny tiny pieces, Afternoon Leisure Basket is complete:


In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that there's a missing piece. There should also be a darling velvet strawberry. There is not.

I very carefully cut out the piece of velvet to make the strawberry's body. I stitched the seam exactly where I was instructed to stitch it. With great care, I turned the body right side out--and the whole seam shredded.

All I could do was stare at it for a minute or two.

So I very carefully turned it wrong side out again and did yet another seam, and then I overstitched the second seam, and then, holding my breath, I again turned it right side out.  

The only problem is that instead of having a nice, plump strawberry, I now have a skinny, shriveled up strawberry that the cap doesn't fit. I am mulling over the best way to handle this--I'm thinking I'm going to have to get another piece of velvet and start over.

And here we are on Labor Day. We have a holiday from work, and you'd think that I would have had a threaded needle in my hand all day.

Not so much.

I cut a chunk our of my left forefinger with the rotary cutter late yesterday afternoon. This is the same finger I sewed on the sewing machine about 20 years ago. This hurt almost as much and certainly bled a lot more.

As I do not wish to leave excessive amounts of DNA in any project--what am I saying?--I don't want to leave any DNA in any project--I am avoiding needlework until my finger gets better. So, I'm doing some preemptive packing for the coming week-end and a workshop at Salty Yarns.

Assuming Hurricane Irma doesn't interfere.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

One down, two to go

The first "chamber" on this band is complete!


I had to use a sharp needle to work the satin over the double running stitch outlines, but I am happy to say that I have left no DNA behind.

I realize that I have now jinxed myself and will stab myself with my needle repeatedly and painfully throughout the rest of the band.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Back to School

First, the obligatory stitching content:


Here is where I am on Frances Burwell. I need to work the double running outline of a big flower and then I'm going to cover all the double running up with satin stitch. This may mean a sharp needle. As I haven't left any DNA on this project thus far, I suppose it's time.

And now the Back-to-School part:

Our local schools went back into session today. The start of the school year always feels like it should be the real start of the year. I have managed to restrain myself from buying notebooks and markers and a pencil box (do people even use pencil boxes any longer?), but it's been a close thing. I want stickers!

The big thing is that I've decided it's the perfect time to give myself a kick in the posterior and restart the year.

My stitching has been drifting all over the place this year. With a couple of notable exceptions, I haven't been passionate about anything I've worked on. Don't get me wrong--I love the things that are in my stash and I want to stitch every single solitary one--but I can't seem to settle on anything. The number of things I've started since January--and that have never seen the light of blog--is a little scary. And I've spent way too many evenings staring at the TV without working on anything--a most  unusual waste of time for me.

Because I tend to make lists, just for the sake of making lists, I started listing things I want to do. Everything falls into one of five categories:

Samplers
Smalls
Seventeenth Century
Stumpwork
Special Stuff (like whitework and goldwork and my lunchtime crewel projects)

I've made the decision I need to get into a routine. Notice I'm not saying "rotation" or assigning projects to specific days of the week, but a simple routine that I can follow without feeling constraints. I don't do well with rules, even the ones I make for myself.

So, the plan at the moment is to use my weeknights after work for a project that is ready to go when I plop into the wing chair after the dinner dishes are out of the way.  It can be anything in one of those categories that is ready to go when I am.

When I have a long expanse of time--like Saturday afternoons while the laundry is churning--I'll do thing like all the cutting and pressing and sorting of bits as needed to assemble the smalls I stitch, then don't get around to finish-finishing.   I found that worked really well on the Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet--I got everything cut out and sorted so all I had to do was pick up a piece and sew on it. This also includes sewing linen to the scroll bars or tracing designs to be worked on later.

I think I am going to reserve Sundays for pieces that need real concentration. That worked well on Eve in the Garden.

Holidays and vacations--anything goes.

And I am going to try blogging more often. If I blog, I stitch. I will not even try to blog daily--last November showed me that won't work with my life as it currently works--but I'll try to blog more often--maybe because I might have more to talk about if I'm stitching more.

