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, December 31, 2023


I had to write a blog today because of the 123123 thing with the date. If you've been on a desert island--or extremely busy with holiday stuff, you may have missed that today's date, 12/31/23 comes out as 123123.

I do not know why that has amused me so much, but it has. Apparently I need to get a life.

Anyway, today I am going to bake mini-cheesecakes for our very low-key Ring-In-The-New-Year festivities, I am going to iron and sew linen to scroll bars because I don't enjoy stitching in hand, and I'm going to work on this:

I'm making the detached elements for the first frieze on the first side of Harmony that I have worked. Most of the area was stitched in January and February of 2022. After two years, I think it's time to get back to this project.

I thought about naming Harmony as the focus project for the year, or trying to finish it completely in 2024--I even worked out a schedule--but then I decided I want to enjoy the journey. No deadlines, no pressure, just the joy of stitching.

After the last couple of years, I am really looking forward to that!

Friday, December 29, 2023

What Day is This?

 Where am I? Who am I? What day is this? What date is this?

I don't think I've ever been so discombobulated as I have been this year. It started last week, when I thought Thursday was Friday, Christmas Eve was Saturday, and Christmas was Sunday--which threw this week off completely. We had our small family get-together on Saturday, which then made Friday feel like Christmas Eve and Saturday was Christmas. Do you see the problem, or have I totally lost it?

I haven't known which day it was all week--didn't help that apparently both Dearly Beloved and I came down with a mercifully brief tummy bug early in the week. I think I spent the actual Christmas in my bathrobe--or was it the day after?

Back in my working days, I always tried to save enough vacation days to take the week after Christmas off. I generally planned to work on some special project, even when I didn't actually work on said project. I don't miss working one bit, but I do miss some of the structure.

Anyway, there has been very little stitching. I did finish the band on Catherine Theron's Flowers & Berries sampler that sent it into time out.

I decided to leave the spiral trellis stitches all one color rather than changing them midway. That seemed to be the general consensus of those I asked.  I did have one friend who asked if I could leave it, knowing that I did it wrong and this would be a constant reminder that I had made a mistake. Something about the tone of her voice rubbed me the wrong way and brought out the rebellion in my soul. Why, yes, I do believe I will leave it. I am the boss of me, and there was probably something unconscious that suggested I'd be happier with solid color berries.

Of course, that was after Dearly Beloved looked at the photocopy of the original finished sampler and asked why I would want googly eyes on mine. That is the remark I would remember every time I looked at the work if I had changed it.

Other than that, I have barely had a needle in my hand. Mostly, I have been trying to organize the stash. 

And that led me to an appalling realization about the number of ancient UFO's in it. Most of them are workshop or class pieces, some of them are decades old. 

Hence my one New Year's resolution. I am not starting anything new on New Year's Day.

I am not going to do a Blessings Sampler, I am not going to pull threads and fabric for a new project. I am not going to pull out one of the kits I bought over the last several months--or last several years. I am going to work on a UFO or a WIP.

And I'm going to try to finish up some of these ancient and not-so-ancient projects in 2024. Note that I am not stating that I will start no new projects. I know myself too well to try that, plus I have three stitching events I'm planning to attend in the first four months of the year. Also, I know if I said I wasn't going to add to the stash, my favorite designers would immediately offer designs that I could not pass up, even if I had some will power when it comes to stitching.

So, if you're still with me after this long and rambling post that I'm writing at 4:30 a.m. because I don't know what time it is, along with what day it is--you may see some ancient and aged projects in the next twelve months.

If I get done what I'd love to get done, I either need to become an octopus or give up sleeping entirely and stitch 24/7.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Good and not so good

I added the leaf to my sample page for this term of the Deep Dive into Stumpwork course, and I'm even happier with it than I was before.

 You can even see the shadow behind it!

But then there was the hand. Oh, dear, the hand.

It looks like an arthritic skeleton.

I think I know what I did wrong. I got carried away with wrapping the wire to make the fingers, so they're way longer than they need to be. I think I could have started wrapping the palm earlier to make the fingers shorter.

I'm not so sure about the arthritis, though. 

Anyway, my sampler has a disembodied hand attached, and I have ideas on improvement, but I think I'm moving on. Actually, today I pulled Harmony out and started working the detached elements for the first panel. That is going a little better than the hand.

It wouldn't take much to do better than the hand. That hand is pitiful.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Leafing Out

Of all the teeny, tiny, fiddly things I have made with a needle, this may be the teeniest, tiniest, fiddliest of them all.

I made a leaf in needlelace yesterday.

It will be added to my stumpwork class sampler as soon as I get the next teeny, tiny fiddly thing done. Today I am going to make a hand with embroidery floss and wire.

