Friday, September 30, 2011

Molehill to Mountain

For the past few days I've been trying to work on From Molehill to Mountain. I pulled it out of the dark corner where it had been resting and have been stitching and ripping and stitching again. 

Here's the progress on my second square. I am happy with it, but may rip the light pink triangle and make it slightly darker. 

I set myself quite a task when I picked black canvas and a double complimentary color scheme. 

For those interested in acquiring this, go to the Scarlet Thread.  Under Products, you'll find FMTM Needleworks which is where you can purchase Pam's pattern. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Morning Musings

I should be at my EGA chapter meeting right now. But this morning I had a bloody nose that didn't want to end. Right when I decided it was time to give up and go to Urgent Care, it stopped. But the entire experience was just totally gross. 

I've finally managed to drink some coffee and am feeling fine. 

As I was reading blogs this morning, Rachel at what looks like crazy on an ordinary day was musing about her her potential hoarding problem. Now I know many us have this impending issue. Lots of stuff and we can't seem to resist adding more to our growing piles. I've got all my "stuff" corralled into one room which makes me feel better to not have it in stacked in corners all over the house. But there's still too much stuff in there to keep organized and have working space. 

Given my issues with startitis, I jumping on this bandwagon for 2012 - WIPocalypse   with Measi.

A few years ago I did a year of not allowing myself to start a new project without finishing an old one. I'm going to follow that rule again. 

I'm still hoping that I might be able to finish my Crazy January 15 for this year. But time is passing quickly. 

Speaking of time passing quickly, I've been home from Florida exactly 8 days and it feels like forever. Maybe it's the lack of sunshine here in Virginia. 
Here's some pics from my last night in Florida. All these clouds and it never rained.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Monday/Tuesday Class @ Seminar

When choosing classes for Seminar you can get your knickers twisted. I knew I wanted to take one of Susan Goodman's classes. And I really loved her lighthouse. But my first choice of class with Marsha Papay-Gomola interfered with the lighthouse. I could have taken Marsha's tropical beaded box, but I knew I'd be way out of my league in that class. I've had two ornament sized stumpwork classes. That's it. And neither ornament is completely finished. So because I opted to take Marsha's second class, "Exotic Accessories" I had no choice but to take Susan's "Life is a Beach."

We spent the morning learning how to transfer photos on to congress cloth. And then we painted! So much fun! Some of us were random and some of us were painstakingly persnickety in applying our paints. I went the random route with just a hint of planning.

The rest of our class time was spent stitching. From how to create the background to how to stitch the trees. And a very fun lesson in basketweave thanks to Cindy! I've made some progress on this one past what this photo shows. But I've put it away for now. I want to stitch on this in winter when it's cold and snowy and it can help me dream of warm tropical beaches!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In the Groove

I sit here having tried to get back into a stitching groove but am failing hopelessly because my stomach just doesn't feel right. Don't know what did it, but no one else here is suffering. 

What a waste of perfectly good time. 

My inspiration for getting back in the groove is my From Mountain to Molehill. I'd show you a progress pic but I just spent 30 minutes ripping out most of my progress. Not a surprise on this piece as I am creating the color scheme as I go. With each block I've been drawing a diagram in my notebook and noting what I'd like in each area. I did make some major decisions on this yesterday and then dove headfirst to the second square. And then right away started having misgivings. 

Finished the first part of area 4 and decided to move on to area 7 to see how these two triangles were going to work together. Finished area 7 earlier today and then decided it all had to come out. If I feel better later, I'll make a new attempt. If not, then tomorrow. 

I'm struggling to catch up on this piece. And really hate unstitching, but I'll be happier in the end.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another Shopping Opportunity from Florida

When I set up my final class schedule I decided to go for the full on tire yourself out experience. I had classes Sunday-Friday. Saturday was my only "free" day. So after volunteering for bag check and quick trip myself through the bookstore, boutique, and exhibit I thought I'd go check out the local Needlepoint store that was about six miles from the hotel. (Don't worry. I had a car.) I had been given a head's up by a friend. But she didn't rave about it enough.

