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