Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Dark Alphabet

Did I not just say something about not taking on new projects? I meant it, too. 

I am very drawn to A Dark Alphabet, a set a free graphs currently being produced by In the Company of Friends. These are being dedicated to the memory of Lisa Roswell of the Primitive Needle who died during the floods in Ohio this spring. 

Becky and Julie also have a blog here - A Note of Friendship.

And Always in Stitches in Florida is having a sale. The brick and mortar store will close by the end of the summer if no one buys it. She's planning on having an internet store after all is said and done. 

From Carole's newsletter details of the sale:

  It s all about June this month!  First of all, summer hours begin.  The shop will be open Tuesday-Friday from 12noon to 4pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.  Closed on Sunday & Monday.  Summer hours will continue until Wednesday, August 31.  That s it, kaput, I m done, sayonara, adios muchacha, hasta la vista baby, c est fini!  The brick & mortar shop will close & the website will continue.  If the shop is sold, that s a whole other story.  I ll keep you informed.

       The second bit of news is that IN-STOCK charts & kits will be discounted 25% for the month of June.  Again if you order online & put the words IRS SALE in the comment box you get another 5% discount for 30% total.  Only charts & kits & only those charts & kits that are IN STOCK are on sale.  That s why it s called an I.nventory R.eduction S.ale silly.  And you may have noticed that this will be an ongoing graduated discount event.  So each month the discount will get higher but the inventory will get lower.  I will NOT be sending charts that you order if they are not IN STOCK.   I am still happy to order books, but they will be at the usual cost.  Remember that the discount only applies to IN-STOCK charts & kits at this time.  In addition charts & kits that are already on sale will receive their listed discount or the IRS discount, whichever is greater.  I m adding sale charts frequently.  I have about three more bags to go & I m putting most of them at half-price.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What I'm Stitching

This is my first attempt at Casalguidi. I wish I had had all my information with me when I started. I would have pulled my pulled stitches tighter and opened my holes better. But I'm happy with my first attempt at the bar. Next I'm moving on to flowers with detached buttonhole. This is a class through the Shining Needle Society by Jane Ellen Balzuweit. I'm a tiny bit behind, but it's a small piece meant to be mounted on an Altoids tin so I can catch up quickly.

This is as far as I got on my Pischke while on Cape Cod. Turtle is more than halfway done. I am officially in love still!

And here's my O Canada by The Victoria Sampler. The parliament building is done. I need to go and graph my changes for the words. Originally this is the words to the Canadian anthem. But I'm substituting genealogical information from my ancestors move from Connecticut to Nova Scotia in 1761. 

I am woefully behind for another class - Color for Embroidery. But other than that and two small things that need to be finished in July, I'm free to stitch on what I want. Not taking on any new obligations!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Still Recapping

But first - woo hoo! The Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup finals!

And a note to Robin - thank you for your kind words about my bargello design. I have not given any thought to selling. Mostly because I don't have enough designs yet to move from the category of amateur to professional. But I'll think about it.

I went to Cape Cod with only one thing that I absolutely had to do. You can probably guess that this involves needlework somehow. One of the members of my Thursday stitching group has a sister who lives on Cape Cod and who visited us last year. Demi who heard through her sister that I was visiting, invited me to her Wednesday stitching group at the Town-Ho Needleworks in Brewster. 

So Wednesday was the only day I needed to get up bright and early. Did I mention that waking up was not a problem as there were two skylights in the bedroom where we were staying? My hubby dropped me off at 10 and he went off to explore.

Town-Ho is owned and operated by Barry Barnes, an extremely talented stitcher. In fact, the walls are filled with his projects. And the store has all kinds of wonderful things. One room is devoted to cross stitch. The other rooms have so many hand-painted canvases that I didn't know where to look. Walls of fibers, boxes of crewel kits. I sat with my new friends and stitched on my Pischke turtles and then got up to shop a bit. I could have done some real damage to my wallet here. But I kept it reasonable. Bought some old Jean Hilton patterns. Some threads. And resisted the calls from the canvas. Did I mention this place is large on needlework store scale? Barry doesn't leave the Cape often. Nor does he have an online presence. If you call him, he may not answer the phone even. But I highly recommend a visit if you are ever on the Cape. 

I had lunch with Demi and her friend Jackie at the Brewster Fish House, another place I can highly recommend where I had the codfish cakes. DH met us for coffee and after some lovely conversation we parted ways. In DH's travels someone had told him we needed to go to the Stony Brook Grist Mill and Museum. Now, the museum was closed for renovations, and when we parked the car and got out we heard this unholy racket. 

A short walk and we found the source! 

It seems the alewives were running. (For those unfamiliar, an alewife is a type of herring.) These seagulls were quite intent on watching the water and our presence didn't seem to bother them at all. In fact, I was happy to leave without one of them making a deposit on me.