Meanwhile, Dearly Beloved has discovered that I have absconded with a number of his tools. I needed a screw driver to tighten the screw on my embroidery hoop, and last night I needed pliers* to pull the needle through the stitches to weave all twenty thread tails through the back of the leaf.

That may be the fiddliest thing I will ever do.

*Somewhere I have a hemostat that I can use instead of pliers, but it has gone AWOL since the Big Move. I'm sure it will turn up. Eventually.

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Most Outstanding Mail Day

 I was going to spread out my Stalking the Mail Carrier posts through December, but today was such an excellent mail day, I couldn't wait.

Two packages, three kits, oh my oh my!

I had told a friend that I absolutely was not going to order these kits, even though if you bought both, you got a discount. I have enough, I said. I don't need anything else in my life.

I lied.

Lemon Pepper Studio creates unique raised embroidery designs,  and I fell in love with the first garden design. Then there was a second. And then there was a Christmas discount. And there will be more in the series.

I succumbed.

They arrived in pretty little boxes, with a notecard thanking the buyer for buying from a small business and a Happy Stitching card.

Don't you almost hate to break the seal? The packaging on so many of the projects you can order these days is so carefully done, and makes the anticipation that much greater. But then you fold back the tissue paper and see what's inside!

And a close-up of one of the kits--even a hoop! And a little bead container! And all the threads and materials and everything else to make the project!!!

And then there was another package . . . the kit for the class based on Trevelayan Miscellany that I took online Saturday. It wandered around the country for awhile before landing in my mailbox, but it's here!

Look at those luscious colors of Appleton wool--and there's an extensive instruction book--and the design is already transferred to lovely linen twill. 

This is a project from Relics in Situ. If you're at all interested in historical embroidery, you may want to visit their website and sign up for their lectures. I learn something every time I take one of their online courses--like the shading done ion the 1600's was block shading rather than the long and short color blending I learned from the multitude of Elsa Williams kits I've stitched. (I have to say, I prefer the way Elsa Williams designed over block shading, but at least I now know what would be historically accurate to the 1600's.)

No, I am not leaping into any of these projects, as tempted as I am. I have a list of thing I want to do to finish out 2023, and, so far, I'm sticking to it.

But I am so very tempted. SO very tempted!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Progress Report

 Hallelujah, I finished all the motifs for the first term of the Deep Dive into Whitework online course I've been taking.

The blue outlines will be washed out at the end of the course. We have a break between now and the beginning of Term Two, so I'm going to do my best to get both Term Three projects for Stumpwork and Goldwork done before the next whitework term begins.

And the next-to-last ornament that I think I can get done before Christmas is stitched and assembled.

This is Barbara Jackson's Christmas Bells are Ringing ornament for 2023. I had a little bit of trouble getting the fabric mounted around the form, but it's on. Corners are hard to get smooth, at least they are if you're a klutz.

So this was my quick, fly-by, catch-up post. See you when I catch my breath again--it's been a busy weekend--but then, this time of year always is!

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Couldn't Resist

I had planned to buckle down and finish the motifs for my online class in whitework, but the temptation of this year's ornament from Barbara Jackson was too much to resist.

All the stitching is done, and I have been thinking about putting the ornament together tonight. I think maybe I'll have dinner first--Dearly Beloved is making hamburgers--and then decide.

I have one more ornament that I would like to get on the tree this year. I am not setting goals or deadlines, just thinking out loud.

And dinner is ready.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The magic key

 Apparently, the magic key to getting something finished is to actually do the assembly as soon as you complete the embroidery.

The Mighty Acorn ornament, designed by Tricia Nguyen in 2003 or 2004 is completely completed and is hanging on the tree. If I may say so myself, it was a valiant struggle to get it together, but I prevailed.

In addition to getting this put together, I've had a lot of embroidery stuff going on for the last couple of days. Yesterday, I started putting this together. Then I had the last class of the first term of the Deep Dive into Whitework with Sara Rickards--I just have to finish the two motifs we started stitching in class and that will be done. As soon as BDE got off work, we headed down the highway for the combined EGA/ANG chapter Christmas get-together. And then today, The Royal School of Needlework hosted a talk by Eleri Lynn on the wardrobes of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, which was, as always with Eleri Lynn's talks, quite fascinating.

So, tomorrow I will finish the whitework motifs and quite possibly start Barbara Jackson's 2023 ornament.

I do like having plans, whether I actually follow through or not.

Monday, December 4, 2023

So close . . .

 I am so close to finishing this ornament--so very close.

I just have to add the spangles and put it together, and it can go on the tree. If I hadn't yawned so widely a minute ago that my jaw cracked, I'd stay up a little later, but it may be a bad idea to try to sew on wee tiny bits of metal with a sharp needle when you're about to fall asleep in your chair.

