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.

Sunday, December 31, 2023


I had to write a blog today because of the 123123 thing with the date. If you've been on a desert island--or extremely busy with holiday stuff, you may have missed that today's date, 12/31/23 comes out as 123123.

I do not know why that has amused me so much, but it has. Apparently I need to get a life.

Anyway, today I am going to bake mini-cheesecakes for our very low-key Ring-In-The-New-Year festivities, I am going to iron and sew linen to scroll bars because I don't enjoy stitching in hand, and I'm going to work on this:

I'm making the detached elements for the first frieze on the first side of Harmony that I have worked. Most of the area was stitched in January and February of 2022. After two years, I think it's time to get back to this project.

I thought about naming Harmony as the focus project for the year, or trying to finish it completely in 2024--I even worked out a schedule--but then I decided I want to enjoy the journey. No deadlines, no pressure, just the joy of stitching.

After the last couple of years, I am really looking forward to that!

Friday, December 29, 2023

What Day is This?

 Where am I? Who am I? What day is this? What date is this?

I don't think I've ever been so discombobulated as I have been this year. It started last week, when I thought Thursday was Friday, Christmas Eve was Saturday, and Christmas was Sunday--which threw this week off completely. We had our small family get-together on Saturday, which then made Friday feel like Christmas Eve and Saturday was Christmas. Do you see the problem, or have I totally lost it?

I haven't known which day it was all week--didn't help that apparently both Dearly Beloved and I came down with a mercifully brief tummy bug early in the week. I think I spent the actual Christmas in my bathrobe--or was it the day after?

Back in my working days, I always tried to save enough vacation days to take the week after Christmas off. I generally planned to work on some special project, even when I didn't actually work on said project. I don't miss working one bit, but I do miss some of the structure.

Anyway, there has been very little stitching. I did finish the band on Catherine Theron's Flowers & Berries sampler that sent it into time out.

I decided to leave the spiral trellis stitches all one color rather than changing them midway. That seemed to be the general consensus of those I asked.  I did have one friend who asked if I could leave it, knowing that I did it wrong and this would be a constant reminder that I had made a mistake. Something about the tone of her voice rubbed me the wrong way and brought out the rebellion in my soul. Why, yes, I do believe I will leave it. I am the boss of me, and there was probably something unconscious that suggested I'd be happier with solid color berries.

Of course, that was after Dearly Beloved looked at the photocopy of the original finished sampler and asked why I would want googly eyes on mine. That is the remark I would remember every time I looked at the work if I had changed it.

Other than that, I have barely had a needle in my hand. Mostly, I have been trying to organize the stash. 

And that led me to an appalling realization about the number of ancient UFO's in it. Most of them are workshop or class pieces, some of them are decades old. 

Hence my one New Year's resolution. I am not starting anything new on New Year's Day.

I am not going to do a Blessings Sampler, I am not going to pull threads and fabric for a new project. I am not going to pull out one of the kits I bought over the last several months--or last several years. I am going to work on a UFO or a WIP.

And I'm going to try to finish up some of these ancient and not-so-ancient projects in 2024. Note that I am not stating that I will start no new projects. I know myself too well to try that, plus I have three stitching events I'm planning to attend in the first four months of the year. Also, I know if I said I wasn't going to add to the stash, my favorite designers would immediately offer designs that I could not pass up, even if I had some will power when it comes to stitching.

So, if you're still with me after this long and rambling post that I'm writing at 4:30 a.m. because I don't know what time it is, along with what day it is--you may see some ancient and aged projects in the next twelve months.

If I get done what I'd love to get done, I either need to become an octopus or give up sleeping entirely and stitch 24/7.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Good and not so good

I added the leaf to my sample page for this term of the Deep Dive into Stumpwork course, and I'm even happier with it than I was before.

 You can even see the shadow behind it!

But then there was the hand. Oh, dear, the hand.

It looks like an arthritic skeleton.

I think I know what I did wrong. I got carried away with wrapping the wire to make the fingers, so they're way longer than they need to be. I think I could have started wrapping the palm earlier to make the fingers shorter.

I'm not so sure about the arthritis, though. 

Anyway, my sampler has a disembodied hand attached, and I have ideas on improvement, but I think I'm moving on. Actually, today I pulled Harmony out and started working the detached elements for the first panel. That is going a little better than the hand.

