Friday, September 15, 2017

It's fall! (yay!)

It really is - the flowers say so!

These are my fall crocus - what delightful things they are!  In the spring, the bulbs put up wide green leaves which die off at the beginning of summer (and then I cut them back), then at the beginning of fall, these delicate, light purple flowers reach up to let me know cool temperatures are on their way.

I love these flowers - not only are they heirloom flowers, but family heirlooms as well!  My grandfather gave bulbs to my father (in the late 40s) and Dad gave some bulbs to me.  So I not only love that these ethereal flowers are the first sign of fall, but also that my family has enjoyed them for at least three generations.  And the very best thing?  The bulbs multiply!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

FFO ... I think

Never got back to my Santa ornament last weekend, but was able to spend some time with him today.  At this point I think he’s finished but haven’t fully made up my mind.  And I dug through my JCS ornament issues to satisfy my curiosity - Santa Star by Lavender Wings was in the 2002 issue, so he was part of the Chartswappers 2003 ornament SAL.  Then I remembered the little notebook where I used to write down all my starts and finishes - started 11/28/03, stitching completed 12/28/03.  He's stitched on a quite stiff 27 count natural linen, over one.

Here's the magazine picture.  You can see I made some changes.

Not sure if he's really finished because I got all excited about putting him together and didn't wait till I'd found all my trims (now not only are they found, but sorted and gathered together into their very own box!).  Had vague thoughts of putting cording around the edge, but might have used this trim with its ribbon of shiny flat gold woven into the green loops if I'd seen it earlier.  Harley's trying to help me decide what to do.

Not positive about the bow, either, but it's just attached with a straight pin thanks to the foamcore.  So what do you think - does he need that other trim or not?


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Working at finishing

I've had this piece stitched for ... I honestly don't know how long as I didn't photograph it once the stitching was complete, but I'm guessing it was from somewhere between 2002 and 2006 since I'm pretty sure it was stitched as part of a Christmas ornament SAL with the now-defunct Yahoo Group Chartswappers.  Of course sharing with you has made me curious, so I'll have to dig back through the JCS ornament issues to find out what year!

For some reason, my heart got set on making this an oval ornament.  Maybe because of the arc made by the juggled stars?  Anyway, had cut posterboard ovals ages ago and put them with the stitched piece but was leery of starting for fear of smooshing everything when gathering the fabric around the form - this is a rather stiff unbleached linen.

Then yesterday I remembered the scraps of foamcore left over from framing Noah.  Yes, the how-to-do-it has been right there all along, waiting for me to figure it out.

Maybe I can finish it today - will certainly be inside all day as it is pouring!  Now if I can just find my box of trims....

How's your holiday weekend - what are you doing for fun?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TUSAL August 2017

Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog will give you a thorough explanation of the Totally  Useless Stitch A-Long.  CLICK HERE for all the details.

My Silly Stitching Calendar says I’ve had only 14 stitching days since the last new moon – that’s because nearly every night last week, the book won out over the stitching bag.   

For some reason, I couldn’t keep from starting Little House Needleworks ornament Season’s Greetings.  I’ve switched out a couple of colors on it, the biggest difference being I’m stitching the frame in bright gold rather than off white.  

What it was designed to look like:

On Jane Turner, I’ve begun filling in the oodles of leaves on the Lady Band and have done the first color on all but one on the left side tree.  So far, they're going quickly (probably shouldn't have said that), but expect progress will slow as I add in the second color.  See the top of the tree trunk with the diagonal green and yellow stripes?  That took far too long to do.

Hope you're all having a lovely week! 


Saturday, August 12, 2017


The double running stitch on Jane Turner’s Lady Band is finished, and I feel a bit like Dr Frankenstein shouting it’s alive!!!  The lady has a head!  The problem is, that’s all she has.  Her body / dress is outlined in chain stitch and I don’t plan to do that until all the (endless) leaves are filled in.

