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.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Gradually getting back to normal

 I can focus my eyes again!  And I didn't sleep 13 hours yesterday!

Which meant that I was able to work on my online classes--almost caught up--and I did a little more on Amy Mitten's Casket Keepsakes.

The metallic background stitches for the grasshopper are filled in, although working with those threads led to new and creative forms of profanity. In short, I don't enjoy working with them. But they do add sparkle, so I guess it's worth it.

And the caterpillar is started. He is going to have peacock feathers added at some point--I'm looking forward to that, since I've never used peacock feathers before.

However, the rest of today's stitching time will be devoted to working different kinds of padding on the goldwork class.  

Or maybe I'll take a nap. We'll see.

Friday, January 27, 2023

That bat out of hell just flew out the window

Last year, I started a lot of projects and finished very little. So, this year, I planned to stitch like a bat out of hell and get some things done, done, DONE!

That may not work out quite the way I planned.

We're getting to the TMI part of this post, so if you're here for the stitching, you may want to scroll down to the photos. For the last couple of years, I've had problems with wacky thyroid numbers. The last biopsy I had at the end of December showed cancerous cells. Luckily, I was able to see a surgeon right away, and part of my thyroid was excised in an out-patient procedure yesterday. The surgeon said that everything went beautifully and I should be fine, based on what the pathologist finds.

I'm still a little groggy from the anesthesia--it takes me awhile to get it out of my system--and it looks like my neck has been slashed--wait! it was!--but the main problem is this: it's going to take the other side of my thyroid a little time to get up to speed, especially since it now has to do the work of both sides. It will take two or three months to see if it can handle the demand, but they have to wait until then to determine if I should take a supplement. Unfortunately, during that time, I should expect to feel generally fatigued. All the time. 


I have plans to attend workshops in February, March, and April. I have two online courses I'm taking, a stack of projects in the stash, and an EGA pilot to finish. And I'm going to be constantly tired?

Well, phooey.

Dearly Beloved says that I'm so hard-headed I'll probably forge ahead and get it all done anyway. However, I'm going to need to be a little more productive than I have been since the last post.

On Monday, I started stitching a band that will go along the top of a pocket for Jackie's Gardenesque. I took the class originally at Salty Yarns, but am going to take a refresher at Sassy Jack's in March to get it completely finished. 

I don't like the way my Lazy Daisy stitches look on this, so I had already planned to remove them an do a broad chain stitch instead.

On Tuesday, I added some of the metallic thread to the background of Amy Mitten's grasshopper.

I have a solid silver thread to add to the background, then I can move to the caterpillar.

On Wednesday, I worked on the second pocket for Jackie's Dear Heart.

I had thought I would work on this today; it should be easy enough since it's all repetition--but I'm still getting cross-eyed when I try to focus, so I'm going to watch some mindless TV and veg for another day.

But hopefully, just for one more day.

I have things to do!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Change in plans (as if you didn't expect that)

 Last night I finished filling in the diamonds on the first pocket panel for Hold Dear.

Before I did that, I had thought that perhaps I could get all seven pockets finished before February 1. Then I looked at how long it took me to work the center design and the outlining for one end--and I realized the only way I could get them all done would be to stitch pretty much all day every day between now and then. And today, I have yet to pick up a needle.

My electric needle rusted years ago, so it takes longer for me to stitch anything. Then, too, I have surgery this week. Despite it being an out-patient procedure, I have a feeling I'm going to be a little loony for a couple of days. If I can't focus my eyes, I don't think I'll get much stitching done.

Soooooooooo, I think I'm going to work on my EGA pilot and my online classes in the mornings, and alternate among several other projects in the evenings and see what I get done that way. 

Even though I haven't put needle and thread together today, I've had plenty of stitching in my life. The new issue of Inspirations arrived. I've been drooling over several of the designs, but I'm not going to let myself start any of them or order any of the kits. Yet. 

