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, June 29, 2021

Wild and Wonderful

We are in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. We came to see our grandson and his family.

 On the left is the Big Kid, who is 6' 2" tall. On the right is The Flash, who is 12 years old. You will notice that he isn't much shorter than the Big Kid. They wear the same shoe size at the moment. Size 11 shoes, BTW. 

We were afraid we wouldn't be able to come for the visit. Chinese take-out, from a place we've used for years, was not quite right, and we spent the week-end with what appears to have been a nasty case of food poisoning. However, we rallied, and made it up the mountain.

But, you say, this is a stitching blog, and you came for stitching! Move along, nothing to see here. I'm working on a couple of projects for my former job (so I can't show them), and the Tudor embroidery class, thus far, has no stitching. It does have fabric mounted on frames, but nothing to see other than that.

And the family has just arrived for today's activities, so off we go!

Friday, June 25, 2021


 Cynthia Jackson offered an opportunity to enroll in an online class on Tudor Embroidery. It had only limited capacity, and I was lucky enough to get in.

Now that I've started working on it,  I feel incredibly lucky to have made it. She provides step-by-step videos for each step of the process and a weekly lecture on the history of the type of embroidery we are doing. The class has five different designs, following the changes from one period in the Tudor Age to the next.

I have to admit. I am behind. This week and next suddenly became very busy, and I'm still appliquéing fabric to the base for the main sampler. However, I am retired, and I will have nothing but time once I finish the work I agreed to do for my former employer and we get back from our visit with The Flash next week. I'm not worried about catching up.

Famous last words.

And I have done a little stitching not involved in the class. When I get tired of dealing with my frame stand, which is not quite in the right position (Dearly Beloved is going to tinker with it to see why it keeps wiggling--most disconcerting when you're trying to stitch), I picked up the Stitcher's Envelope and filled in background.

I wish you could see how rich this looks--the artificial light isn't showing the real colors.

And I will be showing the motifs in the Tudor class as I stitch them. Between the history and the techniques, I'm in Nerdvana for Stitchers!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Jane Zimmerman

 I just heard that we've lost one of the giants in needlework. Jane Zimmerman died earlier this week.

She was an incredible designer and stitcher. Her work was meticulous, not only in execution but in the research behind every stitch. She retired from active teaching over ten years ago, but maintained a phenomenal website for several years afterward.

I was honored to stitch some of her models for her last few teaching engagements, but my first encounter with her was my first class at an EGA National Seminar. I walked into class knowing nothing about her or her reputation. I just liked the class project; it appealed to my love of historic needlework and looked challenging. And I'm always drawn to history and challenges.

The classroom was small, we were crammed in tighter than sardines, and apparently it was near one of the hotel's prep kitchens because it was not only overly warm but also steamy (and one afternoon, I swear they were cooking cabbage all day--it was not only steamy but also stinky).

Jane wasn't fazed by any of it. She held court despite the conditions--if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I think Elizabeth I was back. She led us through the challenges of the design, cracked jokes, told stories. She was magnificent!

And here's the piece:

There will never be another one like her, and I miss knowing she's in the world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

This may take awhile

 I've started filling in the background around the strawberries.

Tent over one is going to take some time, and time is something I won't have for the next week.

I am taking an online course on Tudor Embroidery, which has just started, and I need to get my homework done. There is also a zoom class to attend either Friday evening or Saturday midday.

EGA meets tomorrow evening.

My old workplace, from which I just retired four weeks ago, has asked me to do some product evaluations and pattern proofing and a wee bit of design work.  

And we are going to visit the Big Kid and The Flash next week.

I wasn't quite ready to have a schedule again, but it looks like I have one, at least for the next week to ten days.

Monday, June 21, 2021

More strawberries

 I really had planned to put the stitcher's envelope down after finishing the bargello flap.  But the frame was sitting right by my chair yesterday, and before I knew it, I was stitching.

