Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did I Take?

Did I take a zyrtec this morning? I wish I could remember. I guess I'll pass rather than potentially double dose myself.

Day spent cleaning. Lovely. And there's a pound cake for desert in the oven that's making the house smell wonderful. Too bad someone called and said because of this meeting he had to go, he probably will be home quite late.

I worked a bit on the mystery project that I can't talk about here. It's cute and moving along quickly. If I applied myself I could probably stitch the entire thing in two days. But I'm slacking off after my Agnes Scott finish. What was funny was that I had dropped portions of the newspaper on the floor this morning. And the cat walked across them and oops! turned off my Daylight lamp. I was done stitching anyway. Psychic cat scores extra points.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Part 2

For my own personal edification and so it's written down somewhere where I can find it:

This tapestry kit design is based on a vase design by William de Morgan from c.1890. The Latin inscription comes from Virgil's Aeneid and reads Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito "Do not yield to misfortunes but go boldly against them".

Shop Inventory

Taking inventory at the shop continued yesterday. Easier to do while the shop is closed on Mondays. Yesterday I inventoried all the Needlepoint silks, all the buttons and charms, except for Mill Hill, Fiesta, Mandarin, magazines, some kits, some charts, some fabric, etc.

The buttons and charms were the worst. All those Just Another Button Co. things with wildly fluctuating prices.

All this and I only added three things to my bag to paid for later. A baseball and bat button to use on a biscornu, a small container of aquamarine hearts and a small container of aquamarine stars.

I also took home a Millenia designs needlepoint piece that someone started for the shop and never finished. I had to frog two threads worth of stitching that didn't match the rest of the stitching. It's not on a frame so matching the tension of the stitches will be a bit trickier. But it's pretty mindless work after Agnes Scott.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What's the Buzz?

Our EGA chapter president has thrown down a challenge for textile postcards to commemorate the Chapter's 25th anniversary. So yesterday DH and I did brunch followed by a trip to the fabric store. Where I found several beautiful silvery ribbons at 75% off, a lovely Jinny Beyer fabric, some more fabric, and timtex to act as a stiffener.

I got home and found that I really had severely diminished my fabric stash and don't even have any muslin (calico for you Brits). Looks like I need one more trip to the fabric store before I sit down and start seriously cutting and sewing.

Isn't that a shame? *giggle*

As always, G Street was full of temptations. But I really didn't spend that much money.

Looks like I'll try to fit in a trip to JoAnns later this week for the muslin and whatever other wonderful fabrics I can find. I've had an idea for this project that I don't think any one else will think of or attempt. Now if I can just keep to myself.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Where I Need to Go

I need to visit G Street fabrics.

Here's a link to their website that has a link to an NBC video all about the resurgence of sewing.

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz quiz

I admit that I missed one. Most of them were easy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I was told envelopes, but the challenge is postcards. I'm pretty confident on this one. Envelopes seemed a bit harder to me. LOL

We had a lovely Silver Anniversary tea for our EGA chapter today. The tables were absolutely gorgeous filled with fresh flowers and old china and every one had an antique hand stitched napkin. Did I ever mention that I bought three bags full of these once at an antique shop for a $1.00 a bag? I thought they were mispriced. But no. For three dollars I got a huge supply of old textiles that someone had labored long and hard creating.

It was a wonderful morning/afternoon. The ladies who were the anniversary committee did a fabulous job.

Friday, January 25, 2008

IF Anyone with Experience

I'm looking for anyone with experience making and mailng embroidered envelopes. Got any?

Did you make one? Receive one? See someone else's somewhere online that you can point me to? Make one, but never actually mailed it?

Our EGA chapter has a challenge and I'd like to participate. I do have one Lynne Nicoletti pattern that I need to dig out and see what she recommends. I was thinking of crewel fabric and I've got some design ideas floating around in my head.

But I'll take any input that anyone has. Gratefully.

A Passing

I just received an email that the principal of my high school died yesterday. As principals go, he was a nice guy. He presided over Exeter during the early years of coeducation, not an easy thing.

His most famous line during my years was during an assembly when he was trying valiantly to get the students to stop taking shortcuts across the grass the in the early spring. He said, in perfect seriousness, "Grass is to be enjoyed." This brought the student body to its feet cheering and clapping. Took him a moment to realize exactly what he had said and why we were so excited.

Want to Know What's Dangerous?

