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, May 30, 2015

Out of the Mouths of Babes

No stitching report today . . .we have traveled a couple of hundred miles to visit The Flash and The Big Kid and The Big Kid's Wife.

The drive up yesterday was not pleasant.

There was the lake traffic before we even made it 30 miles from home. We are blessed with several large lakes in our area, perfect areas for boating, water sports, and relaxation. For some reason, people who have homes on the lake, whether year-round or week-end, all seem to want to go to them on Friday afternoon--so there are lake traffic delays. I quite honestly think you could leave at 5 a.m. on Friday and still get into lake traffic.

I had to drive because Dearly Beloved had to work Thursday night. I was tired before we left. The Plague Cough is still with me and I am so tired of coughing as well as from coughing, that I have asked The Big Kid's Wife, who is a Reiki practitioner, to Reiki my bronchial tubes while we're here. (I'm the pragmatic and practical person who thinks the best reasons for living in the 21st century are Modern Medicine, Modern Plumbing, and the Ability to take Online Needlework Classes. I do not go in for alternative methods of healing--but I'm willing to give this a shot.)

Then the rains came. It took us about an hour to go 30 miles because the rain was so torrential I was driving by the tail lights of the car in front of me. There was no visibility, and we were on the winding mountain road part of the journey. Dearly Beloved, who had been sleeping until the rain hit, was wide awake and trying to help navigate the stormy seas--because it felt more like guiding a boat than driving a car.

We finally arrived at our destination almost two hours later than it usually takes. At that point, it was almost The Flash's bedtime, but we wanted to at least give him a hug and read a story. So we stopped by on our way to get dinner (we had told them we'd take care of ourselves when it became obvious we were going to be very late in arriving).

We were asked what we were going to do with ourselves for the rest of the evening. I said I thought we'd get a bite to eat, then go to our hotel, fall facedown on the bed, and die.

The Flash, with concern in his voice, said, "Are you going to die tonight?"

Ah, the literal mind of a 6 year old . . ."No, we're going to sleep so soundly it will be like we're dead, but we're not planning to die."

"Well," said he. "You do know you're kind of old."

We all laughed . . . until we got back to the hotel to discover that the only elevator in the place was out of order, and we had to climb the stairs to the third floor.

Definitely kind of old.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Framing it in

All the outlining and the vine on Briar Rose are done!

I have admitted to being a very methodical stitcher, so normally I would now outline all the petals on all the flowers before filling them in. It is quite possible that I am going to do something totally abnormal for me and get two needles threaded, one with the rose silk for the outlines and one with the overdyed for the innards. I could potentially work an entire flower before moving to another one.

I'm not sure I'm up for that much alteration in my routine.

It is possible that I am a little OCD.

Or a lot OCD.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


The kit for Catherine the Great from Gay Ann Rogers arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.

I have been inventorying the supplies since I got home from work:

The thread colors are subtle, but there are beads and lots of glitz, as befitting the Empress of all the Russias.

Now I need to find stretcher bars and decide how best I want to organize the threads to make it easiest for me to stitch.

There are times when I enjoy organizing as much as I enjoy stitching, and I think tonight is one of those nights.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A new start

After I've finished the stitching on a project, it takes me a day or so to figure out what to work on next. It doesn't make any difference how many projects are sitting by my chair or lurking in the stash room, I seem to need some time to decide on the next focus piece.

And sometimes, I take a day off completely.

Yesterday we went to a movie (Age of Ultron and yes, we are that kind of geek and yes, we were the oldest people in the audience), then we went for a late lunch, and then we had to come home and take a nap and then we had to decide on something for dinner and then it was fairly late in the evening.

However, I have today off, so I could play in the stash a little before bed and not worry about staying up too late.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do next, so I thought I'd get something set up for my traveling project. I have two week-end trips in a row coming up, and one must have a stitching project if one is to travel.

So Briar Rose came out. It has my usual hotel room stitching requirements: not too many colors, fairly small, no complicated stitches. I decided I wanted to use stretcher bars rather than a scroll frame or a hoop.

