Tuesday, October 24, 2017


At  6:00 a.m. this morning, as I lay in that lazy haze between waking and rising, a lyric from the early 60s suddenly played in my head: Running Bear loves Little White Dove/With a love as big as the sky/Running Bear loves Little White Dove ...  That was it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  

My first thought was that the synapses were seriously misfiring.  Early warning signs of dementia, perhaps.  My second thought was indignation:  I am a student of literature, a former English teacher, for God's sakes.  Why not an Emily Dickinson poem, a snippet of William Blake or a stanza from  William Butler Yeats?  Hell, if it had to be a 60s lyric, why not a few lines from Eleanor Rigby?  But, no, it had to be some drivel from my pre-teen years.

I tried to trace whatever stream of consciousness might have dredged up this silliness by reviewing last night's bedtime routine.   Going on YouTube and catching the Colbert monologue and the latest clips on MSNBC and CNN to check out the chaos and then watching the PBS Newshour to remind myself that not all news centers on the malignant narcissist in the WH and there are still places where some degree of sanity and civility hold sway.  Playing a few hands of Spider Solitaire.  Snuggling down to dreamless sleep.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It was the same pattern that has been in place for months.   

And then I understood.  The last time I expected to wake to nuclear winter was at age 11 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I remember the nuns marching us all from classroom to church to have our confessions heard and then reminding us not to argue with our siblings on the walk home or commit any other sins before bedtime so that we might go straight to heaven in the event of a bomb hitting NYC.  The surreal aspect of all this was that it made perfect sense to a Catholic child of that era.

That Catholic child no longer exists.  But life has become surreal again.  Hence, an absurd lyric for an absurd time.

Running Bear loves Little White Dove/With a love as big as the sky/Running Bear loves Little White Dove ... 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Progress Of A Sort

The bell pull hardware arrived and I will be using the brass for Martha.
I did a bit more work on the afghan, but managed to finish only one other block when I had hoped to finish two in that same time.  I'll have to devote more than two days a week to this project if I want a final finish before Christmas.  The rotation is already imploding under its own weight.  I expect I'll simply start each Monday on the afghan and continue with it until a block is complete and then move on to other projects that week, time permitting.

And, though things are better, I am still doing a fair amount of frogging on the Mystic Tuffet.  So, minimal progress there as well.

Though I promised myself a new start in October, I was so demoralized by my lack of progress on the afghan that I pulled the Celtic Dragon Sampler out a few days early just to lift my spirits.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Re-thinking the Rotation

Stitching in recent months has been all over the spectrum from one-project-at-a-time to flitting from one project to another several times in a day.  There were weeks on end of The Jacobean Elegance Afghan or Bent Creek's The Branch or The Lady Washington Sampler but there has also been restless browsing through the WIP basket and the Up Next binder.

In the past, a systematic rotation has been more my style.  I'd like to get back to that.

So, here's the plan:

Monday and Tuesday:  The Jacobean Elegance Afghan
Wednesday and Thursday: Victoria Sampler Mystic Stitcher's Pocket and Accessories.   
Friday and Saturday: Making Waves
Sunday: sewing and assembly finishes.  

I figure that once I finish the Victoria Sampler Mystic Harbor Stitcher's Pocket and Accessories, I can replace it with the Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy, also close to completion.  If I manage to complete both, I am not sure whether to tale on Brightneedle's Ghost and Ghoulies Etui or continue my Victoria Sampler binge with either the Sturbridge Box or The Christmas Sampler.

As I mentioned, I have been browsing in the Up Next binder and have promised myself the treat of a new start in October.  I have winnowed the choices down to a Victoria Sampler Pumpkin Patch Farm  Sampler or a lovely dragon with loads of intricate Celtic knot bands.  I'll just have to see how the mood takes me when I get to that point.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Martha: Tout Ensemble/Mystic Stitcher's Pocket and Accessorues

Here is the promised full photo:  Martha, neatly pressed and just waiting to be lined and adorned with bell pull hardware.  I apologize for the indoor lighting. I'll tale a better photo once I get the bell pull hardware and finish it properly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Morning Glory Designs sampler and will be offering the chart as a giveaway in October to share the joy.   So, if you are interested, check back on 10-4.

