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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow . . .

I'm not stitching tonight. I'm watching it snow.

This is a rare event in the part of the Carolinas where I live, so I'm going to sit and enjoy the quiet as it falls.

I'm also going to go find another blanket. It's bloody cold!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Going around in circles . . .

All forty-eight spiral trellis petals are stitched.

Every single one of them.

I still have to stitch the centers and outline each and every petal with a darker blue, but that will wait until I get this back on the scroll bars. And getting it back on the scroll bars will wait until the cramp in the hand that was holding the linen relaxes. And I get the linen pressed. Which means getting the iron and ironing board out. And as long as I have all that out, I should get some finishing finished since I'm at the stage on the finish-finishing of a small project from last year that requires pressing.

And I do have three other projects on the Overly Ambitious List that need to have fabric pressed so I can mount them properly. I had planned to do all that this week-end.

But I spiral trellis'ed instead.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm Done

I am done with winter.

Completely and totally done.

The cold is making me creaky and cranky. And we don't even have pretty snow to look at. We just have cold.

(For those people who have had enough snow, remember that I live in a place that goes for years without any appreciable snowfall. For those of us who have always lived in this part of the country, snow is magical and special and we indulge in it with almost giddy delight. If we had more, we'd get grumpy about it, but we don't. And we're so delighted by it that we call a snow day when we have less than an inch on the ground. Of course, we tend to get ice to go with the snow, so that may not be such a ridiculous idea.)

There is more of the arctic air heading our way.

To compound the crankiness, I have not threaded a needle in four days, much less poked said needle into any sort of fabric.

I had to go out of town on a work trip. By the time I did what I went out of town to do and had dinner and got back to my hotel room, it was getting late and I was tired. At that point, about all I could manage was a shower and an an early bedtime with my book. It didn't help that I was not sleeping well or enough, so that by the time I came home again, I was really wiped out. Then I had to have some tests of a medical nature this morning. I was poked and prodded, stressed and scanned, and then I was imaged. After that, I had to go to work, to discover that in the three days I was away my voice mail, inbox, and desk had exploded. I am convinced that my assistant hides things until I leave my desk and then dumps piles of assorted stuff all over it.

So, yes, I would like some cheese with this whine.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Taming the Trellis

When last we visited Morning Has Broken, I was having problems working the spiral trellis that forms a dozen flowers in the border.

I have been doodling on a bit of linen, off and on, since then. And finally, finally, I've been able to do a few reasonable spiral trellises.

I stitch everything on a frame of some sort. Everything. Generally I prefer either stretcher bars or a scroll frame although I will pull out the Q-snaps or a hoop for a smaller piece. I like the linen or canvas or fabric drum tight simply because my stitches look better worked that way.

Except now. I absolutely had to take the linen from the scroll frame to work this stitch. I suppose this is the exception that proves the rule.

And now I need to slog on. I need a total of 48 spirals. I have 7. That means I have 41 more to go.

I really wish I hadn't counted.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Framework framed

Well, it was already on the stand and all the stuff for it was at hand, so . . .

the framework for Journey is all set up.

After I've been working on linen for awhile, it takes me a bit to get used to canvas, especially how much more quickly the canvas works as opposed to linen.  Well, of course it does--I'm working on something with 18 threads and big holes to the inch as opposed to 45 threads and all but nonexistent holes to the inch. And I don't have to balance the magnifier on my head and continually push it back into position when I work on canvas because I can see without it.

Perhaps I should have included more canvas on the Overly Ambitious List.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Just a few more strands

Well, since it was already out and I don't have to use additional magnification and I can count today, I worked a few more strands into Journey.

I may just leave this on the stand for a day or so. I'd like to get the whole framework done so I can start doing the fun stuff.

A friend of mine once said that when she wins the lottery, she's going to hire someone to do all the counting to set up her geometrics so she can just fill in the middles. I think I could find a better use for my lottery winnings!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

One strand

That's all I've managed to do in the last two days. I've worked in one strand.

Last night was our ANG meeting. It was a stitch-in and catch-up with everyone since the holidays. I took David McCaskill's Journey to work on.

Between the talking and catching up and counting and recounting since I apparently lost the ability to count to twelve last night, I managed to get one strand stitched.

And, come to think of it now that I look at the picture, I didn't completely get that strand worked in.

Sigh . . .

Tonight Dearly Beloved and I have been discussing food. We are planning a trip. When we go on trips, Dearly Beloved plans food. He reads restaurant reviews. He looks at locations. He asks for recommendations from friends. Or if we're returning to a place we've visited before, he ponders previous experiences. Tonight he's been pondering. It has taken my stitching time this evening, since I have to listen to the ponderings and musings and must also offer my opinion.

And since I still apparently can't count to twelve, perhaps that's a good thing.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hidden Mysteries . . .

I'm working on Hannah Thornbush.

