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, December 31, 2020

So long, 2020!

 Chances are good that I will not be awake to see the end of 2020 so I decided to write the last blog of this weird year now.

First of all, before I go to sleep, there will be the ceremonial dumping of the ort jar.

You can't really see, but there are metal threads all throughout. It's actually kind of pretty, and I was of two minds about dumping this year's collection.  I know about the ornaments you can stuff but it is tradition to dump out the jar right before I go to bed on December 31. Since so many things haven't followed the usual pattern this year, I decided that this had to be one thing that did.

I didn't blog last night because I had decided I couldn't until I got that over-one band on Emie's Etui completely stitched. FINALLY! Simplest thing in the world and I couldn't count accurately on the last two stems. But it's now done, along with the band that comes after it.

And now to catch up on:

Wretched Excess, Day Six

Another beautiful kit from The Crewelwork Company.

That purchase was precipitated by this:

This may be my oldest UFO,  and it's probably fifty years old. I was rummaging around awhile ago and wondered why in the world I didn't finish this. It was probably another "ooh, shiny" moment-but I was doing a pretty good job on it. And then I found several other vintage kits (never started) that were all variations on Tree of Life motifs, and I started thinking that the grouping would make a lovely display, and the next thing you know, I was looking for similar designs to stitch. We'll see how that goes.

And that takes us to:

Wretched Excess, Day Seven

Another design from the latest Inspirations volume, and it's a Cynthia Jackson, and I really like her designs--so no-brainer. And she's announced that she is going to teach a Tudor Embroidery class online for ten weeks in late spring--be still my heart--so I'm very excited by the whole prospect.

And that's the wrap-up for this year's Wretched Excess.

And aside from being happy to see the end of 2020 and looking toward the future vaccination--first time in my life I've ever looked forward to getting a shot!--I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sort of a White Christmas

 I have decided one of the many, many things I want to focus on when I retire is Whitework. So . . . 

Wretched Excess, Day Five

Inspirations magazine struck again, so I have a book of projects, and the pattern for another, and

two kits that I think I'm going to love to add to my home.

I think the last person in my family who did much whitework had to be my late-Victorian great-grandmother. That's two generations away, and I feel the need to make up for lost time.

Hopefully I'll live to be 386.

And there is no progress on Emie. I discovered that I was off by one thread high and one thread to the left, which meant I had to pull out cross stitch over one.

And now you know why I'm twitching.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Un Upheaval

 We've been having intermittent internet issues since Christmas Eve--when we lost the cable and internet completely. It's been up and down since--and when I tried to plug in my work phone yesterday, it went down completely.

So I packed up the work stuff and took it back to the office, where I worked today, completely alone. It was amazing how much I got done!

There is a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced and it will take a week to ten days to arrive, so I have permission to work in the office.

And, tonight, the internet is sort of working but the cable isn't. So I'm getting this posted while I can.

Wretched Excess, Day Four

I've been tempted by this crewel kit since it was introduced. Then Phillipa offered a series of tutorials on youTube. Then she offered it at a discount. There is only so much temptation I can withstand.

Now, you ask, what about Emie's Etui? It has two more flowers on it. Cross stitch over one takes forever!

Sunday, December 27, 2020


 There isn't much to show in today's blog:

And the reason for that--I have to work from home again for the next two weeks to avoid the potential for another Covid surge.

This means we had to take the Christmas tree down and this makes me sad. I usually leave it up until New Year's Eve, and this year I needed to have that extra bit of cheer. But, I can't set up my home office in my living room without rearranging some furniture, which means the tree has to leave to have room for that rearrangement.  I now have cords running everywhere again, but can't tell if anything is functional until Dearly Beloved gets home from a quick trip to the grocery store to plug the modem to some of the equipment. (Our modem lives on the top of a tall bookcase, and I can't reach it without climbing on a ladder, and I don't climb on ladders unless there's someone in the house to call 911 if I fall--which is not unlikely since I'm a klutz--so he has to be here anyway.)

Once I know that everything functions for tomorrow, I'll go back to my stitching corner and do a little more on this band.

Meanwhile . . . 

Wretched Excess Day Three

This was the year for the textile symposium at Winterthur.  It went online, and was delightful, but I have to admit, I did miss taking classes and seeing exhibits in person.

