Monday, August 31, 2009

Quiet Weekend

It's Monday morning. Gray and quiet outside. End of August - expecting a high of seventy degrees today and we're going down into the fifties tonight. Been a strange summer weatherwise, but I don't mind the electric bills.

Off to take some things to DS. Now if only he had ever told me what he wanted...I guess he'll be happy with anything I bring him. Will bring BBQ back from Allmans in Fredericksburg for dinner.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Needlepoint in the News

I will visit this place. Maybe someday soon. I'm a fan on facebook...

From the Philadelphia paper: Rittenhouse Needlepoint article

If only the writer could have resisted crafting this paragraph: If she'd been a granny with a thing for stitching Home Sweet Home samplers, her fluttering heart might have been easier to understand. On the happening continuum, needlepoint has long occupied the same camphor-scented niche as carding wool and sarsaparilla socials.

Granny, camphor and sarsaparilla? Really? Was that necessary?

Here's their website: Rittenhouse

And their blog is in my sidebar.

P.S. A big thank you to my sharp-eyed friends in Tennessee who allowed me to correct a stupid error. Though I'd be happy to call that girl my daughter, she makes a terrific niece, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lilies of the Valley

I made this 25 years to hold our wedding rings. My five year old nephew was our ring bearer. And my soon-to-be husband's 20 month old niece walked down the aisle as our flower girl. She did great!

If memory serves me correctly, this was a kit. I'm not sure where I bought it, but I think it might have been the Exeter Handkerchief Shop while looking for material to embellish my hat. I did a hatch job of turning it into a pillow. Which I think I finished two days before the wedding. (I didn't have a lot of time to plan things - 4-5 months from when we decided to get married to the wedding.) I was pretty darn pleased with myself.

I see one thread has pulled out of the corner fans. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

La La La La La

Will post tomorrow.

Yesterday was 25th anniversary.

Today was EGA meeting, car servicing, etc.

Brilliant. I learned a new beading technique.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Things from the Sewing Box

First up we have a grooming kit. The needlework badly executed. I took this from my grandmother's house after she died. I have no idea where or when she acquired it. I guess it's a nail brush because of the nail scissors and cuticle pusher inside. Made in Germany. Those scissors are seriously small.

Two large pins I found in my grandmother's stash of stuff. The smaller one looks like it could be a kilt pin. The larger one - I have no idea what you'd need such a large one for.

Given that these came from my grandmother's stash also, I'm going to guess that these are sail maker's needles. Seriously long. Very cool. I'm thinking of shadow boxing some of this stuff. Because I like looking at it.

Things from My Sewing Box

Last night I took a few things out of my wicker sewing box. This isn't my regular sewing box filled with usable supplies. But my sewing box filled with odds and ends that are either antique or on their way to antique status.

I've got 3 dozen or so handkerchiefs. Leather driving gloves. Wooden and steel crochet hooks whose hooks are so small you need a magnifier to see them. That kind of thing.

This is one of the handkerchiefs. A Walt Disney Snow White print on very fine fabric with a hand crocheted edging.

A close-up of Snow White.

A type of Sunbonnet Sue pattern. She's crocheted and with a very fine thread.

This one is a towel. I love it for its color choices. Someone was extremely bold.
It's done in cross stitch. No sign of stamped pattern. Terrible color chosen to hemstitch it. Doesn't match at all. Quirky.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's That Time of Year

DS is heading back to school. Tomorrow I will be in a house with just me and two cats. And DH during non-working hours.

I think the cats caught on last night when DS started a staging area for what's going in the cars today. Elvis looks entirely too suspicious as he's realizing that he's going to lose his morning sleeping after breakfast partner. Poor kitty. In protest he's down here with me in the office this morning instead of upstairs curled up for one last snuggle.

I picked up my new glasses yesterday. Got a new pair for computer viewing and a new regular pair. And am trying some multi-focal contacts. DH says I look like Lisa Loeb. Okay. I can handle that.

Meanwhile, I haven't tried the contacts with cheaters for stitching yet. But I'm hopeful that will work.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Labels, Labels, Labels

Because I stupidly don't use labels on my posts. At least only once in a blue moon.

I have just spent an hour trolling through my past.

I have this JBW pattern that is a photo holder done on linen banding. Original project was done in red, but I changed mine to blue. And wouldn't you know somewhere in the distant past, the fiber got separated from the fabric.

And I hadn't written the details of the project in my stitching journal.

Which is how I knew this piece was likely to be something I started in 2004 or 2005.

