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, November 30, 2014

I made it!

As soon as I hit publish, I will have blogged every day in November.

I'm not sure I'll do this again, or at least, not until my life changes to the point that I have significant stitching time every day. This is my busy season at work, which means that there were days when I felt I either had time to stitch or I had time to blog, but not both--so I did neither well.

Today there was not much time to stitch. I'm not going to say I'll never travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving again, but I'm going to have to think about it very seriously before I do. I think the entire Eastern Seaboard was on the same highway Dearly Beloved and I were traversing today. We saw no fewer than six accidents in a hundred mile stretch. Most of them were caused by people driving too closely together. When the first person had to hit the brakes, the next two to five cars then hit that person and each other. Consequently, a trip that normally takes fewer than five hours took six-and-a-half plus.

I did get a little more done on Mariposa tonight:

The next step requires careful counting and thinking. At this point, I do not believe I am capable of either, so I am going to pick up the current book and call it a day.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Second Thanging Feast

We had the second Thanksgiving (i.e. Thanging Feast) with the Big Kid and his family today.

I have now had tofurkey.

I was also able to stitch for a bit today while we watched The Flash for his parents.

If you want to stitch when there is a small boy around, bring a brand-new box of Legos and a grampa and you will be left in peace while they carry on intense and serious conversations about the various bits and pieces required to construct whatever it is they decide to construct. There was also a major conversation about who got the red Lego car, since apparently it was the more desirable vehicle.

Even though the class doesn't start until January 1, I've been looking at Mariposa and looking at Mariposa and trying to wait to start it.  I admit that I brought it with me and I'm glad I did. Since the Big Kid and his wife go in for mood lighting rather than the brilliant lighting Dearly Beloved and I prefer, I found that I could see 18 mesh canvas by a 60 watt bulb.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here is what I accomplished today, between mediating multi-generational Lego disputes and helping with the Thanging Feast.

It is NOT this dark but I'm photographing by the light in the hotel room. This is a lot of fun to stitch and I hear that there are some kits left, so if you're interested, hie thee hence to Shining Needle and look at the colors that are still available.

I would stitch more tonight, but I think I'm ready to take a nap. Or just go to bed. It's been a long day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Not even two days . . .

We have traversed the mountains (which were still snow-covered, although the roads are clear) to have our second Thanging Feast with The Flash and his parental units. That is scheduled for tomorrow.

Since it's cold and we will likely be inside a lot, I thought I should bring a project or two to work on in the evenings and during the day when there was no cooking to be done. I can stitch and carry on a conversation most of the time.

But what to bring?

I am only going to be here two nights and one full day.

This is the tote bag that came with me.

There are five projects in this bag. Five.

Mary Atwood (sampler), Fair Maiden Workbag (small), Christmas is Coming (ornament on linen), Catherine's Crown (ornament on Congress cloth), Mariposa (canvas).

If we end up snowbound for a month--and the weather forecasts do not predict any precipitation while we're here--I would still have something to do.

It's definitely an addiction.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I've been thinking about Thanksgiving this morning.  And I've spent some time thinking about life in general, since I'm very close to another birthday.

I decided I'm thankful that I have enough.

I have enough to eat, enough to wear, enough to drink.

I have a family whom I love and whose company I enjoy--children who have become friends as they have grown up and a grandson whose existence is pure sunshine and joy.

I have dear, dear friends.

I have a job with coworkers whose company I enjoy, who are generous and supportive.

I have access to extremely good medical care and caring doctors.

I have opportunities to travel, to visit museums, to hear concerts, to attend plays, to enrich my life.

I have books to read.

I have a home to cherish and care for, a roof over my head that is my shelter and refuge.

And I have my needlework, a passion that interests and sustains me, that has brought me comfort in times of stress and enjoyment every day of my life.

I can't ask for anything more.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A wee bit of stitching

I am ashamed to admit that I started this Christmas ornament last February.

And then I forgot about it.

