Saturday, October 31, 2009

Anna's Monday Meme on Saturday

On Monday, Anna at the Stitch Bitch, posted this meme which I finally managed to get around to today.

What's in my stitching bag? Keep in mind that all of this is in a normal sized canvas tote that my daughter bought me in Talkeetna, Alaska.

First - contents of entire bag. Now let's break it down.

My Pomegranates and Peas purse kit with my black bag that has my surface stitching supplies. Needles, thimble, emery, scsissors, screwdriver for the hoops.

Notebook with all kinds of stitchy info in it. E-mail addresses and websites that acquire while away from home. Supplies I need to find. Things I want to remember to look for/at. Etc. Bag of cough drops. Stitch n Zip kit that is my travel project. I don't remember how this left my purse for my stitching bag, but it did. And a jar of M & M's with a top done in punchneedle. Not my punchneedle. Not my candy, either. But as am the least likely to eat the chocolate, I've been carrying the jar of M & M's back and forth to my Thursday morning stitching group.

Contents of my little, clear bag from the Mid-Hudson EGA: 2 pair of tweezers, my favorite dololly, sewing gauge, needle threader, many packages of needles of assorted sizes, thread heaven, magnets, scissors (one pair for cutting waste away knots, one pair for metallic threads, two regular pair that usually end up with projects), hemostat clamp, thread dampener, nail care implements. Lots of stuff in a little bag. I'm lost when I forget to take this with me.

Pop-up ort box. Blue page up holder for chart, kumihimo - making cording at the moment.

My Quaker diamond sampler from Pamela Darney. This is the start of this project and I won't be showing it in public until the end of January. Linen in Vintage Sand Dune, threads are Belle Soie.

Contents of one plastic project container: two Carriage House samplers - The Dainty Wren started on Ink Spot linen and the Gingham Dog and Calico Cat.

Contents of second plastic project container: GPA's Tyrolean stocking and second one whose name escapes me. Saying is in French. I like it.

'Kay. I think that's enough.

Do I usually have so much in my bag? Frequently, yes. I like options. What can I say?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Still Here

I'm still here. I haven't fallen into some blackworkhole that I can't escape from. Just been super busy.

I promise photos of progress on many things.

And will do Anna's Monday Meme on what's in your stitching bag. Maybe I'll get to it by next Monday.

But now I have to run off to return a Quaker sampler to a designer. Long story how I ended up with it. But she works near where I live making this a simple errand.

Photo is of one of the famous American's kneelers from the National Cathedral. This one is for Orville Wright, in case you couldn't guess.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pomegranates and Peas Purse

The P & P purse was my second class at MAR EGA Smart Days in Culpeper, Va this past weekend. This is a lovely Elizabethan style purse designed by a relative newcomer to the world of needlework teaching, Kimberly Servello.

I cannot say enough nice things about her and her class. The piece is spectacular. Her instructions are clear and concise. And she somehow managed to teach more than 20 ladies the proper way to stitch the plaited braid.

She had a slide show of museum pieces and engravings that influenced her design. (Side note: with a bit of luck I will going to London in January and am planning on camping out at the Victoria and Albert Museum where many of these fantastic treasures can be found. Go the museum website and click on textiles. Oh my!)

This photo shows the peas side of the purse. I haven't really studied this side yet as we started on the pom side.

The front, or pomegranate side of the purse. We learned the heavy broad stitch. Not an insult. It's quite a descriptive name. Love this stitch. I think I have stitched something very similar, but not quite the same, on a sampler.


Here is my progress at the moment. We're working with many different weights of black silk on 50 ct linen. And real gold thread. I think everyone in the class was as thrilled as I was with the project. We've formed a yahoogroup on the spot for support and encouragement. Now I think I'll go make a pot of tea and sit down with this piece to stitch.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Finish

Michael Boren's "Starry, Starry Night" - I only made one small change. I didn't like the beads in the corners and just continued with the silk. And speaking of silk, this is Vicki Clayton's Hand-Dyed. The color name is Magpie Tears which is a brilliant name. But I'm still unimpressed with her silks. Oh yeah, I did make another change - I used 4 strands instead of the called for 3. I just needed more coverage. All in all, I'm happy with it. Going to be an ornament. Will probably make a few more. I've got a couple of exchanges to participate in...