Having finished one class project UFO, it seemed only proper to pull another from the list and try for another finish from the backlog.  This is the Mystic Stitcher's Pocket and Accessories from Victoria Sampler.  It was the project from my first Stitcher's Hideaway and my first class with Thea Dueck way back in October, 2007.   So far I have stitched the pocket, the scissor case, the front and back  covers of the needle book and the fob.  All that remains in the tuffet.
Here are some photos of the completed pieces.

The Pocket: Once this is lined, folded and sewn up, everything will be right side up again.    I finished the pocket in one burst of enthusiasm during and immediately after the class.  But once I got home the siren's call of other projects took over.  Every so often, in the intervening years, I'd pick this up again and work one of the accessories.  Sometimes on a whim, sometimes out of guilt ... but always with a considerable amount of pleasure.  I do enjoy Thea's designs and have a fair few in stash still.

The Scissor Case [2-27-13]

The Fob [1-2-15]

The front cover of the Needle Book  [December 2014]

The back cover of the Needle Book [September 2017]

The only remaining piece is the Tuffet [aka, the biscornu]:  And, now, a mere ten years later, I have been struggling with the final piece in the set. Hardangar has never been one of my strengths.  Thus far I have done just as much frogging as I have done stitching, always off by just one or two threads where the stitches should meet.  Even though it'll be a pain in the neck to keep moving the hoop, I have switched to my smaller spring tension hoop.  It holds the fabric more tightly, the better to see and count the individual threads in this rather densely woven fabric.  Lo and behold, it's working.  I stitched a good 40 minutes without frogging.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Martha is a Finish

Here is the lady in all her bridal finery.  The gown in golden olive is comprised of 193 tiny rice stitches stitched with one strand and simulating the look of brocade fairly successfully.  It took three days of stop and start stitching to complete the gown.  Aging eyes can slow one down.  The petticoat, in purple and cream is done in satin and back stitch  Smyrna Crosses are used for the pearls in her hair, the lace at her throat and for her shoes.  The original shoes were purple velvet dancing slippers.

Tomorrow there will be a photo of the entire piece, neatly pressed.

I checked on line [Nordic Needle] for some bell pull hardware: and found a lovely one in satin finish brass with a heart charm and another in scrolled pewter.  I haven't made a decision yet but I do think Martha deserves that touch of elegance.

Flat Satin Brass Bellpull Hardware with Heart - 12 cm (4.7")

Hammered Pewter Heart Scroll Bellpull Hardware - 14 cm (5.5")

The brass looks very attractive and the heart charm is most appropriate for a wedding sampler.  It has the added advantage of a very clearly centered eyelet for hanging.  The notch at the center of the pewter heart seems a bit more problematic.  It could easily slip off a peg or nail leaving the whole piece hanging drunkenly askew.  But pewter has always been one of my favorite metals for home decor and is a typically Early American material.  The incorporation of the heart into the scroll design fits in nicely with the wedding theme.  I may end up ordering both and making a decision with fabric and hardware in hand.  I'd be interested in any comments from readers as to their own preferences.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Just Martha

Just Martha seems to have been my stitching focus these past ten days.  And, now, just Martha is all that's's left to stitch.

The Lace Canopy is finally done and I am now on to the Wedding Scene band.   The designer offered alternatives here: stitch the entire band in cross stitch or use a variety of specialty stitches, particularly with regard to Martha's dress.  I am going with the specialty stitches.   Somewhere in my head I can hear Miss Piggy exclaiming, "Quelle surprise!"  But even so, I am being persnickety:  I used a double star for the flower petals and a Rhodes Square for the flower centers instead of the suggested Rapid Stitch.  I like the recommendations for Martha's gown and will be following those instructions to the letter but I wanted a bit more texture and complexity in the flowers.   George, in plain cross stitch, appears all the more sober and forthright surrounded by all the frou-frou.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September Winner

Apparently dragon charts appeal to only a small percentage of my followers or, like Jo, a fair number of my readers already have their own copies of what's on offer.