You start with a motif that looks like this:

And then you work detached buttonhole over it like so:

Pray tell, why would you go to all the trouble to stitch that light and airy little design and then cover it solidly with buttonhole stitch?

Darlene O'Steen mentioned in a class I took from her umpty-leven years ago that it was not unusual to find double running motifs inside a design element which could only be seen on the back of a sampler. On the front, there was usually some kind of overstitching that hid the motif from view.

As I was stitching, I wondered if there was some kind of code hidden in these motifs. The period in which these samplers were stitched was politically perilous, so could the girls who stitched them be hiding a message within the sampler?

It suddenly occurred to me, in a slap-up-side-of-the-head-duh moment, that I read way too many murder mysteries.

These samplers were stitched reversibly.


And they weren't framed. They were rolled up and kept in workbaskets to serve as pattern records in a time when books and printing were horribly expensive and rare. So if you wanted to see that double running motif, you simply looked at it. And at the same time, you could practice your needlelace stitches to fill a variety of shapes on the other side.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the most logical.

I need to remember that.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I won, I won, I WON!!!!

I won the scissors stand that was the prize for the last day of Tricia Nguyen's 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!!!

To say that I am excited is an understatement!  You must understand, I have been craving one of these stands for years, but the practical Scots-Irish Presbyterian who lives in the back of my head always whispered in my ear that I could buy a yard of linen or a pile of silks that I could then use for my embroidery for the price of the stand.

I've hinted to Dearly Beloved that this would be a lovely gift for a Special Occasion, but his view on needlework is that I'm going to figure out a way to rationalize what I want and get it for myself anyway, so he goes for something else. It doesn't make any difference now, because I WON!

(I very rarely, in fact, pretty much never, win anything, so please pardon my loss of decorum.)

(Maybe you should also forgive my assumption that I ever have any decorum anyway.)

I doubt there will be much embroidery tonight. I'm busy auditioning scissors to see which pair deserves to sit in the stand.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

another goal met

I met another goal for January for the Overly Ambitious List yesterday.

All the little designs around the cartouche are filled in with tent stitch.

It took all afternoon and part of the evening to finish four flowers and eight leaves, thus reinforcing the decision to avoid tent stitch when I stitch the panels for my casket. If I did tent stitch, it would take me until I'm 104 to get the designs I want to do done.

As I already have to live to be 385 to finish what I've already planned, I don't think I should add that many more years to a project.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ann Lawle's whitework band--January goal accomplished!

I put the last stitch into Ann Lawle's whitework band last night:

And because I was too lazy to put this away and grab another project from the Overly Ambitious List, I started the Montenegrin band that divides the next section from this one.

I've decided to work a band a month on this sampler, which should see it finished by the end of October. I think that will keep me from burning out. This isn't the biggest sampler in the works, but some of the bands are a little complex, so I figured this would be the best way to tackle it.

I'm not sure what I'll work on today. I was hoping for sunshine so I could pick up Hannah Thornbush, but it's pouring buckets and extremely windy. Our lights have flickered a couple of times, so I may not be able to stitch at all. Even better, I may not be able to vacuum . . .

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

So close . . .

I'm halfway through with filling in the center motifs on Ann Lawle's whitework band.

I could have this done in another evening of stitching.  But tomorrow I have to preside at our sampler guild meeting, and then the next evening I have a board meeting for our EGA chapter. By the time I get home, I will have only enough time to get ready for work the next morning and to fall into bed.

Dearly Beloved says I need to stand in front of the mirror and practice saying, "No."

I think it's a little too late now.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Finally sunny . . . and now brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I do not need to state the obvious, although apparently I am.

It's cold.


Even here in the sunny South, we're going to fall into single digits tonight.  I am a wimp. I do heat and humidity. I do not do arctic blasts.

However, despite the fact that the thought of the temperature is making my fingers cold, I was able to get the other side of the whitework band stitched.

Now all I have to do is fill in the center diamonds and my self-imposed, self-assigned deadline for this sampler for this month will be completed!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gloom, gloom, gloom . . .

Another gloomy day .  . . sigh . . .

I propped up the scroll frame with Ann Lawle on it across the room so I could look at the whitework while I escaped from the gloom into a book. I'm rereading the Longmire books by Craig Johnson. He's one of the authors I wish could write as fast as I can read.

As I said before, two strands were distorting the linen, not something I want on any sampler unless it involves pulled work. In addition, I've taken many classes at seminars and workshops from teachers who emphasize that less is frequently more, that it's better to suggest than to clobber someone over the head.

Anyway, after glancing up at the frame off and on during the day, one strand does work.  So I stitched a bit on that band this afternoon.

Now that I've figured out how best to work the pattern, it's just a matter of continuing on. I've decided to try to stitch a band a month, and this would take care of January. There won't be much time to stitch this week, though--I have a sampler guild meeting Wednesday and an EGA chapter board meeting on Thursday. Between getting ready for both and working the first full week since November, I'm not sure I'll have enough energy to thread the needle, much less get it in the right place on the linen.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

On a gloomy January day

There was a list of things I had thought about doing today. They were even written down.  It all changed when I finally dragged myself out of bed to see that it was another gray, gloomy, yucky day.