I'll give a longer report on the Kimberly Servello class another time...suffice it to say I finished Starry, Starry Night at 1:00 a.m. Sunday. I shouldn't have had that cup of coffee after dinner. When my alarm went off in the morning, I managed to knock it on the floor, but also turn on the TV and for some reason these TVs came on at a loud volume. I hit the floor and scrambling frantically to turn things off. No snooze alarm for me. File this under reasons why I don't do roommates...

Found this trivet in an antique shop in Culpeper for $1.00. I love it when they use the Xs of cross stitch as a design element.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mid-Atlantic Region EGA Smart Days

Or I'm in Culpeper, Virginia having a wonderful time.

We arrived in time for a tea party after registering and getting our name tags. Got a pretty beaded scissor fob and a tea cup! A member is a caterer and we had terrific sandwiches and cookies. And got visit with our friends, both old and new.

At 6 p.m. it was time for Michael Boren's class, Starry, Starry Night. Imagine. I'm stitching another blue piece. This must be my blue period. There is this shiny wonderful Kreinik ribbon and braid. And yes, my piece is nearly finished. This is where I am right now.

After a late dinner. A necessary visit to the open 24 hours Wal-mart. And the realization that I had college boys with beer in the room above me, I didn't have a bad night. Stayed up till 1 a.m. talking with a friend. Was too tired to stitch, but not too tired to talk.

Had a nice breakfast and all the coffee I could drink. Then I didn't go to the regional meeting, but sat in the lobby making new friends and stitching. Met up with some more chapter member friends and we all had lunch together, then headed off for our Pomegranate and Peas purse class with Kimberly Servello. This is an Elizabethan style purse stitched with black silk and gold metallics on 50 ct cream linen. The more I stitched, the more I fell in love. Tomorrow morning we have a second class on this piece and will learn the plaited braid and discuss the purse finishing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stitching Away

Well. It's been quite a week. In the past two months I've enjoyed listening to friends' accounts of their wonderful times at both ANG and EGA national seminars. Just a tad jealous, I am. But it was my choice not to spend my stitching $$$ on seminar this year.

But it seems I have unintentionally created quite a stitching week for myself. Maybe my subconscious was trying to give me a treat. Or maybe I just never really look at my calendar after write things on it.

Submitted for your examination my schedule:

Saturday the 17th - Bra bag class through EGA chapter at G Street Fabrics

Tuesday the 20th - evening stitch-in at the library

Wednesday the 21st - Needlepoint Tour and Tea at the National Cathedral arranged through EGA chapter

Wednesday the 21st - Stitch-in Public at Panera through other EGA Chapter

Thursday the 22nd - regular Thursday morning stitch-in

Friday the 23rd - Smart Days in Culpeper with MAR (regional EGA event)
First we have a class with Michael Boren

Saturday and Sunday - regional meeting and a class with Kimberly Servello - this project will be quite impressive if I can finish it


All that stitching with others time this week paid off and I finished my Spring Peony blossoms canvas. (Yeah. Photo soon...) And the reason I finished it, was I needed some mindless don't need to count or concentrate too much work while chatting.

I'm off to sort and pack for the weekend. Yahooooo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Egg on My Face

So I'm happy that Yvette found my post. And I feel stupid for getting it wrong. Now watch the other author come and find me...

Now I'm all flustered, but will attempt to move forward this morning.

Yesterday was a Tour and Tea at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. I had a wonderful time with a group from the Washington D.C. EGA Chapter. I've taken several tours at the Cathedral - the highlights, the behind-the scenes tour, the stained glass tour. I did not do the go up in the towers tour because of my fear of heights, but my family did.

I hated hearing the tour guide say that the needlepoint in the Cathedral is the one thing that is not done by skilled craftsmen. Sigh. I think they should say that it's done by volunteers, not paid craftsmen. We learned that they don't toss away gifts so when they decided to redo the seat cushions in the Children's Chapel, they recycled some of those cushions for the boys in the Boys and Men's Chorus. The work that is no longer on display or being used is stored away.

The tea part of the tour was wonderful. We were up on the 7th floor with pots and pots of tea and lovely dainties for nibbling. Terrific views on a nice sunny day, too.

Because You Miss This If I Didn't Highlight It

I got a comment on my post about Yvette's book on Ukrainian drawn Thread. Thank you for having a sense of humor. And looking back I see I attributed the nail choices to the wrong book. I am so sorry. I meant to post that comment about the Beginner's Guide to Bead Netting. My big mistake. I am putting on my dunce cap. (I was honestly impressed that the author hadn't had the acrylic nails thing done that so ladies used to do before appearing on the Carol Duvall Show. And then they would be fumbling around because they weren't used to the darn things.)