Until last night when I was rummaging around in the big tote bag (as opposed to the other tote bags that are not as big) and ran across it. The only thing left for me to do was stitch the poinsettias and put it together. Obviously, I have finished the stitching. Obviously I have not put it together.

I'd thought about doing that tonight. We've already had our Thanksgiving so I'm not chopping, slicing, dicing, baking and roasting.  Instead of finishing, though, I have been doing some major rearranging in our living room, which includes excavating my corner.

You should know that any rearranging is fraught with trauma in this house. My mother-in-law was an interior designer. Dearly Beloved never knew where anything would be or how it would look from the time he left for school until the time he arrived home--she once sold his bedroom furniture to a client who fell in love with it. He slept on a mattress on the floor until she decided how she wanted his room to look in its next incarnation. One of the things he asked me when we were talking about marriage was whether or not I like to move furniture around. At the time, I thought that was majorly weird until I met his mother. At that point, I realized it was only a minorly weird thing.

Anyway, we have to move stuff around to get the Christmas tree in, which will happen sooner than I think it should, so I may as well make some other changes at the same time.

And I have come to the conclusion that we need another bookcase but we have no wall space left for one. Dearly Beloved has suggested a pulley system and a series of boxes that we can raise and lower from the ceiling to contain the overflow from the current bookcases.

His mother would not approve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Regal Stitching

Last night I started on Catherine's Crown, an ornament designed by Gay Ann Rogers based on a crown owned by Catherine the Great.

Of course, most of the evening was spent basting the outlines. Basting is such a pain--wish it didn't make things easier but it does, so I guess it's worth it.

I still don't enjoy it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Enhancing the Stash

I think I'm having Christmas early.

Two packages arrived at my door today.

Needle in a Haystack is offering a series of finishing classes, designed and engineered by Jackie du Plessis. This is the first installment--isn't that fabric glorious! (And, yes, I'm a Jackie groupie--one of these days I hope I become half the finisher she is. Until then, I'll just keep plugging away at her designs.)

And there were two surprise gifts in the package:

There's a pin keep to match the set AND a needle magnet!

Then, as if that weren't enough, the materials kits I had ordered to go with some of the goodies I bought from Gay Ann Rogers at her eWeek sale arrived from Kate Gaunt.

Kate is a long-time friend of mine as well as the driving force behind Shining Needle Society and the proprietor of a business that offers kits for Gay Ann's designs. Everything is beautifully packaged and organized, as, knowing Kate as I do, is only to be expected.

I immediately pulled the instructions and beads for one of Gay Ann's designs and that's what I'm going to work on tonight:

I'm finding, as life becomes more and more complicated, that having a kit already assembled simplifies and de-stresses and provides more actual stitching time.

So I'm going to use that time and stitch.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Going off in another direction

You will see that all the stripe outlines are worked and some of the broad chain stitches are filling them in.

I had hoped to have Fair Maiden finished before leaving for Williamsburg next week (NEXT WEEK!!!!!) but I also have a long list of things I'd like to do around the house before then.  Usually I start decking the halls the day after Thanksgiving, but since we're going to see The Flash for Thanging Feast Two, I won't be here to do that. And I really like having my Christmas stuff around for the whole month of December.

Plus, I have a bunch of projects that I've been dying to just take a nibble of--just work a thread or two into the linen or canvas--just a little touch of the needle.

So, for the next week, I'm sampling a lot of things. I'm not abandoning Fair Maiden, but I'm not going to kill myself to finish the workbag before going back to Williamsburg.

I'm going to enjoy the season!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanging Feast One

Many years ago, when the Big Kid and Baby Girl were still Small Ones, we were having a discussion about Thanksgiving.  I had decided that they were certainly old enough to have some input into the menu and asked what they thought would be the perfect Thanksgiving Feast.

The ideas came rapidly and extensively. They had some really good ideas that have formed the basis of our traditional meal ever since. I finally handed a notepad to the Big Kid and asked him to write down all their ideas.

At the top, he wrote in large letters:  Thanging Feast Mennu.

And we have had a Thanging Feast ever since.

