In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Finally a Finish!

The year is almost half over and I just now have my first finish!

This is Tricia's Spot Sampler, started in a F2F class who knows how long ago (maybe ten years?), resurrected when the Masterwork Goldwork Class was first offered by Thistle Threads several years ago, and finally finished in 2019.

I do eventually get around to things.

Now, the question is--what's next? Do I bounce around like I did last week? Do I focus on another project and try to get it finished soon? The main reason I pulled this out was to free up the frame for a casket panel--but now I think I might want to start the second sampler offered in the class while working with gold thread is still fresh in my mind and hands.

I may have to sleep on it before I make the decision. And if that's not an excuse for a Sunday afternoon nap, I don't know what is.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

This past week

I'm not quite sure where to begin.

Dearly Beloved had his surgery and is doing quite well. Actually, he is moving better than I am, since I'm still dealing with my back. Better living through modern chemistry--I have a new prescription for muscle relaxers and a substance that's like Ben-Gay on steroids that has to be rubbed on the site a couple of times a day. There will probably be physical therapy in my future.

Meanwhile, I've been tottering and lurching and limping into work, since you can't function on muscle relaxers unless your workplace wants someone who is totally loopy representing the company. Then I come home and we have dinner (if you plan it right, you can make delivery Chinese last through at least a couple of meals), then I take a pill, and then I try to stitch a little before the pill takes effect and I can't focus my eyes.

I finished the smalls that will go on the case for the box that will contain the sampler roll for Cherry Berry:

The plan was to put everything together. However, I still can't bend comfortably over the cutting mat. I still can't even bend uncomfortably over the cutting mat. So this is waiting for the back to heal.

Pineapple Perfection has a vine that just needs its strawberries added:

A floral band was started on Tsubaki:

(Yes, I know there aren't any flowers yet. The meds haven't made me quite that loopy.)

Everything except the Goldwork has been done on the Petite Pin Cushion from the Goldwork Master Class, offered by Thistle Threads and Tricia Nguyen:

And I started the Golden Accessories, also from the Goldwork Master Class:

If it appears that I've been unable to settle down to anything, you're right, and not just because of the meds.

I lost a good friend this week. We've known each other since college. I was in her wedding. Her Big Kid and my Big Kid are the same age, as are her Miss Prissy and my Baby Girl. She also had another child between, known as the Wild Man. She suffered an aneurism and was gone before anyone could react. The only consolation is that she left us while she was cutting flowers in her garden, her happy place. She was much loved and will be missed.

I had a lot of time to think on the drive to and from her hometown today as we traveled to her funeral and home again. The best way to honor a life is to appreciate your own, and to look for joy in every moment. That's how Genie lived her life. That's how I want to live mine. I'm working on it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Not gonna happen

Well, the plan was to blog everyday for Stitch Mania.

This was before I threw my back out getting a basket of strawberries out of the car. It wasn't even a big basket.

So there is no stitching going on.

And I have to be Dearly Beloved's transport tomorrow since he has outpatient surgery scheduled.

Maybe we can get volunteers to wheel both of us around at the hospital.

Thursday, May 9, 2019


I forgot to blog yesterday. I went to bed thinking there was something I forgot to do, and at about two in the morning, I remembered the blog.

But at least I got something done last night!

Hopefully I can make as much progress tonight.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

That's All, Folks!

When you decide to celebrate Stitch Mania by blogging every day for nineteen (or thirty-one) days, it's a little embarressing when this is all you have to show.

Pitiful, just pitiful.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Stalking the mail carrier

I've been tracking a package for a couple of days, and today it arrived!

There is no happier moment in a stitcher's life--other than taking the last stitch--than opening up a kit with all the goodies for a new project.

This is a Marsha Papay-Gomola project from Shining Needle Society. It's been awhile since she offered a class, and I was thrilled to see a new offering.