It wouldn't take much to do better than the hand. That hand is pitiful.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Leafing Out

Of all the teeny, tiny, fiddly things I have made with a needle, this may be the teeniest, tiniest, fiddliest of them all.

I made a leaf in needlelace yesterday.

It will be added to my stumpwork class sampler as soon as I get the next teeny, tiny fiddly thing done. Today I am going to make a hand with embroidery floss and wire.

Meanwhile, Dearly Beloved has discovered that I have absconded with a number of his tools. I needed a screw driver to tighten the screw on my embroidery hoop, and last night I needed pliers* to pull the needle through the stitches to weave all twenty thread tails through the back of the leaf.

That may be the fiddliest thing I will ever do.

*Somewhere I have a hemostat that I can use instead of pliers, but it has gone AWOL since the Big Move. I'm sure it will turn up. Eventually.

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Most Outstanding Mail Day

 I was going to spread out my Stalking the Mail Carrier posts through December, but today was such an excellent mail day, I couldn't wait.

Two packages, three kits, oh my oh my!

I had told a friend that I absolutely was not going to order these kits, even though if you bought both, you got a discount. I have enough, I said. I don't need anything else in my life.

I lied.

Lemon Pepper Studio creates unique raised embroidery designs,  and I fell in love with the first garden design. Then there was a second. And then there was a Christmas discount. And there will be more in the series.

I succumbed.

They arrived in pretty little boxes, with a notecard thanking the buyer for buying from a small business and a Happy Stitching card.

Don't you almost hate to break the seal? The packaging on so many of the projects you can order these days is so carefully done, and makes the anticipation that much greater. But then you fold back the tissue paper and see what's inside!

And a close-up of one of the kits--even a hoop! And a little bead container! And all the threads and materials and everything else to make the project!!!

And then there was another package . . . the kit for the class based on Trevelayan Miscellany that I took online Saturday. It wandered around the country for awhile before landing in my mailbox, but it's here!

Look at those luscious colors of Appleton wool--and there's an extensive instruction book--and the design is already transferred to lovely linen twill. 

This is a project from Relics in Situ. If you're at all interested in historical embroidery, you may want to visit their website and sign up for their lectures. I learn something every time I take one of their online courses--like the shading done ion the 1600's was block shading rather than the long and short color blending I learned from the multitude of Elsa Williams kits I've stitched. (I have to say, I prefer the way Elsa Williams designed over block shading, but at least I now know what would be historically accurate to the 1600's.)

No, I am not leaping into any of these projects, as tempted as I am. I have a list of thing I want to do to finish out 2023, and, so far, I'm sticking to it.

But I am so very tempted. SO very tempted!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Progress Report

 Hallelujah, I finished all the motifs for the first term of the Deep Dive into Whitework online course I've been taking.

The blue outlines will be washed out at the end of the course. We have a break between now and the beginning of Term Two, so I'm going to do my best to get both Term Three projects for Stumpwork and Goldwork done before the next whitework term begins.

And the next-to-last ornament that I think I can get done before Christmas is stitched and assembled.

This is Barbara Jackson's Christmas Bells are Ringing ornament for 2023. I had a little bit of trouble getting the fabric mounted around the form, but it's on. Corners are hard to get smooth, at least they are if you're a klutz.

So this was my quick, fly-by, catch-up post. See you when I catch my breath again--it's been a busy weekend--but then, this time of year always is!

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Couldn't Resist

I had planned to buckle down and finish the motifs for my online class in whitework, but the temptation of this year's ornament from Barbara Jackson was too much to resist.

All the stitching is done, and I have been thinking about putting the ornament together tonight. I think maybe I'll have dinner first--Dearly Beloved is making hamburgers--and then decide.

I have one more ornament that I would like to get on the tree this year. I am not setting goals or deadlines, just thinking out loud.

And dinner is ready.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The magic key

 Apparently, the magic key to getting something finished is to actually do the assembly as soon as you complete the embroidery.

The Mighty Acorn ornament, designed by Tricia Nguyen in 2003 or 2004 is completely completed and is hanging on the tree. If I may say so myself, it was a valiant struggle to get it together, but I prevailed.

In addition to getting this put together, I've had a lot of embroidery stuff going on for the last couple of days. Yesterday, I started putting this together. Then I had the last class of the first term of the Deep Dive into Whitework with Sara Rickards--I just have to finish the two motifs we started stitching in class and that will be done. As soon as BDE got off work, we headed down the highway for the combined EGA/ANG chapter Christmas get-together. And then today, The Royal School of Needlework hosted a talk by Eleri Lynn on the wardrobes of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, which was, as always with Eleri Lynn's talks, quite fascinating.

