Saturday, October 30, 2010


For my readers in my local area, the Washington Post is having a contest.

Here's what it said in the Local Living section of Thursday's paper:

Local living wants to celebrate the spirit of the winter season with beautiful handmade crafts, such as ornaments, garlands, cards and gifts. With our Holiday Crafts Contest, we invite you, crafty person, to share an original creation with us. 

Your  homemade craft can be sewn, woven, knitted, molded with plain paper or papier-mache or created with any materials you like. It can decorate a tree, hang on a wall, sit on a table or be wearable. it should be themed for any of the winter holidays or simply be winter-appropriate.

What are we not looking for? Anything made from a kit, copied from a book or Web site, or otherwise unoriginal. Your kids' school craft, however adorable, probably won't make the cut either.

The best crater will win a prize and be featured int a Local Living article in December. Enter by submitting high-resolution photos online along with your contact information and where you live; the deadline is November 30.

You can find all the contest rules at Questions? E-mail We hope you'll participate and inspire us.

I'm Not Arguing, But...

I won't say I wasn't expecting someone to rebut me when I posted my feelings about the shop I stopped at in Littleton last week. Here's my replies in large type to the comments in small type. 

Apparently you know very little about the World in Stitches.

I do know about The World in Stitches. I shopped there way back when my husband was stationed at Fort Devens. 
 It is not dusty and in disarray.

It was too dusty and in disarray. Things all over every flat surface. In nearly every room. Dusty enough to set off my allergies. 

It has been in business for almost 3 decades. You probably walked in on a day when they were unpacking after going to a needlework trade show and had not completed putting everything away. Yes, needlework shops do go to trade shows esdpecially The World in Stitches. Also they go to estate sales and buy needlework merchandise to sell on eBay.

If the lack of organization I noticed is simply the result of a trade show, they really should set up a room to contain it and keep it away from the public. They've got plenty of rooms. I don't believe this is from trade shows. I know. I've worked in needlework stores before.

If you had signed up for their newsletter by email, you would find out about the trunk shows they have where the "new stuff" is on display from floor to ceiling on the walls and not in disarray. You would also find out about the classes in knitting, cross stitch and needlepoint.

Okay. Fair enough. I don't receive their newsletter as I live in Virginia.

Also every last Friday of the month, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. there is a group of women to meet to stitch and talk and have coffee and dessert and generally have a fun. All are welcome to attend. It is not limited to just a few.

I'm positive there is a lovely group of people associated with this store. I'm simply stating the opinion of one person who walked in there at random.

If you are looking for something in particular, The World in Stitches is very helpful. They can order it for you. They are friendly and the shop is a comfortable place to shop. Not at all like the place you describe.

I'm sure they are helpful. The lady who helped me was nothing less than friendly. 

Next time you are looking for a particular place, try MapQuest. It is much more accurate than a GPS system.

Okay. This statement is ridiculous. Anyone out there really think that MapQuest is more accurate than your GPS system? 

I agree with Susan. I have been going to The World in Stitches for over 20 years & I have never found it to be dirty or disorganized. This shop is full of wonderful cross stitch, needlepoint & knitting.
If you can't find what you are looking for Randi will contact other stores in area to see if they have it & if that fails she will order it for you. She has even found stuff for us on ebay.There are always new classes & if someone sees something that they would like to learn Randi will organize a class. We also do a 12 hour Stitchin every other month. 

Again. I'm not saying anyone was less than helpful. Or that there wasn't a lot of stuff. I am saying that I regularly visit four needlework stores - three here in northern Virginia and one in Maryland. None of them look like this place did on the day I was there. Even my friend's shop when she was going out of business last year didn't look like this. Maybe I did hit this shop on a bad day.
Will I ever visit again? In all fairness to the two of you who responded to my opinion, I might. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

What I'm Stitching Now

Somehow I managed to get myself volunteered to help teach this mystery sampler from Needlearts, the EGA magazine for our guild next year. We've got three class dates set up - January, April, and July. And there are three of us stitching this in advance to in order to teach it. 