Try helping take inventory in a needlework store. A hands on experience with all those fibers and fabrics and charts and gizmos. I saw things I'd never realized were in the shop before. I let someone else do the fabric. But every gorgeous Lakeside Linen and R & R got unfolded right there beside me. It's enough to make one swoon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I began to organize the bookcase. This is the large bookcase that when we rearranged the office this fall, began the repository for all my stitching books, all my patterns arranged in binders, all papercrafting books, and overflow cookbooks and cooking magazines that need to be gone through and then passed on to someone else.

I organized by category. Found a duplicate magazine and duplicate pattern - I don't feel badly about the pattern as I bought the second one at 75% off. Somewhere at a yard sale I managed to find a first year issue of SANQ (for 25 cents!) and replaced my black and white version. Seriously. The first two years of this magazine just sold on EBay $300. That's $25 per issue. Wow. Once again highlighting my foolish decision years ago to downsize my magazines during a move. I have since re-created those first two years. But I still have 3 issues in black and white. Who knew I'd come around to loving samplers? Certainly not me.

But organizing by categories was as far as I got. Just didn't have it in me to go any further. I need to be in the "tossing" mood. Don't worry. By tossing, I am just referring to moving this out of my possession. Everything will be appropriately recycled.

I am wondering why I felt the need to keep a sampler calendar from 1988, complete with patterns. These aren't particularly attractive samplers. Well, I like the birds for December. But I'm never going to stitch them. They are far too simplistic. Then there's all those books of design elements. This collection is highlighted by my Dale Burdett books on designing alphabets, etc. Last time I seriously used these was maybe a decade ago.

I guess that means I can probably reduce the contents of this bookcase by 50%. That sounds about right. Of course, as I do this, my collection of hardcover books on needlework grows. Blame it on used bookstores.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Apparently as dark as the character he was named for. It's a shame he's gone so young.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What I Said

Last night, DH and I were driving home after a very, very late lunch at Moby Dick House of Kebab (is that not a great name?), and little bit of shopping at the outlet stores in Leesburg, when I said that if the Patriots win the Superbowl this year does that mean I never have to watch football again?

I think I've got it right. I am not a huge football fan. I've only watched to keep a certain someone company. What kind of sport only has 16 games in a season? Baseball has 162 games. Hockey has 82 games. NBA plays 82 games. Anyone know if Wiki has these numbers wrong? If the Patriots win completing a perfect season, I see no reason for me to ever watch again.

Baseball is much more appealing to us cerebral types.

No stitching updates allowed because I'm working on a gift.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Today Is

AFC championship game!

Which means someone invited people over for a ritual tour of Scotland via bottles of single malt.

So far this morning I've made whoopie pies, boiled eggs for deviled eggs, and French bread is rising. Need to do asparagus and proscuitto, veggie plate, and stuff some mushrooms.

I've got plenty of time. Sure enough. Yes, I do.

Now where are those Patriots tattoos I bought two years ago?

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's after Agnes?

It snowed here yesterday. Started coming down around 10:00 a.m. in big, huge flakes. I think these may have been the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I went to the morning stitch-in anyway. Hey, I've got 4-wheel drive and I grew up in NH where people know how to drive in the snow. Of course, here I've got to deal with people who have no clue. They can hardly drive properly on a warm, sunny day.

But I digress.

Because we were at the end of the pre-inventory sale at the shop, I picked up some fabric. All Lakeside Linens. I got two pieces of midnight, one small and one larger with the intent of using this for my next Rock n Roll sampler. I got a very large piece of Magnolia for Martina Dey's Tsunami Charity sampler - I'm not stitching this over one. I don't need reading glasses yet, but I'm just not up for a large sampler on 32ct over one. I know my limitations. And I bought a piece of Nutmeg and some Needlepoint silks to stitch a Workbasket sampler "A Stitch in Time."

I started working on my new project that must remain nameless. This will be a quick one.

Now off to the framers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not Thinking Clearly

For anyone coming in late, the post below is my finish of Ellen's Chester of With my Needle's "Agnes Scott" sampler.



Took the last stitch and buried the last thread right before the Final Jeopardy answer. Momo's didn't know it was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Duh.

I made one last error while queen stitching the last flower. And had to frog four stitches. I don't think I will ever be as happy as I will be to leave this piece at the framers. I can't get there until Friday.

Meanwhile, I picked fabric for my next two projects and realized I don't have a big enough piece for the third.