Now, am I going to start this right away? Probably not. I want to finish Cherry Berry and go back to the Goldwork projects. But I will have it waiting when I get through with those.

Or it could be part of the retirement stash. Years ago, I met a woman at Christmas in Williamsburg. She had a PhD in neuroscience and did research for a government agency. We sat next to each other in class, and then I ran into her at the boutique, where she had a stack of projects that she could barely see over. I made some comment along the lines of she must have plenty of time to stitch--and she said, no, not really. This was her retirement stash.

Huh? I brilliantly said.

She told me that she might be able to finish one project a year with her work schedule, but she used her vacation time to go to classes and accumulate projects. Then, she said, when she retired, she wss going to stitch all day every day.

Apparently this has worked out for her. She retired at 70, lost 50 pounds because she finally had time to take care of herself, exercises for about an hour every day, and stitches the rest of the time. She has lunch with friends and goes to concerts and plays and does exactly what she enjoys doing. She is now 80 and finishes something like 40 projects a year.

I think I want to be her when I grow up.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Little Boxes

I decided to continue stitching, so today I stitched little boxes.

They will become the accessories for the case that the box that holds the sampler roll will fit into.

Oh, and I finished the sampler roll embroidery:

I will be very happy to finish with all the over-one crosses. Just three more motifs and an initial and that will be the end of that--at least for this piece.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

So close . . .

I'm almost through with the embroidery on Cherry Berry's Sampler Roll.

All I need to do is stitch the blossoms on the last band and this part will be ready for finish-finishing.

So--do I start on that, or do I work the bits of embroidery that fit on the case that covers the box that will hold the sampler roll?

I'm too tired to make that decision tonight. We spent the day traveling to and from Mother's retirement home, where she has decided that the only things she will eat are ice cream and cookies.

If I live to 91, I may decide to do the same thing.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Adding to the library

A few weeks ago, we had a domestic disaster.

A bookcase broke.

Now granted, it was one of those cheap fake wood bookcases that we had bought as a stop gap since Dearly Beloved was going to build a bookcase to match the bookcase he had built about twenty years ago.  Somehow he never got around to it, and we kept buying books, and finally one of the shelves gave up. And it took the three shelves below it with it. We heard thumping and bumping in the middle of the night but couldn't tell where it came from, so we both rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning, I discovered an avalanche of books.

So . . . I figured we should go through the books to see if there was anything we would never want to read again and we sorted things out and took a couple of boxes to the library and a couple more to the Senior Center and stacked up the books we wanted to keep, which was now a greatly reduced pile.

And since we were going to have more room on the bookshelves (when Dearly Beloved finally gets around to building the new bookcase--I'm not holding my breath--I've been looking at Ikea and Amazon for another stop gap measure), I bought more books.

There is a lot of eye candy in these volumes, which I plan to enjoy as soon as I hit Publish.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Big Rip

Earlier in the week, I mentioned that if I buckled down and stitched, I could get the rest of the mini-sampler finished before Sunday passed.

If you look at the picture with that posting, and compare it with this picture, you will notice that a motif to the upper right of the big urn in the middle is mostly missing. That is because it was completely missing, and I'm in the process of restitching it.

Shortly after writing that blog post, I realized that I had been unable to count to five when I placed the motif and it was in the wrong place. I tried to talk myself into leaving it. I was unable to persuade myself. I even walked away and and folded laundry and walked back and still noticed that it was going to be out of balance if I left it.

So I ripped.

If you think cross stitch over one takes forever, ripping out cross stitch over one takes forever and a day.

Needless to say, I didn't feel like working on this for a bit.

So, I thought, I've wanted to get back to the goldwork spot sampler, and I only have a few motifs left to do and it will be finished, so why don't I pull that out?

So I did.

I have to admit, I wasn't at all pleased with the way my plaited braid looked when I did it. I decided to leave it anyway, hoping that when I went back it would look better than I thought.

It didn't.

It looked worse.

So I cut that out.

