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, February 27, 2023

Days Three and Four

 I did some more work on the Parham Owl in the last two days of classes with Jenny.

His little body is now covered:

There were discussions as to whether this looked more like a manatee or a goldfish. No decision was reached.

The basis for his chest feathers was accomplished:

Right now, it looks like Showgirl Barbie's outfit, but it actually, truly, really will turn into the owl's chest.

I also have half of his head covered with needlelace, the point of one wing covered, and another feather or two on his face. Considering that I almost never stitch more than six stitches in any class I take while I'm taking it, this is a miracle.

Alas, this class ended today. I have three "free days" in which I'm going to try to catch up with the motifs I need to do for my online classes, then I get to take another class from Jenny.

Happy Days!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Day Two, I'm looking at you!

 Today I started stitching the face for my owl:

I faded before I got any more done--but Jenny makes everything seem completely doable. I actually felt artistic!

For this and all her other designs, you may want to visit She also sells the most remarkable gimp thread in a beautiful array of colors--and it's unlike any gimp you've found anywhere else. You can actually stitch with it!

My Christmas list now has a request for the full range.

Yes, I know Christmas is 10 months away. Christmas may come early this year.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Day One, Happy Place

 I am in Williamsburg, Va, for my annual trip with great friends and a wonderful needlework class and good food and general fun times all the way around.

This is my corner of the classroom after the first morning in Jenny Adin-Christie's Parham Owl Etui class.

Opening one of Jenny's kits is like opening the best Christmas present ever. Each component of the kit is packaged and labeled, so you know exactly what part goes with what section of the project. Thank you, thank you to Jenny's Mum, who assembles the kits so beautifully.

And I can't say enough about Jenny as a teacher. Each area is broken down into step-by-step directions--incredibly complete and detailed so, if you can read and understand a diagram or a photo (or both), you will have success. Plus, Jenny is the most encouraging teacher I've ever had--and has endless reservoirs of patience.

In short, after the last several weeks--I am most definitely in my Happy Place!

Friday, February 17, 2023

Crisis averted (stitching crisis, that is)

 I was meandering through Etsy a couple of weeks ago, looking for a designer whose work I'd seen but hadn't bookmarked (note to self, bookmark sites on Etsy because you get into major trouble wandering), when I ran across a lovely set of stitched hearts.

They were designed to be brooches. I am not a brooch-wearing person, but I thought they'd make lovely Christmas ornaments, and the kits was relatively inexpensive, so I succumbed.

The kit arrived. 

Dearly Beloved had to sign for it, and asked me what I had ordered from Chile.


No written directions but a link to a video.

In Spanish.

BDE said I should be able to figure a lot out--after all, I had years and years of Latin. I informed her that written Latin and spoken Spanish are worlds apart. But I sat down and watched the whole video, and was absolutely thrilled to discover that every step of the process is covered in great detail. (and the designer's manicure is way cool!)

I believe I can do this just by watching the video! YAY! Crisis averted!

Meanwhile, I got the motif for this week's stumpwork class stitched.

When I've done buttonhole stitches on detached stumpwork elements before, you just work the buttonhole over the wire. Apparently the RSN way is to work overcast stitches first, then go back over with buttonhole. It makes sure you don't have any little bits of the wire poking out, and probably results in a more stable edge since it has two layers of stitching. But it took pretty much all afternoon, and my hands were weary when I finished.

I'd planned to set up the next two motifs for next week's class, but the silk is getting Fray-Chek around the edges before I go any further! It was fraying so badly that I was wondering if I'd have any left by the time I got this one little bit stitched. I'm going to stitch at least 7 more motifs on this one piece of silk, so I need to stabilize it before I do anything more.

Today, I plan to set up the padding for the next two motifs on the goldwork class. With luck, I can get at least one of those motifs covered with gold before I go to bed tonight.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Well, of course, after I vented and whined yesterday, I was able to stitch.

First I got the samples for one of the goldwork classes stitched:

 The two motifs on the left are from this class, and involve different ways of attaching metal twist wires. That ugly thing on the right is a sample of padding with felt and hard white string.  I'm finding that a lot of goldwork depends on what is underneath--it's that foundation that creates the dimension for the gold threads on the surface.

Actually, it also reminds me of one of my grandmothers and the two sisters who lived with her. Those three ladies wore old-fashioned corsets--with boning and laces-- for any public appearance--and they were laced in tightly! Sunday mornings, when getting ready to go to church, there may have been some inappropriate language used as they were tightened into their corsets. At that point, hugging one of them was little like hugging a tree.

I digress.

After dinner, I was able to stay awake long enough to finish the last little box, and I started filling in the roses and vines for the pin keep that fits into Gardenesque.

I love those little roses--they are so much fun to stitch!

I have hopes to finish this today--we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

 I am still moving slower than molasses in January--or February, come to think of it.

There has been a little bit of stitching.