Hi, Yvette here, of the Ukrainian Drawn Thread Embroidery book! Photos of my fingernails... There is ONE photo showing a portion of my thumbnail, which looks clean and neat... What more do you want? Sparkly nail-polish?!! :-D (said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.)

Glad you like the book.


And I love the book. And I have Yvette's Hardanger book, too, which is also terrific.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to EK!

I thought I'd make her a little present. Here's a Quaker style pendibule I did on 29 ct Glenshee with two strands of Glorianna - I think Autumn Topiary. Also used some Splendor to stitch up the sides. And cheapo ribbon to make the hanger, 'cause I didn't have the $$$ matching Glorianna silk ribbon in my stash.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some New Acquisitions

I picked these up last week at EGA Chapter meeting on the Ways and Means table.
This first one could be a sweet little thing. I'm thinking this is a cheap way for me to experiment on hand-painted canvas.


This one is the monster of the deep. This is an old-fashioned European penelope canvas whose size is approximately 2 feet by 4 feet. Will I ever actually stitch it? I don't know. I just felt called to rescue it.

The Geisha could be pretty cool. But I think I have kimono canvas in my stash that needs to be stitched first.

Sorry these last two are sideways. I forgot to reorient them before uploading them. My daughter will recognize this one as a tiger that is similar to her mink blanket.

And lastly. Tucked into one of these canvases so that I didn't even find it until I got home was a plastic bag. It contained a bottle of red ink that is one-third evaporated. An ink pad that's never been used. A set of instructions. A holder. And a alphabet sheet of rubber stamps also unused where the letters are formed by x's. According to the instructions you were supposed to stamp the letters on fabric to create designs to cross stitch. They look to be about 10 x's to the inch. These will be fabulous for making cards, 'cause there is no way in hell that I'm making my own stamped fabric for cross stitch!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Me and Elvis

I think this photo was taken a couple of years ago. My hair is much longer now.
But I was just browsing DH's laptop and found this. This cat is such a unique personality. He usually has very set habits, but this morning Elvis seemed rather out of sorts. First I found him in the powder room. Then I found him in the laundry/storage room. Then he was milling about meowing like something was wrong. I think he's as tired of the rain as I am.

I have to tell you about my class today. It was how to turn a bra into a purse. There were eight students plus the teacher meeting at one of our local fabric stores. Before the day was done we had nearly all the clerks and even some of the customers popping in to see what we were doing. (Yes, this was through my one of my local EGA chapters.) We all had purchased very different bras and had very different ideas on what to do. We started by removing straps and any fabric we deemed excess. Our teacher had recommended we purchase at least a C cup with wire. Then we decided whether the wire was going to be on the bottom or at the opening. Then we got to go shopping to add to the embellishments that we brought. We had a tremendously hysterical time - that's how we attracted attention - we were all laughing so hard. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun with a needle in my hand. All of us left with our projects in progress with plans to use them at the December luncheon. It was joyous enough for me to forget how gray and dreary and absolutely miserable it was outside.

P.S. If you want to see some photos, just google search bra purses. You'll find ideas and photos. Some are quite amazing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Still Raining

And cold. But at least it's not snow. I don't know what people would do here in northern Virgina if it snowed in October. Maybe assume it was a sign of the apocalypse?

I still haven't taken photos as I am still waiting for the sun to shine. But I found something new that is old and very interesting.

I put in more background on my peony canvas last night. And replaced my awful color choice on Catherine Agnes yesterday. It definitely looks better. Now back to practicing my detached buttonhole. Decided I need magnification on this stitch in order to meet my expectations.

And had fun running around Michaels yesterday finding embellishments for my bra to purse class. I'm excited. I found a black bra with pink trim on sale at JCPenneys - 40DD - definitely wouldn't fit me. I'd have to use socks or tissues to pad that one. As per the teacher's recommendation I'd been haunting the clearance rack at Kohl's but the colors were boring. They were great colors if I wanted to wear it, not turn it into a purse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Got Nothing

Sometimes I just can't think of a title...

Got up early and did the return college boy to school. And traffic was blessedly light on I-95 heading into D.C. so I got my EGA meeting with oodles of time to spare. Today was a demonstration by Betsy Morgan of finishing techniques. No links as Betsy doesn't have a website. But I finished her Nantucket Morning Glory basket a few months back.