OK, now there are two projects that have had stitches that were laboriously created sitting there with less than they had before.

But I still felt like stitching.

Oh, HO, I thought. What about the crewel piece that I've been poking at for a couple of years? Originally I was going to present it to Mother in hopes it would help the ugly green chair she had in her apartment. Then Mother needed to move to full care and the ugly green chair went to live with The Saint, where, I understand, The Saint's BFF has announced the chair is going to have a facelift. But the piece is started, and it would be nice to have it finished.

So I dug around in the workbasket and pulled out that project.

And then I remembered.

There was a leaf. I didn't like the way the designer had worked the shading, so I did something different. And I didn't like what I did.  I decided I actually liked what the designer did better than what I did. But I didn't rip it out at the time.

So, on Sunday evening, I cut out the stitches on the leaf.

At this point, I plopped down in the wing chair with my book and ignored the workbasket. I was afraid I'd see something else that needed to be ripped and removed, and I just didn't believe I could cope with another one.

Days like that make me wonder why I stitch . . .

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


I ended up having to work late tonight instead of going to our sampler guild's social. This was a bummer.

And I'm too tired to stitch at this point.

But I've been reading a lot about Stitch Maynia and I've been trying to decide if I wanted to plunge into the madness.  However, I don't want to start nineteen (or thirty-one) new projects. I don't even want to dig out nineteen (or thirty-one) different projects to work on.

So, I pondered, what could I do?

And then it occurred to me. I haven't had much blogging mojo going on this year, but I don't want to let my blog die a slow, lingering death.  So, once again, I'm going to try to jumpstart the blog by blogging nineteen (or thirty-one) days in May.

Keep your fingers crossed I can keep it going.

One down, eighteen (or thirty) more blog entries to go!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

itsy bitsy teeny weeny

As the title may suggest, I'm still working on cross stitch over one on the mini-sampler for Jackie du Plessis' Cherry Berry.

I'm on the last third. If I ignore everything I really need to do today, I could potentially finish the stitching on this part today. This would leave the laundry unfolded, the dishwasher unloaded, the furniture undusted,

Gee, would I rather stitch or be a Domestic Diva?

I think I'll stitch for awhile until I decide.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Trying to catch up

I feel like I've been going ninety miles an hour all week and I'm still trying to catch up with everything. Actually, at this point, with my current level of decrepitude, maybe I'm just going twenty miles an hour . . .

Anyway, last week-end Baby Girl and I traveled to Maryland so we could take classes at Salty Yarns. As the teacher has asked that I not publicize her events or projects, I won't--just know that, as usual, Salty Yarns is my favorite venue for classes. Again, the hospitality cannot be equaled.

And there was another phenomenal goodie bag--whose contents I dispersed and then remembered I hadn't photographed.  Just believe me when I say it was lovely and full of things that are completely usable and helpful.

There was retail therapy.

And this is my favorite thing I brought home from the shop:

Baby Girl and I were wandering around the shop when I noticed a cabinet I had not noticed before. This should not be considered unusual--that shop has more packed in per square inch than any shop I've ever visited. Anyway, it had lots of wooden items--and this wooden basket with the pineapple motif jumped out at me.

Well, I dithered. And dithered. And had just about persuaded myself that if it was still there in June, it was meant to be and I'd get it then. And, as we were leaving the shop, it suddenly hit me that this would be the perfect container to use to display Barbara Jackson's Pineapple Perfection project. So I sent Baby Girl back to grab it and put it in my bag.

That's a wonderful thing about Salty Yarns. When you attend an event there, you're given a big shopping bag with a tag for your name. While you're there, you can just add things to your bag as you see them or it occurs to you that you need something. Then you settle up at the end, with a nice discount as well.

So it came home with me.

We did have some additional excitement while we were there. At around 4:30 in the morning on Monday, my phone went off with a weather emergency alert--tornadoes in the area--and thunderstorms--and right after the alert, there was a clap of thunder so loud that Baby Girl and I both literally levitated off the surfaces of our beds.