Because of everyone's work schedules this year, Thursday would not work. So, Baby Girl is here this week-end for Thanging Feast One. Then next Friday, Dearly Beloved and I--depending on the weather in the mountains between here and there--will travel to the Big Kid's home for Thanging Feast Two.

Between bouts of intense cooking today, I have been stitching. I am pleased to announce that all the stripe outlines for Fair Maiden's pocket have been completed and I have started filling them in. You'll just have to take my word for it; the camera battery is recharging.

And after we eat, I have the feeling I will be ready for a nap instead of photography.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Such Temptation

The kit for Mariposa arrived today.

I chose the soft peach colorway, although it was a very, very hard choice. Luckily, Carole and Michael provide the information about the other colors they offered in the instructions. And since they have very good taste in colors and threads, that provides a springboard for other projects.

I almost went looking for stretcher bars, but I am very close to having all the stripe outlines done and I am persevering.  This part of this project will be stitched this week-end.

Famous last words.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

And we're at the halfway mark!

Half the stripes are outlined!

It is ridiculous how happy this makes me--but from here on out, the stripes get (slightly) shorter with each one. Then I get to fill them in with broad chain, and then do the eyelets for the top, and then I'll almost be ready to get this put together.

Never thought I'd look forward to putting something together!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Look what the mail carrier brought me today!

Christmas is Coming!  Barbara Jackson's 2014 ornament, taught through Shining Needle Society.

And I am soooooooooooo tempted to start. After all, I do have the master chart and color key and I believe I could figure out what goes where.

That way lies madness, you understand, since inevitably there will be some important bit in the instructions that would elevate this sweet, sweet ornament to perfection.

So I guess I will wait until next week when the first lesson is posted.

And go back to stitching stripes. Sigh . . .every stitch brings me closer to the finish . . .I wish I really did possess an electric needle!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

simply stripes

Since all I'm doing is stitching stripes, this is going to be the shortest blog entry in record.

At least, thus far, I've been able to blog every day this month, but this is just pitiful.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tonight's Stripes

I've stitched in my daily allotment of stripes:

After all the stripe outlines are stitched in, they are filled with broad chain stitch, then spangles are added and eyelets created at the top for a drawstring.

But tonight I'm going to bed early with a book. This has been a very gray, gloomy, rainy day--and the temperatures are getting ready to drop--and that is perfect sleeping weather.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Back to Fair Maiden

Although I have been mostly a slug today--it's been cold, cloudy, and just plain gray all day, good for hibernation and not much else--I did get the pouch that fits on the back of the Fair Maiden Workbag started.

Counting and stitching the outline of this thing took almost more brain cells than I had functioning. If the sides hadn't met and matched, I think I would have burst into tears and taken to my bed with a cold compress on my forehead.  This is otherwise known as having a sinking spell.

Dearly Beloved, once again reading over my shoulder, suggested that I could have flung a hissy fit.  That requires having an unladylike temper tantrum and I still haven't recovered enough from my cold to have the energy to do that.

Now I have to stitch a bunch of stripes, which may be just a wee boring. It will be worth it when it's done, but it's going to be sheer tedium while it's going on. So I am once again diving into the basket to see what I can find to alternate with stripe stitching.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two in a Day!

I have two finishes to report in one day!

Quite frankly, this is not as amazing as I would dream--just wait until you see the second one . . .

But first:

It was a bright and sunshiny day, so I sat by the window and finished the stitching for Peace on Earth.

Stitching the sheep was the most fun--I was taught to make very neat and precise French knots many, many years ago. Today I went slightly berserk (in a very ladylike embroideress way) and made big, loopy, sloppy, loose French knots all over the sheep so that they look as though they're really ready for shearing. And I got all the teeny over-one stitches worked in.

Then there is this:

Last night I had a couple of hours before bedtime that I wanted to spend stitching, and I had finished the Blackbird fob. So I dove into the basket again and pulled this out. It's another of the small kits I've picked up over the years from Jackie du Plessis at Christmas in Williamsburg.  I like to have them so I can take them when I'm going on a trip, simply because they're fairly small and easy to pack. This will be the top of a covered tape measure.

