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, August 31, 2022

Little more

 I started the last piece for the Tasmanian Needle Tidy yesterday.

I realize it doesn't look like much yet, but it's all I got done. Most of my afternoon was taken up by cutting out little bits of Mylar and Skirtex and iron-on interfacing.

Yes, I have re-started the finishing process on Tribute. 

I heard a phrase on a TV show yesterday that sums up my feelings about finishing, "I need a whole lot of Jesus and a little bit of Jack." Praying and sipping might get me through.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Ever so much better!

So, I ripped out the wrong color and stitched in the new color, and I am much, much happier.

 One more band and this panel will be finished.

It occurs to me that I planned to lower the level of the finishing basket. Instead, I stitched Tribute's Tiniest Things, and I'm almost through with the Tasmanian Needle Tiny.

Thus, I have added two more project bags to the pile sliding out of the finishing basket at the least vibration. I think I'm going backwards instead of forwards.

Monday, August 29, 2022


 I finished off the Thistles on the Tasmanian Needle Tidy yesterday and started on the second band on this panel.

I stitched the second band according to the color on the chart.

The chart was wrong.

Instead of the dark teal, it should have been the bright multicolor overdye. There is a line of double running between this band and the next, but it was a little difficult to determine which color the line was--so I pulled out my copy of Willing Hands 2 since it has both color name and color designation.  And then I discovered the chart on my original set of directions used the wrong symbol for the band color.

Originally I was supposed to take this class as a f2f. In 2020.  When the class was cancelled, Betsy allowed the kits to be sent since just about everyone in the class had taken her classes before. I was working from the chart in the kit since it was easier to use than the book.

The two symbols are very close, so it was an easy mistake to make when charting the design. And I thought about leaving the dark teal--but the overdye is so bright and colorful that I can't leave the teal and be happy with the panel.

So, today I will be unstitching.

Or maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

Or the next day.

I do have other things to stitch. . .

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Off the reservation and back again

 Yesterday I took an online class from Jessie Chorley with the Orange Coast Sampler Guild. Jessie designs fabric collages that involve embroidery and appliqué, similar to crazy quilting but with its own sensibility.

We have templates that we can embellish with embroidery:

She suggested floss and Perle cotton colors as well as stitches which she likes to do. Jessie uses a lot of seed stitch and satin stitch in her creations.

She also provided fabric pieces to incorporate into the hanging:

And she offered suggestions on other items and techniques we might consider using.

This is way out of my wheelhouse, but I think I'm going to tackle it in baby steps. At the moment, though, I think I'm going to play in my embroidery floss colors and fabric stash. Jessie uses faded, muted tones--I think I'm going a little brighter. And, of course, since I try to make everything ever so much more difficult than it needs to be, I think I'm going to use some shading in the motifs--actually, I'm sorta thinking about trying to duplicate the pattern on my china on the teacup, for example.

We have another class in October to go over what we're doing. I do not believe I will be to the point of having a review by that time--I have other things that are calling my name more loudly--but we'll see how it goes.

After the class, I went back to my usual type of embroidery. I picked up Betsy Morgan's Tasmanian Needle Tidy. I now have pink snails and purple thistles. Dearly Beloved said they look more like pineapples to him, but I'm going with thistles. I have yet to see a purple pineapple. I will leave it to you to decide:

Thistles, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Last Little Stitches

 At least, the last little stitches for this project.

I would start the construction today, but I have an online class this afternoon through the Orange Coast Sampler Guild with Jessie Chorley. It's a patchwork/applique/embroidery piece--way out of my comfort zone--but I need to shake things up once in awhile.

And after that, Domestic Diva Duties resume. When you clean one thing, why does it create a mess in another?

Friday, August 26, 2022

Not as Planned

Optimistically, I planned to stitch a tiny set of smalls that go with Tribute yesterday. Then I was going to assemble them today.

This is what I stitched yesterday.

 Obviously, I was interrupted.

So, between Domestic Diva Duties today, I'm going to try to finish the stitching.  I have an online class tomorrow, so finishing may be delayed,

I always say I should never make plans when it comes to my stitching. I should listen to myself.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

More Little Stitches


At last night's EGA meeting, I finished the strawberries on the bead carrier and started the pin keep for Tribute's Tiniest Treasures. The plan today--subject to change--is to finish the stitching for all four of the smalls in this set. Of course, that will add to the finish-finishing pile. I'm not going to think about that.

We had a stitch-in for our meeting last night. Normally, we have a social in August, but EGA's National Seminar is going on at the moment, and a number of our members are attending. We decided to have a stitch-in at our regular meeting place for those members who were interested. And it was delightful! 

