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.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Home again . . .

I've been home since Tuesday, but when I went back to work on Wednesday, I discovered the email, voice mail, and regular mail had all exploded all over my desk.

I'm finally caught up, but by the time I came home, I could do no more than stare blankly into space. I did go to EGA Wednesday night (I had to, I presented the program) but that's the closest I've been to actually holding a needle since last week-end.

Hopefully, I will stitch this week-end. I have motivation because look what came in the mail this week:

The only problem is that I also have temptation to stray from stitching to reading. Look what else arrived:

I know the minute I read the first page, I will be doomed to continue reading until I turn the last page. Sandford's books are roller-coasters--and you can't get off midway.

What a lovely dilemma to have!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Salty and Strawberries

Baby Girl and I are in Maryland at Salty Yarns for classes with Sherri Jones. And it is as wonderful and enjoyable as every other visit in the past has been.

Travel here was not without its . . . irritations . . . we have got to work on our timing and plan to try something different when we come back in June. Apparently we hit the Norfolk area just as the Navy Yard changes shifts. This is not good planning. There is already a bottleneck where four lanes have to merge into two to get through the tunnel. When you add a whole lot more cars and trucks and every other vehicle short of a donkey cart, it gets a trifle stressful. I have to admit, that was the worst of it, but it did make the rest of the trip a wee bit more tiring than it could have been.

However, we made it, we unpacked, we went to the lovely opening reception on Friday night, we saw old friends, and we were both in bed and dead to the world before ten.

I had class yesterday. I took the Fanciful Fragaria class. Fragaria is apparently Latin for Strawberries. I had five years of Latin about half a century ago and did not remember that.

Sherri is a wonderful teacher and I love her classes and her designs. And I have part of a strawberry.

It is stitched on silk gauze. This will make half of one of the strawberries that will dangle from the handle of the little scrim basket we were to make during the afternoon portion of the class.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you will remember that I need many deep breaths and loads of time to do anything resembling finish-finishing. I also do best when I can work at home where I can walk away from my worktable and beat my head against an easily accessible wall as necessary. And I should never try to finish anything after lunch. I should take a nap after lunch. This is why I take my lunch hour at work as late as possible and do all the complicated things in the early morning. I am no good in the afternoon.

I was definitely no good yesterday afternoon. I tell myself every time I take a class--if the afternoon session involves putting something together, take notes, take pictures, avoid sharp objects (sewing needles and scissors), and do my best to look alert so my table mates won't feel the need to see if I'm still breathing. After fumbling and bumbling, I decided to do the pin cushion basket when I am back at home.

Baby Girl is taking today's class, the Plump and Pleated Parlor Purse. She will surely hold up the family honor as a competent stitcher and finisher.

Meanwhile, I'm going to stitch more strawberry halves.

And in case you're interested, here are the contents of the goody bag--all kinds of glorious things to help make me a more competent finisher. 

Salty Yarns and the Lankford Hotel have become my favorite venue for classes--have definite plans to be back in June and hope to be able to attend classes in September as well.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Today will be better . . .

I'm at Baby Girl's, waiting for her to wake up so we can head to Salty Yarns and our classes with Sherri Jones.

I'm glad she's driving today.

Yesterday was ridiculous.

First of all, I overslept. I don't know if I forgot the set the clock, or I turned it off accidentally when I woke up at 4 and wanted to see what time it was, or if it's dying. I usually get up at six. I do this because I do not function well in the morning and I need time to putter around so I can wake up enough to drive myself to work.

Yesterday I rolled over and thought, gee, the sun is really rising early. Wait, it wasn't this bright yesterday. So I looked at the clock. It was quarter to seven.

You know those cartoon cats who get startled and spring straight up in the air.

I was one of those cats.

I did make it to work on time and worked until two. Then I left to make the drive to Baby Girl's. This is never a pleasant drive. It's the interstate, there is construction, the traffic is always heavy. It is not fun. Yesterday we added high, gusty winds to the mix, so I was fighting to keep the car on the straight and narrow. This is not a relaxing way to navigate.

