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, May 27, 2018

My thread is possessed.

I decided to start working on one of the discs that needs to be embroidered for one of Amy Mitten's Winter Casket toys.

To begin, you have to work a series of loops for the outside edge of the disc. You are warned that the gold thread needed for this is a little persnickety and you need to only unreel about a foot of thread. The thread should then be secured with a bit of tape to keep the spool from unreeling more.

OK, not a problem--found the masking tape, unreeled the first foot of thread, taped the spool and started on my loops.

After a little bit, I needed to unreel more. So I unstuck the tape so I could start winding off the thread.

And then something weird happened.

The spool literally leapt from my hands, flew four feet away, spiraled and twirled, hit the floor, and rolled.

All I could do was stare for a minute. Then I realized that Dearly Beloved was staring, too.

Said he, "I've never seen anything like that."

Now, it could have been my fumble-fingers--I am a noted klutz--but I swear I just untaped the end of the spool and it hurtled itself into space.

Anyway, you're supposed to use a continuous thread for this motif so I didn't want to cut the thread. That would have meant starting over, and I was having enough trouble.

I spent the next hour carefully rewinding the spool, working out the kinks and twists and re-taping the thread to the spool every few feet.

At that point, I needed to assemble the lasagna for dinner, so this is as far as I got on the disc:

After dinner, I wasn't quite sure I wanted to tempt fate, so I pulled out Fragrant Fragaria and added more leaves and some strawberries.

Ironically, it took less time to get all this stitched than it did to re-roll the spool.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Teeny tiny basket

I started the first motif on the needle roll for Frangrant Fragaria last night. I was beginning to think I'd never get to do any embroidery all week.

I did work on Frances Burwell for a little bit Monday night. I got a row of Montenegrin stitch worked across the sampler. Since all you'd see is a thin blue line, I didn't photograph that.

Tuesday I mounted the gauze on muslin so I could start stitching this project. That took all evening.

Wednesday was our EGA chapter meeting. We had a lecture on Contemporary Embroidery. I have no problems with the topic--an art has to evolve or it dies. I had a little problem with the attitude of the presenter. For me, needlework is a passion. It doesn't have to be a crusade for it to have value.

Thursday night was bill-paying/checkbook-balancing/budgeting. I really hate adult-ing.

And then we finally reached Friday.

I had a very early morning. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and could not go back to sleep--so I went to work drowsy. We had a storm system move through during the night and the power was off in the building . . . so there was a four-flight trudge to my floor. The wonky knees and Achilles tendon were not happy with that. Then the lights came back on, and apparently the power surge knocked out the AC system. Nobody was happy with that.

Between the short night and the heat and humidity in the building, I was about to faceplant into my keyboard. So, despite the fact that I have been diligently working to reduce the amount of caffeine in my intake (I need a wee bit more blood in my caffeine stream), I hit up the drink machine. It woke me up--way too much. Can you say buzz?

So that is how I could come home and stitch a tiny basket on 40 count silk gauze. In no time at all.

With a three-day week-end, I could stay with this. Or I could do what I've been thinking about for several weeks. I could get the rest of the embroidery done--if I'm very industrious--on the Winter Casket Toys.

Or I could alternate, depending on mood and inclination. I think I'll do that.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Christmas in May

Last month I did the program for the local EGA chapter. It was my quick-and-easy way to put Christmas ornaments together. I had a stack of them from three years ago, Barbara Jackson designs I bought at Haus Tirol in Williamsburg. As usual, I stitched them, got to the finish-finishing point, and then  . . . wandered off to do something else.

So, I used one ornament for each step in the process, which meant I had four semi-finished ornaments hanging around.

Yesterday I didn't have enough functioning brain cells to do anything complicated but my hands needed to do something while I recuperated from the previous day's disorder.

And that is how this group of ornaments were finished:

I thought I might do some more finish-finishing tonight, but I started thinking about samplers when I went on my after-work walk around the neighborhood.

So Frances Burwell is out of her pillowcase and going to get her turn in the rotation.