I was getting very tired of all the little boxes on Dear Heart's pockets, so I decided to change projects and work teeny little flowers. I'm taking a refresher class on Gardenesque in March, and what I'd like to have done is as much of the inner fittings of the box as possible before then.

So these are the bands that will create the self-lining pockets for the inside compartment of the Gardenesque basket:

There is a pin pad that is attached to the inner part of one of the lids. It's stitched on the same linen as the pieces for the pin cube that lives inside the compartment, so I figured I'd just get both pin pad and pin cube pieces stitched at the same time:

And that's when I realized I was stitching more little boxes.

For those of you have asked about my healthy and recovery, well, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!!!

Basically, I'm frustrated that I haven't bounced back sooner or better. This is my 70th year, and I had plans and goals.
  • I was going to finish at least one WIP or UFO a month. I finished Be Still My Heart in January, prior to surgery. February is only half over, but it's not looking good.
  • I was going to stay current in stitching the motifs for each lesson in both my stumpwork and goldwork online classes. I have the samples for two classes in goldwork and one in stumpwork to do, plus the homework for next week's classes.
  • I was going to stitch and assemble a Christmas ornament every two months so I'd have six new ones for the tree this year. Haven't even started the first one.
  • I was going to work on more challenging projects this year--get back to Harmony, and 17th century band samplers, and silk and metal thread embroidery. At the moment, I'm challenged by threading a needle and counting to four accurately. Not what I had in mind.
  • Blog daily. Ooops!
Maybe I should have a do-over mid-year . . . 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Something Else

I'm still stitching little boxes on Dear Heart, and I'm getting the benefits from the whole Zen stitching experience--but I think it's probably a little boring to watch. And there's not much to say about it in a blog post.

However, the brain fog is beginning to lift, so I felt daring enough to work on the samples from my online class on stumpwork.

I have two leaves stitched, and three couronnes made:

The wires and loose threads on the leaves will be cleaned up in the last class of the term. I'm still thinking about the leaf on the left. We were supposed to put bullion knots between the veins in that leaf. I didn't--it's not that I mind working bullions--I just wasn't feeling it. Someone else in class suggested putting bits of purl--and I'm leaning toward that. Now I just have to decide if I would prefer smooth purl or something with a bit of texture.

The couronnes are basically detached circles of buttonhole stitch. They were fun to make-- and quick and easy, too. I have no idea what I would do with them in a future project, although the cover of Issue 115 of Inspirations magazine had a beautiful whitework pouch that used them as both part of the design and as trim around the outside of the bag.

Anyway, today I may tackle some samples for the goldwork class and see how I do with those. I'm really ready to be "normal" again!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Slow and Steady . . .

 I yanked up the Granny panties yesterday and decided I was going to figure out what I can do.

I can do anything for an hour.

So, I am stitching for at least an hour (the hope is when I get started, I can continue). I realized that I have actually stitched at least a little every day so far in February. Granted, we're only on Day 5 of February, but I'm counting that as a win.

I have the little boxes on the second pocket panel for Hold Dear filled in, and the framework for the third panel started:

Another project I would love to jump into is this, which arrived on Friday:

Amy Mitten was posting teasers for this project online for what felt like WEEKS before it was released, and every motif she showed made my heart go pitty-pat. So when it arrived, I was sorely tempted to just toss everything else I need to be doing and stitch this.

I used to read Amy Wilson's Thread in Hand blog, and still miss her writing about her needlework obsession. Amy would have just dived in.

Alas, I just can't bring myself to do that. I started too many things last year, all of which I want to stitch. I have vowed, though, to finish enough of those projects to feel guilt-free so I can start another.

I can be strong.

Right . . . .

Friday, February 3, 2023

Maybe not so normal

 I'm still discombobulated.

My thyroid wasn't working very well to begin with, and now I have half of the poorly functioning gland I had before. And that may be one of the reasons that my sleep patterns have been wonky, all of which has left me feeling slightly dopey all the time. I only took four pain pills total, so I can't blame the meds.

I've been doing a little bit of stitching. A very little bit of stitching, but some is better than none--right?

I have more of the caterpillar on Amy Mitten's Casket Keepsake. The next step is working the grassy mound under him/her--but it requires compensation and shading and counting and I found I couldn't handle that very efficiently. I usually follow the count twice, stitch once philosophy, but I was counting three or four times and coming out with a different number each time. Well, that would never do.

So I moved back to Hold Dear.

This was a little easier since it's a repetitive pattern. I now have the inner framework for the second pocket stitched, and I just have to fill in the little boxes. However, the filling has a pattern--not all the little boxes are covered--so I may have to see how well I'm functioning when I thread the needle.

I haven't touched this week's stitching for my online classes or the EGA pilot--they're a little more challenging than the brain fog will allow. I'm just hoping the sun breaks through soon--this pity party is getting to be a drag!