After much reading, I finally found that the thread is GAST's Black Raspberry Jam.

Phew. And this is why I should use labels for my posts.

Boy. I've written a lot of drivel here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Looks Like We're Changing

Hubby and I are planning a little trip. We were originally heading north, but now it looks like we shall go south instead. Anyone know of any good shops in North Carolina that I should seek out? We're heading to the Outer Banks.

I was totally incapacitated yesterday. Vomiting, headache, slight fever. Pretty good that I managed to post here yesterday. Feeling better today, but still not perfect.

No stitching for me. Worse, I was going to attend my first American Needlepoint Guild meeting last night. Oh well. There's always next month.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mermaids vs. Owls

I think I've identified a new trend.

Let's start here at the Needleworks in Austin, Texas.

The next place I noticed Owls was in the ABC Stitch Therapy Newsletter. These are by Hinzeit. Charmed I and Charmed II.

The next place was a real store, In Stitches, where I bought this one by Plum Street.
And I saw this one by Notforgotten Farm. They also have this one in which the owl is featured.

Now let's look around some more. There's this one by My Mark. Scroll down.

There's this beauty by Arelate Studio.

I love the fabric on this one by the Needle's Notion.

And I'll finish up with this one by Dames of the Needle.

Now I know there are plenty of other owl designs out there. My aim wasn't to post a comprehensive list, but to highlight some of the newer ones.

At this point, mermaids win on overall count. But I think the owl is going to be showing up more often.

Here's my favorite owl story.

We had just moved into a newly renovated set of quarters on Fort Carson. The house beside us was still awaiting its new residents. We'd only been in the house a couple of days, but I already knew we had a neighborhood owl because I would hear him at night. My hubby and I were sitting outside taking a break from opening boxes just after the sun had set behind Cheyenne Mountain. As I stood up to go back inside and work, a great horned owl flew right at me. He went by just inches over my head. I think he was trying to scare us into leaving. He continued to live in our spruce tree and in a large tree in the neighbor's yard where Alex and I dissected a ton of owl pellets to see what he had been eating.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Online Tutorials for the Miniature Lovers

I want to do a tea cosy now. A really, really small one.

Janet Grainger - go look at the tutorials. Great stuff.

In fact, I want a whole doll house just so I can fill it with miniature needlework.

Lucky Me

I have a friend who has loaned me her Needlework System 4 stand and her Lowery Stand so that I can experiment and see which I like better. Both can be viewed here at Stitchers' Paradise.

I've been playing with the System 4 first. I've got my Amybear "Night Flight" on it. I think those stretcher bars are 24 inches long by 10 inches wide and I've got it clamped so that I'm working on it sideways - which is how I started with this piece on my table stand. I appreciate it's lightness. It adjusts easily. I'm stitching with the frame directly in front of me as I sit on the right hand side of my sofa. I'm still working on the best way to move things around when I need to exit the sofa. Good thing the phone didn't ring, because it took me a bit figure out the best positions for moving. Doesn't seem to need frame weights on the base to balance things. Will continue with this adventure. I've got the stands till next week. (Thanks, Amanda!)

Which led me to working on Night Flight. So I was merrily stitching away on the second section with the original combination of stitches - not the reverse scotch which she gave directions for - the combo of smyrna and straight stitches that are in the photograph. Again with the canvas showing through. One the advice of a friend I tried loosening my smyrnas, but it turns out that they were already fairly loose and the canvas still showed. Leading me to frog that section and paint it last night. I'm certain I'll be happier.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Follow-up to PSA

If you have issues with the people in an EGA Chapter:

Start a dialogue. Begin with the President. Or is that person the problem? Maybe other people feel the same way. Maybe you just feel ignored or left out of the "cool" gang. Start your own "cool" gang. If you're like me and are an introvert, this may not be easy. But it could be worth it step out your comfort zone.

I've been vocal within my own Chapter about what worked for me when I joined - why I continued to come and didn't become one of those drop-outs. Other people have joined this conversation with their own version of what worked for them to keep them coming.

I've heard around the water cooler that my Chapter has/had a reputation as snobs. That's not how I found things to be at all and have done my best to counteract those opinions with my own experience.

A good chapter will contact you if you drop your membership to find out why you did. Maybe it's a change in your life and not something that occurred within the Chapter. But they should want to know if there's something that needs fixing.

If a real-life Chapter just isn't going to work, join as a Member-at-Large. Attend Regional Seminars or Smart Days. Or join the Cyberstitchers. They are a pretty happy group from what I hear.