Of course, I absolutely changed my colors. I'm calling these colors summer brights. And I've made a lot of progress since I took this photo. The project is a smattering of many counted techniques. You may think you are just looking at cross stitch and a bit of blackwork, but those dividing bands are marking stitches. I've also stitched some bargello on this and right now I'm in the midst of more alphabet done with the four-sided stitch. 

It's pretty and fun with lots of variety. 

I also started a hardanger freebie from The Victoria Sampler because it was a guild class this week. I should be able to make perfect Greek crosses by the time I'm finished. If I can ever get the count right on my buttonhole edges.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mystery Revealed

Plenty of times in the past year I have not been able to show my stitching progress because a few friends and I decided to do a Friendship sampler round robin. 

We picked our own themes, set size limits, and ideally stitched our own band at the top. 

After many false starts, I chose a theme I called "Sea Me." Anything in the water, real or imagined. I picked a piece of lovely Glenshee linen from my stash and a number of Splendor silks along with two overdyed silk threads. (Warning: Glorianna is definitely not colorfast.)

We decided on six weeks as a time limit. And I spent my first five weeks with own piece just trying to decided what to do. 

Posted by Picasa

Here is how I started:  with a wave, some herons who look like they are wearing berets, a lighthouse, a ship and two whales. The two dark lines are my dividing bands.  I was trying for the sampler look. 

I passed this along to a friend and received another sampler to work on. The hardest part of this was keeping secrets from each other. I can't say how badly we wanted to talk about these samplers as we see each other nearly every Friday for stitching time. Sometimes we sort of broke this rule and talked about things in a round about way. 

After five other people have had their hands on my piece of linen, this is what I got back:

How amazing is that? 

I'm overwhelmed by this project.

Now I need to stitch my dividing bands, then a wave motif at the bottom, and then I will include names of my friends who worked on this. 

We all agreed that our size limitations nearly killed us. Essentially we went with 2" tall by 6" wide. The two inches was horribly difficult and forced many people into stitching over 1.

Our plan is to finish these and show them in public in January which will be when I can post photos of what I stitched for others.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Time Traveling

(Um? Blogger? What happened to all my choices this morning? I've got a basic toolbar and can only see options for bold, italics, strikeout, link, and quote?)

As a reward last Thursday for all our hard work and travel, my daughter and I stopped at The World in Stitches in Littleton, MA. My GPS was a little bit off, but we found it.

I have never been in this shop before, but it advertises itself as the largest needlework store in Massachusetts.

I will agree that it has a lot of floor space and walls. But it's in a sad state of disarray. There is both yarn and needlework and it's on the second floor and there is an elevator, if I remember correctly.

We were greeted when we entered by the very nice lady working there. She asked us if she could help us - points for that. We said we were just going to wander. And there's plenty of room for wandering.

What there isn't - organization, cleanliness, and new stuff.

Seriously, it looks like a shop where people just don't care anymore. I've been in stores that looked like this in other states and within six months, those stores have closed. I wanted to start dusting and organizing.

I'm sure there are some lovely people out there connected with this place. I wish I could write nicer things about it.

That said - I did buy one Leon Conrad blackwork chart and a handpainted canvas of Fenway Park with the two recent World Series flags flying above it. I've already put this away for next March when I'll be giddy with anticipation over a new baseball season!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Week of October 18th

I do the usual travel thing and I'm up, showered, out of the house and on the road by 5:30 a.m. I'm maybe 15 minutes later than I want to be and there is already plenty traffic on the Beltway.

Oh how I hate this drive. Please, physics and mechanical engineers - get moving on teleportation! 

After many hours, I arrive at my DD's new apartment in Massachusetts. We unload the car - lingerie dresser, nightstand, file cabinet, bags of clothes and bags of books. I get to meet her very nice landlord and scope out the apt. We drive further north to New Hampshire and have a very nice dinner with the grandparents. 

Next day - the plan is:  IKEA, the Container Store and whatever else we can manage. At IKEA, we find and purchase a sofa, coffee table, end table, mattress and foundation, desk, desk chair, dresser, and assorted other stuff. Amazingly, they will deliver everything for the low price of $99! We continue shopping and are amazed by the sight of a large tom turkey right beside our car on an off ramp in Needham. Tuesday is a long, long day. I think we ended with dinner at the Weathervane? Holy crap, my mind is going...