We had a chance to talk about what we were working on--normally that doesn't happen until the project is finished and is brought in for Show-and-Share. Actually, a lot of times it's more interesting to see things in progress. We also had the opportunity to just hang out, and that's always a joy. The general consensus was that we should probably schedule this into our regular program plans. There isn't anything that says you have to do a project at every meeting, and Lord knows, we all have plenty to do!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Little Stitches

 Once a month, I have a two-hour zoom class. I am totally incapable of sitting quietly during lectures--either my mind wanders in totally unrelated directions or I start to nod off. Neither is particularly helpful. I used to knit in college lectures (drove the professors crazy, especially since I can do plain knitting without actually looking at the stitches), but I've found that I can stitch during zoom meetings if the project isn't terribly complex.

There are several smalls that were designed to go with Tribute, so during yesterday's zoom class, I started the outlining and embellishment for a little fabric basket designed to hold bead bottles.

Doesn't look like much, but it is such a relief to have all that backstitching done!

I will likely continue to work on this today. We have a stitch-in for our regular EGA meeting tonight, and I think this will be a good project to take.

Of course, it means just that much more to assemble. I am trying to avoid thinking about that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

More Books

 Alison Cole had a sale on her site, and I succumbed to temptation. 

I've been looking at these books for years. They're good introductions to goldwork in general, but the main draw is the list of projects--lots and lots of projects that serve as both inspiration and instruction. Alison creates beautiful things--just check out her website--and I'm adding these to my library, next to her Masterclass books on Goldwork and Stumpwork.

Okay, I'll admit it--it's the peacock. You can only see his tail on the cover--but the design for the entire bird is in the book. At some point in my stitching career, I plan to stitch that peacock, along with some of the other designs that Sarah Rakestraw offers on her website, the Golden Hinde.

I need to rearrange some shelves to add to my Goldwork section. Dearly Beloved suggested that perhaps we may need another bookcase, but I'm not sure where it would go. Figuring that out may give him a project for today. Hmmmmm . . .

Monday, August 22, 2022

Definite Maybe

Yesterday, when I was not in the mood to stitch, I figured it was a good time to look at stash. Realistically, I likely won't live to 385, so I should winnow down what I want to work on and what I don't.

Usually I find a bunch of stuff I really want to do right this very minute, and that jump-starts the desire to stitch. Yesterday, though, I found a project that I'm having to think about.

This came from an ANG National Seminar about 20 years ago. At the time, projects that looked like woven ribbons were still popular in canvaswork.  Overdyed threads were still relatively new, and there were new textures and types of threads that hadn't been available before. This design had all of them.

Looking at it now, it would be fun to stitch, simply because of the stitch construction. The colors, though, are really a problem. There isn't any harmony from one 'ribbon' to the next, and there's so much going on, there isn't a place for the eye to rest.

I could easily rectify that by changing colors in several places. That green/yellowish ribbon at the top might work if done in two shades of green, darker than the current pale green, especially since it's repeated on the lower right corner. The diamond shapes are currently designed to be stitched in a medium slate blue that, I think, is going to glare. If I did them in a darker slate gray, they would recede and make the ribbons stand out more.

This would all mean making a trip to the needlepoint store to look for threads and some experimenting and likely ripping. 

So the decision is this: do I like the overall structure of the stitch patterns and what the design will eventually look like enough to go to that trouble, or do I add the threads to the thread stash and let it go?

It's a definite maybe at this point.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


The flower band on the Tasmanian Needle Tidy is complete.

 All I have to do is stitch some snails in the open space below the flowers, and this panel will be complete.

Am I going to do that today? I'm not sure. At the moment, I feel like reclining on a chaise in a ruffled negligee, popping bonbons, and reading a trashy novel. Unfortunately, I do not own either a chaise or a ruffled negligee and I don't believe we have anything that could be considered bonbons in the pantry. I do have nachos and salsa, and I'm rereading one of the older John Sandford Prey novels (which I read so long ago that I don't remember the plot, so it's like a new book), so that may be the way I spend this stormy Sunday.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Any progress

 Any progress is better than none.

At least I got the first three of the six spiral trellis stitches done. Actually, I like doing spiral trellis, but it's the only stitch that I absolutely have to do in hand. And that meant that I had to take the side bars off the scroll frame so I could manipulate my way around.

Which meant that I was jabbed and bashed by the scrolls as I turned the linen. If you think I was going to take the scrolls off and then sew them back on again, you have a far higher opinion of my industriousness than I do.