 The mill pond and mill. Charming and picturesque.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Still at Cape Cod

We even had visitors while at Cape Cod. My in-laws drove down and spent two days with us. We had figured out a few places to go and things to see. 

Dinner in a caboose anyone? We ate in the main dining room with my in-laws, but later in the week we had dinner in the caboose. There's even two tables on top of the other tables - you can see an upper level window. You have climb a ladder to get to them. And service is a bitch for the wait staff.

There are always lighthouses to visit.

And the Sandwich glass museum!

Every room of this place made me drool.

They even had a few schoolgirl samplers on display.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where Was I?

Oh. I was writing about visiting Cape Cod. This was my first time back there in around 30 years! Yikes. Not sure why we waited so long. In the 3 years my husband was stationed at Fort Devens, we never took the kids to the Cape. More often we went home to New Hampshire on vacations. 

So here's an osprey nest. With a camera. Which you find here on the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  Unfortunately the website says you can only view this using Internet Explorer so I haven't looked at it. There are osprey nests all over. But most of them don't have cameras pointed at them.

We took the hike behind the Museum. Across the marsh. Up onto the island. Down off the island onto the mudflats. Across the dunes to the bay. Look - the sun is shining in these photos. Not something we saw too often.

There's a wildflower garden beside the museum.

And apparently we drove nearly five hundred miles to find some Virginia Bluebells!

It's a good thing I didn't buy the Red Sox tickets that I nearly bought because that game was rained out! All week we had intermittent rain, sometimes extremely heavy. Then maybe a peak of sunshine. And then back to clouds. 

Now at home - temperature's supposed to reach 90 today. When am I ever going to get a chance to plant some herbs? I didn't do it before I went because I was afraid they'd die of neglect. Cats did not die of neglect. But one of them certainly did his share of hounding my son for attention. 

See? This was the weather driving into Boston on Saturday on our way down to the Cape. Lovely.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Business

I've been all business today. Household and other.

I'm teaching a bargello piece that is my own design tomorrow at EGA. 

Would you like to see it? 

Sure you would. 

It's got a title. 

Every class deserves a title. 

Every piece deserves a name. 

So here it is:

I needed a name month's ago for our newsletter and the colors reminded me a polo shirt I had in the 1970s.

Thus it became - Bargello with a Preppy Twist.

The only twist being the colors. 

I made this version into a frame weight. Trust me, this sucker is heavy. Maybe 6-7 pounds. I filled it with BB pellets.  

Oh, wait. I showed you all this back in April, didn't I? 

Oh well. 

C'est la vie!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Home Again

Oh, boy, do I have tons of stuff to do! Including a mountain of laundry. 

I hardly had the energy to stitch at all while on vacation. Did make a tiny bit of progress on my Pischke Pocket and my O Canada sampler. 

I've got lots to document, but no real time to do it right away so things will show up here in bits and pieces over the next week. 

Let's just say, the weather was less than cooperative even for New England in the spring. Eventually it was all anyone seemed to want to talk about. How rainy, how unsunny, how blah. 

We left here on Friday the 13th, my mother's birthday! And instead of driving straight to our "house" on Cape Cod, we drove home to New Hampshire to attend our friend's wake. I got visit with my sister. And we both sadly and happily saw some people at the funeral home that we haven't seen in a while. Then we went to dinner at a new Mexican place where the food was good and so were the margaritas. 

Bright and early the next morning we drove off in the fog to Cape Cod where our temporary home awaited us. We were offered use of a friend's house and I think they are amazingly generous. I did stitch a thank you pillow - Sampler Girl's "A little sea bathing would set me up forever" and I completely forgot to take a photo of it. Also left them some wine and a gift certificate to one of their favorite restaurants. 

Our first stop for food was the British Beer Co. pub where I had a wonderful London Porter with my leek and chicken pastie. Totally happy, but two beers almost did me in. 

 We headed to the Cape Canal visitors center run by the US Army Corps of Engineers who control the canal mostly because I knew we could find some local guidebooks there. These photos are not the ocean - these are of Cape Cod Bay. Luckily we see some sunshine here.
  We putter around and don't venture too far that first day. We go back to our house where we meet our cat for the week, Oscar. He has snowshoe sized double paws on the front and he wanders the neighborhood not belonging to any one family. In retrospect, I'm lucky not have gotten poison ivy from petting Oscar as it exists in abundance here. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

What It Is

I am at Cape Cod and have unreliable internet access. 

Will resume regular posting and will have lots of photos next week!!!

Having a great time, even without sunshine. I could very easily live here and that would make me a washashore.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I didn't mean to make anyone panic with yesterday's post. I was in shock.

My friend who died was from my hometown. If I dug out the genealogy, I'm betting I could connect her family to mine. I know she's connected to my husband's family through marriage. But I digress.

