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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Hyperactive Gnat

 I have had the attention span of a hyperactive gnat this week. I've been swapping out summer clothes for fall/winter, just in time to have 80+ degree days, so the swapping hasn't gone as well as I would like. Dearly Beloved has been a little under the weather, so I have been the hunter/gatherer (I've gone to the grocery store and the drug store for his meds).

But I have stitched a tiny little bit.

On Sampler Sunday, I stitched the basket at the bottom of the sampler and filled in more of the satin stitch on the border.

Then I finished the bud for the Tudor project. I have a terrible feeling that I'm going to run out of the gold Lizerine before I finish this piece, which makes me feel like I need to stitch faster. This is the same kind of logic that makes people drive faster if they think they're going to run out of gas, and likely to have as brilliant a result.

And, finally, I started the first part of Barbara Jackson's "Christmas is Coming" Etui.

I have absolutely no idea what I'll get into tonight. Maybe one of these, maybe something else . . . I do have choices.

And absolutely no attention span.

Saturday, September 25, 2021


 I fell into a book this week, so stitching was minimal. Craig Johnson's Daughter of the Morning Star arrived this week, and dammit, I'm going to have to wait a year until he publishes the next one to find out the resolution of the cliff hanger.

Anyway, when I could tear myself away from the pages of the book, I finished the stitching for The Stitcher's Envelope by Catherine Theron:

The original plan was to assemble the set as soon as I finished the stitching. In fact, I now have five projects that need assembly sitting by my chair.

The original plan was to just dive in and have a finish-finishing blitz, then get the Tudor project done, then move into a new pile of projects.

BUT, this arrived:

Christmas is Coming, from Barbara Jackson. And, as we all know by now, I have a serious weakness for any project Barbara designs.

There's also a Jackie du Plessis project I'm ready to dive into, and a Marsha Papay-Gomola project excavated from the stash,  and a stump work mirror surround that needs to be stitched, and a whole slew of little projects that would take only a day or so to do.

I guess I should prioritize. Or flip a coin.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Getting Closer . . .

Stitch by stitch, I'm getting closer to having the last accessory piece finished.

And even though I have to use a trolley needle to lay double strands, this part is worked in bargello, so it's going a little faster.

This will give me five projects in my finish-finishing pile.  I believe I should have an assembly blitz before I move on.



Sigh . . . 


Monday, September 20, 2021

The Fun Stuff

I finally finished the borders and Nun stitch on the remaining bits of the Stitcher's Envelope, and now I'm on to the fun stuff.

 Those two little pieces will become the scissors fob, and the bit to the right will be stitched in bargello to become the needle book.  Just like the Queen stitch needle book,  I'm now so close to having it done, I may just keep on until it's ready for assembly.

I do have to admit: it may be a little while (by which I mean a long while) before I seek out another project with a lot of Smyrna crosses and Nun stitches.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Before I turn the scrolls

The flowers are finally filled in on this side:

So now I can turn the scroll bars and start on the lower part of the freehand embroidery. Except . . . I do believe I will fill in the rest of the saw tooth border, mainly because I'm in the mood for something simple and rhythmic to work on.

I'm enjoying the surface embroidery, by the way. After all the years I've done counted thread on linen or canvas or congress cloth, I'm as surprised as anyone by this change. But change is supposed to be good, so I'm going to embrace it.

At least, I'll embrace this change . . . 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Hardly Worth Mentioning

 This is all I've managed to stitch in two days.

I do have an excuse. We went to visit Mother yesterday. Because of the rising Covid numbers, the length of the visit is only 30 minutes and we must be masked. With the masks on, Mother has an even harder time recognizing us or understanding what we're saying. It's frustrating for everyone.

It would be so very nice if everyone would just get vaccinated.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

A little more

 Today's Tudor bit involved couching lizerine around each leaf. It was very fiddly, and that was just the outer edge.

After everything else on this piece of linen is stitched, all of this will be cut out and sewn to velvet. When that happens, the center vein of each leaf will be added.

This is not the only thing I've been working on, but seeing nun stitch after nun stitch after nun stitch is like watching grass grow or paint dry. When I finally get it all done and the stuff in the middle done, I'll take a picture.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Back to the Tudors

 Apparently I was inspired by my new Tudor book. I worked on attaching the gold plate to the leaves that will be appliquéd to velvet later.

I am experimenting with the coverage of the couching stitches over the gold plate. The top leaf has fairly heavy coverage, while the bottom one has very little. 

The problem is that the photo doesn't show how bright the plate actually is. In real life, it's very shiny and almost overwhelming.

In addition, all those raggedy-looking edges around the outside and up the center will be covered with another, very bright gold metallic thread. As a result, I'm leaning toward to heavier coverage with the couching threads to tone the plate down a bit.

