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, June 28, 2017

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Monday night I got the ropey thing stitched (and did a very happy dance) and then started on the leafy stalks from which all the other bits and pieces rise.

I got all the leaves and stalk on the left side and the center worked in before I needed to go to bed.

If you look at the picture, you will notice that there is no stalk in the center.

I came home from work last night and finally had a chance to plop myself in the wing chair to stitch.

I looked at the piece.

I looked at the chart.

I looked back at the piece.

I looked back at the chart.

I looked at the piece again.

I looked at the chart again.

No matter how many times I looked back and forth, the piece did not match the chart.

I had made a counting error early on the base of the stalk. So I had to rip. And believe me, ripping out double running worked with a sharp needle so the stitches can be pierced and therefore look more even--it is not easy nor is it fast.

This led to more fuming.

OK, deep breath time.

I wanted to get all the pieces stitched before Friday so I could take them to work and photocopy them so I could make the paper patterns needed for finishing-finishing. Normally I would have not worried because I could do that at home. However, our printer/scanner/copier has turned itself into a door stop and Dearly Beloved has not completed his research and deliberations into a replacement. He may never complete his research and deliberations, but that is a rant for another day.

And I wanted to get that done by Friday because I am giving myself a stay-cation next week. I will have nine days in a row to do what I want (within reason) which includes not setting an alarm clock and stitching myself silly.

I had also planned a very specific project to work on next week, which is not Virgin Queen. I wanted to get Virgin Queen finished before I started the new project.

So random thoughts about this current first-world dilemma:

  • Why I won't allow myself to start another project before I get this one done?
  • I start new projects all the time without getting previous projects finished and it doesn't bother me normally.
  • If I don't do the project I planned, the world will not tilt on its axis and throw everybody off.
  • I don't have any deadlines or any reason to follow a set plan
  • First born girl children who feel responsible for the world turning on its axis set up too many rules and regulations for themselves.
I'm going to trot off to my EGA meeting in a few and not think about any of this for a couple of hours.

After all, it's just stitching.

And since I want to do it all, it really doesn't make any difference in what order I do it.

Monday, June 26, 2017


OK, it may not look like much to be proclaiming a triumph over--but this little bit of this project gave me fits yesterday.

I kept getting off track--couldn't count to two because I kept counting to three--ripped out more than I left in--accidentally cut threads that should not have been cut--yesterday I could not do a single thing right.

And it's ironic because I have stitched virtually this same pattern on samplers and other projects before. In double running. Without trauma.

Consequently, I finally put it in time-out and sat and fumed until bedtime.

Today as I was driving home from work, I decided, no matter what, I was going to get this done and move on.  And I did.

Now I'm going to work on leaves and flowers and pretty things.

And hope I can continue to count correctly.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wine & Roses, Two

After a long day of stitching, all the leaves and vines on the back of the second band on the second panel of the Virgin Queen are done.

The happy dance has been celebrated.

I think it looks very William Morris-ish, and I did finally figure out a pattern I could follow, so it wasn't quite as painful as I feared.

And I decided which thread winder designs I wanted to use and got those stitched.

I went with darker values than the original designs on both of these because I have left my usual rut and gone wild on the lining fabric.

Please keep in mind that going wild is relative.

We had a choice among a yellow-green, blue (my usual option), and a rusty, cinnamon-y red. The red made me think of Elizabeth I more than the other two, so I threw caution to the winds and opted for it. Actually, I think I'm going to like it a lot.

I have already outlined the last panel and the two halves of the scissors fob, so I'm going to thread up my needle again and see what i can accomplish before bedtime.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wine and Roses

The grapevine band on the second panel of the Virgin Queen is stitched, but the flower panel is taking me a little more brain power than I have at the end of a work day.

Betsy warned us that this was the most difficult band for double running, so I was prepared to work at it.

Usually I can figure out a double running pattern just by studying it. Not so much with this one--so I used my fallback method. I enlarge and photocopy the pattern and try to follow the pattern with my pudgy finger (that's one reason I enlarge the pattern). If that doesn't work, I get out the colored pencils and try to work out the outward path and the return journey.

There are a lot of dead ends on this pattern.

And I think I need to wait until the week-end to actually stitch it. Meanwhile, last night I very carefully counted out the locations of the centers of the posies and I think I'll go ahead and plant those flowers on the band. That way, there will be progress made.