And Phillipa Turnbull of the Crewel Work Company has a Zoom meeting every so often, and today was the day. It was the first time I've joined in. It will not be the last. She is delightful! and we got to vote on designs we'd like to see in the line, and got previews of some of the prospective classes for the next Festival online and could ask questions about Crewel Work projects we might be stitching. It made me want to dig out a crewel kit or two or three.

However, now I need to think about throwing dinner together. It is a gray, gloomy, rainy, cold day, so spaghetti is on the menu. And a big salad. And garlic bread. And then we have Miss Scarlet and The Duke and All Creatures Great and Small for our viewing pleasure tonight. I'm looking forward to the evening.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Ahead of myself

I didn't really expect to get the rest of the framework stitched last night on the first pocket for Hold Dear. I surprised myself. And then, of course, I had to fill in some of the spaces just to see what they looked like.

Just to make things a little more interesting, I decided to work the filling vertically since I worked the framework horizontally.

It takes so little to make me happy . . . 

What would really make me happy is to get all the pockets done by the end of January. Having said that, I have just doomed myself to disappointment, based on the way past plans have worked out.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Little Pockets

 The sewing roll for Hold Dear has a bunch of little pockets, each of which holds a thread winder. I've started the first one:

Normally I do all the outline stitching before I start doing the innards, but I decided it might be easier if I did part of the outline first, then the middle, then count the rest of the outline from that. Besides, the outline is boring. The shading in the framework for the inner part is created by the overdyed thread. The little diamonds in the framework will be filled in with a different shade of rose.

This is actually going to be good Zen stitching, soothing in its repetition. My online classes start back up next week, and I am working on that EGA pilot about which I can say nothing, but both are challenging in different ways. I'm going to need some peaceful stitching in my life.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Yippee Skippee, Goal Attained!

 I sat myself down yesterday and said I was not getting up (other than when absolutely necessary) until I finished the leaves on the outside of the sewing roll for Hold Dear.

And I did it!

So that meant that last night I could sew linen to scroll bars to begin stitching the pockets that will live inside the roll, and I accomplished that as well.  That was too boring to photograph, so it will wait until there is stitching to display.

So at last I had something to blog about. I really planned and hoped to blog daily in 2023, but, like all other resolutions or goals or plans I've made over the years, it didn't make it two weeks into the new year before it fell apart.  And there will likely be a few more gaps--I've had some health issues over the last couple of years, and I am having surgery a week from today (if all goes as planned) which will hopefully take care of some of them. It's out-patient--but it means I have to show up at the surgery center at 5:30 a.m.

The thought of having to get up that early for anything is actually bothering me more than the prospect of surgery.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The expansion of Friday the 13th

 My Friday the 13th started on Thursday the 12th and has lasted through today.

Every single thing related to stitching that I have attempted has had a problem, starting with miscounting threads on Thursday night through spilling a full container of pounce on Friday through stabbing myself deep enough to draw blood on Saturday to discovering today that the design lines on the fabric of the piece I was sewing to a frame on Saturday had disappeared completely. Which means that I now have to take it off the frame and retrace the lines.

I decided to take today off. I'm not going to stitch, look at stitching, think about stitching, or plan my upcoming week of stitching until tomorrow at the very soonest.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Some is better than nothing

 When you have two doctors' appointments in as many days, there isn't much time left for putting needle and thread together--so far, I've managed to get about half a dozen leaves stitched into Hold Dear.

Luckily, we have leftovers for dinner tonight, which means that I can stitch from now until bedtime. I'd like to get another curlicue leafed out before then.

Because tomorrow I am determined to get my online goldwork class set-up accomplished. I think it will take all day, but by golly, I mean to get 'er done!

(famous last words . . . )

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Grassy Knoll

The grasshopper now has a completed hill to sit on.

 I need to stitch the sky behind the grasshopper, but I am leaning toward stitching the caterpillar before I do that. The sky is stitched partially in metallic thread on both, and it might be easier to wait and do that at the same time.

Or not.

I could also work more leaves on Hold Dear.

Could the fact that the temps are freezing and the sky is getting grayer affect my need to see more green in my life?

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Green Stuff

 I have a black thumb. Give me a houseplant, and it will take one look at me and shrivel up and die. Within minutes. And I love plants and flowers . . . 