I already feel better about getting some things done.

Baby Girl says that I'm overthinking. She is probably right.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More pretty little things

While the Finishing Fairy seems to be smiling on me, I thought I would start putting together all the pretty pieces for the Afternoon Leisure Basket, designed by Sherri Jones. I took the class last year at Salty Yarns, prepped most of the pieces, and then (what a surprise) was distracted by something else.


I put the basket pieces together in class. In the last few days, I put together the two needle books.

I still have to do the mattress pin cushion, the pin keep, the strawberry, and the scissors sheath. I believe that may keep me out of trouble this week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Big Ta-DA

The Virgin Queen Stitching Wallet is complete!


I'm very happy I chose the red for the lining:


And for once, I am very, very happy with my finish-finishing!


I didn't expect it to go so smoothly because I'm still a little weary from Mother's hospitalization. She's in rehab now, but there was a period last week when I went 34 hours more-or-less awake.

24 of those hours were spent in the same clothes and I only got to brush my teeth once during that time (yuck).  20 hours of those 24 hours were spent in hand-to-hand combat with my supposedly frail and fragile 89-going-on-90-year-old mother.  She was absolutely determined that she was going to disconnect and detach every monitor, IV needle, and oxygen tube.  I was determined that she wasn't.

She managed to break the oxygen tube. I was the one who got bruises.

(Is it elder abuse if the elder who is abused is abused by an even more elderly elder?)

She is giving them a run for their money in rehab. 

And the Saint and I are even more convinced that she's going to outlive us both.

Bless her heart . . .

Sunday, August 20, 2017

What a week

Mother was taken to the hospital on Tuesday. She was there until late Friday afternoon when she was released to the rehab unit at her retirement center, where she will spend the next two to three weeks.

All I can say is that little old ladies with mild dementia and issues of control do not make for cooperative patients.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And now for something completely different

Bet you thought you were going to see a completed Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet after this week-end.

Not so much.

I did get the Skirtex basted and linen and silk interfaced and things folded and pinned. I was planning to do the pressing needed before starting the assembly, but The Boot informed me that I needed to sit down and prop up my ankle before I sentenced myself to a longer association with said Boot.

So I did.

And while I was sitting there, I picked up Frances Burwell and finished one of the small dividing bands and started on the next big band:


And I do have the bits for the Virgin Queen corralled for the next time The Boot will allow me to stand for any length of time:


Obviously, I don't have time to get bored.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Small Ta Da


Now all the accessory pieces that will go into the Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet are finished.

Unfortunately, the actual Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet still needs to be put together.

I've decided I need to take a lovely Saturday afternoon nap before I tackle that.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Prep work

I've been cutting out stuff that will be used to assemble the Virgin Queen etui. I now have little piles of materials in a state of organized chaos on my worktable.


I had plans to do some pressing and folding and mitering, but The Boot had other plans.  It announced that I had done quite enough, thank you very much, and it was time to prop up my aching ankle with an ice pack. So I have.

Monday, August 7, 2017

filling and fobbing

I got a couple of things accomplished while I was propping up my foot inside The Boot yesterday.


The flowers on the band are now filled in. I don't know why it was such drudgery to get them done, but I was beginning to think the gremlins were coming in during the night to remove what I had already stitched.

There was also some finish-finishing.


The fob for the Virgin Queen is assembled.

Nothing else is.

Yet.

We'll see how The Boot and I get along tonight.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What a week . . .

This has been a week . . .

There has been a little stitching:


Frances Burwell has been my focus project this week.

And that child has been messin' with me.

Some of those little sprigs coming off the vine line up with each other. Some don't. Some are stitched just like others. Some aren't. There have been times when I thought I needed to rip out--and almost did--before I discovered that Frances was not, perhaps, as careful as she could have been when stitching the band.

And then there is the decrepitude factor. This has nothing to do with stitching so if that's why you're here, you can go on to other things.

