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.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Black Friday

 I am not shopping today. Actually, I am doing very little today--the tree is up and (mostly) decorated and I decided to enjoy it instead of bustling around.

We had a quiet day yesterday since we'd already had our family Thanksgiving. I spent most of the afternoon making these tiny things that look a little like pink tadpoles.

We learned four different ways to wrap wire for the stumpwork class I'm taking. They are majorly fiddly, but I do believe this us a very useful technique. The basic wrapped wires are frequently used to make hands in stumpwork pieces. I did the tendrils with three different twists as an experiment to see which I liked the best, then decided that each one could serve a different purpose. We also learned how to add beads--and I do not believe I want to have that experience again--no, wait, maybe I do. The last technique works over twisted wire. I think maybe adding beads to a twisted wire could look like a branch with spring buds on it. 

Anyway, my hands were not very happy--you have to hold everything very tightly while wrapping, and I do have touch of arthritis in my fingers--and that may be another reason to let them rest today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming

 The last week was full of cleaning and cooking and company--and then there was the let-down after all the cleaning and cooking and company were over--and I'm finally getting back to normal. We have a few weeks before we go through all that again, so we stepping back into our rut.

There has been some stitching:

A few more rows on the mini-sampler that will fit into the drawer in Be Still My Heart. Again, this is really mini--the rows are worked over two threads. Looking ahead, I believe there may be a new rows worked over three. I don't think they will look any larger--but then again, I don't believe I've ever worked a sampler quite this delicate.


One of the pin cushions that will sit on top of Be Still is almost done. When I get the other stitched, I think I'll go ahead and assemble them. The insides for the big drawer are done already--and I'm thinking that putting parts together as I stitch them may be the way to overcome some of the finishing phobias I have.

And there has been some stash enhancement. Rachael Kinnison's 2022 limited edition ornament arrived. She has a few kits left . . . 

Just look at all those luscious filament silks!

Of course, I am now on my sugar scrub/heavy duty hand creme regimen, since filament silks will snag on anything the least bit rough on your hands.

At the moment, I am thinking I may start some Christmas ornament stitching. Do I believe I'll get this done in time for Christmas? Probably not, but I may be able to get my Alison Cole and Barbara Jackson ornaments done, and a good start on this. Maybe if I focus on ornaments and my online classes and don't get distracted by something else . . . well, we'll see, won't we?


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Sparkly Stuff

 I didn't mean to drop from view for several days, but I've been catching up with the Deep Dive into Goldwork class I'm taking online from Sara Rickard.

This is what I've done in the first half of the first term.

It may not look like much, but it's literally hours of stitching.

I am a very slow stitcher, and I generally don't get much done during the actual class. I've found that I do much better if I watch the class, then stitch, referring back to the taped lesson as I work. Each class goes into great detail on how to work the steps involved in that week's assignment--including the angle of the needle as it's inserted into the fabric.

Sara is a phenomenal teacher, one of the best I've ever had--and I've taken a lot of classes over the years, both face-to-face and online. She not only tells you what to do, but why to do it that way. If there's an alternate method, she also demonstrates it, then tells us which method she prefers and why she does.

We're really covering the basics during this first term--padding with felt, both single and multiple layers, and with soft string. I've learned a lot about both. I also recognize that my soft string padding isn't great, but I know what I can do to improve it the next time I try. We've also learned how to couch gold threads and fill in shapes with couching. Again, I know how I can improve mine the next time I use that technique.

I'm also taking Sara's Deep Dive into Stumpwork class, and I have a couple of class motifs to work for that. I'll show that one when I'm caught up with it.

Meanwhile, I will be spending the next couple of days cooking and cleaning. We're having Thanksgiving early as usual, and I keep seeing things I need to do before Saturday. The grocery list has been completed, and Dearly Beloved is going on a hunting and gathering expedition. So I may be off the grid again for a couple of days until we go back to our normal rut.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Eye Candy 3

Last but not least:


 Based on Japanese family crests, Jane Nicholas has designed a series of stumpwork and goldwork projects. They really are eye candy:


Meanwhile, I still have two motifs from my online goldwork class that I need to couch and plunge, then I have a motif from the stumpwork class to work, and I will be completely caught up with both classes.

