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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Days Three and Four

There will be a blow-by-blow account of the two days of The Diligent Needle, the textile symposium at Winterthur.

At the moment, though, my head is so full that I need to give everything time to percolate through.

Suffice it to say, I had a wonderful time, spending time with good friends, listening to outstanding authorities, and taking some involving classes that have my fingers itching to embroider.  And it was announced that this event will occur every two years rather than every three.

This is very good news, since at the moment I feel as though I blinked and it was over . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day Two

We arrived at Winterthur today. I'm going to the symposium tomorrow and Saturday, but we came a little early to see the exhibits.

The Costumes of Downton Abbey are on display.

And, of course, I focused on the embroidery and beading:

Naturally, I also found a sampler, a beautiful whitework design:

Now if someone would reproduce this one . . .it's exquisite!

The symposium starts in the morning. I've been counting down the days. . .and now the hours . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day One of the Great Escape

Dearly Beloved and I have escaped from responsibilities.

We're on vacation.

After almost forty years of marriage, we've figured out how to do vacations. I like to do things when I have time off from work. Dearly Beloved likes to take naps and read and do less than nothing whenever possible. So, I find an event I want to attend and he goes to wherever it's being held. I attend the event, he does as little as possible, then makes dinner reservations. It works.

I'm on my way to the textile symposium at Winterthur. He has a stack of books and his pillows.

Naturally, I packed needlework:

Notice that they're all small and involve a variety of stitches.

Notice that I'm not stitching on any of them.

I didn't bring my light, and the lighting in this hotel room is less than bright.

I think I'll go to bed early.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chains and mail

I've spent a lot of time this week working the broad chain stitch on the side panel of Fair Maiden:

And you really can't see it unless you enlarge the picture, but every line on this section is filled with broad chain. The whole thing is outlined with broad chain worked in Gilt Silk Twist which can be finicky and works best if not rushed. This is not necessarily the time to use the electric needle and compete for who can stitch fastest--it's much prettier if worked carefully and deliberately. As I am not the most patient stitcher, I've had to take a few deep breaths along the way and remind myself I want it done well, not just simply done.

Maybe it's some kind of karmic reward for being careful. The mail carrier has been very nice to me this week.

First, this showed up:

Catalog for the Morven Museum exhibit of New Jersey schoolgirl samplers

This is a beautiful book for a sampler lover and includes extensive notes on the lives of the stitchers as well as information on each sampler. If you can't get to the exhibit, this is the next best thing. If you can get to the exhibit, this is a wonderful reminder.

Then, on the same day:

A kit from Alison Cole
There's an embroidery frame that arrived with it, but I can't get it all in the picture easily, so just take my word for it.

My dad's side of the family had a lot of Welsh blood and I've wanted this for awhile. I will probably wait to start on it until I have some days off during the holidays--I want to give it my undivided attention when I start.

The MOST exquisite laying tool
Hanson Stone, Portland OR

Gay Ann Rogers just wrapped up her eWeek and,this year, she offered some beautiful wooden and beaded accessories. They were all lovely and if my budget had allowed, I would have grabbed more. The artists who made this also do blown glass and buttons and so much more--and I'll share that info when I lay my hands on their business card again. I have already filed it in my collection of important business cards for artisans and crafters, since I know I will be contacting them again.

Other than that, I am puttering. I've reached the danger point on a number of projects--the middle--the point where there is no longer the excitement of starting a new project nor the thrill of seeing a finish in the near future. This way leads to disaster--or starting even more projects--and I have enough started, thank you very much.

Plus I'm taking several classes at Winterthur this week, which will add more to the Project Pile. This  symposium  offers lectures in the morning, then you get to choose among tours, more lectures, or stitching projects in the afternoons. I found with my first trip to Winterthur that I tend to get very heavy-eyed at afternoon lectures, so I need to do something, and doing something involves a threaded needle--so I have a class with Tricia Nguyen and two classes with Joanne Harvey.

And Shining Needle Society has announced the fall schedule:
  • a stumpwork class with Marsha Papay-Gomula. She's teaching two sewing accessories featuring birds, which will go very nicely with the needlecase I stitched from her through SNS a couple of years ago
  • Janet Zickler Casey's needlepoint Santa ornament
  • Carole Lake and Michael Boren's Stitchplay Stitch for a Cure project, this year to benefit Doctors without Borders and the fight against Ebola in Africa

What did I say about having enough started?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

the big frame-up

Since recovering from The Procedure, I have been more of a Domestic Diva than a Stitching Goddess, so I don't have much to show for the last few days.

