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, January 31, 2016

And there was much rejoicing

I finally had time to get some finishing done yesterday:

DeWitt Academy for Young Ladies
Merry Cox

The set is not completely complete. I still have to put the handles on the thread tray and put the needle book together--that may happen later today.

And Sarah Williams has a finished flower pot and a bird:

And to make for a very happy Saturday, the prework for the two Sherri Jones (Patrick's Woods) classes I'm taking at Salty Yarns arrived:

I also need to finish the prework for the Jackie du Plessis class I'm taking in March.

It appears that I need to plug in the electric needle.

By the way, I seem to have lost a bunch of followers suddenly. From what I understand, Google, who owns blogger, has decided, in its infinite wisdom, that one cannot follow a blog unless one has a gmail account. I don't know of anyone who appreciates this "efficiency" move.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Do you see those lovely cross-stitched centers in the flowers?

They're supposed to be satin stitches instead.

The only satin stitches on the whole sampler, as far as I can tell, now that I've actually read the directions.

I have three choices.

  • Leave them alone--which would always bother me because I would know that it's wrong
  • Rip out perfectly good cross stitches and stitch over them.
  • Work the satin stitches over the cross stitches

Actually, I'm kind of leaning towards the third option. That would pad the satin stitches and keep any little bits of the ground cloth from showing through.  Of course that would mean that I'll have to do the same thing on the flower pot on the other side.

Sigh . . .

Quite frankly, if the levels of proficiency and productivity that I have shown in January persist through the rest of the year, I may have to pack my needles away and take up another pursuit. Like maybe hang gliding.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tired and Cranky

I came down with a virus thing over the week-end. After dealing with chills and fever for a couple of days, I am cranky, cranky, cranky. And tired. And really cranky.

Part of the cranky comes from reading about all the wonderful projects people were working on while snowed in over the week-end.   Here I am, with loads of lovely and challenging things to stitch, and not enough functioning brain cells to do any of them.

So . . . I pulled out Sarah Williams, which is primarily cross stitched, and about what I can focus on.

And I have a flower.

Maybe tonight I'll stitch in a pot.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Unpacking and Untacking

You may have heard that this side of the US is getting slammed by a major winter storm.


I drove to south Georgia on Wednesday for a work-related meeting, a drive which took over an hour longer than usual because I got caught behind a logging truck on a two-lane, winding country road with almost no spots where you can pass--and there was oncoming traffic in the few spots available. I nearly had an aneurysm. I don't have much patience with driving slowly. You may have picked up on that.

I went to bed early, got up yesterday morning, and checked the weather forecast. When I attend this meeting, I generally work on my laptop from my hotel room the afternoon after the meeting, then drive home the next day.  When I looked at the forecast, it looked as if the storm wouldn't hit my little corner of the Carolinas until mid-afternoon today. So . . .I figured if I got up very early, I could beat the storm home and follow my regular routine.

Went to the meeting, had another shorter meeting afterwards, grabbed fast food for lunch, went back to my hotel.

Thought perhaps I should check the weather again, just in case.

Forecast had changed since 7 a.m. The first stage of the storm was supposed to start at about 1 a.m. today.

I threw everything into my suitcase and briefcase, threw them in the trunk, threw myself into the car, and headed north.

In my Misspent Youth, I was the Queen of Late Night Drives. Tell me about a concert that required a long road trip, I was the first in the car. Suggest that perhaps it would be fun to go to New Orleans for a week-end, even though we would have to drive all night, and I had the map out (remember, no GPS in my Misspent Youth). Need someone to drive the car or keep the driver awake, I was your girl.

Apparently, I'm out of the habit. Or I am aged.

I made it home before the storm arrived. I woke up to a couple of inches of snow and ice, I worked from home until a transformer blew and the power went off for a couple of hours, and now I am ready to make a big pot of beef stew for the week-end.

As soon as I stop vibrating from the drive.

And I never took my needlepoint project out of its bag.

Sigh . . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Packing and Tacking

I have to go out of town early tomorrow for a business trip. And, of course, I need to take a project to work on during the two evenings I'll be sitting in a hotel room after dinner.

I was going to wait until February to do the second ornament in the series but this has several advantages.

18 mesh canvas, so I don't need magnification
18 mesh canvas, so I don't need excellent lighting
18 mesh canvas, because it's easy to work on.

Basically, it's the 18 mesh canvas.

I need to throw my clamps into the suitcase with the kit since there are a few things I'll need both hands to do. Having stayed in this hotel before, I know they will work on the desk in the room.

And I need to talk myself out of taking three other projects. I'm only going to be gone two nights and will be working or traveling during the day, so I really only need to take one project.