And it's another strawberry band.

I seem to be drawn to designs that have strawberries on them.  They must have appealed to the little girls who stitched samplers, and they appeal to contemporary designers who use those motifs and traditions in current works.

Whatever the reason, I stitch a lot of strawberries. And now I'll go finish the ones on this band.

BTW, the background of this band is solidly stitched in tent stitch over one. It's going to have a tapestry-like effect when it's done. This is going to be a perfect project for those days when I need to stitch but don't need to think.

And that may be today. Despite being retired, I've had a Monday already, and it isn't even noon yet! It appears that I am a klutz and should sit in my corner and stitch before I knock anything else over, or spill anything, or stub my toe again.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Forty Five Years

 Dearly Beloved and I have been married 45 years. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but there it is. As Dearly Beloved put it in one of his less diplomatic moments, it just goes to show that we can survive anything.

I did get flowers, and we had a lovely lunch out.

(What I can't figure out is how I could possibly have been married for 45 years, since I couldn't be old enough for that. I also can't be old enough to have a 40-year-old child, but he claims that's his age.)

Yesterday, we went to visit Mother, who is having difficulty communicating since the last stroke, but otherwise seems happy. She was offered speech therapy and refused. Vehemently. At this point, anyone who can't figure out what she's saying is stupid--that word comes out loud and clear and she has no filters--so we do a lot of smiling and nodding.

All this means is that there has been very little stitching, but I did finish the bargello flap for the Stitcher's Envelope a few minutes ago.

I believe I'll work a little more on this tonight and then move to something else tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

 I could have finished the Spring Roundels yesterday.

I should have finished the Spring Roundels yesterday.

I would have finished the Spring Roundels yesterday, but I hit the wall when it came to making yet more twisted cording. I have been making a LOT of twisted cord lately, and I could not face picking up the twister thing-y one more time.

But today, I hitched up the Granny panties, twisted cord, sewed it on, and another finishing project is complete!

I was overthinking and overanalyzing why it seems to take me so long to put things together. I mean, really, these are just three circles, and not huge. So I looked at each step.

I had to glue the padding to the shapes. But the shapes were already made--I didn't have to make my own templates and cut them out. And I didn't have to deal with interfacing.

I had to trim the excess padding away.

I had to trim the backing fabric into a circle.

I had to trim the embroidered linen into a circle.

I had to stitch gathering threads into backing fabric and linen.

I had to gather the fabrics around the templates.

I had to lace the fabrics to the templates, which serves to smooth out the edges and pull the fabrics neatly around the templates.

I had to sew an embroidered panel to a backing panel.

I had to make twisted cording.

I had to sew the twisted cording around the edges.

And, finally, I had to make little silk ribbon bows and attach them to the top.

Nonetheless, I coulda done this all in a day if I had just applied myself, but the Spring Roundels, designed by Barbara Jackson for Shining Needle Society, are completely completed.

On to the next project!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

One more off the list

 Today I finished the other two pieces for the Golden Accessories set of smalls:

The scissors fob behaved itself and was no problem at all.  The pin keep on the right, though . . . this was the wild child.

You can't see it, but the sides are supposed to be ruched silk. They are actually sort of ruched silk. Ruching is not hard to do--you just stitch gathering stitches along the sides of a strip of silk, pull on them to gather the silk into lovely pleats, and sew them to the edges of whatever you need to sew them too.

This works beautifully unless the silk you're using frays like crazy, including while it's sitting by itself on the work surface without the touch of human hand--or any other hand, for that matter. 

I've only had one other cut of silk dupioni that raveled like this, and I swore if I ever ran into another, I'd use iron-on interfacing before I did anything else. However, the pieces I cut for the backing for each of the pieces didn't misbehave, just the long strip

So, I said, I'll cut another strip--I had enough to do that--and interface it. I have a supply of featherweight interfacing to use, so easy enough to cut a piece, iron it on, and go from there. 