I love to watch storms, especially at the beach--but it was raining so hard you literally could not see anything three feet from the window. It was an amazing downpour--and luckily, it ended well before we had to load the car and head home. It was still windy the next day, but not terrible.

And then it was back to reality.

I decided to continue working on Cherry Berry, and I finally made it through the alphabet and numbers--and now I'm to the fun part.

Once I accomplish a few more necessary chores around the house, I plan to stitch the rest of the week-end.

Happy Easter to all!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Welcome to Lilliput

I am stitching the tiniest, tiniest sampler for Cherry Berry.

It's all cross stitch over one.

It has alphabets.

Not only does it have alphabets, the child who stitched the original sampler from which this is adapted stitched every letter twice.


If you're been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I don't like stitching letters. However, I shall persevere.

I'm even taking this with me this week-end because I really, really, really want to get to the finish-finishing part of the project while I can make sense of my notes.  After all, I will have time before my two week-end classes start.

And maybe I'll get all the letters stitched before then.


Monday, April 8, 2019

New plan

Saturday I had the great good fortune to take another class from Jackie du Plessis.

And I didn't have to stalk her halfway across the country to do it! She came to our sampler guild to teach Cherry Berry.

It was another wonderful class with all kinds of ingenious ways to do things. I can't wait to work on it.

And I'm not going to.

Usually I take a workshop, then I go home, and then I look at the projects that are already in the workbasket by the chair, and then I put the class piece away and go back to what I was doing before. And THEN when I get back to the workshop project a couple of years later, there are times when I have no clue as to what I meant when I wrote some of my cryptic notes--assuming I can read my own handwriting at that point--and sometimes I have to punt.

This time, I decided I was going to work on Cherry Berry. After all, I know where I am on the other projects and can easily go back to them later.

Because of unforeseen circumstances, I had more time to sit and stitch than I normally do on a week-end, and I've already done this much on the roll that will fit into the box.

I'd show you the other end, but it's blank linen with an outline around it, so not much to see there.

Now, before I made this momentous decision, I had managed to get a good bit on the petite pin cushion:

And the birds and baskets on the Pineapple piece are done, except for the birds' beady little eyes, which, since they are actually beads, will wait until the embroidery is finished.

Tonight, however, I am sticking with Cherry Berry.

Except I just had a thought . . . Baby Girl and I are going gallivanting this coming week-end. And I'm taking two more classes.

Not sure how I'm going to manage all this, but I'll think of something.

Clones would be helpful.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Random mutterings

Just a lot of random thoughts . . .

  • It snowed today. In the Carolinas. On April 2.
  • This never happens.
  • When the weather forecasters started  predicting this yesterday morning, I thought it was an April Fool's Day prank.
  • It was not
  • It didn't stick to anything and the sun is out now, but it was pretty while it lasted.

  • Speaking of April Fool's Day, I almost pulled a prank of my own.
  • I was going to announce that I was giving up stitching so that Dearly Beloved and I could start collecting toy trains. This would be a hobby we could share.
  • To afford this new hobby, I was going to sell my stash.
  • Then I realized that people might not realize it was April Fool's Day, and I would be inundated with requests.
  • To avoid spending the rest of the year explaining that it was all a joke, I decided not to do that.

  • There has been some stitching.
  • I was rummaging around and decided to pull our Barbara Jackson's Pineapple Case

  • There is more gold on the Spot Sampler

  • The outer framework for the Petite Pin Cushion is stitched:

  • Tsubaki hasn't been forgotten. I finished outlining the other two "chambers" but since the outlining thread blends into the color of the linen, there really isn't anything to see.
  • And that's it for today!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blast from the Past

I wrote this right after our EGA meeting--was going to add something else so put it in the draft folder--and life got in the way--so now I'm going to hit publish and go stitch on something.

