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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve

It is not time for the ceremonial dumping of the ort jar, but I don't believe I will still be awake at midnight, so here it is.

There's a lot of shiny gold and silver threads in the top from the Tudor Pin Cushion, which is currently in time-out for lack of cooperation. There are also a few sewing threads from today's project, the case for Cherry Berry.

I am about halfway through with assembling Cherry Berry's case. In the process, I have not only bent the sewing needle, I have also somehow twisted it so the eye is wonky--which makes threading it interesting. I believe this is going to be a good time to retire that needle and grab another one.

Hopefully the case will be finished tomorrow.  Or maybe the Tudor pincushion will decide to behave. Or maybe I'll start a whole new project for the new year.  It will be a shiny new year, so the possibilities are endless!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Joy, joy, happy, happy

There is a special kind of happiness that occurs when the border meets.

Even when it's a little border.

I know I said I was going to finish the band around the Tudor pin cushion today, but we decided when we got up that today would be a good time to de-ornament the Christmas tree and un-deck the halls.

So we did.  And that meant we had to move the stuff in the living room that had been moved for the tree back to their usual positions. And while we had everything all moved around, it was a good time to vacuum the baseboards and clean behind things that don't usually get cleaned behind because what's usually in front of those places don't get moved very often--mainly because they're heavy.

By the time we did all that, I didn't think I could manage gold threads. I could manage silk, so that's what I did.

And now I'm heading to bed.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Moving along

So,  today I got another step completed in filling in the metal thread part of my little Tudor pincushion.

There is a whole lot of weaving and interweaving to do before I can put this thing together and call it done.

And that brings up a topic of discussion that Baby Girl and I just pondered. Why does everything take so much longer than we think it will or should take? Quite frankly, I thought I'd have this thing knocked out in a couple of days. Here we are at the end of Day Four and I'm still fiddling with it.

Granted, I haven't been stitching 8 hours a day. Granted, I have been working with metal threads, which aren't as cooperative as silk by a long shot. Granted, I'm using that metal thread to work stitches that aren't in my everyday repertoire.

But it's still taking forever!!!

I will admit, I broke it up a little and finished the alphabet on the Salem Flower Basket Needleroll.

I think I may work on the framing around this section tonight for a little while. I believe I need just a little Zen stitching tonight after battling Ceylon stitch today.

Tomorrow I will finish that pin cushion.

I should not remind myself that I have a second pin cushion that also needs metallic embellishments, so I won't.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

On the day after Christmas

Santa was very good to me . . .

Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Garden

The Pugin Scissor Case

The Brown Wren Etui

I have to admit, I have been very tempted to frame each and every one up and start stitching. However, I realized that I need to continue with my Zen stitching program as long as I'm working full -time, so they're going into the retirement/holiday stash for a little longer.

We had a quiet Christmas otherwise. I spent an hour on the phone with The Flash, discussing his plans for his future. He plans to be either a Lego city planner who writes comics or an astrophysicist. 

I have no comment about either one.

Meanwhile, I've been puttering. There has been a bit of stitching--I pulled out the Tudor Pin Cushion that I started earlier in the year:

Obviously, I'm not through--there's a wide band in gold thread that runs around the perimeter, and I need to work on that when I have both daylight and a good night's sleep.

So, I'm heading to bed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Twas the Night Before Christmas

And I have a new ornament on the tree!

Well, it isn't on the tree in this picture, it's on my worktable--but this is the first time I've ever finished one of Barbara Jackson's ornaments for Shining Needle and put it together and got it on the tree before Christmas. This counts as a Christmas miracle for this stitcher!

And I got to open the last package from Amy Mitten's Mittens for Advent today:

There are all kinds of goodies--from pins and needles to a horn thread winder to a whole bag of Mother of Pearl buttons to jewel-y things and metallic threads and silks and ribbon and beads. Even better, I have had an inspiration on how to turn all this stuff into a sort of steampunk 17th century project. That will happen after the new year.

Dearly Beloved and I are having a quiet Christmas since we had the family festivities on Saturday. This means that I get to stitch without being rude. I've started adding the metal threads to the Tudor Pincushion from Tricia Nguyen's gold work class. Who knows, I may have a finish for Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2019

letters and more letters

I was trying to figure out what to work on, and the Salem Flower Basket Needleroll was right by my chair, so yesterday I picked that up.

