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, February 28, 2018

Back to Williamsburg

Dearly Beloved and I are in Williamsburg!

Actually, we arrived yesterday. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant, got checked in and unloaded the car, and I went to the stitching room for my first day at the retreat.

One of the high points is getting the special edition stitching accessory made for us by the extremely talented Rachael Kinnison. This year, she surpassed herself.

Threadwinder, pin keep, and scissors fob, all designs based on period motifs--my picture does not do the delicacy of her artwork justice, and you can't feel the silky finish of the wooden pieces.

We also had a divine reception, celebrating the five years we have met at the Lodge to celebrate friendship, needlework, and good food and drink!

And I've been trying to stitch.

In the stitching room yesterday, I discovered I can't count. It took me three times to get the left side of this heart to match where it was supposed to.

(There is an outline there, it just blends into the background. )

This is the beginning of Gay Ann Rogers' Vicntage Roses Heart, which literally arrived on the doorstep the day before we left. I have probably stitched at least two dozen hearts that Gay Ann designed over the years. I should be able to stitch in the outline with the needle between my teeth and blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back.

Not so much.

This disturbing trend continued today. We are very lucky to have a class on 17th century stitches with Chris Berry, and we started out with variations on buttonhole stitch today.

With one exception, I have stitched every single type of buttonhole we covered today. Numerous times. Very nicely, I might add.

I was fine this morning.

When we came back from our lunch break, it was a different story entirely.

I couldn't get my tension correct, my spacing in the right place, my turns and returns accomplished with anything better than a kindergartener's skill with a sewing card. It didn't help that I was sitting next to Rachael, across from Amy Mitten, and two seats down from Katherine Diuguid. I was surrounded by Greatness, and I was Not Worthy.

I cut out more than I left in this afternoon, and my last pitiful attempts will be cut out again in the morning.

However, my resolve is strong and I shall prevail! Maybe not in class, but when I get home in my stitching nest, with my feet up and all my stuff around me, I am going to do me some fine 17th century stitching!

You heard it here first.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Foliage and Funky Trees

It's been another one of those weeks. We are still training on the new system at work. While I'm comfortable with some aspects, there are other little bits and pieces that I think will make sense only once we're working in it full time.

Should I mention I leave the training sessions feeling like my brain is fried?

And that all this involves long, long hours?

(A little cheese with this whine would be appreciated.)

Anyway, I have been stitching away on Mary Otter when I finally get home.

We have the first funky tree and a vine:

We have planted flowers and other plants between the fence posts:

And we have the second funky tree:

This leaves the remainder of the stripes, the third funky tree, and the carriage and horses to stitch.

I'm going to work on the stripes tonight, but then Mary (and I) are going on vacation.

Mary is actually having a stay-cation. She travels with a lot of stuff, and the motifs that are left to do are very detailed. I have come to the conclusion that I would be much more accurate in stitching her if I'm in my own nest.

I, on the other hand, am leaving for Williamsburg at the crack of dawn Tuesday morning for my annual retreat with friends.  This year we're having a four-day class that starts on Wednesday, so I'm not going to have as much time in the stitching room as usual--not a problem, since I'm really looking forward to the class. I wish I could have gone for the whole 10-day retreat, but between the number of events I want to attend this year and the number of vacation days available, that won't happen.

At least, not this year.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Strawberries and Stripes

The border is done.

Two of the five stripes of green tent stitch that go all the way across the bottom of the sampler are done.

Between the workload at the paying job last week and a week-end of non-stop stitching, I am done.

I think I'm going to sit in my corner tonight and watch the Olympics. Or I may just stare blankly into space, and hope I'll be ready for another busy work week.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

All the Way Around the Block

It has rained, off and on, all week-end.

The Olympics are on.

We hunkered down in front of the TV and I have stitched, so the strawberry vine is worked all the way around the sampler.