It occurred to me later that I could have waited until the rest of the piece was stitched. Well, duh, but now that I've gone this far, I may as well finish as I began.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Ain't No Sunshine

 We have had what feels like weeks and weeks of cloudy skies and afternoon thunderstorms. I haven't had my morning sun for stitching in days and days.

Yesterday I decided I couldn't face sewing dark linen with dark thread again, so Betsy Morgan's Tasmanian Needle Tidy came out of its project bag. I was in the mood for bright and cheerful colors, and this has those clear pastels that appeal to me--especially on a gloomy day.

I might try to finish this panel today, or I might cut out Mylar for finishing, or I might grab something else from the stack of project bags.  I'll see what I'm in the mood for when I plop into the wing chair for stitching time.

Thursday, August 18, 2022


 Earlier this week, I think I mentioned that I'm going to take a Goldwork class online, starting in September.

Yesterday, the supplies arrived.

When I opened the package, there was a quite elegant box:

I untied the bow and opened the box to find:

And when I unsealed the sticker and folded back the tissue, I found:

Threads and needles and fabric, oh my!

I think each package corresponds to one of the three terms that the class will run. I didn't want to mix things up, so I closed the box. Regretfully, I closed the box. Actually, I reopened the box several times as the day wore on. Can you tell I'm looking forward to this?

Meanwhile, my lunch with my friend was cancelled when she tested positive for Covid--at least she tested before we met and not afterward! So I had the afternoon to work on Tribute.
And it took all afternoon to get the front panel sewn to the lining panel. I've realized that I can still see relatively high counts of linen, between the cyborg eyes and magnification and decent lighting. What I'm now having problems with is seeing dark thread on dark fabric--the lining panel is a dark plum, and so is the thread used to assemble this part. So, I had to work slowly and carefully--but it's done now. Today, I plan to work on the panels that will create the storage compartment.

Between episodes of opening the Goldwork box and drooling over the stuff inside, that is.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

So it begins

 I've started putting Tribute together.

I thought I was going to have the front attached to the lining in no time at all. As usual, I was overly optimistic. And I'm not sure how much I'll get done today--I'm meeting a former neighbor for lunch, and we have a lot to catch up on.

So before lunchtime, I'm going to try to finish sewing this part together. And maybe I'll get the interfacing ironed to the box lining. And the ribbon sewn to the outer panels of the box. And the box lining attached to the main body of the etui--and did I say something about being overly optimistic?

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


 Well, I did bash a few dust bunnies and I did decide what I'm going to work on for the next few days, but then the mail came.

Umpty-leven years ago, when I went to EGA and ANG national seminars, I took a lot of Goldwork classes from Michele Roberts and enjoyed them immensely. Then I sort of wandered off into other things and Goldwork went dormant. Last year, when I took the Tudor Embroidery Class from Cynthia Jackson, my interest was rekindled, to the point I'm signed up for an almost year-long class, a deep dive into Goldwork, that will start in September.

I have a couple of Goldwork books in my stitching library--I love Alison Cole's Masterclass book especially--but you can never have too many books on a subject. (I am the child of a librarian, after all.) So I decided to beef up my collection.

I stumbled across Lizzie Pye's "Goldwork Embroidery" on sale. You can't turn down a book that's on sale.

It has excellent information on materials and tools and incredible photography of the things you need:

There is even a list of metal and metallic threads from shiniest to least shiny--that's helpful if you want to create a certain effect, or need to have contrast.

And there are step-by-step directions for six projects, from beginner to challenging. And when I say step-by-step, I mean step-by-step.

Materials list, design to trace--then clear photographs showing exactly where and how to work the stitches to produce a beautiful creation. I could happily work my way through them all.

And then there was the second book, Tanya Bentham's Opus Anglicanum.

I've been following Tanya on Facebook and reading her blog for several years, mainly because she has a wicked sense of humor. I didn't think I'd ever actually work a piece in this style--I had pretty much figured I was happiest in the 17th century--but then, as I said earlier, Cynthia Jackson dragged me into Tudor embroidery--and Tanya may have just pushed me back even farther.

She, too, has information on threads and ground fabrics and techniques:

The information on techniques includes photos of what things look like if you do them the wrong way. Sometimes that's more helpful than seeing them done the right way . . . 

She also offers tips, and interesting bits of historical information--for example, in one project, the horse is . . . um . . . anatomically correct--because the king riding said horse would appear wimpy if he rode one that wasn't . . . um . . . fully equipped.  Who knew?

Tanya has a great line about those of us who amass threads. In talking about the colors to use in Medieval embroidery, she mentions that those embroiderers used a limited palette with high contrast between shades, and she says: 

"Buy all the colours if you must (and, let's face it, we want all the colours because they are shiny and pretty and the possession of a complete set of something makes our little monkey brains happy) but please use them on different projects."