On Wednesday we take a day off from shopping. My sister, my daughter and I are going out to play with our respective cameras and maybe hit up some antique shops. 

I'll share some color.

Nothing like a sugar maple for beauty in October.

My heritage. Yes. I have ancestors that landed in New Hampshire within the first decade of Europeans settling there. I have relatives that were abducted by Indians and taken north to Canada. I have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War. Of course, I also have ancestors who came down from Canada to work in the mills. I'm a mixed bag.

One of the loveliest barns in the entire state.

I have always loved this house. And if I lived here, I could see that barn every day.

 Water, pines, autumn foliage. 

Next:  Thursday, DD and I head off to the Commissary at Hanscom Field. We see roving gangs of turkeys. And spend a bundle of money on food and cleaning supplies. But at least I know she won't starve while waiting for her first paycheck to arrive. We unpack at her place and go for some Vietnamese food. We'll end this night after dinner at Newick's with a stop at Target to buy a microwave, a space heater, a step stool, and a bucket. 

I am totally exhausted and need to leave early the next morning. 

Fish chowder, native shrimp, and clam strips. It's nirvana for me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Time Traveling

Let's go back in time to the weekend of October 16 - 17. Cindy Valentine came to our EGA for a weekend workshop. This project is the result of combining blackwork and hardanger. The linen is a 28ct Norwich that has the lines woven into the fabric creating squares that are 30 threads by 30 threads. 

The top is mounted on a Sudberry House basket.

Inside has a booklet with a place for needles, a place for a needlethreader, and a place for scissors. There's also a biscornu pincushion that I apparently didn't take a photo of...

The first day of class was about learning to follow the blackwork patterns. And the construction of the biscornu. The second day was mostly about mastering the hardanger. 

My version is blue on white, not the red on natural you see here.

Cindy was a delight as a teacher. She also brought a mini-trunk show with her and I bought Celebration in the Fiesta color scheme. I'm sorry this photo doesn't show the hot fuschia silk on the inside of the needleholder. Wow! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I've Got My Head on Straight, But

My extremely busy week ended with a two hour drive home after a day spent at Winterthur. While unpacking the car, on my last trip to remove things from the trunk, I stepped off the sidewalk and ouch.

I believe I came very, very close to rupturing my achilles tendon. Immediately went for the ice, elevation, and ibuprofen. 

Today I added an ankle wrap to the mix. And just in case and because we're traveling soon, I also bought a cane. This is ridiculously bad timing. 

New photo in header - this is the Lamprey River in New Hampshire. 

Please check It's a Small Hotel post from a few days ago. There's now a photo there of Anna, the Stitch Bitch, at her LNS. 

Seventeen of the members of my EGA chapter met at Winterthur for a specialized needlework tour in which we were not allowed to carry anything with us, so no photos. My head is still spinning from all that we saw. We would walk into a room and not know where to look. There were so many marvelous textile items. Samplers, coverlets, dresses made into chair coverings, purses, pincushions, sewing tables, bed hangings, firescreens. The list could go on and on. Henry du Pont had a tremendous eye for collecting. 

We did get to see Faith. I saw her after the needlework tour and was sorry I didn't see her first. Mostly because I was on overload by the time I got to the jacket. LOL


Saturday, October 23, 2010


There may be some of you interested in my daughter's science blog - Green Pieces - so I'm providing a link here:  green pieces for everyone. 

She's currently blogging about invasive species and posting links to weird (usually funny, occasionally disturbing) science videos.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's a Small Hotel

I'm sitting here in a small hotel somewhere in the fine state of Delaware having finally stopped moving for today.

I've got so much to say, but regretfully the photos will have to wait as this small hotel has a slow connection. 

Today I left New Hampshire before dawn and saw sunrise in southern Massachusetts. I had breakfast at Rein's Deli in Vernon, Connecticut. I was occupied by reading Boozehound on my Nook and by eavesdropping on the table of elderly gentlemen seated behind me. Their conversations were about opera and organized crime. Maybe they were retired wiseguys? I don't know, but it was entertaining.

