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, June 30, 2018

What happened?

Ok, June ends in just a few hours and I'm trying to figure out what happened to April.

Does it seem to anyone else that 2018 is rushing past at breakneck speed?

Just six months left . . .

Meanwhile, I finally fixed all the errors I made on the last chamber of the fifteenth band of Frances Burwell and finished the stitching. I also added the missing stitches of Band 16. I have reached the halfway point in terms of number of bands on the sampler:

My original plan was to bounce to another project when I got this band complete, but I'm having so much fun back in the 17th century I believe I will stay here for a bit.  There are two big honkin' bands to work, plus a few smaller ones, and I'll be ready to start the pictorial section at the bottom of the sampler. And it has a house that looks remarkably like the architecture of Bacon's Castle in Virginia, which is the reason this sampler appealed to me in the first place.

If all goes well, I could potentially have two big samplers finished in 2018.

If time slows down a bit and doesn't continue to zoom as it has.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Home Again

It was an absolutely wonderful week-end!

Our hostess and the planner of the event is delightful and was so very warm and welcoming to this newbie. I discovered I've taken classes with others who were taking this one, and met the infamous Cathy of Needle and Thread--we've followed each other's blogs for years. What a pleasure to meet her in person,  and, for the icing on the cake, she brought some pieces from her collection of Hungarian embroidery. I've admired them on her blog, but to see those exquisite pieces in person was more than I could have hoped.

And of course, there was the class itself. Jackie did a stellar job of explaining some complicated assembly directions and went over every step of the process.  I am always in awe of the way she plans and executes her designs and this was no exception. Ode has definitely moved into the current project basket.

I even got a little of the design stitched after class on Sunday:

I also stitched a bit on my travel project on the way to Indianapolis:

But then it was time to come home. We divided the trip in half on the way up, but had decided to take a different route home and do it in a day.

We traveled from 5:46 when we pulled out of the driveway of the hotel until 5:36 yesterday afternoon when we parked at home. We were not driving all day--we took frequent breaks and had a leisurely lunch (a little more leisurely than intended since the waitress apparently forgot to put our order in)--but it was a long, long day.

I took today off for laundry and recuperation. It is quite possible that I should take tomorrow off, too, but I plan to go to work anyway.  And I have stitched a bit today.

Am I working on Ode?  Surprisingly, not today. I want to press the linen for this first piece and mount it on either scroll or stretcher bars before I start to work on the insides. And that would mean finding the right size scroll or stretcher bars and that would mean another archaeological dig in the stash room. I decided that was too much like work after a day mostly spent in a car.

So Frances Burrell came out to play.

There actually was more ripping than stitching. I discovered that I couldn't count to 15 on the last "chamber" so I had to redo it. I think I have it fixed--I've only counted it about forty-leven times to be sure--so now I can add the pretty posies and move on.

To the next band, which is now shorter than it should be.

sigh . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2018

All in All, a good week

Despite a raging sinus headache which turned out to be a sinus infection that also invaded an ear causing a little lightheadedness and vertigo--this has been a pretty good week.

I fixed my mistake on Fragrant Fragaria:

The dive bombing birds are still two threads too low but I can live with that.  The embroidery for the needle roll is now complete and on to the next part. (After I get back home, more about that later.)

Monday was Good Mail Day.

It's always fun to get packages from Tricia Nguyen and Jackie du Plessis.  When packages from both arrive in one day, it's more like Christmas than Christmas!

Threads from Tricia:

Goodies from Jackie's Facebook sale:

(I may have gotten just a wee bit carried away.)

On Wednesday, while I was sitting in various medical offices being "worked in," I remembered where I just might have stashed a project I've been thinking about for a week or so. Not knowing exactly where it was has been like an itch you just can't quite reach. I was very happy to find it where I thought it might be when I got home. I was even happier when Dearly Beloved returned from the drugstore with the antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and anti-vertigo meds.

Especially since, after working half a day on Thursday, we embarked on phase one of a trip to Indiana.  Phase Two was yesterday. All day. (Don't ask about rain delays, construction delays, traffic delays, and I'm-not-sure-what-caused-them delays.)

I'm taking a class from Jackie this week-end, her Ode to Jane Austen. Assuming we can follow the directions to the meeting place, I'll be in my happy place in just about 90 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

When in doubt, read the directions

Except I was in no doubt at all. I just made an assumption.

So Fragrant Fragaria is in time-out until I'm in the mood to frog and restitch part of the border, which is two threads too low.

I made the assumption that this pocket was exactly the same size as the one before it. It isn't. It's two threads higher vertically . . . so I need to take out the top border and restitch it. Then I can stitch in the flowers that spring from the branch and the stitching on this will be done.

That is something I'm just not in the mood to do at the moment  This means I need to find something else to stab this afternoon.

And that leads me to another topic. I've decided to reboot the rotation a bit.

For one thing, I absolutely hate the timekeeping. I had a little notebook where I had entries that went something like:

started 7:21. stopped 9:19. Subtract 14 minutes for conversation with The Saint.

