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.

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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

A Bird on His Bough

 Our bird is no longer hanging out in empty space. He now has a branch to perch upon.

There is no stitching happening tonight. We drove to Weaverville so I could take three classes from Jackie du Plessis through Sassy Jack's. We used to drive about two hours to get here. From the new place it's four hours.

The classes are worth it. And there's a Mexican restaurant that we like (Dearly Beloved adores it) so we will continue to make the trek.

Actually, I think I may be coming out ahead. I'm now three hours closer to both Williamsburg and to Salty Yarns in Ocean City. As far as trade-offs go, this works.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A Handsome Fellow

 This handsome gentleman is just waiting to perch on his branch, and he will be finished.

He's a motif pulled from one of Sharon Huffstetler's samplers, and he's going to become the design for a small Sharon is going to offer through her company, Thy Needle's Worke.

I believe, after my online class today, I will supply that branch for him.

And pack. I'm heading to Sassy Jack's tomorrow for classes with Jackie--and Sharon and I will meet up there, where we will do our best to behave in class. Actually, we did quite well in Catherine Theron's class this past weekend, so there may be hope we don't get the giggles.

And that's a sure way to jinx ourselves.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Stitches, stitches, stitches!

I have just returned from a lovely visit with my Dear Friend Sharon and a workshop with the Carolina Sampler Guild. Catherine Theron taught her Flowers and Berries Band Sampler.

On the left is a life-size photocopy of the sampler. On the right are the luscious colors of silk, and my start. I thought I did rather well, considering that the outer two strawberries are detached buttonhole with return, and the center is trellis stitch worked back and forth. I can do spiral trellis with very little difficulty--I have a hard time getting my back-and-forth trellis even. I have decided that some strawberries appear to have been pecked by hungry birds and move along.

Sharon is a delightful hostess, and I got to spend some quality time with her kitties, Winchester and Winston. As a matter of fact, I spent one night with a gentleman caller curled up at my feet. However, the second time he stomped up my chest and looked in my face in the wee hours of the morning, I disinvited him from my boudoir. A lady can only be expected to withstand certain attentions from her callers!

I did carefully check my suitcase before I closed it up. I was a little concerned that Winston, my midnight caller, was going to decide to come home with me. He didn't, but I did bring home a couple of projects that I'm going to stitch for Sharon's company,  Thy Needle's Worke. You'll see more later.

Anyway, sadly, after a wonderful two days with some of my favorite people and a teacher whose classes I love, I trooped home.

DBE was here when I arrived. As luck would have it, the local Greek Orthodox congregation was having a fair today, and we went for souvlaki, pastitio, dolmades, and baklava. And we found out they have a holiday bake sale. We were thrilled. Our tummies were even happier.

And I had mail. Good mail. Stitching mail.

Christmas came early--from Inspirations, a pattern for a set of stitching accessories and the new Design Collective book--all Christmas designs. I don't do much seasonal stitching, but I do love Christmas designs.

The Western Reserve Sampler Guild had a meeting devoted to Scarlet Letter samplers, and there were door prizes. I was happy to receive these two charts

You'd think I have more than enough to work on, but, no, I need to finish setting up my hoop for my Deep Dive into Whitework class--and then I'm heading to Sassy Jack's for three classes with Jackie du Plessis.

And in between, I'm going to continue unpacking stash boxes. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023


 This little bit of the top border of Isabel Redie is the only thing I've stitched in three days.  If I don't stitch, I don't have anything to blog about on a stitching blog.

I have been in a funk. My stitching mojo just up and left.

It better get back soon--I have the Cardinal EGA meeting tonight to look forward to. And I'm leaving day after tomorrow for my old stomping grounds. The Carolina Sampler Guild is having Catherine Theron in to teach a two-day workshop for a lovely little band sampler. 

It would be most impolite for me to grumble and growl at either event.

Friday, September 22, 2023

No Way in Blankety-Blankety-Blank-Blank-Blank!

 There are some things you can do on autopilot. Loading the dishwasher, or brushing your teeth, or running the vacuum. I hate to admit it, but there were times in my working life that I drove myself to or from work without realizing how I got from Point A to Point B. (This is not safe, and I don't recommend it.)

Stitching is one thing that should never be done on autopilot.

But I did.

It was time to do the personalization at the bottom of the Eternal Flame Huswif. I charted out my name and the date, stitched them in, and started the background.

All of this is tent stitch over one thread.

I didn't notice that the date was one thread higher than the name.

I was filling in the background, working the tent stitch diagonally, and was halfway through the background on my name when I realized that there were suddenly four threads above the capital letters when I had had three above the numbers.

Well, phooey.

Please note that is not what I actually said.

I went for a walk. On that walk, I decided that perfection is vastly overrated and that it can't be seen from the back of a galloping horse and that there is no way in Perdition (not the word I used) I was going to rip out that much tent stitch over one.

But I will be more mindful of my stitching in the future.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Something from the Stash

 Yesterday was a wash-out as far as actually threading up a needle and stitching was concerned.