(Boozehound is a book by Jason Wilson who writes a spirits column for the weekly food section of the Washington Post. I like his writing style and have learned a lot from him. I want his job!) 

Did anyone feel the earth move this afternoon? Because Anna, the Stitch Bitch, and I met this afternoon for the first time at the Strawberry Sampler. We even went for a beer and some food. I'm sitting here right now picking at the remains of salad which is getting soggy, but it's still tasty. 

For seven years Anna and I have been reading each others' blogs. We've probably passed each other on the highway to and from New Hampshire or in the air on the way to and from Florida. She's come to D.C. while I've been out of town. So when I realized where I'd be staying I dropped her a line to see if we could meet up. 

To Anna:  I just want to apologize for my brain fog. It has a been a very long week. I did start to come back to life with the addition of beer and food. I'm certain we could sit and stitch for a long time and never run out of things to talk about. 

To our readers:  She's as intelligent and fun as you think she is!

 edit:  A photo of Anna at the Strawberry Sampler in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

Outside of this shop the sign says "Cross Stitch" and it's a very accurate description. This shop is all about cross stitch. That said, I did manage to find a few things that needed to come home with me...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I know I've been quiet here. I "ran away" from home on Monday morning after a weekend of needlework workshop. I'm up in NH helping my daughter shop for her new apartment. First full-time job, first lease, first time living totally on her own. 

She's thrilled to have me here (mostly because she has no money) and I'm happy to be helping. 

Yesterday we hit IKEA for furniture. The Container Store for incidentals. And Bed Bath and Beyond. 

Today we took the day for a walking in the woods with our cameras and antiquing. 

Tomorrow is reserved for driving the 90 miles to her place and purchasing food and cleaning supplies. 

And then Friday I head south once again, but only as far as Delaware as my EGA chapter is visiting Winterthur on Saturday. I have tons of photos and info and fun to post, but right now I'm way too tired. You will all have to wait till Sunday/Monday. Sorry! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Weekend

It's time for a workshop with Cindy Valentine!

We stitching a piece that I don't see on her website - Kaleidoscope Dreams.

Details soon.


I totally forgot to document the progress on my bargello piece. *slaps forehead*

One thing I have found is that it's taking more thread than I thought and as I started with a skein of overdyed from the stash, I've quickly reached a stopping point. 

I'm using a Carrie's Creation thread and 5 yards of the 8 yards is already stitched and I'm only about 1/4 finished. And that's with some DMC thrown in. Which led me to having to order it online as I don't think anyone around here sells Carrie's - a fine overdyed cotton that has some tremendously interesting color combo's not to mention neat names like Elk Snout and Moose Drool. The only problem is the dye lots can vary by quite a bit. But at $1.00 a skein it's a bargain. 

Of course, how could I order just thread? I also purchased a piece of linen and one pattern...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Books

Books I bought on Sunday at the State Department book sale. These book sales are the only time I've gotten inside this building. From what I see, it's a darn interesting place. 

The highlight of this collection is the Historical Designs for Embroidery by Louisa Pesel. Blackwork heaven. I wish I had had this book last year. Also a collection of small pamphlets included in this bunch. The American in Cross Stitch book has Portsmouth Harbor on the cover. I recognized it right away!

This second collection of books is from a stitcher's estate. Wow. I got the third Beth and Sue book which thrills me. And the Mary Shipp books on design and color. I feel like I hit the jackpot and I'd like Francis to know that her books will be valued and cared for by me. They have found a good home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I realized, just now, that the numbers of my posts are starting to make "historical" sense to me. Today's number coincides with the publication of the first Poor Richard's Almanac by Benjamin Franklin. With luck, around this time next year, I should be hitting 2011. Gah. Why do I have numbers on the brain?

No stitching yesterday. But I did take two samplers for framing - the Love and Live Quaker and Little Green Acorns. 

Then I came home and painted our privacy fence around the deck at the front of the house. After painting, I went with ibuprofen, ice, and some geranium oil on my hand. And no stitching. It's not too bad today, except if I move my thumb in a certain way. Doesn't help that hand was sore before I even started. But I did manage to paint both front and back of fence. Bully for me!