You will notice that there are letters.

There are a lot of letters.

A lot of them.

And I really, really, reeeeeeeeeeeeeealy dislike stitching letters.

I can't explain why. It may be that letters generally have no rhythm to them, at least not to me. Or all the starting and stopping. Whatever the reason, there won't be a Bristol Orphanage sampler in my life, unless someone stitches it for me.

Anyway, I happily thought that I had only one more line of letters to do.

I thought.

And then I realized that the actual pincushion part of this project has more letters. Not only does it have more letters, but I have to chart out my name and location and fit them into the space allowed. And then stitch all those letters.

And it's all in cross stitch over one.

This is going to take longer than anticipated.

Sigh . . .

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Counting down

This year's Barbara Jackson ornament is stitched!

As soon as the finishing directions are posted, I hope I can get this put together. Wouldn't it be amazing if I not only got the ornament stitched but on the tree the same year it was offered? That would be a record.

We had our family get-together yesterday, and it was delightful. There was a lot of food--apparently I cannot do a Christmas meal without acting as if we were going to have a cast of thousands attending--but that means enough left-overs for both Baby Girl and The Saint to have a couple of dinners this week. We had presents. We had Christmas music and watched Christmas movies. And the 25th hasn't arrived, so Dearly Beloved and I get to do it all over again.

I am working tomorrow and then have the rest of the week off. I am planning a marathon of stitching. I'm thinking about a New Year's start. And I have no idea which project or projects I'm going to do for either period--there are so many choices and I want to do them all. And I want to do them now.

What a happy way to end a year and start a new one!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Over the River and Through the Woods

To Williamsburg we went.

We went for the newly revamped Christmas in Williamsburg. As usual, I was planning to blog every day while I was there. Then I realized I had left the camera at home about ten miles into Virginia--which was too far to turn back.

Not a problem, said I. I have my phone and can take pictures with it.

And I did. But then I could not get my Google phone and my Apple laptop to talk to each other. After a very frustrating and exasperating OK Boomer episode, I decided I would write when I got home, but when I got home, I got swept back into work and getting ready for Christmas--and this is the first time I've made time to sit down and do something about poor, neglected blog.

So . . .

I came home with an all-but-finished Early Bird class, Iris Pin Keep, from Jackie du Plessis.

Isn't it divine? And it will go with the Necessarie de Voyage project that I took for the next three mornings. I have not taken a picture of that yet but I do have a finished handle for the delicate, dainty basket that I will be making. And the handle for that basket was done in class after I mis-heard the directions and cut the wrong ribbon. Jackie came to my rescue with an additional length, so I was able to do that part in class.  Apparently my job in life is to do things wrong so other people will know they shouldn't do them the way I did . . .

However, I don't usually get much done in class, so this was a major accomplishment!

It was even more fun because I was able to sit with a group of my stitching buddies, always a happy thing.

Williamsburg was its usual lovely self all decked out for the season. We did get a chance to stroll the Historic District one afternoon after a wander through the Art Museums, my favorite part of any trip to W'burg. I can't wait until the construction on the expanded museum is complete, and all those lovely things that have been in storage for lack of exhibit space come out again.

All too soon, it was time to drive home and fall back into the routine. I have been keeping up with the Zen stitching and got the cording made and sewn around the four Barbara Jackson ornaments that have been stitched for years. They're going on the tree today:

And last night I started this year's ornament:

I've stitched the last of the bits for Tsubaki, so it's in the finishing pile.  The kitchen table has been transformed from Finishing Central to Cooky Baking Central, so Tsubaki will have to wait until I get the final batch baked and cooled--at least that's my current excuse to avoid putting something together.

And I'm still opening my daily goodies from Amy Mitten--but this has rambled on long enough. And there is still decking of the halls to do.

I really needed another week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

On the First of December

I had planned to show you at least one completed Christmas ornament.

Well, we all know what happens with me and plans.

We had a small Domestic Disaster.

As I was coming downstairs this morning, I glanced into the living room and thought, hmmmm, that tree doesn't look exactly right. However, it was raining cats and dogs and I wanted to get the Sunday newspaper in before it completely dissolved.  I got back inside with the newspaper, spread it out over several surfaces in the kitchen so it could dry enough to read, and wandered back into the living room to see what was wrong with the tree.