First, a disclaimer. They close at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. I arrived about 2:30.

Missing the store was kind of bothering me. So I ran out at lunchtime on Wednesday and was not disappointed for my effort. This place rates a huge WOW! For a fiber junkie this place is truly paradise. A room for wool and wool blends. A room for silks. Many, many rooms. And a very happy raucous stitching group occupying the large room. Place was just a joy.

This is a needlepoint pincushion that gets fitted into the shell. Way cute and it just had to come home with me. That said. I had to wonder why a local store that took out a full page in the seminar booklet didn't show up for Merchandise Mania or run a shuttle from the hotel. I guess they're doing well enough. But it seemed like a squandered opportunity to me.

Photo taken from just outside the bar overlooking the pools. Proof that sunshine exists. Which is good because I'm beginning to wonder back here in Virginia.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shopping Experiences at Seminar

Cathy and her crew at the Golden Needle in Port Charlotte did a fantastic job running the Boutique. This is the one store I always visit when I go to see my Mom in Florida. It's two stories of fun! Opening day I think was a bit overwhelming and they were having credit card problems. But other than a little extra time dealing with that it was always a treat to go into the Boutique. 

They had a few special items available for purchase. Here's a Teresa Layman knot kit. Everything included for finishing. Provide your own DMC. I brightened up the colors on mine and decided I would use this piece to master the Colonial Knot. I find French Knots simple to stitch, Colonials always confuse me. I've started my outline. You might not be able to tell, but inside the flamingo's body are the letters "EGA." Also how adorable is that little thread holder. There's a toothpick in photo for size comparison.

One of my finds Merchandise Mania night. This is a Joan Thomasson angel from her Fun Angels series. I know own the three that I love the most - this one is the Fallen Angel. Fifi LaFleur I bought from someone. And The Merry Widow I found at the Quarter Stitch in New Orleans last fall. Now to find the time to stitch them all!

In this photo some more exclusives:  Puffin & Co. designed some scissor holders and needle minders with mermaids and flamingos. Erica Michael's did a silk gauze kit that came with finishing materials also. The bag on the right was filled with things including the Alice Peterson piece. I bought this from Stitchers' Paradise, a shop outside of Miami. These are all on a stitchers' lap cloth that was our opening banquet favor. My favorite things here are those two spools of gold thread. I've been casually looking for TIRE silk sewing thread from Japan for a while now. Happy to have it and will be putting it to good use very soon! 

This is a kit that I purchased from Cindy Valentine for her needlebook that was in Needlepoint Now a few months ago. Where did my magazine go? It's not in my bookcase. Uh oh. Something else missing.

As you can see there are plenty of shopping opportunities and I took full advantage. I could have really smoked the credit cards when I hit the Tanya Berlin and Marsha Papay-Gomola booths, but I didn't. Next year, I'll be prepared!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting Back

Loretta got back and found she had some work to do. Dishes in the sink. Counters needed disinfecting. House still needs vacuuming. Etc. 

So consequently Loretta hasn't got back to stitching yet.

But packages mailed from Florida arrived yesterday, so today there are photos!

Let's start with the tote I forgot to show you before I left. My fears about the stiffness of the canvas were realized. I tacked the upper two corners and used heavyweight Thermobond on the rest. Took a good bit of ironing from the inside of the bag to get it attached. In fact, it got rather hot inside the bag and the whole process took longer than I thought. But it stayed attached on both flights as this was my carry-on and I took it to class every day! Now I have my own personal reminder of this experience. 

Part of the seminar experience is Ruth Kern's traveling bookstore. Funny how everyone wants to volunteer for this job! I visited this every day as it was in the back of the exhibition hall. The first day the exhibit opened I worked bag check. A number of people either looked in the hall, or went in and came out and asked me where the bookstore was. Go back in and all the way to the back. A very popular venue at Seminar. 

 First day I bought the Casalguidi book. I had borrowed my friend Anne's copy so I knew I wanted this one and didn't have to think twice. Also that day I bought the Freeform Embroidery book and Autopsy of the Montenegrin Stitch and saw that Gary Clarke's Embroidery Illusions was already sold out. Now that I'm home I'll find Gary's book online. 

