Monday, December 5, 2016

And The Finishing Becomes A Frenzy

I took a few days off stitching for my husband's surgery and post-op care.

But the mood is still upon me and I hope to get all the flat ornaments in the finishing basket done before it dissipates.  Who knows, I may even get all the pin cushions done as well!

I have moved on to The Celtic Beasties.

2 Snakes [No Heads] - Positive.  This can do double duty as a Celtic Knot for St. Patrick's Day.

2 Snakes [No Heads] - Negative.  This can do double duty as a Celtic Knot for St. Patrick's Day.

                                                               Polybus. aka Octopus


                                                  Celtic Cross - Halloween Colorway

I've prepped the boards for 5 more ornaments, as well.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Giveaway Winner

Calamity Jr. is this month's winner.  I was pleased that her name came up as she is a frequent commenter on the blog.  I feel we have become cyber-friends.  I hope she enjoys the charts as much as I did.

I'll be e-mailing her later today.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Little More Finishing

A few more Prairie Schooler Year Rounds:  Unless otherwise shown. backing fabrics are solid colors  matching the design.

January: Crescent Moon and Star.  Finished as a round flat ornament with a beaded edge.

February: Heart in Hand.  Finished as a flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

March: Shamrock.  Finished as a flat ornament with a beaded edge..

April: Rabbit and Tulip.Finished as a flat ornament trimmed with home made cord and beaded hanger.

May: Bird on a Branch.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with home made cord .

June: Flower Basket.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

July: Patriotic Quilt Star.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

September  School House.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

October.  See previous post.

November.  Turkey.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

December: Santa.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

And Homespun Elegance Country Spirits.

And, I prepared the boards for three more ornaments.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Gathering all those smalls charts for the giveaway put me in the mood to finish a few of the little suckers.

This is Country Cottage Needleworks Sunflower Sampler finished as a flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

Morning Glory Designs Friendship Tree finished as a flat ornament and trimmed with home made cord.

Crossed Wing Collection Hummingbird finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with dark green and lavender beads.

Prairie Schooler Year Rounds: October finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with dark green ans dark amber beads.

I also prepped enough discs to assemble 6 more Prairie Schooler Year Rounds tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Procrastation ...

... is my besetting sin.  I have finally gotten my last two giveaways packed up and ready for mailing and my husband will take them to the post office tomorrow.  So, naturally. I had to fill the void with yet another giveaway.

I often think of winter as the season of smalls.  I am not entirely certain why.  We had our first snow early Monday morning and I was inspired to put together another giveaway: this time all smalls.  Most of these are commercial charts but some are ancient freebies while a few others are exclusive bonus charts from classes I have attended.  To enter, leave a comment explaining why you like smalls. One winner will take the lot, 18 charts in all.

Here's the list:

Beary Merry Christmas 2013
Bent Creek Swirlygig
By the Bay  Slow Down
Country Cottage  Sunflower Sampler
Crossed Wing Collection Sept 1999 free chart: Hummingbird
DMC Valentine Heart
Morning Glory Needleworks Friendship Tree
Morning Glory Needleworks Buttoned Heart Pincushion
Flower Thread Mini Sampler
Jeanette Douglas Christmas Tree
Prairie Schooler American Primitive
Prairie Schooler Prairie Year Rounds
Rosewood Manor Deep Roots
Rosewood Manor  Welcome to Spring
Samplers and Such Bitty Baskets: ABC Sampler
Sue Donnelly The Best Ship
Sue Donnelly Kindred Spirits
Sue Hillis First Steps

Monday, November 21, 2016


I have been working pretty steadily on Follow Me.  

I will be frogging the first line of text and moving it three stitches to the right.  I realize one doesn't expect symmetry in a primitive design but this is way too off center for me.  I thought I'd leave it while I stitched the wings and seen if I could live with it.  Alas. I can not.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


First, the winner is Bea.  She revealed that she has discovered the joys of Halloween stitching only recently.  As a result, I am inclined to legitimize her status as a Halloween lover with a reasonable stash.  I have even thrown in a bonus chart in addition to the 10 listed, Stacy Nash Primitive Hallows Eve.  Enjoy, Bea!