Nevertheless, there's still a winner: gwfantasy.  I have e-mailed her [him?] and will send the charts as soon as I have a street address.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


I have finished Band 15 and have moved onto Band 16, a Lace Stitch canopy over the wedding scene, itself.  This band is deceptively time consuming, taking up several days of stitching time.

But with just the scene and the name band left, I will soon be able to cross a class piece off the UFO list.  The first of the year.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Back in the days when my boys were young, my husband and I learned to tread carefully at bed check.

Is it any wonder that we buy Legos for our grandsons' birthday and Christmas gifts?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

August WIP/UFO Update

During August, I worked on #'s 8, 11, 12 and 22  [as marked in blue] from the list.   That means I have stuck closely to stated goals for August.  I just haven't gotten back into sewing and assembly finishing 
  1. Lori Birmingham's Pansy Garden Nantucket Style Basket (2005 CATS project)
  2. Catherine Jordan's Pretty Picot Edges (2006 CATS project)
  3.  Karen Bovard's Filet Lace (2006 CATS project)
  4. Peyote stitch bracelet (Willow Tree, Boothbay Harbor , Maine)
  5. 2007 Stitcher's Hideaway at Mystic Victoria Sampler projects: a stitcher's pocket, biscornu, needle book and fob
  6. 2009 Stitcher's Hideaway at Mystic Brightneedle's Ghoulies and Ghosts Etui and accessories.
  7. 2010 Stitcher's Hideaway at Sturbridge.  Victoria Sampler's Sturbridge Box and accessories.
  8. 2012 Stitcher's Hideaway Lady Washington Sampler.  The "class" did not involve any stitching but instead covered the research that went into the symbolism of the various motifs and how they referenced Martha Washington's life.  I started working on this 9-28-16 [yes. that's 4 years after the class] and last worked on it on 10-16-16 [see here for photo].  One of the advantages [or maybe it's a disadvantage] of coming back to a design with fresh eyes after a hiatus is that you catch errors and omissions.  I had to undo the entire fan stitch row and restitch it.  I needed to add one more cushion stitch to the pink row above the fans, complete the last two rice stitches in the band above the blackwork and I needed to go back to Row 11 and fill in the diamond stitch pineapples.  I had skipped over them because of an arthritis flare up.  Finally, I was able to work the next band, a row of double star stitches in the lovely WDW Old Glory floss: a faded Williamsburg blue shading into a muted barn red and an aged ivory.   This band, symbolizing the flag of the new nation, was a bit fiddly but only because the extremely soft hand and dense weave of the fabric made it difficult to place the 16 individual legs of the stitch cleanly and crisply, especially since two strands of floss were used.  The stitch is better suited to a more stiffly woven linen or to canvas.   I am up to Band 15, Smyrna Cross and Rice stitched rosebuds. representing the bouquet Martha carried on her wedding day.
  9. 2013 Stitcher's Hideaway Victoria Sampler's Christmas Sampler
  10.  2014 Stitcher's Hideaway Brightneedle Kindred Spirits Sewing Journal.
  11. The Jacobean Elegance afghan - with 7 more squares to be stitched.  
    All the flower blocks are complete. Since I have already posted photos of an individual flower block, here's a photo of the recently completely bud block.

