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, July 31, 2021

Lovely Mail Day

 It was quite a lovely mail day.

The most recent project in the Queen's Attire series from Amy Mitten arrived. It is quite likely I will start working on this as soon as I hit publish.

And I treated myself to a needle minder from Rachael Kinnison, who also creates the beautiful annual Christmas ornaments. You can find information on both at her website:

And why am I not continuing with the border for the piece of Gardenesque,  you ask?

This is where it currently stands:

You will notice that it is missing all the border stitches I showed you yesterday. That is because I spent yesterday evening removing them, and that is because I counted incorrectly at the very beginning, which threw the border off by two stitches. You'd wouldn't think two threads could possibly make that much difference. It did. So it had to come out.

When I told Baby Girl that I was taking out backstitches worked over one thread on 36 count linen, she said she recommended burning the piece to ashes.

While tempted, this is a kit and I don't have any extra linen to replace it, so it had to be ripped.

And that is why I'm probably going to start something new tonight.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Happy World Embroidery Day!

 It's World Embroidery Day, which I had planned to spend working on my Tudor embroidery class.

We had a slight change in plans due to a family emergency. Everything is fine, now, and it's not my story to tell, but we left home in a bit of a hurry, and I grabbed what I thought was the project bag for the Queen stitch needle book. That project requires no counting and is easy to work on when other things are going on.

Instead, I grabbed the project bag for Gardenesque, which does require some counting and is worked over one thread.

I've been pecking away at the finishing required for the drawer that slides out of the wooden basket and had worked some of the outlines for the accessories for the set. There hasn't been anything to show, so I haven't. But I do feel the need to blog today, and this is what I have.

I think I need to set up a go-bag for impromptu trips and hope I don't need it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

At a standstill

 The third motif in the Tudor Embroidery class has been pricked and pounced.

I was worried that the gray pounce I had wouldn't show up on the black velvet but it did with no problems. What I should have worried about is finding the white watercolor paint and the teeny brush I bought so I could connect the dots. I put them in a very safe place, otherwise known as the portal to another dimension.

So, tomorrow, after I have lunch with former co-workers to celebrate a birthday, I'm going to go buy another cake of white water color pain and another teeny brush so I can start working on this motif.

Monday, July 26, 2021

More radishes, er, strawberries

This is NOT what I was planning to stitch today.

I was planning to prick, pounce, and paint the design for the next Tudor motif. While waiting for the paint to dry, I was going to chart my name for the Stitcher's Envelope. Then I was going to couch some gold twist to the Tudor motif.

As always, plans don't work for me.

Dearly Beloved was unwell and was up and down all night, which meant that I was up and down with him.  This was the second night in a row that I haven't slept well, so I was a little bleary this morning. Yes, I know I'm retired, but once the sun is completely up, I can't go back to sleep right away.

I decided that pricking, pouncing, and painting--all of which require a steady hand--wasn't going to happen, so I got out the graph paper and the alphabet chart and started charting. I screwed up the first letter of my first name. Twice. I figured if I kept going, I'd end up charting my name as Arabella von Stinkyface, so best not to continue.

So, I wafted the dust cloth around, and decluttered my corner (and that was a monumental but brainless activity) and did two loads of towels.

(Why do we always act like laundry is a big deal? All I did was put the towels in the washing machine and twist a couple of dials and punch a button. Same with the dryer. Folding towels is nothing. I didn't have to haul water from the well and heat it over a fire, then scrub the towels on a washboard with lye soap I'd made myself. I didn't have to haul more water to rinse the lye soap out, and I didn't have to hand wring the towels out to get rid of the excess water. I didn't have to hang them on a clothesline to dry--although I do love the scent of line-dried linens--and I didn't have to dash out to bring them in before the afternoon thunderstorm started. So why do we complain about laundry? I digress.)

Anyway, by that point I was ready to plop down and stitch on something, and this is the easiest project in the stack, and I did say at one point I'd like to finish it in a reasonable amount of time--so out it came. And if I can keep my eyes open, I can fill in the rest of the Queen stitches before I head to bed.