What was wrong with the tree is that it was leaning at a 45 degree angle. It would have been completely on the floor had it not run into the arm of the couch.

So, it was off with the ornaments so Dearly Beloved could figure out why it was leaning. Turns out he hadn't quite pushed the stem far enough into the stand, and I spend my stitching time today redecorating.

Let me tell you, putting the ornaments on for the second time during the same week isn't quite as much fun as it was the first time.

So, no stitching . . . yet . . . I still have some time before bed . . . but I did remember to open the first goody from Amy Mitten's Advent mittens.

It is a beautiful skein of Amy's hand-dyed line of threads in a shade of blue from my favorite family of blues.  And now it's very hard to avoid ripping into all the other little envelopes to see what else is there.

I will try to exercise some self-restraint.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Construction Zone

I've been finishing Christmas ornaments today. I have left some DNA in various places, but luckily nowhere that can be seen.

I had hoped to get all four of the ones that needed finishing finished today, but I don't think I have enough pearl cotton on those two spools to do all of them. This means stash diving. And since I always get distracted when I go wandering around my stash, I'm not sure I'll get back to this tonight.

Who knows what I may find to distract me . . . and there's always tomorrow . . . 

Friday, November 29, 2019

And now for something completely different

After yesterday's stitching marathon, I was determined that today I would figure out what I wanted to use to personalize the bottom panel, that today was the day I was going to chart it out and stitch it, and that today I was absolutely going to start the construction of Tsubaki.

I didn't do any of those things.

I still can't make up my mind what to say.

So, I decided to pull out the next project I was going to do as part of my Zen stitching and trooped upstairs to get it. The plan was to start Ode to Jane Austen after Tsubaki.

So I pulled Ode out of its storage bin.

And while doing that, I noticed another project that would work well for Zen stitching and pulled it out.  It's been aging in the stash for quite a long time.

So, here it is:

And, instead of finishing Tsubaki or starting Ode, I did this:

What can I say?  I'm a fickle stitcher. And Ode did come downstairs with me.

And I almost got really fickle since this arrived in today's mail:

Amy Mitten offered this brilliant set of decorations, one for each day of Advent. They're stitched on a relatively large count of linen with a fine wool thread. And to add to the excitement, Amy offers a little gift to go in each mitten, so you get a goody each day of Advent.

I have to say, I had a brief moment of madness. No, I'll take that back. I had several moments of bugnutz craziness when I thought I could start working on the mittens today and stay ahead of the calendar and get one stitched for each day of Advent in advance and have a mitten to put each day's goody in. And then I could take the goody out of its mitten and open it.

This might work if I didn't have a job and if we weren't going to Williamsburg next week.

So, I've decided I'll work on them at a more leisurely pace and have them ready for Christmas 2020.

However, I'm going to open one goody each day this year.

Could you resist this?

I am going to try to withstand temptation to the point that I open only one a day.

And I get to start on Sunday!

Thursday, November 28, 2019


First of all--Happy Thanksgiving!

Next--usually when I write a blog on Thanksgiving, I list the things I'm thankful for--and I am truly grateful, again, this year, for all of those things.

But today, the thing I am very thankful for, is that I have finished the last big panel for Tsubaki!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Planting flowers

I did get all the leaves stitched on this panel of Tsubaki:

And, as you can see, I've started filling in the flowers.

There are fifty-something flowers. Each flower requires three steps. I've done the first step on the ones you've seen.

This is going to take some time.

I did think about having three needles threaded and completely working each flower as I came to it, but then I decided it would be more efficient to do each step separately. However, I do not think I'm going to have the entire panel stitched by Thanksgiving morning--which was my goal.

This is what happens when I set goals in my stitching. I always think I can get more done in less time than I actually can. So . . . I have decided that I am not planning to get anything done for the rest of the year. That way, if I do, it will be like a Christmas present to me!

Along with this project, I decided to pick up the crewel piece I started a couple of years ago. It was going to be a gift for my mother, mainly to help out an ugly green chair she had in her apartment. Before I got it done, she had her first stroke and ended up in extended care, and the ugly chair moved to The Saint's house. The Saint had it reupholstered so it's no longer an ugly green chair. (Now it's an ugly gold chair, but don't tell The Saint I said that.) Anyway, I'm taking it to work with me to entertain myself on my lunch hour. Stitching in the middle of the day, even for 20-30 minutes, is making a tremendous difference in my mood.