And, for those who might be interested, I baked a new batch of cookies today with better butter. They were still a little thinner and crisper than the usual--apparently everyone has a higher water content in their butter at the moment--but a vast improvement over the first batch. I may just bake yet another batch with Kerry Gold and see what happens with that.

I can hear both of my grandmothers whispering that I should just use the preferred fat of previous generations of Southern bakers, and they're both saying, "Honey, you should just use a good quality lard and those cookies would be perfect." My arteries are trying to explain that butter is quite good (bad) enough.

Sunday, December 3, 2023


 Well, I said I was going to stitch a leaf.

It just wasn't this leaf . . . or leaves.

I was planning to work some needlelace on a wire frame but apparently yesterday and today were not the days to work on anything other than sitting in a corner, perfectly still, and letting the world go past me. In other words, everything I touched did not match my expectations--like my favorite cookie recipe, my never-fail cookie recipe--the one I make several batches of during the holidays--well, it failed. Epically. I'm not sure if it's a different oven or something I did or did not do, but it didn't make cookies. It made very thin wafers. That crumbled if you looked at them.

I also stubbed my toe, and stuck a sharp needle into my thumb, which bled on the tape binding my hoop--luckily not the work in the hoop, but still . . . 

So I decided to work on something I knew I could do, and did:

I think I showed this to you when it floated up to the top of my stash. It's an ornament designed by Tricia Nguyen a couple of decades ago. I pulled it out of the Christmas bag this afternoon--the leaves are worked with a wrapped chain stitch, and I didn't have any problems with it.

Maybe this means my luck is changing, so the batch of cookies I'm going to bake tomorrow morning will result in something you'd want to eat.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Stalking the mail carrier, part 1

 The last few weeks, the mail carrier has brought all kinds of goodies. As long-time readers have discovered, Dearly Beloved does not buy my Christmas presents--he tells me to get what I want. And I do.

As I have no self-control, I open everything as soon as it arrives, ooh and aah and carry on, then stick it under the tree. The first box under the tree came from The Crewel Work Company.

The Dunollie Rose & Honeysuckle design was part of the most recent seminar that The Crewel Work Company held.  I was thrilled to be able to get one of the kits. Even better, during their giving back weekend, we could watch a demonstration of some of the stitches involved in the piece.

The directions in the kit are so clear, the threads are luscious, and what is it about boxes? Why do kits that come in boxes seem ever so much more enticing? Maybe because they always seem like presents?

If you don't follow Phillipa Turnbull and CWC on Facebook and don't get their newsletter, well, you need to. Even if you're not a crewel stitcher, you get all kinds of information about the stitching world, and needlework in various castles and stately homes in the UK. Phillipa has a monthly stitch-in online, and she is nothing short of totally delightful.

Now I am off to work on a leaf. Don't ask--it involves needlelace and I've been putting it off and putting it off until it can't be put off any longer.

Friday, December 1, 2023

December? Seriously?

 How did it get to be December? Already?

We are planning to put the tree up today. We were planning to do it yesterday, but then Dearly Beloved decided today would be better. I am not sure why today was better, but as he is the tree wrangler, I don't question.

Meanwhile, I have stitched this week's class assignment for my online whitework class. As it is a gloomy day, the photos I took just look like white blobs. I will try again when I have sunlight.

However, I have been working on Love That Red in the evenings, and this is where I am:

The darning patterns were addictive to stitch--hard to put them down--and the horizontal bands of stitch samples are proving to be the same. And then there are 28 (I think) bands of drawn-thread patterns, which I think will also be hard to stop.

But today we are decking the halls--or at least the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Did it!

I managed to get all the trailing stitch for my whitework online class stitched, the stem stitch worked all away around, and cut the backing fabric away without cutting the surface linen. I now need to lie down with a cold compress on mu head for awhile.

After the whole thing is finished, I'll wash the fabric to remove the rest of the blue marks. And I do have four more motifs to do for this term of the class.

I have learned a couple of things. It took me way, way, way longer to work the trailing than I anticipated. And every stitch requires complete and total focus to place it in the correct place.

Obviously, my focus faltered on more than one occasion.

Consequently, I do not believe there will be a lot of trailing stitch in my future. I doubt I will be stitching monograms on my fine linens. As my fine linens currently come from Tar-Zhay, I'm not sure they're completely worthy of monograms anyway.

There were a couple of times that I needed to do something relatively mindless, so I stitched letters. Lo and behold, I finished the third and last alphabet on Love That Red, which means I can move onto the darning patterns.

I really, really, really love the shade of red in the 100/3 used for this part of the sampler, to the point I want to buy another spool just to have.

That way lies madness.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving, 2023!

 I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving, wherever and however you're celebrating!