I realize that Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were all about the bling, but there's already a lot of that on this project.  I think I'll set the frame across the room and see how it reacts in lamplight and early morning sun, then make a decision.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

New book

There has been very little stitching for the last couple of days, and therefore I had very little to say. I did pull out a project from the stash that I want to start, and another that will be on the slate frame as soon as the Tudor project is done, but as far as actually stitching, nope, didn't happen.

But I did get a beautiful book today:

Sorry for the blurry photo and bad light-- it is a glorious book with paintings and reproductions of Tudor clothing and examples of actual Tudor garments. And it is now available in paperback, so it's much more affordable.

Tonight I'll settle down with a book rather than a needle.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Best Laid Plans

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am not making plans.

And, of course, I had planned to finish the flowers on this part of Rebecah French today. I didn't. I got about half of them done:

 And that is because my sleep was interrupted last night, not once, but twice.

I'm going to be a cranky old lady, so if you're here for stitching, you can stop reading right now.

There is a young man in our neighborhood who is admirable in many, many ways--good student, hard worker--and his goal has been to save up enough money to buy a car he could drive during his senior year in high school. He has worked very hard to meet this goal, which was made even harder with Covid cutting off so many job opportunities for so long. This meant that he worked two jobs this summer.

And he bought a car. Actually, what he bought was a motorized, rolling vehicle to carry a major stereo system, with emphasis on bass speakers. And this thing rolled into the neighborhood at midnight last night. Dearly Beloved, who had taken his hearing aids out, thought it was thunder since the windows were rattling and he could feel the vibrations.

And then, the kid rolled out this morning at 6:30 to go to one of his jobs (gotta buy gas, you know), and apparently, he needed to wake himself up so he cranked up the stereo again. And this was quite the shock to the system on a quiet Sunday morning.

His parents have come to every door and apologized--it seems the stereo was a surprise to them as well--and we have been informed that this will not happen again. Dad mentioned that the title is in Dad's name, as is the insurance, so he has leverage.

Considering the bags under his eyes, we believe that Dad will carry through.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Boring Stuff

 Sometimes you have to get the boring stuff out of the way before you can do the fun stuff.

On the accessories for the Stitcher's Envelope, that's the Nun stitch.  All of them are outlined in Nun stitch.

I do not enjoy working Nun stitch.

On the scissors sheath, I stitched the design almost all the way, then did the Nun around it, then finished the design.  I've decided I'm going to work the Nun stitch first for the rest of the pieces. Otherwise, they won't get done in a timely manner, meaning any time soon, or perhaps even in this decade. Lesser things have derailed projects.

So, this is where I've started. And will continue. And I am liable to be cranky, so I beg forgiveness in advance.

Of course, tomorrow is Sampler Sunday, so I'll have an excuse to procrastinate schedule the other sections for later in the week.

Friday, September 10, 2021

A unicorn

 In one of the cross stitch groups I belong to, a unicorn is that chart or pattern or kit or design that is (usually) out of print or so rare that it's as elusive as a unicorn.

I have several unicorns I'd love to find, and last week I found one:

Fenwick is a kit from Elsa Williams that is probably forty or fifty years old. I always loved the design, but never had the chance to buy it when Elsa Williams products were in existence. But--aha!--it appeared on the Bay of Evil, and I spent way too much for it, but it's now in my possession.

I've always said that if I'm meant to have something, it will eventually come my way--even if it takes decades to arrive!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Lack of Industry

 Today was supposed to be a Tudor day.

After yesterday, I didn't feel like doing anything that required focus or concentration. Actually, I was thinking about being a slug, but I did pull out the Stitcher's Envelope. So the borders for the second half of the scissors sheath are done, and I started the nun stitch that will be part of the finishing.

 And then the mail arrived, and I have more temptation--temptation that I hope will be motivation to get some more of my WIP's and PhD's done before I start something new.

I discovered Nicki Franklin's The Stitchery through an article in Victoria Magazine an issue or so ago.  She offers lovely, small designs stitched in soft, faded colors. And one of the designs I found on her website was "No Rabbits Allowed", inspired by Beatrix Potter's Mr. MacGregor's Garden. My fingers moved of their own accord, and it was ordered.

I really planned to stitch my stash in retirement rather than add to it, but some things are just too enticing to avoid!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


I have been very industrious today.

I constructed a banana pudding.

I balanced the checkbook and paid bills.

I dragged the vacuum cleaner around, then wafted the dust cloth.

And I put The Chinese Imperial Yellow Queen Stitch Needlecase, as reproduced by Joanne Harvey, together:

The inside has a pocket (obviously) and needle pages. The scissors and tape measure were included as part of the kit.

It is closed by wrapping a ribbon around the outside.