And it's much more productive than playing games on my phone after I finish my sandwich!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

little bit of stitching, lot of eating

I have been cooking and baking all week.

We had our office potluck on Wednesday. We should have just closed the office that afternoon--the entire group was in a carb coma after we ate.

Then we had our family Thanksgiving get-together yesterday. Baby Girl and The Saint arrived in the pouring rain, we ate more than we should have, and then there was another carb coma.

I am going to avoid carbs until Christmas.

With all the cooking and baking, there hasn't been much stitching. Here's this week's progress on Tsubaki:

I'd love to finish the leaves this afternoon, but we are also planning to put up the Christmas tree, so it will be toss-up between ornamentifying and stitching. With basically a week less between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we've decided we absolutely have to get a head start!

Friday, November 15, 2019


I've been really good about carving out my two hours in the evening to stitch.

I've been really bad about remembering to take a picture of what I've done.

So this is what's happened since I last posted:

I have one more big panel to stitch and I have to decide what to put in the middle of the open section in the piece above, chart it out, and stitch it.

And that means letters. Which I don't enjoy stitching. Or charting, for that matter. I'm trying not to think about it at the moment because, until I can decide what to say, it's all a moot point.

On a totally different topic, I wasn't quite ready to have January in November. I know there are other parts of the country with snow and ice--and we haven't had either--but I am already tired of shivering. So I'm going to put on another layer and thicker socks and stitch for the entire evening.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Need more Zenning

This week has lasted a long, long time, and I am looking forward to tonight's two hours of Zen stitching.

This is where I'm starting:

We'll see where I end up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A wee tiny finish

I have a tiny Christmas ornament finished--but, hey, it's a finish!

This is an example of a couple of things that you should never take short cuts to do.

Like pressing everything flatter then flat. I skipped that step so there are a couple of little bulges in odd places.

And measuring for the hanger twice to make sure your threads for the twisted cording will make a long enough cord.

But it's done.

And when it's on the tree with lights and everything else, who is going to notice? (Aside from me, Baby Girl, and everyone who reads this blog.)

I repeat, it's done. And sometimes that is sufficient.

Monday, November 4, 2019

not much Zen-ning

Well, this was just about all the stitching I did over the week-end.

This part of the design has a sweet border around a wide open space for personalization. I know (I think) what I want to put there but I need to sit down with graph paper and chart it out. And hope it all fits.

Anyway, I planned to spend a good bit of the week-end working on the demo pieces for the program I'm supposed to present at my sampler guild meeting this coming Wednesday evening. I was busy cutting out the bits and pieces on my kitchen table when my back decided I had been leaning over in the worst possible position for too long. And it spasmed. The upshot is that I spend a good bit of time on Saturday evening and most of Sunday in la-la-land. Muscle relaxers are wonderful things when you need them--but they certainly do interfere with your real life.

So, now that everything has relaxed, I'm going to finish getting my program together tonight and go back to Zen tomorrow.  I will NOT be leaning over the table. I will be leaning over the dryer, which is higher than the table.

Best laid plans . . . 

Sunday, November 3, 2019


This is the picture I wanted to add last night. Blogger finally let it happen. I do not know what the problem was, but at least it's here now.

I love this stitch pattern.

I'm going to do some more of it today.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Pretty flowers

I've added the pretty flowers to this panel.

I would show them to you but blogger won't let me.

Sigh . . .

This after spending way more time than I wanted to spend looking for the package of red Mill Hill beads that I know are somewhere in this house, but not where they are supposed to be.  Wherever they are, they're probably hiding out with the Christmas scissors that I also know are lurking in a very logical place. I just can't remember where that very logical place is.

I give up. I'm going to bed and enjoying my extra hour of sleep.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Zen Stitching

The last couple of months, between work and Mother, have been a wee bit stressful. I've been lurching in the house like a brain-dead zombie after work, collapsing in the wing chair, and staring at the TV until it was time to stagger upstairs, just to get up and do it again the next day.

There has been little or no stitching. This is most unlike me.

