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, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year's Eve!

 Tonight will be the ceremonial dumping of the Ort Jar. As I doubt I'll be awake at midnight, I'm posting the photo of this year's early:

It is almost full to the top, and it's been tamped down.

However, I have fewer finishes this year than I have had in awhile. That doesn't mean my stitching time was reduced this year--not at all. What it means is that I've stuck my needle in a lot of things but haven't finished many of them. My stitcher's ADHD has been worse than usual. It's more than a little embarrassing to admit that there are about thirty projects sitting in my corner. Unfinished projects. That's too many. Way too many.

I better get busy. Starting right now!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Glitter, so much glitter

 I have all the chipping done!! And it's so shiny!

And it's so shiny! and so wonky!

I think my template shifted when I was transferring the center design, and then I accidentally pushed the purl purl awry when I was chipping. I thought about trying to fix it, but I have to use the rough purl used for the chips on another motif. I was a little concerned about having enough--so I left it and decided it's a perfect example of how not to set up the motif.

So, hopefully, that means that I'll do the next motif better.

I do not believe that I would be a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework without a lot more practice. A lot more practice . . . 

Monday, December 26, 2022

Chipping away

 We're slowly moving back into our regularly scheduled programming, although it still feels a bit like the North Pole around here. And that meant that I spent part of Christmas Day stitching.

I'm going to spend some time this week finishing up the motifs for the online Goldwork class I'm taking. I have some breathing room since the second term doesn't start for another few weeks, and I will probably take advantage of that time.

Right now, I'm chipping. In chipping, you cut a length of metal thread into teeny bits (aka chips) and then sew them in a random pattern on the surface. It is tedious. It's very pretty, but it's tedious. And slow. And tedious. But pretty.

I have been thinking that maybe it would work best if I do about an hour of chipping, then do something else for the rest of the day.

Like maybe have a belated Christmas Day dinner.

We always have our holiday feasts on days other than the designated holidays. A lot of that has to do with the work schedules of various family members, who always seem to have to work either the actual day or the days right before and after. Travel is involved as well, so it seems to work out best if we accommodate. But it leaves us feeling a little discombobulated.

This year, Dearly Beloved and I decided we would have our own feast on Christmas Day, a turkey and special side dishes. We bought the frozen bird and put it in the frig to thaw. A week ago, longer than the amount of time a bird that size should take.

Apparently the polar vortex that has hit the country also hit the refrigerator. We pulled the turkey out yesterday, and it was still frozen hard in places, and still pretty stiff in the rest of it. So, it went back in.

We had meatloaf.

I believe we should just go with the usual program and stay discombobulated in the future.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve

I gave myself a Christmas present--I finished all the motifs for the first term of the Deep Dive into Stumpwork class. Everything is now attached and stitched!

 I'm still not happy with the first needlelace motif, but I am ecstatic about the second!

Tension is  still a little wonky but it's ever so much better than previous attempts, so it's staying right where it's stitched.

This leaves the Goldwork to catch up on during the coming week. 

Meanwhile, we're all bundled up and waiting for the end of the Arctic Blast. Faucets are dripping in hopes that we avoid burst pipes, and I have on my heaviest turtleneck and sweatshirt--not very cheery. Thus far, though, we still have power and heat. Alas, BDE and her housemates have neither. The mother of one of her housemates has opened her doors, and they, along with the three kitties, have decamped. The humans are all dealing well, the kitties are traumatized and are being very vocal about it.

So, I'm counting my blessings--and keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Christmas Eve Eve

 The wind is howling and the arctic blast is blasting--the temperature dropped five degrees in half an hour--and I am wearing so many layers that it's quite possible that I can't put my arms down (shout out to "A Christmas Story").

And I haven't stitched in several days, a situation I plan to rectify right after lunch this afternoon. Too many other things happen this time of the year, but I'm feeling the lack.

And there is impetus to thread a needle. The last of my Christmas presents arrived last night, just when I had almost given up on their ever showing up.