One of them, I can't tell you about because someone who shouldn't see it, would.

The second one is Indigo Rose's "Betsy," a blackwork piece done in pretty, pretty colors.

And the third, is Martina Dey's Tsunami Charity Sampler that was in the autumn issue of SANQ.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Here I thought I'd spend yesterday making the big push. And I didn't. I made a little push instead.

"Agnes" got stitched. There is one more queen stitch flower to go and I've gotten much faster at these. I'm saving the other one for last. And I started the satin stitch on the left hand side. But the right side took much longer than I had anticipated. So today it's satin stitching. Then couching.

When I went to the drycleaners yesterday I got sidetracked by of all things, Dairy Queen. For some reason, I just had to have a small vanilla. And as I got back in the car with my ice cream I realized that I was going to need to get gas before heading off last night to retrieve DH from the airport - he flew from National, not Dulles, unfortunately. As I am not fond of pumping gas at 9:30 p.m. in the cold, I went off to get gas at 4:30 while it was still almost light out. And then it was a short hop off to Michael's to walk around and get some exercise. I bought some beads for a little project I've got in mind. And then popped into Books a Million. Where I found a copy of Judith Baker Montano's "Elegant Stitches."

Looking around I see I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon. But it was there. And I had wanted this book for some time. Of course, it was one of maybe 8 books on needlework. Everything else was knitting. Not even that many crochet books. A teacher in a class I was taking had this book and for some reason I thought I had already purchased it. Got home, looked. And no book. I must have checked it out of some library once upon a time. But now I've got a copy and I'm happy.

Here's hoping I'm posting a finish with photos tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome Back

Your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back...

Got up yesterday and drove DH to one airport - overnight business trip to Kentucky.

Came home. Had a quick breakfast. Drove DD to another airport for her return to school.

Came home. Went online for a quick bit. Drove DS back to school.

Got home around 4:00 p.m. Just me and the kitties who want to know who invented these evil things called suitcases...

I'm off to make the big push towards the finish on Agnes. Two queen stitch flowers to do. "Agnes" needs to be stitched over one. Satin stitching of the grass. And a bit of couching with silk chenille. The only other things to do today are go to library, dry cleaners, and post office. DD's suitcase weighed in at exactly 50 lbs. So there is a small pile of things on her bed that need to be sent to her. I should finish this today or tomorrow while waiting for the HVAC guy to come do the routine maintenance.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And in Stitching Progress

I never contemplated how difficult it could be to have a pattern that is graphed to move every other row over by one thread. Argh. I stitched for about 1 1/2 hours before I realized that it wasn't going to line up. It's all a matter of how you interpret things. So I frogged all that. And managed to finish the right hand side of the roof of Agnes Scott's house. It was tough getting my head around the process - you'd think it would be simple, but it involved three colors in a geometric pattern. The left hand side of the house should proceed much faster.

I forgot to note - the off white F20 Soie d'Alger that I needed to purchase a second skein of before Christmas - though the color match is correct, the second skein looks much shinier than the original skein. It's so different it makes the first skein look like a matte finish. And of course I used them both satin stitching the same flower which is how I noticed the difference. And at that point I was struggling so much with seeing things that I refused to frog it and do it all with the new stuff. I'll look at it again when I finish, before I take the project off the scroll rods, just to judge anew if I want to change it. I'm thinking of leaving it as I doubt few people will notice it and I know some time in the future I'll be able to look at it and smile. Unlike my large Newburyport sampler, this one is not mistake free. I've already left in three errors. But only I will know what they are.

DMC and Wal-Mart

DMC has posted a survey on their website.

or here for cut and paste -;1142

Seems Wally World is discontinuing its stitching supplies. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Home State

I am not really certain how much play the NH primaries get in the rest of the country, but here in the metro D.C. area the political coverage is non-stop. Pages and pages of it in the newspaper. On the radio. On the television.

My only regret this year was the short amount of time between Iowa and NH changed the focus slightly. But this past week, the coverage really amped up.

Until 2005 I was a registered voter in NH. Lived there until 1984 and again 1992-1994. When I lived in state, I used to vote in the primary, then go back to the Town Hall and reregister as an independent. (To vote in the primary, you have to choose one ballot or the other and your voter registration reflects that choice. If you vote Republican, you are a registered Republican unless you go back and change it to independent.) All those years of absentee voting - I won't say which party I voted, but careful readers will know.