We're having a quiet day. There is a turkey breast and the usual sides for Dearly Beloved and me. We decided to have our family get-together with The Saint in mid-December and combine Thanksgiving and Christmas then--which means I have another couple of weeks to get the guest room ready.

Meanwhile, I plan to stitch.

I have absolutely no idea what is causing the yellow shading in the lower corner of this photo. It is a mystery.

Anyway, I am working on my deep dive into whitework class, and I have to work this trailing stitch for about a mile and a half, hopefully by next Tuesday. I can definitely tell where I was stitching on autopilot and where I was focused on doing it right. I could say that it was showing the progression of the learning process, but, nope, I was just sloppy.

I have been able to keep up with the whitework class so far, which is something I cannot say about the last two deep dive classes I took. In my defense, the third term for both classes started when we were really in the midst of packing for the Big Move. Lord knows, stitching took a back seat to trying to sort out a lifetime's work of stuff.

Since we moved, I've managed to get about half the stumpwork classwork stitched, but I still have the other half and all of the goldwork to do. I have to confess, as I've been unpacking stash and finding treasures, I've also found quite a few UFO's. If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I have the attention span of a gnat and the discipline of a two-year-old when it comes to my needlework.

Of course, since the New Year is looming on the horizon, I've started thinking about New's Year's starts. I've also started feeling guilty about all the stuff I've accumulated that I really want to stitch--I like pretty much all of the UFO's I've uncovered. I need to get some things done!

So, I've decided I'm going to focus on getting the stumpwork and goldwork classes finished by the end of the year as well as keeping up with the whitework class. It can be done.

Even though there are three more Christmas ornaments I'd like to add to the tree this year, and a winter scene from Marsha Papay-Gomula that I swore I would do the year.

You see the problem . . .

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Looky What I Found!

When you've been accumulating stash for decades, you sometimes forget what you have. I had forgotten all about this little ornament, apparently for twenty years.

In just a very few minutes, I'm going to trace the design on the linen for the surface stitches, and maybe, just maybe, start it today after I finish working on my homework for my online whitework class.

Meanwhile, I have been stitching a little. The Elsa Williams Tree of Life crewel got some love while I was on the EGA Surface Embroidery Zoom Stitch-In yesterday. I got a couple of fly-stitch leaves and some more stems stitched between oohing and aching over the things other members of the group were doing.

And Love That Red has also had some love:

I've been poking at this a little in the evenings, and got several letters stitched while on yesterday's Carolinas Region Stitch-In. That group meets in the mornings on the third Saturday of the month, so I had a chance to talk needlework twice in one day.

I seem to Zoom a lot on the weekends. I am not complaining at all--it is lovely to see so many people who love doing the same thing I do. 

Meanwhile, aside from stitching, I've started the countdown to T'day. We're having a very small, quiet Thanksgiving this week. I am still planning a massive feast because the best part of Thanksgiving, aside from getting together with loved ones, is having leftovers. Lots of leftovers. Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce, just the thought makes my mouth water. And the sides, oh, my, the sides. Quite frankly, I do not understand why in the world we don't have some of the sides at other times during the year.

Other than Dearly Beloved's green bean casserole. If I could figure out how to make just enough for two servings, I'd go with it since he really loves it--but it doesn't reheat well. Soggy canned fried onions soaked in cream of mushroom soup--if anyone can tell me how to revive it so it's not quite so unappealing, please do!


Thursday, November 16, 2023

REALLY Seeing Red

I finished the second alphabet on Love That Red last night, and started a wee bit on the dividing band between it and the last alphabet.

That is not why I'm really seeing red today.

I have two mosquito bites. In the middle of November. I do not like cold weather one little bit, but I'm ready for a week of hard freezes to get rid of the skeeters. I mean, seriously, mosquito bites in NOVEMBER??

In other news, I need to stop spending any time online. I just wrote a check for one of Jackie's online offerings through her FB page, Mary Corbett has a set of new designs for sweet Christmas wreaths that can be used for ornaments (and we all know how easily I succumb to ornament designs), then the Crewel Work Company just offered a very limited number of kits for a couple of adorable stumpwork dogs. After moving my stash, I do not need another thing to stitch. Ever.

But need and want are two entirely different things . . .  

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Seeing Red

 I have needed to stitch without thinking (much) lately, so I'm stitching letters.

You heard that right. I'm stitching letters again. Please be aware that this is the closest I'm going to come to stitching a Bristol Orphanage sampler--or any other kind of sampler with a lot of alphabets.

Jackie's Love That Red again. I'm still working each letter individually so carries on the back won't show through.

Plus, I'm afraid to do anything at the moment beside plain cross stitch. This has been a week for mishaps and miss-steps--I am being nibbled to death by ducks. Nothing has been life-threatening or tragic, just one little irritation after another.