When I was 18 and started college, I didn't move to school. I lived 5 short miles away from school to start with. (There's a reason I didn't go anywhere, but that's another story.) So I was a commuter student. 

Being a commuter student meant I didn't have to cut ties with the things I was doing in my hometown. I was a Girl Scout leader. I still belonged to my community theater group. And thanks to my boyfriend, I started singing in his mother's church choir. 

And that's how I "met" Suzette. 

She was 5 years younger than me and could be such a brat. But she had a beautiful soprano voice and I learned a lot singing beside her. A quartet of us younger folks started a folk choir. Suzette was always smiling and laughing. And as she grew up, I'd listen to the boy problems and we always got along great. 

If it wasn't for her, I never would have sung in the Messiah, an experience that I still treasure. 

I saw her compete for the title of Miss New Hampshire when she was still quite young and she sang a melody of songs that she orchestrated herself. And we brought her into our theater group. She was at our wedding. But I never saw her much after that. Though we'd exchange Christmas cards and through the grapevine, I usually knew what she was doing. 

Thanks to facebook we'd reconnected. And I enjoyed our exchanges so much. 

In April, she got pneumonia. Was hospitalized. In the ICU. Bad enough to have her parents come. She was recovering. Her mother went home. One Sunday she was back to posting on facebook and had gone outside to the hospital garden with a friend. The picture of her on Sunday shows her smiling and laughing like always. On Monday she quietly passed away. 

I'm heartbroken for her family.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I've just received news of a friend's passing. Impossible to imagine the world without her lifeforce in it.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's Day Review

Walking the Sheep and Wool Festival knocked me out good on Saturday night. But I woke up nice and early on Sunday. DH showered and shaved and came downstairs fully dressed which is odd for him on a Sunday. He's usually lounging in his pajama pants. And Red Sox or UNH Hockey sweatshirt. I asked if he was going somewhere and he said yes. To get me some bagels and a smear. 

(Daughter in MA and son went to work at 6 a.m.) 

And he took their place and got bagels with my favorite smear, not his, and flowers for me. What a nice guy. 

We contemplated the day. Made a schedule. Threw it away. 

Just lazed around and read the Sunday paper.

Fiddled around on the computer. Went a bought a new grill after son got off work. Red Sox won.

And son made supper. And even went to Red Velvet and bought cupcakes for desert. 

I even managed to stitch a few more letters on my gift. All in all, a good quiet day. 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

I see this listed on Wikipedia as the largest and oldest Sheep and Wool Festival in the country. I don't know if these assertions are correct, but it certainly was a popular place to be yesterday. Women, unsurprisingly, outnumbered men by about 10 to 1. And though there were plenty of families there with children, it's obvious that most women prefer to go here with a group of other women. I did. I went with two of my stitching friends. One of us is an experienced knitter. One wants to learn. And me, I'm more into the crocheting, but want to learn to spin and weave. 

In the barns - the sheep getting sheared or just trimmed are very vocal about the whole process. Makes me wish I lived near a sheep farm as I love to hear them baaahaaaing.

After shearing, some of them sport some colorful coats.

Someone embroidered a Some Sheep sign a la Charlotte's Web. Love it.

Look. It's some sheep.

I asked and was told the stocking was 8 foot 10 inches long. Said it was only meant to be 6 foot, but it kind of grew past the plan.

Good eats just like at any fair. I had a bratwurst with sauerkraut because that's what I wanted. 

There is even musical entertainment.

Okay. I confess. I left without purchasing yarn except for what was in a kit. Hard to resist, but I need to focus on using what I already own. 

Okay. So what did I buy?

A needle felting kit. I couldn't decide between the dragon and the peacock. The dragon won! A small lap weaving frame. Just going to experiment. A crochet hook with instructions for knitting with it. We'll see how that goes. It's probably easier to use knitting needles. And those aren't scissors - it's another curved hemostat. Very handy for pulling needles through tight places.

And then there was the lady with the antique stuff. I think this haul was somewhere around $20. Why buy it? Because I like old stuff and my grandparents worked in the textile mills. And there's even a shoe mold there because I worked in the shoe shop during the summers. (Specifically, I used to work for Timberland back when they actually manufactured stuff in the
U.S. of A.)


Friday, May 06, 2011

I Wish Friday

Today is the day of the week that I wish I had all the things I had planned to do during the week, had gotten done!

Yesterday I started a new project - The Sampler Girl's "By the Ocean with Jane Austen." Title is almost longer than the project. And in keeping with the tradition of stitching with friends in a group, I made a mistake right off the bat and used the wrong color for the lettering. Well, by the time I figured that out last night, I decided I was 20% finished with this project and I'm not frogging anything now. 

I need to get it stitched and made into a pillow quickly as a thank you gift. I can't bring my sewing machine with me to Cape Cod so it needs to be finished by Thursday. Shouldn't be too hard...