    I'm on a roll with this piece, having completed five blocks in quick succession.  I intend to keep going until I become bored by the repetition.  Even though the bud block is worked from a different chart, the similarity of bud and flower designs is such that, even at my most optimistic, I expect my enthusiasm for this piece to fade after one or two more blocks.  On the other hand. there is a certain satisfaction to be found in finishing one block after another so quickly.  And it is a very easy and relaxing stitch.  So who knows, if sheer momentum continues to carry me forward, this may end up as Mom's Christmas gift this year after all!
  12.   2015 Stitcher's Hideaway.  Making Waves needlepoint project -  made some more progress on the bargello rows.
  13. My own design, Fertile Circles needle book, the back panel needs finishing.
  14. My own design, Beach Find Pansies, to be completed and incorporated into an embellished crazy quilt square.  
  15. Another needlepoint project, Rice Pudding, using many variations of the rice stitch.
  16. Yet another needlepoint project, an Owl, again a project using lots of specialty stitches.
  17. Piper's Christmas stocking  adapted from a Dimensions kit.
  18. Alessandre Adelaide's Zucca.
  19. Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square & Strap
  20. HAED's Tangle Fairy
  21. Owl Sampler, needlepoint
  22. Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy   Still practicing the bullion stitches.  No photos of my pitiful practice swatch, if you please.
  23. T. Wentzler's Logo Dragon
  24. Royal Albert Museum: Art Nouveau Napkin and Napkin Ring.
New Starts: 0
Number of Sewing Finishes:  0

Monday, September 4, 2017

Resuming Monthly Giveaways

I know I just had a blogaversary giveaway but I have decided to return to the practice of announcing a giveaway on the 4th of each month and selecting a winner on the 10th. I thought I'd start by sharing some of my favorite stitching themed charts with my readers.  Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time knows I enjoy stitching dragons [see here for a gallery post of my dragon finishes.]

Today, I'll be offering the following three charts to one of the readers who posts in the comments below a plaintive tale as to why he or she, much like the beloved Rubeus Hagrid of Harry Potter fame, would like to own a dragon:

Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons
Teresa Wentzler's You Were Hatched
Cross Eyed Kat's Red Snowball Dragon

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Giveaway Winner

Is Jo Who Can't Think of a Clever Name.  I'll send her an e-mail today and let her know to expect the charts as soon as the somewhat erratic cross-Atlantic mail can manage it.

What did it for me was her comment that she liked my sense of humor and found it a bit British. I majored in English literature while at college.   I imagine immersion in all those British authors has had an effect on my wit [though my siblings claim I lack any humor, at all - but, then, they don't get me]. 

To this day, I still re-read the collected works of Jane Austen annually and enjoy reading a  bit of Shakespeare or D. H. Lawrence every so often ... not to mention lighter reading like Tolkien, Lewis, Frye, Wodehouse and Ellis.  Even my DVD shelf is crowded with British titles: Jeeves and Wooster, Fawlty Towers, Rumpole, Mulberry. Cadfael, Poirot, Miss Marple, To The Manor Born and The Irish RM.

So,yes, I guess my sense of humor is a bit British.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Annual Goals Revaluated

As part of my blogaversary month activities, I am taking stock of my stitching progress so far this year.

These were my goals as of January 2017. 

  • 01. My Own Crazy Challenge: work on unfinished class pieces from 2005-date. Made some minimal efforts on Making Waves and The Martha Washington Sampler, both Stitcher's Hideaway class pieces.
  • 02. Complete two BAPs: Stitch stockings for Piper and Rocco.  Not a stitch.
  • 03. Stitch a half dozen St. Patrick's Day and half a dozen Easter ornaments.  The Irish ornaments are not only stitched but are assembled and finished ready to be hung next March.  The Easter ornaments are stitched and in the finishing pile mountain.
  • 04. Continue to work on UFOs and WIPs list going into 2016.  I have been working fairly steadily on The Jacobean Elegance Afghan and have finished three more flower blocks.
  • 05. Limit stash purchases to fabric, fiber and tools needed to complete charts on hand.  So far this year, I have made no purchases at all, stitching entirely from a conveniently large stash.
  • 06. Continue to blog regularly, aiming for every other day..  And then life happened in the form of a major illness.  Blogging from hospital and nursing home wasn't possible.  Even when finally back home, the energy and inclination were nowhere to be found.  So, this goal is a wash.
  • 07. Make an effort to catch up on sewing finishes and frame 2 or 3 pieces professionally.  The energy and inclination elude me.
  • 08. Renew my lapsed EGA membership, changing my status to cyber-stitcher.  With the demise of Sampler and Antique Needlework, I no longer have an active subscription to an informative and educational stitching magazine.  Renewed membership in the EGA comes with a subscription to the EGA quarterly.  So, I'll take care of this goal as soon as I am finished with this post.  It'll be nice to get some reading material about textile arts again 