And the most amazing thing happened!  I found two sets of 10" stretcher bars that match in construction and size!  Inevitably, I'll find two of each kind--like regular size and minis--or two of each kind that have rounded edges on one pair and squared off edges on the other--or four whose connecting ends are not cut to mesh with any other stretcher bar in the world. These cooperated on all fronts!

So I ironed the linen and tacked it to the bars and found the center and then I just had to put a thread in.

And that's when I realized this was not going to be a travel piece.

The linen is dark--you can't tell from the picture, but it is very dark--and the count is teeny--and I need full light and magnification to be able to see the stitches since they're over one thread.

So this is the current home project and I'll have to decide on something else as the travel one.

I will be stash diving again today.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

All the grass is planted

and the sheep is fleeced and The Shepherdess is ready to be finish-finished!

I'm fairly pleased with the shading in the grass, much more than I thought I would be. I do have a couple of hints on working that part, if you're doing this class with Barbara through Shining Needle.

First of all, thread up several needles with various shades of green thread, even the ones you don't think you'll use. You may surprise yourself--if you lay the thread out next to a stitched area, the one you think is absolutely horrible may be exactly what you need to make that section pop.

Secondly, take pictures as you work. This may sound weird, but the camera will show you things your eyes don't see when the work is right in front of you. I hadn't planned to have so much of the lighter greens in the lower section, but without them, the whole area was just . . . boring.

I have read over the finishing directions and think I can do what they say.  Of course, since I'm still on cough syrup for this cough that is never, ever going to go away, I am in an altered state of consciousness. With that in mind, I may wait until Barbara goes over that section in the online class.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yard Work

I'm still planting grass in The Shepherdess's lawn:

I had a dream of getting the grass finished before I went to bed tonight. The only way that will happen is if I stay up until tomorrow night.

I don't think so.

I think I'll resume the yard work tomorrow, bright and early. Or bright and not-so-early. Sleeping in sounds so much more attractive than planting grass. I will say I'm much happier with the shading in the yard--so far--than I was.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Covered in SABLE

Ordinarily at this time I would be heading out for my ANG chapter meeting. However, as The Plague Cough has worn me down to a mere shadow of my usual self, I'm staying home and going to bed early.

(I am just about ready to resort to my Great Aunt Maggie's cough remedy:  Bourbon, sour apple honey, and lemon--family lore states that she also added a little bit of kerosene but I'm not going there--it would flat take out a cough and leave you limp in its wake. As a small child, I remember holding my breath to avoid coughing and thereby avoid the cough remedy. It didn't work.)

Meanwhile, Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy has ramped up in the last couple of weeks and I want to stitch on everything immediately if not sooner.

This online class, also through SNS, started today:

I can never resist a Jackie du Plessis project and wouldn't it be amazing if I actually stitched and finished one during the course of the class!

Judy O'Dell of the wonderful frame stand is offering a needlebook class online with an unusual technique involving crayons and threads. As Baby Girl has all the family art supplies, I may need to raid her stash for once to be able to stitch this.

I've been craving this class from The Binding Stitch for years, literally years, and Marcia offered it online and I signed up.  I rationalized it to Dearly Beloved by telling him that these opportunities don't come along very often and one should grab them as quickly as one can.  He replied that I seem to have a lot of opportunities that I have grabbed. I am ignoring him.

And then there's Catherine Theron's Strawberry Needle Roll. I believe this may become my travel project, assuming I ever stop coughing long enough to go anywhere.

The Shepherdess has not been abandoned. I've decided to sneak up on the problem area in the grass by working the other side of the yard first and gradually working my way towards the part that caused me angst and agony.

But for now, I'm medicating and resting. Blech!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tearing out the grass--and my hair

Here you see what I've accomplished in the last two days of stitching:

I had a vision of the way I wanted to shade the grass on The Shepherdess. Obviously that vision was the product of the codeine cough syrup I have been sipping in a vain attempt to control the nasty cough I have as a reminder of The Plague.