For the first time, I'm going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Post #1861

Post #1861 - I tend to correlate these numbers with dates, thus it's the start of the Civil War. Civil war - sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't. I would absolutely hate the English language if I was not a native English speaker. But I am and I love this type of confusion. 

Let's finish our weekend before the next one is upon us:

On Sunday we drove down to Richmond to view the Picasso exhibit before it ends.

Lovely building. Beautiful grounds. And the weather was very cooperative.

Acrylic on fiberglass, title of the piece is Splotch by Sol Lewitt. I love this! I know I've seen another of these pieces, but can't remember where.

Wow. Do they ever have a terrific collection of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The silver buckles were mesmerizing. I can't say how much I love the sun bed made for a French actress.

Well. We were there to see the Picasso exhibit, which we did. The pieces are from the Picasso museum in Paris and most were donated by Pablo or his last wife, Jacqueline. The exhibit spans his entire career and is amazing. No photos allowed, but the above pigeon is a Picasso in the permanent collections.

We also stopped by the Virginia Center for Architecture whose building is known as the House that Pope Built. It's a Tudor style brick building that made me wish I could see more of it inside. Here's a Tudor rose over the front door!

We ended our visit with supper at Kitchen 64 which I can highly recommend if you're looking for a place to eat in Richmond. The mussels were yummy. And the Greek nachos were just too much. That and a couple of Newcastle's and I was all set. What a fun weekend. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sneezy Report

File yesterday under you've-got-a-brain-why-don't-you-use-it? 

In the late afternoon, as they were predicting rain, I decided that I would sweep off the deck. Which meant starting at the top and I lifted my broom to knock all the crap off the umbrella and right on to me. I didn't stop sneezing for a good 30 minutes even though I went straight into the house and washed.  Live and learn is a good theory. Now to practice it and now make that stupid move again. 

I did finish sweeping the deck finally after picking DH up at the Park n Ride. Not good driving while sneezing as you do close your eyes when you sneeze. Fortunately it's a quick trip. The predicted rain has arrived and when it clears later this afternoon I might be able to stand being outside. 

So here are promised photos of sampler progress:

This is Pamela Darney's Pennsylvania German sampler. For this challenge, we were given a chart in sepia and told to put the colors where we wanted them. She planned on us stitching two toned letters, but I put in three and took them out and made them solid. (I've also seen two finished projects which had an effect on this decision.) See all that open space? It gets filled. I'm stitching with one strand of silk on 36ct fabric. And I've been making other decision, too. I'm stitching my DH's initials with eyelets instead of cross stitches.

Color in photo not very good - way too warm. But you'll see more of this one as it progresses.

Here's my progress on R. Le Tellier by Queenstown. I showed Barbara that I was working on this one at the Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting and she went right to the left side to make sure I'd paid attention to the original stitcher's errors in the border. I love this red alphabet.

Now for something completely different:

Yesterday a friend and I went to the framers, i.e. a road trip to visit Clive at the Brit's Gallery. You should go and check out his photo gallery - lots of photos of framed needlework. 

Amanda was bringing in her Stars stitched with Halloween Confetti by Silk n Colours.

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but she stitched a basketweave border around the outside of this piece. There are these little pointy diamondish stitches in the center of the outer border. These are the stitches I decided to eliminate from my version so as not to have a framer swear at me. 
Amanda chose to stitch around them rather than potentially leave open canvas. 

Wow! This is going to so much fun to see framed and hanging! The metal frame is a deep purple. I spent my time admiring the six squares that I haven't stitched yet. Very inspiring!

Not to be left out of the framing fun, I brought my Mirabilia Halloween Fairy in for the treatment. I haven't looked at this since I finished stitching her in 2007. I believe I named her Priscilla. I'll be quite happy to have her hanging up next fall. My first, and thus far, only Mirabilia.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Saturday's Doings

On Saturday, DH and I decided that since we couldn't get tickets this weekend to Fallingwater, we'd go see our local Frank Lloyd Wright house. Obviously this Federal/Adams building isn't it. This is Woodlawn plantation. Built on land given by George Washington to Martha's niece and nephew.

I was trying to talk DH into touring this house, too, but he politely declined. 
From this photo, you might think I was visiting an abandoned building. It's neglected, but not abandoned. If only Woodlawn got a fraction of the financial support that Mt. Vernon gets, it would be in terrific shape.

Just down the hill from the plantation is the Pope Leighey House build in Falls Church in 1940. It's a 1,200 square foot Usonian house. For my readers from NH, the Zimmermann house in Manchester is a slightly larger version of this one. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside.

We decided we could live in this house. We'd definitely need a storage shed. And we'd have to sell/give away a lot of stuff. I'd no longer be cooking anything complicated as the kitchen is tiny! And according to Wright, I wouldn't be able to hang any needlework on the walls. That could be a problem...