Except . . .

Even though it was featherweight, it was just enough to keep the gathers from gathering--so back to the fraying and raveling piece. That sucker is sewn to the top and to the bottom, but those gathers are not evenly spaced and there are a couple of spots that got Fray Block applied. However, it is put together, and since it's just going to sit on display rather than being used, that's fine.

Now if I could just find the pins with the gold tops to stick into it, sort of like a voodoo doll, I'd be happy. I know they're somewhere in the stash, it's just a matter of digging in the right place.

In other news, I stitched the stems of the plants and leaves on this band for Hannah Thornbush. 

And I worked those weird undulating humps between each motif. I have no idea what they're supposed to be. Maybe Nessie is swimming along this band . . .

Monday, June 14, 2021

Flitting around again

 What can I say? I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to working on projects.

Yesterday, I had decided to put together the Golden Accessories. They're small, I thought. They're simple to assemble, I thought. I should be able to whack them out in a day, I thought.

I should stop thinking.

I managed to get the needle book put together.

But when today dawned, I just couldn't bring myself to putting the next piece together.

And I pulled something completely different out of the stash.

Hannah Thornbush has been in time-out for a long, long time, but she's back in the current pile of projects as of today. I finally figured out where I was and deciphered a rather unclear symbol on the chart, and started filling in the next band.

What I think I'd like to do--subject to whim--is alternate completing this band with finishing the rest of the Golden Accessories. What will actually happen is as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone else.

Stay tuned. You'll find out when I do.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Heckin' Big Strawberry

 I literally closed my eyes and grabbed a project bag from the pile of things that need to be put together, and this is what popped out. I have to admit I was relieved--after putting together the nine parts of Ode, I was hoping for something that wouldn't take so long.

And, obviously, it didn't.

As always, if I had it to do over, I'd do something different. For one thing, I'd interline with featherweight iron-on interfacing. This was worked on a loosely woven 28 count linen, and I fought fraying the whole time. I would also have figured out a way to salvage just enough of the felt used for the leaves to make a stem.

Nonetheless, there's another project finished, and that makes me VERY happy!

Friday, June 11, 2021


 The last project for Ode to Jane Austen is complete!

Everything is now housed in the lovely miniature wooden desk Mr Miller made for the set. I am thrilled with the design--and even happier to have it all finished!

Dearly Beloved just asked what I was going to torture myself with next. A pile of projects that need assembly is still sitting by my chair, so I may just shut my eyes and pull something out. Whatever it is, that will wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Just one more to go

 I just finished the next-to-last piece for Ode to Jane Austen.

This is the pin holder, and I'm not sure why the piece that actually holds the pins looks lopsided in this picture.  It didn't look that way when I finished it, but I have been fiddling with it.

I should stop fiddling with things once I think they're done. Perfect is the enemy of Good Enough. I need to remember that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Pretty colors

 I took a day off from finishing and worked on the Stitcher's Envelope yesterday.

I do love these colors to the point that I am tempted to continued working on this today. I'm trying to stick to the plan and work on the next-to-last piece for Ode, but this is really calling my name.

And that's despite having to use a laying tool to keep the two strands of silk lying next to each other rather than twisting around. I was railroading, but they weren't cooperating. The laying tool seemed to work better.

Maybe I'll flip a coin to make the decision. Or maybe I'll work on something totally different. 

Or maybe I'll take a nap. We had to get up early to take a car for an oil change and maintenance, It's also a cloudy, gloomy day with the prospect of thunderstorms in the afternoon, so I have a good reason to need a nap and a good day to take one.

Maybe I'll flip a coin to decide if it's napping or stitching, then another coin for which project to work on. Or maybe I'll nap, then finish, then stitch. I have options. I love being retired.

Monday, June 7, 2021


 It took all day yesterday, but I got all the Hedebo edgings completed and assembled the bottle holder for Ode to Jane Austen!

