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 30, 2022

World Embroidery Day

For World Embroidery Day, I declared that I would work on the saying on Mary Ann Turner until it was all stitched, even if I didn't get another thing accomplished.

I didn't get another thing accomplished.  (I lie--there were a couple of meals made and eaten, and I read my email and sent a few, but since it was World Embroidery Day and not Domestic Diva Day, the dust bunnies are multiplying freely.) 

The remaining space on this third of the sampler is taken up with a honkin' big house. The last time I stitched a house was in 2019. At that time, I said I was going to take a year off from stitching any sampler that had a house on it, since I had done three samplers in a row with houses. I guess, since that was three years ago, I am due.

But once that is constructed, the middle third of the sampler will be done, and I will be almost a month ahead of my schedule. I believe that I will continue until the bottom third is finished.

After that, I believe I will go wild and stitch whatever I want in no particular order for awhile. Or I may go into turbo-finishing mode. Dearly Beloved has precipitated two avalanches from the finishing basket in the last week and is beginning to get a little testy about it.

And it would be nice to have the level on the basket lowered.


Friday, July 29, 2022

Letters, more letters

 I have lots of letters to stitch now. Seven more rows of cross stitched letters over one. My favorite . . . 

But at least I finally got the second side stitched. I cannot figure out why it always seems to take more time to stitch a motif for the second time. You'd think after stitching it once, the second one would go faster--but apparently I am wrong.

Of course, I have been dealing with trying diligently to avoid scratching my mosquito bites. I haven't had a mosquito bite in years--and I have five of them. Five. And all are in places that I manage to hit or rub against, so that makes them itch. I was talking to BDE and asked what good mosquitos do, and got a lecture on food chain issues. Apparently a lot of other critters eat mosquitos. However, I do not appreciate being part of that particular food chain.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Well, fiddle-de-dee

When you spend the morning taking out everything you stitched yesterday because you got off by one stitch, it is not a good stitching day.

That is all. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

A New Challenge

Several years ago, Inspirations magazine published a project called Strawberry Fayre. 

 It had a lot of moving parts to the design, and I thought about buying the kit, but somehow didn't get around to it, and the kit sold out. Periodically, I would look at the list of threads and findings and fabrics, and mentally kick myself for not getting a kit when I could.

But, those lovely people at Inspirations put a new kit together, and this time I leaped.

Just to give you an idea of what's involved--here's the inside of the box.

 Like I said, a lot of moving parts.

I pulled out the issue of Inspirations with the directions, and I have to say, I think I'm a little intimidated going to find stitching this a bit of a challenge. There are some stitches I've never done before and the construction is interesting and I have a lot of other challenging things in my pile of current projects. So, I'm taking a deep breath and reminding myself that you just do one step at a time--and after all, it's all just string. And beads.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

It's a Bird, It's a Plane!

 It's a Cherub!

I love the way these little girls drew figures and added them to their samplers--even though this particular cherub looks more shocked than happy. Maybe he stubbed his toe on the tree/bush/shrub below him.

These three motifs are repeated on the right side, so I believe I'll get the side borders extended and start on the repeats this afternoon. Actually, it's a little too hot to do anything besides sit in the AC and stitch--so that's exactly what I'm planning to do.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A Tulip and a Tree

 There was a slight change in plans.

I was going to do some assembly this weekend, but then I started to look at the motifs on the next section of Mary Ann Turner. And they are very cute, and looked like they would be fun to stitch, and the next thing you knew, I'd turned the scroll frame and stitched two motifs.

I do believe that Mary Ann is going to continue to get attention.  The assembly has waited this long, it can wait a bit longer.

Friday, July 22, 2022

All Three Done!

All of the eyelet bands are done, fini', complete, do not have to be stitched any more!

This means that I've stitched the top third of the sampler, and I'm ahead of my (self-imposed) schedule. This weekend, I think I'm going to do a little assembly on one of the projects in the finishing pile before I have another avalanche of project bags across the living room floor. Then I'll start working on the middle third, which has cherubs and the manor house and blossoming trees.

My favorite part of this? The dividing bands between rows of letters. Each one was different and quite enjoyable to stitch.

And only one of them required stitching holes.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Two Down, One to Go

Fly By Post--the second row of eyelet letters is complete!

I may start working on the dividing band tonight--or I may not.  My hands and shoulders are telling me maybe I should take a break.

But . . . once the alphabet section of the sampler is complete, I will have a third of the design stitched. My goal was to get a third done by the end of July. If I get it done in the next couple of days, then I could switch to a different project with a clear conscience.

And doing something different for just a little while is very enticing. Short attention span, ya know.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Oh, so fancy!

 I started on the dividing band between the first two rows of eyelet letters, and, wow, it is fancy!