We had a great program at our monthly EGA chapter meeting. We were asked to bring in the first project we worked on as an EGA member.

There were loads of memories, lots of laughter, many exclamations of recognition as pieces were displayed.

I have to admit, I could not remember what project I worked on first as an EGA member. That was decades ago. To be perfectly honest, one reason I started blogging was so I could keep track of when I worked on projects, what workshops I attended and when they were held, and what I finished.

I could, however, remember the first project I took at an EGA National Seminar.

I do not remember the official name of this project. It was an Elizabethan blackwork sweet bag, and this is the front.

And this is the back.

Jane Zimmerman designed and taught the class. Jane was a force of nature in the classroom, and her directions were among the best. I've worked on a number of her designs over the years, and I have to admit, there are a few left in the stash yet to be stitched. She did absolutely incredible Goldwork, and a lot of canvas work, but my favorites were her Elizabethan embroidery designs.

And Jane and Sharon Cohen are the reasons that I fell in love with sweet bags. I haven't stitched a sweet bag in some time, maybe because there are several in the finishing basket that need to be put together--but I think I may have to rectify that situation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Over the last few days I've been bouncing from one thing to another like a BB in a box car.

There are more motifs on the spot sampler:

Most of what I did involved the ladder stitch as a base, then it was embellished. The more I did, the better it got.

Well, duh.

Practice may not make perfect, but it does make better.

I also started the silk work on the Petite Pincushion from the Goldwork Master Class:

Since I decided that evenings after work are not conducive the focused work--meaning that gold work stitches need daylight and uninterrupted time--meaning the week-end--I decided to work on the "framework" for the designs after work, then I'll fill in the goldwork on the week-ends. So I'm trooping on with the projects from that class.

However, Tsubaki was not abandoned:

This is not easy to see.  It is the beginning of the framework for the next accessory piece for Tsubaki.

I have just about decided that Tsubaki is going to be my Friday night project. There are some lovely pattern repeats and stitches I enjoy making, so that sounds like a good way to end the work week.

OMG, did I just set up a rotation of sorts?

Another resolution bites the dust.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Trying Again

Somebody asked me earlier in the week what I was working on, and I replied that apparently I'm not stitching at all in 2019.

And that's what it's felt like this week.

For a variety of dreary reasons, I did not thread a needle from last Saturday afternoon until last night. Since needlework is my major source of stress relief, I was getting stressed. Believe me, I was getting  very stressed. And testy. And cranky, And unpleasant to be around.

On the way home from work yesterday, I decided that I was going to stitch last night if I didn't do a single other thing.

And I did.

The spot sampler was a little more challenging than I wanted to tackle after the week that was, but Tsubaki was sitting right there next to my chair, so I picked that up.

And I finished the stitching for the pin cushion:

That last bit was put in this afternoon, in between loads of laundry. So, I thought, I'll work on the scissors fob since it has a lot of the same stitches.

And that's when I had a lovely, wonderful, blissful surprise!

Either I stitched it all in class a couple of years ago when I actually was sitting in class, or I got it done immediately after and forgot about it.

But that brings up a concern. If I finished it, how come I don't remember? And if I don't remember stitching this, do I have other things I've done that I don't remember?

And the potential answer to that question may explain why I've found a couple of things in my stash that apparently I liked so much that I bought them twice.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

More sparkly bits

Yesterday I worked on adding some of the goldwork stitches to the Spot Sampler from the Goldwork Master Class offered by Tricia Nguyen of Thistle Threads.

Some areas are starting to fill in--others are pretty blank. I found that after about half a dozen motifs, I needed to stop and do something else--mainly because these are stitches that I don't do every day, so they require real focus and concentration. I can focus and concentrate just so long, and then brain cells start to fry. So I go to something else that I can stitch almost automatically. This seems to work out quite nicely, and it's a good excuse for bouncing from one project to another.