Like any other triumph, this did not happen alone. One of my best friends and a good stitching buddy remembered which class we had taken together that had the fantastic diagrams for doing the Hedebo stitch. Not only that, but she rummaged in her stash, found the page I needed, and sent it to me. That made all the difference. So, thank you, Lee!

I have to admit something, though. Any time I put the piece down and came back to it, I had to review the diagrams all over again. If that's not a mental block, I don't know what is.

So on to the next piece of the set.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

No more tent!

 At least, not for awhile. All the tent stitch for the last big flower on Rebecah French is stitched!

I still need to fill in the centers of those two flowers on the bottom, but I'm going to wait. They're supposed to be filled in with bullion knots, which stand above the surface of the linen. Being the klutz that I am, I would catch every single thread I would try to use on those bullion knots, so they will be worked at the end of the project.

That's the plan. Let's hope I don't forget to do them completely, and realize only after I've had this one framed.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Time Out and Time In

 I thought I was going to get the Hedebo trim on the bottle holder done night before last.

It wasn't working out as well as I had hoped, but I thought it was going to be OK--until I looked at it in the light of day. Nope, not gonna work, looked horrible--so out it came.

FYI, it is much slower taking teeny knotted stitches out than it is to put them in. So that went into time out until I can practice some more--or find a different diagram from the one I was attempting to use.

But, I still wanted to stitch so I rummaged in the Pile O' Projects downstairs and pulled Rebecah French out of her pillowcase.

She went into time-out when the black silk I was using for the outlining was shredding--and when I say shredding, I mean it was pulling apart when I tried to take a single strand from the bundle. One of the things I learned from working for years with textiles is that black dye is probably one of the harshest, and darker colors can require heavier dye applications to saturate the fibers of the product. Occasionally, as a result, this problem arises. And I knew I had to have more black silk somewhere in the stash left over from another project; it was just a matter of finding it.

Obviously, I found it, and started on the last big flower:

I was stitching along, thinking what blobby flowers these were, when it dawned on me that this sampler was stitching by a nine-year-old. I'm not sure I would have drawn better flowers at nine, much less stitched them.

I will admit, though, that I will be very happy to finish the tent stitch on this flower and move on to something a little more entertaining--and a whole lot faster--to stitch.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Here and There

 I did a little jumping around today.

First I added some rows to the Stitcher's Envelope:

Then I sewed the front and back panels for the bottle holder for Ode to their linings.

Now I need to add Hedebo edgings to the top and bottom of each panel. And this is going to take some time.

For some reason, I cannot keep the Hedebo stitch in my head. I've done it a number of times previously. Usually, once I've done a stitch, it will come back to me fairly easily. Hedebo, not so much. I think it's just enough like buttonhole for that to interfere. So, before I go any further, I'll be looking for diagrams and doing a few practice stitches before tackling the edgings.

And I know, full well, that I'll have to go through the same process the next time I have to add Hedebo knots to a project.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

First Official Day of Retirement

 Well, today is the first official day of my retirement.

You would think that I slept late and spent the day stitching.

You would be wrong.

I had my annual physical today, which means blood work, which means fasting. Consequently, I try to get an early appointment. That meant I had to get up by the alarm clock--at 7 a.m. rather than 6 a.m., but still earlier than I wanted--so I could be at the doctor's office by 8. And it was a very thorough exam--I don't think there was a part that wasn't poked and/or prodded. However, pending the results of the blood work, it appears that I am healthy as a horse.

Actually, I have never been quite sure how healthy the horse in that analogy is. What if it's a broken down old nag?

Anyway, once I finally got home and had breakfast, there was something I wanted to find in the stash. And, of course, in looking for one thing, I found twenty more that I want to stitch right now! They are still upstairs, but in one location, so it will be easy to go upstairs and grab something.

Then the mail carrier was very kind.

So . . . instead of stitching, I looked for stitching projects and read about stitching. And I don't have a problem with that at all.