Unless, of course, my counting wasn't quite as careful as I am assuming it was.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And there was much rejoicing

I managed to get the Vanilla thread on the Cream background band stitched on Virgin Queen.

It was a beast to stitch. And you can barely see it, even in person.

Oh, and I finished the rest of this panel as well.

Usually, when I'm stitching a double running pattern, I figure out where the border stitches are and start working across them. When I come to a place where the inner bits of the design intersect, I meander off and do those parts of the motif, then return to the border stitches and go along until the next intersection.

On this pattern, that was not working. I was so totally lost I would have needed pebbles or bread crumbs or something to get me back to where I was supposed to be.

So, I did all the border stitches along the bottom border, both outbound and return trip. Then I went all the way across the top border and, on the return trip, filled in the squiggly bits in the middle. That way I had guidelines on both top and bottom as reference points.

That worked.

And this is not the section that Betsy says is the hardest to do in double running.

I'm not sure if this is going to build new neural pathways or destroy the ones I have.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Baby Girl

I have been asked what Baby Girl does while I'm taking classes--other than acting as driver and hauler of suitcases and tote bags.

She is quite an accomplished needlewoman in her own right.

Before we left for Salty Yarns, she created a new watch band.


Her watchband broke. Instead of buying a new one, she made one instead. It started out to be sort of steam punk with bobbin lace (which I can't do) and metal bits, but she decided that would be too fragile. So she designed a beaded band (I also can't bead).  I like the offset clasp, so that she had more design area for the beaded band itself.

And while we were there, she threaded up her electric needle and did the outlining for the Halloween etui that came from Blue Ribbon Designs several years ago.

And why isn't she taking the classes with me?  Who do you think is going to end up with my stash anyway?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I came home yesterday after leaving Salty Yarns on Monday and spending Monday night at Baby Girl's home. Both legs of the trip were much, much easier than the trip up on Saturday--the longest delay we had was the fifteen-minute wait for a table at The Carrot Tree in Williamsburg.

What I was going to do was unpack, throw some laundry in the washer, catch up on the newspapers. write a few entries in my journal since I forgot to take it with me, blog about the class and the trip, and maybe stitch for a little bit. I also fully planned to go to bed early to make up for not sleeping as much as I usually do.

I unpacked and threw a load in the washer.

The sun was shining and I had daylight for stitching, so I thought I would just stitch for a little bit and catch up on the newspapers, journal, and write a blog when I started losing the sun in my corner. And I could still get to bed at a reasonable hour, since it was back to work today.

I started stitching.

And that was it. There was Chinese for dinner. There were a few loads shifted from washer to dryer. A couple of them even were folded up, although they're still sitting on the kitchen table.

And I got this much done before I forced myself to go to bed. Later than usual.

I had to go back to work today and I had to be a responsible adult tonight and make grocery lists and do more laundry and pay a couple of bills and do all those deadly dull and boring things.

I'd much rather be stitching.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mojo Lost, Mojo Found

OK--earlier in the week, my stitching mojo vanished in a puff of smoke. Gone. Move along, nothing to see here.

I tried. I sat with the threaded needle in my hand for about an hour one night while watching reruns of Big Bang Theory. Not one stitch was taken, and they were episodes I had seen multiple times before.

And here I was on my way to Salty Yarns to take a class from Betsy Morgan, and it's a project that I've wanted since it appeared on her blog. To say that I was afraid I would be a bump on a log in class is an understatement.

So I travelled to Baby Girl's last night and we got up bright and early to make the trek to Maryland from North Carolina.

And if there was ever a trip that would make a person reconsider taking a class, this was that trip.

  • There was a horrendous accident on the interstate that meant it took us twice as long to reach the Virginia line as usual. It looked like it had happened hours earlier, and the road was still blocked.
  • We missed the Jamestown Ferry and had to wait for the next one.
  • We decided to have a leisurely lunch and it was delightful and I do not regret one moment of the time we spent off the road.
  • For some unknown reason--and we have never figured this out--the traffic on I-64 is always slow and bumper-to-bumper. Today it was worse than usual. It took two hours to go forty miles.
  • The rest of the trip was fairly easy, but at this point, we were so far behind our usual schedule and so road-weary it was hard to maintain our cherub-like demeanors.
  • And we got the very last parking spot in the hotel parking lot so we are about as far away from the lobby as we could get. We may actually be in Delaware.
But then we arrived at the Lankford and Salty Yarns, and we have been welcomed with their usual gracious hospitality, and once again, Sara provided the absolute best goodie basket.