Only one project.

Maybe I'll go look for some more stretcher bars.

Monday, January 18, 2016

No More Plans

I am not going to make any more plans for the week-end.

For the last two week-ends, I have planned to work on Eve's background, do some finishing, and start the prep work required before actually stitching on three different projects.

I got nothing at all done last week-end.

This is all I stitched this week-end just past:

 This verse is also part of Hands to Work, Hearts to God.

Saturday morning I had finished reading the newspaper, had my first shot of caffeine for the day, and was idly contemplating different spools of thread so I could determine the best match for the finishing I was going to do.

And this is when Dearly Beloved came charging down the stairs. He was a Man with a Mission. He had A Project.  And he wanted/needed/desired my assistance.

I, too, had projects.  And why, you ask, did I let his Project supersede My Projects?

I've been married to this man for almost forty years, and I have learned that he needs supervision lest he wreak havoc on the project, himself, or the house in general.  It is safer for all concerned if I "assist" him in his pursuits.

So I did.

And I'm making no plans for the coming week-end, just in case.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Heart & Flowers

It has taken almost  three days to get just this much stitched.

It's been a very busy week at work, and by the time I got home, all I wanted to do was sit in the corner and rock. Actually, that was about all I was capable of.  Today, my lovely assistant and I periodically looked at each other over our cubicle walls and announced that we were done, totally done, stick-a-fork-in-us-because-we're-done-done.

I am very glad the week-end has started.

And, by the way, this is the second bit of prework I'm doing for Jackie du Plessis' Hands to Work, Hearts to God set, a class I will be taking with the Virginia Guild of Needlewomen in  March. I've wanted to take this class for a long, long time, and it's finally come my way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Lovely Lyre

I have the first little bit of prework for my next Jackie du Plessis class worked.

Isn't this sweet?  I love it, and I was planning to work on the next piece in the list of things that need to be stitched before class.

But then Tricia Nguyen posted two free online classes that use threads from the Frostings Club*, and I've printed out the directions.

And now I'm tempted to go off in an entirely different direction.

I need to stop--I'm getting too many things underway at the same time, and that way lies disaster, when I don't get anything done and start getting frustrated about it.

So, I'm going to take a deep breath and go back to the original plan.  At least for tonight.

*For information on the Frostings Club, you may want to mosey over to and click on the Shop heading. Don't say I didn't warn you about the temptations to be found there.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Progress Report . . . Not

I had plans for the week-end. I had many plans. All of them involved a threaded needle in my hand.

This is all that actually occurred:

Starting another band on Mary Atwood was not in the original plans. This happened only because the scroll frame was sitting next to the chair and the chart and thread were convenient.

I got sucked into one of Dearly Beloved's projects.

Enough said.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Progress Report

And there was much rejoicing! Last night I finished the band that gave me brain cramps on Mary Atwood!

Once I figured out the logic of the stitches, it went pretty smoothly.

Then I counted down and got the next dividing band worked so I will have the parameters for the next reversible band.

And hence comes the dilemma. This was supposed to be my alternate for Eve's background. Eve's background is glorious and beautiful, but it is deadly dull and boring to stitch. To recap, I wanted to find a project to alternate with Eve--that would get Eve's background worked and give me something else to enjoy stitching.

But now I'm really into working on Mary, and poor Eve is in imminent danger of being abandoned again.

I must show fortitude and think about how glorious and beautiful Eve's background will be, and how much fun I will have with Eve once her background is stitched.

Yeah, let's see if that works.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sidetracked, not sideways

All day today, while I was at work, in between emails and phone calls and correspondence and a couple of mini-conferences with coworkers, I was thinking about spending this evening with a needle in my hand. Quite frankly, those thoughts got me through a couple of phone calls and several emails.

Last night, you see, the reversible pattern for the band I'm stitching on Mary Atwood clicked in my pointed little head. I got part of a motif finished and then went to a sampler guild meeting. By the time I got home, it was time to get ready for today, so I didn't get anything more done.

Ah, I thought, Thursday night has nothing planned, other than a quick errand after work. Dinner is taken care of (Thursday night is pizza night). All I have to do is come home, drop my briefcase and purse, and stitch away.


Didn't happen.

The errand, to pick up my new glasses (again), took longer than anticipated because apparently half the county also use the same facility I do and all of them also needed to pick up glasses.

Then I realized that perhaps I should put gas in the car so I could get home.

Then I arrived home to discover that Dearly Beloved, who has been doing the grocery shopping ever since he discovered you get an additional discount for being aged if you shop on Thursday, forgot to pick up a pizza. This meant grabbing some stuff for a desperation dinner and throwing it together.