And harrumph, I’ve found another error on the chart.  I really should have learned by now to look at all the pictures before doing major bits of stitching, but apparently I’m untrainable about certain things.  The trees, with all their leaves and fruits and flowers, are charted as a (nearly) perfect mirror image, but Jane didn’t stitch them that way and neither did the model stitcher.  So what did the model stitcher work from if her stitching matches the original sampler rather than the chart?  Oh well, deep breath.  (chanting to self:  adaptation … adaptation … adaptation)

This band has several things in the chart that are not addressed in the written instructions, such as those four light blue blips around the lady (they're actually diamond shaped).  No idea what they’re supposed to be.  And those two odd looking things, the right-side one being right above the caterpillar?  Moths.  Whoever stitched Jane’s “sister” samplers made them clearly moths, while Jane’s look like … odd things.  Since I don’t really care for moths in samplers, mine will just be odd floaty things as well.

ETA:  Apologies for not being clear!  In my sampler, the two sides ARE a mirror image, but on Jane’s original and on the model, the right side is different.  Blissfully unaware of this, I stitched the double running stitch as charted, but the chart doesn’t match the model or the original sampler. 

In the picture below, Jane’s original is on the left, the model in the center and my Jane is on the right.  Look at the areas inside the ridiculously bright green ovals.  In the original and the model, there’s a fruit at the bottom and two good-sized leaves at the top, but on mine, there’s a fruit at the bottom with little leaves attached to it and a second fruit at the top - definitely not the same!
(end of added bit)

Haven’t shown the entirety for a while so thought I’d share at this point.  Jane measures 17 1/2 inches from the top row of stitching to the bottom of the Lady Band - getting big!

Hope you all get lots of stitching time this weekend!


Monday, July 24, 2017

TUSAL July 2017

Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog will give you a thorough explanation of the Totally Useless Stitch A-Long.  CLICK HERE for all the details.

My Silly Stitching Calendar says I’ve had 18 stitching days since the last TUSAL check in.  I’m quite pleased about that since there was a long weekend where I didn’t even touch my stitching bag because Daughter was visiting.

Been working solely on Jane Turner, filling in some bits on band 10 and then working on the double-running outlines for band 11, aka the Lady Band.

Next time I hope there will actually be a lady in the Lady Band!

Hope you had a good weekend and that your week's going well so far.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Finished ... again (x 2)

Band 10 of Jane Turner is finished - again.  I'd posted a picture of the completed band a while back, and then discovered that a couple of things had been left out of the instructions (boohiss), said discovery making the band unfinished.  Here it is with the flower bud thingies under the sunflower-ish flowers filled in.

This was actually done a while ago, but I was dealing with the Great Photobucket Annoyance (otherwise known as the we-won't-show-your-pictures-on-your-blog-anymore-unless-you-pay-us ransom demand).  All pictures have now been retrieved and dropped into posts courtesy of Blogger's editor (so easy!  who knew?), and there should no longer be any ugly notices in past posts.    


Friday, June 30, 2017

Well, that stinks

So the online photo storage site I've used for 15 years or more has just decided they will no longer host pictures I want to add to my blog and have put up ugly blocks on them all.

My apologies for the unsightliness - I now need to figure out what to do and move all my pictures. (grumble grumble grumble)

Looks like Blogger's editor will let me drag and drop - certainly simpler than adding HTML coding, but does anyone do that?


Thursday, June 29, 2017


Yesterday I printed the two pictures of the Lady Band that were in my previous post *LINK*, from the stitched reproduction model and from Jane’s very own sampler. Printed 'em nice and big so I could refer to them while stitching (hey, the supplied picture doesn’t offer a lot of detail).

Uh oh.

TWO uh ohs.

The first one is annoying, but truly not terrible. Here’s a small bit of both the reproduction model and the original sampler, showing part of the band I finished last week. Picture’s fuzzy because I’ve blown it up so much, but it's easy enough to see the problem. Look at the green arrow on the snippet of my Jane below it. See that bit that I didn’t fill in, but *is* filled on the model and the original?

Guess what’s NOT in the (densely typed, poorly punctuated, very stream-of-consciousness, single paragraph for each band) instructions. Grumble. So ... that band was complete. And now it’s not.

And that really bugs me and makes me feel like I cheated in starting the next band (yeah, pretty dumb, right?).