And a close-up:

I don't think I've ever seen a band like this on any other sampler. Not to say that it doesn't exist or that I've ever seen every other sampler in the world, but this is a new one for me, and quite special.

But as I was stitching last night, I got all fumble-fingered--I'd count two threads and then put the stitch over three--and then wouldn't notice it until I was an inch or more away--so I'd have to rip back and fix it. After the third time that happened, I decided I should not try to count. I needed something to work on that required nothing more than even tension.

And that means either basketweave in needlepoint or crewel. I went to crewel because I have one of my oldest WIP's sitting in my stitching basket.

I had pulled this out last year after it had languished for something like four decades and I stitched a bit in it then. Now it has another completed flower.

I don't know why I don't keep a crewel project going all the time. Actually, I have a bin of vintage Elsa Williams kits and a stack of projects from The Crewel Work Company in my stash, and I always enjoy it when I do it. So, along with everything else I want to stitch right this minute, I'm adding crewel to the list.

Once again, biting off more than I can chew--but it's so much fun to try!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

One Down, Two to Go

 The first row of eyelet letters is done, and I was beginning to think I never would get it stitched.

I was trying to figure out why it was taking me so long to stitch eleven letters and a diamond. Well, duh, a cross stitch takes two stitches. An eyelet takes eight stitches.

Then, I'm just a wee bit OCD about working eyelets so that the thread doesn't cross the hole on the back of the work. I'm also a wee bit OCD about the path the stitches travel so that you don't see the threads through the linen on the front of the piece.

Wee bit OCD? I turned the frame over to finish off a thread, and this is what I have.

Try a lot OCD. No wonder it's taking me awhile to get this done!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Holey Moley

The second alphabet on Mary Ann Turner is worked in eyelets. The dividing band before the first row of eyelet letters also has eyelets in it.

Basically, I'm stitching holes. Three rows of holes. It may be a few days before you hear from me again. Holes take forever to stitch.

Sigh . . . 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Friday the 13th on a Wednesday

And it's a full moon, too.

I had a whole rant about the way this morning went, but then decided the title said it all, and no more needs to be said.

However, some stitching has occurred, so the day hasn't been a total loss. The first alphabet on Mary Ann Turner is done: 

I used to stitch all the borders on schoolgirl samplers before I did anything else, mainly because I find those borders a wee bit boring to stitch. The problem is that if you mess up somewhere, you don't find out until it's time for the borders to match--and then it's too late. And that is a right royal pain.

So I've decided to spread the pain out a little, and work the border as I work the insides. There is another  alphabet to go, which will complete the top third of the sampler, and then I can get to the fun motifs. 

You may recall I don't enjoy stitching alphabets either--so on this sampler, I'm getting over most of the things I don't like right from the get-go.

I once told a friend that the lack of borders is one reason I prefer band samplers. This so-called friend then said that I should realize that band samplers were just rows of border stitches. I stuck my fingers in my ears and said La-la-la-la very loudly.

Monday, July 11, 2022

And . . . home again

 It was a great week!  Three phenomenal classes, several good friends taking the classes, new friends made, lots of inspiration and motivation, great meals from area restaurants, a hostess with the mostest, a mini-boutique in the classroom--and we get to do it again in March!

This is the second time I've attended an event that Kim at Sassy Jack's has sponsored, and it will not be the last. And, as we all know, I stalk Jackie up and down the East Coast, so, again, I'm looking forward to future classes with her.

I have three full project bags with delicious pieces to complete:

Two of them are ready to move into the finish-finish stage, one needs to be completely stitched--and I have made a start on it. I have to admit, I didn't get as much done as my good buddy Sharon, whose electric needle was blazing! 

Should I admit that I now have six of Jackie's projects from classes just since February? Told 'ya--stalker!

And, speaking of Sharon, who is reproducing her antique sampler collection as Thy Needle's Worke, I started stitching a model for her when we arrived home yesterday. Meet Mary Ann Turner:

She is such a sweet schoolgirl sampler. The top has alphabets, the lower two-thirds has birds and cherubs and flowering shrubs and a fine mansion and lots of motifs. She also has a lovely strawberry border--it occurred to me that I have at least three stitched samplers with strawberry borders. As strawberries are right up at the top of my favorite fruit list, this seems appropriate

And, of course, there was retail therapy.  Sassy Jack's has its own line of reproduction samplers, Sassafras Samplers. The original sampler sat across the room from me, and the more I looked at her, the more necessary it was that she should come home with me. Kezia Turnock has a funky castle(?) and two ladies doing a Vanna and rampant lions and flowers and birds. 

What is even cooler is that Sharon is reproducing another sampler with the same funky castle(?) and a similar border and some of the same motifs--so I see "sister" samplers in my future.