This isn't just because of Anna's comments. I've had this conversation with others, recently and in the past.

But now to address her comments about the magazine, Needlearts. I agree this magazine needs work. But it has been improving. The news about the various people and groups now is in a separate publication delivered online to most of us and on paper for a few. That leaves the magazine to focus on projects, history, techniques, etc. A good move in my opinion.

Lastly, a question.

How old when you when you started stitching? I think a majority of us tell of some experience in our youth that made us familiar with it when we were older. Do we do a terrible job in the needlework industry attracting teens and twenty-somethings? Yup. But I don't think there's a magical answer for that.

Friday, August 14, 2009


If you are a stitcher and you don't belong to the Embroiders' Guild of America (or similiar guild if you're international), why don't you belong?

Go to the website and look at some of classes currently being offered, either at this years Seminar in Pittsburg or as Correspondence Courses. (Next year Seminar is in San Francisco.)

Things available through the EGA:

Research grants.

Teacher certification program.

Judging certification program.

Appraisal certfication program.

The Extended Study Program which offers intensive study both
at EGA Headquarters in Louisville, KY and in other locations.

Master Craftsmen programs in 11 different fields....where you
test your skills against a standard and receive critiques to help you
improve. I'm enrolled in the Counted Thread Master Craftsmen course right now.

Challenge with a Twist....offered every year to encourage

Independent Study (formerly individual correspondence courses)
where the individual works one-on-one with an expert teacher

Fiber Forum - you have to be juried into this group, but you can be a Friend of the Fiber Forum.

There are Scholarship opportunities if you think things cost too much. You just need to apply.

There is:

a lending library for both books and videos

a study box lending library

a resource center where you can go to do independent study

a gallery which exhibits the work of regions and other categories on a
rotating to the public

a growing and evolving collection of embroideries including almost
every technique and a gallery to display to the public

a large selection petite projects for chapters to use for programs

a national exhibit which tours the US, exposing non-EGA members to the
"art" of needlework

a wonderful national magazine which includes projects, news, history,

An online discussion group at yahoogroups!

regional and national seminars with the finest teachers....offering in
depth classes and those that encourage
individuality as well as set 1/2 day, 1 day, 2
day, and 4 day format

outreach programs which support local and national "civilian"
programs....kissing pillows, newborn baby items, women's shelters, etc.

a youth program under development which will offer special incentive
to our children and grandchildren including very reduced price dues for those under the age of 17

If you don't have a regional chapter near you, you can be a member-at-large. Or a member of the Cyberstitchers chapter.

All this and still my number one reason for joining is meeting with other people who share this crazy love of needles and thread.

This message by me has been shamelessly adapted from a post by Pat Correz on the EGA National yahoogroup! about why the EGA is unique.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silver Spotted Skipper

Anna knows her butterflies. Thanks! I had another type that I didn't get to take a photo. Maybe I should go sit outside for a while and see who comes along.

Would you all believe that the other day while waiting to have new battery installed I actually turned my sampler sideways and started to stitch on the border? And of course crossed the Xs the wrong way. I've got two little motifs to frog eventually. Because even though this piece isn't destined to live at my house, I am bothered by the crosses going the wrong way. Obviously brain dead at 8 a.m. on a Monday.

Little Bo Peep

For those who haven't stumbled across this story somewhere else yet.

A very cool wedding dress - no wait - it was probably pretty darn warm.

Little Bo Peep

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Anyone had any experience with feedmil? Good or bad? Should I provide a description for my blog?

Off to a newcomer's welcoming tea. Joined a second EGA chapter, mostly to get access to their library which is awesome and worth the cost of joining.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Once More unto the Breach

Lately it seems to be getting more difficult to sit here and write. At least coherently. This leads to all types of bad ideas in my head. You know. Vows and promises, etc. So I won't say I'll try to be more interesting. Or post more photos. Or only talk about stitching. I'll work through the blahs and move on. It's worked for the past nearly 6 years.

Photo: Anyone know what type of butterfly this is? The bees and butterflies love this salvia that is in the front yard. I tried looking online with little result.

I've added two more blogs to the list at right - Oubliette and Musings from a Three Bedroom Ranch. I think I had Musings on here before the fateful I lost everything blogspot incident of several years ago. Scroll down and read her August 1st post. I'll be musing myself on this for a few days.