However, I did manage to get the framework for the side panel for Fair Maiden set up:

I think this part of the project will probably be the most heavily embroidered, as I look at its directions.  It will have spangles, too, with beads. And, since I like all the stitches that must be done, this is going to be an enjoyable part of the process.

I'd be much more excited if I didn't also know that I'm going to have to put in some overtime hours at work this week so I can leave on vacation next week guilt-free.

There's always a trade-off.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jack's progress

Thus far this week, a situation has interfered with my stitching plans.

Sunday I had to begin The Preparation for The Procedure scheduled on Monday. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you are obviously under fifty. Bless your heart, your time will come.

To avoid TMI, let me just say that the effects of The Preparation precluded any other activity from occurring.

Then yesterday I had The Procedure. I also had an unpleasant side effect, about which no more needs to be said, other than my afternoon did not go as hoped.

Because of the side effect, I didn't go back to work today as planned but stayed home to completely recover. I was told to take it easy, so I pulled something out that would be easy to stitch.

And the embroidery on Jack-in-the-Box is complete!

I need to press--one reason I absolutely hate to work in hand--and do the finishing work--which would not be taking it easy--so I think I'm going to read for awhile and continue to take it easy so I can go back to work in the morning.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

almost . . .

Here is Pocket for Posies, nestled in its carrier:

And an inside view:

I need a snap to hold it shut, which will require a trip to a fabric store since I want to get one of the clear plastic ones. However, for all intents and purposes, I'm calling it done.

There are things I would do differently if I were going to do it again--like maybe put skirtex in the bottom as well as on the sides to give it a little more body--but overall, I'm pleased. I did find a thimble in the stash that would work, with some persuasion.

Today is organization day--I need to put away the instructions and leftover threads from several completed projects, and I have the print-outs from some of the online classes I'm taking to put in their notebooks, and I need to do a little bit of housekeeping.  I think I may start on the side piece for Fair Maiden later.

Or I could start on the side piece for Fair Maiden now and do the other stuff later.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pudgy fingers

Last night I decided to start putting Pocket for Posies together, and it was going quite well.  I made more progress than expected and actually thought I might be able to get it together completely tonight.

Famous last words.

Here, you see the beginning of the pin cushion/thimble nest.  It needs to be stuffed. To make sure the thimble nest remains open enough while being stuffed, you need to put a thimble into it.

Like a lot of the stitchers I know--oh, who am I kidding--like most of the stitchers I know, I collect "equipment."  Scissors, pin cushions, needlebooks, laying tools, and thimbles . . .I probably have a dozen thimbles and that's not something I've actively collected.  However, all of those thimbles fit my pudgy little fingers, not delicate thimble nests. None of my thimbles fit. Believe me, I've tried. I started feeling like Cindarella's ugly stepsisters.

Dearly Beloved has been informed that, while doing our errands tomorrow, we must stop somewhere that perhaps carries thimbles and purchase a little tiny thimble so I can finish putting this together.

Baby Girl, who has delicate and tiny little hands and slender fingers, is definitely getting this set.  After, of course, I have played with it for awhile.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Starting over in October

I put the first stitch in this project on Saturday afternoon. I put in the last stitch on Monday evening.

This is Twisted Stitches by Sue Reed. This was the MOST fun! It has some very entertaining stitches to stitch and--literally--a twist in the stitch in the border that is totally unique. And I've found a new color in Watercolours--Appalachian--that is on my favorites list. It may show up in a future project.

All I can say is that if you get a chance to take a class from Sue (her website is, jump on it. She gives super hints on color matching and using overdyes and has a neat trick for turning corners with metallic threads that will change your life--if, of course, you need to change corners with metallic threads.

You will notice this is not on the Ellie Plan. Nor is it on the Overly Ambitious List from January.

I had a revelation Saturday.

I was looking at my little notebook in which I list the projects I have finished for the year. I am that OCD about keeping records on this type of thing. I realized that this has been one of my less productive years.

When I started looking at the projects I have finished over the years, and the years that seem to have had the most finishes, I realized that the years with no plan at all were the ones in which i stitched the most. The years when I tried rotations or plans or lists, not so much.

Apparently organized plans for needlework result in very little needlework.

Therefore, I have flung the Overly Ambitious List and the Ellie Plan out of the figurative window and I am going to stab my needle at whatever strikes my fancy for the rest of the year. And if I should mention a list or goals or deadlines, remind me of this post.