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, December 30, 2012


Finally, finally, the filling stitches for the flower petals and the knots are done.

I thought I'd knock 'em out in a couple of stitching sessions.

Famous last words.

The satin stitches weren't bad at all. I just sort of chugged along and got them worked with little trouble and no angst.  Then there were the tent stitches. A multitude of tent stitches. Over one. Not difficult at all to work. There just seemed to be millions of them. I began to wonder if the elves were coming in and picking them out while I slept.

I thought about alternating this with another project, just for something more entertaining to stitch. I was afraid, though, that if I set this down, it would be very difficult to pick it back up. There are things I want to go to, so, like the donkey with a carrot and a stick, I plodded on.

And now the band is finished. I want to work a band a week on this sampler as part of Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year--and, hallelujah, the next band is double running and not at all complicated.

After all is said and done, I really, really, really like the way this looks.

I am just very glad I don't have to stitch it again.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night before Christmas

And no creatures have stirred today, except to occasionally warm up some leftovers or to thread a needle!

Except for me, all the working people in the family were scheduled to work either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or both. With traveling, it just made more sense to celebrate over the week-end, which everyone who was coming had free. So our Christmas Eve was Saturday, our Christmas was Sunday, and that means that I have the entire week free of obligations (other than a very necessary trip to the DMV to renew my license!).

As a result of plopping myself in my chair this morning, Merrily, Merrily is hanging on the tree tonight:

Ann Scutt has the framework for the third band completed:

Ann Scutt would have more finished, but I was watching Lord of the Rings last night on TV while I was working on her. It is hard to count accurately and watch Orc attacks at the same time. Consequently I spent a good bit of time picking out things that somehow stitched themselves into the wrong places. As a result, I did not turn on the TV this morning to stitch by. Instead I put a stack of CD's by the player, conveniently located by my chair, and listened to all manner of Christmas music all day long. And it was so lovely, I may do the very same thing tomorrow. Especially since Dearly Beloved gave me the Celtic Woman Christmas CD--there is  just something about stitching a repro sampler while listening to angelic voices that seems fitting.

However, before Ann Scutt and I work on completing this band, I am going to stitch the pinkeep that was a special gift from Merry Cox at Christmas in Williamsburg this year.  I stitched her Fourth of July pinkeep on the Fourth, so this somehow seems fitting.

So to all a Good Night!  May your day tomorrow be exactly what you wish it to be!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merrily, Merrily fussin' and cussin'

The embroidery for Merrily, Merrily is complete.

Not without some angst.

There are three gold flowers across the center which are stitched in gold metallic thread. The thread that came in the kit was just a wee bit fragile.

Actually, it was very fragile. Despite changing needles and using beeswax to strengthen the thread, it snapped and broke and the covering stripped and I said some very ugly words (also known as "technical terms") and tossed the thread in the trash.

This led to some quick stash-diving and the resulting discovery of a spool of an old DMC thread. It has three plies that split when you don't want them to. I decided one ply would be the right weight, so I decided to tease out single plies to use on this area.  The thread that easily splits when you don't want it to becomes stubborn when you need it to split. There were more technical terms used, but at last I had three separate threads and I was able to get the bloody flowers stitched.

Now comes the finishing, which I believe is covered in the last lesson, due to be posted tomorrow at some point. I was tempted to go ahead and do my own thing, but then decided that I had paid for the course so I should at least read over the finishing instructions before I go sallying forth on my own. Hopefully the next time you see this, it will be hanging on the tree.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jumping around

I've been jumping around this week, from project to project.

(I have no idea why I have frames around the pictures this time. Blogger and I have been "discussing" the issue until I'm tired of fiddling with it.)

From Christmas in Williamsburg, the start on Merry Cox's class piece. The tent stitch over one for the roof has been very soothing stitching.

Through Lesson Two on Barbara Jackson's Merrily, Merrily from Shining Needle. Lesson Three is printed out and ready to go.


And the start of Band Three on Scarlet Letter's Anne Scutt. It's supposed to be worked in back stitch, but after years and years of plotting double running stitch patterns, it's just a whole lot easier for me to work it that way.

Because of Dearly Beloved's and Baby Girl's work schedules, we're having our family get-together this coming week-end. And I am working through the end of the day on Friday. I was just about to work myself into a tizzy over this until I realized it's going to happen whether I'm perfectly ready or not, so I may as well not worry about it.  I've made a list. I'm checking it twice. And I need to start crossing things that are on it off of it.