Wow, two finishes in two days. Maybe I'm on a roll. Doubtful, but possible!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Yippee- Ki-Yay

 I spent some time yesterday looking for a set of scroll bars to fit the linen for Stinkin' Cute. While I was rummaging around, I ran across the kit for the Queen's Miniature Portrait, designed by Amy Mitten. I had started it,  then it went into time-out when I got off track couching the ruff stitches.

I got back on track this morning, and now it's done.

And, it is with great relief that I wish to announce that the stitching for the Chinese Imperial Yellow Queen Stitch Needlecase is now complete.

This has been my travel project for years now. Once the pattern was in my head, I didn't need to refer to the chart or do much counting, so it was perfect for trips with little time for stitching or for stitching with a group. However, it's been in process for way too long, and it's past time to finish it.  Speaking of finishing, I believe I will go ahead and read over the construction directions rather than add this to the pile of things that need to be completed.

And, you ask, did I find scroll bars for Stinkin' Cute? 

I did.

They're attached to the linen on which I'm stitching the appliqué pieces for the Tudor class.

I suppose this means that I need to get those bits finished. And I will. In the next few weeks. Hopefully.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Stinkin Cute

 What a surprise! The Post Office delivered a package today! On a holiday!

And it was a new project from Jackie du Plessis. It's called "Stinkin' Cute" and it is. A teeny, tiny wooden basket:

And it will become this:

I am soooooooo excited--I may be upstairs before the afternoon is over, looking for the correct scroll frames.

After all, it's Labor Day, and that still means a beginning for me. When I was in elementary school, the first day of school was the Tuesday after Labor Day (and the last day was the Friday before Memorial Day). I still have a strong urge to buy a new binder, and notebook paper, and a box of pencils when this time of year rolls around, even though decades have passed since then.

I am trying to be disciplined and finish a few more Phd's (projects half done), but oh, I am being so tempted!

I have a feeling temptation will win.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Vines and leaves

On this Sampler Sunday, I feel like I've been hacking into a jungle. There are a LOT of vines and leaves on this side of Rebecah French's sampler.

 I wish I could say I'm going to get the buds and flowers and bird stitched by bedtime tonight, but I don't think it's possible. Unless, of course, bedtime is close to sunrise tomorrow.

And that is entirely possible. After all, not only is tomorrow a holiday, but I'm retired. I don't have a schedule!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Is that all there is?

 Yep, this is all there is today:

I have good reason. Baby Girl made a flying trip to bring me plastic bins she isn't using and to get a footstool I'm not using. She also raided my stretcher bar stash.

And then we went to lunch. And then she left. And I spent some time organizing stuff in the bins.

Organization is tiring work--good thing we have leftovers to warm up for supper tonight!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Oooh, Shiny!

 I finished adding the metal thread to the goldwork motif on the Tudor project today.

There are a couple of things I need to do. 

The first is to restitch the center. One thing I've learned from this class is that things on this silk blend velvet slip and slide, and the center sequin definitely slipped from where it was when I started.

The second is that I need to "groom" the gold purl on the petals. Many moons ago, I took classes from Michele Roberts at EGA and ANG National seminars, and that is where I learned about a tool called a mellore which helps you push real metal threads into submission. In looking at the photo, I can see several places that need to be tamed.

Meanwhile, after hunching over the slate frame most of the day, I definitely need to straighten out my back. Right now, I'm shaped like a C, and C does not stand for comfortable in this instance.

And then I may pick up a different project.

Another facet of retirement just occurred to me. Labor Day is Monday. In my working days, it would have been a day off. Because that gave me a three-day week-end, I used to plan to stitch on a special project since I'd have more time. Now that I'm retired, I can play with special projects any time.

Every day is a holiday!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Still more to go

Because of my incredible inability to accurately determine how long any project will take, I still have the two rows of small diamonds on my needle case left to complete.

With my usual optimism, I thought I would be to the point of putting this thing together by now.

I was incorrect in my assumption.

And I wish I could let go of the habit of setting deadlines for myself. Even in retirement, I can't stop. I wonder how long it will take . . . 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Sampler September

 We were supposed to have our first sampler guild meeting since February, 2020, tonight.

Unfortunately,  the key to our meeting place didn't work and we couldn't get in--so the meeting was cancelled.

I suppose I should work on a sampler tonight, since this is Sampler September, but I am stitching on the yellow needle book again. When you get this close to getting something accomplished, it's hard to stop, and I am very, very close.

Since the big diamonds take so much more time to work than the little ones. I decided to knock them out first. I will be very, very happy to get them out of the way--this bright yellow is tiring on the eyes.

I'd much rather be at the guild meeting, though. It's been so, so long, and I'll be happy to see everyone again, masked or not.