The wonkier of my wonky knees has been giving me problems. And I keep reinjuring my Achilles tendon. So I finally gave in and went to the doctor, who mentioned that perhaps I should come to see him when things start to hurt rather than when I can barely hobble.

I got a shot in my knee--which sounds much worse than it actually was--and I am now wearing a lovely boot that immobilizes my ankle so the torn tendon can heal.  And I am to continue to keep my foot elevated and iced.

Which means I should probably stitch rather than vacuum.

There's always a golden lining.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

different direction

When I started home yesterday, I was positive I was going to pull something out of the auxiliary finishing basket to work on. After all, the lid won't shut any longer. If I were of a fanciful bent of mind, I would say that there are projects just trying to escape so they could become something, but as I am not of a fanciful bent of mind, I won't say that.

Instead, Frances Burwell was glaring at me.

Do you see this innocent-looking, very innocuous acorn band?


Let me tell you--if there were a way to miscount, I miscounted. There are only three colors in this band. I pulled the wrong color for part of the acorns and had to rip them out. I finally had to put Frances in time-out before she became a fancy dust cloth. She's been there for several weeks--or maybe a month or two.

So, last night, I finished ripping out what needed to be ripped out and restitched the sections I had ripped out. Today I finished the band.

I believe I will continue with Frances for another day or two.

Until those projects attempting to escape grab me and force me to take care of them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mutter, mutter

There has been a very small amount of needlework accomplished around here.

Isabella has her hem stitched:


Now she needs to be washed and pressed.

My lunchtime-at-work project has also been completed:


This, too, needs to be washed and blocked.

And I started a new crewel project for lunchtime-at-work:


Meanwhile, I've been feeling a little overwhelmed.

I have piles of projects I would like to start. I have way more UFOs than I am comfortable having. And the top of the auxiliary finishing basket won't close.

The problem is that I can't decide what I want to work on. Sometimes having too many options is worse than having too few.  I've spent a couple of weeks picking things up and putting them down without feeling a strong desire to work on any of them.

One of my professors in grad school said that when you can't make a decision, ask yourself, "what do I really want?"

And, as I was writing this, it occurred to me that what I really want is to have an empty bag, basket, box, or bin. I just want to have stuff done.  I doubt I'll pick one container and work my way to the bottom, but it would be a start.

So the thing I'm going to mull over now is determining what bag, basket, box, or bin is nagging at me most. And as soon as I get home from work tomorrow, I'm going to pull something--who knows what--out of whatever bag, basket, box, or bin I decide to tackle. And I am going to work on that something until I get it done.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crankypants

Since last I wrote:

  • I broke a filling eating a frozen fruit bar.
  • I threw out my back standing at the ironing board for too long
  • The back problem precipitated an attack of sciatica
  • I re-injured my almost healed Achilles tendon
I'm beginning to feel that all I do is spackle and patch my decrepit body.

I can already hear somebody asking how you can throw your back out standing at an ironing board. I have some age-related (there's that decrepit and aged thing again) deterioration of the discs in my lower back.

Actually, the doctor called it a degenerative disorder--but that sounds as if my back were doing something bawdy and naughty. I wish. Nope, it has to do primarily with age.

Anyway, I was fiddling with finish-finishing a silly little thing and the directions said to finger press the seam. Apparently my fingers are too cold to finger press anything because the seam was not staying where it was supposed to. So I decided to threaten it with a hot iron. It's a very fiddly little bit of nonsense and I fiddled and bent over and fiddled and bent over and finally my back announced that it was tired of being placed in such a position for so long and I got stuck. And it hurt to straighten up. And when I stretched to try to get the kinks out, something popped. And that was that.

Dearly Beloved said that I am the only person he has ever known who could injure herself trying to iron something. I asked him why he thought I keep saying that housework, done properly, can kill you. He said that I wasn't doing housework, I was doing needlework. Apparently the look I gave him was enough for him to decide to take a stroll around the neighborhood for a few minutes.