It is quite likely that I need chocolate. A lot of chocolate.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Time Out

 Flowers and Berries is going into time out for a few days.

See all those lovely, dark blue berries, worked in spiral trellis?

They're wrong.

They are supposed to be two-toned, dark blue on the outer edge, light blue on the inside.

I read the directions, which said to work the berries in both shades of blue. I read that to mean that all the berries weren't the same color, and that the colored outline on the chart indicated which berries were dark and which were light.

I was wrong.

I wanted to look at the next couple of bands to see what I would be doing, so I pulled out the color photocopy of the original sampler. That's when I learned of my mistake.  Which took me all afternoon to stitch.

This is after finding the screw on one end of the scroll rod I'm using for Isabel Redie had stripped out, so the knob won't stay on--that was this morning's aggravation. Now, with two stitching mishaps, I believe I will read a book this evening and avoid sharp, pointy things.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Discombobulated and Cranky

 I stayed up way too late last night, trying to finish a book. And I didn't. The book bopped me on the nose, so I took off the spectacles, turned off the light, and officially went to sleep.

But that meant I slept a lot later than usual, and I have been discombobulated all day. I had no morning to speak of, and things kept cropping up that I planned to do earlier rather than later, but now I was doing them later, and for some reason, I feel like I need a nap--even though I had a solid 8 hours (actually closer to 9, but who's counting).

I think I'll just write the day off. After all, I am retired and don't have to answer to authority.

I have done a bit more stitching on Flowers & Berries:

I'm now working on the first of the two larger bands for the bottom, so it's taking longer. And part of it made me cranky.

The center stalk is filled in with encroaching Gobelin. Lord Have Mercy. 

Don't get me wrong. I love the texture you get with encroaching Gobelin. I do. I just find it one of the most tedious, boring stitches in the world to stitch. And I tend to like just about every stitch, simply because it's stitching.

So, I found something to binge on the TV, and got the stem done.

And I'm trying not to think about another project in the queue that uses encroaching Gobelin for the background.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 I've been assembling Christmas ornaments for a couple of days.

Lower left: a design from Barbara Jackson, bought at Haus Tirol in Williamsburg a few years ago. (I really miss Haus Tirol!) I should probably not mention that the date on the model on the front of the kit is dated 2011, I stitched this in 2021, and now it will finally get to the tree in 2023.

Upper center: Snowflake, one of Jackie du Plessis' little kits that I used to buy at the Merchandise Mall at the old Christmas in Williamsburg. There are stitched snowflakes on either side of the banding that surrounds the snowflake. It is much more interesting hanging than lying flat, but I could not get Dearly Beloved to stand in for the tree and hold it up for photography.

Lower right: a little Fern Ridge kit that was in a goodie bag at the old Christmas in Williamsburg.

Hmmmm--all of these have some relationship to Christmas in Williamsburg. I do miss the way that event was handled in the days when Hoffman held it. That was definitely a class act. And I sound like a little old lady, lamenting the past.

Meanwhile, Dearly Beloved says we're going to need a bigger tree this year.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Bauble-ing Along

The cold has subsided enough that the sneezes have stopped scrambling my brain cells, so I decided I was going to have Finishing Friday on Monday.

And the Christmas Bauble is ready for the tree.

Of course, it is not time to put up the tree, no matter what the stores say. We don't do that until after Thanksgiving. However, we have an early Thanksgiving this year, so I get more weeks of decking the halls.

And in unpacking, I found a project bag with several ornaments I stitched in 2021 that haven't been assembled. Maybe I should do that before I stitch any more ornaments for this year. Actually, at the moment, the iron and the finishing materials are still out on my work table, so maybe I should plan to do that tomorrow morning.

Plans, I have plans.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

somewhat better living

 I am full of anti-cold-symptoms medications, which means that I am semi-functional again. And that means that I got a little bit of stitching done:

Of course, ten hours of sleep last night may have helped, too. I may try that again.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Better Living through OJ and Chicken Soup

 There was no Finishing Friday, nor was there any stitching.

I have a cold.

Dearly Beloved brought home meds and chicken noodle soup and orange juice yesterday after it hit me. Good thing, because it hit him this morning. He went back to bed.

My nose is such a brilliant shade of red I could be a hazard light. There is no stitching in my hands. And that is even more significant because Barbara Jackson's 2023 ornament has arrived, and I am not working on it.

With any luck, this malady will be of short duration. I have too many things I want to do!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Random Day in November

 Every year we celebrate the same random day in November for no apparent reason. (It's Dearly Beloved's birthday, and he hates birthdays, so we just call it a random day in November and celebrate anyway.) I cooked his favorite foods--well, some of his favorite foods, since he has a LOT of favorite foods--for dinner, but otherwise it's been a quiet day.

And when there's a quiet day, I stitch.