So I have to stitch the green stuff.

After getting Be Still finished, I added some green to two ongoing projects:

I've started the grassy mound under the grasshopper, and leafed out the second curlicue on Hold Dear (which I still keep calling Dear Heart in my head).

I am supposed to be mounting things on frames and scrolls today, but I think I may continue planting the only green I can successfully plant.

Monday, January 9, 2023

All the Way to a Finish!

 Be Still My Heart, a design by Jackie du Plessis, is all finished, all assembled, all together!!

I did the inner fittings of the drawer as soon as I finished them, and I think that's the way I'm going to work projects with multiple parts from here on. As soon as I finish stitching something I can put together, it's going together.

And now I'll go back to setting other things up so they can be stitched.

If I ever win the lottery (which would require buying a lottery ticket), I'm going to hire somebody to trace designs and put things on slate frames and stretcher bars and scroll frames.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Close to a finish

 I actually have accomplished some assembly. The sewing roll for Be Still My Heart is done!

This is the mini sampler of stitches. I was happy with the sides, but the top and bottom feel a little heavy to me--but I doubt I'll take it all apart to redo it. Once done, it's done! And I have decided that I would prefer to avoid dealing with striped fabric again. It's beautiful, but I could not get my stripes to cooperate.

The other side has openings that can be used for thread storage

I'm not sure I'll use it for that. I think I'll stick with my little floss bags.

Anyway, I just have to assemble the two pin cushions that go on the lid, and there's a mother-of-pearl piece that goes with the set that needs to be put together, and I'll have a second finish for the New Year.

Of course, it hasn't happened yet . . . 

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Leafing Out

 Have you ever had the experience of finishing an intense project, and then being totally incapable of moving on to something else?

If you have, welcome to my world.

I have my focus projects for the first part of 2023 all sitting here, waiting to be stitched, and I couldn't bring myself to work on any of them yesterday. Instead, I puttered and watched Flosstube and wandered around the innerwebs and considered baking oatmeal raisin cookies (but didn't).

I finally pulled this out of the focus group pile. Here is the start on leafing out the stitching roll panel for Hold Dear.

I have five more curlicues to leaf. Is that what I'm going to do today? I have no idea.

You'll know when I do.

Friday, January 6, 2023


 I've finished all the motifs for Term 1 of my Deep Dive into Goldwork online class!

I am more than happy about my circle. Basically, I'm ecstatic because I think it actually looks like it's supposed to!!! I'm pretty happy with the leaf, too, although I will say that if I never have to fight with the Rococo gold thread in the very middle again, I will be delighted. That stuff was a right royal pain in the posterior to work. It did not want to play well with the other threads, and I had to get out my awl to make a hole big enough to be able to plunge the ends to the back. I used foul language. A lot of foul language. I had to take a break and walk away.

Needlework should not make you use foul language or walk away.

But sometimes it does.

Anyway, this is the whole sampler of motifs for Term 1:

Today, I think I'll mount the linen and maybe take a stitch or two in Katie's Elizabethan Valentine.

I should dust. And vacuum.

If there's a choice between stitching and dusting, I think stitching will win.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

One happy bug

 I needed a day away from goldwork, so I filled in the grasshopper on Amy Mitten's Casket Keepsake.

I didn't realize until I stitched in the colors on his face that he's smiling. I was delighted to realize he was happy!

Today is goldwork day. I plan to finish the last two motifs, and the work for Term 1 of the Deep Dive into Goldwork class will be complete.While what I've stitched so far is not perfect, I know where I need to improve, so all is good.

For the next few days, I'm going to be setting up my hoops and frames for the next term in both deep dive classes and Katie's Valentine, and I'm going to work on Dear Heart in the evenings.

If I can tear myself away from this adorable bug.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Golden Swoosh*

 Well, the top looks pretty good, and the bottom is acceptable, but the middle is just plain messy.

I did put up a valiant fight, but, in the end I was defeated. Part of it was due to running low on supplies. I had to rework several places on the swoosh, and this purl just doesn't like to be reused. I was afraid if I messed with any more, I'd have a bald swoosh, and that would be even worse.