I love Kate Barlow's designs, and she has an Etsy shop, and I found it, and that's all it took.

For next year's Christmas tree, the Christmas Rose.

For my continued obsession with all embroidery from the 17th century, a tiny little 17th century Stork.

I am being very disciplined, however. I have things I need to complete by the end of the year. Please keep in mind that there isn't anything that says I can't start on them, but I've been poking needles in lots of things this year with very few projects completed to show for my efforts. I'm ready to have some finishes, and the only way to have them is to be disciplined.

I've always rebelled agains discipline. This may be tough.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

One Made It!

 One new ornament made it on the tree this year, and, as expected, it was Barbara Jackson's.

What can I say? I do love me some Barbara Jackson!

I do have others that I need to stitch and I may try to do an ornament a month next year to see how many I can add to next year's tree. But I believe I'll do a Scarlett and think about that tomorrow--or the day after.

I didn't stitch last night because we watched Three Pines, based on Louise Penney's Inspector Gamache books. I think we'll probably be bingeing that over the next couple of evenings. It is very good, and Alfred Molina is spectacular in the role.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Circling back around

I decided how I want to spend the rest of my stitching time in 2022.

This week, I want to finish up a couple of ongoing projects. Next week, I want to set up several more things for the beginning of 2023.

At the same time, I want to work on one of my many workshop pieces from this past year. So, yesterday, I pulled out Dear Heart and started stitching the roses for the back of the needleroll that will fit inside the box.

I think I have about 6 1/2 roses left to do, then I can start filling in the leaves. This would be a perfect stitch-in project, actually, but those aren't starting up again until after the New Year, and I'm really ready to get this one moving along.

I'm sure I can find something else to work on during the stitch-ins!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Big 7 - 0

 Yup, it's my birthday. And it's my seventieth one. Goodness Gracious, I am old.

I thought about just letting it go by without mention, but I couldn't. Actually, I feel very blessed to get here; I've lost so many dear friends who didn't. It's like every minute henceforth is a gift, whether I'm here for 15 more minutes or 15 more years. And I'm looking forward to more adventures, even if my wonky knees and bad back don't allow me to bustle around as I once did!

Those adventures will include needlework, of course, especially since a lovely package from the UK came just in time for my birthday.

The Pekok Glove from Jenny Adin-Christie arrived. I have been eagerly anticipating this project since I saw some of Jenny's sketches and first stitches on Facebook and Instagram--and finally, the kits were available.

Opening one of Jenny's kits is like a birthday and Christmas all together:

There are a lot of moving parts in her designs, and every section has its own labeled bag of goodies. I understand that Jenny's mum is the chief kit packager, and she does a miraculous job of putting it all together.

Am I going to dive right in? It is tempting--oh, so tempting!--but I also want to clear the stitching decks before the end of the year. I have exciting things waiting for me in 2023, and I want to be ready for all of them.

(We'll see how long my will power holds out.)

Friday, December 16, 2022

Oldie but Goodie

 I spent most of the day yesterday mixing up cookie dough and decluttering and making a honey-do list for Dearly Beloved so I could get him out of the house for awhile. 

Finally I flopped in the wing chair for the evening, realized I needed something to stitch, hopped back up, and looked for something to do.

And my oldest WIP popped into my hands. I may have mentioned that I started this crewel piece four or five decades ago. I'm very close to a finish, so it's now residing in my corner.

Last night I got part of the stem and most of a leaf stitched.

I'm getting a little concerned about the amount of dark green I have left. I have a humongous leaf that uses that shade, so I may skip from the stem to that leaf and get it done as quickly as possible.

This makes me think of people who are about to run out of gas and drive faster so they can get to the station before their tanks are empty. I don't know that stitching faster will increase the amount of yarn I have--and since the company who created it went out of business years and years ago, I will have to punt if I don't have enough--but this should be a reminder to get things done sooner rather than later.