The other issue makes me feel a bit ill. Look at my leaf the red arrow points to – see how the satin stitches are diagonal to the weave of the ground fabric? The instructions have nothing to say about what direction those stitches should go in, but before filling the first leaves way back in band 2, I looked and looked and looked at the supplied picture to try to figure it out. And it looked to me like those satin stitches went diagonally.

There are several leaves in the Lady Band that have narrower segments than ones I’ve already stitched – they're so skinny that I couldn't figure out how diagonal satin stitches would fit. So when I printed the pictures, I zoomed in really close to see how they were stitched.


Apparently ALL the leaves on the original - and the model - are filled with satin stitches that run vertically and horizontally, meeting at the center line of each leaf. You can see that in this picture from the model. It's harder to see on the original sampler, but those leaves the same.

I’m not tearing out the dozens of leaves I’ve stitched. Thought about it for maybe three seconds. Nope, not doing it. So now I’m back to trying to figure out how to stitch the leaves with the really narrow sections. Maybe the best thing is to change those four leaves a little bit so I could fill them in a way that matches the rest of my leaves?



Saturday, June 24, 2017

TUSAL June 2017

Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog will give you a thorough explanation of the Totally Useless Stitch A Long. CLICK HERE for all the details.

No posts in an entire (lunar) month? Rats. And the Silly Stitching Calendar says there have been only 11 stitching days since the last TUSAL check in.

I keep writing and backspacing here, undoing what I’ve typed because it sounds like Jay Stewart describing what’s behind Door Number One (sigh). Two piles of orts this month as there were several of days I just was not up to stitching on Jane.

Band 10 of Jane Turner is finished. It’s a little different with the couched centers of those flowers, a technique that does not appear elsewhere on the sampler. And I can’t help wondering why Jane didn’t fill in those other leaves….

The next band is the one with the trees and the lady and I’m excited to start on it – my needle’s at the first stitch and all ready to go! To whet your appetite a bit, here’s a view that band in the Essamplaire’s reproduction (with apologies to Stitching With Kittens for snagging from her blog as I couldn’t find a similar shot elsewhere), and then again from what I believe is Jane’s own sampler. Pretty, no?

The other orts came from work on the border vine on Catherine Theron’s 1840 Town House Sampler, which has now rambled down both sides and is ready to go across the bottom … and it lines up – always a relief. Am debating whether to stitch the berries (? rosebuds?) in Smyrna cross or perhaps Algerian eye with one thread – just so it’s a bit more interesting. Where it was last time I showed you, and where it is now:


Saturday, May 27, 2017

TUSAL May 2017

Check Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog for a thorough explanation of the Totally Useless Stitch A Long. CLICK HERE for all the details.

Rather a modest pile of orts this month:

The Silly Stitching Calendar says I stitched a mere dozen days since the last TUSAL check in. Phooey.

All orts this month are from Jane Turner. Band 9 is complete (and those blue flowers were just as much of a pain in the neck in band 9 as they were in band 7), and all the outlining is complete for band 10. Need to fill in leaves and petals and grape-like flowers with satin stitch, and then fill the large flower centers using couching. Have only done couching in a straight line prior to this, so spiraling to fill the circle may be a bit challenging.

Here’s a peek at bands 9 and 10.

I'm getting excited about the next big band coming up as it's the lady band!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

TUSAL April 2017

Check Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog for an explanation of the Totally Useless Stitch A Long. CLICK HERE for all the details.

Lots of orts! *TWO* piles of orts this month!

And the Silly Stitching Calendar says I’ve actually stitched (as opposed to just *thinking* about stitching) 17 days since the last TUSAL check in.

Because I completed Jane Turner’s band 8, I allowed myself a new start on something simple. Out of my Other Stitching Bag (which has at least a dozen projects kitted up), I chose to begin Catherine Theron’s 1840 Town House Sampler – a kit I bought from the Gentle Arts/Theron Traditions booth at the 1992 Spirit of Cross Stitch Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York. Why yes, I believe in letting my stitching projects age, sort of like a fine wine (ha!). Anyway, here’s what it looks like. Picture's a bit fuzzy, but you get the general idea, right?