The weather forecaster had said we should have sunshine today. He was wrong. We should have, but we didn't.

I had planned to work on Hannah Thornbush. It is much easier to stitch on 45 count linen in daylight, preferably bright sunshine. When it appeared that bright sunshine--indeed, even weak and barely there sunshine--wasn't going to happen today, I left Hannah in her pillowcase and pulled out Ann Lawle instead. 35 count linen can be seen in lamplight, at least as much lamplight as I turn on.

My mother-in-law, who was an interior designer, always complained about the amount of light we use in our living room. She said we could land a 747. She said the light from our windows could be seen from outer space. She said a lot of things which we ignored. Dearly Beloved and I are both readers and I stitch, and we need illumination.

Anyway, I stitched the framework for this band and have started filling it in:

I am going to let this sit overnight and look at it again in the morning.  I tried the satin with two strands and it seemed bulky, so bulky that it was distorting the linen.

But one strand seems a little skimpy:

A close-up photo makes it look even skimpier. I think I need to set it across the room and look at it from a distance in the morning. After all, no one is ever going to look at it as closely as I am, especially with magnification.

Decisions, decisions . . .

Friday, January 3, 2014

Just a little late for Christmas

Or maybe way too early . . .

I got the cording sewn around the rest of the ornaments tonight. Despite stabbing myself repeatedly with the sharp needle, I managed to finish them without leaving bloodstains.

The cording came with the kits. I still need to figure out how to deal with the ends hanging down below--the directions were just a wee bit vague on how to handle them.

Dearly Beloved remarked that they were heavy, too heavy for our usual Fraser Firs. I mentioned that  they may stay in reserve until we get so decrepit that we need to turn to an artificial tree rather than wrestling a real tree into the house and into the stand.  Dearly Beloved said he was decrepit enough for that about ten years ago.

Next Christmas may be interesting.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Day!

With New Year's in the middle of the week, it sort of felt like I had two Mondays this week.  (Of course, that also means two Fridays!)  And to make it drearier, it's been raining off and on almost all day. (Although that means we're not dealing with over a foot of snow and below freezing temps--can you tell one of my goals for the new year is to be more positive? I'm trying to get in touch with my inner Pollyanna.)

Anyway, none of that made any difference when I arrived home to find something I've been waiting for  stuffed in the mailbox, all the long way over the Atlantic from England.

A tiny sweetbag ornament

Hampton Court

Both are designed and kitted by Jenny Adin-Christie.  And I am thrilled that they have arrived.

Am I ready to dive in?

You know I am.

Am I threading the needle as we speak?

Actually, I'm not.

I'm using the carrot-and-stick approach to the Overly Ambitious List.  While I can finish-finish when the mood strikes, since that is as rare as a blue moon, I agreed with myself to work on the Overly Ambitious List until I get a good chunk of it embroidered and, dare I say it, finished. Each project on it was very carefully selected for the enjoyment of stitching, the new skills I might either learn or polish, and its balance with the others on the list. Every single one of them was a project for which I felt every bit of the same enthusiasm when each arrived as I have felt as I look at these new designs.

But have I worked on anything on the Overly Ambitious List since I opened the package?

Are you kidding?  I've been fondling the kit contents and reading through the instructions. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

And here it is, the first day of 2014.  A blank slate . . .I've been told that what you do on the first day of the new year is what you'll do all year long.

I wish I could say I flew to Paris or London, but instead I was home, doing a bit of housecleaning and cooking. I did catch up on my blog reading, and I did a bit of stitching.

I started something new:

For some reason, this is showing up sideways. Anyway, it's the framework for Jackie du Plessis' Pocket for Posies needle case.

And I spent a lot of the day gluing. I started the finishing for the canvaswork ornaments I stitched in November. The kits came with the backing fabric and forms to mount the ornaments and cording. So, first you mount the backing to its form, then you mount the stitched piece to its form, then you glue the two forms together and sew the cording around. I would go and glue things for awhile, then I would wait so the glue would set up, then I would go back and glue something else, and wait for that to set up, then I had to take everything off the kitchen table so we could have dinner.

It didn't help to discover once I got the needlework glued and the backing fabric glued to find that the stitched side came out just slightly larger than the fabric backed part, partly due to the difference in thickness of fabric as opposed to stitched canvas, and partly because the design area was slightly larger than the forms. The kits did supply a heavy cording, and I think that's going to cover a multitude of sins. Of course, I always believe that cording will cover a multitude of sins. Usually it does.

Since dinner, I've managed to sew the cording to one ornament, so I do have one finish-finished project for 2014.

I wonder if I can count this as one of my dozen ornaments in the Great Triple Dog Dare ornament challenge . . .