Much later . . . 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

A Wee Tiny Sampler

 Last night I finished the stitching on the tiniest band sampler I've ever done:

There are 77 bands on the sampler, each a variation on cross stitch or herringbone or cashmere or Queen--and I'm sure I left out something. The whole thing measures about 2 1/2" by 9 1/4".

This has been my after-dinner, before-bedtime project, and I was amazed by how much I got done and how quickly it went. Then it occurred to me that I usually have about three hours in the evening, and those hours add up quickly. So, I may continue to keep a project by my chair, just for that time of day.

This, of course, now joins the things in the finishing basket. The finishing basket is currently upstairs, out of sight and consequently, out of mind, while the Christmas tree is taking up its usual corner.

So, along with mixing up a batch of cookie dough for the cookies that have to chill overnight, and dusting and vacuuming the living room for our family get-together on Saturday, I need to think about finishing (if I spent as much time finishing as I spend thinking about finishing, that basket would be empty) and I need to decide on the next evening stitching project.

It's a full day ahead!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Epic. Fail.

 Well, I signed into my online stump work class feeling quite comfortable. I've been stitching needlelace for decades. To be quite honest, I can't pull from the mists of memory whether I was introduced to it by Jane Zimmerman or Rae Iverson, but it was years and years ago.

And I sat in class and I Could.Not.Get.My.Tension.Right. 

It's a mess. I tired taking it out, and the Perle cotton started fraying and unraveling. I started fraying and unraveling along with it.

Now, this is a piece of needlelace I've done for another project. It's tiny, only about 1 1/2" long.

It occurred to me while I was struggling with size 5 Perle Cotton that I've always done needlelace with a much smaller thread. So, I think I'm going to dig into my size 12 Perle cotton stash to see if I have a color or two that will work with the other shades I have in this project and redo both of these samples with a smaller thread. It will take a lot more time, but, hey, I'm retired! What do I have but time?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Flower petals

 I finished a flower for my Stumpwork class yesterday.

The petals on the flower are attached only at the base, which made this an interesting thing to stitch. Luckily, we had several practice bits to do to become accustomed to the needle weaving. There is also a leaf to the right of the flower that uses a really unique technique to create--if you have one of the RSN Stumpwork Guides, you can find the directions for doing this type of leaf--believe it or not, it's made with a series of thread loops worked over a tiny piece of cardboard.

I also made slips yesterday. They are embroideries that are applied to another surface. I need to do the application part, and then I will show that. I'm just a little nervous about cutting them out. Oh, heck, who am I fooling--I'm very nervous about cutting them out. 

Last week during our online session, someone asked if there could be a class for working these bitty motifs with pudgy fingers. It was not me who asked, but I seconded the motion!

Anyway, today we will have the last online session for this term, and we will be working on two different types of needlelace. My plan is to get the needlelace stitched and all the stuff that needs to be attached to the main piece done tomorrow, so this will be complete. Then I have just two of the Goldwork sessions to catch up on, and the piece for this term of Goldwork will be complete. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

God Bless Us, Every One

 This year's ornament from Barbara Jackson is completely stitched.

As soon as the finishing lesson is posted, this is going to be assembled and hung on the tree.

I realized that I have two other ornaments designed for 2022 to stitch, with yet another one on its way to me. And less than two weeks til Christmas. Hmmmmmmmm--don't think they'll all adorn the tree this year.

There's always next year!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

All in a day

 When your computer has to go back to the Genius Bar . . . again . . . and you have most of the day without it, you can get a lot done.

I worked on Barbara Jackson's 2022 ornament and almost stitched the whole thing. In one day.

I just have to finish the saying and do the bottom border and this will be ready to be assembled as soon as the finishing instructions are posted. Actually, the stitching directions haven't been posted yet, but I've done so many of Barbara's ornaments that I can usually do the embroidery without that part of the online class.

Meanwhile, I'm still putting things back on the computer that the re-installation removed. This is the first time in over three decades of owning Macs that we've had a problem, and I have to say, the Genius Bar people who have helped us have gone over and above to get things straightened out.