I realized that the only times I've actually stitched and enjoyed it have been Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

As I tend to try to analyze everything to the nth degree, I looked at what I was doing--Jackie du Plessis' Tsubaki on Fridays and Joanne Harvey's Queen stitch needle book on Sundays--and realized that the patterns I've been stitching  have been very repetitive and soothing. Jackie likes to reproduce the look of fabric in some of her projects, and the whole needle book is covered with Queenies, so the patterns are simply lovely and the stitches challenging enough to keep my attention.

This is where I am on each at the moment:


Needle Book

It's all very Zen . . . and I'm going to stick with just these projects for the next bit.

The other thing I realized is that I am on track this year for the fewest projects finished ever. Yes, I keep a list of everything I finish each year. No, I don't know why I do it other than I like lists. Anyway, I was appalled when I looked at this year's list and there is hardly anything on it. Why it matters, I don't know, but it does.

So I decided to see which year had the most projects done. And it was the year that the Big Kid was seven, Baby Girl was two, and Dearly Beloved was traveling all the time for his job.

It was one of those times when nothing ever seems to get done. Just as you fold the last towel and put it in the linen closet, you look at the laundry hamper and discover it's half-full again. You get the last Lego off the living room floor, turn around, and find a whole Fisher Price village, complete with little people and their cars, has risen in the dining room. You get ready to unload the dishwasher, only to find that, while it was running, the gremlins have dirtied another sink full of dishes.

I was talking to one of my neighbors about feeling like a hamster in its wheel, and she emphatically told me I absolutely had to carve out time for myself. She told me that when her kids were little, she got up at four in the morning so she could sew until six when her kids got up. And she told me that everyday when she finished, she took a picture of what she'd done. Then when the day got to her, she could look at her pictures and realize that she was actually accomplishing something.

She was a brilliant woman.

Now I was not going to get up at four for anything less than the opportunity to go on a road trip--but I did have both kids in bed by eight, and I could then give myself permission to stitch until ten. After all, it was obvious that the house was never going to be spotlessly clean until the Munchkins were--well, to be perfectly honest--out of the house completely.

Anyway, that was the year I finished 47 projects. (Do not fall over in amazement. About two dozen of those projects were Christmas ornaments and most of the rest of them were UFO's that didn't need much more stitching to finish.)

And every night I took a Polaroid picture of the results of the evening's stitching, which I kept in a photo album so I could realize that I could actually get something done that stayed done.

I do not anticipate getting 47 projects completed in the next 12 months. I do anticipate allowing myself to relax with needle in hand.

I can't take a Polaroid picture--do they even still make Polaroid cameras any longer?-but I can post a picture on the blog. It will probably be boring for my readers, but it will be a good way for me to keep a record until life settles down again.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Swans A'Swimming

Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower is DONE!

The outside

One side of the interior needle case/pinkeep
Notice the neat pockets on either side of the case.

The other side of the interior needle case/pinkeep

Thread Keep, Scissor case, Scissors Fob

I believe this is one of the projects in Betsy Morgan's book, published by Inspirations, so if you have a hankering to do it, it is now available outside of a class. It's a lovely piece, like all of Betsy's projects.

The current issue of Inspirations also has a new project from Betsy, a Christmas Etui. I decided I loved it and I decided to order the kit from Inspirations because, as I get older, the less patience I have for sourcing materials for projects. Give me a complete kit with all the bits and bobs, and I am a happy stitcher.  And that is why I love shops who will package up all the materials for a project and send them to you in lovely, tissue-wrapped packages. It's like having Christmas year-round, looking forward to those boxes to arrive in the mail or the UPS truck.

Meanwhile, when not stalking the mail carrier, I went on a little road trip with Baby Girl a couple of weeks ago.

I have been raving about the Tenacity exhibit at Jamestown Settlement since I went to see it earlier this year. I have been bugging her endlessly about it  encouraging Baby Girl to go to see it and she finally succumbed to the nagging influence and off we went.

Now I had planned to go see the exhibits inside the museum, have lunch, and go home. However, it was a beautiful fall day, and Baby Girl wanted to see it all, which includes reproductions of a native village, the three ships that brought the colonists to Virginia, and the Jamestown fort. So we wandered around.

