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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I am ready for Fall. Maybe it's the long, hot, dry summer. Maybe it's the fact that the last few weeks have been unusually stressful. Maybe it's the fact that my rut has gotten too deep. Whatever the reason, I am ready for a change. With today being the Autumnal Equinox, aka first day of Fall, it's the perfect time to do something different.

My favorite way to make a change is to rummage in the stash and assorted project baskets. And I have created my Fall-Into-Winter assortment of projects I want to work on.

And they are:

  • Eve in the Garden, of course. 
  • Merry Cox's Dewitt Academy set (last worked on in April--don't know why I stopped)
  • Autumn Jewel, an online class from EGA
  • Jackie du Plessis' September Morn
  • Catherine Theron's A Stitcher's Envelope
  • Chrysanthemums in Autumn from The Binding Stitch
  • and another project which I have agreed to work on but not show on the blog until a time in the future
Week-ends will still be focused on finishing, except for those days I spend with Mother. I will work on Christmas ornaments on those days. Otherwise, I'm going to skip around in this pile of projects for awhile.

Do I expect to finish them all by the Winter Solstice?  Not a chance.

Will I add and subtract from the list? Undoubtedly.

Am I happy about my choices? Completely.

I did get another couple of threads covered with gold thread on Eve this week.

I'm planning to use this part of the project for those days when my brain is dead but my fingers are still twitching. It is very soothing to stitch and I love the way it glitters. And I do have a date stitched in . . .

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Clawing back to normal?

We're still not quite to a normal state around here, but we're working on it!

I had to put in some long hours at work last week, but managed to fit in some stitching late at night. When you're working on a simple background stitch, it is amazing how quickly stress can be alleviated!

There will be a tree in the middle of the cartouche that belongs to the front of the box. Actually, there was supposed to be a tree on the back as well, but I have a feeling that this will be displayed flat more often than not. The tree is worked in silk purl with a raised stitch for the leaves. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the bottom would be smooshed (technical term), so I went with the attribution instead.

There will be more stress-reduction stitching in the future. I've started on the background stitch for the front and the back.

That, dear friends, is two rows of background. It's basically an encroaching Gobelin stitch worked over one thread. I think it's going to be just the mindless work I need for awhile longer. Of course, for viewers, it's about as interesting as watching grass grow and paint dry, but it is what it is. I'm trying to work everything on the project in the order it's given since I have a feeling it was laid out that way for a reason.

And I did get a tiny bit of finishing done yesterday:

On the left is the thread winder holder that goes with Fair Maiden, and on the right is a pincushion-topped container, which I am using to store the waxer that Jackie gave us. I only have one piece left to assemble and this entire set will be complete.

On the Mother Front, this has been a week. The Saint went to the beach for a few days, a trip planned for months and which she well deserved. Mother decided that I need to retire immediately so I could be available 24/7. I explained that I generally enjoy my job, that I'm not ready to retire, and that I will probably work a few years beyond standard retirement age because as long as I work, Dearly Beloved will work and he needs the structure or he will turn into a permanent lump on the couch. Besides, it would take longer than the few days The Saint would be gone to set up Social Security and give notice. This was not acceptable.

I am making a list of things NOT to do when (and if) I become an aged parent. As opposed to the only-slightly-aged parent I am currently.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Long week, short week-end

I am cranky. This has been one of those weeks. Baby Girl says they're all First World Problems. I prefer to think I'm being nibbled to death by ducks again.

I had to buy a new phone. My cute little red phone is too old and the battery it needs isn't made any longer. I did not get a smart phone. I got a stupid phone, which is all I wanted, but I have been getting grief about it from the more tech-savvy people in my life. It was referred to as a Granny phone. I replied that I am a Granny, so shut up.

I had planned to be at Salty Yarns this week-end, finally putting The Gift together. There was a work situation, and I could not figure out any combination of planes, trains, and automobiles that could get me there and back fast enough for me to attend enough of the class to know what I'm doing. I love the workshops at Salty Yarns and was really looking forward to this one, especially since I've had the stitching done on The Gift for years.

Of course, Baby Girl was going to go with me, but she came home from Dragoncon with Con Crud and has not been able to breathe through her nose for several days. I've recommended egg drop soup and have been glad I haven't been in a car with her and her germs for an extended period of time.