And here’s my start:

Wow – after months of working on 35 count, the 28 count linen for this piece seems huge! It almost feels like I don’t need the cheaters to see it (but yeah, I really do). Interesting tidbit in case you've never taken a class with her: Catherine Theron likes to use big needles. That’s probably an oversimplification, but I remember she really stressed using the appropriate size needle for your fabric, not just automatically reaching for a 26 no matter what the project is. So packaged with that kit was a size 24 needle. I will admit it “fits” the fabric nicely, but at first it felt like I was waving a baseball bat around!

I posted the other day about finishing Jane Turner Band 8 – still doing happy little bounces about that. Here’s Jane in her current entirety – all the outlining on Band 9 is complete and I’m working on the satin stitch filling.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Band 8, band 8!

Jane Turner’s band 8 is finished! (happydance!)

Well, it’s aactually been finished for about a week and a half – have done a bit of respite stitching on an easy project and am now back to working on Jane. Just didn’t have enough oomph to post. Someone else said something very similar in the last week and I really meant to comment…. I blame my lethargy on springtime!

Now I need to ask you all – when your chart and the photo of what you’re stitching disagree, which do you tend to follow? See the blue and the cream satin stitches filling in the links of that chain thing? Chart said all sections were to be blue but in the finished sampler in the photo provided with the kit, the stitcher definitely alternated the blue and cream.

The only photos I’ve been able to find of the original sampler don’t provide enough detail to let me know whether Jane used one color or two (aside: not really sure why I worry – periodically - about accurately reproducing what Jane did since I’ve changed several colors [one of them twice] and also elected to stitch one section so it fulfilled my penchant for symmetry rather than having the left and right sides be different colors). But considering the number of errors I’ve found in the chart, I decided to use both the blue and cream.

Okay, I’ll admit that I also thought it would look better if not all those bits were blue.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TUSAL March 2017

Need to find out what TUSAL means? Check Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog. CLICK HERE for all the details.

Stitching this month was solely on Jane Turner, still working on Band 8. Got a fair amount accomplished, even though the ort pile is puny.

Now I’m going to cheat a bit. Most of this lunar month’s stitching was in trellis stitch, where you cannot end your thread within a row – only at one end or the other. So when there wasn’t enough thread for another row, I was cutting off several inches at least – far too much to consider an ort and certainly a lot of those bits will be used elsewhere in the sampler. So, here are my non-ort snippets.

The Silly Stitching Days Calendar has 9 check marks since the last TUSAL report. Too bad there aren’t more weekend days each month!

Now, how is Jane looking? First, a peek at the doodle cloth – practicing Montenegrin diagonally and then turning from that to horizontal stitching. Thank goodness for Amy Mitten’s autopsy book!! Also practiced switching back and forth between two colors.

Jane Turner, Band 8 – truly only a bit of progress since my last post.

Happy stitching, all!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Snakes are done

I know that sounds a bit odd - I promise I'm not cooking them! That’s what the S-shaped motifs are called in the stitching instructions. Am I being thick and “snake” is the accepted designation for this shape on old samplers?

Anyway, the snakes are all filled in, and they were the last places where I had to work trellis stitch on this band. I was really worried as the shape was rather skinny and the instructions call for two rows in each of three colors where it felt like there was room for maybe three rows total, but was able to make them tiny enough to fit. It’s funny – looking at them and comparing the two, I thought one looked far better than the other, but seeing the picture I'm not so sure. What do you all think?

The sort of barber pole thing at the bottom turned out fairly well, though I’m not completely happy with how the blue looks a bit wonky.

But the trellis is done (yay!).

Frustrating thing about trellis: it’s a knotted stitch, so is basically impossible to frog. At one point I took out the two stitches I’d just done and nearly ruined the thread, which would have meant snipping out the entire row – this is not a forgiving stitch. Thank goodness for the little blue box of Stitch Heaven!

All of band 8 so far:

My doodle cloth is ready and waiting for diagonal Montenegrin practice!

Hope your week’s going well.


