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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Twigs and sprigs, beads and spangles

I finally managed to finish the stitching part of the Fair Maiden Needle Roll, which will accompany the Fair Maiden Etui.

Which, of course, means that I will need to put it together.

But not tomorrow. I've decided that tomorrow is going to be a stitching day. I plan to hit the Farmers' Market early, then plop myself into the wing chair, thread up a needle, and spend the day making little tiny stitches. Eve in the Garden is the design I plan to work on since I've been thinking of diving back into the 17th century.

A big part of that decision is based on the fact that the last class in the Cabinet of Curiosities class has been posted. Reading over the class notes for the last three years and looking at the design possibilities and organizing the threads are all making me eager to start. I'd like to spend at least one day each week-end working on both the projects that lead up to the casket and to the casket itself.

And the other day I'll continue to work on finish-finishing.

And in between I'll work on everything else.

I need 48 hours in every day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I have been a total slug tonight, but there have been stitching-related activities going on despite that.

Last night I started working on the lid for the Fair Maiden Etui.

When I started putting this together, I very carefully pinned all the bits together to make sure everything was the right size before I started sewing.

Except the lid.

It hangs over just a bit.

Technical terms were used to describe my heartfelt feelings on discovering this.

However, a workaround has been determined. You will notice the vintage button on the front. I plan to sew the lid on and work a hedebo ring that will loop around the button and hold the lid shut.

So I still have to do all that and make the fancy handle from ribbon. I discovered tonight that even the Dazor isn't as good as daylight for working those teeny little stitches, so that will all happen this week-end.

Sarah Williams has also seen some time. She now has a butterfly zooming downward. There will be another on the opposite side.

And the mail carrier has been kind this week, although he delivered my packages to a neighbor, and hers to me. Luckily we were able to straighten it out fairly easily, but we both may be stalking the mail carrier for a different reason than usual. (Actually, we think he's a substitute, but it seems like anyone can tell the difference between an "8" and a "9.")

I have added some limited edition silk wrapped pearl purl to the stash for my Cabinet of Curiosities. As a friend remarked, if you're going to do a lot of plants and trees and shrubs and flowers, you need lots of shades of green in a variety of forms. And there is bound to be a need for a very pale, pale pink.

And the kit for the new Casket Toy from Amy Mitten arrived.

Such luscious stuff! Such a gorgeous design! I am attempting restraint since I have a stack of things I want to stitch and finish before I dive back into the 17th century full time.

Which means I should not spend the evening being a slug in front of the TV or computer screen or both. I need to get that electric needle plugged in!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Catching Up

As I predicted, I did not thread a needle while I was away from home for a business trip.

I may have made up for it yesterday.

The Fair Maiden Etui now has a drawer:

It also has tassels and cords.

What it needs now is a top and a handle with embellishments. That may be today's task.

And why am I so motivated to finish this project?

The finishing directions for Briar Rose have been posted, and the scrims to adorn it arrived while I was away.  And I would like to get one project off my work surface (aka kitchen table) before I put another one on it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sarah Williams

I've been asked exactly which sampler I worked on last night. This is Sarah Williams, a reproduction by  The Essamplaire.

My father's family came here from Wales a couple of hundred years ago, and this is the only Welsh sampler that I'm familiar with. I started it awhile back, then, as usual, was distracted by something else. It has been languishing in the stash room since.

The blog may be silent for a couple of days. I have to go out of town on a business trip. Although I am packing needlework--can't leave home without it!--I doubt that I will have a chance to thread a needle.

And of all the times to have to be out of town. There is good mail coming my way, and I won't be home to get it. Dearly Beloved has been alerted to stalk the mail carrier in my behalf.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ancient History

Tonight I wanted to work on something that required nothing more than the ability to count fairly accurately and to stitch neatly.

I didn't want anything that required knowing how to execute 17th century embroidery techniques, or to wield a sharp needle, or to think about how to engineer a finish.

I just wanted to stitch.

This sampler has been aging in my stash for about twenty years. I am embarrassed to say it is not alone.

It has a very sweet strawberry border, and that's what I'm working on.

It is very soothing to stitch.

I may stick with it for a day or two.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Getting Back to Normal

I can stitch again!

I woke up very early this morning and nothing was twingeing, so I stitched in all the flowers on the Fair Maiden needle roll. Now I need to work the leaves and sprigs around them, but I'm not going to tempt fate--I'm going to take a break and do other things.

I guess rest was the best thing to do. Friday I did not touch anything once I got home from work. Actually, I sat like a slug in the wing chair and watched black and white episodes of The Avengers--the 1960's spy series with Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg, not the Marvel super-hero one.

Farmer's Market on Saturday morning--and while we did score some really nice tomatoes and peaches, the heat and lack of rain is starting to affect the fruit and veg situation.