And tomorrow I'm going to spend the day with Mother, who is showing marked signs of improvement despite herself. I mentioned to The Saint that I had always figured Mother would outlast both of us. The Saint replied that she may well do that because the stress of dealing with her is going to kill us both.

There have been some silver linings to these clouds. I made time after work to stitch, and the tent stitch on one of Eve in the Garden's cartouches is complete.

I have dated it so I have to finish it by year's end. Granted, I dated it in very tiny numerals, Roman numerals at that, but it's dated.

And the mail carrier was very, very good to me today:

The Swan Sampler Guild had Betsy Morgan come to teach her new Pioneer Girl's Book Etui, and since they are very good to away-Swans, I was able to "ghost" the class.

And Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods offered add-ons to the Mr. Butters class I took through Shining Needle, which of course I had to have.

(Enabling report: SNS is also offering a new Christmas ornament from Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks. Yes, I've signed up. And, yes, the previous three designs are also being offered. Which reminds me, I need to put last year's ornament together. And I need to assemble the Shepherdess Tray. Along with everything else in the finishing basket.)

As I am taking a picnic lunch to Mother tomorrow so she won't have to eat in the dining hall, I won't get to stitch on any of that tonight. I will be in the kitchen instead.

Actually, having eaten in her dining hall, I'm doing this as much for myself as for her.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Travel to the 17th Century

This is a close to needlework as I've managed to get this week-end:

This reproduction of a band sampler design was on display in a 17th Century house, transplanted from its original site in England to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

We found it at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va, an absolute gem of a living history museum that The Big Kid had discovered a year or so ago. We're all history geeks, and we look for museums and historic sites on our travels. This had slipped under our radar--this place really needs more publicity! It's fantastic!--but we made up for it this past week-end.

There are two main areas, one representing the Old World and one the New World.

The creators of the museum imported buildings and artifacts from the areas whose inhabitants left their homes for a new start in the New World and who settled in the Shenandoah Valley. So there is an African farm to represent the slaves who were forcibly resettled here for a life of servitude. There is the English home, one from Ireland (I would argue that it should be referred to as the home of Ulster Scots or Scots-Irish), and another from Germany for the Old World half of the museum.

Then the New World or American half has a Native American settlement, then homes from 1740, 1820, and 1850 (I think--the wonkier of the two wonky knees announced it was stopping with the 1740 cabin and was going no farther without an ice pack, so I had to drop out).

Since I've been spending time in the 17th century in my needlework for the last several years, I spent a lot of time in the English house and here are just some of the pictures I took:

The cook fires were obviously burning in the kitchen. You can't really tell how low the ceiling is in this room--and our docent informed us that the roof had to be lifted to conform with Virginia state standards. Dearly Beloved and The Big Kid still looked as if they were going to hit their heads on the beams--so if you tend toward the taller side, be prepared.

Breakfast Prep

Hopefully you can see the strap work carving on this wall cabinet, so similar to some of the embroidered bands on 17th century samplers.

The Master's Seat in the main room. Again, beautiful carving on the chair and table.

Storage for the family treasures.
Of course, I immediately thought of stash storage.

One of the bedrooms, again with lovely strap work carving on the chest.

I didn't get a good picture of the Master Bedroom, the room was too gloomy. There was a bed with bed hangings and pillows piled at the head of the bed.

I wish I had taken a picture of the staircase to the second floor. It was very narrow, spiraled, very steep. I was not sure my large and lovely self would fit, and quite frankly, on the way up I was using the steps more like a ladder than a flight of stairs. It was an experience.

This having gone on long enough, there will be other pictures posted later in the week.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Adam and Eve

Well, Adam has his fig leaf and Eve has her hair on the first cartouche of Eve in the Garden.

I figured, given how hectic this week has been, that I was doing well to get this many stitches accomplished.

Monday we had a quarterly departmental meeting, and I got home late.

Tuesday I drove to Mother's retirement center to accompany her to the hospital for her MRI. She did have a mild stroke. She is getting therapy five days a week and it is helping her--there's a major difference in the past week. Now if we could get her to be just a wee bit more cooperative . . .

Wednesday was the first meeting of my local sampler guild.

And tonight I'm doing laundry and packing for our week-end trip to see The Flash. And his parents, of course.

We'll be home on Sunday and  I plan to spend all day Monday with a needle in my hand. I most definitely need it!