When you look at something while you're stitching it and say, "That ain't right" and you keep stitching, when you put the project down and walk away from it, still saying "That ain't right" and you come back to it and put in another thread, and when you wake up at 3:22 a.m. saying, "That really ain't right"  you know it's time to rip it all out.  And that you should have followed your first instincts, when it all started to go wrong, instead of forging on ahead.

So tonight I came home from work and ripped out.

I am re-evaluating the shading on the grass.

However, if my poor example doesn't scare you off, please be aware that, as of today, this project is available as an online class through Shining Needle Society. I have been singing the praises of SNS since its inception--after all, what is better than taking a class in front of the computer screen while wearing comfortable clothes, i.e. nighties or sweat pants. If you're not on the mailing list, email Kate Gaunt at for the information.

Kate, who runs the operation, wrote some very kind things about my blog and me in the intro to the class, and she and Barbara Jackson, the designer and teacher of this delightful design, have asked me to be a guest in the class.

I can't decide if they need a class clown or a stellar example of what not to do, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blue Skies, nothing but blue skies

Well, maybe a little more than blue skies--the sun has rays and the other bird has legs and a beak:

Now I'm going to see how much grass I can plant. The sooner I get it planted, the sooner the sheep will get his fleece.

Then again, the new Longmire book from Craig Johnson has arrived. I may read instead of stitch. That is, of course, if I can grab it before Dearly Beloved runs away with it.

Friday, May 15, 2015


That nasty cold?  It morphed into bronchitis. I have been to the doctor. I have drugs.

The drugs seem to be helping. A little. But one of them interferes with my stitching time since it causes my eyes to just drift out of focus periodically. This makes it very difficult to get the needle where it's supposed to be.

Despite that, I finally managed to finish the embroidery part of "Can't See the Forest".

And now I believe I will stare at the TV.  Or sleep sitting straight up in my chair. Or stand in the shower and see if I can steam my head open.

And now you know about my exciting week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I've lost two of my favorite people in the needlework world in the last few days, and I have spent some time this evening thinking about them both.

Diane Clements was a needlework artist extraordinaire, whose exacting and precise Reticella lace also inspired a desire for perfection. I was lucky enough to take two face-to-face classes from her at EGA National seminars, and have used the techniques she taught there in many other projects. It was an honor to have her as a teacher.

And I have lost a friend whom I met through our mutual love of needlework. Sharon Kohler was a member of both of my local EGA and ANG chapters. She was an exquisite stitcher and a supportive friend--actually, I think she was one of the first, if not the very first follower of this silly little blog. She always had a smile on her face--and once you got to know her, you found out about her wicked sense of humor. I enjoyed sitting in meetings and workshops with her and I loved seeing her completed projects. She, too, was an inspiration.

There are some people who just make you happy to know that they're in the same world with you. Diane and Sharon were perfect examples of this, and I will miss them both.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Plague Continues

Along with the sniffing, snorting, and sneezing, I have now added a cough that sounds like I've been chewing gravel.

So this is all I've managed to stitch in two days, which includes a day that presented a Pride and Prejudice marathon with the swoon-worthy Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This would ordinarily be primo stitching time--not so much, currently.

I have decided not to worry about it. Until this thing runs its course--in three to six more days for a typical rhinovirus--I am just going to sit in the corner and gulp down gallons of OJ and chicken soup. If I drop from sight for awhile, it's because my needle is idle.

One last whine:  I've had major surgery that hasn't interfered with plying my needle, so why has a little thing like a cold knocked me down!?!?!!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015


With all the sniffing, snorting, and sneezing, I have not accomplished much today.

The bottom of the box we'll make in the "Can't See the Forest" project is stitched.

I feel like I should go over the letters again; the yellow thread seems very skimpy next to the other colors.

I also feel like I should take drugs and go to bed early. That feeling seems to be winning out.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Back on Track

There was an emergency in the extended family in the last few days, and we have been acting in a support function while things were crazy. We have returned to our usual state--note I did not mention normal--so I have a minute to post the bit of stitching I've been able to do the last couple of days.

The third panel for the sides of "Can't See the Forest for the Trees" is complete.

