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, 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.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Want vs Need

As I've been unpacking my stash, I keep saying to myself, "I don't need to ever add another project."

But, then, there's wanting another project, especially a design that sings to you. (Apparently a lot of designs sing to me, but that's another issue entirely.)

Today the mail carrier brought me both a want and a need.

My copy of Catherine Barley's needlelace book fell apart awhile back. Actually, I had a rubber band holding it together. The rubber band was aged, and it disintegrated as I was taking the book out of the box. Pages cascaded across the floor. Colorful language was used.

This book has been out of print for a long time--the Bay of Evil had a copy priced at almost $200--and Catherine Barley has reprinted it herself and you can find it on her website. But in poking around the innerwebs, I found an independent book store that had a copy for less than $15. And today it came:

I was very happy to find it, and it arrived within a week of ordering!

And, then, as mentioned, there is want. And I wanted this:

If you read Inspirations magazine, you've seen Anna Scott's work. This was a class she recently,  and she had a few kits left over.

I wish I could say that I fought with Temptation, struggling to overcome the siren call. Nope, minute I saw it, I ordered it. I didn't even make an effort to tell myself I have enough. I just went for it.

And I wish I could start it, but I need to find my unoccupied scroll frames. So, back to unpacking.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Branching Out

The tulip tree has its branches and leaves:

 I'm a little surprised I can focus my eyes. I woke up shortly after 4 a.m. this morning, and stared at the ceiling until 6:45 when I decided I may as well get up and do something.

So I did. 

I went in the stash room to open more boxes. I swear, those boxes are breeding. I empty two, and five appear in their place. I am not sure how that's happening, but I have a lot more stitching stuff than I realized.

Of course, in the old place, it was spread around three rooms instead of being concentrated in one, but still. . .

Anyway, I got a lot of stuff sorted out and stowed away, but I need for Dearly Beloved to get the last shelving unit up before I can do much more. I will sweetly request that in the morning. Or nag. Depends on whether I sleep tonight.

For his sake, hope I get a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Getting Back on Track

I know I said yesterday that I was in a No-Stitch Zone, but last night, my fingers needed to do something even if my brain was not in the right place.

So, what is the least brain-taxing thing I can do?

I went upstairs and pulled out one of the Merry Cox kits I unearthed as I unpacked. And then I sat in my corner and did Nun stitch for the border.

 I'm not a big fan of Nun stitch--sadly, I discovered just how easily it can pull out--but it was just the sort of stitching I needed to do. Almost auto-pilot . . . 

Then, today we had one of our EGA Regional stitch-ins, and I picked up my crewel project:

Not much more, and the trunk will be finished and I can move on to a prettier color. And also, I can do this without thinking too much.

Tomorrow we get flu shots, so we'll see if I can stitch or unpack with a sore arm. Just when I was getting back in a stitching mood!

Monday, September 11, 2023

Stitch-Free Zone

 After yesterday, I decided maybe I should stay far, far away from a threaded needle for a day or so.

Well, I sorta did. I unpacked more boxes in the stash room, thus clearing a space for Dearly Beloved to instal more shelving units. And the mail carrier brought me more stuff to stitch, when it's safe to stitch again.

Please excuse the glare.

Cynthia Jackson is an expert on Tudor embroidery. She taught the class I took a couple of years ago that was a sampler of various techniques loved by Elizabethan embroiderers. She offers a number of designs in pdf's on her website, Gutter Lane Embroidery. 

I wandered over the other day to see if she had added anything new, and lo and behold, she had a limited number of kits with the threads needed for some of the designs. I jumped in with both feet.

The pdf for each design is still available, if you see something you like and have a stash of gold and silks and beads. My stash of metal threads is tiny, my bead stash all but non-existent. The fabric is not included with the kits, but somewhere I have a meter of Duchess satin.

And that means that tomorrow I need to unpack more boxes in the stash room.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Move along, nothing to see here

 As I am in the process of frogging this row of the framework for the last flame for the second time, I believe that it is going into time out for a day or so.

That is all.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Not Flames

 The morning started with thunder, lightning, and torrential rains--so I stayed in bed far later than I usually do. Domestic Diva chores took longer than I wanted--don't Domestic Diva chores always take longer than you want them to?--and then I worked on my stumpwork class for several hours.

Finally I sat down to work on the last Flame, and decided I needed to work on something less intense--so I stitched the rest of the diamonds that fit around the flames.

I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of the evening. I could work on the next motif for the stumpwork class that I'm catching up on--but I think I may need a break. The motif I did earlier today uses Hollie Point. Hollie Point has always been my Waterloo when it comes to needlelace. I think I finally got the mechanics down, but my tension is all over the place.

What I should do is set up a piece of linen and just practice all the needlelace stitches I can find until I not only understand the steps, but also get my tension right. I could work my way through Catherine Barley's book. 

What I have to do is find the bin with my linen stash. I believe I saw it come in one of the first loads the movers brought in. And that means it's on the bottom of the pile in the far reaches of the guest room.

I will think about that later.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Final Flame

So I'm back to Eternal Flame today, and have outlined the last flame on the outside of the huswif. Actually, I've done part of it twice since I missed a stitch on the first attempt and had to frog. I counted twice and stitched once on the second attempt, and everything matched up this time.

 The critter is still in the wall. He did not take advantage of the escape route provided by Wildlife Rescue; they are coming back tomorrow to tempt him/her with Lord-only-knows-what.

I do not need this kind of excitement in my life.

Thursday, September 7, 2023


 If you look very, very closely, you may be able to see the shiny thread that now outlines both of the creepy crawlies.

My plan for today was to start the snail that will make up the other part of this set. However, most of the day was taken up with dealing with Wildlife Rescue and the critter in the wall of the condo we're renting.