So my finish-finishing has not been touched. The only thing I've managed to accomplish this week is trimming, pinning, and basting the hem on Isabelle so she is ready to be hem-stitched.


I probably won't get this hem-stitched this week-end. We are heading to the mountains to visit The Flash and his parental units.

Right when I need to be in fighting trim.

Sigh . . . 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Deadly Dull and Boring (me, not the needlework)

Several times I've sat down to write a blog post this week--and nothing has come to mind to write about.

I attribute this to the heat.

It is hot. We're finally getting Real Summer with temps in the 90's and the heat index over 100.  And then there's the humidity. When you dare to go outside, the air feels like warm molasses, thick, soupy, and sticky.

Add to that, I've had one of those weeks when I wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the ceiling for a couple of hours before dozing off again.  This does not promote rational thinking, much less witty writing.

I have done a little stitching. Very little, but at least something has been done around here.


I was rummaging around in the Big Tote of Small Projects, looking for something else entirely, when this popped up. It's called Autumn Splendor, and it's one of Jackie du Plessis' small project kits. It may be wishful thinking, hoping for crisp fall days, but it appealed to me immediately, so that's what I've been stitching on.  It has been lovely and relaxing to work on and small enough to feel a sense of accomplishment.

And it may be all I accomplish until the temps start to drop.

And, yes, we do have AC and fans--but there is a point at which the world just feels stuffy, no matter how low you set the thermostat and how high you set the fans.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Baby Steps

After yesterday's disasters, I was almost afraid to thread a needle.

Apparently, I can still cross stitch over both one and two threads.


I can also back stitch.


I thought about doing some finish-finishing, but I think this is complicated enough for today. No use tempting fate.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sidetracked, then off the rails

Yesterday I decided to do my usual Saturday domestic diva chores, which would then give me another two days for uninterrupted stitching.

I had some time last evening after finishing the last bit of spit-and-polishing I was going to do, and I picked up another of the small strawberry pieces from Barbara Jackson.

And finished the stitching:


This may be the last thing I ever stitch.

Today, I have just about decided to sell my stash, turn in my needles, and take up parasailing instead of needlework.

Everything I have touched has been a disaster.

I was going to work on the casket toy.  Detached buttonhole is one of the those stitches that I can generally do with my eyes closed. Today I couldn't do one with both eyes open, with additional magnification, in broad daylight.

So I decided to thread up my sewing machine and do a wee bit of finishing. The less said about that experience the better. The sewing machine is among the things I was thinking of selling.

I usually have very good luck stitching samplers, so I pulled Frances Burwell out of her pillowcase. I miscounted within the first four stitches. So all that I did had to be ripped out.

I was stomping around, flinging invective (which was safer than flinging other things)--Dearly Beloved suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea to do something else before I made decisions I would rue.

So tonight I am going to leaf through a few of the magazines that have accumulated beside my chair.

None of them will have any needlework in them.

Friday, July 7, 2017

seeing quadruple

Yesterday I spent my stitching time setting up the pieces for the second Winter Casket Toy.



The base set-up for all four pieces is the same so I figured I may as well do them all while I was in the groove.

They kept bothering me, though. I keep thinking they reminded me of something else. It finally hit me. They look like the BB-8 Droid from one of the recent Star Wars movies.

I'm not sure I'm going to do the next step in this project today.  My current book, which started off very slowly, has suddenly picked up speed and I don't really want to put it down for long. I may spend the day with a tall, icy beverage and the book.

The joys of free time . . . as much as I like the structure of a working life, I think I could very possibly enjoy being retired.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

And now for something completely different

I bet you thought you were going to see the next step on a casket toy.

Not so much.

Early this morning I was seeing my doctor because I was hit with a case of vertigo last night. Apparently the slightly nagging headache I've had has not been eye strain from stitching myself silly, but the beginnings of an inner ear infection. My ear never hurt. I have meds and the headache has already disappeared, although the anti-vertigo drugs make me a little drowsy and apparently a little loopy.