I also need to apologize for not participating in the Halloween Blog Hop as planned.  I spent the morning at the opthamologist's office where I was given a needle in the eye - not quite the Trick or Treat activity I had expected.  The rest of the day was spent in dim light with cold compresses and regular applications of artificial tears.

I started my last Halloween project of the year today: Primitive Needle's Follow Me.  At present I've just stitched the base, one side border and a bit of the inscription..

I did finish Hallows Eve which I stitched on Belfast linen in natural Flax, using Pure Palette silks.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Small Finish and a New Start

                                              Brightneedle's The House on Boonerry Lane

                                                    Stacy Nash Primitive's Hallows Eve

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Latest WIP

The House On Booberry Lane
The damp chill in the air still has my hands sore and arthritic.  So I am continuing to amuse myself  with very simple cross stitch pieces for the moment.  [Sorry, Martha!]  This whimsical little Halloween piece from Brightneedle fits the bill.

For the most part, I have used Pure Palette silks left over from Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie.  I consulted my handy dandy DMC color chart to make sure my substitutions remained true to the original concept.  I made a few changes, replacing the charted upper story windows with one more to my liking.  If I had it to do over, I'd eliminate that odd little cat flap [?] in the lower left corner of the house.With only the border to finish and some leaves, pumpkins and a black cat to stitch, I'll need another project soon.

If the damp chill and the accompanying stiffness in my hands subsides, it'll be back to the Lady Washington Sampler.  If not, I'll probably work on Primitive Needle's All Hallow's Eve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trick or Treat

Actually, it's more a case of performing a trick to win treat upon treat upon treat.  I have put together a package of Halloween and Fall charts that I have stitched.  I will mail the entire package to one lucky reader.  The drawing will take place on Halloween.

The charts included are:

Brightneedle's House On Booberry Lane
Counted Illuminations' The Goblin Market.
Cricket Collection's The Great Pumpkin Conspiracy
Fanci That's Fall Friend
Hands To Work's Harvest Blooms
Homespun Elegance's Country Spirits: Birds and Bees
Homespun Elegance's Country Spirits: Season's Retreats
Ink Circles' Celtic Beasties: Halloween or Knot
Jeanette Douglas Designs' Halloween Acorn House
La-D-Da Something Wicked

Please leave a comment noting why you enjoy stitching Halloween projects.  I will choose the winner based on the comment that tickles my fancy the most.  Hints:  I am a former English teacher, so eloquent prose always impresses.  But, then, I have a quirky sense of humor, so doggerel rhyme also pleases.    I also spent a few years teaching art, so imaginative use of graphics would be interesting.  I am something of a people watcher, so  write something that displays your personality to best advantage.  Unleash your imagination.  Express your inner flower child.  Go a little crazy.  Please.

I know it is rather arrogant to demand to be entertained in this manner.  But it has been a dreary week both on a personal front and on a weather front.  Like Emma at Box Hill, I need diversion.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Trio Complete

The Mermaid is finished, completing the trio.   I used some odds and ends pf floss and fabric to stitch this: a little Needle Necessities, a little Splendor, a little Threadworx and a scrap of evenweave.  I like to have a few small designs stitched and ready to finish up for exchanges.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The arthritis is still troublesome so I chose to work on some very easy charts from Rainbow Gallery.

The Geisha: stitched in the traditional black and gold on white of true Blackwork.

A Victorian Lady: stitched in pink, gold and black.

And a Mermaid

PS:  A number of you didn't realize the mermaid was a work in progress and thought she was afflicted with sagging breasts.  That would be a sad case of confusing the stitcher with the stitchee.  See the next post for the finished lady.

This is not the first time I've stitched these.  They make wonderful exchange pieces finished as  bookmarks or needle books or pin cushions. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Revisiting Martha

I've worked on a few more bands since my last post.  The Blackwork is done but I am delaying stitching the Queen's Stitch pineapples until an arthritis flare up abates.  I love Queen stitches but they require a delicate touch.  Pineapples symbolized hospitality in colonial America.