I stitched about half of it last night before I got so sleepy I couldn't focus, then finished it today right after Peace on Earth.

And now I really, really, really have to start putting things together.

I'll think about that tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Well, that doesn't sound quite right.

What it means is that I finished the embroidery on the Blackbird fob tonight . . .something more to put in the finishing basket.

I'm going to go diving into the basket by the chair and see what pops up. I was planning to go back to Peace on Earth, but I think I may wait on that until tomorrow when I have daylight instead of Dazor light. That means I have a couple of stitching hours left in this evening to find something to work on.

I may work on Fair Maiden for a bit. I had hoped to have her finished before going back to Williamsburg in December, but that was when I thought I would have a four-day week-end over Thanksgiving. However, the Big Kid, BK's Wife, and The Flash have invited us to come up for Thanksgiving. Depending on the weather--in other words, whether or not there is winter precipitation of some sort or another--we will take them up on it.

Before we go, though, I need to get some ear plugs. I have been informed they will be serving tofurkey. I do not want to listen to Dearly Beloved's comments before, during, and after dinner.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I was absolutely determined, despite the yuckier aspects of a bad cold, to stitch tonight.

I was not feeling the love for broad chain.

40 count linen, stitched over one, was not going to happen.

But 32 count linen over one could happen:

When Catherine Theron came to our guild to teach Morning Has Broken, she designed this fob with motifs from the big sampler as a mini-class the evening before. I took advantage of the opportunity, but it's been sitting in the basket for months. Tonight I was pawing through the projects, looking for something that would entice me to thread a needle, and this popped out. I need to stitch a blackbird on the top piece and my initials on the bottom one.

Then, alas, there will be something else in the finishing basket.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chain Letter--no, not really

I've been working a lot of broad chain stitch:

I have a lot more to do.

Tonight, though, I'm going to drown myself in orange juice and Nyquil. The quad cold, which has already taken out about half a dozen people, has finally latched onto me. I'm going to bed with a box of Kleenex and try to remember how to breath through my nose.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Deadly Dull and Boring

Paint drying . . . grass growing . . .still deadly dull and boring around here.

If I get to pick up a needle tonight and that's a really big IF, it will be to fix the hem on my black dress pants.

For a very brief moment of insanity as I was driving home from work, I thought I could slap the pants on the sewing machine and get this done in a flash.

Reality quickly intruded.

This is the sewing machine I bought after my 1948 Singer finally breathed its last. It stayed in the box it was shipped in--unopened, I might add--for over a year before I finally opened the box, removed all the packing material, and set the thing up on the kitchen table.

It took me over an hour to read the manual and get the bobbin wound and the machine threaded.

It took about 20 seconds to sew the one seam I needed to machine sew.

Then I packed the machine in the carrying case I bought at the same time as the machine--also unopened in its shipping box until then--and put it away.

I have determined that by the time I wind another bobbin with black thread and thread the machine and figure out how to do the hemming stitch, I could have done the hem by hand. About twenty times.

So that's my excitement for the evening. Hope yours is much more interesting than mine!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Watching paint dry

Or watching grass grow.

Or (insert the cliche of your choice here).

What I'm doing tonight is really not at all blog-worthy, but it is necessary.

I'm ironing linen and looking for scroll bars and intending to sew the linen to the scroll bars once I've found the ones that will fit the linen.


But it is November and I'm blogging about it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Froggy went a'courtin'

And I wish he had stayed in his pond.

There was much, much more stitched in the hill that the shepherd is standing on until I realized I was off by one mosaic stitch, which translates into two threads, which throws the whole sheep body off. One thread off I can finagle. A whole sheep, not so much.

I wish I understood why it takes longer to take stitches out than it takes to put them in.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spangles and Beads

I decided to avoid eye strain today and work on Fair Maiden.