I thought about starting the little green leaves and stems and adding the strawberries next, but I have a long week ahead. We're implementing a new system at work and I know I have some overtime hours ahead. So I've decided to work on the bands of tent stitch below the house and lawn, which require very little sense and virtually no counting. After staring at a computer screen for hours and hours, I likely won't have enough functioning brain cells to count, so tent stitch it is.

I hope to do the rest of the band next week-end, then on to the fun motifs that fill that last part of the sampler.

I may have to start thinking about Life after Mary Otter.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I have The Plague.

Before I was forced to take up the ginger-ale-and-saltine-cracker diet, I got another chunk of Mary Otter's border finished:

I am now going back to bed. I am officially a week behind on my self-imposed schedule for February.

Sigh . . .

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Yesterday's Stitch in Public Day

Yesterday was Stitch in Public Day. My EGA chapter met at a local Starbucks to stitch and socialize.

Meanwhile, Dearly Beloved and I went to visit Mother at her retirement center.

Mother has a new lift chair and they are not cooperating. The main problem is that Mother keeps disconnecting the remote that controls it as well as the plug to the wall that powers it. The Saint and the center's maintenance crew rearranged the furniture to block her from reaching the plug. Mother coerced persuaded her good buddy, who is a little younger and much spryer, to crawl behind the chair and bookcase to unplug everything. They finally put signs on the wall telling her to leave the chair plugged in. This has had no effect on Mother, who keeps trying to unplug stuff, but has kept her friend from "helping" her.

Mother is of the generation that does not waste power. To this day, if she has to "use the facilities" she turns off her TV, even though we've tried to tell her that actually uses more power than leaving it on for the few minutes she's out of the room. We've also tried to tell her that she doesn't have to pay an individual power bill; it's part of her monthly room-and-board fees. She is convinced otherwise.

She is also convinced that the lift chair is going to fling her across the room. Let me tell you, that thing rises so slowly and majestically that she's more likely to slide out of it veeeeeeeeeeery slooooooooowly than to be catapulted.

The Saint has been back and forth ever since the chair arrived to deal with all of this, then she and I decided that perhaps Dearly Beloved might have some influences. Mother is of the generation that believes things more when she hears them from A Man. (This drives The Saint and me to distraction. Don't even get me started on Baby Girl's reaction.)

So, we drove down yesterday and while Dearly Beloved was conducting an informational session on the chair with Mother, I hung out in one of the sitting areas with my stitching. I took my lunch project, which is a crewel piece, that I can work on without additional magnification or lighting.

Let me tell you, if you want to generate interest in needlework, take a vintage Elsa Williams crewel design to a retirement center.

I had taken three stitches when I realized I was surrounded by little old ladies. There was oohing and aahing, which was all very flattering. A lively conversation arose about similar designs that they had stitched when their hands and eyes still allowed them to do so. They were joined by two gentlemen, who talked about their late wives and the needlework they used to do. It was quite unexpected and quite lovely.

This is the piece that created the discussion:

The high point of the day was when one of the ladies told me, "It's so nice to see that young people are embroidering."

I got my Medicare card last year.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Lovely Lawn

The last grass seed was planted and has sprouted!

As much as I've whined and whinged about doing all this tent stitch, it created a perfect, velvety lawn and nicely frames the pretty posies. I don't know if working the sampler this way was Mary's idea, or if she did it because her teacher told her to, but the delicacy of the stitches sets off the house quite nicely.

I had hoped to have this part of the sampler finished by the end of January, and I put in the last stitch on the lawn at 10 last night. Now it's time to set February's goals.

And they are:

  • finish the strawberry Queen stitch border
  • stitch the road below the house
  • work the rest of the funky tree and the vine that runs up the left side of the house
  • fill in the flowers around the fence posts

If I manage all that, it will leave only the two funky trees on the right side of the house, the carriage-and-pair, and all the bugs and butterflies flitting about for March.

I had best get started.