Is that not true?

She also provides directions for a whole bunch of projects--step-by-step again--

There are even directions for alternate methods of working certain aspects of a design.

So, my dilemma today is this: should I start the finishing frenzy I had planned--and really need to do--or do I start collecting materials for new Goldwork and Opus Anglicanum projects?

Monday, August 15, 2022

It is my pleasure to introduce

 Miss Mary Ann Turner

And a close-up of the lower third, with all the sweet motifs:

She will be available this fall, reproduced by Thy Needles's Worke. You can find other samplers from Sharon's collection at her Etsy store.

After putting the last stitch in, I thought about taking the night off. But when I sat down to watch Grantchester, my hands were fidgety, so I pulled out the ancient crewel piece I excavated awhile back. It now has a leaf.

So, what's next?

First of all, I'm going to beat back the ravening hordes of dust bunnies and throw a couple of loads of laundry in. Then I think I'm going to determine which of the projects in the finishing basket will get first dibs on my time and attention. Currently, the top layer has three of the four projects I've taken from Jackie at Sassy Jack's ready to go, two of Sherri Jones' Patrick's Woods designs, and an ancient sweet bag that Tricia Nguyen designed for the Historic Needlework Guild. There are also several Christmas ornaments that I could do now and have ready in December.

Or I could sit in my corner and take the day off.

You'll know as soon as I do.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

So Very Close . . .

If I'm not on the home stretch, I don't know where I am. 

Fingers are crossed that today is the day!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Getting There

I've finished Mary Ann's left side and have started on the right. 

I'd really hoped to get more done, but adult-ing got in the way. And then Dearly Beloved really wanted lasagna for dinner. Making sauce from scratch requires a lot of chopping and dicing and sautéing--but I take a short-cut once everything is prepped and dump it in the crock pot to simmer. Assembly takes a few minutes, too, so I spent more time in the kitchen than I had planned.

I think we're both getting ready for fall and more substantial meals--we've lived on corn on the cob, peaches, tomatoes, and watermelon this summer, and soups and stews and casseroles are beginning to be very appetizing. There may also be a combination of dealing with the heat and wishing for cooler temps.

But I digress.

I figure I have a minimum of 8 - 10 hours of stitching to get this done. But if I do half of that today and half tomorrow, Miss Mary Ann will see a finish by the time the weekend is over!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Can't See the Forest . . .

 Yesterday, I started planting trees.

I may be overly optimistic, but if I plop myself into the wing chair and focus, it is just barely possible that I can finish Mary Ann this weekend. 

So that's what I'm gonna try to do.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Tisket, A Tasket

When you're attempting to write a daily stitching blog, you need to stitch.

This is all I managed to do yesterday:

I decided to look for something online, and then I fell into Instagram and Pinterest and a number of different blogs and stitching sites, and then suddenly it was time to do something about dinner and then it was bedtime. Basically, my brain got sucked out by the innerwebs--but I was reminded of a number of things in. my stash that I really should pull out and work on.

Dearly Beloved said if I pulled everything out that I wanted to do right away, I would fill up the living room. He may be right.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Off the Rails

 I am making no plans for the rest of this week.

As we speak, I should be at my EGA chapter's weekly stitch-in. I am not.

I had set the clock for 7:30, which would give me plenty of time to shower, dress, have breakfast, and decide what to take to work on. I woke up before the clock went off, glanced at it, noticed it said 6:26, thought, "Yay, another hour to sleep", rolled over, and dropped off again.

Somewhat later, I woke up for the second time, looked at the clock again, noticed it said 6:26--again--sat up in bed and looked at Dearly Beloved's clock, which said 10:33, and realized that the batteries in my clock had died. At 6:26.

By the time I showered and dressed and figured out what to take, I would have arrived just about in time to unpack everything and then repack it and drive home.

Next week, I'm setting two clocks. After replacing the batteries in my alarm clock.

Meanwhile, I went off in a different direction on Mary Ann yesterday.

I had started to fill in one of the spot motifs and was thinking about either finishing all the motifs on one side before going to the other, or going back and forth between the two sides of the sampler.  I was also thinking about how much fun those little motifs would be to stitch and how boring the final border would be.

Well, duh.

If you go ahead and finish the rest of the border, then all you have to do are the fun little motifs.

So that's what I did.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Thank God it's not Monday

 I know that when you retire, every day is Saturday, but I still had a Monday yesterday.