The next divider is another pink on pink band: the Crossed Cushion.

The following band is a fan stitch representing Martha's love of dancing and balls and entertaining.  I've just started the top sritching that shapes the bottom of the fan.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Small Finish

The Thanksgiving Heart is done, complete with Half Rhodes Stitches for the corn sheaves in the foreground.  I regret that I can not give the provenance of this lovely free chart since no copyright or trademark data was included on either the chart or the symbol page.  But if any reader who has been following my progress on the piece would like to have the chart - I'll mail it to the first person to e-mail me.  See the contact info in my profile.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Little Progress

I've added a bit more Fall color to the piece.  The chart calls for DMC but I have substituted some over dyed cotton flosses.  I have been using some partial cards of Catherine Jordan and GAST floss as well as just a wee bit if DMC Color Infusion for a highlight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Out of Patience With Pink

It's official.  I am at the end of my tether.  Quite out of patience with pink.  I finished the shell band and even pushed my way through the next band, a divider band made of  triple cross stitches.

But I need to refresh myself with some crisp autumnal colors.  Leafing through a binder of Halloween and Autumn charts, I pulled out five or six to add to my "Up Next" basket.  I haven't stitched a Thanksgiving chart in a quite while so this will be my new start: a heart of wheat sheaves enclosing a harvest scene with the motto Give Thanks.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Filling in the shells with one over one tent stitches is an experience I would not care to repeat.  The fact that the floss colors very nearly blend into the linen color is not helping. Furthermore, the soft hand of the cashel linen means the uncovered warp and woof threads of the linen bear a striking resemblance to the covered ones.  If I lift my eyes for a mere second, I lose my place.  Aging eyes start to burn and lose focus after an hour of this sort of thing. Pink has never been a favorite color of mine and, after this band, it is even less so. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Few More Bands

Band 5: Florentine Stitch - Martha's bridal colors.

Band 6: Captive Rice- representing Martha's fear of imprisonment while George commanded the Continental Army.

Band 7: Cross Stitch - Chinese motifs adapted from Martha's china used in her home at Mt. Vernon.

Band 8: Divider - Trellis Stitch.

Band 9: Tent Stitch Over One - Shell motifs adapted from a needlepoint chair found at Mt. Vernon.  I still need to stitch two more shades of pink to fill in the shapes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Lady Washington Update

Band 1 : The Martha Washington Geranium.  Cross Stitch, Cross Stitch with Bar, Diagonal Criss Stitch, Foliage Stitch, Smyrna Cross Stitch.

 Band 2:  Divider.  Half Rhodes Stitch.and Upright Cross Stitch.

Band 3: Forget Me Nots, representing the deaths of Martha's son, Francis and Daniel Custis.  Cross Stitch over Four, Satin Stitch and Rice Stitch.

Band 4: Divider.  Rapid Stitch.

Band 5:  Florentine Stitch using the colors of Martha's gown worn at her wedding to George Washington: a Golden Olive [WDW Schneckly],  yellow [WDW Buttercup], and purple [WDW Royal Purple].  Clearly, this band isn't done yet but it was getting a little too late for such delicate stitching.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Lady Washington Progress

Band 1 which features the Martha Washington geranium is complete.  I spent the last 30 minutes browsing horticultural websites trying to discover how this old-fashioned flower came to be named after Martha Washington.  I did learn that it was quite popular in the early 1900s but has since been eclipsed by showier varieties.  But as to its connection with Lady Washington - not a word.

Moving on to Band 2 with its Half Rhodes and Upright Cross stitches presented a few problems at first.  The chart calls for the Rhodes to be stitched with 2 strands of floss.  But that produced a nubby mess.  After just three Half Rhodes, I frogged and re-stitched with one strand and am much happier with the definition of the stitches.  The Upright  Crosses will be stitched tomorrow in Buttercup.  I expect they will look better in one strand as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lady Washington Sampler

This is a class project from the 2012 Stitcher's Hideaway.  That was the year Sue tried something different: giving participants their choice of one of three projects. This sampler class was scheduled late in the last full day of the retreat.  The class itself was more about the history behind the symbols and motifs in the bands than about the actual stitching.  I had spent the earlier time at the retreat stitching on a Teresa Wentzler stocking and didn't want to lose my momentum,  So poor Martha was consigned to the "when I get a round to it" pile.