Then I spent the middle of the day with the AC technician since the hall in front of the closet where the AC unit lives became squishy at some point. He called the plumber. The plumber came and cleared out the drainage pipe. The AC guy came back and fiddled for awhile. Then he left and Dearly Beloved had to excavate the swamp fan (aka big honkin' fan) to blow over the squishy parts of the carpet and dry them out. I've wanted to replace the carpet for awhile, but would prefer to do it on my timetable.

After all this excitement (and unexpected expense) the last thing I needed to wield was a sharp, pointy object.  A pointy object with a blunt end might work, which meant stitching not on silk fabric but on linen or canvas instead.

And I came up with this little lovely, which I started a couple of years ago. At the time, I had the flower at the top and the ABC. I stitched the rest this afternoon after all the excitement died down.


It will become this:


Barbara Jackson's colors are so joyful that they make me happy.

And who's to say I can't put strawberries in my casket, too?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Heart Beats True for the Red, White, & Blue

Happy Fourth!

We have had a quiet Fourth, thus far, although I expect the neighborhood pyrotechnic display later tonight will take care of the festivities.

And I have been stitching.

I have the second side of the first Winter Casket toy done up to the point that the Fray Stop has to finish drying.


I'm trying to decide if I want to skip ahead and do the finishing on this toy, then circle back and work the embroidery on the other one, or if I want to work in the order in which the directions are given. That means that I'd do the embroidery on the second toy in the set, then do the finishing for both pieces.

I'm delighted that this is the most difficult decision I have to make in the next day or so.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Light My Fire

Today I started my stay-cation project.


Amy Mitten's Casket Toys have been aging in the my stash since she first introduced them.  This is the first of them from the Winter Toy set.

It is quite possible that they would have continued aging, but two dear friends have both been working on them lately. One of them has completed the Winter Set. In fact, I had an email from her almost-but-not-quite suggesting a throw-down.

Well, what other kind of motivation does a Stitching Fool need than to know that her good buddies are having fun without her.

And I have to say, this has been a lot of fun. I started the first lesson this morning--all about the prep work. By afternoon, I was stitching. At the moment, I'm waiting for the Fray-Stop to dry so I can move to the next step.

I've been very lucky to have classes from excellent teachers who give incredibly detailed directions, but Amy Mitten is one of the very best. Having detailed, step-by-step photographs make all the difference in the world. It's like literally sitting next to her and working together.

I plan to continue working away during the Fourth celebrations tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that. Who knows--I might even get something finished before I go back to the paying job!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Close but no cigar

I made plans for the week-end.

I was going to come home from work on Friday, start the laundry, and get the living room and kitchen in order. I was going to set Virgin Queen aside for a few days while I started the project I've been planning to stitch on my stay-cation.

I do not know why I bother to make any kind of plan for anything.

I came home from work on Friday, and Virgin Queen was just sitting by the chair--and we were allowed to leave early because of the long Fourth week-end, so I still had daylight--and I stitch best by daylight--so I thought I'd get a few stitches in before I started all the other stuff.

Forget the carefully crafted plans.

I got so much done Friday afternoon and evening that I thought I could surely finish the last panel and the scissor fob pieces on Saturday.

And I almost made it.


And a close-up of the center part, which is my very favorite part of the design--why did it have to be on the bottom?


I'm going to finish up the last bit of bargello and stitch the scissor fob pieces and then go back to the original plan.

Until something else comes along and changes the plan.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Monday night I got the ropey thing stitched (and did a very happy dance) and then started on the leafy stalks from which all the other bits and pieces rise.

I got all the leaves and stalk on the left side and the center worked in before I needed to go to bed.


If you look at the picture, you will notice that there is no stalk in the center.

I came home from work last night and finally had a chance to plop myself in the wing chair to stitch.

I looked at the piece.

I looked at the chart.

I looked back at the piece.

I looked back at the chart.