I'm also finding that my stitches are looser than usual. I tend to be a very tight stitcher, but if I use my usual tension, there is more chance that the gold "skin" covering the thread core  will break and strip away.  So, I'm working very slowly and somewhat loosely to avoid that.

We were given a different type of gold thread we could use after the online class started (and years after the f2f class where I started this project). The lessons state that once you go to this thread, you'll never go back. I figure, though, if I can do a decent job with the threads I've been using, I'll do an even better job with better thread. So I'm saving that for the next sampler in the class.

Hmmmmmm, sounds like I'm almost committing myself to continuing with the projects in this class for awhile.

Let's see how that works out . . .

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Annual Rant

It is time for my annual I-Hate-Daylight-Savings-Time rant.

I'm delighted to have sunlight--mainly because we've had way too many gray, gloomy days this winter. However, I am not delighted to have to get up in pitch black dark again to get to work on time. I'm sure parents having to get their children up and out for school are feeling the same. And I have noticed that people have been crankier and more ill-tempered this week than usual, probably due to changes in schedule.

One of my coworkers says that the crankiness and irritability are due to Mercury being in retrograde. I think Mercury has been dealing with DST, too, and that's why he went into retrograde.

Anyway, with my internal and external schedules all discombobulated, the most advanced stitching I've been able to accomplish involves little blocks of tent stitch. Lots of little blocks of tent stitch. But that means that I have all the background for the goldwork done for the Tudor Pin Cushion.

All the blank bits will be filled in with gold work techniques, and most of them are stitches that I have yet to do on the Spot Sampler project. So . . . this week-end, I'm going to pull out the sampler again and see if I can get a few of those stitches practiced before tackling them on the pin cushion.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Back in the Saddle Again

Re-entry is tough.

My desk blew up--as usual--while I was gone, but I finally got to the bottom of my inbox by the end of the day Friday.  And I got to spend time with friends at the monthly sampler guild meeting Wednesday, so that was good, too.

I still haven't unpacked the stitching suitcase--yes, this year, I took a rolling suitcase instead of a tote bag filled with projects. This worked so well I will probably do it again next year.

But there has been a little bit of stitching this week:

I started on the second corner of the Tudor Pin Cushion.

And more on the gusset for the pin cushion for Tsubaki.

There seems to be a theme. Apparently I'm in the mood to stick pins into something.

I'm not going to examine that too closely . . .

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Great Escape, Days Six, Seven, Eight, and The End

Before anything else, I have been told I need to show what Baby Girl accomplished in her two day class with Rachael Kinnison.

I keep telling people she is far better at every type of needlework than I am. Finally, there is proof.

Meanwhile, I got this much done:

Most of a squirrel--I decided I need the Dazor to redo the cap and nut of his acorn.  He still looks a little like he has a bow on his head rather than ears.

Part of the gusset for the pinkeep for Tsubaki.

There were other things going on--Friday we had a tour of the behind-the-scenes part of the Textile Collection in the morning, a lecture in the afternoon.

Saturday and Sunday I really took a vacation--slept late, read my book, walked around the Historic District in between showers (the weather did not cooperate this year), generally took it easy and really relaxed. I did stitch a little, but it was very little.

So, things I've learned about attending retreats:

  • They are very good for making the world go away, if for only a few days.
  • I can get more stitched at home than I can at a retreat.
  • This is not a bad thing.
  • Catching up with friends you see only once or twice a year is much more important--and a retreat gives you that chance.
  • There are enablers there. They are happy to enable.
  • Sometimes someone has such an incredibly good idea that you are forced to copy it. As soon as I lay my hands on the kit for one such project, I plan to.
  • Re-entry is HARD.
And since re-entry involves doing some laundry, I need to do that.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Great Escape, Days Four and Five

Two words describe the reason I didn't blog last night.

Fat Canary.

This is one of my three favorite restaurants in Williamsburg. The other two are Blue Talon and Carrot Tree.

