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, January 30, 2024

Brain Blank

 When I was setting up my stitching plans, I totally left out my online class.

Galloping senility.

Anyway, Tuesdays will now be my class day. That still gives me two days before and two days after for each focus project.

Today we did eyelets. My first round eyelet came out more like a square than a circle, but the second one is fine. We also did square eyelets, diamond eyelets, and freeform eyelets--the latter requires flexibility and randomness--and I'm not so great on random. Anyway, here's this week's classwork:

Before class, aside from baking a loaf of banana bread, I finished the first corner on the first band for Carmen and started one of the dividing bands, mainly because I wanted to get an idea of how wide the average band will be. Actually, I don't think there will be any average band sizes, based on what the charts look like, but I had that idea right before bed last night without looking at the rest of the charts. I looked at the charts after I started the dividing band.

And about that banana bread . . . Dearly Beloved, as I may have mentioned before, does the hunting and gathering thing. In other words, he just loves to go to the grocery store where he wanders the aisles, every single one, and looks at everything. This would drive me crazy--I want to get in and get out--so we do not grocery shop together. However, this means that the man brings home bunches of bananas that would fill King Kong. 

I know there's a method in his madness. We cannot eat all of the bananas before they get really, really ripe. I don't care for mushy bananas. Dearly Beloved loves them because that means I am likely to make banana bread out of them. There is a method in his madness.

And he thinks I don't know what he's doing.

Monday, January 29, 2024

New Plans

 I'm a member of the Western Reserve Sampler Guild, a group of amazing stitchers. Rose is one of the most amazing--she stitches beautiful samplers and gets more done in a year than almost everyone else I know. She had mentioned that she uses a rotation system, and I asked her how she set it up.

Keep in mind that I've tried a number of rotations and failed--and I mean Epic Fails--with all of them.

Rose works on a different sampler each week in the month. She has five going at the moment. She works in each one for its assigned week. On the last day, she packs up that sampler, and sets up the next so it's ready to go when she wants to start stitching the next day.

I'm going to try something along those lines. 

My week is going to be Sunday through Thursday. Because I am tired of moving the finishing baskets from one spot to another, I'm working on finishing on Friday afternoons and Saturdays until I get some finish-finishes completed.

My schedule is going to be wonky for February, March, and April because I have three trips planned, but otherwise, at the moment. I'm working on Carmen and Harmony, then I'm going to have a miscellaneous week--that's when I will pull one of the four projects out of the basket that are close to completion and work on it. I'm not assigning just one because I know having that flexibility may just be the thing that keep me going on this rotation.

Anyway, this is Carmen's week. And this is where I am at the moment.

Notice that little zigzag line along the perimeter? That took most of yesterday. As just one more example of how everything takes much longer than I think it should, I figured I'd have it knocked out in a couple of hours. Multiply that by--well, never mind, it's an embarrassing amount of time.

Wish me luck. I REALLY want to get some major projects finished this year instead of my usual scattershot approach which results in loads of UFOs and very few FFOs.

Sunday, January 28, 2024


 I've decided I need to reboot the year. January has been a wash-out in more ways than one, with none of the goals I wanted to accomplish actually accomplished.

The medical people are tweaking my thyroid meds again, since the change instituted in September when they lowered the dosage lowered it too much. That is probably a major reason why my get-up-and-go got-up-and-went, taking my stitching mojo with it.

On the positive side, so far I've managed to stay current with my online whitework class. Granted, we've only had two classes, but I'm looking for a win here. 

And I have finished the first motif on Carmen.

My photography does not do it justice. I am so very, very pleased with the way it turned out, mainly because I managed to do it on 46 count linen AND I managed to divide a strand of Soie Perlee into three strands without creating a tangled mess and losing my mind in the process.

I think I need to spend today organizing myself and deciding--again--what I really want to work on and how I want to tackle it. The pile of UFOs is getting higher, and I need to get some things finished and out of that pile.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

White Stuff

 No snow, but more whitework.