So, tomorrow I will finish the whitework motifs and quite possibly start Barbara Jackson's 2023 ornament.

I do like having plans, whether I actually follow through or not.

Monday, December 4, 2023

So close . . .

 I am so close to finishing this ornament--so very close.

I just have to add the spangles and put it together, and it can go on the tree. If I hadn't yawned so widely a minute ago that my jaw cracked, I'd stay up a little later, but it may be a bad idea to try to sew on wee tiny bits of metal with a sharp needle when you're about to fall asleep in your chair.

And, for those who might be interested, I baked a new batch of cookies today with better butter. They were still a little thinner and crisper than the usual--apparently everyone has a higher water content in their butter at the moment--but a vast improvement over the first batch. I may just bake yet another batch with Kerry Gold and see what happens with that.

I can hear both of my grandmothers whispering that I should just use the preferred fat of previous generations of Southern bakers, and they're both saying, "Honey, you should just use a good quality lard and those cookies would be perfect." My arteries are trying to explain that butter is quite good (bad) enough.

Sunday, December 3, 2023


 Well, I said I was going to stitch a leaf.

It just wasn't this leaf . . . or leaves.

I was planning to work some needlelace on a wire frame but apparently yesterday and today were not the days to work on anything other than sitting in a corner, perfectly still, and letting the world go past me. In other words, everything I touched did not match my expectations--like my favorite cookie recipe, my never-fail cookie recipe--the one I make several batches of during the holidays--well, it failed. Epically. I'm not sure if it's a different oven or something I did or did not do, but it didn't make cookies. It made very thin wafers. That crumbled if you looked at them.

I also stubbed my toe, and stuck a sharp needle into my thumb, which bled on the tape binding my hoop--luckily not the work in the hoop, but still . . . 

So I decided to work on something I knew I could do, and did:

I think I showed this to you when it floated up to the top of my stash. It's an ornament designed by Tricia Nguyen a couple of decades ago. I pulled it out of the Christmas bag this afternoon--the leaves are worked with a wrapped chain stitch, and I didn't have any problems with it.

Maybe this means my luck is changing, so the batch of cookies I'm going to bake tomorrow morning will result in something you'd want to eat.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Stalking the mail carrier, part 1

 The last few weeks, the mail carrier has brought all kinds of goodies. As long-time readers have discovered, Dearly Beloved does not buy my Christmas presents--he tells me to get what I want. And I do.

As I have no self-control, I open everything as soon as it arrives, ooh and aah and carry on, then stick it under the tree. The first box under the tree came from The Crewel Work Company.

The Dunollie Rose & Honeysuckle design was part of the most recent seminar that The Crewel Work Company held.  I was thrilled to be able to get one of the kits. Even better, during their giving back weekend, we could watch a demonstration of some of the stitches involved in the piece.

The directions in the kit are so clear, the threads are luscious, and what is it about boxes? Why do kits that come in boxes seem ever so much more enticing? Maybe because they always seem like presents?

If you don't follow Phillipa Turnbull and CWC on Facebook and don't get their newsletter, well, you need to. Even if you're not a crewel stitcher, you get all kinds of information about the stitching world, and needlework in various castles and stately homes in the UK. Phillipa has a monthly stitch-in online, and she is nothing short of totally delightful.

Now I am off to work on a leaf. Don't ask--it involves needlelace and I've been putting it off and putting it off until it can't be put off any longer.

Friday, December 1, 2023

December? Seriously?

 How did it get to be December? Already?

We are planning to put the tree up today. We were planning to do it yesterday, but then Dearly Beloved decided today would be better. I am not sure why today was better, but as he is the tree wrangler, I don't question.

Meanwhile, I have stitched this week's class assignment for my online whitework class. As it is a gloomy day, the photos I took just look like white blobs. I will try again when I have sunlight.

However, I have been working on Love That Red in the evenings, and this is where I am:

The darning patterns were addictive to stitch--hard to put them down--and the horizontal bands of stitch samples are proving to be the same. And then there are 28 (I think) bands of drawn-thread patterns, which I think will also be hard to stop.

But today we are decking the halls--or at least the Christmas tree.