And, for some reason, these motifs look more like radishes than strawberries to me. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

two down, three to go

 I finished the second motif from the Tudor Embroidery class today.

It's an interesting technique, but I'm not sure I will ever use it again. Now that I've said that, I will find fourteen different places I could use this.

And I finished another "ribbon" on the Stitcher's Envelope.

The next step is to turn the scrolls and flip everything upside down. And I need to chart out my name so I can stitch it on what will become the inner flap of the envelope.

Ugh, charting and stitching letters. I don't think I'll do that tonight. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Happy Mail Day

 Today was a very good mail day.

This month's button shipment arrived from Jackie du Plessis--more pretty buttons to use on future projects as well as the directions for a little bonus kit.

And then this:

 The supplies for three more accessory pieces for "Home Sweet Home" arrived from Inspirations.

I bought the original book and kit for Home Sweet Home ten years ago. It went on my list of retirement projects. Who knew that the year I retired that a new edition would be published, with more things to stitch?

So rather than getting the second motif for the Tudor class finished today, I've been diving into the stash to unearth the supplies for yet another project I want to work on right away.

If I just put one stitch into everything I have piled up to work on right away, it would take me two weeks and three days to get through all of them. That is a conservative estimate. I suppose this means I should go stitch on something so I can start something else.

So I will.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Close but no cigar

 Sigh . . . I ran out of cording before I got the last couple of motifs outlined.

So, I will make a little more cording tonight so I can finish this motif tomorrow. I thought about finishing it tonight,  but I have spent all the time I can, bent over the slate frame, for today. My back has announced it's done, or I will be done in. I listen to my back when it's adamant.

And I have been asked about the results of the Great Fly Escapade. The Evil Wee Beastie was dispatched, sent to its reward, gone from this world--in short Dearly Beloved smashed it with the fly swatter. In fact, he smashed it so hard, he broke the handle of the swatter. Granted, the swatter is the one we had when we got married, and apparently 45-year-old plastic can become brittle. 

In fact, when my father was helping us move into our first apartment, he told us we needed to take that plastic thing back and get a "real" fly swatter, one made with a wire handle and wire mesh swatter. This thing, he sneered, will never last.

As usual, Daddy was right.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Just a little progress

 A little gold has been added to the second motif on the Tudor class sampler:

The rest of the lines will be covered by twisted cord made from the same silk. 

And that's all I have done thus far today. I have, however, spent a very enjoyable morning playing in my stash. 

That counts for stitching, right?

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Not gonna happen

 Nothing is going to happen today. No stitching, nope, not a bit.

Did you ever have one of those days when all you want to do is sit in a corner and rock and drool? That's the kind of day I'm having. I didn't sleep well last night, so consequently stayed in bed longer than I usually do.  That's thrown the whole day off.

Then a fly got into the house, and Dearly Beloved is perched on the edge of his seat, fly swatter in hand, to take the little devil out. Not to be mean about it, but his ability to launch himself from the seat and attack is quite a bit slower than it once was. I'm a little concerned that I may be needed to help him off the floor if he slides rather than soars.

I'm also a little concerned that he might swat the fly on my needlework, so it's perhaps best it remain covered.

Just another exciting day in a retiree's life!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Drive By Check-In

 Quick and dirty check-in:

The velvet is sewn to the background for this next motif in the Tudor class I'm taking.

I need to re-watch the rest of the class video before I do anything else. Oh, and vacuum off the red fuzz that migrated from the velvet to the background fabric.

The background has been started on this "ribbon" on the Stitcher's Envelope:

And this will be tonight's mindless stitching.

Monday, July 19, 2021

No plans ever again

 Once again, I am announcing that I am making no stitching plans ever again.

I had decided to take a day or so off from Tudor stitching after completing the first motif. And I had to wait for the glue to dry, which took longer than I expected.

I had decided to watch the video showing how to stitch the next motif on Saturday evening. Then I could do the prep work and be ready to stitch all day Sunday.

I had not anticipated the storm that knocked out our internet access late Saturday afternoon. I had not anticipated that it would continue to blip in and out most of the day Sunday. I am happy to report that it was back up and has been working consistently all day today, and this is when I managed to get the little bits of velvet cut out and ready to sew.