This week's whitework class motifs. All three motifs are the same four-sided stitch--the placement creates different lacy effects. How cool is that?

And a couple more bands on Love That Red. I think the bottom one is way cool, actually.

If I work at it, it is possible that I could finish the stitching for Love That Red this weekend. This would mean that I'd have to be a monogamous stitcher for a few days. I don't do monogamy well. Other than in my almost 48 years of marriage, of course.

That's enough monogamy for anyone!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Just in Time

 Just in time for tomorrow's online class, I finished last week's two motifs and got ready to stitch tomorrow's.

I will really be glad when I can wash away the blue marking pen. For one thing, if this is a fine point, I'd hate to see a regular or thick point. For another, the ink seems to spread through the linen fibers and blotch.

Obviously a first world problem.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Zooming around

 When you spend a total of over six hours on Zoom stitch-ins in one weekend, you get some significant stitching done.

Today I stitched with EGA's MAR region members (I'm one, too, now that I've joined a chapter in the region) and got this done on Love That Red.

This thing is absolutely going to need some significant pressing when it's stitched.

And don't worry about the knots and other messes on the edges outside of the red perimeter row. I've had questions about that very thing. When I finish the stitching, there will be a lining with a self binding on the long sides, so all will be encased and covered.

Saturday, January 20, 2024


 The weather is frigid and Miss Crankypants doesn't care for it. 

I didn't stitch yesterday because, with everything I have that I want to stitch, I didn't want to work on any of it. I was downstairs most of the day, and our first floor is significantly colder than the second--probably that open floor plan that makes this area about as cavernous as a barn and about as hard to heat.

I mentioned to Dearly Beloved that we could move the Dazor upstairs and I could stitch in bed, which is the one place that is currently cozy and warm. He stated firmly that he would prefer that our bed remain a needle-free zone, and I do have to admit I understand his point of view.

Today I had two online stitch-ins, one with the Carolinas Region of EGA, the other a special interest group sponsored by EGA that focuses on surface stitching.

While I was in the Region stitch-in, I finished another band of drawn thread for Love That Red.

I worked on a Christmas ornament during the surface embroidery stitch-in, but at the moment it doesn't look like much other than a bunch of leaves, and I didn't take a picture of it.

I believe tonight I'll try to get another band of drawn thread done. At some point, I need to work on my online whitework class. I have homework, and I need to finish last week's motifs.

But not today. Miss Crankypants isn't in the mood to think that much.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Pretty colors

 I pulled threads to do the last detached elements on Lesson Two of the Harmony casket. They are so pretty!

I thought I had already pulled them when I pulled all the other threads for the first two lessons. I was in error, which meant I had to dig through three big bins of threads (yes, I'm a threadaholic). Actually, that was a lot of fun--all the pretty colors!--but by the time I finished locating the one spool that was buried in the very bottom of the third bin, I didn't feel like stitching.

I think I need to sort the threads into smaller containers, but I can't decide if I want to sort by type or color.

Maybe I'll pull a Scarlet and think about that tomorrow.

In other news, my former employer has asked me to do some product testing. I said I would, but it means that my January plans have, once again, gone off-track. Maybe I'll just start my new year in February.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Red and White

 Having finally finished the model I was working on, I went back to Love That Red.

Except, at the moment, most of what I'm doing is white drawn thread.

There seems to be a pattern--no pun intended--but right now, I do seem to be doing a lot of whitework.  I just wish we would get a pretty snow to go with my white threads. I know that people in the rest of the country wish the snow would go away, but we're having totally frigid temps with nothing to show for it. This is the South, and we don't usually get snow--but we also don't get winter weather that actually acts like winter.

I'm wearing two pairs of socks, for heaven's sake!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


I hoped to show you some pulled work today, since that's what we're doing in my online deep dive whitework class this term.

However, I learned something new today. All the pulled work classes I have taken in the past never mentioned working a row of double running around the perimeter of the motif to stabilize the fabric. Today I learned that was a good thing, and that it was also a very good thing to be sure to pierce the linen threads for additional stability. Very sharp needle. Very white thread on very white fabric.