She had the wonderful let's make 4 color cording with a battery powered thingy from Lacis. If you've never been to the Lacis website, run over there right now. I guarantee that there are things there that you don't even know you want. Yet. And I promise myself from here on to practice due diligence with cording and tassels. No more slap dash it together.

Yeah. I bought some handpainted canvases at the Ways and Means table. Including a monster of a penelope canvas. Not sure if I really wanted to stitch it or I just wanted to contemplate it. Either way. It's mine now. When the sun decides to shine again here in Virginia, I'll take a photo. (I hear this may be many days from now. Sigh.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Heat Is On

Drat it all. Summer is apparently over. I am unhappy with the falling temperature and worse, declining amount of sunlight. A predicted high of 49 later in the week.

I realize some of you have it much worse. I'm just in the mood to complain.

I have made one final attempt to fix my problems with my Catherine Agnes sampler. The problems are all of my making. And they have to do with color. I believe the last time I seriously attempted to fix my color choices was spring of 2008. So this piece has been sitting in its box along with what I thought might be a possible solution. Turns out my possible solution was worse than my original problem. No. No. No.

That meant out came the box of silks and let's try this again. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking, but I started to change everything - totally ignoring the work I've already produced on this piece. I came up with a completely new palette. Took me nearly one hour. And then I decided that was all crap. What am I doing? I just need to replace this one variegated yellow/orange that doesn't work. Totally loved the shop owner on Friday who told me that was her favorite color of what I'd already stitched. At this point she backed off when she realized how much I didn't like it. Stopped by another shop on Saturday. Still did not find exactly what I need. Didn't see anything online either. Which brought me back to dyeing my own color. Which I don't really want to do.

I started to unpick what doesn't work for me. And left a possible solution in the box. Now in the clearer light of day I need to go evaluate it. This whole thing might just get put back in the top of the closet. We'll see.

Meanwhile, busy week. Chapter meeting. Board meeting. A class on turning a bra into a purse. There is fun in the future even if I still am having a love/hate with Catherine Agnes.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ding Dong

Because my doorbell rings so infrequently, I can usually state with certainty who has rung it. Sometimes I choose to answer. Sometimes I ignore it.Take yesterday.

I was fresh from the shower and trying on some new tops I had purchased the evening before at Coldwater Creek when the doorbell ding donged.

Wet hair. Tank top. Not tank top weather. But I made that good guess that this was the postal carrier dropping off a package from

Yuppers. Went back upstairs to change into something with sleeves. And I finished the other task I was doing which was cleaning.

Then went downstairs to sit with my box and peruse my new treasures.

Specifically - Jane Nicholas' Medieval Flora Stumpwork. (Side note - I am amazed that this woman has her own website, yet her new book isn't on it. I had to grab this link from the publisher.) This book is a treat for stumpwork lovers. There are less than a dozen designs, but the detailed instructions for each piece run many pages. I love how she breaks down the process.

Also finally gave in and bought a copy of Trish Burr's Crewel and Surface Embroidery. I've been watching a friend work her way through this book as she is stitching pieces for each of her grandchildren. Figured it was time to invest in this one given my new found appreciation for crewel.

And finally - 19th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh. I admit to buying this one without looking at it. I've examined her 18th century book and thought this one might have some interesting stuff. I've only glanced through it briefly, but don't think I'll regret the purchase.

After all that fun...the doorbell dinged again! This time I wasn't expecting anyone and decided to ignore it. Then remembered I had placed an order with Nordic Needle last week. And sure enough I heard the UPS truck leaving the neighborhood. Grabbed my package from the steps and left it on the sofa. Dashed off to do errands.

Who knew I was this good at delaying gratification?

Came home. Unpacked a few groceries. Took out the trash. Thought maybe I'd sit and stitch when I remembered I had a box to open!

This one was a treasure trove of bargains. I bought the Hardanger tote pack - a bag, books, threads and needles for $9.99. An assortment of huck fabric. A huck ornament kit. A punchneedle pattern. A tiny needlepoint kit. Some threads. A 1/2 yard of Hardanger fabric. And two more books.

Yvette Stanton's Ukranian Drawn Thread. Wow. Does this book have some detailed photos. If you're a visual learner, this is wonderful. I'm not sure if I should give her props for not getting a manicure before the photo shoots or I should complain.

edit: On October 22, I apologized to Yvette. I had the wrong book for the manicure comments. I'm sure her nails are lovely.