The Freeform book is brand new. The concept is good. The photos are great. But I felt there was a bit of padding to get to the number 200. 

Amy Mitten's Autopsy book is fantastic if you're a counted thread freak. This is her new edition published this year. She explains two ways to work the stitch and gives every possible variation for turning corners and going on diagonals. I will never have to suffer again working out how to work certain charts. Made me want to sit right down and start designing a piece based on the stitch. If you want to see inside the book, go to her website and look here

 On Thursday I picked up Audrey Francini's book on Soft Shading as recommended by Marsha Papay Gomola and also the Royal School of Needlework's Stumpwork book. As I continue my explorations in surface embroidery, I am going to be referring to this book often!

On Friday morning during break, I ran back to the bookstore one last time before it closed. Because I had that $50 gift certificate that I had won the night before. And picked up Ruth Chamberlin's Beginner's Guide to Goldwork and the Maryland sampler book. 

Goldwork is my next challenge and I signed up for a class already. And the Maryland sampler book was not yet available when we visited the exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society a few years ago. This copy of the book cost me significantly less than what I would have paid back then. That exhibit was fantastic and I had great time visiting it with friends from the online world. 

This is all I have time for this a.m. Loretta has to hit the kitchen and put some food in the slow cooker. 

And it's back to Thursday morning stitching group! I've missed two weeks and it feels like forever.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tampa International

Am sitting here in the business center at Tampa Int'l waiting for my flight home. 

First a big thank you to my best friend who I so smartly married 27 years ago for not objecting to my being away from home for 12 days. Smooches, darlin.

A few of you who are also on facebook know my win steak continued past Seminar. I cleared $68 from the video slots place and $50 from bingo with my Mom. Will run by the store and buy lottery tix in Virginia when I arrive. Hey. Someone's got to win and I seem to be on a roll. Did I mention that I won a door prize also the first day of classes? LOL

I know plenty of people who consider EGA membership and things like Seminar and decide it's too expensive. I will never, ever agree with that. 

I had 2 one-day classes and 2 two-day classes and thus was exposed to four different world-class teachers. Kits, fees, registration, banquets, etc. cost me $900. I agree that's a large sum. But you don't need to do this every single year. (Though if you go once, you will want to go again. In the worst way.) Nor do you need to take four classes. Or stay for the entire Seminar. There are ways of making it cheaper. Does your region sponsor a scholarship? Save your pennies for a while. It all adds up. 

This was definitely an experience worth having. 

When I get home I will write in more detail about the things I did and saw. And here's a shout out to Carol, who came and introduced herself to me by showing me my blog header on her phone and asking if that was me! That's not the first time this has happened to me and it's always a thrill when it does! I'll be looking for your pieces at Woodlawn in March 2012, Carol!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today Only Got Cooler

That's me posing with Patty who made this fabulous purse that I am holding. Because I won our Region's opportunity basket tonight!!!

So that's the purse, hand-carved bellpull hardware, two bracelets, one with matching earrings, a beaded brooch, and 6 gift certificates to places like Nordic Needle and Salty Yarns and Ruth Kern's books. Like woah! 

Now I'm all excited and may never get to sleep tonight!

No Photos of my Own, But...

A photo of my work from Wednesday's class is on the EGA blog. 

Go here.

Scroll down.

The teacher, Gary Clarke, dressed in black, is standing in front of me in one photo. The next photo labeled "student work" is mine!

Cool beans!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please Note New Blog

Somewhere over there on the side I have added the EGA Blog. They have been trying to post photos of Seminar day by day. If you read back a few posts you can also see information and photos about the International Embroidery Conference, too, that was held right before the start of Seminar. 

I realize I haven't been giving much detail, etc. 

It's because I'm darn tired. By Friday I'm expecting to be dragging. But it's still just so much fun seeing and talking with all these stitchers and teachers. 