In NH we take this voting thing seriously. In 1976, every presidential candidate came and spoke at my high school - or sent a serious representative. In Gerald Ford's case, he sent his energy czar, Frank Zarb, who came because his daughter was at our school. And Mo Udall sent his daughter, Bambi, and the actor, Cliff Robertson. They were such a huge hit that the student body voted overwhelmingly for Mo. Later Ford did make a brief campaign stop at which a friend of mine got taken in by the Secret Service as thought his camera was a weapon...but that's another story.

I got to see Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan. People I don't even remember. Jesse Jackson was a tremendous speaker when he came to my college. Absolutely mesmerizing. I was sorry to move away and lose these experiences.

So today, my family and friends are going to the polls. Exercising their rights and showing how they appreciate the responsibility of voting.

In Stitching News

We went to Fredericksburg on Sunday and, yes, I added to my stash. At the used bookstore I found a copy of Needlework in Minature by Virginia Merrill and Jean Jessop from 1978. And at Everything Cross Stitch, I first hit up the discount bin and at 75% off came up with the Threads Through Time "Horse Farm Sampler" by Nancy Sturgeon and the Cricket Collection's "It's in the Basket" and "Regatta." I'd like to stitch this for DS and will change the letters on the sweaters to reflect his school.

Then because DD was seriously looking for a new project, I kept looking and found Elizabeth Foster's "Old Stone Church." Which I will modify the stained glass window and add words. My great great grandfather was a baptist deacon who would fill in for the regular minister when he didn't show up at what is now the Old Stone Church.

DD came away with Little House Needleworks, "Captain's Inn" and Maggie Bonanomi's "Fair Daffodil."

And I moved up scroll frame to work on the third row of Agnes Scott. I knew I needed to stitch the satin and queen stitches, only to find that I had stitched the queen stitches already! What a gift! Especially as there is no rhyme or reason to how she stitched this band. The colors, the direction of the stitches, whether it's over one thread or two - all different. I'm nearly finished with this row and it has been a pita. I've got one flower in the middle to add satin stitch to and then it's back to finishing the roof of the house and ground around the house and the two remaining queen stitched floral motifs. The end is in sight.

Friday, January 04, 2008

No Longer Finished but Unframed


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This is now an out of print design by Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin. I finished this piece in 2003. Changed out the verse to the third stanza refrain from the Star Spangled Banner. I see two is tranquility misspelled.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

What I Forgot about Happy Birthday...

I must have been really tired last night because I forgot to tell the unique method we had for gift opening by DH.

In the interest of saving trees, no paper was involved. Instead we blindfolded him and put a present in his lap and made him guess what it was. Seriously, this was a good idea. Especially for the non-blindfolded.

Had to take the Honda in this morning and after paying $592, my check engine light is off. Replaced O2 sensor and air/fuel mixing thing. Gas mileage should improve and I will no longer be polluting.

All this green makes me want to rush out and by some CFL bulbs...

But sitting at the dealership I managed to finish the main part of the houses roof. And I've moved onto my last floral motif and then one little bunny rabbit and it will all be Queen stitch and satin stitch and some cross stitch where every other row moves over one thread. Now I already tried this last part once and instead of stitching it row by row, I tried to move up following a color and realized quickly that I was going to mess up, not being able to keep track of how many stitches over I need to be. This is going to be fun!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Birthday

To the big guy!

DH always takes an extra day off for his birthday and today was DD's day off, too!

So we went and saw the amazing JMW Turner exhibit at the National Gallery. Which is closing this weekend and hopefully moving on to somewhere new to impress more people.
I now have a new appreciation for Mr. Turner.

As we were leaving I quickly called up my new best friend, a Brit who has a frame shop. And Yeah! My Preamble to the Constitution was finished. Which is good, because I wanted to give it to my DH. Wouldn't you know that as soon as I saw it framed I saw two mistakes. One is a spelling error - I will have to check the pattern - but I know tranquility only has one L. And I can see a stitch that's off by a thread. Oh well.

Came home and made dinner for the birthday following the family tradition of you name your meal and desert. Tonight we had crab cakes, carrots (was supposed to be asparagus but it looked pathetic) and mac and cheese in individual crocks topped with more cheese and panko and placed under the broiler. Desert is a chocolate cream pie. And I need to go whip the cream.

Pics of the newly framed piece by Friday. Promise.