I looked at the piece again.

I looked at the chart again.

No matter how many times I looked back and forth, the piece did not match the chart.

I had made a counting error early on the base of the stalk. So I had to rip. And believe me, ripping out double running worked with a sharp needle so the stitches can be pierced and therefore look more even--it is not easy nor is it fast.

This led to more fuming.

OK, deep breath time.

I wanted to get all the pieces stitched before Friday so I could take them to work and photocopy them so I could make the paper patterns needed for finishing-finishing. Normally I would have not worried because I could do that at home. However, our printer/scanner/copier has turned itself into a door stop and Dearly Beloved has not completed his research and deliberations into a replacement. He may never complete his research and deliberations, but that is a rant for another day.

And I wanted to get that done by Friday because I am giving myself a stay-cation next week. I will have nine days in a row to do what I want (within reason) which includes not setting an alarm clock and stitching myself silly.

I had also planned a very specific project to work on next week, which is not Virgin Queen. I wanted to get Virgin Queen finished before I started the new project.

So random thoughts about this current first-world dilemma:

  • Why I won't allow myself to start another project before I get this one done?
  • I start new projects all the time without getting previous projects finished and it doesn't bother me normally.
  • If I don't do the project I planned, the world will not tilt on its axis and throw everybody off.
  • I don't have any deadlines or any reason to follow a set plan
  • First born girl children who feel responsible for the world turning on its axis set up too many rules and regulations for themselves.
I'm going to trot off to my EGA meeting in a few and not think about any of this for a couple of hours.

After all, it's just stitching.

And since I want to do it all, it really doesn't make any difference in what order I do it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Triumph!

OK, it may not look like much to be proclaiming a triumph over--but this little bit of this project gave me fits yesterday.


I kept getting off track--couldn't count to two because I kept counting to three--ripped out more than I left in--accidentally cut threads that should not have been cut--yesterday I could not do a single thing right.

And it's ironic because I have stitched virtually this same pattern on samplers and other projects before. In double running. Without trauma.

Consequently, I finally put it in time-out and sat and fumed until bedtime.

Today as I was driving home from work, I decided, no matter what, I was going to get this done and move on.  And I did.

Now I'm going to work on leaves and flowers and pretty things.

And hope I can continue to count correctly.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wine & Roses, Two

After a long day of stitching, all the leaves and vines on the back of the second band on the second panel of the Virgin Queen are done.

The happy dance has been celebrated.


I think it looks very William Morris-ish, and I did finally figure out a pattern I could follow, so it wasn't quite as painful as I feared.

And I decided which thread winder designs I wanted to use and got those stitched.


I went with darker values than the original designs on both of these because I have left my usual rut and gone wild on the lining fabric.

Please keep in mind that going wild is relative.

We had a choice among a yellow-green, blue (my usual option), and a rusty, cinnamon-y red. The red made me think of Elizabeth I more than the other two, so I threw caution to the winds and opted for it. Actually, I think I'm going to like it a lot.

I have already outlined the last panel and the two halves of the scissors fob, so I'm going to thread up my needle again and see what i can accomplish before bedtime.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wine and Roses

The grapevine band on the second panel of the Virgin Queen is stitched, but the flower panel is taking me a little more brain power than I have at the end of a work day.


Betsy warned us that this was the most difficult band for double running, so I was prepared to work at it.

Usually I can figure out a double running pattern just by studying it. Not so much with this one--so I used my fallback method. I enlarge and photocopy the pattern and try to follow the pattern with my pudgy finger (that's one reason I enlarge the pattern). If that doesn't work, I get out the colored pencils and try to work out the outward path and the return journey.

There are a lot of dead ends on this pattern.

And I think I need to wait until the week-end to actually stitch it. Meanwhile, last night I very carefully counted out the locations of the centers of the posies and I think I'll go ahead and plant those flowers on the band. That way, there will be progress made.

Unless, of course, my counting wasn't quite as careful as I am assuming it was.