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, September 29, 2013

what happened to the week-end?

It seems like I walked in the door about five minutes ago on Friday--and now it's Sunday.

There was a little bit of stitching going on:

I have run out of the gold thread needed for the borders, but I contacted the teacher and she is sending more. Until it arrives, I probably won't get too much done on this design, simply because it's easier to work each new motif when you can stitch the borders for the preceding one. I did think about putting the beads on the lower sections--as my arms are short, I'm going to need to flip this to stitch the top motifs more comfortably anyway, so I would be less likely to catch the working threads on the beads.

But that would require working with the beads. If I have to mess around with beads, I'd rather deal with them all at once.

I do have a project to stitch for EGA and Morning Has Broken is just sitting here waiting, so it's not like I'm lacking anything to do. It's just been nice to stitch on something that doesn't require additional magnification.

Speaking of which, I am in the process of clearing out the two tottering stacks of magazines and books next to my chair so I'll have room to bring the Dazor back out. Since the cyborg eyes, I haven't needed it.  However, I need help working tent over one on 40 count on SL's The Huswif. And there is some concern that one of these days I could be buried in an avalanche of murder mysteries and other printed material.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Falling off the Face of the Earth

Which is what the last week feels a little like. . .

We went to the loveliest wedding I've attended in years. The bride was exquisite, the groom was dashing in his Navy whites, and Baby Girl was absolutely adorable in her peach chiffon maid of honor dress.

However, if you want to guarantee that it will rain, schedule a garden wedding. It poured. Buckets.

And, I am delighted to say, there were no bridezilla meltdowns.  The bride and groom obviously realize that it's not the wedding but the marriage that's important. The staff at the restaurant got everything moved inside from the enclosed patio where the ceremony was to have occurred.  They were efficient and professional and kept their collective sense of humor through the whole thing.

But none of my photos came out. Surprising, you say. This was not my fault! The flash on my camera has apparently died so none of the pictures I took in natural light (remember, pouring buckets of rain) came out.

Anyway, we had fun at the reception and fun with Baby Girl and not nearly enough sleep and came home and I broke. I wish I could say my head was spinning due to too much champagne, but somehow I missed getting any--anyway, once again, better living through chemistry and I'm over it.

To add to that, the office renovations are finally finished and I was able to move into what one of my coworkers keeps referring to as our final resting place.  We've had to move three times during the course of this renovation--we're the office nomads, dragging our bankers' boxes of files behind us. Finally, finally, I've been able to unpack my stuff and try to get it organized in a logical way. Hopefully I can remember the logic of that organization when I need to find something.

There has been a little stitching done this week despite the spinning head and the exhaustion from moving (again).  Quite frankly, I was glad to have 18 mesh canvas to work on.  This is where I am on In the Mood Blue:

I'm getting very nervous about the amount of gold thread I have for the borders.  I still have a good bit to go and not much thread left in that color.  I've said it before and I'll say it again--I would really rather have thread and not need it than need it and not have it--and I'd rather just go ahead and pay for extra upfront rather than have to contact the teacher or designer for more. If I wasted thread or used away knots that were five miles away from the stitching, I could understand why I sometimes run out, but I'm really sparing when it comes to thread usage.

Anyway, I'm sticking to big canvas again until I have recovered from the past week and can focus my eyes again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nibbled to Death by Ducks

This has been one of those weeks where there hasn't been a single major problem, but there have been about a zillion minor, petty annoyances that make you feel like avoiding polite society. Or impolite society.

It's probably been exacerbated by the fact that I've had very little time to stitch.  This is as far as I've managed to get in the last couple of days:

There won't be much stitching this week-end, but for a happy reason. Baby Girl's BFF (and my unofficial adopted child) is getting married tomorrow and we are traveling to the wedding. There will be festivities and celebrating and possibly dancing (although I'm a little doubtful of the success of that last part). I expect to smile all week-end.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A little bit of bling

Once in awhile, I am seduced by the bling.

The picture doesn't show it as glittery as it is, but take my word for it. We have glitter. And working on this is a lot like eating potato chips. One chip won't do, one day of stitching won't do.

The good thing is that each motif section is so small, you don't get tired of stitching it before you're ready for another section.  I had forgotten how fast a few stitches can cover a large area in canvas--it's been over a year since I really did much canvas work--but when you compare 18 mesh canvas to 40 count linen--well, duh, of course it's going to move much faster.