Good Grief--who needs this kind of aggravation for something that's supposed to a pleasant pastime rather than a time study.

Then I was trying to remember when I stitched something. I have another little notebook where I keep a list of projects completed by the year in which I finished it. And when looking at the notebook, I realized that I get more projects done when I work on something for an extended period of time, rather than skipping hither and thither blithely through the stash or working in a structured rotation.

So I'm going back to the clump method, where I clump a few projects together and focus on them. I plan to keep the basket by the chair full of the projects I was going to work on in the rotation, since those are the ones I want to do--I'm just going to work on them in smaller batches and see what I can get finished. I really need a couple of finishes!

But it won't be Fragrant Fragaria today. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two down, one to go

I'm stitching away on the pockets for Fragrant Fragaria.

There's a bird who has raided the strawberries:

And a basket of strawberries and a butterfly:

And there is one blank pocket that does (thank goodness) have its border worked--so that will be started tomorrow evening.

I'd thread up the needle and begin tonight, but I almost dislocated my jaw with that last yawn, so I believe I will take myself upstairs and to bed.  It's been a long, long week . . . and one more day to go.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Since I've been home

I have been industrious since I came home.

I decided to stay with Fragrant Fragaria, the class from Sherri Jones I took a couple of months ago. It's been a lot of fun--those little motifs are quick to do, even on teeny tiny silk gauze.

Actually, I've started the pockets for the inside, and I have one-and-a-half of those stitched. For some reason (crappy photography skills, perhaps?), those pictures came out in a major blur. I'll try again later.

Mounting the gauze on muslin, cutting a window so you can stitch, and working this way has totally changed my opinion of silk gauze embroidery. I have a couple of things lurking in the stash--one is partially done--but they were mounted on cardboard frames. This works ever so much better, so there may be silk gauze coming out of the shadows to be finished. This is, of course, assuming I can figure out which bin or box the kits are in.

There are times when finding things in my stash is similar to embarking on an archaeological dig.


And a little big of blog business.

Like apparently everyone else, I can no longer receive comments in my email, so it's making it harder to respond to them. I read and appreciate every comment, but if I don't respond right away, I'm not ignoring you. Hopefully, this situation will become resolved in the very near future.

However, if you post spam in the comments section, I will delete your comment. I don't have time for that particular brand of foolishness!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Day Four: The Mystery of the Locked Door*

The story behind the title can be found at the end of the blog . . . 

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and so we had to travel home again.

There was still needlework to do. I brought my travel piece with me for the evenings of stitching in the lobby after class and to work on at Baby Girl's. And progress was made on the trip.

I'm working on Joanne Harvey's Imperial Yellow Queen Stitch Needlecase--quite an impressive name!--which is based on a wallet from the late 1700's. It has a few very good qualifications for a travel project:

  • 28 count linen. I generally work on 36 or 40 count linen. After that, 28 count looks like burlap! So it's easier to stitch when the light is good but not optimal.
  • Just one stitch. It's all Queen stitch, which I actually like to do.
  • A fairly easy pattern repeat, so I'm not tied to the chart for almost every stitch.

It's back in my bag again, ready to go for the next trip, which will be in about 10 days.

Yes, I'm taking two workshops in one month. I'm afraid I'm going to be very spoiled by this.  Oh, to be a lady of leisure and able to wander from one workshop to another!


We loaded up the car fairly early in the morning, hating to leave but knowing we had to go.  Baby Girl decided to do one last sweep of the room. I was waiting at the bottom of the steps, leaning against the car, when I realized she had been gone for longer than it should have taken.

I was aware of a door rattling somewhere, but it was still a little windy and there were other people about, so I didn't give it much thought.

Then I heard my name called from above. Baby Girl couldn't get out of the room.

I hauled myself back up the stairs to our porch. Baby Girl was on one side of the screen door, I was on the other, and she couldn't get out. The latch wouldn't open.

I have had many years of beach trips and mountain trips and stays in various beach houses and mountain cottages. I have learned that salt and ocean spray can either corrode or coat door locks and latches, and that damp mountain air can cause doors to swell and stick. So I have knowledge of how to handle this kind of problem--I pushed in the button on the door and lifted just slightly at the same time, and lo and behold, she was freed!

As she stalked past me, she said, "This is going to show up on the blog, isn't it?"

And so it has.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Day Three: And the Rains Came*

On the second day of class, we practiced spiral trellis:

And that is mine.

We also went over the rest of the stitching and finishing directions, and Betsy demonstrated her cording and tassel making techniques.

And then class was over.

I hated to see it end. There isn't anything better than a face-to-face class, and I always enjoy Betsy's classes. I know she's ready to retire but I don't think any of her faithful followers are. It sounds like we have a couple more years before she stops teaching and starts working on her stash.  She has her teaching schedule on her blog so there are opportunities before she retires.  I plant to take advantage of those opportunities.


I looked at the weather forecast for Ocean City early in the week, and there was some mention of lower temps and the possibility of rain for Sunday. "OK," said I, "No big deal. Throw the umbrella in the car."