White thread on white fabric.

Pretty much invisible.

It appeared that most of the people in the class were able to tootle right along and get that perimeter stitched for each of the motifs we were to do. Then they were able to work the pulled stitches in the center of the motif. 

I was not one of them, so all I have to show are those invisible perimeter stitches. I guess you can't show something that's invisible.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Mental Health Break

 I could not do one more stitch in the model I'm stitching for a designer. Ironic, since I could probably finish it in less than an hour, but I had to take a break.

So Carmen has another branch, and I feel ever so much better.

My online whitework class starts up again tomorrow, and I need to transfer the design so I'll be ready for that. Then I will do the last few stitches on that-which-cannot-be-named and get it in the mail.

I am most definitely NOT a monogamous stitcher!

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Spooky, much?

I had an extraordinarily vivid dream last night. One of those dreams that was so vivid that it was hard to tell if it was real or not when I woke up.

I dreamed about needlework.

Of course I dreamed about needlework.

I dreamed I had finished the sweet bag from a class I took from Margriet Hogue years and years ago.

Of course, in reality, I haven't finished it. Far from it.

The spooky thing is that I climbed out of bed, trotted into the stash containment room, opened the first bin inside the door, and found the kit. There was no searching, no question about where it might be, nope, there it was.

I believe something is telling me to finish this, so it's in the basket of things I want to do this year. I still plan for Harmony and Carmen to be my focus projects, but this sweet bag is sliding in somewhere.

Any time a project calls that loudly, I must answer. 

And yes, Dearly Beloved thinks that I have gone around the bend. Probably the rest of the sane world does as well.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Pretty Colors

 I still can't figure out how to show you what I'm working on without showing too much of the design, so I thought I would show you the threads I'm using.

You may notice that these are all colors I love. The motifs I'm stitching come from a sampler that is being reproduced (I think)--I can't wait to have a chance to stitch it!

I will be glad to finish this up, though. I am not accustomed to being a monogamous stitcher, and I am beginning to be just a tad restless.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Beautiful Book--and I won!

 Tricia Nguyễn held her 12 Days of Christmas giveaway this year--and I won a book!

"Fashioning the New England Family" is the catalog from an exhibit held by the Massachusetts Historical Society several years ago. It looks at the history of early Massachusetts families through the textiles remaining from the colonial period through the early years of the United States. Most of the items come from the upper levels of society, families who had the resources to invest in fabrics and needlework and fine clothing--and the feeling of heritage that is required to treasure and pass on those items.

If you're interested in embroidery or costume, this is sheer eye candy. I mean, look at these photos:

I've been drooling over the pictures since the book arrived.

Thank you, Tricia!

In other news, the designer whose piece I'm stitching told me I could post photos as long as you couldn't tell exactly what I was stitching.

Well, I tried.

The motifs are small. When I tried to get close enough to just show a few stitches, everything got too blurry. I do not think that's what she meant. So I am still stitching on something that is just about all Queen stitches. I probably have another day or so until it's completed. 

So I better thread up a needle and get on with it!

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Show and Tell 6 and Final

 Wretched excess again at Christmas  . . . but this is the last one.

Zina does some lovely designs and teaches for The Crewel Work Company. Over Thanksgiving weekend, CWC had a series of lectures and videos, and Zina was one of the presenters. And one of the pieces she showed was this unicorn.

I had argued with myself about getting this kit for months--and then they put it on sale.

And, to make it even better--the design is already transferred! I don't know if you've tried to transfer a design onto a dark fabric but I have yet to find a method that I'm really comfortable with.

So that's the end of the Christmas stash extravaganza. Obviously, I need to avoid adding anything else to the stash for awhile.

Yeah, I say that, but I have no will power whatsoever. Sad . . . 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Show and Tell 5

Almost through. . . 

Yesterday I showed a stumpwork rose. Today's goodie is stumpwork on steroids.