Speaking of 40 count linen, I was also planning to stitch a strand of silk every day on The Huswif. I found last night that I can't see the 40 count in artificial light. The Dazor, which has been stashed away since the cyborg eyes came to live in my head, may have to come back out.  Or I work only on that piece on the week-ends, when I can usually depend on early morning light. I had to reverse stitch a couple of things last night in white silk on an off-white background, and that was a compelling reason to determine that daylight is best.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An Even Lazier Day

Dearly Beloved and I have decided we're recuperating from going on vacation. Today has been an even lazier day, and basically a rerun of yesterday. I did cook breakfast this morning--even though it was served around 11:30.

I have also been stitching. This should not come as a surprise.

This is my latest entry in Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year stitch along.

It's called the Huswif Panel.

It's worked in tent stitch.

Over one thread.

On 40 count linen.

I have decided this is going to be a strand-a-day project because that's about all I can handle. Even with the Ott Light and additional magnification, I was totally cross eyed after the first strand of green. I did persevere and start the little white honeysuckle blooms, then decided that that way lies madness.

After that, I wanted something a little easier to see, even with the cyborg eyes, so I picked up something on canvas. 18 count canvas, in fact. It feels like I'm using a tent pole for a needle and the holes in the canvas look like chasms after 40 count linen, but I am not complaining.

This is a Marnie Ritter piece called "In the Mood Blue."  It was a class that recently ended from Shining Needle.

I had started it the first week classes were posted a month or so ago, but was in the middle of Ann Scutt and wanted to get her finished. Then I somehow cracked one of the stretcher bars and it would no longer hold the canvas securely, which meant I needed to find another 15" stretcher bar.

So, after I decided today that I wanted to work on it again, I needed to locate another 15" stretcher bar.

I found nine of them.

None of them wanted to play nicely with the three I already had.

(And, yes, I realize that I do have enough stretcher bars in the stash to build a small log cabin. Or maybe even a large log cabin.)

You would think that stretcher bars would have some sort of common method of construction, but other than the length, not so much. Dearly Beloved managed to "persuade" the most compatible one to join with the others, but it may never let them go again once this project is finished.

Anyway, this is where I am at the moment:

I think I'm going to try rotating several projects for awhile. I want to finish up the Schwalm pocket soon and I need to get the stitching for Buttons a' Bounty finished before the finishing kit comes. Then I'd like to take care of all the spaghetti from the two Ellen Chester classes I took last week-end. And then there are about forty dozen other projects sitting by the chair that all want to be stitched.

Did I say something about madness? It's an addiction.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lazy Day

Can you have spring fever in the fall?

It was a very lazy day. We slept in, read the paper, looked at email, watched a little television, did a little laundry, nibbled instead of preparing meals, took a walk. Dearly Beloved viewed the interior of his eyelids for awhile. I read most of a book.

And stitched a little:

This is the pre-work for Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest class, which I will be taking in November. For once, I won't be up until the wee hours the night before the class working on the pre-work.

Now I have to hope I remember the safe place I put it in for the next six weeks.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lilypad for Sale

This is where I am after a visit from a large, warty frog:

I'm back to the point I was when I discovered a major counting error.

Before all the ripping (and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth), I had grandiose plans for this piece and the upcoming week-end. I had it all figured out.

I was going to get this section completely stitched by bedtime last night, then I was going to stitch the two cartouches on either side of the center panel tonight, then I was going to work half of the lower border tomorrow and finish it all up on Sunday. Never mind that the number of hours it would take to do this meant that I would plop my large and lovely self into the wing chair tonight and not budge until Sunday.  After all,  this whole vine is worked in Smyrna cross stitches, and they take twice as long as regular cross stitches.

By the time I did all those Smyrnas, my arms would have fallen out of their sockets, my hands would be permanently cramped around the needle, my eyes would be totally crossed, and I would have severe posterior paralysis.

Reality intruded.

It's going to be a gorgeous fall week-end, if the weatherman can be trusted, perfect for walks and getting out and about.

It's time to start pulling out the fall and winter clothes and shifting closets around.

I haven't worked on any finish-finishing for several weeks and I need to get back to it.

And there are other projects that need some attention.