Just in time for more classes on Monday and Tuesday.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Eye Candy 2

 The next addition to my needlework library is Jenny Adin-Christie's Fine Whitework book, written to coincide with the Royal School of Needlework's 150th anniversary.

And it is very fine, indeed!

Whitework is one of those needlework disciplines I wish I had started to explore twenty years ago when eyes and hands were more cooperative. However, I think I can try some of the techniques in the book--if you've ever stitched one of Jenny's projects, you know how detailed her directions are.

I may not get good enough to do a creditable job on this:

but I can definitely admire the skill! And I think I can do some of the other, easier projects in the book, with Jenny's directions to guide me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Eye Candy

I bought myself some books for Christmas this year, and this is the first--simply full of eye candy for the stitcher.


 Every couple of years, Inspirations magazine publishes a collection of lovely needlework projects, and this is the most recent addition.

Yes, I would like to stitch my way from cover to cover, but this is my favorite:

Alison Cole--stitched flowers--totally free-standing, dimensional embroidery. Just amazing!

Meanwhile, I am still working on couching and plunging gold threads on my online goldwork class. I made the mistake of counting the ends on the simplest motif--there are 28 of them The other motifs have more. My fingers and hands require a break periodically, so this going to take awhile.

It's a learning experience. I am also learning patience. At least I hope I'm learning patience and the embroidery hoop won't become a Frisbee before I finish.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

More teeny-tiny, itty-bitty stitches

 To keep myself from doing all the border stitches for the pin cushions for Be Still My Heart, I looked around to see what else I could get myself into trouble with.

There is a sampler roll that will fit into one of the compartments in Be Still, so I rummaged around and found a scroll frame that is the right size, sewed the linen to the bars, and started on the first of the bands of border stitches in the sampler.

And, oh my, they are teeny!

The sampler itself is only about 2 1/4" wide, and each band is only two threads high.

And there are 77 bands.

I believe I will be working on this for awhile.

Monday, November 7, 2022

I didn't mean to . . .

 I was going to save the side panels for Be Still My Heart's pin cushions for stitch-ins and Zoom meetings, just like Robin suggested a couple of days ago.

Somehow, all four sides of the first pin cushion and one of the next have been stitched.


Ok, Ok, I have a rationalization. I got a couple of lessons behind on both of my online classes, and I've been working to catch up. I'm doing techniques I have not done before in both classes, so I have to concentrate and focus and pay attention to what I'm doing--I have wondered what I was thinking of to do both classes simultaneously--OH! I remember--they were both offered at the same time and I wanted to do both, so there you go--anyway, by the time I finish the part I want to do each morning, I need something relatively easy and well within my skill level to work on.

And this has repeated patterns and no counting to speak of and the colors are soothing and I like the design, so this is the project I'm doing to allow my brain to cool off after the morning stitching.

I've been asked to show what I'm doing in the online classes, and I will show you my work at the end of each of the three terms. As long as you promise not to look too closely . . . 


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Getting it done

 Before I could proceed with the sewing roll that fits Dear Heart, I had to stitch the vines that are the basis for the design on the exterior panel.

And I quibbled and delayed.

The chart is tiny. (whine, whine, whine)

It's dark thread on a dark background. (whine, whine, whine)

It's going to take a lot of counting and recounting. (whine, whine, whine)

I finally hitched up the Granny panties, turned on a strong light, and did it. And actually, it wasn't that hard to see the chart or the dark thread on the dark background, and I only counted everything twice just to make sure I counted accurately the first time.

I haven't quite decided if I'm going to start adding the roses to the vines or if I'll do something else today. Actually, what I should do is clear off the bed in BDE's former bedroom so she'll have a place to sleep when she comes home for the holidays. And that will send me down a rabbit hole for sure, since that's where I have a lot of stash waiting for me to stitch. That is a major distraction--but I do have an extra hour today to play!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Itsy-Bitsy, Teensy-Weensy

The pin cushions are outlined, so I started the border stitches that will go around the sides.