A whole 'nother band on Catherine Theron's Flowers and Berries Band Sampler.

I do love Catherine's designs and stitch as many as I can find. Not only do I love her colors and her designs, her directions are among the very best--clear diagrams of all the stitches and thorough written directions, along with photographs. She makes it easy to do complicated projects.

I do not believe I will be able to do the next bands in just one day, though. They are larger and more elaborate. Besides, I made up my mind I'm going to have a Finishing Friday tomorrow. We'll see if that goes as well as today's stitching did.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

I Got Hit On at the Cracker Barrel

This is not the beginning of a country western song.

I actually did get hit on at the Cracker Barrel.

BDE and I headed home yesterday in the cold and rain, quite a dramatic change from the 80 degree plus temps we had in Ocean City while we were there. We decided we wanted comfort food so we stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Virginia around lunchtime. We got warmed up, inside and out, and were heading out when I stopped to look at a Christmas display--you never know what you'll see at Cracker Barrel--and an older gentleman strolled up to me and complimented me on my gray hair.


He said he thought it looked distinguished and was almost silver in the overhead lights.


We chatted for a few minutes, then he asked if I lived in the area. Well, no, I replied. He was disappointed.


BDE and I beat a hasty retreat. I said I realized I got hit on. She admitted it had been a long time since she's felt like a third wheel. We were both bemused and amused, especially since the last few photos I've seen of myself have definitely looked like my resting bitch face--actually, my latest driver's license pic looks like a mug shot for a hardened criminal.

The guy must have been desperately lonely.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

I've picked up Flowers & Berries, the Catherine Theron class I took about a month ago. I've finished the two bands I started in class, and started the third.

Catherine's designs are always fun to do, so I believe I will stick with this for a couple of days. I have three or four WIP's I'd like to finish by the end of the year, and this is one of them. And I'm thinking about my New Year's start or starts and what I want to accomplish in 2024. Once I decide,  you'll be the first to know.


Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Great Escape, Days 3 and 4: DONE!!


Now what do I want to work on while I'm away from responsibilities?

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Great Escape, Day Two: Baubling the Bauble

 BDE and I have been hanging out at Salty Yarns, stitching in their classroom. Today I finished all the pine needles on the tree, and decorated it with baubles. There are five different types of baubles, by the way.

I just need to make the urn that the tree sits in and put in the date and the stitching will be done on this one. I may do that this evening. We are not planning to go out to dinner tonight--we had a rather large meal last night, and I'm not sure either of us has recovered yet. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Great Escape, Day One: Planting a Tree

 Today, BDE and I went to Salty Yarns, even though we didn't have a class, and spent a glorious afternoon in their bright, well-lit classroom stitching away. We met some lovely ladies, had fun swapping stories with Sally, and did a little shopping.

I started planting a tree, from the top down, which is rather unusual for growing something:

I showed the kit for the Christmas Bauble for 2023 before we left. I got a good bit done. What is even more remarkable is that I remembered the sequence for working the eyelet variation after I stitched it twice. I may have created new neural pathways.

I'm trying to decide if I want to continue with this tomorrow or pick up a different project. I think I'll see what I'm in the mood for in the morning.

You may have noticed that there was no blog yesterday. Yesterday was our travel day. We had the usual things that happen any time we go on a road trip--there was a slowdown due to an accident in the Norfolk tunnel. There were large agricultural machines driving slowly down a two-lane country road we were on. We had to make a couple of u-turns when we made the wrong decision about the directions. All in all, a good trip!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

More Letters

 I can't seem to get away from stitching letters.

This is the top of the Bowhill needleroll, which is a forthcoming project (I think it will be a teaching piece) from my dear friend Sharon. It's based on a sampler in Sharon's collection, which she is also reproducing. Both are lovely, lovely pieces, and I'm happy to be stitching them.

However, this is not going in the tote bag for what BDE and I are calling The Great Escape. Nor is anything else with an alphabet, other than letters needed for personalization. I am escaping from all responsibilities, including stitching letters.

The laptop is going. I always take the laptop when I go anywhere, and never blog while I'm gone. Let's see if this trip breaks that pattern.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Something else for the tote bag

As I have mentioned before, Best Daughter Ever and I are going to Ocean City to stitch for a week--no classes, but an already-paid-for hotel room.

Of course I packed projects first--still trying to figure out clothes--but today something else arrived that went into the bag immediately.

Tricia Nguyễn designed a Christmas ornament for 2023. The free directions can be found on her site for Thistle Threads, but she also offered a limited number of kits. Let's face it, I'm still trying to organize my stash and it was just easier to order a kit. And since it arrived today, I can take it with me.

I'm up to five projects now. That's one a day for non-travel days. I may be overly optimistic about what I can accomplish.