We'll see if I can remember how to stitch reversibly.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


I finished my first ever Humbug, stitched and assembled.

And that is about the extent of the week-end's activities.

We were supposed to go to a wedding yesterday.  We didn't. We didn't even watch the Royal Wedding.

Apparently we had food poisoning.

Dearly Beloved picked up fast food Friday night. I took a bite of one of my French fries and thought it tasted  . . . off. So, like a ninny, I took another bite to be sure it was . . . off. I said to Dearly Beloved that the fry tasted funny.  He said, "Huh?"

His fries were all gone.

I should mention at this point that family lore says that when Dearly Beloved was growing up, he could clean his plate before he knew what was on it. After forty-plus years, he's slowed down some, but still eats faster than anyone I've ever seen.

Anyway, a couple of hours later . . . how can I put this delicately? . . . the tsunami hit. And the storm continued to rage throughout the night.

Needless to say, we stayed close to home yesterday and are just beginning to feel human again. And pounds lighter.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Can you see me now?

I'm working on a Christmas ornament for an EGA project.

The recommended fabrics was 28 count. I didn't have any of that so this is 32, in white, like the original appeared to be. I am hoping the texture of the stitches will show up when it's all done.

I really hope I can get this all stitched and put together this week-end, although tomorrow will not be a stitching day. We are going to a wedding. Dearly Beloved has trimmed his beard and I have bought the first pair of pantyhose I have purchased in a decade, mainly because my fish-belly-white legs look even whiter against my navy/white print dress. They need help, and self-tanning stuff never looks quite natural on me.  So pantyhose.

To give me more time for stitching, Dearly Beloved is picking up fast food. This means that I have not eaten correctly all day. Today was National Pizza Day or Pizza for Lunch Day or something-to-do -with-pizza day. Our social committee at work bought pizza for the crew. So I had pizza for lunch and  will have burgers and fries for dinner. I am not complaining, but I hope my body forgets that it isn't in college any more and doesn't rebel.

So I should get back to it. I have to say, though, I have had a few thoughts on my ability to get things done efficiently.

A. I wish I stitched faster.


B. I wish I had more time to stitch


C. both of the above.

Next week-end will be the first week-end in May that we haven't had something to do or go to--and it's a long week-end. I have announced that I am going to stitch all day every day and see just how much I can accomplish.

But now I need to see how much more I can do tonight.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wild Wednesday, Tranquil Thursday

We have been trying to figure out why Wednesdays at work have been so . . . weird. The last several have felt more like Mondays than Wednesdays . . . or full moon madness is happening whether the moon is full or not, every Wednesday.

Yesterday was one of those Wednesdays. Plus it rained, off and on. Actually, just as I was halfway between car and building entry, the bottom fell out of the skies. My umbrella got most of it, but I was still soaked from the knees down--so I had damp slacks and wet shoes most of the day. I think it would be carrying business casual too far to pad around the office in bare feet.

Then the phones went crazy and stayed crazy all day.

And then I got a last minute project to work on, which I decided to stay a little late to do--mainly because I knew if I didn't, I'd be awake in the middle of the night thinking about it.

By the time I staggered into the house and growled at Dearly Beloved, I was done, completely done, and decided I should turn into a hermit instead of being sociable and going to ANG. I seriously thought about taking a shower and going to bed early, but the shower woke me up.

So I finished the next step in the strawberries.

The next thing I have to do is cut them out and sew them together and stuff them and tie them to the scrimshaw basket that I have yet to assemble.

But not tonight.

Today was a lot calmer than yesterday but I'm not quite up to finish-finishing. Instead, I am stash-diving to see if I have any 28 count linen. I do not think I do, but it's worth looking anyway. I have a quick (I hope) project to stitch, and it suggests 28 count.

Dearly Beloved has been warned he may have to dig me out if I'm still in the stash at bedtime.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Kicking myself

I have been kicking myself for not mounting the strawberries gauze on muslin in a hoop earlier.  Stitching life has been SO much easier since I did.