Finally arrived in one piece at Baby Girl's and the general consensus of the household was that Chinese food was in order. So we perused one of the many take-out menus in the file, decided on our choices, and Baby Girl and I went to get the food.

The nice person behind the counter took our order, then told us that their credit card machine was out of order and she could take only cash.

Cash? What's cash?

We thanked her politely and went back home for Plan B, which was ordering Chinese online from another place which did not have the same extensive menu. We got the confirmation and waited for delivery.

And waited.

And waited.

And after an hour, called to find out why there was a delay.

It turns out that their online ordering system was down and they weren't getting orders--but this nice person could take the order over the phone and get the food to us in 30-45 minutes.

At this point it was almost nine p.m.

People were getting hangry. I include myself in that list.

And that is why we were in the drive-through line at Mickey D's at nine.

Apparently I no longer have the iron constitution I had in my twenties. A double cheeseburger, fries, and a Pepsi at almost ten p.m. do not lead to a restful night's sleep. This is why I'm up and writing a blog at a time when I was just planning to drift into consciousness.

But this another day, the sun is shining, and we're heading to my favorite venue for classes.

And, since everything yesterday was a first world problem, I can't complain. Even thought I just did.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Off the Grid

I have not picked up a needle all day and likely will not thread another one until I'm at Salty Yarns at the end of the week.

It's been an unusual week-end, to put it mildly--nothing horrible, but a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and not much to show for it, much less anything to talk about. I'm going to have to work late Monday and Tuesday, so there goes my evening stitching those two days. On Wednesday, evening, when I should be at my ANG chapter meeting, I'm going to pack so I can leave for Baby Girl's on Thursday. We're driving to Maryland on Friday--and maybe, just maybe, I'll get a chance to stitch in the lobby at the Lankford Hotel Friday night.

I will definitely need to do that by then.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Swans A'Swimming

And flowers blooming . . .

And my prework for Betsy Morgan's class at Salty Yarns in June is done.

Everything is packed up and in the workbasket by my chair until I get back from Sherri Jones' class at Salty Yarns next week-end. Then it will go into my tote bag and stay there until I return in June.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Seeing Quadruple

Over the week-end, I got all the framework pieces for the chalice base for Minikin stitched.

I did go over my ten hours for this project--but I had left myself a loophole that allows me to go more than 10 hours if I want to. And I wanted to because I got the pattern in my head, which made the last couple of sides go faster than the first couple did.

After I took the picture, I stitched a little bit of the vine to see if I preferred the backstitch vine or the fly-stitch vine. I decided I would do backstitch--it was a little easier for me to keep my place on the chart.

And tonight I'm going to work on something different.

I'm going to start on the prework for the Betsy Morgan class I'm taking in June.

I know, June is almost two months away. But one thing that doing this rotation has shown me is that I don't have a lot of time to stitch in the evenings after work, and that everything takes longer (much, much, MUCH longer) than I think it will.

So I better get started. And hope, that once I get it stitched, that I don't put it in a very safe place that is so safe I can't find the prework when it's time to go to the class.

Friday, April 6, 2018

More wee tiny garden

When I went to work this morning, I discovered that the light panel over my cube was burned out. This meant that I spent the day in a darkened cube--and it was gloomy outside--so I felt like I had spent the day in a cave. I could not wait to get home--well, even more than usual on a Friday because Week-End!!!--to turn on lights and stitch a little more on my little garden.

We have leaves and centers on all the flowers.

This was not without angst.

The flower centers are supposed to be stitched with a strand of silk and a strand of thin metallic thread held together.

Well, not so much.

This has been a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long week at work. We decided that Wednesday was like a second Monday. Actually, it was like Monday squared. So perhaps it was not a good idea to try to stitch tonight--but I thought, there are just little straight stitches for the leaves and easy-peasy cross stitches over one with two threads in the needle. I can handle this, I thought.