Thus far, things have been going well. I have caught the corner of my bead tray with the sleeve of my sweater and spilled the contents only once, and have stabbed myself with the beading needle only twice. All in all, a good day!

And in a month I'll be in Williamsburg again, taking another class from Jackie du Plessis. I'm hoping to have a chunk of this project done before then. Actually, it would be absolutely amazing if I managed to finish one project from a workshop within a year of originally taking the class. That happens rarely. It does happen, but not often enough.

So, back to spangling.

Friday, November 7, 2014

itsy bitsy teeny weeny

All I can say about the results of tonight's stitching is this:  tent over one on 40 count linen is tiny.

I now need to stare off into the distance and rest my eyes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Housework can kill you

This blog entry almost didn't make it.

I was putting something in the dishwasher tonight, and apparently I yinned when I should have yanged and my back spasmed.  I finally gave in and took a pain pill, so any errors in tonight's stitching is due to  better living through chemistry.

This is the section that would be affected by the additional thread, and it looks fine to me. But what do I know. . .I'm medicated.

And it's time to ice my back.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Drive-By Post

I'm going to sampler guild in a few minutes, which means I won't get to stitch tonight. I'll get to talk about stitching, hear about stitching, and probably see some exquisite stitching, but I won't get a needle stuck into anything.

Ironic, huh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

random ramblings

A lot of little thoughts tonight . . .

Since I left work, I have voted, dealt with dinner and the dishwasher, talked to Baby Girl, paid two bills, ironed three shirts for Dearly Beloved, and washed my hair early enough so that I won't go to bed with a wet head. I have been an adult quite long enough today, thank you very much.


I had to do some stash diving to locate the kit for Barbara Jackson's Peace on Earth last night. When I found it, I remembered why I stopped.

It's off by one thread.

I got off when I was doing the basting, so the outline, which was based on the basting, was also off by one thread. And I got off by one thread on both vertical lines, so I didn't realize I was off until I started working the star.  At that point I had decided to either rip out everything or start over on another piece of fabric.

After a year, I have come to the conclusion that it can't be seen from the back of a galloping horse, so I'm going to continue. Life is too short to be OCD about one thread.


While I'm still in an enabling mode, Carole Lake and Michael Boren are offering another Stitch for a Cause project through Shining Needle Society. It's called Mariposa, it is offered in umpty-leven different colorways  or you can do your own thing with threads, and $10 of each class fee goes to Doctors Without Borders for supplies to use in the fight against Ebola. I'm signed up--I chose Peach Sherbet on eggshell canvas--but there are only about another ten days to get involved. If you've ever taken a class from the Terrible Two, you know how much fun it is.  If you haven't, you need to. Consider it an early Christmas present, both for yourself and the world!


I'm starting to feel a strong hankering to get myself involved in another massive sampler project. There are several calling my name, both started and unstarted. This is dangerous.


I want to free up a couple of sets of scroll bars so I can put some other stuff on them. But I also want to start that other stuff immediately. This means I need to either finish up what's on those scroll bars ASAP, or I could buy more scroll bars. This way lies madness.

Especially since I could build an extension on the house with scroll bars and stretcher bars.


After my surgery, several of my friends noticed that I was not quite as large and lovely--still lovely, just not quite as large. However, last week we celebrated two birthdays at the office. For the first one, we had a potluck brunch--I haven't had that many fat grams in one day in years. The next day, we had cupcakes. Lots of cupcakes.  Then this week, we have the leftover Halloween candy, which keeps appearing. I am trying to rationalize that the protein in the peanuts offsets the sugar in the mini-Snickers. 

On that note, I'm going to stitch.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Enabling . . .

A couple of years ago, I stitched this:

Then last year, I got this and started it:

And this year there is a new one, but I can't seem to get the picture to load.

These are all ornaments designed by Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks, offered by Shining Needle Society. The new one is wonderful as are the other two. If you're not a member of Shining Needle, email and ask her to sign you up. It costs nothing to join--the only drawback I've been able to discover is that you find many, many things you wish to stitch.