 I love the texture, I love the look, and I love the fact that I will have a good project for the weekly stitch-ins. It helps to have something easy to stitch, since the conversations are so interesting!

Now I think I will alternate between this and setting up the rose clusters on my other current set of smalls, maybe do a day on each.

I wonder sometimes why these accessory pieces are generally lumped under the heading of "smalls." I have projects that have taken longer to stitch than some samplers. Occasionally I also ask myself just how many smalls and etuis and sewing boxes I need. I think the answer has to do with "want" rather than "need." And the answer is that I simply love little boxes and baskets fitted out with all kinds of toys.

My version of a second childhood.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Well Worth the Wait

 Last January, Jackie du Plessis offered some retired teaching pieces for sale to her Facebook friends.

I succumbed.

However, demand was higher than expected, and the supply chain is still slow as molasses for embroidery supplies. I suppose there are things considered more vital than linens and silks and ribbons, although, to a stitcher, those are quite necessary. Anyway, it's been a long wait--and there is still another kit I ordered waiting for supplies--but three of them have arrived.


A Case for Color--loads of different stitches, actually a sampler of different stitches--that will contain an accordion case for skeins of silk--and, oh, those rich reds and greens!


Floret Etui and Slipper--this folds into a "purse" to hold stitching essentials, and the slipper becomes a thimble holder--soft pinks and greens and floral designs--all appealing to the prissy part of my personality.


Nancy's NĂ©cessaire--another etui with a fascinating construction--and again, those pretty floral garlands.

I do believe I'll have enough to do while I waiting for the fourth kit to arrive. Yesterday I worked on lessons from the online goldwork class and did more outlining for the pin cushions for Be Still My Heart. I plan to do the same today. I think my mojo is definitely coming back!



Thursday, November 3, 2022

Ghost Stitching

There is an outline, partially worked, to set up a pin cushion for Be Still My Heart.


 When you stitch white on cream, you get a ghost. Maybe I should have stitched this on Halloween?

Today I am working on motifs for the two online classes I'm taking, then maybe I'll stitch the rest of this invisible outline.  Or maybe I'll get into some other trouble. I have decided I am spending the day with needle in hand. I'm overdue for a stitching day, and I need it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Whirligig?

 I started on the sewing roll for Dear Heart:

This swirly, whirly thing is a vine that becomes the basis for a cluster of roses. There are six of these on the outside of the sewing roll.

They are not symmetrical, they are more organic--which is another way of saying that they're not all that easy to count. So, until I get them all stitched in, this project will not be attending our weekly EGA stitch-ins with me.

I took another project with me, one which I have not touched since April or May. I spent most of the time at the stitch-in figuring out where I was and what I was doing the last time I worked on it. By the time I had it all figured out, it was time to come home.

And the plumber is here to work on the broken pipe under the kitchen sink. I need to distract Dearly Beloved so the plumber can take care of it without supervision and extraneous conversation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Back on the Grid

 For a variety of reasons, my stitching mojo ran away and would not come back--so I took some time off from stitching and blogging. Sometimes, it's best not to force things.

Not that I haven't had plenty of inspiration--I've had a couple of very good mail weeks, and I'll show you what arrived over the next few days as I ease back into my usual routine.

I make it sound like I haven't picked up a needle at all--but I have. I've been working on my online classes, and I finally got all the leaves for the inside of the lid for the box for Dear Heart worked.


Sorry for the photo. It's a gray and gloomy day, so no natural light for a decent photo.

I have started the sewing roll that will live inside the box--right now, what I have is about a mile and a half of back stitches that will outline the edge of the roll and create part of the assembly. Another half a mile, and I can start stitching the garlands of roses that will adorn the outside of the piece. And then there are pretty little pockets that will hold thread winders for the inside of the roll. 

I do not know why people call sewing accessories "smalls" when there is absolutely nothing small about any of it!