Looking forward
* I'll continue to work on goals 1, 3 and 4
* I'll continue to stitch from stash as per goal 5
* I'll make an effort to meet goals 2 and 7.
* I'll simply accept that goal 6 is a total loss.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ninth Blogaversary

The start date was 8/26/08.    To celebrate, I'll be giving away a grab bag of 21 charts that reflect my rather eclectic tastes, including charts from Bent Creek, Calico Crossroads, Homespun Elegance, Mill Hill, Prairie Schooler. Primitive Needle, Rosewood Manor, Victoria Sampler, Whispered by the Wind, and Workbasket.  To be included in the drawing, just answer the quiz below in the comments section and include an e-mail address at which I can reach you.  The drawing will take place on the actual anniversary.

I have been blogging for 9 years now and thoroughly enjoy the process of writing what is essentially a stitching journal, with the rare side trip into real life.  Writing about stitching is very nearly as relaxing as stitching itself.

I have the mind of a statistician and it seems very natural to take stock of what's been happening on this blog.

So, I find it interesting that during the past 9 years:
I have written 1367 posts.  
Blogger has recorded 371,267 Pageviews.
Readers have left 4,920 Comments.
I have 224 followers.

What I'd like to do this year is ask nine questions about blogging, one for each year I have been writing.

1. Do you prefer a blog that is
      a] 90% stitching and 10% personal, roughly what my blog is .
      b] 100% stitching and no personal stuff at all
      c] 50% stitching and 50% personal chat

2.  Whatever the preference selected above, what are your reasons for the preference?

3.  When reading blogs, be honest, do you just look at the photos and skip the prose?

4.  When reading a particular blog, do you enjoy tracking the progress of a specific project?

5.  How many blogs do you read on a regular basis? [Regular basis being defined as once weekly]
     a] 1-25
     b] 26-50
     c] 51-100
     d] over 100

6.  What sort of things do you expect to find on a blog, things that will keep you coming back to read?

7.  What do you like about my blog?  

8. What don't you like about my blog?

9. Do you blog?  If yes, provide a link to your blog.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Another Flower Block

Working on the Jacobean Elegance Afghan is very easy on the eyes ... and it has the added advantage of keeping my legs warm when my husband cranks up the air conditioner to full blast.  So far, I have stitched 8 flower blocks and 2 bud blocks.  And, after this block is complete, there'll be just one more flower block left.  And, of course. 8 bud blocks.  I wonder how far along I will get before boredom sets in and I need to return to something more challenging.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