 Completely free standing . . . this design comes from Ana Mallah through Inspirations. She creates a lot of fascinating contemporary stumpwork pieces. (And, yes, I'm a little intimidated by this one, too.)

Just one more day of the 2023 Christmas haul, then we'll be back to our regular programming.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Show and Tell 4

 I've been lured into stumpwork in the last few years. I'm not very good at it, but practice makes perfect I am told, and I plan to do a lot of practice.

And this is one thing to help do that. I hope.

Another Inspirations kit--oh my, isn't it beautiful? Roses are my favorite flower despite the fact that they're prickly and subject to all sorts of issues and as I have a black thumb, I have never attempted to grow them--but maybe I can stitch one.  I'm going to make a valiant effort.

In other news: you may remember this is the year I was going to work on projects I had started from my stash.

And then I got Tricia Nguyen's Thistle Threads newsletter this morning.

She is offering new classes this year.

Classes that I want to take.

I am doomed

Monday, January 8, 2024

Show and Tell 3

 Betsy Morgan is one of my favorite designers. You may have noticed, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time. I was thrilled for her when she retired, sad for me and all the other stitchers who loved her workshops and her projects.

But creative genius cannot retire, and Betsy has had several designs published in Inspirations. This is the most recent:

It's called "Favorite Tnings." And it has loads of patterns of the type I enjoy stitching. It even includes a little stumpwork flower.

I almost started this as a Blessing Sampler this year, before I decided I need to work on things that I've already put a stitch or two into. Maybe next year . . . 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Show and Tell 2

 I have a real weakness for the kits that Inspirations magazine assembles, and occasionally, very occasionally, they have a sale. Most of my Christmas haul came from one of those sales.

I decided awhile back I need to practice needlelace stitches more--my tension is abominable--and this little pin cushion has a lot. And it looks like a bit of antique lace, which I like, and it's small, which I also like, so it winged my way before Christmas.

Fingers crossed that it will help increase my skills with needlelace.

Actually, I think I would do better if I remembered to breathe while I was stitching.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Show and Tell 1

 Before I get into today's post, I would like to apologize for Miss Crankypants, who apparently highjacked the blog yesterday. After Chinese food and a decent night's sleep, she has gone back into hiding--and hopefully stays there.

Anyway . . . 

I am currently working on a project for a designer friend, and I have not been given permission to share it. I thought I'd get the whole thing done between Christmas and New Year's, but, as usual, things take longer than I anticipate. I want to get this stitched and on its way asap so I can go back to Harmony and Carmen, but that means I won't have something to blog about.

And then I realized I never showed the rest of my Christmas haul. Actually, I was reminded when I unearthed the boxes on my worktable. So, I'll be showing off one a day for the next few days--and hope I get the last couple of motifs stitched in that time.

To feed both my obsession with smalls and my desire to do more crewel,  this is the Deerfield Chatelaine from Margaret Light's book, A Fine Tradition 2. I am very fond of blue and white--they look so crisp together--and I think I'll enjoy stitching the various bits of this design.

When it comes to finish-finishing, I'm not so sure about the enjoyment, but we'll think about that another day.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Not gonna happen

 There is no stitching going on today. There is definitely no finishing going on today. Just move along, nothing to see here.

I did not sleep well last night. Neither did Dearly Beloved. Apparently we can no longer eat spicy food during a specific time frame prior to bedtime. No more needs to be said.

Then I had a doctor's appointment very early this morning, which required two different doctors to poke at my neck to see if anything weird is going on with what remains of my thyroid. And they also required blood work, so Vampira the Blood Taker used my arm for a pincushion.

I came home and went back to bed. I woke up cranky and testy and unfit for human contact. I should not be allowed near sharp blades or pointy things.

Dearly Beloved has gone to pick up Chinese take-out. He believes that may soothe the savage beast.

Let's hope he's right.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

First things first

I was thinking it would be a lovely thing to have a first finish by the end of the first week in January.