This morning was hair appt. time. I'm looking all glam right now. Wish I could blow out my hair halfway as good as my hairdresser can. I usually stitch while awaiting the magic hair coloring process to finish, but today I forgot my scissors. Imagine being stuck in a place full of scissors, but having none of your own. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Sale and a New Start

Yesterday I went to the book sale at the State Department having learned a few years back that there are lots of needlework books there. 

This year's sale may have had more needlework books than cookbooks! Wow.

You will be amazed at my restraint. My total was exactly my old phone number that I had to give up. I guess I should go play the lottery now. 

I will detail the best of these books later as I have to run soon.

And I started a bargello piece on congress cloth. Wow, this works up fast. Even with stopping to record details within a couple of hours it's 25% finished.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Loudoun Sampler Guild Saturday

Today we had a class with Betsy Morgan of Willing Hands. This is the prework I was working so hard to finish yesterday. It's a pincushion that's part of larger collection called "This One's for Betty."

 Two pieces that make up the other side. Can you detect the Elizabethan theme here? I used the wrong color for the top piece - it shouldn't be that red, but I like that red - Glorianna Pomegranate.

We did the prework so that today we could work on finishing. This piece has fusible interfacing on the back and the edges are folded back and the seams are stitched to hold them. Then you have three pieces that get stitched together like a puzzle.

The large piece has skirtex in it to give it some body. 

A bit later, voila! A finished pincushion. Maybe I should have put this next to a half dollar. I think it might be just about that size. The top has a jade bead.

I love the bottom. 

P.S. Betsy gave me permission to post photos. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

Exploding Head

Two weeks ago I had to give up my cell phone number. Don't ask. Just trust me when I say that I officially dislike Verizon. To the point that I was ready to walk out of the store and pay the $175 to get out of our current obligation. 

Except I knew that both children would likely plot to kill me in my sleep if I did that. 

Instead I gave up my number and now have my husband's old number and new phone. And though I had been considering a phone with a data plan, I did not do it after the problem was discovered. 

I have a basic new phone. Talk, text, photos. That's it.

Testing mobile blogging!

And mobile blogging works once again. But photo blogging not working for me. Okay. That's fine. 

Hurdles I have faced. Getting my new phone number to everyone. I'm sure plenty of people I have told about this new number, haven't put it in their phone. Okay. I can deal with those consequences. And who have I forgotten to tell?

I didn't know any of the codes/passwords associated with this phone and couldn't change my voicemail. Hey, brilliant guy @Verizon. You should have thought about this before I left the store. Instead I had to go back there two days later. 

Gah. A new phone means I have to teach it all those words again. This one seems particularly stupid. I don't text a ton, just enough for this to be annoying. 

And the sound on this phone isn't good. Makes my head vibrate.  

Alright. Enough whining. Now that I know I'm in sync again here, I'll leave. Have not finished my prework and I see a long night in my future.

Can you tell I don't love this phone? and I really don't love Verizon.  

Stitching Like Mad

I've been stitching like a mad woman this week with nothing I can show you. 

I received a super top secret piece on Monday - charted what I was going to do by dinner time, stitched all evening. And that continued until yesterday. It was terrible stitching day for me with my friends as I made little progress. Spent the first part frogging my mistake on prework for a class tomorrow. Let's just say, I am very unfond of frogging over one stitching. This was a rookie counting error that I made while stitching with this same group back in September. You can see I put off dealing with it until the last possible moment. In fact, I welcomed the distraction of the super top secret piece. 

And as I started stitching the over one - this time in a different starting place - I discovered a new error. I had started one thread off. Let's just say "argh!" Which meant taking out the black box and re-stitching it one thread over. By the time Project Runway was nearing the end, I decided it was time to put this down. And I picked up and finished the super top secret project while watching House Hunters and HHInternational.  Went to bed finally around midnight.

I'm fairly confident I can finish my prework today. This is a Betsy Morgan piece that's a class with the Loudoun Sampler Guild. She says about six hours of work is involved. I think I've got three hours of time (not counting the mistakes) in it already. Today I'll see if I can finish it in three hours.

I don't why, but some Thursdays I have been accomplishing little during stitching group. I am not unmotivated. Maybe I'm just distracted?