All of these things waiting for my needle and what am I doing? 


Reality sucks.


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

And Another Good Day

Today I constructed a paper mock-up of the Schoolgirl Workbox.

 I wish stitching and constructing the linen version would go as fast.

On the right, you'll see the beginnings of the hem-stitch sampler that is one of the mini-samplers that will fit inside the workbox.

Another day in which I actually stitched in class! Will wonders never cease!

I also indulged in some retail therapy, but I'll save that for show and tell on another day. At the moment, I plan to go completely prone to let my back unkink--stitching all day is hard work!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

In the Mountains

 We're in the mountains.

We drove up yesterday, and on the way we stopped to visit a friend and fellow stitcher who lives in the area.

And, OMG, I wish I had thought to take pictures of her work. Lee does the most incredible silk shading work, and contemporary stumpwork, and, actually, all of her needlework is simple perfection. Every stitch is precisely placed. She showed Dearly Beloved and me three of the Trish Burr birds she has stitched--they were so lifelike they could have fluttered off the ground fabric. The panels for her casket are breath-taking in color and design. How many ways can you say something is beautiful, or exquisite, or elegant before you run out of adjectives--and the words still aren't enough!

It was inspirational.

And so now I'm attending classes with Jackie with a renewed desire to improve my work as much as I possibly can--and I'm taking the class that will help with that.

The Schoolgirl Workbox has been on my list of unicorn classes for years. It was originally offered as part of EGA's Extended Study Program--but at the time, I was working full-time with only three weeks of vacation a year. I had to balance family obligations with other considerations--and it was a quite expensive destination. So I dreamed about it for years. and now I have it in my hot little hands.

And, I actually stitched in class today.

This is our doodle cloth, which will have a motif from each side of the workbox and which will turn into something when it's finished--the first time I've had a doodle that created anything more than a doodle. Granted, I worked only a few Queen stitches, but it's a start--and on the first day of class!

I also added another project to the growing pile--Mary Ann Turner, a sampler model I'm stitching for my friend Sharon of Thy Needle's Work. There will be updates both here and on Thy Needle's Work's Facebook page, so stayed tuned for progress reports.

All in all, I'm excited about stitching again. I was having a bit of a slump for awhile, but I think it's definitely ended. Just takes hanging out with other stitchers, I suppose . . . 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Christmas in July

It was a very good mail day, even if I didn't actually get the package until today--the mail carrier delivered it to a different address and it took a bit of Sherlock Holmes-ing to locate it--but it's here, and I am very, very excited.

I ran across a website for Julia's Broderie a week or so ago, and she was offering a gift box with Summer projects. Only one project was pictured. Everything else was a mystery.

I was not having the best of weeks that week and decided to treat myself to a box of surprises. I liked her design style, so I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It was a delight to open, beautifully packaged:

The floss colors are those muted, faded pastels that I love, so that was a good sign from the very beginning.

As a summer pastime, she suggests writing a letter to a dear friend, and provided stationery for that purpose.

And one of the kits creates a corner bookmark for that beach book waiting to be read (although, since I'm currently re-reading some of the older John Sandford Prey thrillers, I'm not quite sure if delicate flowers fit the subject matter).

There is handmade paper, plus the directions to create a book of your own. As Dearly Beloved and I have been talking about taking a class in bookbinding at John C Campbell Folk School, this looks like the perfect intro.

And here are two lovely little embroidery kits. Neither involves difficult stitches or fragile, persnickety threads--so perfect for a quick project to work on between more difficult, challenging pieces.

I repeat, I am delighted, and plan to dive in after I get home again.

I'm heading to the mountains tomorrow for a week of classes with Jackie at Sassy Jack's. I have plans to blog, but you know how that goes when I go out of town.

And, a little bit of blog business: I love getting comments on the blog, but if you're a no-reply commenter, I can't respond to you. I used to be able to reply on the blog, but that feature changed with the last blogger update and I haven't been able to figure out a work-around. So please know that I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and I read every word.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Thread Addict

 My name is Ann. I am a thread addict.

Katie Strachan offers a set of green threads that aren't part of the historic range that I've been collecting for the last ten years. I have an idea for a casket that is more contemporary than either Harmony or the family-related design I've been working on--well, more off than on--for awhile. 

Now if she would just come up with a range of pink/rose/mauve shades . . . it's hard to choose colors from a website and get exactly what you want, so I rely on somebody who can see the actual threads to curate them for me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get myself together for a week at Sassy Jack's. Dearly Beloved is accompanying me to this event. As usual, he is packing as if we were going to leave home for a year rather than a week. One of these days I'll persuade him that there are stores in other places where one can acquire anything one accidentally leaves at home.

Although after 46 years, I should have learned differently . . .