And The Beginner's Guide to Bead Netting by Madeleine Rollason. Ooh the pretty and shiny things.

All this fun and a good program on PBS, too. Craft in America. This is apparently season two. How did I miss season one? I guess my four local stations didn't show it. Loved the piece on Jugtown Pottery. Loved the beader. But what was up with that ugly blown glass stuff? Look for this series on your local stations. And check out the website. Seems to have all sorts of links.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reading Minds

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking if I haven't been posting, I haven't been stitching.

You know what?

You're right!

For example, I wasted an entire day yesterday by reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Kind of like reading Stephen King; once I get started I don't want to stop. Can't wait to see the movie version of this one because it's set here in Washington D.C. Some similarities to the last National Treasure movie, except this won't be going to Mt. Rushmore. Do I know that there will be a movie version? No. I am assuming. Because who wants to give up on this cash cow.

I did crochet some though. I've got some cheap yarn and am taking a stab at a shawl. No pattern. Just creating as I go.

And I had the opportunity to stop at one of our local shops on Saturday that I hardly ever visit. Picked up some silks and some linen. Was intrigued by a few other things, but I resisted.

And finally. I did chart a pattern on Saturday afternoon before we headed off to the Symphony. I think I managed to create a workable version, though several things need to be moved a stitch or two in one direction or another. I can't comment further on this, as it is a gift type thing. Sister. Birthday. Etc.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It Wasn't Easy

It wasn't easy. But I finished a canvas work piece last night. Took out the stitches facing the wrong way. Reanchored threads. Stitched them in correctly.

And then I decided that that one misguided Jessica had to go. I am here to tell you that it is a bad idea to try a frog a Jessica. Cutting it out entirely is the way to go. Took me nearly an hour to fix this particular mess. Meanwhile the pretty scenery was rolling by on the tv thanks to Ken Burns. And I missed most of it.

But I must say I am way happier to have this Jessica stitched correctly.

And then I solved my beading dilemma with French knots. And in no time at all the piece was finished.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Yesterday morning I was in a quandary. I didn't know what to take to stitch group. Usually something will be calling to me. I didn't want to take the canvas piece I had been working on the night before as I had identified an slight error and didn't want to look at it anymore. I just wasn't in the mood to rip those ten stitches, anchor the ends, and put them back in facing the proper direction.

After the fiasco that was Wednesday, (Don't ask. Let's just leave it at I had to call the Plumbing Doctors...)I was really in the mood for something relaxing. Unchallenging. Pretty. And Easy Peasy.

So I grabbed my Tsunami Charity Quaker piece. And headed off to run errands before stitch group. Drycleaners. Pick up photos. Found a pillow case on clearance big enough to hold my scroll frame that the Quaker piece is on. Stopped in Kohl's to see if I could find that belt that we thought we had purchased on Sunday for my DH. It didn't make it into the bag and we hadn't paid for it. No luck with the belt. Perused the clearance bras looking for a wild purchase as I've got a class coming up on turning a bra into a bag. No luck there either.

Made it to stitch group. Finished up the green thread I was working with. Used one more green thread. Went back and stitched the crown that I had skipped so that I could roll the piece up on the frame. And then, and only then, did I decided that I needed to follow through with the plan to stitch this color that I don't really like. I had started a motif on the far left and at three threads into it, I had had enough. I had made a vow on this piece to stitch one motif at a time regardless. No moving on. But this color is yuck. And I had let myself skip to the green.

Back I go to the hated color. And start stitching. And have an moment of clarity.
Yes. Unbelievably I had stitched the previous portion of this motif not with two strands of this overdyed cotton, but with one strand by doubling up and using the loop start. Argh. It is muddy and grayed out and gross. No wonder I was disliking it so much. It all has to come out and be restitched. Wonderful. I don't know what possessed me. But I have a memory of starting one of those threads with a loop. That was a truly unengaged brain that day.

And this is what comes of unintentional stitching. Unhappiness.

Toddling off to find my Thich Nhat Hanh books.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tudor Rose Finish

Haven't found my battery charger yet, but I scanned my finished crewel piece for you.

I had fun stitching this. And will continue to pull those crewel pieces out of my stash. I didn't get the wrapped buttonhole exactly right. Didn't have enough room to do 10-12 wraps. But I made friends with the coral stitch so that's a plus.