UFO/WIPs Progress Report

It's been a while since my  last progress report. These past several month, I worked on #'s 11, 12, 14 and 22  [as marked in blue] from the list.
  1. Lori Birmingham's Pansy Garden Nantucket Style Basket (2005 CATS project)
  2. Catherine Jordan's Pretty Picot Edges (2006 CATS project)
  3.  Karen Bovard's Filet Lace (2006 CATS project)
  4. Peyote stitch bracelet (Willow Tree, Boothbay Harbor , Maine)
  5. 2007 Stitcher's Hideaway at Mystic Victoria Sampler projects: a stitcher's pocket, biscornu, needle book and fob
  6. 2009 Stitcher's Hideaway at Mystic Brightneedle's Ghoulies and Ghosts Etui and accessories.
  7. 2010 Stitcher's Hideaway at Sturbridge.  Victoria Sampler's Sturbridge Box and accessories.
  8. 2012 Stitcher's Hideaway Lady Washington Sampler.  Started working on this 9-28.  I am up to Band 9.
  9. 2013 Stitcher's Hideaway Victoria Sampler's Christmas Sampler
  10.  2014 Stitcher's Hideaway Brightneedle Kindred Spirits Sewing Journal.
  11. The Jacobean Elegance afghan - with 10 more squares to be stitched.  Since this was last seen, I have completed three more of the flower blocks.
  12.   2015 Stitcher's Hideaway.  Making Waves needlepoint project -  made some progress on the bargello rows.
  13. My own design, Fertile Circles needle book, the back panel needs finishing.
  14. My own design, Beach Find Pansies, to be completed and incorporated into an embellished crazy quilt square.  
  15. Another needlepoint project, Rice Pudding, using many variations of the rice stitch.
  16. Yet another needlepoint project, an Owl, again a project using lots of specialty stitches.
  17. Piper's Christmas stocking  adapted from a Dimensions kit.
  18. Alessandre Adelaide's Zucca.
  19. Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square & Strap
  20. HAED's Tangle Fairy
  21. Owl Sampler, needlepoint
  22. Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy  Very nearly done with just the bullion stitch sunflower and the last little bit of vine to go.
  23. T. Wentzler's Logo Dragon
New Starts: On Goal:
Four Easter Egg ornaments, variations of charts found in BHG 2001 Cross Stitch Designs

Off Goal Stitching:V & A Museum Art Nouveau Napkin and Napkin Ring.  Bent Creek's The Branch.

Number of Sewing Finishes:  0

Friday, April 21, 2017


The last post to this blog was nearly three months ago and I am still adjusting to the new regimens of living with kidney disease.  I haven't had much energy or inclination for blogging.  I have even fallen behind in my reading of other blogs.  But I am beginning to see my way forward and am developing some new routines.

I have been stitching, though.

At first, I wanted something light hearted and easy on the eyes.  So, I pulled Bent Creek's The Branch from the To Do binder.  It's a simple straightforward set of charts purchased years ago when I was buying just about anything with an owl in it.  This is one of the snapper series and, for the life of me, I don't understand what possessed the designers to think snaps were decorative.  They're fasteners, for God's sake: functional, to be sure, but not particularly attractive.  So, I left them out of my version and filled the only two really obvious gaps with some Rhodes stitches.  I had most of the recommended GAST and WDW floss but made a few substitutions as needed.   I didn't want to wait on an order to start work.  It's one of the advantages of having an obscenely large fiber stash: I can indulge myself with impulsive starts.  

If anyone reading this  would like to stitch this piece her[him]self, please post below with an e-mail contact.  I'll be happy to send the charts complete with snaps and buttons.

Next, I went in an entirely different direction with Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy.  I have taken several classes with Thea Dueck and love her work.  It is always a joy and a challenge.  Her mastery of specialty stitches as major design elements and her talent for combining various techniques [cross stitch, crewel, hardangar, etc.] in the same design result in pieces that delight this stitcher's heart.  She uses a lot of Kreinik silk mori in her designs which is one fiber I don't have in my stash. So I substituted Belle Soie silks in the appropriate colors [See comment above about advantage of large fiber stash] and went to town.  I have been doing fairly well and am happy with all the satin stitching and the fern and fly and chain and lazy daisy and Smyrna cross and Japanese ribbon stitches.  But, alas, I have hit a real snag with the boullion stitch sunflower.  I have already made three false starts and had to cut away some quite tatty knots.  I have tried using a milliner's needle - too long - and a shorter beading needle - not much better.  I believe my problem is not getting the right tension - I am wrapping the needle too tightly with the result that my knots look like hump backed caterpillars.  I shall have to practice. There are supposed to be 24 of these knots in the sunflower and I am determined not to be defeated,

Monday, April 17, 2017

A little of this, A little of that

In between doctor's appointments, home health nurse visits and home PT visits, I have gotten in a little stitching, a bit more reading and a very little catch-up housework.  My husband led a bachelor existence for a little over a month while I was in hospital and nursing home and the results were pretty much what I expected.  To give you some notion of my husband;s domestic skills: once he found out I'd be laid up for more than two days, he went out and bought a dishwasher.

