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.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Away . . .

I have been remiss in posting lately. I have been preparing to run away from home.

And I have. I am in Williamsburg with a group of my friends, enjoying the historic area, our stitching, and dining out. There is also shopping involved. But mostly stitching and dining.

I drove to Baby Girl's house on Friday afternoon with every crazed, race car driver wannabe. It was a nerve-wracking trip. Her house was a haven of peace, where she cooked dinner for me. We went to bed relatively early, then got up yesterday morning, loaded several tons of stuff in her car, and headed to W'burg. It was a pleasant drive, the ferry was pulling in as we got to the dock, we ran into one of our good buddies in the parking lot at the hotel, we got checked in and unloaded the several tons of stuff, and went out to dinner with the other early birds.

This morning, Baby Girl and I had the first of a two day class with Catherine Theron. You may have noticed that I enjoy stitching her designs. This is another I'm going to have fun with.

We had time to stitch in class, and this is what I did before brain, eyes, and hands gave out.

I would like to get the rest of the alphabet done tomorrow, along with at least one flower, but we will see how fast my fingers fly. At the moment, they want to hit publish, and I want to hit the bed. I had to get up before my usual retiree's morning time. How did I do 6 a.m. for over 35 years, between kids in school and work?

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Progress report

I was getting ready to turn the scroll rods on my Carmen frame, and decided I wanted to see what I've done.

This is the body.

And the outer handle with the inner handle.

And the bottom of the interior of the body with the two pieces that make the removable tray.

My gracious, this is more stitching than I thought. And there's a little bit more. I need to stitch the panels that constitute the inner structure of the carrier and the appliqu├ęd pin cushion, plus the pin cube. Then I think I'll have everything embroidered and it will be time to assemble everything.

I'm leaving for Williamsburg at the end of the week. Do you suppose I might have time to get it put together before I leave? Maybe if I don't sleep . . . 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Leave of Absence

I make plans, God laughs.

I've had issues the last few days that meant my stitching schedule went completely off the rails. I was telling Dearly Beloved about it, and mentioned that I can usually keep a rotation schedule for at least a week or two--but four days is a bad record, even for me. He asked if I had planned to try to keep to a schedule while I'm gone week after next--I said I didn't think I could, Harmony would require a steamer trunk for all her supplies, plus everything else, AND I'm taking a couple of classes--and he said I should just declare I'm taking a leave of absence and get back to a schedule when I'm home again.

So, issues . . . 

I needed to make a muslin pad so I could work Harmony's needlelace, which meant digging out the sewing machine. I quickly discovered I was going to need to wind a bobbin.

I've had problems winding the bobbin on this machine ever since I got it, but I'd found a hack that worked so that the bobbin didn't wind all catty-wompus. This time, it didn't work. So I spent the morning with the owner's manual and a chunk of the afternoon online looking for fixes. It all boiled down to needing a professional to adjust the tension. So I spent the next morning trying to find a professional who could do it for me. Apparently, there are few professional sewing machine tuners and they are all booked up for weeks and weeks or are having problems getting parts or both. And since I don't want to wait that long, I need to assemble the thing by hand. Sewing through what has turned into six layers of muslin by hand isn't a lot of fun, so I've spread the joy over several days.

And on the original schedule, the evening was supposed to be devoted to Carmen's Etui. Which I did. Only to discover that I had worked the first motif correctly, but every other motif on that end of the handle was missing one stitch.

So, I thought, I'll rip it out during the next session and restitch it. But, in the middle of the night, I thought, what if I do the second half of the handle to mirror the first side--just work the motif correctly on the first repeat, and then work it wrong on the succeeding motifs. Brilliant, I said to myself--I doubt it would ever be noticeable, as long as I remember to do it.

And since I was concerned that I would forget to work it that way in a week's time, I thought it best to do it right away--so I did, the next morning. And, at that point, I also realized that I was close to finishing the second most labor intensive piece on Carmen--the main body panel is completed. And if I continued to work away at it, I could finish it fairly soon.

So I am taking a leave of absence from my schedule to complete a special project.

How's that for a rationalization?

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Finding Time

There were several Olympic events that didn't interest me, so I made some time to stitch.

There are now leaves on the last motif for this panel of Harmony. Now it's time to work all the needle lace slips that will be attached over the base motifs. To do that, I need to make a muslin pad that I can work the slips on--which means I have to find my bolt of muslin, stored somewhere in my stash room, so I'm going to excavate this afternoon.

I also worked on Behold Thy Beauty a little bit--a lot of teeny stitches over one.

I took this class six years ago. It was a year when every workshop I attended had pre-work to do, and this was the last pre-work on the list. And all the over-one . . . my head exploded and I could not do another stitch. But I have a chance to audit the class this summer, and I do want to have this done by then, so I can assemble this and have another project in the finished pile instead of the pile-of-shame.

Not sure if I'll get much done tonight--there are competitions I want to watch. Maybe during commercial breaks. . . 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Olympic stitching

 Just when I get myself set up on a schedule, I realized that I cannot get much stitching accomplished while the Olympics are going on.

Yesterday, I had a needle in my hand most of the day, but this is all I actually stitched on Hannah Thornbush.

Detached buttonhole on three acorn caps and filling in one color on a couple of motifs--that's all. The rest of the time, I was watching stuff on TV.

Am I a skier or skater, you ask? Nope. I have been on skis one time in my life. When I was in college. Decades ago. That's when I discovered my center of gravity is at the beach.

But for some reason, every four years, I am glued to the screen watching people do incredible things. So stitching reports may be sporadic until this is over.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Delivery Trucks

 You would have thought it was Christmas.

Yesterday, shortly after I posted, a parade of delivery trucks descended upon us.

