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.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Great Escape, Days Four and Five

Two words describe the reason I didn't blog last night.

Fat Canary.

This is one of my three favorite restaurants in Williamsburg. The other two are Blue Talon and Carrot Tree.

By the time I staggered out, having eaten a simply superb dinner, I was capable only of lurching to my room. And I went to bed early.

Before all this, though, I did some stitching.

I now have almost a corner for the Tudor Pincushion:

And, since filling in squares was getting a trifle tedious, I started a squirrel:

He looks like he has a bow on his head.

Today I started filling in his coat, but don't have a picture to share. Baby Girl arrived midday, we went to lunch, then wandered around the Historic District for awhile. I got to spend time at the Milliner's shop, my favorite trade site in Williamsburg, so I was very happy.  Then the cold and damp air drove us both in.

Tomorrow there are scheduled activities as well as stitching time, so I will have to set an alarm clock so we'll be where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there.

My escape is half over . . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Great Escape, Day Three

The saddle has turned into a critter. I'm leaning toward fox, but there are equally compelling arguments for cat or raccoon.

And there has been a little bit of goldwork added to the spot sampler.

I'm not particularly happy with what I added, so tomorrow it may all come out. I should probably have waited to start this until tomorrow morning anyway, because today I went on an expedition.

Several of us went to see the Tenacity exhibit at Jamestown Settlement. We couldn't take photos in the exhibit (DRAT!!). and there isn't an exhibit catalog (DOUBLE DRAT!!). However, the exhibit has to do with the women who braved a treacherous ocean voyage for an even more dangerous life in the early Jamestown colony.

We barely know anything about any of these women. For the most part, they are simply names on a list of passengers. We know a little more about some whose names appear in legal documents, generally because of their husbands or the masters they served as indentured servants. This exhibit seeks to flesh out their stories and give some context to their all too short lives in a perilous place and time.

To that end, there are items on display that would have been familiar to these women. And, of course, since we are all embroiderers, we went to view an embroidered jacket from the period.

That was worth the cost of admission, since it is in amazingly good condition considering that it's over four hundred years old. The gold thread, especially, amazed me--it didn't appear to have darkened from tarnish but maintained some of its original sparkle. The twining embroidered leaves were finely wrought--I wonder if that came from a professional workshop because it was so precise.

And, yes, I did bump my head on the glass trying to get a closer look.

There was also a spot sampler that looked like it was stitched on something like 60 count linen--if not smaller.  And a coif. And a modern version of an embroidered jacket. And a child's cap that was totally covered with the most delicate of embroidery.

There was also a dunking stool.

Look it up if you don't know what that is.

We agreed that we would all have spent some time in one.

I'm very glad I live in the 21st century . . .

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Great Escape, Day Two

I arrived, got unloaded thanks to the very nice gentleman who hauled all my stuff to my room, and have spent some time catching up with old friends.

Here is the stitching room just as people were starting to come back after dinner. There are only a few of us here as yet, but we've managed to take over the place.

Here is the pitiful amount I've managed to stitch:

It looks like some sort of weird saddle at the moment. At any rate, it's all tent stitch, and about what I was capable of handling after driving all morning.

And now I'm falling facedown on the bed. More tomorrow . . .

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Great Escape, Day One

Today is the beginning of my annual escape to Williamsburg for a needlework retreat with friends.

If ever there has been a year when I've needed this escape, this is it--and luckily, I can stitch again.

Today I'm heading to Baby Girl's to spend the night, then I'll travel on to Williamsburg tomorrow morning.

As usual, I'm taking way more stuff than I could even hope to accomplish, but there is a method to my madness. A couple of years ago, I took enough projects to be able to work on something different every day. That was a lot of fun; it gave me a chance to work on a variety of projects, and it also gave me an idea of just what I could accomplish on a project in one stitching session.

So, I've been planning what to take and decided on a group of related projects that I ran across when I was in my enforced state of elbow rest. I thought I had it all decided.

And then I got a package yesterday.

Margriet Hogue of The Essamplaire had a sale earlier in the month. I've been looking at these miniatures since they were introduced, and the sale made the decision for me.

And that led to another decision to make.

Wouldn't it be fun to do one of these each day?

But what about what I've already packed?

But these are small and wouldn't take up much space.

But shouldn't I be realistic about what I can potentially get done?

Oh, what the heck. They won't take up much room.

Delusional, totally delusional . . .

Sunday, February 17, 2019

No more resolutions

OK,  I made a couple of very simple resolutions--the main one was the one I thought would be easiest to keep. I was going to stitch five minutes a day.


Then I blew out my elbow, and for the last month, I haven't stitched at all. I've iced my elbow, and rested my elbow, and said mean things about my elbow letting me down, but I haven't bent it with a threaded needle in the hand attached to the arm that contains the elbow. For a month. A solid month.

I have also done some physical therapy. And that's where I lucked out.

My therapist's mother is a crazy quilter.

I should rephrase that.

My therapist's mother makes crazy quilts.

So my therapist understands that we stitchers can become obsessed with working on a project, and that we get involved in all-day stitching sessions, and that we will attempt to work through pain if it means we get to whatever goal we've set for ourselves.

She has given me exercises to help stretch and strengthen my arm--basically I wave my arms in the air--and tips to help avoid damage--and told me to take a couple of OTC anti-inflammatories when I "go into one of those all-day trances when you're working on a project and can't even remember to eat or go to the bathroom."

Her words.

In my world, that's Sunday. Or Saturday. Or a holiday. Or vacation day. Or any day I'm not at work or dealing with other obligations.

But, oh happy day, after the last session, she said I could go back to stitching!!  I have to be careful, but I can stitch again!!!

So this is what I'm working on at the moment:

This is Tricia's Spot Sampler. I took the f2f class from Tricia Nguyen about ten years ago at one of Jeannine's seminars. I was pilot stitching for a very prolific designer at the time, and had to lay it aside after the class. Then several years later, Tricia offered this and several other projects as part of her online goldwork class, and I took that, too. So I have two samplers, two pincushions, and a set of smalls from that class in the stash.

While I couldn't stitch, I thought I'd Marie Kondo my stash room. The problem is that everything I touched (except a mug with a plastic Aida insert that could be cross stitched--what WAS I thinking?) sparked varying levels of joy.  It was also like jumping into the Wayback Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody--I kept finding fascinating projects to stitch. This sampler kept calling my name, then I found all the other projects that were covered in the class, and the notebook with the information, and the next thing I knew I had pulled them all out and brought them downstairs.

And now I have them all lined up to work on. In fact, they're going to Williamsburg with me next week, since I'm attending a retreat there, starting Monday. I'm also taking Jackie du Plessis' Tsubaki, which also sparks joy. And maybe a few other things.

After all, I have a whole month of non-stitching to make up for.

Carefully and slowly with frequent breaks so I never have to go through this again.