I've been taking classes at this event from Joanne Harvey for a number of years, and I decided that I would find one of her kits in Winterthur's online gift shop to stitch. This is not easy to do, not because they don't have a nice selection, but because I've stitched or have in the stash just about all of her repros--she was one of the first people whose reproduction samplers I found and started stitching. But I found two pincushion kits, one gold and the other deep red, that I wanted to add to my collection.

And there is an exhibit, which you can view online, of Erica Wilson's work. I did a lot of her crewel kits in the 70's and watched her program on PBS religiously, so I was really looking forward to the exhibit. That was not to be, but a book has been published about her life and creations, which includes photos of the items on display.

And Dearly Beloved just walked in the door, so I'm going to see if my tech works. 

At least there's an end date to this work-at-home period. Hopefully.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas Past and Christmases Future

 We had a quiet, peaceful Christmas yesterday--and hope you did, too.  We fixed a platter with meats and cheese and fruit and nuts, put together several different types of crackers and bread, and grazed off and on all day. Not the usual Christmas feast, but it worked for the two of us. Dearly Beloved took a nap and I stitched.

The Little Red Rabbit is complete!

He is a happy little bunny, and I believe that I am going to make him into a Christmas ornament. I thought about a pin cushion--but I think he'd be adorable on the tree in future Christmases, so that will be his destiny.

Which brings me to Wretched Excess, Day Two:

I'm not a seasonal stitcher, with the exception of Christmas, and this year the temptations were many.

Alison Cole creates an annual ornament, and this one was a must-have. There is a family joke involving pomegranates, so this has to be stitched to grace a future tree.

And then Inspirations, Issue 108, had temptations galore. I truly want to stitch my way from cover to cover, and for a brief, mad moment, I thought about buying every single kit that they provided for projects in the issue.

Some sanity prevailed, and I chose my two favorites:

I've been patting the boxes and trying to decide which to start first.

Six months to retiring and many, many hours to stitch!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas! (even in 2020)


Usually I just post a photo on Christmas Day, but since this is like no other Christmas, and since I haven't been a very good blogger this year, I'm going to babble on.

For Christmas Eve, I gave myself the gift of stitching all day:

These two panels will be mounted back to back for the scissors fob for Emie's Etui's scissors fob. Notice they are double running. I have said it before, doing double running should be creating new neural pathways, but there are times when I think they actually destroy the ones I have. 

And just when I thought I was through with double running, the first band on one of the major parts of the etui body itself starts with . . . yep, you guessed it . . . double running.

I stopped stitching for the day after this.

And now on to Wretched Excess.

Generally I take four or five classes a year, and I set aside a little slush fund to cover going hither and thither to take them. My last classes were in Williamsburg. In February.

And the last few years, Dearly Beloved has told me to buy what I want and put it under the tree since he is basically clueless. 

There was a little more under the tree this year than usual. I went a little bonkers, thus the Wretched Excess business. When I saw the whole stack piled up, all I could do was shake my head and tell myself I now have to live to be 386. And I'm going to show them throughout the coming week instead of one big glob.

Wretched Excess, Day 1

The Crewel Work Company is doing a lot to revitalize crewel embroidery, which has a special place in my heart because it's what I started doing when I started stitching. And they had special sales this year.

There are a couple of designs I've found that require linen for a background, and they offered a discount and free shipping on their lovely linen twill. So I splurged and bought a great big hunk of it--and with it, they sent a gift, a redwork embroidery for a sweet bunny. They also included gold-plated crewel needles.

Isn't that adorable? And now I'm tempted to hoop it up and stitch all day today on this.

And that may make this an even happier Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2020


 I did not mean to let so much time elapse since the last post.  What can I say? I've had a major pandemic-fatigue induced hissy fit and had to work through it.

No, this isn't the Christmas I wanted, but it's the Christmas I have, so the only thing to do is make the best of it and move on.

There have been lovely moments.

Baby Girl came home last week-end for our family Christmas celebration. We feasted and laughed and stitched together (more about that later). And she made this for me for Christmas:

Tricia Nguyen offered this beaded basket kit several years ago. It is similar to the baskets the little girls made during the time that they were also stitching their caskets. I bought it, thinking if a twelve-year-old girl could do this, so could I.

I was totally ignoring the fact that it uses beads. Lots of beads. And beads and I don't get along. But Baby Girl loves beads, and they play well together. So when she asked me what I'd like to have to Christmas, I told her that nothing would make me happier than having this beaded and constructed.

And now I have it.

Baby Girl also announced that we were going to work on Emie's Etui together. We had both planned to take this as a workshop with Betsy Morgan at Salty Yarns last June. As we all know, that didn't happen, but the kits were sent to us so we could do the project.