Or maybe I need to add something else just in case.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Slow and Steady

I belong to a Zoom group sponsored by EGA that meets on the third Saturday of the month, It focuses on surface stitching, which I am beginning to do more frequently.  

I used to prefer counted thread projects, whether on linen or canvas, but I decided that as my life gets more random, maybe my stitching should reflect that. And crewel was the first type of needlework I stitched, after the obligatory dish towels and pillow cases from the dime store.

I just showed my age.

Anyway, I have a crewel piece set aside for this meeting, and here is where I am after yesterday's session.

I suspect it will take quite a few two-hour Zoom meetings to complete this project. That's OK--It's not how quickly you stitch that's important, it's how much you enjoy it that counts.

Saturday, October 21, 2023


 Isabel Redie was an over-achiever.

When I pulled her out of the stash, I thought she would be a good sampler for those times when I need to stitch but not necessarily think--beyond counting, of course.

But no--she has four-sided and Queen stitches and double running and multiple color changes within small motifs--plus a ginormous chart to manipulate and my next-to-longest scroll bars to contain her linen. Even the border, which looks like simple cross stitch, has extra stitches and curlicues that required more thinking than I could do on a Friday evening after a day spent setting up our guest room.

So I got the basic outline of the border stitch done by working half crosses. I'll fill in the extra stitches and curlicues on the way back.

And this meant that I had to find something relatively easy to work on during our Carolinas Region stitch-in on Zoom this morning. Believe it or not, Love That Red came back out, and I finished the numbers and did almost a whole decorative band:

I have another Zoom in a few minutes, so my crewel piece is going to get put back in the hoop.

Zoom stitch-ins do give you such a wonderful excuse to spend a Saturday with needle in hand!

Friday, October 20, 2023


 I added more letters to Love That Red.

For some reason, the alphabet left out the X--so I charted one and stitched it in. This is amazing, considering how much I dislike stitching letters.

And I decided to start and finish off each letter individually so the red thread wouldn't how through the linen, just to make the whole experience a little more difficult.

I lost steam before I finished the numbers, and I may do something else today that does not involve letters or numbers. Actually, I'm quite certain I won't stitch letters or numbers today.

I'm ignoring the fact that there are two more alphabets, each more elaborate, on this sampler, that I have to do before I can get to the fun stuff.

Sigh . . . 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

So little

 Dearly Beloved told me that I have lost my mind. Completely and irrevocably. It's gone, and he may need to send me to live with my mother in extended care as I may no longer be responsible for my actions.

And what brought this on? Needlework, of course.

I decided, since I located some of the packed-up scroll bars, to mount a couple of samplers. One is Isabel Redie, whose chart is big enough to handle without also having to juggle a humongous piece of linen. The other is the Love That Red stitch sampler I took at Sassy Jack's last week. The linen isn't that wide, but it's long.

And of course, once I had the linen mounted, I needed to take a few stitches in the project.

I've started on the first alphabet and the border--the dime is to compare size.

And that's when Dearly Beloved decided I have gone around the bend. He's been muttering something about microscopic stitching and crazy stitchers all morning.

Good thing I have learned to ignore him on occasion.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Planning for a trip

BDE and I were planning a trip to Salty Yarns next week so we could both take classes from Jackie. Due to a series of unfortunate incidents, those classes have been postponed to April, but we have a non-refundable, non-transferrable reservation in Ocean City.

Well, we've been talking about having a week to just stitch with no other responsibilities, and we've wanted to explore Berlin, the town where Salty Yarns is now located, so we're going anyway. There is a stitch-in on Thursday afternoons at Salty Yarns, so we'll go to that and get our Salty fix. Otherwise, we plan to sleep in, eat out, and stitch until our fingers fall off. Er, hopefully not the last thing, but we want to stitch a lot.

Well, that means planning a project to take. Actually, that means planning multiple projects to take. I've spent the morning doing that.

Here's what I came up with:

I have Katie Strachan's Elizabethan Valentine, which I'd like to get done before the class for Queen Anne's Pyn Pillow starts. I have Alsion Cole's ornament from last year, which I did not get stitched last year. There is Catherine Theron's Flowers & Berries Band Sampler, started a couple of weeks ago. And I have Amy Mitten's Casket Keepsakes. The grasshopper/caterpillar part is stitched, but I have to make a snail.

This should keep me out of trouble. Or should I pick another project or two, and do something different every day?

Maybe I should think about packing clothes instead of more projects.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Getting back in the habit

Once you get out of the habit of blogging--and, unlike many other habits, it doesn't take much--it's hard to get back. And my blogging, thus far this year, has been negligible.

I really need to blog so I can remember what I've stitched, where and when I obtained the project, and when I've finished it. And the reason for this? As I've organized my stash, I have found several things that I liked so much I bought them twice. I've also found a couple of things that I don't remember starting, but there are stitches in them.