Thursday, March 9, 2017


Last weekend was great! I took Friday off as a mental health day and after we ran a few errands that morning, Wonderful Husband encouraged me to stitch. A lot! He also encouraged me to spend a fair amount of time stitching on both Saturday and Sunday so I made good progress on Jane Turner – all the spiral trellis bumps are finished (woohooo!) and I really got going on the sections filled with plain trellis.

Oh, and those spiral bumps are all in the charted colors - gray petals, dark green petals, yellow-green centers. Don't really look much like flowers now, do they? Oh well...

Also made a discovery: had thought it important to keep tension quite loose for plain vanilla trellis, but after looking at Mary Corbet’s video (LINK) a couple of times, it was clear that my stitches were too loose and my trellis rows overly large. Was tempted to clip and remove the pale blue leaves but then decided that could be hazardous to the outlining so I’ve let the slightly sloppy leaves be.

Got it right in this part right – making smaller stitches and pulling them tighter (though not nearly as tight as in the spirals). Doesn’t it look cool? Uh, all but the one stitch that's out of kilter about in the middle of that bottom diagonal.

Remember my lost needle? Thought you might be amused to see it. This is also a compare-and-contrast picture – the needle on the left is my favorite, well-used, slightly bent, old DMC needle. The one in the middle is a Colonial brand (what my former LNS sold after the DMC ones stopped being good) and the one on the right is a Lance needle from Wyndham Needleworks (defunct online LNS in case you don’t know it – though they are selling some recently discovered stock on ebay and I plan to contact them to ask about needle availability).

Anywho, can you see the difference in the size – especially the width – of the eyes? Somehow the photo doesn’t make the difference appear as drastic as when I’m holding them – seems a huge difference when I’m threading or stitching.


Monday, February 27, 2017

TUSAL - February 2017

The explanation for the Totally Useless Stitch A Long is at Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog. CLICK HERE for all the details.

This month’s orts are (again) all from Jane Turner since I haven’t yet finished Band 8.

Not as many days checked off on my silly stitching days calendar this month - only 9, but that's not too bad.

Working on slow stuff right now – tricky or complicated stitching that demands a lot of focus. It’s pretty cool to watch the spiral trellis “bumps” take shape. I’ve only done two rows on the lower one, but you can see the spiral lines forming.

See those orangey flower things on each side of the in-process spiral? I think it’s very cool the way the two squares make a center with points all around it, but that detail is all going to be lost – the center gets a spiral trellis bump, and then every other petal gets filled with spiral trellis also. Some of them in rather odd colors.

It’s tempting to change those in some way - such as misreading the symbol in some of those petals. ;) Then I could stitch them in the peach color rather than the very grayish light taupe - the symbols *are* quite similar. And my Jane is already an adaptation rather than a reproduction as I’ve changed a couple of the thread colors because they couldn’t be seen on the ground fabric. But the rule-following “do bee” in me can be hard to shout down. Ah, well. Will see what fancy strikes when I start stitching the petals.

Band 8:


Probably would have had more progress if I hadn’t lost my needle last weekend and spent hours since looking for it. One of my favorite needles (of course), the *old* DMC brand with the very skinny eye that holds threads snugly instead of letting them slip out every time you tug just a bit. Seems they’re no longer made ... or not made that way anymore – phooey.

Dug through the thread box, carefully went through all the pages in my pattern folder, and the stitchy bag, and every bit of clothing I was wearing. Gingerly slipped my hand into the crevice between the chair arm and seat. Repeated all steps above three ... or four or even five times. Ran the vacuum thoroughly listening for that telltale pting! Nothing. Have I mentioned I’ve never lost a needle? Pins yes, needles, nope – always searched until I found ‘em. But that might just be because if I left ‘em, I would certainly find them later – in my foot!

After spending all my stitching time searching for the AWOL needle, I finally, reluctantly concluded the thing had been eaten by the chair or turned into smoke. Failure – ugh.

What practically jumped out of the thread box the first time I opened it yesterday? Yeah, guess my slightly bent, missing needle had had enough vacation. Sigh.

Happy stitching, all!