By the time I staggered out, having eaten a simply superb dinner, I was capable only of lurching to my room. And I went to bed early.

Before all this, though, I did some stitching.

I now have almost a corner for the Tudor Pincushion:

And, since filling in squares was getting a trifle tedious, I started a squirrel:

He looks like he has a bow on his head.

Today I started filling in his coat, but don't have a picture to share. Baby Girl arrived midday, we went to lunch, then wandered around the Historic District for awhile. I got to spend time at the Milliner's shop, my favorite trade site in Williamsburg, so I was very happy.  Then the cold and damp air drove us both in.

Tomorrow there are scheduled activities as well as stitching time, so I will have to set an alarm clock so we'll be where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there.

My escape is half over . . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Great Escape, Day Three

The saddle has turned into a critter. I'm leaning toward fox, but there are equally compelling arguments for cat or raccoon.

And there has been a little bit of goldwork added to the spot sampler.

I'm not particularly happy with what I added, so tomorrow it may all come out. I should probably have waited to start this until tomorrow morning anyway, because today I went on an expedition.

Several of us went to see the Tenacity exhibit at Jamestown Settlement. We couldn't take photos in the exhibit (DRAT!!). and there isn't an exhibit catalog (DOUBLE DRAT!!). However, the exhibit has to do with the women who braved a treacherous ocean voyage for an even more dangerous life in the early Jamestown colony.

We barely know anything about any of these women. For the most part, they are simply names on a list of passengers. We know a little more about some whose names appear in legal documents, generally because of their husbands or the masters they served as indentured servants. This exhibit seeks to flesh out their stories and give some context to their all too short lives in a perilous place and time.

To that end, there are items on display that would have been familiar to these women. And, of course, since we are all embroiderers, we went to view an embroidered jacket from the period.

That was worth the cost of admission, since it is in amazingly good condition considering that it's over four hundred years old. The gold thread, especially, amazed me--it didn't appear to have darkened from tarnish but maintained some of its original sparkle. The twining embroidered leaves were finely wrought--I wonder if that came from a professional workshop because it was so precise.

And, yes, I did bump my head on the glass trying to get a closer look.

There was also a spot sampler that looked like it was stitched on something like 60 count linen--if not smaller.  And a coif. And a modern version of an embroidered jacket. And a child's cap that was totally covered with the most delicate of embroidery.

There was also a dunking stool.

Look it up if you don't know what that is.

We agreed that we would all have spent some time in one.

I'm very glad I live in the 21st century . . .

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Great Escape, Day Two

I arrived, got unloaded thanks to the very nice gentleman who hauled all my stuff to my room, and have spent some time catching up with old friends.

Here is the stitching room just as people were starting to come back after dinner. There are only a few of us here as yet, but we've managed to take over the place.

Here is the pitiful amount I've managed to stitch:

It looks like some sort of weird saddle at the moment. At any rate, it's all tent stitch, and about what I was capable of handling after driving all morning.

And now I'm falling facedown on the bed. More tomorrow . . .

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Great Escape, Day One

Today is the beginning of my annual escape to Williamsburg for a needlework retreat with friends.

If ever there has been a year when I've needed this escape, this is it--and luckily, I can stitch again.

Today I'm heading to Baby Girl's to spend the night, then I'll travel on to Williamsburg tomorrow morning.

As usual, I'm taking way more stuff than I could even hope to accomplish, but there is a method to my madness. A couple of years ago, I took enough projects to be able to work on something different every day. That was a lot of fun; it gave me a chance to work on a variety of projects, and it also gave me an idea of just what I could accomplish on a project in one stitching session.

So, I've been planning what to take and decided on a group of related projects that I ran across when I was in my enforced state of elbow rest. I thought I had it all decided.

And then I got a package yesterday.

Margriet Hogue of The Essamplaire had a sale earlier in the month. I've been looking at these miniatures since they were introduced, and the sale made the decision for me.