Anyway . . .if you're just discovering Barbara's ornaments, you can catch up on them this year. Both the earlier kits are being offered.

And now I'm going to pull last year's ornament out of the stash and work on it so it will be finished before the new one arrives.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wintherthur, Day Two

One of the things I love about Winterthur is that they let you get upclose and personal with the pieces in the collection.  You're allowed to take photographs of articles in the collection and in the museum displays.

This is the original Mary Alsop pocketbook that Joanne Harvey reproduced for the class I took.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The morning again offered four lectures:

  • Judith Tyner's "Geography in Silk and Wool: Embroidered Maps and Globes"--Dr. Tyner is a geographer and cartographer and needleworker so it's not surprising she is fascinated by embroidered maps. It was delightful to get a glimpse into her passion--and she has a book coming out next year on the topic
  • Kim Ivey's "Records of Purpose and Pleasure: Quilts and Needlework from the Early South"--Kim is Curator of Textiles and Historic Interiors for Colonial Williamsburg, and her talk mirrored the themes of the Winterthur exhibit with examples from the early South. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, take it--her programs are always well thought-out and beautifully presented.
  • Lynn Hulse's "The Duke of Westminster's 'Umpire in Chief': Gertrude Jekyll and the Embroidered Furnishings for Eaton Hall, Cheshire"--Gertrude Jekyll is more known for her garden design than for her interior design but she did provide that service for those in late Victorian times. Sadly, there were only a few pictures of her contributions in that area.
  • Anne Hilker Sack's " . . .To Give it Room Enough to Grow" This lecture focused on Erica Wilson and her life as a needlework teacher and entrepreneur. I was very interested in this, simply because I started seriously embroidering at the time Wilson was providing kits and television shows and books making needlework accessible by using larger scale threads and shortcuts. In my late teens and early twenties, her whimsical designs and bright colors were appealing--I look back on it now and realize that I stitched her designs for fun and Elsa Williams' designs for heirloom quality (at least until Williams retired and sold to JCA). I'm of mixed opinions now on Erica Wilson's impact--a lot of people starting stitching because of her, but then again, she simplified both stitches and techniques so much--it's taken awhile to get over some of the bad habits. Near the end of the lecture, we saw a beautiful whitework piece--and, oh, how I wish I had the directions to embroider that now! I wish she'd had faith her audience could follow her to that level of skill.
After the lectures, we had another lovely lunch--with tables set outside in the sun! Hard to believe that was only a week ago--we had snow in BOTH Carolinas yesterday, not just in the NC mountains--then it was off to our afternoon sessions.

My first session was with Tricia Wilson Nguyen, my sensei of the 17th century. We're going to make this spray of flowers, a casket toy designed to fit in one of the drawers of our caskets.  It is tiny and oh, so sweet.

I actually did some stitching in this class. I made one very wonky petal. I've decided to hold off on working on this one until the long Thanksgiving week-end when I will have natural light and the Dazor magnifier available. I am not dwelling on the possibility that my pudgy, arthritic fingers may result in handing this off to Baby Girl to make for me.

After that, it was back to Joanne Harvey for the Mary Alsop pocketbook.  It is almost totally stitched in Queen stitches--what isn't Queen is cross over one.  And we got to see not only the original pocketbook but others in the Winterthur collection:

Here's the inside of the original. For a brief moment of insanity, I thought of attempting to do the scalloped edge--notice how the stripes are matched from the pocket to the back!--then accepted my limitations and have ignored that inspiration since.

Here's the needle book in another purse.

And another purse

And another . . .

And yet another . . .

And then it was time to leave.

Of course I wanted to stick a needle in every new project the minute I got back to the hotel room, but I didn't have the appropriate scroll bars and I felt the need to iron the linen before starting anything. Yes, I had an iron in the room but I've learned it's unwise to trust hotel irons.  So I fondled materials instead.

Besides, Dearly Beloved had made dinner plans for that evening, and I was in a carb coma afterwards--so stitching was probably not a good idea.

We had another couple of days of the Great Escape left--more about that tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Was it just a week ago?