I even dug around in my very meager stash of gold metals, but I didn't have any smooth purl in any size whatsoever. So, it is was it is, a learning experience.

*I had turned the frame so see if I could maneuver the purl to lie better, and it struck me that the shape was not unlike that of a slug. I started to call this the Golden Slug, but felt that would be disrespectful to the intent of the project. But then, Dearly Beloved asked if I were going to add anntenae--he has a long and storied history of fighting slugs in his container garden on the patio. I mentioned this to BDE as well, and she said that a slug was just a snail without a house, but she wasn't fond of them, either. So, it's going to remain a swoosh. 

Not a slug. 

You know, once you see it, you can't unsee it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Not beads

When I sent a photo of this motif to BDE, her immediate response was that it looked like I had beaded something. Me? Bead? Not if I can help it!

 Nope, it's another metal thread that is basically a faceted wire wrapped in a tight coil. It reminds me of a slinky because it boings all over the place.

That yellow thing to the left that looks a little like a slug is string padding, which, if all goes well today, will be covered with smooth purl. Smooth purl is also a wire coil. It is very temperamental and will crack or damage itself it you look at it cross-eyed.

I am more than a little intimidated.

And, I am losing my voice. And still sneezing and snorting and coughing and wheezing. I do hope this is not the way the entire year is going to progress. As usual, I would like a little cheese with this whine. 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Hopping into the new year

 I had to flip a coin.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was considering either Amy Mitten's Casket Keepsake or Katie Strachan's Elizabethan Valentine for my New Year's start. I'm excited about stitching both of them, but since I haven't managed to grow an extra pair of hands, I needed to opt for one of them.

And I couldn't decide, so I let the fates determine what I'd do.

So I have the outline of a grasshopper from the Casket Keepsake.

I also decided that I will probably alternate this with the Valentine for my Sunday stitching, subject to change.

Meanwhile, I believe I'm going to have some chicken noodle soup and see if I can dissolve some of the concrete in my head. For two years, I never had a sniffle (other than seasonal allergies, which do not respect masks). In the last three months, I've had two colds and a sinus infection. I do not want to go back to masking, but, wow, masks certainly kept me healthier!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year's!

 And now it's 2023! May it be more peaceful, more optimistic, and happier all the way around!

Meanwhile, I managed to get one more project in the stitched category for 2022. My oldest UFO is now my newest completion!

I thought this one was about 40 years old, but then I started thinking about it and realized I started it when I was still in college--which means it spent five decades in the stash. BDE was horrified when she heard this--how could I let something just sit there for that long? And why did I still have it?

Well, I got distracted. Story of my stitching life. And when your stash has been accumulating for many years, things can get hidden. When you start trying to organize it, you just don't know what may float to the surface.

Anyway, this is the Tree of Life from the Reynolds International Needlework Guild, Inc. It needs blocking, then I need to decide if it should go in a frame or become a pillow. There is enough linen in the kit to make the pillow back, as well as already constructed cording.

So, today is the first day of the New Year. I am spending it getting myself organized for the next few months of stitching.

I decided I need to limit what's in my corner so I can get some things accomplished. So, for the next few months, this is what I'll be doing:

  • the two online "deep dive" classes I'm taking on stumpwork and goldwork
  • a pilot for a prospective EGA correspondence course. I cannot talk about it or show photos while I'm working on it.
  • Either Amy Mitten's Earth casket toy or Katie Strachan's Valentine. One of them was supposed to be my New Year's start, but I can't make up my mind which I want to do and the day is slipping away
  • One of the many workshop pieces I took in the last few years, and that means doing some assembly as well.

Obviously I still need to make some decisions and get my needle threaded before the day is over!

Maybe I could be more decisive if I hadn't waked up with a stuffy head--Dearly Beloved kindly shared the bad cold he's been nursing with me--and some dingleberry in the neighborhood hadn't decided to set off fireworks at 3:43 a.m. A cold and sleep deprivation makes it hard to get moving!