And that led to another decision to make.

Wouldn't it be fun to do one of these each day?

But what about what I've already packed?

But these are small and wouldn't take up much space.

But shouldn't I be realistic about what I can potentially get done?

Oh, what the heck. They won't take up much room.

Delusional, totally delusional . . .

Sunday, February 17, 2019

No more resolutions

OK,  I made a couple of very simple resolutions--the main one was the one I thought would be easiest to keep. I was going to stitch five minutes a day.


Then I blew out my elbow, and for the last month, I haven't stitched at all. I've iced my elbow, and rested my elbow, and said mean things about my elbow letting me down, but I haven't bent it with a threaded needle in the hand attached to the arm that contains the elbow. For a month. A solid month.

I have also done some physical therapy. And that's where I lucked out.

My therapist's mother is a crazy quilter.

I should rephrase that.

My therapist's mother makes crazy quilts.

So my therapist understands that we stitchers can become obsessed with working on a project, and that we get involved in all-day stitching sessions, and that we will attempt to work through pain if it means we get to whatever goal we've set for ourselves.

She has given me exercises to help stretch and strengthen my arm--basically I wave my arms in the air--and tips to help avoid damage--and told me to take a couple of OTC anti-inflammatories when I "go into one of those all-day trances when you're working on a project and can't even remember to eat or go to the bathroom."

Her words.

In my world, that's Sunday. Or Saturday. Or a holiday. Or vacation day. Or any day I'm not at work or dealing with other obligations.

But, oh happy day, after the last session, she said I could go back to stitching!!  I have to be careful, but I can stitch again!!!

So this is what I'm working on at the moment:

This is Tricia's Spot Sampler. I took the f2f class from Tricia Nguyen about ten years ago at one of Jeannine's seminars. I was pilot stitching for a very prolific designer at the time, and had to lay it aside after the class. Then several years later, Tricia offered this and several other projects as part of her online goldwork class, and I took that, too. So I have two samplers, two pincushions, and a set of smalls from that class in the stash.

While I couldn't stitch, I thought I'd Marie Kondo my stash room. The problem is that everything I touched (except a mug with a plastic Aida insert that could be cross stitched--what WAS I thinking?) sparked varying levels of joy.  It was also like jumping into the Wayback Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody--I kept finding fascinating projects to stitch. This sampler kept calling my name, then I found all the other projects that were covered in the class, and the notebook with the information, and the next thing I knew I had pulled them all out and brought them downstairs.

And now I have them all lined up to work on. In fact, they're going to Williamsburg with me next week, since I'm attending a retreat there, starting Monday. I'm also taking Jackie du Plessis' Tsubaki, which also sparks joy. And maybe a few other things.

After all, I have a whole month of non-stitching to make up for.

Carefully and slowly with frequent breaks so I never have to go through this again.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Looking forward

Yesterday the last of my Merry-Christmas-to-me orders arrived, all the way from Australia.

Alison Cole does the most wonderful designs. Any time I need a lift, I wander around her website--so many things I'd like to stitch!  And I have plans . . .

But to start, there are the following:

A beautiful Tudor blackwork/goldwork design, plus the box to put it in when it's stitched.

Lovely Christmas ornaments . . .

and more lovely Christmas ornaments!

Motivation to follow doctor's orders and heal--I want to be able to stitch them all. RIGHT NOW--but I'll stick with the ice packs and rest for a little longer.

On the healing front--elbow is getting better. I can now brush my teeth without wincing. You laugh, but I never realized how often and for what mundane things I bend my arm.

And the cold is getting better. My head feels like it's only partially packed with concrete and I made it to work for two full days in a row. The complication is that I coughed so hard and so long last night that I have apparently pulled a muscle in my side, so every time I cough or sneeze or--good grief--laugh--it hurts.

This, too, will pass.

I'll just be happy to be able to laugh out loud again.