I sewed the gauze to a piece of muslin that was tautly mounted in the hoop, then cut away the muslin behind the areas that need to be stitched, and got the third strawberry piece worked. You can't see from my craptastic photo, but my stitching is much more even.

For a brief moment I thought about restitching the two red berries. Then I decided that the surface of a real strawberry is not smooth, so I'm leaving them alone.

It was so worth the time it took to mount it this way. If I sound giddy--well, it doesn't take much to make my little needlework world happy.

Dearly Beloved, who was watching me hand stitch the gauze to muslin asked why I didn't slap it on the sewing machine. What took an hour, said he, would just take a minute or two on the machine.

Au contraire.

To do that, I would have had to:
  • clear off the end of the kitchen or dining room table--Dearly Beloved is currently purging files and has piles of stuff on both.
  • haul the sewing machine out of the closet and hoist it to the top of the table. It's portable only in that there is a handle on the top of its case.
  • load a bobbin. That is, after I found my extra supply of bobbins, which I carefully put away and can't remember where I put them.  (Should I admit that I have bought more bobbins--twice--to replace the ones I can't find? And now I can't find the replacements either?)
  • thread the machine
  • decide which zigzag I want to use
  • get the gauze positioned and pinned
  • sew it on the muslin without sewing myself
It would have taken the same amount of time that hand sewing did.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, May 14, 2018

cranky, cranky, cranky

It's hot. It's been hot for several days. It's supposed to be not hot after today--which means that the AC at work, which has not been on, will suddenly blast out Arctic Air the rest of the week.

When you spend the day in a stuffy office, and it's Monday, you tend to be cranky.

I'm a little afraid to stitch tonight because of that.

I had decided if I didn't stick a needle into something last night, things might get unpleasant, so I pulled out the strawberry piece from Fragrant Fragaria.

One and about a third strawberries to go, then I need to put seeds on them and add leaves.  However, before I get that far, I may make some changes.

I don't know if the hole in the frame was cut too large or the gauze was cut too small, but I fought with the project for several hours last night.  The gauze kept pulling away from the frame, so I didn't have a nice, taut surface. I had to stop, pull off the masking tape, situate the gauze, re-tape, and start stitching again. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

This was draining all the pleasure out of this excursion.

So . . . to avoid even more crankiness (even though I'm home and our AC is operating quite nicely, thank you very much), I believe I am going to mount a piece of muslin in a hoop and sew the gauze to that. Then I'll cut out the area behind the embroidery and finish stitching the strawberries.

And if that doesn't work, I think I'll find something else to stare a needle through.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

We spent yesterday with Mother.

We've decided that the concept of a second childhood is not a myth.

Mother has decided to be two-years-old again.

If you want her to go right, she goes left.

"No" is her favorite word.

She would like to be carried everywhere. Actually she wants to be wheeled everywhere. We have been told by both her doctor and her physical therapist that she needs to walk as much as possible and that she can walk much better than she does for either of her daughters. With us, she pull a poor, pitiful Pearl routine.

She absolutely does not want her hair washed. We have no idea why this has become an issue. I suggested to The Saint that we just somehow dye it purple and red and then the spikes would look intentional. The Saint did not find this amusing.

She has become a very picky eater. Unless it's dessert. (We know that her taste buds aren't as sensitive due to age. I keep saying, "She's ninety. Let her eat what she wants." The Saint has issues with that.)

I have started making a list of things to avoid doing as I age so I won't be a heartache or a headache for my children. I plan to read it every day, like a mantra, until it become engrained.

Baby Girl doesn't think this will work. She has mentioned that I'm already contrary.

I'm doomed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Merry Month of May

This poor, neglected blog and my poor, neglected needlework projects are about to become even more neglected.

There are four week-ends in May. We have family events and visits scheduled for three of the four.  This means that the stuff I normally do on the week-ends I have to do in the evenings after work. This means that the minutes I carve out to stitch in the evenings are taken up with mops and washing machines and scrub brushes and errands (and I really, really hate running errands after work).

So, if I have any readers left after this very hectic month--I'll see you on the flip side!