I took the camera and forgot I had it until we got to the ships. So here are the pictures that came out.

I did not go aboard. I have a wee bit of claustrophobia and a bad knee, so venturing below decks just was not going to happen. However Baby Girl explored to her heart's content and told me all about it. Meanwhile,  I had a lovely time people-watching and enjoying the fresh air.

It was a very nice break from the usual rut, and we've decided we want to find more things like this to do on the week-ends.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Poor neglected blog

And it's probably going to have very sporadic posts for the next couple of months.

There's a lot going on with work, and Mother has had a couple of mild "events", and I was knocked out by a sinus/ear infection for about a week, and on it goes. I wanted to let the people who have contacted me that I haven't planned to stop blogging--but it won't be very frequent for awhile.

If I could get my pictures to download, I'd show you what little I've been able to stitch in the last few weeks, so you'll just have to take my word for it that I finished the stitching on Swan Bower and started the assembly line to put it together, I got another panel for Tsubaki stitched, and I worked a little on the Queen Stitch needle case that used to be my travel project but has become my late Sunday afternoon project.

And I cannot believe that was all in just one sentence.

"See" you when things calm down!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

There and back again

Last week, Baby Girl and I outraced Dorian (actually, we out-plodded Dorian, one of the slowest and most devastating hurricanes because it was so slow) to go to my Happy Place.

I took classes at Salty Yarns with Jackie du Plessis.

Here is the beautiful box that will hold the exquisite smalls for a project named Gardenesque:

We didn't get much stitching done, but we worked through the steps to make the pincushions that will fit on the top (most people got theirs done, mine looked like lopsided pimples so I decided to wait until I got home where I wouldn't embarrass myself too much) and to make the fittings for the drawer.

You can't see the drawer in this picture, but it will contain a marvel of engineering that will hold scissors, a thread winder, and a waxer, and also has a built-in button container. I was working on carving out the openings in mat board and foamcore that form the basis for the drawer fittings but stopped when I broke the blade of the knife I was using.

Yes, I broke the blade. It flew through the air. Luckily it didn't hit anyone and I found it almost immediately, so there were no injuries in the making of this etui--but it ended my interest in carving for the day.

But that was not all.

We also had the opportunity to make a fan/needlebook and its holder, designed especially for Salty Yarns.

The scrims will be the blades for the fan, and we were also given a mermaid thread winder by our hostess with the mostest, Sara Rutka-Karst.

I should add that the shell holder really looks just like a clam shell. It is amazing.

And there was the usual fabulous goody bag:

In keeping with our mermaid theme--when I get all the goodies stashed away in my sewing corner (aka kitchen table)--this will be the project bag for the fan and its holder.

But it's going to take some time to get all the goodies stashed away--it was a wonderful, bountiful collection of sewing aids and appurtenances:

As usual, Sara, Sally, Mary, and their families took extremely good care of us. I'm always so happy to have the chance to take classes there and hope I can continue to totter to Salty Yarns for years to come.

Baby Girl did not take classes this time. She drove us there and back and relaxed in between. I took classes and caught up on my sleep. It was the perfect vacation.

Now, have I jumped right into these projects since I've been home?


As expected, my email inbox and desk blew up while I was gone and I'm still catching up. I may catch up by November 2020. I am breathing deeply and making every effort to avoid stressing out.

So instead of setting up the linen and jumping right in (for one thing, I've got to get a new knife--Dearly Beloved has decided I can't be trusted with any of his), I decided to continue working on Swan Bower. I'm getting very close to a finish for the stitching.

And I have Cherry Berry still in the finishing stages, and the Winter Casket Toys to the finishing stage, and I'm working away at Tsubaki . . . .

And I've added another lovely Barbara Jackson design to the list:

The beautiful handmade basket and the materials for a class through Shining Needle Society arrived a couple of days ago.

I am so lucky to have the opportunities I've had for stitching projects and classes--but I really need to plug in the electric needle and get to stitching.

So I am.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Never make plans

I was going to go off track this week-end and finally, FINALLY get the Winter Casket Toys assembled. I always like to have a special project to stitch when I have a long week-end or holiday, and this project has been in the works for far longer than I would like.

Well, this is what got put together yesterday:

This is one side of a thread winder holder. I did get the pocket that will go in the middle ready to go while I was working on this toy yesterday--and then there was another component that I spent most of the afternoon stitching and unstitching.