It is all housed in this perfect box:

And I'm feeling the urge to stitch again.

But if you think I'm even going to attempt that tonight, after 11 hours on the road--forgive me, but are you insane?

Monday, June 5, 2017


I have the eyelet band on Frances Burwell stitched.

Of course, I could continue with this tonight, but the mail carrier brought me something today that is very, very tempting.

The linen and Gilt Silk Twist for the Harmony Casket arrived, and I am so very, very tempted to set it up. I'm not sure that's a brilliant idea after a very hectic Monday at work, but I might get myself organized to set it up,

Actually, I just need to get some things organized. I'm leaving on Friday for Salty Yarns and a workshop with Betsy Morgan, and I should decide what I'm going to take to stitch before the workshop starts.

One way or the other, something is going to be organized tonight!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Letters and numbers, letters and numbers

I've finally finished the alphabet and number band on Frances Burwell:

It is all stitched reversibly. The second alphabet is worked in the reversible cross that results in a four-sided stitch on the back.  I could have stitched half a dozen alphabets in the time it takes to stitch two reversibly.

So, you might ask, as a friend did--if you're not going to frame the sampler so the backside can be seen, why do it?

Well, for one thing, when I'm working a reproduction, it just doesn't occur to me to stitch it other than the way the original embroiderer worked.

And that includes strange things, like the green lines running from top to bottom along each side. Sometimes the sampler runs into and over those lines:

It all adds to the charm--at least, that's how I look at it.

The other thing is that, judging from the brain cramps that have occurred as I've worked, new neural pathways are being created inside my head. At least, that's the hope.  I'd hate to have the brain cramps without some benefit from them.

At any rate, it's now done and I can go on to the pretty parts.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Well, That Happened

Last night I had determined I was going to work on Frances Burwell this week-end. I even pulled her out of her pillowcase and did a few more letters on the second row.

But then I wandered into the stash room to look for something and discovered what had made the thump in the night.

Background--a week or so ago, Dearly Beloved and I had just gone to bed and turned out the lights when we heard a thump. It wasn't a loud thump, but it was a thump. So Dearly Beloved hauled himself out of bed and went on a tour of inspection to see what had happened and if we were being invaded. He found nothing. We decided it must have been something outside and went to sleep.

But when I opened the door to the stash room (for obvious reasons, I keep it shut) I found that there had either been a Disturbance in the Force or a small earthquake--or something had just shifted for some unknown reason--and one of my storage tubs had tumbled to the floor.  The lid had popped off and the contents were strewn across the floor.

You can't leave needlework strewn across the floor--or I can't--so I started picking up and sorting and of course, I found treasures. And now I want to work on every single one of them.

Here's a silk and metal thread design from the much missed Jean Taggart--probably started twenty years ago.

And another silk and metal thread design, this one from Sue Kerndt.

And this adorable snowman from Jody Adams.

When I took the classes, I was doing a lot of pilot stitching with deadlines all over the place, and I didn't get back to them after the seminars were over. But now that I've found them again, I want to stitch them.

I'm a little concerned, though. I think my stitching was better then than it is now so I need to up my game to go back to these.

Anyway, while I was trying to decide which one to tackle first, the mail carrier delivered this to my door.

I found this on the Bay of Evil. I've wanted this piece for years and years and years. The grandmother of one of my best friends had this stitched and framed on her kitchen wall--and by the time I saw it, the kit had been discontinued. I don't know why it appealed to me so, but I've been searching for it for over forty years--and there it was at a reasonable price, so I grabbed it.

Which just goes to show, if I'm meant to have a needlework project, somehow it will eventually come my way.

The only problem is that I'm back to where I was before. What am I going to work on first?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Little Lambsies

Catherine Theron's Early Spring Lambs needlebook is done!

And here is the outside:

And here is the inside:

And here is the pocket between the inside and the outside where the scissors live:

I think I need to press the needle page down--it accidentally got bent up when I tied the case closed. And I think I may make the ties a little shorter--they're very long.

So what do I pick up next?

I'm really not sure. There are samplers and smalls and new projects and old projects and projects in a variety of different techniques and they are all calling my name. What a wonderful dilemma to have!