So we stitched together, all afternoon and into the evening. So far, I've managed to get this much done:

 This will be the closure band, eventually. 

And this is the thread winder.

I would have been farther along, but when I turned the piece over to see if I had managed to get the thing reversible, I discovered a big glob of knotted thread on the back. Well, that couldn't be left alone, so I started reverse stitching and ended up just cutting everything out, which meant the whole flower motif had to be restitched. 

Since this is to be the quietest Christmas ever, I hope to get the two pieces that will make up the scissors fob stitched this afternoon.

And tomorrow, I have a Christmas project I plan to do, but you'll have to wait until then to see!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Strawberry Fields Forever


And after stitching these lovely strawberries, I hit the wall.

This has nothing to do with the project or the design. I love everything about it--well, maybe not the Nun stitch, but that's all finished. The problem is with me.

I can't decide if I have a short attention span or the worst case of Stitcher's ADD ever, but I can work on a project for only so long and then I have to move to something else, something fresh, something more exciting simply because it's new and different. I can't figure out why. I come from a long line of women who persevered with any project until it reached completion before even considering taking on something else.

Mother is a case in point. She made a lot of The Saint's and my clothes when were were in elementary school because she loved to sew. Not a single dress missed having a designer touch. She did buy fabric ahead; there was a fabric outlet store fairly close to my grandmother's house back in the days when there was a multitude of mills in our area. When the outlet received new shipments, the call would come and we would be loaded in the car for a trip to the store. There would be intense consultations--I remember having fabric held against my face to determine if it was the exact shade needed to bring out whatever they felt needed to be brought out--and my father used to joke that the back of the car was dragging on the ground from the weight of the fabric when we returned home.

Each length of fabric was joined with its pattern and notions and stacked in the drawers of the sewing chest. And then she worked her way through them until the chest was empty. Notice that I said the chest was empty. And all the projects were completed.

Meanwhile, I truly will have to live to 385 to complete half of my stash, and there are a lot of unfinished treasures in it.

So . . . yesterday when I could not stitch another stitch, I decided I am going to have to figure out some kind of rotation that will get some of this stuff done. I don't do well with timekeeping and recording, so I have to figure out a way to do that painlessly. And I have to figure out a way to fit more stitching time into my life, at least until I retire.

For those who have been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know I've attempted this before. 

Epic. Fails. 

Every. One.

But I'm going to try again.

At least until the model I promised to stitch arrives--then it's definitely going to be a one-at-a-time process.

Sigh . . . 

Friday, December 4, 2020

One Leaf

Today is the last day of my stay-cation and I planned to stitch all day.

This is what I accomplished.

One. Leaf.

That's it.

One leaf.

I have talked to almost everyone in my family. I have assisted Dearly Beloved with one of his projects. I decked the halls a little more because today is the day that Dearly Beloved finally got a couple of boxes down for me, after being asked to do so just about every day this week.

So, I have one leaf stitched.

I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Nun is Done

All the nun stitch is done, along with a couple of bits that just needed to be outlined.

 Now I get to do the fun stuff. Which I will start. Tomorrow. I am totally cross-eyed at the moment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Almost invisible

 I've been stitching off and on all day and you can hardly see a thing.


I've been working on the Nun stitch for the needlepages for the Strawberry Purse and Accessories.

I can only do this for so long and then I have to move onto something else. The something else is trying to remember how to do a creditable plaited braid stitch.

I stitched a sweet bag a quarter of a century ago that had a mile or two of plaited braid. I remember that I could only stitch it in a quiet room with no distractions. What I can't remember is exactly how I did it--and before you start recommending videos and stitch guides--I've looked at just about everything the innerwebs have to offer and I'm still having problems getting it even.

I believe that it is a matter of practice, practice, practice when what I want to do is finish, finish, finish. I have a project I want to complete but I have to do plaited braid to complete it.

So back to the doodle cloth. Sigh . . . 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Three done!

 All three of the ornaments are done and ready for the tree!

And that's where they are going in the next few minutes. And then I decide what to do next.

In case I forgot to mention, I'm having a stay-cation this week. I had very elaborate plans for the needlework I wanted to accomplish and the halls I wished to deck, but so far, those plans have fallen by the wayside for other things. Like sleeping late--OMG, how much I love to sleep past 6 a.m.! And naps. Naps are lovely, too.

It is quite possible that I have been very sleep-deprived and just needed to spend this week to catch up.