Baby Girl arrived midday for a flying trip. She and I went to see Ant-Man, which was rollicking good fun, then we got gussied up, more or less, and went to a baby shower for her BFF. It was a lovely evening. I really like the fact that the guys are now involved in the whole baby thing. This was sort of along the lines of a family reunion for BFF's husband's side of the family, so we had multiple generations and both men and women (and a few younger cousins in and out) for the event. Dearly Beloved and the two grandfathers-to-be were quite taken with some of the new stuff available for baby care these days, and that was entertaining to say the least.

Baby Girl has now left for home and I am trying to decide what to do with the afternoon.

I don't think I'm going to tempt fate by trying to do any finishing. Days on end without plying my needle left me with a great desire to avoid that in the future. I wish I could get into moderation!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Christmas in July

I'm resting my pinched nerve--and getting twitchier and twitchier so all my other nerves are getting a full work-out.

However, today I had a Christmas in July present from the Swan Sampler Guild. Away Swans are very well taken care of by this guild. Along with this year's ornament (which I ordered), I also received a wrapped present that contained directions for a weighted pin cushion.

I think I will spend the evening looking over the directions and trying to not stitch.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random Wednesday Mutterings

  1. I have a pinched nerve in my neck.
  2. It apparently has been caused by repetitive motions.
  3. Stitching involves repetitive motions.
  4. I am to rest and not engage in repetitive motions.
  5. Therefore, I cannot stitch for a day or two.
  6. I have taken a muscle relaxer.
  7. Muscle relaxers turn me into a puddle.
  8. I have an ANG meeting tonight to which I would have to drive.
  9. I am not going to the ANG meeting. See #7.
  10. And I can't stitch, either.
  11. I may as well go to bed.
Last night before my neck started really giving me fits, I did get the rest of the foundation stitches worked and filled in the darkest silk flowers:

Hopefully, the anti-inflammatories and the muscle relaxer will unpinch the nerve and I can get back to regular programming.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Little flowers, lots of little flowers

I've started on the first step to create the flowers on the needle roll.

As I've been stitching, I've been trying to make a decision about what I want to do when I get the foundation stitches for this section completed.

I could do the filling stitches on top of the foundation stitches, then stitch the leaves and sprigs, and then sew on spangles and beads. And then this piece of the needle roll would be finished.

Or, while I have the stitch sequence for the foundation stitches in my pointy little head, I could go ahead and do them on the other piece.

I should probably go ahead and do the foundation stitches on the other piece. I may as well take advantage of knowing what I'm doing before it slips away.

Monday, July 13, 2015

At Last!!!

I have stitched the last broad chain filling on the Fair Maiden needle roll!

I'm not sure if it's because I've had so little time to stitch in the last week, or whether it was just desperation to get this part done so I can start the fun stuff, but I came home from work today, threaded up a needle and did not put it down again until all the little "fingers" were filled in.

Now I can stitch in all the pretty flowers and leaves--I am dancing a happy dance!

Now to the non-stitching part of the blog. We travelled to visit The Big Kid, his wife, and The Flash this past week-end. We did all the stuff we always do when we visit, we had a wonderful time with The Flash (although he announced he didn't like Grampa because Grampa tickled him but that he would love Grampa again when he stopped tickling), and we have plans for a family excursion at the end of the summer. I did not stitch while we were gone, although I packed several projects. I took a nap instead.

It was needed.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Four Years

I realized the other day that July 11 is the fourth anniversary of this blog.

I started it to basically keep track of projects I was working on and to make notes of things I learned while stitching.

I have learned the following:

  • I bite off more than I can chew--or stitch--in a reasonable life span.
  • Everything takes longer to stitch than I think it should.
  • I don't have nearly enough time to stitch, and still maintain ties with family and friends, work, and do enough housekeeping to keep the health department at bay.
  • Despite knowing all this, I'm going to continue to add things I want to do to the things I already have to do and just assume I'm going to live to be 385.
  • Stitching keeps me sane.  Relatively.

We are visiting The Flash and his parental units this week-end so a needle may not make it into my hands until we're home again. But it was packed and brought with me, just like a security blanket. Which it is.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I haven't had a solid hour any evening this week to stitch--I've had twenty minutes one evening, half an hour another, and it appears that tonight I won't get to thread a needle at all.

I'm starting to twitch.

Tonight, though, I'm doing laundry and packing and deciding what to take with me, because tomorrow we head north to visit The Flash.

I suppose I can give up stitching for an evening for that!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

slowly . . . slowly . . .slowly

I've worked late the last couple of days, so consequently there has been very little stitching accomplished.

If you peer very closely, you may be able to tell that the broad chain is filled in on the top piece and started on the second piece.

It's not very fascinating to watch, but as long as I can get a strand stitched in every evening, I feel like I'm making progress.