The temps dropped into the 50's and the rains poured and it looked like a gale blowing outside.

I didn't have a windbreaker. I didn't even have a sweater. I had sandals but no real shoes.

I got a little damp and a little chilly. I survived. I also took a nap after class, partly to get warm again.

I have learned my lesson and will bring storm gear from now on. Even in June.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Day Two: The Case of the Hard Cheese*

The story behind the title is at the end of the post.

I went back to the room after the first day of class with something not only stitched, but finish-finished!!!!

I had done most of the stitching prior to class, but we did the twelve eyelets in the morning, and put it together in the afternoon.

That sounds so simple, but let me tell you, I used things I've never used to make this happen. One of the goodies in the goody box was a pretty lethal looking awl--Baby Girl mentioned that you could use it as a weapon if necessary--and we used that to set up the stitching part. And then we used a hole punch in the assembly process. 

It's also nothing short of amazing that I did this in class. If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I don't stitch much in class, and I require an almost Zen-like environment and great expanses of time to do any finishing. The fact that I did both is a testament to both Betsy's teaching skills (laid back and nonjudgmental) and the whole atmosphere at Salty Yarns.

I was very, very happy at the end of the class day.


And now to today's mishap.

I had gone down to the lobby for breakfast and had my Frosted Flakes. Then I thought that perhaps I needed a little more protein than the milk in the cereal to start the day .

Baby Girl and I always bring snacks and stuff, so I decided to have a little piece of cheese. Despite the title, it wasn't hard cheese--it was a little chunk of sharp Cheddar.

Quite unexpectedly, I found something rock-like in my mouth. What in the world?  So as delicately and in as lady-like manner as possible, I fished it out--and it was part of a tooth. I had broken a tooth off from bottom to gum.

Granted, it was one of those teeth that was more filling than tooth (the result of a childhood without fluoridation), but it was quite surprising.

Even more surprising is that I haven't had a twinge.

I just have to remember not to grin at anyone until it gets fixed.

Which, based on my dentist's schedule, won't be until July, unless there is a cancellation between now and then.

Just call me Snaggle Tooth.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Day One: The Revenge of the Dead Deer *

* The story behind the title will be at the end of the post . . . 

I've had some trouble with my stitching and blogging mojo of late, to the point I was thinking of hanging up my needles and closing down the laptop for awhile.

Then Baby Girl and I trekked to Salty Yarns for a class with Betsy Morgan.

One of the other participants said that Salty Yarns is her happy place, and I have to agree. I've been reinvigorated and plying my needle more than I have in a couple of months since we came home.

And this is just part of what was in the goody box we received when we arrived:

And the opening reception was lovely, and our room was great, and it was a delightful end to what started out to be an . . . interesting . . . day . . .


If you are interested only in stitching, you can stop reading now.

While Salty Yarns is my happy place, and Baby Girl is always happy to have a beach trip, we experienced a series of unfortunate incidents. They didn't intrude on the pleasure of the trip--more than temporarily--but it got to the point that we started wondering what might happen next.

So, our trip north . . .

We had decided to do whatever it took to avoid the mid afternoon traffic near the Navy Yard in Norfolk, and that meant that Baby Girl woke me up at 4:30 and told me to get my keister in gear. We had the car loaded and were pulling out at 5:18. It was dark. It was very dark.

But we got on the road and on our way, We watched the sun rise. We talked and laughed.

We go cross country for a bit to avoid some of the highway and traffic thereof, and we like to ride the Jamestown Ferry--so we were toodling down a two-lane country road when we came upon the squished remains of a deer in the road. The very squished remains. Baby Girl thought the car would straddle the remains. Not so much.

There was a clunk, and then there was that ominous thwap-thwap-thwap that signals doom.

We had a flat tire.

At the first opportunity (someone's driveway), we pulled over, unloaded the trunk, and dug out the spare and the jack and the tools. I was impressed by Baby Girl, who was very competently jacking up the car and getting the tire changing underway when she hit a roadblock. The lug nuts were very, very, very secure.

I was getting ready to put my not inconsiderable weight into seeing if I could help turn the wrench when this lovely, lovely, lovely gentleman stopped and took over. He got everything taken care of expeditiously, refused payment, helped us reload the car, and sent us on our way.

Our adventure wasn't quite over--we'd already decided we would find the closest place that sold tires and get the flat replaced because those little spare tires are not intended for highway driving--when the sensor on the car indicated that the other tire on the same side had low pressure.

Could it be a slow leak? We only had the one spare . . .

So Baby Girl slowly and gingerly drove the 26 miles to the next town that might be large enough to have a place that sold tires.

And we found the place.

And they found that they didn't need to replace the tire. It could be patched. And so it was. Then we discovered that the proprietor of the store has a daughter who lives one street over from me. And we all talked about what a small world it was.

By the way, the tire was punctured by a four-inch long piece of deer bone.

We were asked if we wanted it as a souvenir.

We declined.

The rest of the trip was uneventful.