And stitching and unstitching.

And--well, you get the idea.

I finally admitted that my problem was that I really couldn't see as well as I wanted and my little clip-on magnifiers were not strong enough. This means the Dazor has to come out. Any by the time I decided on that, it was getting late in the evening and I couldn't focus my eyes anyway.

So I was going to do that today.

Except I was unwell in the middle of the night, complete with chills and headache, and I still feel a little quivery today. 24 hour virus? Maybe . . . anyway, this is not the day to do anything that involves focus and concentration.

I was making really good progress on Swan Bower before I decided to do something else this week-end:

And maybe I should stick with that.

Or maybe I should sip some chicken broth and go back to bed. What a waste of a week-end!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

You learn something new every day

I made good progress on Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower set this week:

There are a couple of changes to the original design.

The eggs in the nest that Betsy stitched and charted are sort of a dark green/gray. I asked Dearly Beloved, who is my authority on all things wildlife, if swans have dark eggs. Amazingly, this is one question that he could not answer.

So, Google to the rescue!

It turns out that swans lay eggs in a variety of colors, from whitish to beige-ish to blue to greenish to grayish. There was a photograph of a nest that had mostly whitish eggs, with one that was close to the shade of the thread that Betsy used. However, the caption for the picture said that the egg turned that color after the nest became wet.

I decided my swan parents built their nest close enough to a body of water to be safe but high enough to avoid flooding. Besides, I thought, given the light and airy effect of the stitching, white would look a little better. So my eggs are white.

I also did plain cross stitch instead of long-arm cross on the multicolor bands above and below the woven ribbons. This was not a conscious decision. This was a mistake. Somehow I missed the line in the instructions that told me to work those bands in long-arm cross.  I decided to leave them as they are, since who would ever know?

Other than the people who read my blog, of course.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Two Swans a'Flappin'

I actually found a few stolen moments this week-end to stitch.

This is half of the needle book that will be installed in the center of Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower Etui.

I thought about outlining the white swan, who almost doesn't show up against the lovely pale yellow linen, but I think it shows up sufficiently well, so I'm leaving it.

Normally I have more time to stitch on a week-end, but we went to visit Mother yesterday, and that's an all-day trip.

Mother has taken up Wiii Frisbee golf and Wiii bowling. The Saint and I are amazed. She is doing quite well at both, which is even more amazing, since neither of us think she has ever touched either a real Frisbee or a real bowling ball. Ever. Mother is revealing hidden talents.

However, we do wish she still had some filters. Luckily the majority of the people she insults are either too deaf to hear what she says or have no short term memory so they don't remember it.

Bless her heart.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Another Slip

Well, I got the rest of the tent stitch for the Golden Accessories done:

The blank spots will have small gold work motifs worked into them, and then they will be assembled into another set of smalls. That is on another slip of paper in my projects-to-be-finished bag. This means that I am not getting something out of the workbasket but putting it back.

There seems to be a problem with my logic on this, but I'm not going to argue with myself about the way I wrote the projects down. What may cause problems is if I pull out a slip that tells me to finish-finish something that hasn't had the embroidery completed. I believe Dearly Beloved will allow me to draw another slip in that case.

At least, if he knows what's good for him, he will.

Yes, it's been a long, difficult week, and I'm a little cranky.

Anyway, that meant I got to pull out another slip so I would have four projects to work on, and Betsy Morgan's Swan Bower was the choice.

I took this class last year at Salty Yarns, and finished one of the accessories in class. I started the outlining for the fob in hand after the class was over, but decided I wanted to put it on scroll bars to do the rest of the stitching.

And didn't have a scroll frame free at the time. And I was absolutely not going to take an unfinished project off the right size bars to start another project. It takes me forever to sew things to the bars to my satisfaction ( due to that first-born girl-child perfectionist thing, plus classes with Joanne Harvey) so once something is attached, it stays attached until the project is done.

Do not ask how many things are on scroll bars all over my house. Just don't. Because I don't know. And I don't want to.

See, still cranky.

Anyway, this was one of those slips that said both stitching and finish-finishing, so you may be seeing this one for awhile.

And since I love Betsy Morgan's projects, that's fine with me.