Sunday, June 30, 2013


I went back to my Antwerp stitched ruffle for the mermaid's waist.  I took out the stitches that were becoming too big and tried again.  Luckily I was able to loosen them up and just take out the ones that needed to be redone - as opposed to starting over.  I wasn't sure how to start a new thread so I just left a tail, that's why there are so many strings hanging on this.  I had a hard time working over the little bent-over edge on one side.  I'll figure out what to do about that later.  I'm not sure about this ruffle.  It looks like there is a ridge down the middle.

I'm tempted to try again.  I have lots of silk covered Pearl purl from my Cabinet of Curiosities class so I could try again and see what happens.  I haven't looked to see what comes next.  I think we attach the scales and tail fin and ruffle.  That would be so cool.  I think the mirror mermaid would be just about finished by then.

I got the center cartouche stitched on the Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I also got a good start on the last one.  I am making progress but it is rather slow.

I am trying out the bird alphabet to see if I like the colors and how the bird is stitched.   I may decide to change colors. The plan is to stitch "Claire" again.  I think this alphabet is really Christmas themed so I may change it to be more summer themed but first I have to see how it looks.  Do the leaves look like holly and berries?  Can I use over dyed thread?
Now that I see this photo, I think I like the more sage color green of the chart.  I like the bird colors of the chart better than the bright red in the bird.

I put in a few stitches in Lady's Collection.  Boy is it slow going over one with cross stitch instead of tent stitch.  I realized that I am one thread off from having those flowers centered.  Rats.  I wasn't up to changing anything yesterday.  We'll see how I feel today.  I think I'd rather vacuum than take stitches out.

It is a lovely day for walking and I walked a bit extra today.  I'm good.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Guest Post

My friend Jane wanted me to post about a smocking convention that is going to be held in Frisco, Texas.  Here is what she said:
Have you ever wanted to learn to smock? Do you admire beautiful embroideries from by-gone eras? Do you love to sew for children but your garments have that “homemade look”? Do you read sewing blogs and wonder to what the terms pin stitch, faggoting, hemstitch and featherstitch refer? Would you like to broaden your sewing skills? Come join the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA™) at its annual convention in Frisco, Texas October 23rd-27th and you will have a discover your hidden talents!
When you hear the word convention, think fun, exciting and educational classes!  Each class has been evaluated and approved by a SAGA selection committee so you can be assured that you will be taught proper technique and execution allowing you to expand your sewing skills. From pattern drafting for children, mastering the peter pan collar, designing your own smocked ornament, learning how to shadow embroider, working on pulled thread, tackling the pea hole hemstitch, mastering your pleater, stitching an elaborate Elizabethan Panel, or simply perfecting your smocking, there is something for everyone taught at all levels!
Are you ready to challenge yourself to improve your stitching? Join the SAGA Artisan Programรค and work toward attaining the level of apprentice, artisan or master in four different areas of expertise – smocking, embroidery, fine machine sewing and fine hand sewing. There will be an informational meeting of the Artisan Programรค at convention to explain the process and classes you take can count toward achieving the necessary levels. Interested in helping your community with a service project using your stitching? Come and learn about the SAGA Wee Care Program™, and get inspired by the talents of our members who donate hand smocked and embroidered gowns and bonnets to local hospitals for neonatal units and bereavement programs. 
Don’t know anyone? Don’t worry - ladies who stitch are friendly, helpful and love to have fun. So join the SAGA convention, learn a new technique, participate in the doll clothing contest and yes, even learn to Two-Step!

 SAGA has chapters through out the United States and a chapter in Mexico and Australia! Local chapters meet monthly, bring teachers for seminars and participate in the Wee Care Program™. If there is no chapter located near you, you can still become involved through the members at large program. For more information, check out the SAGA website at!

Jane sent some pictures of classes that are going to be offered:

And Yes, Jane, you are right - I need to make Claire another smocked dress.  She has almost outgrown the first one.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ruffle My Feathers

I attempted the scary yesterday and started the ruffle that will go around my mermaid's waist.  I've got the stretching out of the Pearl Purl and the couching down.  No problem.  Then there is that new stitch, the Antwerp Stitch.  It's kind of a double buttonhole.  I think it was called for on the Threadwinder holder but I never really "got it".  So I tried again, read the directions and tried it.  I'm pretty happy with how it is going.  But things started to go south and I put it down.  It makes a knot that I don't know if I can take out.  I have a couple of stitches that are too big and I want to redo them.  So I'm going to try and take them out.  If they won't come out, I may cut the thread and restart.