It was the first day of another online class, this time a deep dive into whitework. We have a choice of working the whole sampler on a slate frame or working each term on a hoop. I've been working on hoops for the previous classes and decided to use a slate frame for this one.

And I found a slate frame. Only the roller bars were too short, so the linen wouldn't fit. So, OK, I've done the rest on hoops, I can do this one as well.

Only I haven't unpacked the 8" hoops. No idea which box they're in.

Even if I had had the hoop or frame, I couldn't have transferred the design. My water soluble marker, which I may have used once in the last twenty years, had dried up.

So I listened and made notes, and will continue to unpack, and now have an excuse to go to Joann's or Michael's for a water-soluble marker.

Then I realized I needed to find a Scarlet Letter design to work on for Saturday's Western Reserve Sampler Guild meeting. At the moment, I can only think of two that might be hiding in my UFOs or WIPs, and neither has reached the light of day.

But I did know where I had some kits, and Isabel Redie is coming out to play.

She's a big girl,  16 1/2" x 21 1/2" on 40 count. And she is started. I inherited her from a dear friend who died 20 years ago after a sudden illness. Roxie had basted the upper margin and begun the twining vine for the border. I think Isabel is going to be fun to stitch--she has a couple of bands that look like the 17th century band samplers I love, and all kinds of motifs.

And not a lot of letters.

I will have to build a house, though. At least it's not a big house.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Final Flame

 I was going to continue setting up my stash room today. I shoved boxes around and sorted threads until my back announced that I really needed to sit down and stitch for the rest of the day.

So I did.

And I got the final flame on the Eternal Flame Huswif stitched.

I need to chart out my name and stitch in the personalization at the bottom of this panel. As soon as I get that done, I can take this off the scroll frame so it will be free for a Catherine Theron class I'm taking next week.

I did find a slate frame that I can use for my Deep Dive Whitework class that starts tomorrow. In the morning, I plan to set that up so I'll be ready to go. Now if I can just find the lacing thread . . .

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Third Time's the Charm

 Finally, finally, I was able to get the black silk framework for the final flame stitched!!! There was no ripping, no fussing or cussing--just head down and got 'er done.

And to continue with a charmed day--the USPS delivered a package, all the way from California, and on a Sunday, no less:

This is the newest online class from Katie Strachan.

This greets you when you first open the box.

And here are all the goodies inside.

The class doesn't start until January, so I believe I know what one of my New Year's projects will be. 

Meanwhile, I am going to head upstairs to see if I can find a slate frame that doesn't have something attached to it. I have a whitework class starting Tuesday, and it will take me most of the day tomorrow to set up the slate frame.

Since I'm having a charmed day, it should be in the first place I look.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Zooming around

 I do not know why everyone has scheduled Zoom meetings for the third Saturday of the month, but I attended three of them today.

I really love my Carolinas Region Zooms--always something to find out, good ideas shared, loads of lovely WIP's to see--and I managed to completely assemble another pin cushion.

This was another Make-It-Take-It kit. The top is a fabric transfer based on a trading card from J.&P. Coats Thread--yep, they had trading cards for threads just like baseball cards century before last. Since I spent the last twenty-plus years of my working life with Coats & Clark, of course I had to do this.

I may have more pincushions than pins.

Then the Orange Coast Sampler Guild had a guest speaker, Teresa Venette of Kitten Stitcher/Shakespeare's Peddler fame, who talked about how cross stitch books come into being.

And, last but not least, one of EGA's specialized Zoom groups for surface embroidery. This Zoom meeting has participants from around the country. Today's discussion was quite enjoyable since many of the people in the chat had recently taken classes from Alison Cole. Alison is this year's EGA International Teacher. I love Alison's pieces but have never had the opportunity to take a class from her. Now I know what I've been missing.

Meanwhile, Dearly Beloved has put up another shelving unit in my stash room, so I doubt that I will be stitching tomorrow. It appears that I will be unpacking more boxes.

I really wish I had a fairy godmother who would wave her magic wand and Bippety-Boppety-Boo, everything would be in its place--and that she would leave me a detailed inventory so I would know where to find it all!

Friday, September 15, 2023


 I finished Merry Cox's Tulip Tree Needlebook.

I mean, I really, really finished.

Not only did I stitch the design, but I put it together.

I mentioned earlier that I found this in my stash as I was unpacking some older project boxes. The date on the original model pictured on the kit was 2004. Mine is dated 2023. Does that mean it's been aging in my stash long enough to be considered vintage?

The finish happened only because I am tired. For three nights in a row, I woke up at 4 a.m. or thereabouts, stared at the ceiling for a couple of hours, and either gave up and got up, or finally dozed off to have weird dreams that did not leave me rested. I have not been energetic enough to even look at anything challenging to stitch, but this was all cross stitch or tent over one with Nun stitch worked around it. And the assembly was relatively easy so it didn't end up in one of the finishing baskets.

So I have a finish despite myself. I'd actually rather have some sleep.