Besides, as Dearly Beloved pointed out when I was pitching a hissy fit over my miscounting error, I don't have a deadline.

So I'm taking a deep breath and reminding myself that needlework is not a duty but a pleasure. And I'm going to thread a needle and enjoy myself. With no pressure and no deadlines.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back in the Rut Again

We are back home again--actually, we've been home--but there was all the going-back-to-work, and laundering piles of clothes, and catching up on chores that didn't get done since we were away. There is also a stack of newspapers and mail to get through, but that will all wait for the week-end.

And it didn't take long to fall back into the routine.  Today was typical:

  • go to work
  • come home
  • take a walk to get the work day out of my head
  • chores
  • dinner
  • shower
  • play online for a few minutes
  • and stitch
This is what I managed to accomplish last night:

I'm back to Morning Has Broken.

And I will warn you right now--for the next week or so--or until I get the border done, I am going to be deadly dull and boring. It will be border, border, and more border.

Ironically, I am thoroughly enjoying this and don't find it boring at all. In fact, I'm having a wonderful time with leaves and tendrils and so forth and so on.

Dearly Beloved is mentioning padded rooms again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On the Road Again

Because life gets in the way, I had to leave Ellen's second class at lunch time yesterday. But, before I did, I got this much stitched.

The needlebook which will fit into:

The huswif on the left (although I'd love to take the class for the one on the right, too).

Ellen teaches a small for just about every project. In the small, she covers any unusual stitches or techniques you may need for the main piece. It's very helpful, and not overwhelming, although I do have a good bit of spaghetti on this one that I will have to deal with before I can proceed.

Anyway, we hit the road at lunchtime and the less said about that trip, the better. I'm not sure what measurement Google uses to determine travel time--and they do say that road construction and other delays can affect the estimate--but seriously--OK, enough venting on that subject.

We decided to stop on the way home at the Museum of Appalachia. We visited this site on the way home from a wedding and said, at the time, we really would have to return. So we did. It only took thirty-six years for it to happen, but we returned.

The structures and artifacts were collected by a single individual over a lifetime, brought to the site, and set up as they might have been when first constructed.

They are furnished, at least partially, as they would have been on the frontier. Keep in mind at the time they were built that Tennessee was the frontier.

A grouping of buildings

A frontier McMansion.
Can you imagine raising nine children in this house?  It had two rooms and a loft, which could be accessed from the front porch.

And on that note, we are going out to dinner.  And, quite frankly, after seeing how generations of women had to work to feed their families, three times a day, day after day, I feel just a wee bit guilty about it. Not guilty enough to go out and grind meal and slaughter a critter, but just enough to be thrilled to live in this day and age!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Google Maps gave the travel time from Naperville, Illinois, to Berea, Kentucky as approximately six hours.

They lied.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lovely Lady's Worke Box

Today I took the Lady's Worke Box workshop with Ellen Chester and the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild.

This is how it will (hopefully) look when it's complete.

This is what I managed to accomplish in class today.

Actually, considering how little I usually manage to stitch in class, I did quite well.

It was a very enjoyable class and I was able to spend time with friends from days at Jeannine's sampler gathering. They made me feel very welcome.

Ellen, of course, brought the models for her trunk show.

When I saw the array, I realized that there are a lot of these pieces sitting in the finishing basket, waiting to turn into something.

I probably should spend the rest of the year finish-finishing instead of stitching.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Road Trip! (many pictures . . .many, many pictures)

I love road trips. Love 'em, love 'em, LOVE 'EM!

And Dearly Beloved and I are on one.  We started out at the crack of dawn yesterday, heading, eventually, to Illinois and a class with Ellen Chester and the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild.

We had decided to spend our first night on the road at the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. The Inn there puts you up in one of the many buildings scattered about the property, all furnished with simple Shaker furniture (and modern conveniences.)

However, when we arrived--there was no internet access in the building where we were lodged,  the bars on my phone vanished and reappeared with no rhyme or reason, and the TV satellite connection was down.

I almost panicked.

No technology? No phone or email or Big Bang Theory?

And then I looked around:

At this . . .

And this . . .

Such peace and tranquillity.  Who needs technology?

We decided to poke around the Village, and were taken on by a most insistent tour guide.