Apparently it came through the opening between the flue of the fireplace and the chimney itself and has been scrambling to find a way out since. It is most disconcerting hearing something run around inside a wall, and even more disconcerting to hear what will have to be done to remove the critter if it doesn't find its own way out.

We had a squirrel in the attic of the previous abode, and the Wildlife people could trap it with ease and little fanfare. Dearly Beloved's geezermobile was attacked by a squirrel who liked to chew on wires, and the mechanic advised putting mothballs under the hood. That repelled the squirrel. However, we've never had one running around inside a wall.

They say that new experiences help us grow and learn to adapt. I would have preferred to have a different type of new experience.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Shiny Stuff

I had thought I would start assembling Elizabeth today, but I read over the finishing directions and decided I may need to make a mock-up before I work on the real thing. I also realized that I needed to sew a bunch of paillettes on before I did anything else, so Elizabeth is still in the wings.

Truth be told, right after I realized that I have to add paillettes, the lovely Amazon driver delivered the new Craig Johnson Longmire book. Stitching flew right out of my mind. I really was going to read only a couple of pages, just to get a feel for the story. 173 pages later, I went to bed.

Today I had to dust and vacuum and unpack a few more boxes in the stash room. Today's box was from 2008-2009. It appears that I signed up for a bunch of correspondence courses through EGA that year that I never got around to stitching, much less have evaluated. (I have to admit, though, that I rarely send anything in for evaluation. I generally sign up for the courses because I like the projects and want to do the technique.)

I finally sat down to stitch just a little while ago, and the thing that leaped into my hands was the project bag for the Casket Keepsakes. I have added very shiny trim to each side. 

After dinner, I think I'll work the outlining stitches around each part--more shiny thread.

Or I could finish the Longmire book.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

What's a stitcher to do?

Well, after I found the Elizabeth chatelaine in my stash yesterday, I had to finish stitching the design.

 And I did, in just a few hours. I do wish I could figure out why I didn't do that years ago. Actually, that's one of the reasons I started blogging. I needed a way to remind my feeble brain when I worked on something.

Today, I opened some more boxes, some of the older ones that I didn't repack, just taped up and had moved. It truly has turned into an archaeological dig--today I found projects from 2001 in one box and 2006 in the other. It appears that anything I didn't get to in those years went into a box or bin with the idea I would get to it eventually.

I suppose this is eventually.

BDE made the point that I had a full-time job and still had spawn living at home way back when, so my time was limited.  She also mentioned that I should not expect much from 2023, since it has been and is still being taken up with the Big Move. However, I feel the need to keep my fingers flying. I keep finding things I really want to stitch, and I want them all to be done. Like right this very minute.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Why, oh why?

 Could someone please explain to me why I stopped working on this lovely thing?

When I am this close to having it look like this?

The design is by Jane Timmers, who taught classes for some beautiful smalls 25 or so years ago. I understand she bought a needlepoint shop in the Atlanta area, and no longer traveled to teach after that. I found this in one of my older bins that I was excavating, mainly to see what I had stored in it.

It's truly like an archaeological dig. I never know what treasures are going to appear.

And, needless to say, I have brought this downstairs to work on sooner rather than later.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Creepy crawly

 The caterpillar on Amy Mitten's new series of Casket Keepsakes has been outlined, and peacock feathers have been couched along his little body.

The peacock feathers add a wee bit of fuzz to the caterpillar's body, but not as much color as I had hoped. The feathers have just the slightest tinge of green, but by the time they were attached, I couldn't see it any longer.

I'm not sure how much stitching I'll get done today. BDE grabbed me to go on a shopping excursion with her earlier today. And when I walked in the door, Dearly Beloved informed me that he had put up the shelves he's been promising for over a week--so I can unload the rest of the boxes of needlework books.

So, stitching or getting settled in . . . decisions, decisions, decisions . . . but the faster I get the rest of the bazillion boxes unpacked, the sooner I can stitch guilt-free.

Saturday, September 2, 2023


So, two more things out of the finishing basket and into the finished pile.

 The fob on the left actually has no stitching--it was just a cutie Make-It-Take-It. I will confess, I swapped out the skein of AVAS that came in the kit for a skein of Anchor. Yes, I am a silk snob, but for a fob, cotton floss is perfect. And this gives me a skein of dark green AVAS to add to my silk stash.

I also finished the cover for a tape measure, and the tassel to pull the measure out of the container is definitely having a bad hair day. Somewhere in the stuff that is waiting to be unpacked in the stash room is a doll brush and comb set. I found that they are great for combing or brushing out threads, especially in tassels. That is my public service announcement for the day.

This morning, I have been fighting with Ceylon stitch again. Sadly, I had to remove half of what I had stitched, and decided that was a good strong hint that it was time to stop that foolishness and do something else.

Like dust the living room or unpack more boxes.

I think I'll stitch for a little while longer instead. After all, it is a holiday weekend!

Dearly Beloved just mentioned that we are retired, and every weekend is a holiday weekend. I have stuck my fingers in my ears and am singing La La La very loudly so I don't hear him.

Friday, September 1, 2023

A little progress

I always think that September means a new year, mainly because the school year starts around that time. Yes, I know most school districts start in August, but in the Dark Ages when I went to elementary school, we started the day after Labor Day. In my mind, that's still when school is supposed to start.

So, I have already been up for several hours, and have taken a lovely long walk--the weather is cool and crisp this morning and it was so nice to be outside. That weather pattern won't last, but I'm taking advantage while I can.

And I have been patting myself on the back for yesterday's accomplishments.

Another flame on Eternal Flame has been filled in:

And there are two fewer projects in the finishing basket:


Baby steps . . .they may be small projects, but at least they're assembled.