It feels like it was months ago, but The Diligent Needle, Winterthur's needlework symposium, started just slightly over a week ago.

Because this entry would be way long if I talked about the whole thing at one time, I'm going to divide it up (and talk about the rest of the Great Escape) on different days--this was day one of the symposium, day three of the Great Escape. And this is going to be long enough as it is.

First of all, before I say anything at all about the event itself, I want to say the best part of the whole thing is getting to spend time with friends who are as passionate about this stuff as I am. Some of them I get to see on a regular basis, some of them I only get to see a couple of times a year, and some of them I was able to reconnect with for the first time in years.  For that alone, it's worth the price of admission. And, happily, it will be held every two years rather than every three, starting with 2016!

This event offers four lectures each morning, then classes, tours, and other lectures in the afternoons. The lectures on this day were the following:

  • Amanda Vickery's "Rescuing Domestic Crafts from the Condescension of Posterity"--in short, women's needlework and other crafts tend to be disdained in favor of male artistic accomplishments, even though the design, level of skill, ability, and talent may well exceed them. Amanda is an engaging and enjoyable speaker who made her point quite easily.
  • Tricia Nguyen's "The Workers Behind the Work: 17th Century Cabinets and the People Who Made Them"--Based on her research, the caskets that a bunch of us are stitching may have been inspired by the draftsmen who drew the designs, looking for markets for their work as the interest in embroidered clothing waned. It's a fascinating thesis, based on intensive research, and one that is most logical, especially since three primary artists have been identified due to their individual styles. As one of the casketeers involved in Tricia's online Cabinet of Curiosities class, I found this lecture one of the most interesting.
  • Marla Miller's "The Mystery of Rebecca Dickinson"--Marla Miller wrote a fascinating biography of Betsy Ross a couple of years ago, and she continues her research into women who made their livings with a needle with research into the life of Rebecca Dickinson. Rebecca did not follow the usual path of women of her time as she never married and was self-supporting. She also kept diaries. The interesting thing is that what she wrote about her life is contradicted by the journals and diaries of contemporaries who could be said to have known her well. She talked about being lonely and unloved (nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll just eat worms) but other people wrote about her wit and kindness and popularity! I always enjoy Marla's talks and reading what she's written and look forward to more about Rebecca.
  • Aimee Newell's "Threads of Time: The Needlework Samplers of Aging Women, 1820-1860"--I'm not sure I agree with her definition of stitching samplers, since she documented only two samplers actually stitched from start to finish by aging women (defined as women over 60--imagine the reaction she got from the audience on that definition!). The rest of them involved family record samplers that had names and dates added to the original schoolgirl sampler, or schoolgirl samplers that had ages and/or dates removed or altered.
Winterthur feeds its symposium guests quite well, with lovely pastries at the coffee break, a buffet luncheon, and a delightful reception at the end of the first day. If I lived in the area and needed to have an event catered, I'd talk to them!

Anyway, after lunch, we all separated for various tours, lectures, and classes. Since Joanne Harvey was teaching, I signed up for both of her classes. This was the day she taught Ann Almy, a Rhode Island sampler.

We had a wonderful slide show on Rhode Island samplers. I had seen it in Williamsburg last Christmas and was hoping to have the chance to see it again, and it was just as drool-worthy this time as before. And Joanne Harvey is always entertaining.

I also engaged in just a tiny bit of additional stash enhancement. I couldn't fit Margriet Hogue's class into the schedule, but I was able to buy the kit for it:

Did I work on anything at all when the day was over?

Uh, no . . .


And on to another topic entirely . . .It's November. When I first started reading blogs, bloggers united to post every day in November, and it was loads of fun to travel from one favorite to the next.

I don't think I've heard anyone even talk about that this year. A lot of my favorite bloggers have moved to other platforms, some have dropped out entirely, some have talked about getting back into it (some have, some haven't).

Because I'm contrary, I'm hanging onto my blog and hereby announce that I'm going to make a valiant effort to blog every day in November.