I had the semi-annual trip to the dentist, which, while not my favorite way to spend a chunk of my afternoon, isn't the worst thing that can happen. Unless, of course, you get very little sleep the night before (to be as delicate as possible, I had plenty of time to consider possible changes to the master bathroom  from 3:47 a.m. to 6:18 a.m.). Unless you discover that you had forgotten to write the time and date of the dentist appointment on the master calendar.  Unless you realize that only about an hour before the appointment. And that's only because you decide to check your email before going back to bed for awhile.

It all worked out--I did get there in time and my mouth is healthy, so that's a win. But between dentist-appointment-related-stress (that should be a recognized syndrome, if it isn't already) and overall fatigue, Mary Ann only got about an hour of attention yesterday.

This is where she stands:

With any luck, I'll finish the basket with what Dearly Beloved described as floating orbs, and get these motifs repeated on the other side today.

That is, of course, after I check the master calendar and my email to see if I'm missing anything scheduled for today.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Filling in the Spaces

I didn't have much time to stitch yesterday, but I did get a little done on Mary Ann. The side borders have been extended--why do borders seem to take more time than they should?--and I started the first of the small motifs that will fill the space around the Big Pot of Flowers.

 There will be flowers and fruit bowls at the top, trees at the bottom, and more critters amongst the trees. All is very symmetrical and balanced, all very Georgian. So, on with the day!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Flowers in a Pot

Much to my amazement, I managed to stitch the entire big pot of flowers.

Sharon shared some more information about Mary Ann with me. Mary Ann was about 9 years old when she stitched this sampler. When she was 21, she married--and over the next 17 years, she gave birth to nine children.

Nine children.

 I have a feeling that her stitching was limited to making and mending clothes for her brood. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Big flowers

 So the scary birds are guarding the crowns, and I've started the huge flowers that live in a huge vase in the center of this third of the sampler.

I really wonder how the red in the original sampler managed to retain such a vivid hue. So many of the other colors have a much softer tone, but this red is right in your face. Then again, there are a couple of orange birds in the middle third that are also quite colorful. One of those mysteries of textile dyes, I suppose.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Big scary bird

 The landscaping crew finished planting grass yesterday, then, due to the heat, did very little else until evening.

One and a half of a pair of big, scary birds landed on the sampler last night. They are actually quite regal looking, and I think they might be there to protect the two crowns that will soon appear between them.

I can tell I'm really on the home stretch with this project. For one thing, I'm starting to list things I want to do when this is handed off to the designer. I'm also thinking that I've been a monogamous stitcher for too long, and it's time to start mixing things up. This, of course, has to do with the twenty or so projects on the current list. Since I want to stick a needle in each and every one of them, I may as well do so and get it out of my system.

Plus, I think it will be more interesting for both myself and my readers. I don't want any of us to get bored.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Critters in the Grass

The landscapers made a valiant effort, but they had to plant grass around a dog and two rabbits who took up residence in the yard.

Fingers are crossed that the front lawn in completed today.

I was reading a description of an involved project on a designer's web page, and she mentioned that it would provide hundreds of hours of stitching pleasure. Hundreds of hours? I said to myself. Heavens, really?

Well, yes, some projects take hundreds of hours, although, in my state of self-delusion, I always underestimate how much time anything will take me to stitch. However, when there are big blocks of color in cross stitch, I will admit that it begins to feel like hundreds of hours. This is the last such area on this sampler, though--I go on to a bunch of smaller motifs for the bottom third of the sampler. And that's the part I'm really looking forward to.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Construction Complete

 The entire construction crew managed to finish the house.

I do wonder a bit about the architect. Here is this very symmetrical Georgian house, with lovely, large, balanced windows--and wee, tiny, short, squatty doors. If they were round, they'd be Hobbit Holes.

Oh, well, time for the landscapers to arrive to plant some a lot of grass in front of the house.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Construction Continues

 The big blue house now has roofs on both the main structure and the wings, it has window frames, it has doors, and one wing is all but complete.

I'd like to see the main structure finished, depending on whether or not the builder shows up--then we'll see if the glaziers can get the windows installed. Since the construction superintendent has not slept well for two nights running and is seriously thinking about going back to bed, it is not certain if anything will happen on the site today.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Big Blue House

 I started building the big blue house yesterday.

Sharon, who is reproducing the sampler for her company, Thy Needle's Worke, says she believes that Mary Ann originally stitched the house in purple. Unfortunately, due to the way the original sampler is mounted, she can't access the back to be sure, so the color on the front is the one we're going with.

Many times, girls stitched what they knew. Does this mean that there was a big purple house in Mary Ann's neighborhood? Or could it have been stone with a purplish cast? This house definitely doesn't have brick and mortar--it's one solid color--so what was used to construct it?

I'm just glad I can build it with needle and thread.