I suppose, when you consider that I've been stitching and stash building for over sixty years--and, yes, I was very young when I started stitching--this is not a surprise, but I really do need to keep a record for my feeble mind.

So I need to get back in the habit of regular, consistent blogging. For myself, even if readers have moved on to other platforms. 

The last pocket for the Eternal Flame Huswif has been stitched.

It turns out that the yellow background stitch worked out really well--the piece looks like it's been quilted, and I really like it. 

This has NOT gone into a finishing basket. It is sitting on the edge of my worktable. I am going to try to establish another good habit--assemble the damn project as soon as I finish the damn project!

I can procrastinate a little today, though. My online class is this afternoon, and I'd like to stitch the motifs today, after the class session ends.  That's another new habit I'm trying for--if I'm taking a class, keep up with the lessons.

I had also thought about making a New Year's resolution this year--to get everything in one of the finishing baskets assembled--but that may be too much to hope for, given my track record with stitching resolutions. We'll just see how well I can manage to keep up with establishing new habits.


Friday, October 13, 2023

Almost There

 I decided to work on the last pocket for the Eternal Huswif yesterday and today, in between organizing and reorganizing myself. And this is where I am:

I need to fill in the background behind the well-what-are-they? Apple baskets? Fruit bowls? Strawberries?

Anyway, I need to fill in the background. The stitch charted is a variation on a cross stitch, but as I looked at the motifs, I thought to myself they would really stand out if I did tent stitch over one.

Have I lost my everlovin' mind? I do believe I could say I had if I did that. I have decided that I'd prefer to do something else for the rest of the year instead of tent stitch over one, so I'm going with the design as charted.

And that means that I may just have something to assemble in the next few days.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

To get better . . .

I have been working on the motifs for my online whitework class.

I bought a water-soluble marker that said it was a fine line. If it's a fine line, I'm svelte. I am assuming that it will, indeed, come out with the application of sufficient moisture.

Anyway, I was fine with my stem stitch, happy with my chain stitch, okay with my padded herringbone (which did not make it into this picture).

But my trailing . . . oh, dear . . . to do a trailing stitch, which is used to make fine lines on whitework, you completely and smoothly cover several lengths of thread with another, single thread.  Notice the word "smooth" which mine is not. Instead, it's a little lumpy and bumpy. Actually, if I had stitched it in dark blue and purple, it would look like one of my varicose veins. I do not think this is what was intended, but I am going to remind myself it's a learning experience, and you have to be unskilled to become skilled--or, you have to be bad to get good.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

There and Back Again

 As usual, I took the laptop with me, planning to blog while I was gone.

As usual, I was too busy having fun, and didn't blog while I was gone.

Dearly Beloved and I traveled up the mountain so I could take a series of workshops at Sassy Jack's with Jackie du Plessis. Kim puts on a great seminar, Jackie was in the finest of forms, and I have three new projects. And Dearly Beloved got to eat at his favorite Mexican restaurant, and we tried a highly recommended barbecue place (well worth the drive), so all was good.

Kim and Jackie get me into more trouble, that's all I can say other than any time Kim hosts Jackie, I'll do my best to be there, with bells on and flags flying. I can't wait til the store is open--it looks like all the snags have worked out and the final touches are being placed. And there is word of another workshop in March. I have the dates on my calendar already.

So, what did I do this time?

Aside from being totally fumble-fingered and living up to my reputation as someone who can't stitch a lick  in a class . . . 

Love That Red is a true sampler--with alphabets, a darning pattern section, and twenty-eight bands of drawn thread samples. It will roll up and perch on this lovely little stand.

Flame Stitch Pocket--not just the pocket, designed to perfectly fit packs of needles--there are pretty little accessories that will also fit into one of Mr. Miller's beautiful boxes. It's all stitched in the beautiful colors of Fall. 

I've been on the fence about taking the Mountain Glory Workbasket--going back and forth as to whether I wanted it--I am so glad I came down on the side of signing up and taking it! The cherry stand is simply beautiful, and it looks like it will be both an easy stitch and (even better for me) as easy assembly. (Famous last words???) And I do love the shades of blue and green . . . 

Kim also provides goodies in each class--this is just the first one . . . 

I have new scissors to put on the side of Just That Red's stand, and pins and stickers--from later classes I have a great traveling stitching tray (in purple, of course) and project boxes and bodkins--it's all fun.

But am I stitching on these projects? Not yet. I am so very close on the Eternal Flame Huswif . . . just one more pocket and sewing it together . . . 

This is the next-to-last pocket. Tonight I'll start the last one, after I spend some time this afternoon in the stash room. I'd really like to have it completely set up before I head out on my next stitching adventure--which will be in two weeks. But more on that later.