This working to support my habit is interfering with my habit.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Good Mail Day

It was a good mail day--a book I've been waiting for arrived.

This is a compilation of the books Kay and Michael Dennis have written about contemporary stumpwork.  I've been studying 17th century stumpwork through the Cabinet of Curiosities online class, and that style is the one I want to use when I embroider my first casket. My second casket, though, is going to have a more contemporary look, and I really like the way Kay Dennis stitches figures.

As if I really need a reason to add to my needlework library!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Decision Made--at least temporarily

Last night I pawed through the stack of sooner rather than later projects and the stack of next to sooner rather than later and another stack that just happened to be convenient. I was trying to decide what I wanted to work on.

And I realized I really want to get Fair Maiden and all her companion pieces worked.

I figure I have another week-end's worth of solid work to get the Etui completely finished. The needle roll in in progress. And then there are three additional smaller projects to do. And finish.

I also sat myself down and sternly told myself that from here on, as soon as I finish a small that needs finishing, I finish it. No ifs, ands, or buts. I finish it.  And I work on finishing consistently until I can begin to see the bottom of the finishing basket.

Wonder if mid-year resolutions have any more lasting power than New Year's do.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What a relief it is!

The lines met on both ovals!

This was quite a relief!

Obviously, it is not on par with the relief from hearing, "The growth is benign" or "The plane landed safely" but it is a relief.

After all, how many samplers are languishing, forlorn and alone, because the border didn't match? And how many hours has the stitcher spent, trying to find that one thread or stitch that is off?

Anyway, I was very happy that both borders on this cartouche met and matched, and that now I can color in the blanks.

Or I might do something else. I'm feeling particularly fickle at the moment, and there are many attractive projects begging for my attention.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth!

The neighborhood has erupted with fireworks in celebration, but here at the Fuddy Duddy residence, we're watching a documentary on the Revolution in the air conditioning.

And today I declared a day of Independence from finishing and pulled Eve in the Garden out of her pillowcase.

I think I need to alternate finishing with stitching, although I have made great progress during the long week-end on Fair Maiden.  This is where she stands now.

I still have to stitch the spangles on the lid so it can be finished, and I have more twisted cords and a handful of tassels to construct.  The big hole in the middle of this is going to have a drawer that will pull in and out. I think I'm going to make a prototype out of scrap fabric and cardboard to make sure I have the right fit before I cut the silk and do anything that can't be undone.

I also need to sew ribbons together to make the handle, but that is a task for yet another day.  I hope that, by taking the steps slowly and thinking them through and giving myself a lot of time to work on each stage, I will be happier with the overall appearance of my finishing.

Or I could stop trying to be such a perfectionist.

Dearly Beloved just said that will happen when I'm no longer in this world.

Friday, July 3, 2015


I had planned to show you a picture of what little I was able to accomplish in assembling the Fair Maiden Etui, but apparently the battery on the camera has died.

I've managed to get the back attached to the front. This is about half what I wanted to do, but everything takes longer than I think it should or want it to.  At one point, I had to just walk away and stitch some more on the needle roll that will eventually live inside the etui.

Of course the needle roll will have to be assembled, too.

To add to the aggravation, I realized when I was getting ready to put the lid together that I had forgotten to sew the spangles on. This meant I had to dig through the project bag until I found the spangles. Then I had to dig through the basket by my chair to find the thread I've been using to sew the spangles to the linen.

I am seriously thinking about taking a day or two off from assembly. Nothing against the project--I still love it. I think I just need to do something totally different for a day or so.

And it gives me an excuse to play in the stash.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Engineering, Phase IV

With a three day week-end starting, I decided to work on Fair Maiden again, and I got the back panel put together, including the drawstring pouch.

I have a feeling that I made it much more complicated than it should have been--but at this point, I'm so happy it's assembled and actually looks not half bad, that I don't care.

I still have to make the tassels for the ends of the drawstring, but there are a lot of little fiddly things that need to be done next in the assembly.  I think tomorrow is going to be fiddly day, unless I get a mad urge to vacuum and dust.

Since I've rarely had a mad urge to vacuum and dust, I imagine I'll be putting together little fiddly things.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just a little concerned

I finished the framework on one of the pieces for the Fair Maiden Needle Roll--and I'm getting a little concerned that I won't have enough of the green silk to do all the areas that will need it.

I still have to do the leaves that will go around the flowers that I need to stitch on both this piece and the other.

I've decided to do a Scarlet and worry about that another day. Meanwhile, I think I'm going to fill in some of the areas with broad chain and the overdyed silk. And that is going to take a while.

I may go stash diving to see if I have anything close to the green to hold in reserve, just in case. I'm not sure why I'm running short on this one thread--I have oodles and boodles of the other colors.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I've already pulled the orts out of the ort jar just in case.

And if auto-correct changes "ort "to "rot" or "oft" one more time, I may scream!