For interest: The Royal School of Needlework and the Dover Castle bringing Henry II back to life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, Monday

I've already put out the garbage, changed the kitty litter box, showered, washed hair, drank too much coffee, and bought a new battery for the new used car. Time to get DS up and he can help me move some things that are too large for me to move alone.

I still have my hand wrapped in an Ace bandage as I've got a small bout of tendinitis happening. The bandage reminds me to limit what I do with this hand. Thankfully stitching is not painful. Just when I think I've been pain free for more than 24 hours, I will move in a certain way and there it is again. No big deal. Just have to watch what I lift.

Did not get as much stitching done yesterday as I planned. DH left for Phoenix for a few days and suddenly I get an urge to organize and clean???

But I've been making good progress my gift and it should be finished by the end of the week.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Living in the Past

(A little Jethro Tull to start the day anyone?)

Been combing through old photos and boxes of memorabilia. Mostly trying to pull old stuff about our community theater group from the 70s and 80s. I think I'm still missing some programs and I would have sworn I had some actual scripts. Why? Because months ago I started a group on facebook specifically for this group of people. And in a case of if you build it, they will come, my group has found some members. Initially it was just my husband and I who belonged.

We became a couple because of this group. Someone had to drop out of the first show and he was asked if he'd like to do it. Two years later after the two of us being cast as husband and wife, then boss and confidential secretary, then newlyweds, it was nearly inevitable. We'd spent a lot of time on stage and off stage together.

It's summer. It's Old Home Weekend back in New Hampshire. Must be time for our summer musical...

In Stitching News

Bought canvas and stretcher bars for Woven Ribbons #3. Also pulled out a hand painted canvas to start. But first I'd better finish this gift that is a birthday present in September.

While shopping for canvas and stretcher bars I also picked a My Favorite Laying Tool. Haven't used it yet. Review to follow. Also some pretty, pretty Glorianna. Just a couple of skeins. I couldn't resist. It followed me home...

And then lastly. While waiting for my friend who was shopping with me...I started pulling out drawers of Anchor perle cotton. And before I knew it I had a selection of fibers in brown in my hot little hands. And all I could think of was Chocolate Soup. So there is a name for a design.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I Continue

Every time I walk by Arabella, I continue to be mesmerized by her. She's still in the stand on the sideboard in the dining room. She's waiting to travel to see the stitching groups on Thursday and Friday. Arabella is only a tiny bit shy and she's already blushing from the compliments she's earned.

Yesterday I framed my two Michael Boren Color Tile pieces. I need to go see if the framer will make me another frame like these two. Then I'll stitch a third one. Three of a kind looks better than a pair. My first time framing canvas. I don't think it was perfect, but it will do.

And in honor of a big finish, I started a new project. This one is a little pillow. It's two floors up from where I am now, otherwise I'd post details. The name escapes me at the moment. A saying from Saint-Expury and a bit of hemstitching. Simple.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Here She Is!

Arabella Reborn in all her glory. It's official. I am in love with this piece now.

Plaited Stitch

Oh well. I've done more research and am now thoroughly confused. Essentially I think this is a version of a herringbone stitch done vertically instead of horizontally. Interesting trying to chase this down.

Anyway. I managed to finish this stitch last night. I've got some couching with herringbone to do today. And some backstitching. And then the piece will be finished. I like it more and more the closer I get to the end of Arabella.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Working Hard on Arabella Reborn

The closer I get to finishing this piece the more I like it.

And of course I have renamed it in my head.

I think September Sunrise works for me. (The colorway is called Autumn Leaves by the designer which I disagree with vehemently.)

I thought I could just bang through this today, but didn't realize how much backstitching there was towards the end. I've got one quarter of the border completely finished and two other quarters in progress. I'd forgotten how much I love the look of the plaited stitch.


Okay. I just a spent a few minutes looking around the 'net for a stitch diagram and realize that this stitch must go by another name as I can find three different versions of a plaited that look nothing like what I'm doing. Nor do they look like each other. But I know I have used this stitch before and will have to hunt down the project that used it to see what that designer called it.

Oh well.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Arabella Reborn

Was stitching on this yesterday with friends. Got all the inner blocks finished. Even frogged one that we all thought wasn't dark enough and restitched it. Frogging where you have anchored other threads is a pain! I can see where I am missing a single compensation stitch. Will fix that today. Also started the border. And duh, made a counting error on the first square I stitched. Did not follow my own cardinal rule about checking vertically and horizontally if possible. May run out of Kreinik. It's going to be close.

So barring the possibility of not having enough of the metallic I should be able to post a finish photo here by Monday morning.