But that's going to wait until tomorrow morning when I have better light. We're getting another rainstorm and it's getting darker. This is one of those things I can see better in real daylight, rather than artificial light.

So, I'll work on the Stitcher's Envelope again, just as I did over the week-end. At least the next ribbon band shows some progress:

I would say that I'm going to work on the Tudor motif tomorrow morning, but, as I said, I'm making no more plans. Planning doesn't seem to work too well for me.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Watching glue dry

I'm waiting for glue to dry before I can work on the next motif in the Tudor Embroidery class.

The glue is to keep the velvet that will be appliqu├ęd to the wool mounted on the slate frame from fraying when it's cut. I have the patterns ready to go and the silk cords made. I've even pricked and pounced and transferred the design:

 I just have to wait for the glue to dry.

The original plan was to glue the velvet yesterday so it could dry overnight. That would have worked if I could have found a brush.

There should be a number of brushes floating around this house. We always had art supplies on hand when the kids were growing up, and, as we have found as we work on downsizing, apparently we never get rid of anything we might need in the future (children of Depression/WWII era parents tend to hang on to things--or go the opposite and get rid of everything).  I do remember having a major clear-out of broken crayons and dried up bottles of paint. It is possible that the paint brushes we had left were in no condition to be reused and went with them.

So, since Dearly Beloved was going on a grocery run, I sent him to pick up a paintbrush or two, which he did. But, by the time he got home, there were other things going on and I didn't get to spread glue on the velvet.

So I'm waiting for glue to dry.

Meanwhile,  I can start the next "ribbon" on the Stitcher's Envelope. There will be two, next to each other, with the fold line between them. The first is done.

And seeing the next one develop is going to be just about as much fun as waiting for glue to dry.

Sigh . . .

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

One Down, Four to Go

 The first motif for the Tudor Embroidery class I'm taking is stitched. It isn't quite finished yet. At the end of the class, we'll mount it to a velvet background and add more embellishments.

And after stitching all day, may fingers are too tired to type any longer. They probably won't stitch any more tonight, either.

Tomorrow I will watch the video for the next motif. I understand that glue is involved. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Monday All Day

 I have had a Monday all day.

Baby Girl informed me that, as a retiree, I am not entitled to having a Monday since every day should be Saturday.

Anyway, I had issues with filament silk when I started to work on my Tudor project and decided to put it aside. Then I had problems with the project I'm doing for my former employer, and that was put aside. I decided to start a brand-new project to see if that would work and brought something down. I read the directions, and, nope, that wasn't going to happen. 

I finally pulled out the Stitcher's Envelope and worked background for the strawberry band.

As that is not causing problems at the moment, I will continue with it for tonight.

And be very happy that tomorrow is Tuesday.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Ten Years On

 A friend reminded me that my blog is ten years old today.

How did that happen?

Anyway,  I looked at it to see what I was doing then. I discovered that not much has changed. I still have the attention span of a gnat, I still have way too many things started and not finished, and I tend to run after all the new, shiny things.

I did find that I had pulled a bunch of projects to work on during the first month I blogged. I expected to have them stitched by October of that year.

Well, that didn't happen. Five of them are finished (although not by October). Two of them were not.

The Nantucket Workbasket is in the finish-finishing basket. It's been there for quite a long time. I need to pull that out and take care of it.

Rebecah French, by coincidence, is in the current stack of projects by the wing chair. She has been in and out of that stack for ten years. Maybe she will finally see completion in a reasonable amount of time.

I have no idea what a reasonable amount of time is. Obviously.

Will I continue to blog for another ten years? At the moment, I plan to. It appears, though, that blogger is going to make it more difficult for readers to have notifications of new posts via email. I hope you'll continue to check to see what I'm up to--now that I'm retired, I have the time to post almost every day.

Meanwhile. I have finally finished all four of the big leaves on my Tudor Embroidery class project.

I should probably mention that there are only two shades of green used in this motif. The way the light reflects makes it look like more. Cool. huh!

I need to look at the video directions for the rest of this again, just to make sure I know what I'm supposed to be doing.  I would love to finish this motif, since the directions for the next one have been posted. Keep your fingers crossed I can keep up with this one.