First was the Amazon Prime van, which brought me this:

I bought Hazel Everett's goldwork book a decade ago,  and have found it a good resource of information and designs. Sadly, she died before completing this volume, but her husband and a good friend and coworker completed it. Again, it's a great source of basic information on goldwork. It moves into silk shading, then morphs into combining the two techniques. So, you have some designs that are shown as goldwork, then as silk shading, then as a combination of the two. It's an interesting approach.

Shortly after this gem arrived, the big brown truck from UPS pulled in, and the kit for the Jane Bostocke sampler arrived from World in Stitches.

Jane has been in the back of my mind for decades. One of my dearest friends considered stitching Jane her Holy Grail. Sadly, she died before she accomplished it, and I always thought it would be a way to commemorate her. Then recently, Lauren Sauer offered an online class on working Jane, and I decided it was time. This may be one of my other evening projects in my stitching schedule (notice I didn't call it a rotation).

Finally, the USPS mail carrier strolled up and left this lovely in my mailbox:

This is one of the most finely carved, delicate mother-of-pearl thread winders I've ever seen. Jackie du Plessis has been offering some really beautiful pieces since the pandemic started, and I have been selectively adding a number of them to my stitching accessories. Actually, I think they will reside in a drawer in my double casket, when that project is stitched and finished. (I need to get through Harmony first.)

There was stitching last night. As part of my aspiration (notice I didn't say resolution) to work projects on a schedule (notice that I again avoided the term "rotation"), I put together a couple of stitched bits in my stitched-but-not-assembled pile.

These are two of the little kits that I used to pick up from Jackie's table at Christmas in Williamsburg's boutique. As I've mentioned before, they were my travel projects--small, easy to carry, no extra equipment other than scissors and magnifiers to pack. The problem was that I didn't always get them put together when I was home again.

I think the little birdcage pin cushion is going to become one of my casket toys.  The thistle basket pin keep may match a thistle etui that Jackie designed and which is hiding somewhere in my unstitched stash. Another reason to go stash diving.

I was showing it off to Dearly Beloved, who had the audacity to ask how many pin keeps I really need. For a man who owns, at last count, fifteen hammers, this may be a "Pot, meet kettle" moment.

Saturday, February 5, 2022


 The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

I'm going to try a rotation of sorts. Again. After numerous epic fails at working rotations.

All of this started when a friend wrote me about her downsizing experiences. She only stitches samplers, and she discovered in her recent move that she had over fifty samplers kitted and ready to stitch. And, of course, since she has exquisite taste, all of them are lovely and she wants to do them all. So, she decided she wanted to get at least one stitch in every one of them, and to start, she is stitching on one a day every day in February. This means she will have 28 started projects at the end of the month.

Good thing this isn't leap year, or she would have 29.

I mentioned this to another friend, and she agreed with me--having 28 projects started would make us both feel overwhelmed. But, she said, she could see picking out 7 projects and working on one on specific days of the the week.

Several years ago, I wrote about trying this system, based on the way a quilting friend worked on her projects. I chose my projects, assigned one to each day, and tried it. Didn't work, but upon considering the schedule, I was also working full time. That meant I only had an hour or two in the evenings to stitch. My quilting friend had carved out about four to five hours, so it worked for her.

So I'm going to try a variation.  Hannah Thornbush and the Harmony Casket are the two projects that I want to focus on this year, so Hannah will still get her Sundays, and Harmony is going to get mornings. With retiring, I usually have three to four hours in the evenings to stitch.

I've decided to continue working on Carmen's Etui.

And I've added Tribute:

I have to say, I thought I had a whole lot more than this stitched.

I've also added Behold Thy Beauty:

I think I'm going to add a finishing evening to start putting some of the UFO's together.

That leaves a couple of evenings open. I'm going to think about what I want to do--I think it either needs to be something small or very close to a finish so I get that endorphin rush from a completed project.

So, this is going to start tomorrow with Sampler Sunday, and we'll see how far I get before something shiny grabs my eye and I go off in a totally different direction.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Back to Harmony

The evil thread was more cooperative today, so I finished all the little sections that needed it.

I think the weather had a lot to do with it. It's warmer than it has been, so the furnace hasn't been running non-stop--so it hasn't dried out the air in the house as much. And it's been raining off and on all day, which has added moisture--which Dearly Beloved has allowed in because he has been in and out all day. The man doesn't seem to be able to close a door if he's "only going to be out for a second."

There are times I believe he grew up in a barn. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Good Mail Day

 There are days when you don't know you're a stitcher unless something wonderful shows up in the mail.

Two lovely kits for projects in the next issue of Inspirations showed up today. Hopefully, the magazine won't be too far behind, but may be delayed with the continuing supply chain issues. However, I can still look at the beautiful materials, all carefully packed and presented.

And this may be the closest I get to stitching today. I was going to work on Harmony this morning, but the devil thread shredded before I got it through the eye of the needle. Hence, I have sugar scrubbed and hand creamed, rinse and repeat, until, hopefully, my hands will be smooth enough to work with it.

Then I had a call from the lady who cuts my hair to tell me she'd had a cancellation and did I want to get my hair cut.

Well, yes, indeed, I do, especially since my curls have turned into a fright wig. So I trekked across town, she came close to shaving my head (it is shorter than anticipated or requested, but I can live with it. Hair grows), and I trekked back with a stop at the grocery store for bread.

And now I've had a request to assist Dearly Beloved with a project. This means I need to hold something, or hand him something, or find something he needs and can't see even when it's right in front of him. I'm hoping this means he decides he wants to get take-out for dinner since whatever it is, it's going to mean a very late dinner if I have to cook after the project is completed.

So, no stitching for me today . . .