Thanks to Robin for pointing out that I didn't label yesterday's telephoto close-up of my stitching. That piece is "Arabella Reborn" by Michael Boren stitched in the Autumn Leaves colorway. This was a workshop last year with my EGA chapter. 

Now I need to go do some cooking for lunch today and take a shower. I'm hoping for a bit a time playing my new  camera. I did take it out briefly yesterday, but have nothing exciting to show for it. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Digital SLRs

And with that title you'd think I'd have a photo or two, wouldn't you?


Bought a new camera yesterday afternoon and didn't have a ton of time to play with it after I got the battery charged. 

Phew. I ran off to find the software the camera warns me to load before attaching it the computer. Now I'm all set. 

A flower from a fall bouquet. This is strictly point and shoot in auto mode.

Elvis resting on the back of the sofa. I may have to start a blog of cat photos. Let me know if I post too many here.

 And I took this last night. I was standing about eight feet from it and using my telephoto lens. Um. Yeah. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Where do you fall in the birth order of your family?  Do you think that birth order traits have had an effect on your choice of hobby and craft? How so?

I am the younger of two girls by four years and three months. My sister was five years ahead of me in school. 

(Blast it - my cursor has disappeared. It's like typing into a void. Please excuse all typos, etc. as this is not as easy as it appears.)

My sister and I used to talk about birth order from back in the day when someone wrote some semi-popular book on it and it got discussed on Oprah or something like that. I'm not certain how valid these theories about birth order are.

I think I've got traits of both a youngest and an oldest. I am responsible and conscientious like a first born. And I'm rebellious and open to new things like a last born.

And maybe that kind of balances out birth order effects on my choices of hobby and craft. We are both very visual in our choices. My sister has occasionally done needlework, but her strengths are in stained glass, painting (but she doesn't think she can paint) and photography. Neither of us are musical, though we both love to listen to music. And I am much more comfortable using words than she is, i.e. writing.

I've tried most crafts at one time or another. I still do paper crafting, but not to the extant that I used to. I have over the past five years focused on my stitching. 

And a big P.S. I'm about to get back into photography in a huge way. New camera purchase on the horizon. 


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Secret Stitching Again

I did not go to the framer's yesterday because I got smart for once and checked the hours and he's closed on Mondays. Brilliant. But I can go today. 

Instead I exchanged e-mail with a friend and went to her house and picked up a secret project. Came home and pawed through the stash of magazines and projects and created a mash-up! Just like on Glee. I took two projects and made them work together. Didn't even take a lot of eraser. Then I picked the called for threads for one project and just grabbed my bin of overdyed cottons for the second project. And I narrowed my threads down to three overdyeds. After dinner I started stitching and by the time I turned off the telly I had made tremendous progress. I might be able to turn this project back to my friend on Friday and then I can scratch that obligation off the list.

On Sunday I worked on my last friendship sampler mystery piece. We're exchanging these towards the end of October and all will be revealed here as I've taken quite a few photos as these passed through my hands. 

But what I really need to do is frog my mistake on my pincushion which is over one stitching. And restitch. Needs to be finished by Saturday in time for class. More on that later.

My October calendar is full. And looking at the paper version things have been crossed out and rescheduled all over the place. Maybe I'm being too optimistic about how much I can get done. Maybe I don't really need to sleep. Maybe I'll collapse when I finally get to New Orleans. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Quaker Finish!

Here's Love and Live Happy by Pamela Darney of Guildhouse Samplers.

Please forgive the screwdriver, but I don't need a photo with my name on it spread across the 'net. 

I am very, very happy with myself. I was finished on Friday till I took out my V & A and restitched it on Sunday. How fitting that I did that while watching The Young Victoria. 

I promise that when Pam starts selling her designs to the general public - not just through her classes - you will see the info here. 

Shall I head off to the framers now?

Blogoversary Winner!

 It's been a few days since I posted. I have lots of catching up to do.

But first. 

We have a winner! Number 15 on the random number generator.

Deborah of the Cranberry Samplings blog I have a package for you!

I'm sending you an e-mail and I will run to the post office later today and I will be running while dodging raindrops. 

P.S. I added your blog to my list, too. <3