Although the last ten years of blogging don't indicate I manage to do that very often!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Day--oh, never mind

 This was supposed to be Day Three of Tudor Embroidery. Since this is all that happened, I'm not counting it.

In all the years I've been stitching, I have realized that anything that is delicate, technically challenging, or labor intensive has to be started in the morning. That pretty much means that if I'm going to work on a project based on or reproduced from needlework prior to, oh, say, 1750--or most whitework--or things worked on gauzy fabric or with fine threads--or finish-finishing--I have to start in the morning hours.

Part of it has to do with the best light where I live is during the morning hours. Part of it has to do with my brain working its best in the morning. Part of it has to do with fewer distractions.

Now, once I get in the zone, I can stitch until either my hands start to scream or I develop severe posterior paralysis (aka numb butt). At that point, I need to do something else.

Today, I got a very late start. That is because I stayed up very late last night doing this:

That meant that I slept in, then I had a couple of things I needed to get out of the way this morning (there are times when being an adult is no fun at all), and then it was after lunch. And lunch was late because breakfast was very late. I finally threaded up and stitched the tiny bit you see on the Tudor project just before the skies darkened and the thunder roared and the rains came. By the time the storm passed, it was time to go online for the lecture part of the Tudor class. And then it was time to do something about supper. And then I wanted to get a fairly early shower so my hair could dry before I go to bed. So there will be no further stitching tonight.

And very possibly, none tomorrow. We are going to the farmers' market early. After that, Dearly Beloved has a Project. As I have mentioned before, when Dearly Beloved announces he is going to need assistance with a Project, I need to be available, if only to provide Neosporin and Band-Aids.

However, Sunday is going to be a stitching day. You heard it here first.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Day Two of Tudor Stitching

 Today I worked on leaves.

I almost got the dark green on all four leaves stitches before my hands announced that they had had enough and I needed to do something else.

And, yes, I know the design is upside down. I found I stitch the direction of the slant on these stitches better if I work from lower left to upper right--so I turned the motif upside down. I realized this when I was working the gold stitches. I am not going to take out the gold. This is a learning experience. I remind myself of that constantly.

I did go rogue on this a little, because I deviated from the suggested stitching sequence. I was supposed to couch gold passing  in the center. Gold passing is a metallic thread. Knowing how klutzy I am, I would have dragged the filament silk across the metallic and it would have frayed and shredded--so I'm working the leaves before I start the metal threads.

And my alternate project has had a few stitches added. I have partial strawberries. 

With any luck, I may have those stitched before I go to bed tonight, if I stay up late. Since I've been yawning since five o'clock, we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Productive stitching day

 I finally had the set-up for the Tudor embroidery class done, and today I battled filament silk for the better part of the afternoon. Each individual strand is hair-thin, and it will catch on anything and everything. But I managed to get the sections I wanted to stitch today done.

The following is long and has probably too much detail, so you may want to move to the bottom of the page for other news.

I should mention the design transfer process for this project. To be historically accurate, we used the prick and pounce method. If you haven't run into this before, basically, you prick holes in a paper copy of the design. You place this paper copy on the fabric you're going to stitch, and rub pounce ( a powder--the kind I have is charcoal-ish) over the pattern with an applicator of some sort. Of course, I had to get a specific tool for this, but you can also use a roll of felt. The powder is pushed through the holes in the paper pattern. You end up with dots that outline the design area, and you connect the dots. I think historically you used paint and a fine brush but a Pigma pen works nicely these days.

However, you also get a lot of the pounce powder on the fabric. You turn the fabric (already mounted on its frame) upside down and tap on the back to shake off any loose pounce--better to do that over the trash can--I took mine outside and did it over the porch railing since I didn't want pounce all over the house. If that doesn't get rid of the excess, you can use a brush and brush it away, or blot with a clean towel.

Well, I tried all of those methods, and I still had pounce on the fabric that I didn't want. In fact, the brush seemed to spread the pounce around more. One of my fellow classmates also had the same problem, and the teacher was very reassuring--it will all be covered with stitching. However, I had concerns about the silk becoming soiled or discolored by the pounce. I went ahead and connected the dots, but I worried about the smudge.