I still maintain that I'd rather stitch than deal with technology.

Friday, December 9, 2022

the frosting on the needlework

 Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy--the most recent Frostings box arrived from Thistle Threads!

And it had so many goodies that the box wouldn't hold them all.

And what is a Frostings box, you ask? 

Tricia Nguyễn of Thistle Threads has offered these collections of threads periodically since she opened her Cabinet of Curiosities course for casket makers and embroiderers who get all tingly over lovely and different threads. For the most part, they are based on the materials that 17th century girls would have had access to when creating their caskets--or treasure boxes. The contents are always unique--and I have been known to order multiple Frostings boxes when the contents are particularly swoon-worthy.

And since I'm all into the sparkly at the moment, there are several containers in this particular Frostings box that made my heart go pitty-pat.

There are a couple of bags of attachments--I think I'll use beads to hold them to the surface--and four little boxes of amazing, sparkling, metal threads. I wish you could see them in real life--they are amazing.

I have absolutely no idea what I will do with them. None whatsoever. But I think I need more.

(Tricia opens the shop several times a year. I think the last day for this quarter is today, and I think there are a few Frostings boxes left. Never say I don't do my best to enable!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

This is a test

The computer went to the Genius Bar, where it was determined that the updates we had just updated were causing problems--so the previous operating system was reinstalled--except they "inadvertently" deleted all my bookmarks, so I'm going to have to reconstruct that. And there are a couple of other things that don't seem to be working quite as they should . . . so we go back to the Genius Bar on Saturday morning.

I love technology when it works.

Anyway, this is a test to see if I can load pictures and publish a blog.

This is one of the lessons from the Goldwork Deep Dive class I'm taking. As you can see, we're doing the very basics in this term.

And a motif from the Stumpwork Deep Dive class--again, we're covering the basics. Primarily, we've looked at different types of padding, but this shows how the stitches themselves can provide texture. I've been referring to this as my Seuss plant, maybe something the Whos down in Whoville might grow in their gardens.

Can you tell the Grinch has been on my holiday viewing list? 

I'm gong to hit "publish" and see if this works.  Deep breath . . . 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Well, Phooey

 I wanted to get back to almost daily posting, but technology has jumped in my way. I can't get the computer to import my photos so I can show what I'm writing about--there was an upgrade to the computer and I have a feeling that it altered the way I'm supposed to deal with pictures.

Or my camera is now too old to communicate with the new computer.

There is a trip to the Apple Store in my near future. Until then, radio silence, I guess.


Friday, December 2, 2022

Another sparkly bit

 I'm still working to catch up on the lessons in my deep dive in Goldwork class, and here's another sparkly bit:

I'm reasonably happy with the square and unreasonably unhappy with the leaf. I don't like my miters on it at all, but having taken out and put in little bits of wire numerous times, I think I know now what I should have done.

But I don't want to do it again, so I'm leaving it. For now. Maybe.

I had plans (notice that having plans means the death knell for any activity) to work on the next two motifs today. However, Dearly Beloved and I seem to have come down with a bug, and neither of us had a restful night. I do not believe that dealing with metal threads and a sharp needle is a good idea. Ginger ale and crackers, now that's a good idea!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

December? Already?

 I am not quite sure what has happened to 2022. I think it just started a couple of weeks ago, and here it is, December already.

I don't know quite what I've been doing the last few days, either. It has been taken up with Domestic Diva activities, but I'm still trying to see what I've accomplished. It seems to have been a two-steps-forward-three-steps-back process--but then, Christmas prep always seems to strike me that way!

What I haven't accomplished is much time with my needle. I plan to rectify that today.

I did get one more section for Be Still My Heart finished:

These two little squares will be assembled into pin cushions that sit on top of Be Still's box.

And the angel holding down the upper left corner? She keeps leaping off the Christmas tree. She's quite a rebellious little ornament--and I'm thinking she may just have to sit by my chair for the next few days until she can learn to behave herself.