Four years later, I am wondering what took me so long to start this delightful piece.  I have the vining and leaves of the first band done and already I have used the basic cross stitch, the diagonal cross and the cross with bar as well as the foliage stitch.  Future bands promise a rich variety of specialty stitches.  I have a penchant for complex band samplers and look forward to adding this piece to my rotation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Halloween Towel, The Sequel

I used one more design from the JCS Oct. 2016 that fits neatly into the 58w x 80h space of a huck towel.  Again, the main motifs are a pumpkin and a black cats, so it makes a nice companion piece for the towel seen in my last post.  I used the recommended DMC.

I'll switch gears for awhile,  The Lady Washington Sampler from Morning Glory Designs will make a nice change of pace.  Lots of intricate specialty stitches in 18 bands.  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Some Simple Designs

This simple checkerboard pumpkin will make a nice addition to my Halloween tree.The small squares and the four points of the crosses are meant to be stitched in ecru and the center of each cross in black.  I jazzed it up a bit with Kreinik braid and some beads.

Still in a Halloween mood, I adapted another design from the JCS Oct 2016 issue for a huck towel for my kitchen.  I will stitch a companion towel tomorrow using another design from the same issue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Moving On

I wanted to stitch a second Ink Circle Celtic Cross that would be suitable for use as a St. Patrick's day ornament ... as per one of my annual goals.   I used a Threadworx green and GAST Barn Grey, Banker's Grey and a bit of Kreinik braid.

I thought I was done with JCS but then the Oct 2016 issue showed in the mailbox.  Although the Pumpkin Patch charts are beginner level and rather boring to stitch, I like the look of them and will be adding them to my ornament collection.  I am using the recommended DMC but may jazz things up with some beads.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

More Ink Circles Celtic Beasties

Skull and Snake.  I really like the banded effect on the snake that came about when stitching with WDW Halloween.  Incidentally, the floss was a gift from a stitching buddy from eons past.

Yin Yang Cats.  For this, I used GAST Barn Grey, Buckeye Scarlet, Cinders, Daffodil and Raven as well as DMC Blanc.

And I'll be stitching another Celtic Cross, only this time without the macabre touches, as a St. Patrick's Day ornament.  I have started the border in a Threadworx green and will be stitching the cross in GASY Barn Grey, Banker's Grey and a bit of Kreinik braid.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jo's Birthday Blog Hop

2002: Jo was 36.  This was a major life-changing year for Jo.  She left her job of 17 years to become a Mum.  Her first child was born, a mere four weeks late, in September a week after Jo's 36th Birthday.  Weighing in at 8lbs 3oz he was a happy, healthy baby boy.  Soon after he was born Jo realised that life as a single parent was not compatible with a long commute to the city and told her employer she would not return to work at the end of her maternity leave.  In the months up until September Jo managed a lot of stitching including most of a large Noah's Ark design for the Nursery.  In the months after, she managed two hours a week when she went to her parents' house for Sunday dinner.

When I was 36, things were fairly tranquil ... or as tranquil as they can be for a stay-at-home mom with three children: Angela [age 7], Sean [age 4] and Danny [age 2].  I did the whole earth mother deal, baling my own bread, making my own yogurt, raising my own vegetables, shopping at the not-so-local organic food co-op.  I sewed most of my daughter's clothes.  I made quilts and crocheted afghans for the beds.  And I struggled to budget my husband's salary so I could afford to stay home and still meet the mortgage.

As to posting a photo of something Jo would like:


my most recent Primitive Needle's stitch: Witches Hollow.


My very first Primitive Needle's stitch: A Night of Revelry [from an old JCS issue].


Homespun Elegance's Witches Stitch, Too.