And the metallic thread made up its mind to be difficult. It snarled and twisted and removed itself from the eye of the needle. It stripped the metallic wrap from the fiber core. It was mean and nasty to the silk, which was cooperating quite nicely.

So I decided that I did not need shiny stitches in the centers of the flowers. I removed the offending metallic and did all the centers with only a strand of gold silk.

Then I decided that I really did want shiny stitches in the centers of the flowers. I was not about to take all those silk crosses out and fight with the double thread again.

And then the solution presented itself. I simply threaded up the needle with the metallic thread alone and stitched over the silk cross stitches. The metal thread, while not playing well with others, behaved when stitched by itself. And now I have sparkle in the middle of the flowers.

And now for something completely different:

I need to add something else to the rotation list. My prework for the class I'm taking from Betsy Morgan at Salty Yarns in June arrived today.

I just realized that two weeks from today, Baby Girl and I will arrive at the Lankford Hotel and Salty Yarns for our classes with Sherri Jones.

And, yes, I'm going to start counting down the days and hours.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Wee tiny flower garden

The gentleman's nightcap had its ten hours--amazing how much easier it is to see what you're doing when you have adequate magnification--so I moved to Minikin.

I spent an evening planting flowers:

Jessica stitches make quite lovely flowers. They will be lovelier when they have greenery around them and the centers worked. I think, though, that I'm going to get the other two pieces on this hunk of linen Jessica'd and then do all the leaves and centers at the same time.

I thought about trying to work the color flow in the overdyed silk so that the corners matched. Then I decided that I prefer cottage gardens where things just sort of happen (even when that very random look is carefully planned). So I just let the colors fall where they may.

Back to it . . .

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Embroidery Everywhere

Baby Girl and I decided that we needed a Girls' Week-end.

There was Plan A. Weather permitting, we would drive to Jamestown for a performance by a re-enactor. (We had planned to do this last year, but I had car problems and we spent the day having it looked at instead of doing anything fun.)

And there was Plan B. Weather not permitting, we were going to have a lovely brunch and an afternoon at the movies.

So I drove to her home on Friday with all the other people going places for Easter Week-end. We had sushi for dinner and went to bed earlier than either of us wanted on a Friday night. The weather cooperated, so we got up much earlier than either of us wanted to on a Saturday. And we drove to Jamestown.

We wandered around until almost time for the performance, then plopped ourselves down in the area that has been found to have been the site of the first church. The last time we were in this spot was when we came for the wedding of Pocahontas to John Rolfe, 400 years after the original date.

While we were waiting for the time for the performance, we marveled at the way our two actors stayed in character. Mistress Joan Pierce was wearing an embroidered coif that was very similar in   design to the motifs on the jacket that was worn by Pocahontas in the wedding. Baby Girl and I both had the honor of stitching motifs on the jacket and head cloth. Our eyes were immediately drawn to her coif. So I asked her about it.

And she told us that she had embroidered it herself because she loved the jacket design--and then she very quietly broke character so we could talk about how she figured out the pattern and the design. We talked threads. She showed us the small piece she is working on to teach herself detached buttonhole. It is mounted on a tiny slate frame which the gentleman with her made by copying a 16th century frame that had been featured on the UK version of Antiques Roadshow. We had a delightful conversation.

And then she went right back into character and described the horrors of The Starving Time, when the population of Jamestown fell from about 350 to about 60 survivors. At that point, the colony almost failed--yet, through a series of almost miraculous events, it survived, and flourished, and was successful before the Pilgrims ever saw Plymouth Rock.

It was impressive. Even though Baby Girl and I are History Nerds and knew most of the facts she related, her performance literally brought it all to life. We agreed that, despite the length of the drive, it was well worth the time it took to get there and get back.

And then, today, I drove home on a beautiful Easter morning, and I'm back to reality. And the laundry. And Monday is tomorrow and it's back to work.

But the total break in routine was SO worth it!