Although he is trying to make himself very small and invisible, Dearly Beloved will be recruited for aid and assistance. Starting right now . . .

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Solace in my needle

Like every one of us, I was horrified by the slaughter of so many innocent little ones who were alight with the joy of this time of year, a time of year when only good things should happen for children and their families.  Now those families will never have the same joy they had before.

And like every one of us, I cannot fathom why this is happening with ever increasing frequency, why these deeply disturbed young men's problems are ignored or denied, and why it seems to be so easy for them to procure guns and ammunition.

There are no words to describe the grief of the families and loved ones as well as their community, as well as the world community. We could only sit in disbelief, more than we have before because of the age of the children involved and the bravery of the adults who tried to save them . But as the sad scenes unfolded, as usual, I picked up my needle. I know that the pieces I have been working on will forever bring back the memories of this tragic time. And they should.

We should never forget.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to Mother!

It's my mother's 85th birthday today! She is still quite in charge, thank you very much. My mother comes from a long line of Southern ladies and she would be quite shocked to find that I was announcing her birthday to the world.

Bless her heart, she somehow gave birth to two daughters who are not reserved and lady-like and who, at our advanced ages, will probably never be.  However, we both know "how things should be done" and can be appropriately shocked when they are not. Or appropriately amused when they are not. And that is probably her greatest gift to us. She has a wicked sense of humor that appears when least expected.

Because my mother is from that generation who believes she should receive public attention only when she is born, when she weds, and when she dies--at least according to her--that is all that I will say about that, other than 


On to other topics.

Dearly Beloved finally got the lights on the tree.  I have started ornamentifying it. This may be a process requiring several days. This tree has thicker boughs than it first appeared so it seems to be sucking ornaments in--and I have a lot.  Then I had to climb on the couch to hang some on higher limbs and my arthritic hip said, "Seriously."  So I had to stop for awhile.

So I decided to stitch trees instead.

This is Lesson 1 of Merrily, Merrily from Barbara Jackson through Shining Needle.  I am having such a good time with it that I think I will thread up and start Lesson 2.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

After the week-end . . .

I spent the week-end with Baby Girl. 

We went to a meeting of the Piedmont Heritage Sampler Guild (a breakfast get-together so we could have a Saturday before Christmas mostly free for Christmas-related errands). It was so much fun--I look forward to the next meeting which will be in February.

We went home, picked up one of her best friends, and hit one of the malls to do some shopping.  As it would happen, we needed to be in the far north part of the mall. The only parking we could find was in the far south. It's a large mall.  We did a lot of walking. Luckily I had my cane with me so the wonky knees were not too terribly displeased.  We also had a chair massage in the middle of the mall, which is a surreal experience to have occur with people wandering by. However, I was limp as a rag after only a few minutes--such relaxation--and I now know how a lump of bread dough feels being kneaded.

Originally we had planned to go to a movie. We decided we would likely go to sleep if we sat in a dark room for any length of time, so we went back to Baby Girl's place and watched DVDs in a well-lit room instead. We also went out to dinner, came back and went to bed relatively early for one of our week-ends.

During all of this, I did manage to stitch. Bet you didn't expect that!

This is band 2 of Anne Scutt from Scarlet Letter.

This morning I woke up, got up, packed up, and left. This was the day that Dearly Beloved and I designated to get our Christmas tree.

And we did.

It is currently sitting in the corner of the living room in the stand, nicely watered. It is not decorated, although that was on my list of things to do this afternoon. Dearly Beloved is having an issue with the lights. It appears that he placed the lights on the tree so that the plug which needs to be inserted in a socket for the lights to light is not in a location that would enable it to be inserted in said socket. I vetoed the use of a bright orange extension cord, orange not being a traditional Christmas color. Dearly Beloved has decided that he is not interested in pursuing light placement for the moment. This means that I may as well do something else. I think I'll stitch.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Decisions, decisions

I just finished unpacking suitcases from Williamsburg and I'm packing again to go spend the week-end with Baby Girl.  We have a breakfast with the Piedmont Heritage Sampler Guild on Saturday morning, followed by Christmas shopping and a movie.