And then, I talked to Mother, The Saint, and Baby Girl on the phone--not that I mind that at all, but I can't balance the cell phone on my shoulder and stitch without hanging up on someone.

I finally threaded my needle hours after originally planned and this is what I did.

I can say I'm almost halfway across. Almost. Not all the way to the end of the band, but almost to the halfway point. And I've counted down very carefully and put a few stitches into the next dividing band.

I might have done a little more, but this arrived today.

I'm taking this class from Jackie du Plessis in March and we have prestitching.  And, yes, I seem to be stalking Jackie this year. Several of her classes that I have wanted for years are being taught at a variety of venues, along with the new ones she is introducing this year, so I'm wandering around the country and stitching smalls.

But first, I want to finish that band on Mary Atwood.

Sadly, it won't happen tonight.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Backwards, forwards, and upside down

I pulled Mary Atwood out of her pillowcase last night.

It made sense to pick this one. I have 24 out of 36 bands finished, so I'm only a third of the way from a finish. But it's been awhile since I've been immersed in the 17th century, and it's taking some adjustment.

For one thing, I had to get used to working over three threads instead of two. This led me to wonder why and when we went from stitching over three to stitching over two. Did some highly influential personage in the Broderers Guild announce one day that this was the proper way to stitch?  Was the ability to spin very fine threads and weave very fine linen lost? That could result in lower counts of linen. If you work over three threads on a lower count, you end up with a bed sheet instead of a sampler--the first time I saw the original Loara Standish sampler I was amazed by how tiny it was.

Then, there is the reversibility factor. If you're going to make your sampler completely reversible, you have to turn it sideways and upside down to make it easier to work. This can be very liberating, but there are times when you're looking at the chart turned one way and the work turned another and bringing the two together takes some thought.

Actually, after a long day at work yesterday, spending an hour on Mary made my brain hurt. I don't mean that I had a headache, I mean that my frontal lobes were begging for mercy.  I am assuming that was caused by the development of new neural pathways through my aging brain.

I don't know if I can take more neural pathway development tonight. I think I may work on Eve's background, which just requires patience. I may have some of that.

Monday, January 4, 2016


First finish of 2016!

Needle in a Haystack, the first day of a Stitcher's Christmas, is stitched!

Now I'm trying to figure out (again) what to alternate with Eve's background. I could do the next ornament in the series, but I'm inclined to schedule them so I'm working on one a month. Otherwise, I think I might be inclined to blaze right through. And I know there will be months when a fairly fast finish will keep me going.

I'm thinking about one of the largish samplers I have started. I can think of at least three that are halfway done and it would be nice to have them all the way done.  Or maybe there are at least four. Or five.

I think I need to go wander through the stash again.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Just like eating popcorn

About a hundred years ago (actually, maybe about ten), David McCaskill offered a series of Christmas ornaments for stitchers. I don't now remember how I obtained the kits--it may have been a monthly series from a shop, and that is likely since I was doing a lot of monthly series from shops at the time--but it's been hanging out in the stash since then.  I ran across the kits when I was rummaging around looking for something entirely different.

When I was thinking of something to alternate with the background on Eve, it occurred to me that this would be a good project. I figured it would be something I could work on for a couple of hours, then lay aside for Eve, then go back to after working on Eve.

I am here to tell you it was a little more addictive than that.

"A Needle in a Haystack"

I got half of it done yesterday while waiting for the latest repairs on Mother's car to be finished.

None of it took very long to do. All of it was fun, especially since I didn't need additional magnification.

Am I going to set it aside today to work on Eve?  When I just have long random stitches that will create the haystack to stitch?

Not likely. I may have a finish for 2016 before the day is out.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I'd be happy if I could spend the entire year the way I spent today . . .

Slept late . . . read the newspaper in a leisurely manner . . . caught up with the websites, blogs, and Facebook posts I usually read . . . played in the stash . . . stitched . . . played in the kitchen . . . and now I'm waiting for 9 o'clock and a new Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery.

This is what I stitched this afternoon:

I worked on some of the background for Eve in the Garden from the center of the Fleur de Lis-ish motif   to the right. That was about three hours of work.

I know it's going to take a good long while to finish the background, so I've been trying to decide what project (or projects) to alternate with this, simply to avoid boredom.

I did find some Christmas ornaments in the stash that I've wanted to do for awhile. It may be time to pull them out, dust them off, and start stitching. I've been saying for years that you should start stitching for the next Christmas on December 26th. Maybe this is the year I'll do that.