I put in one and a half cartouches.  I had to frog a bit as the center cartouche is one stitch smaller than the outer two.  There are a lot of eyelet stitches that fill in between the cartouches.  UGH.  But when I finish those, the main body of the Needleworker's Pocketbook will be done.

I can hardly believe it is Friday again already.  We get a new lesson in Cabinet of Curiosities on Monday.  In a week, I go see Son#1 for a few days.  July is just going to whiz by.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tail Spin, I mean, Tail Fin

I am so proud of myself because I finished the mermaid's tail fin.  It's not perfect and I had to fudge here and there.  Evidently I stitch tighter than Amy Mitten because I had space left when the fin had all the rows in.  So I added a row to make up.  Anyway, here it is in all it's glory:

If I were to do this again I would know what to be careful of and read the directions more carefully.  I really would like to try it again and get it better but I would have to scrounge up the materials.  I imagine we will do  something with the loops at the top.

Next is the mermaids ruffle around her waist.  More scary stuff!  Pearl Purl (?) is called for.  A new stitch is used that doesn't look easy.

I finished the Just Nan Humbug.  Cute!  I think it looks even better than the picture on the pattern.  The colors are brighter.  I think it is a little bit bigger than other humbugs from Just Nan that I have made.  It was fun and went together well.  I only stitched in one mouse, that was enough for me.

I am working on the cartouches of the main body of Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I hope to finish the main body today.  It seems just a bit weird to put someone else's name on this.  I guess since this is a reproduction of a real antique sampler that you should be true to the design and put the original stitcher's name on it.  This is Ann Wade's sampler.  She has the same initials as I do.

We put together a box for Claire yesterday.  What fun to buy little kid books and toys.  What fun it is to have a granddaughter.  She climbed up on the table when mommy wasn't looking!

July is fast approaching!  Next Thursday is the 4th of July.  How can that be?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

End of the Middle

I discovered that the eyelet row on Needleworker's Pocketbook was not the 56 eyelet row, it was the satin stitch/eyelet row.  Way easier!  So I was able to finish that row and move onto the next part which is the cartouches.  I'm nearly to the end of this part.  So the main section is nearly done with only the top inside flap left to do.  Making progress.

I finished the middle vase of flowers on the Just Nan Humbug.  Cute!  One and one half vases left.  This will be done in no time, knock on wood. I am trying to decide whether to stitch the mice.  There are eight on the design.  But  don't think they are necessary.  Right now, I think I'll stitch one and then re-evaluate whether I want to stitch any more.

I meant to get more done on the Mermaid's tail fin.  I need to have my Ipad handy so I can go step by step on this one as it is a little tricky.  I'm kinda of worried about stitching around that silver thread.
It stormed during the night.  There was lots of lightning and thunder.
I got my shoes yesterday and some charts I bought on ebay.  There are so many things I want to stitch.  I hope I live long enough.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A New Week

It's great to have a new week or a new day full of possibilities.  I went walking this morning and the bathrooms are now clean so on to other things.  I got all those pesky scales done yesterday.  15 of them in three different colors.  We don't have the lesson on sewing them on yet.  The next thing in Mermaid's Treasures is the tail fin.  Scary!  My goal today is to get it all set up by piercing the holes and basting on the silver thread.  I can handle that.  Sorry, it's not a great photo as its a bit overcast outside.

I want to get at least half done with Just Nan's Humbug.  I am working on the center vase of flowers so I think I can finish that up.  I love seeing the flowers develop.

I want to start the next row on Needleworker's Pocketbook.  It is an eyelet row, 56 eyelets to be precise.  The goal for today is to do half of them or 28.

I'm hoping to get my new shoes today and maybe some stuff I bought on ebay.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

And Now For Something Entirely Different

I got my order from Silver Needle yesterday.  It is going to be such a fun stitch.  It is the new Just Nan Humbug.

Of course I had to start it.  The big job was to go looking for the called for threads.  I was looking for the right threads for the Rose needleroll too.  Just Nan uses really bright colors.  They are ones I wouldn't naturally choose but I've done lots of Just Nan and I trust her choices (well, up to a point!).