If I fall over in a heap, it's only because I came back to find that my desk and voice mail had exploded, which resulted in a couple of ten-hour days this week, with more to come next week. The end of the year is always busy and this one is busier than usual. I usually take the week after Christmas off, so I really need to clear the decks  (and my desk top and my voice mailbox) before Christmas, which is (YIKES) two weeks away!

However, this week-end I'm going to go play for a little bit before wading back into work.

Deciding on clothes to take is not an issue. Deciding what project to take is.

Martha Edlin is simply too big--long scroll bars, fairly heavy notebook of instructions, large ring of threads in their floss-away bags.  And she's a little too complicated to work on with lots of talking and laughing going on.

I could take Ann Scutt so I'll have some progress to report on the Scarlet Letter challenge. The next band is all double running and not horribly complicated.

I could take this year's Merry Cox project from Christmas in Williamsburg. I could take last year's project--it isn't finished yet, either.

I could take Merrily, Merrily, the class Barbara Jackson is teaching for Shining Needle. I have not stitched a lick on anything Christmas-y thus far this year and this is doable before Christmas.

I could just load them all in the car and then whatever I feel like doing, I can do.

And you wondered why I came home with seven tote bags from a five-day trip . . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Treasure Trove

The silks I ordered for my Cabinet of Curiosities arrived.

Drool . . .

There is just something about the luminescence of silk. The way it glows, the way it feels, the way it glides through fabric.

This is going to sound a wee bit odd, but having the threads in front of me is making the caskets I want to embroider really real. Before, they were just a couple of ideas but now I can start to think about the textures and colors that will fill in the outlines.

I do have a problem. It's so pretty I almost hate to take it out of its packaging and actually stitch with it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

There will be a picture!!!

As soon as I find the camera. I know I packed it somewhere, but we came home with two suitcases and  five tote bags of various kinds--no, wait, make that seven tote bags of various kinds--and it will take a day or so to get it all sorted out. We are incapable of traveling light. I think it has something to do with a fear of being bored.

I look forward to Christmas in Williamsburg all year and it flashes by before I know it. 365 days until the next one, but who's counting?

We're home. We took our time getting up and leaving since it was our last day away from work. We stopped on the way home to take Baby Girl out to lunch since her birthday is tomorrow--my baby cannot possibly be the age her driver's license insists it is--the lunch was wonderful Mexican food!!!--we will go there again--and finally arrived in town just in time for the beginning of rush hour.  The dirty clothes are sorted and the first two loads of the three I hope to do tonight are either washing or drying.

And tomorrow I go back to work.  Sadly the lottery ticket the people in my quad purchased apparently was not the big winner, so I will not enjoy being independently wealthy and will have to continue to work to support my habit.

Back to the unpacking and sorting out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Progress report

I've had my second full day of classes at Christmas in Williamsburg and this is the grand total of my actual stitching progress.

On the left is the beginning of a structure that will grace the front of a needlebook for the DeWitt Academy for Young Ladies--the class from Merry Cox.

On the right is the scissors fob devised by Jackie du Plessis for her Secret Garden etui.

The lack of progress on other parts of the two classes (plus the early bird class I took from Jackie)--that's all on me. It is more and more painfully obvious to me that I don't get many stitches stitched unless I'm in my own little nest in my own large and comfortable chair with enough illumination to land a 747. I'm not going to give up on taking f2f classes as long as I can possibly totter to them, but I have to face the fact that I get less needlework done when I go to a needlework event than at any other time.

I do have to heap praises on both the teachers who are teaching these classes. Merry is sick and has been for a week--flu or a respiratory thing or something along those lines and she is on meds for the problem--yet she has shown up for class every day and done her usual brilliant teaching job.  Jackie lost her mother to cancer a month ago, yet she, too, in spite of what has to be crushing grief, has done a phenomenal job of leading us through a rather complicated project. If anyone wonders why I take so many classes from certain teachers, this is your answer. You just can't ignore the dedication.

I would stitch tonight but for some reason, designers of hotel rooms do not understand that some people need to have an easily accessible plug for an Ott light that is also near a relatively comfortable place to stitch that also offers a place to spread out ones stuff and nonsense. So I'm reading my book. Dearly Beloved, who has spent the time that I've been in class wandering around Williamsburg, has already crashed and burned.

By the way, for those who would love to have some of the Williamsburg experience, there are webcams set up around the Historic District.  I can't remember if you can view them at or both sites  are quite entertaining and informative.