So, I am going to have a Finishing Friday tomorrow after a doctor's appointment and a trip to the Tar-Zhay. I've even pulled the project out of the finishing basket.

I was going to lay it out on my worktable, but this is what that surface currently looks like.

I believe that I will spend the afternoon clearing it off so I have room to actually work.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Good enough

 I decided the maybe it would be helpful to remove the stitched pieces from the muslin pad in case I stabbed myself again before I did the next motif.

So I did, and sewed them to the main piece of linen for Harmony.

Do they look like I wish they did? Nope, far from it. But I have decided that this is my learning piece before I start my double casket. It has most of the techniques I want to use on the Big Box, and none of them are techniques I do in my everyday stitching. So, I get some practice and end up with a finished piece at the same time. 

I have the two center motifs to do to finish this part of the side piece. Hopefully what I've learned on these early bits will help me know what to do and what to avoid on the next ones.

At least that's the plan.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

On the second day of the new year

 I'm really glad that the first day of the new year did not go the way the second day did. If it had, I might have given up on needlework for the remainder of the year.

I may have mentioned that I want to spend at least an hour on Harmony every day. I got ready to set up the "scaffold" for the next detached element to be stitched. This requires couching a very thin, silk-covered wire around a shape that is mounted on a pad made of layers of muslin and covered with a thin sheet of Contact paper. To get through the layers of muslin and the Contact paper, you need a needle with a sharp point.

And with the first stitch, I stuck the needle straight into the pad of my finger.

I stick myself all the time. Sometimes I end up leaving some DNA behind, sometimes I just stick the pudgy end of one of my fingers. This time I could have donated blood. I left blood all over the muslin pad and the silk-covered wire. So I had to get the Neosporin and a bandaid and then clean up the muslin pad and cut off the wire and by that time, I had lost all desire to work on Harmony for today.

Well, I have a project that I've been working on for a designer that is close to being finished. It's almost all Queen stitches, and I do love Queen stitches. That sounded like a very good thing to do.

I sailed through the first color and then the second, then flipped the frame over to end off the threads. And, on the back of the work, was one of those big blobby knots of thread that try the patience of any stitcher. It was knotted into the work but good. 

So I took out the last two Queen stitches and attacked the knot. There was no attacking it and gaining victory. I ended up clipping it out and removing even more Queens--and then even more stitches because I accidentally cut a thread in the previous row of stitches. Right in the middle of the previous row of stitches.

Sigh . . .

And that is why I stitched some plain old cross stitches on Carmen. The upside-down vase now has some upside down stems and leaves.

I think I'm going to bed early tonight with my book and try again tomorrow.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year!

I did not see the ball drop on Times Square although I did have the ceremonial dumping of the ort jar about 10:30.

And today I realized that 2024 may be the year of BAPs.

Harmony is obviously the biggest of my Big A** Projects, and I did work on it today. I also worked on a drawn thread sampler while I spent some time online in a virtual stitch-in with the Western Reserve Sampler Guild. (That was loads of fun, and I hope they do it again next year. Hopefully I'll be able to stay for the whole thing. This year we had unexpected company and I had to leave.) Tonight, I pulled Carmen out of her pillowcase and finished the vase at the top (?) of the sampler.

Carmen is a reproduction that Jackie charted and taught for Sassy Jack's last March. I had taken Carmen't Etui earlier (it's one of the pieces that I plan to finish-finish this year). When I took the etui class, Jackie had the original Carmen sampler to show us.

Carmen isn't worked like our traditional English band samplers. It goes off in all directions. I do wonder if it would have been used as a table runner rather than a framed piece originally--you'll see what I mean as I move along.

Anyway, I finished the vase I started in class not quite a year ago, and, yes, it is standing on its head.

I'm trying to decide if I can focus my eyes long enough to add more greenery to the vase--this is on 45 count linen, and when I say I need to focus, I really need to focus--or if I should try to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

If the timing of my bedtime is the hardest decision I have to make this year, it's going to be a good year.