Last night was Merchandise Mania! This little event is the only Seminar related activity I have ever done before (at Stitching in the Rye in New York in 2001 I believe was the year - nearly got trampled at that when they opened the doors.)

Fifty tables of designs and vendors of all sorts. I bought a few things, including the Joan Thomasson kit of the Fallen Angel, which was the one I was looking for. Also Kay Stanis had TIRE thread for couching goldwork - another thing I have been looking for a long time. I operated with cash, but nearly drug out the credit cards for Tanya Berlin and Marsha Papay Gomola's things. I resisted only because I couldn't make up my mind.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


But first the weather report.

Sunny and hot. With humidity in the 90% range. 
Possibilities of afternoon showers.

Well. Someone got rain, but it wasn't us!

My first class was Sunday morning with Lynn Payette. This is Alexander Alligator. He eats, um, holds a pair of scissors. We spent the morning learning to iron. And not one of us needed the tube of Iron Off that the teacher brought to class. The left side is where his mouth and eyes will be which makes the right side his tail. The finishing demo looked easy. Let's hope it is!

Monday and Tuesday I have been living on the beach with Susan Goodman. This is called Life is a Beach. The first morning we spent learning to iron and painting. Hmm. I see a common theme here.

This class was tons of fun. We were a smaller group than my Sunday class and everyone had a blast. I do not think the photo does this justice. 

Tomorrow I have a class with Gary Clarke from Australia. This should be a very interesting class. If you don't know who he is, you can see his book here, Embroidery Illusions. 

Seminar Update

I am beginning to think that if I was having any more fun in Florida, than this couldn't possibly be legal. I am enjoying every single moment, every second, every nanosecond!

I started Saturday morning by volunteering at the bag check. Because I have a strong desire to give back. Most people want to do the fun jobs, like volunteer at the bookstore so they get to see all the goodies. But you know what? even the bag check is fun. You get to see a lot of people and chat with them. And if it's slow you can sit and stitch. 

After that I visited Ruth Kern's traveling bookstore and the exhibits. And then the boutique. You all know my weaknesses. I found three books at the bookstore that I felt needed a change a scenery and they will relocating to Virgina. And maybe I found a few things at the boutique, too. This year the boutique is being run by Cathy and her helpers from the Golden Needle in Port Charlotte. I was there and talked to her last March. I'm sure her perspective on Seminar is totally different from mine! I was hoping to get to Needlepoint in Paradise that afternoon, but they close at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays!

First sign you see as you leave the hotel. But I did not see an alligator.

Instead I saw this fine fellow! About four inches across right over my head. I bet tons of people walk under it every day.

The view looking north at the beach.

Sunset past the palms Monday evening. 

For photos of things I cannot take photos of - go here:  EGA Blog

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The View from Up Here

Yesterday I picked up my roommate, my friend Barbara, from the airport at Ft. Myers and we drove to the hotel in Naples. We checked in and got to our room on the 10th floor with a view of the Gulf. 

We unpacked and got settled in and registered. Had dinner. Did a little shopping at the local grocery store. Somehow we managed to kill a lot of time. I only stitched two little letters on a piece before bedtime, but I did get to stitch.
This is sunrise off our balcony. The weather is perfectly atrocious. Nineties with high humidity. I walked through the mangrove swamp (on a boardwalk, I'm not that silly) this morning to get to the beach. I was dripping with sweat by the time I got back to the hotel at 9:30 a.m. For the past two days that I've been in Florida it has clouded by sunset and either rained and seriously  threatened rain. 

See the A & B? That's my stitching from last night. At least now I finish the border across the top without having to count the entire way. This is one on my Crazy January projects. I did leave the Quaker sampler at home. I can be strong.

Monday, September 05, 2011


WTF, blogger?!?

I just attempted to publish a post and it disappeared. And apparently in this new format I have chosen to work with, there is no automatic saving because it isn't in my drafts. 

So here is a greatly condensed version.

I've got a cold which includes a headache. 

I apologize for not posting. 

And will I feel better before I have to fly on Thursday? 

Stay tuned for further developments.