I set the frame across the room and stared at it for a couple of days. I even dreamed about that gray smear one night. I began to wonder why I hadn't used my light table and the Pigma pen from the start, other than wanting to be historically accurate.

I do not know what made me think of this. Desperation, maybe. I got out the vacuum cleaner, removed the head and wand so I just had a short part of the hose, and I vacuumed that sucker.

And all the excess pounce was gone. It was amazing. I now feel as if I can move forward with this method of transfer.

In other news--alas, I had to rip and restitch the vine on the stitcher's envelope. One of the strawberries would not have looked like a strawberry if I hadn't. But all is well now, and I even got the lighter green leaves stitched.

I feel downright productive after today. I'll probably have to lie down with a cold compress all day tomorrow to recover from my exertions.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

One of these things is not like the others

 I got all the way across the vine and realized that I had stitched one of the leaves in the wrong place.

I think I can very carefully cut out the stitches and rework it. If not, this may go into time-out until I can get over the lapse in attention that led to the mistake.


Monday, July 5, 2021

Happy Fifth!

 So, I decided to do something other than letters for the Fourth, and this is what I came up with:

Hannah Thornbush now has pineapples filled in. Personally, I've never seen pineapples that were coral and salmon in color, but then I don't live in the 17th century where I may not have seen an actual pineapple.

Which may mean why the pomegranate I'm stitching for the Tudor Embroidery class is not red, but gold and blue. Earlier century, but same reasoning. And speaking of that, I've found I need to work on that project when I first get up in the morning and my brain is still fresh.

My brain was not fresh this morning. We had a quiet Fourth of July. Some of our neighbors did not. They were still reproducing the rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air at midnight--and then, apparently, discovered they had more fireworks at 4 a.m. and set them off then. It was not a restful night.

Since I was in a less than optimal mood this morning, I did not work on my pomegranate. I finished the alphabet for the Stitcher's Envelope.

After the alphabet, the patterns are repeated on both the envelope and the accessory pieces. Because of that, I'll definitely rotate this with Hannah and some more finish-finishing after I finish my Tudor stitching for the day.

And hope nobody sets off any fireworks tonight.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy Fourth!

 Happy Fourth, however you plan to celebrate it!

As usual, we're watching The Revolution, originally presented by The History Channel when it actually did documentaries rather than "reality shows" ( my old fogey moment for the day). We have plans for corn on the cob and watermelon later. And I am declaring my independence from working on anything  today that is liable to cause personal fireworks.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

On the Other Hand

I'm still working on setting up the fabrics for the Tudor Embroidery class I'm doing, and that's not quite as boring as watching paint dry or grass grow, but it's very close. It also involved Dearly Beloved, who had decided to reorganize my stash room when he retired. He had put the big frame stand I use for slate frames "away" which means it was at the back of a deep closet with things in front of it. All the things in front of it were very carefully stacked and fitted around each other, but that meant that they all had to be removed.

Sigh . . . 

To maintain my sanity, I decided I need to alternate other projects until I get to the embroidery part of the class.

So, now I'm stitching an alphabet on the Stitcher's Envelope.

Considering that I generally find stitching alphabets just slightly less painful than dental surgery, I believe I should find a couple of other projects to alternate with the setting up process.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Happy Mail

 We made it home yesterday after a very long, tiring, and arduous trip (heavy rain, construction on the highway, way too many people trying to go way too fast on crowded roads). I'm still tired.

But, while we were gone, some happy mail arrived.

The scrims for Gardenesque, a teaching project from Jackie du Plessis, arrived.

Gardenesque was a class I took on my last visit to Salty Yarns in 2019. It feels like a century ago. I ordered the scrims then, knowing it would take time for them to arrive--and if you look at the detail, you'll understand why there's a wait. It is well worth it, in my opinion.

And this definitely determines which of Jackie's projects I'll work on next.

I need to catch up on my Tudor Embroidery class before I pull Gardenesque out of the stash. First, though, I need to take a nap. I think I need a vacation from my vacation.