He accosted us shortly after we left our room, and led us down the path. If we stopped for too long, he sat down and stared at us until we decided to move again.

Of course, I found things of interest in the displays.

Marking stitch and a pincushion and a tiny basket.

Perfect storage for stash (this was close to nine feet tall).

A nineteenth century lady's workbox, which reminded me of the caskets I've been studying.

The perfectly outfitted workbasket.

And, of course, a sampler.

We had dinner at the Trustee's Dining Hall and fell into a heap in our very comfortable bed.  This morning we had to leave for the next leg of our trip.

We very definitely will go back to Pleasant Hill. I kept thinking what a perfect place for a stitching retreat, whether with friends or alone.

(Did I stitch while I was there? Uh . . . no. I was in bed at 8:30, sound asleep, and didn't wake up until the alarm blasted me out of bed at 7. I will admit I didn't sleep much the night before . . .remember Christmas Eve when you were a little kid?  That was me.  I plan to rectify that tonight.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It takes a village

Tonight was the first meeting of our year for the Carolina Sampler Guild--and a lot of us had completed our Elizabethan Etuis from the class with Betsy Morgan held last spring.

It looks like a little village.

It was fun seeing everyone again and hearing what people had been up to all summer.  And it was interesting seeing how everyone had personalized her casket.

And now I need to throw a few more things into the suitcase, make sure I've packed my magnifier, and hit the hay. I will try to blog over the next few days, depending on internet access and level of exhaustion.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Running around in circles

No stitching for me tonight . . .

Dearly Beloved and I are getting ready to go gallivanting. We're heading out early Thursday for a road trip. I'm heading to Illinois to take two classes with Ellen Chester and the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild. Dearly Beloved has planned an itinerary to take in historic sites and sights along the way both to and from.

So tonight I'm doing some last minute laundering and packing and organizing.

And why am I doing this tonight instead of tomorrow night?

Because our first meeting of the year of the Carolina Sampler Guild occurs tomorrow night. As I was stuck with elected to a second term as president, I have to be ready to preside, so I've been organizing myself for that duty as well.

I had hoped to at least stick a needle into Morning Has Broken tonight, but at the moment I'm trying to decide whether or not to take her with me. I had another project lined up, but I think Morning is winning out.

And the dryer just buzzed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bordering on Obsession

I expected to dither for weeks as usual. I didn't expect to fall in love with this sampler as I stitched.

Here are today's borders on Morning Has Broken. I started the sawtooth border after getting some of the floral border in, which made the outer design easier to count.

I generally get very bored with borders. I think that's one of the reasons I like 17th century band samplers--no borders. (A friend reminded me that band samplers are basically a series of border patterns but I put my hands over my ears and sang"lalalalalala" very loudly. I don't want to think of them as borders, so I'm not.) However, this one has so many little sprigs and tendrils and other curlicues that it doesn't feel like I'm working any kind of border. The outer border is long-arm cross and sawtooth. I enjoy stitching both, so I'm having a lot of fun with this.

To avoid getting bored (and boring), I went stash diving for another SL repro to stitch as part of Nicola's Scarlet Letter year challenge. The one important factor in choosing the next SL project is size. If I'm going to become obsessed with Morning Has Broken, I do not need another big project right now.

Here are the candidates:




I'm leaning toward #1--love that pink house--but I can be easily swayed. Any suggestions?

And I just realized this is my 300th post. Good Grief.  I have said this in other places but I'll repeat it here. I hear that all the cool kids are hanging out on Pinterest and Instagram, but I think I'm going to totter on with blogging until I run out of things to say. My family will tell you that is unlikely to happen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Last night I closed my eyes, leaned over the arm of the wing chair, and mindlessly grabbed.  I came up with the instructions for "Morning Has Broken" by Catherine Theron.

I took this class from Catherine at Jeannine's Gathering of Embroiderers in Williamsburg several years ago. At the time, I was still pilot stitching. So, instead of working on it after I arrived home, I put it aside to stitch something else with a deadline.

This is as far as I got in class:

And this is where I am after a couple of hours last night and an hour or two tonight:


I think I may spend some more time with this tomorrow to see how far I get with the leafy border outlines.

Actually, being the methodical stitcher I am, what I'd like to do is get the whole border done before filling in the fun parts. We'll see how far I get before I get bored with bordering.