My original plan was to finish all the stitching for this project this week-end--and go to the farmers' market in the morning--and see "Age of Ultron"--and work on finish-finishing Fair Maiden--and pick up The Shepherdess again--and maybe corral a few dust bunnies and swab a few plumbing fixtures. However, I am coming down with a cold. It is May and I have caught a cold. Consequently, I fear I will be a sneezy, drippy, achy, grouchy lump of misery for at least a couple of days.

Dearly Beloved is suggesting that I mainline orange juice, and I believe I shall go and do just that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A very Seussical Tree

And there is another tree in "Can't See the Forest" and, for some reason, this one makes me think of Dr. Seuss's illustrations.

I can't decide if it's the shaggy leaves or the big yellow flowers or both, but I expect to see a Who pop out any minute.

(This is why people have children and hope that their children provide them with grandchildren--it gives you a chance to read kid books and play with kid toys without other people thinking that you're strange.)

Sadly, I have to leave my needle for awhile and iron shirts. Oh, the joy. Being an adult is a pain!

Monday, May 4, 2015


I took a personal day today, mainly because I had another visit to the dentist's in the middle of the day. This was a most unpleasant way to spend two hours, and I have to go back in two weeks. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

However, I was home while I had daylight to stitch by, and I got five of the critters on the first two panels of "Can't See the Forest" stitched.

I was hoping to finish another tree, but I don't think it will happen tonight. I stayed up very late last night finishing one of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries (by C.S. Harris and I highly recommend the series but you really need to read them in order) because I figured I could sleep in this morning.

A neighbor's car alarm went off before 7 a.m.  Then it went off again. Then again.

The lawn service arrived to cut the grass in the community. They started with my cul-de-sac.  Under my window.

The phone rang with a call from someone wanting Anthony. I explained it was a wrong number.  The phone rang again, still with someone wanting Anthony.  I said sorry, still a wrong number. The third time I let the answering machine pick it up. At that point I was awake and was not going back to sleep, it was clear.

And now it's barely after 8 p.m. in my time zone but I am totally cross-eyed. So I am putting down the needle before I make a horrible error over one thread that will require painful reverse stitching.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I made it!

I didn't get the whole project finished in class--but I did get it finished in one day!

We had our second class with Betsy Morgan today, her Edinburgh Reticule, and this was the small we did to review the finishing techniques.

It was another great class with an enjoyable group of people, some old friends and some new--sometimes I think the best part of classes is getting to spend time with people who get this obsession of ours--and I came home, had dinner with Dearly Beloved, and sat down to work on the needlebook some more.

And lo and behold, it's finished.

It is happy dance time, and if I had any energy left, I would boogie. I think I'll go to bed instead.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Leafing Out

One of the trees now has foliage.

That was this evening's stitching. I would take a picture of today's class stitching--let's face it, having a completed project from yesterday's was nothing short of amazing, considering that I don't stitch well in class ever--but I doubt anyone wants to see one flower petal and one spiral trellis ball.

We spent most of today talking about the construction of the pieces of the Edinburgh Etui and, because I was in the right place at the right time, Betsy put the foundation piece for the container together from my materials. When the teacher just happens to be standing right in front of you, and she needs a piece of Mylar for demonstration, and you just happen to have it sitting in your package of materials readily at hand--well, location, location, location. At least one piece of my etui is assembled correctly!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Crown Me

Once again, I walked out of the first day of a Betsy Morgan class with a completed small:

It's a thimble holder--I need to find a regal thimble--to go in the Edinburgh Etui. There are things I have thought about redoing (as always), but I'm so thrilled I finally got a hedebo button loop that is actually good--not just acceptable, but good--that I will probably just look at it and ignore the rest.

Of course this means that the other things I've stitched with hedebo button loops now need to have their loops reworked, but I'm going to think about that another day.

We also received absolutely delightful goodies in our class favor bag:

Obviously, all have a Scottish flair to coordinate with our Edinburgh theme. We have really talented people involved in  bringing this workshop about and this is just one example.

I was so excited to spend a whole day stitching that I came home and stitched some more.

Another finished tree for "Can't See the Forest" and two more started.

Dearly Beloved really didn't have to say that the two newer trees looked like they had come through a forest fire.