But on to the stitching:  I have been playing with oddments  from my scrapbag, startimg with a small scrap of 36 count antique ivory linen.

This first Easter Egg ornament is loosely based on two designs from the Better Homes and Gardens 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  I picked a motif from one pattern [the bunnies] and the size and shape  of the egg from another.  Then I pulled out a bunch of exotic and glitzy fibers left over from old Dragon Dreams, Silver Needle Night and similar projects.  The object was to mimic a bit of Faberge bling.  I have a hard time throwing away usable leftovers and it satisfies some deep-seated aging  hippie need to recycle such odds and ends into new projects.  I thought this was a fairly successful attempt to take what was old and make something new from it.

The next Easter Egg ornament is somewhat more conventional in its conception.  Following roughly the same shape as the first, I allowed the materials at hand to dictate design elements, e.g.: the thickness and placement of the stripes, the size of the flower.  Just an aside, rayon floss is nowhere near the usual pain in the ass to use when you are working with just one strand as I did on this 36ct linen.

The third egg was born after finding some green and lavender rayon floss.  I have always liked the combination of mossy greens and soft lavenders.   I had some vague idea of an egg wrapped up in a bow and found just such a chart in BH&G 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  With a few adjustments, I had what I wanted.

And this fourth egg is back to Faberge style bling, done in metallic reds and golds.  Just to keep from being bored, I couched a scrap of leftover gold metallic ribbon with some 003HL Kreinik VFB as the center band of this egg.  I am pleased with the effect.  For some crazy reason, I have7 spools of the various red VFB and this was a way of using up a bit of it.  Can't imagine what possessed me to buy so much of the stuff!  It must date from the time I was stitching a lot of Christmas ornaments.

The last egg uses up some fibers in the yellow to gold color way: some Colorwash silk, some amber and bronze VFB, a bit of orange wool, a scrap of bronze metallic ribbon.  To avoid repeating myself, I have decided to go the sampler route and, so far have used cross, long armed cross, satin, box, diamond Rhodes and diamond eyelet  stitches on this egg.    I plan to stitch a band of upright crosses and a band of knotted crosses before I am done.   I liked the couched ribbon effect in the red egg so much that I repeated it here with a scrap of metallic bronze ribbon and the yellow colorwash silk.

One of my 2017 goals is to make a half a dozen Easter ornaments.  With one Mill Hill beaded Easter egg just needing the final finish of a felt backing and four of these just needing flat ornament finishes, I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal.  And once I finish the yellow egg, I do have another Mill Hill beaded egg kit in stash and will probably tackle that while the Easter season is still upon us.   It'll be nice to actually exceed a goal in at least one area after so many health related set backs thus far this year 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back to Stitching

I find I am somewhat distracted as I return to my stitching, moving from project to project and making little progress on any. Currently, I am working on the Jacobean Elegance afghan, a Rhodes stitch needlepoint sampler, an Easter egg ornament, a napkin and napkin ring reproduction from the Royal Albert museum and a piece of my own design, Beach find pansies.  None of them hold my attention for long.  Like the bee in the napkin design, I flit from stitching stand [the needlepoint] to Q-snaps [the afghan] to hoops [all the others],  I'll post some photos when I can get outdoors with my trusty, if ancient, first generation digital camera.  For now, there is still too much snow in the backyard, being sheltered and overshadowed by 6 foot fences and a retaining wall

I have spent more of my time reading.  Just before I went into hospital, I had started re-reading the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters.  I had seen the Masterpiece Mystery series starring Derek Jacobi and read as many of the books as had come to hand back in the day.  But this time around, I decided to read all 20, and in order.  To that end, I had my husband order any of the books missing from my collection.   It would be unfair to expect the same enjoyment from my DVD collection as from my newly completed book collection.   I understand that screenplays are a separate art form with their own advantages and disadvantages.  But I so prefer the stories in book form as richer in detail and imaginative texture.  All the minor characters that are deleted or subsumed within the regular denizens of Shrewsbury in the TV series are present in full individuality, and even quirkiness, in the books.  Incidents glossed over, locales eliminated and historical background lost in the screenplays appear in full glory in the books.  A much more satisfying experience!  Not to mention that the elegance and precision of Ellis Peter's prose style is rarely equaled, especially in your standard mystery or historical fiction genres.

If you have fond memories of the TV programs, I recommend reading the chronicles in their entirety.
I find myself wishing that Derek Jacobi. had had the opportunity to film all the Cadfael stories, as David Suchet did Christie's Poirot stories.  For all that I shall always love the books more dearly, the programs were excellent and true to the spirit of the books.  And in one detail they were certainly superior to the books: the oily piety and false humility of that quintessential weasel, Brother Jerome, is brilliantly portrayed on screen.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Adventures in Health Care

I am back after a little over a month [it all started 2-14] in hospital and nursing home and I have even less faith in the medical institutions than ever.  I trust a few carefully selected doctors but other than that ... well, I seem to have been dealing with the half of the population that was deservedly ranked in the bottom half of their class.  It started out as severe edema, stemming from kidney disease, dominoing into congestive heart failure,IBSD and pneumonia.

Some of the highlights: 

After my first ultra-filtration dialysis, I had a series of low glucose readings culminating in a hypoglycemic episode during which my glucose numbers dropped to 39 at 3a.m.  It presented with all the classic symptoms of hypoglycemia: inability to move, to speak, perceiving the environment as through a darkened glass and people as moving shadows.  I thought I was having a stroke and was unable to call for help except by loud grunting and groaning.  The night nurse, who had known me for three days and knew me to be alert and in full command of my faculties as well as knew me to have had a series of low glucose readings,  came up with the brilliant diagnosis of "nightmares' and restrained me in bed with tightly tucked in blankets.  I was left in that state for three hours until the morning vitals check.  The PCA called the same nurse but luckily she was followed shortly by a more competent colleague who mobilized the rapid response team and brought my sugar numbers up with dextrose.

A nursing home nurse who tried to give me someone else's medicine's even after I pointed out that there were far too many pills in the cup and none of which resembled my pills.  He finally decided to check and lo and behold, came back with my medications and a story about how the pharmacy sometimes substituted one manufacturer's version of a drug for another ... as if trying to cover up the obvious differences in quantity and appearance between the first and second cup of pills.

Not one but two, dietitians who seemed to think beets, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots peas  and various kugels, kashas and varnishkas [often in pairs] were appropriate choices for a diabetic.

A nurse who tried to administer medication that had been given to me just a half hour previous ... does no one read charts anymore?

A dialysis clinic that was not equipped with blankets to keep patients warm as the procedure induced severe chills.  It gave me a whole new appreciation of the old acronym B.Y.O.B..

I came home to a house I  was ashamed to own as my own.  My husband views every flat surface as a shelf - this includes floors - and the place was littered with stuff he simply hadn't bothered to put away: opened and unopened mail, unfolded laundry, books, dishes [clean and soiled] and whatever happened to have been used in my absence.

Nature conspired with my husband by dumping 24inches of snow on us and creating temps so low that the rear window of one of our cars shattered into spider web cracks and we now have a leaking roof ... a flat roof and heavy snow are not a good combination.

So, that was my month.  I sincerely hope yours was ever so much better.