The first Just Nan I stitched I was crazed by all the color changes.  Stitch two stitches then change color.  I am now much more used to how her designs are and I love them.  This humbug looks like it uses a motif from another Just Nan design.  Queen of the Needle, I think.  I love blue and white pottery so this is right up my alley.  I've got one of the flower pots almost all done.  I told myself that I had to finish the "fugitive" scales of Mermaid Treasures before I could go back to the humbug.  So that is what I did this morning.  The next set of scales, which is the last five scales are a blue color called "Deadly".  So the plan today is the work on Deadly scales and the humbug.  What fun!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Six Down, Nine to Go

I have made six scales so far.  My goal for today is the finish the other four scales in the "Fugitive" color.  I've got an assembly line going.  Punch the holes, baste the thread, couch the metal thread and they are ready for the detached buttonhole.  I seem to have a problem trimming the threads.

I finished the verse on the Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I'm half way done with the strawberry row.  I really am getting to the end of this.  I think I have another eyelet row before I get to the cartouches.  Not too much more and I will have this done and be ready for the finishing directions.

I got my order from the Attic yesterday.  I got all the stuff to do the M. Woods sampler:  the chart, the linen, and the silk thread.  But I don't like the linen color.  I'll have to go stash diving and see what I have instead.  I don't have very much 36 count linen.  I want more of an ivory color.  I think the silk colors will look much better on a lighter color linen.

Then I got a needleroll pattern from Italy (I think).

 I have to find the floss for it.  It would be so much easier to just go to the store and just buy the floss.  I actually would prefer silks, but it would be a hassle to figure out the equivalents.  I need an assistant to do all the dirty work for me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Scales not Fins

Okay so DH corrected me.  What I'm working on is the scales (according to Amy Mitten) not the fins of Mermaid's Treasures.  There are a total of fifteen but I only got two done yesterday.  Of course the first one is the hardest (and messiest) and they get easier after that.  My second one looks way better than the first.  There are five scales in each of three different colors.  So today my goal is to get the Venom color ones done.  That's only three more so it shouldn't be hard.  I love the metallic wrapped thread that is the base of the scale.  It sparkles.

I got half of the verse done on Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I want to get the other half done today and move on to the next band which I think is a strawberry band.

Then I put just a few stitches into the second fan of  Lady's Collection.  Going over one is slow but it is interesting to see it develop.  Although I'm worried about this girl.  She needs eyes.  Maybe French knots are added later.

I went to the grocery store today in search of frozen yogurt.  It's the first day of summer and expected to be rather hot.  I saw commercials on TV for frozen Greek yogurt so I had to check it out.  I came home with three different kinds to try out.

I got the information for Inspired Needle's retreat in October.  I read about it on Lisa's blog (The Inspired Stitcher) and wanted to be aware of it in case I could go this year.  I'm already going to a big retreat in October and another big one in November.  So I don't know if I'll make this one.  It doesn't have a well-known teacher.   It sounds like it is more of a "get together and stitch" kind of retreat.  I'll have to think about it.  It is within driving distance and that's a plus.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fifteen Fins

Yeah!  I got all those eyelets done on the Needleworker's Pocketbook.

 I've started the verse.

I'm distracted though.  I started the second fan on Lady's Collection.  Sweet.

  Then yesterday we got the next lesson for Mermaid's Treasures.  The lesson is for making fifteen fins for the mermaid's lower body.  Amy Mitten is ingenious for figuring out how to teach how to do this.  So today I'm going to make fins.  After that comes the tail fin which is special.

I'm hot on Brightneedle lately and ended up buying 6 Brightneedle leaflets on Ebay last night.  Such sweet designs.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Supper's Ready

I've gotten in my 10,000 steps for the day and made chili that I put in the crock pot.   So now it is time to do something fun.  Like stitch.
I worked a bit on Needleworker's Pocketbook.  There are 56 eyelets in the row I'm working on.  I'm about half way across.  So I want to finish that today and start on the verse. ("A dilligent scholar is an ornament to a school")  The verse row is upside down so I may have to turn my fabric as it is harder to stitch words upside down and easier to make mistakes.  It will be nice to do a row that isn't a repeat.  Although it bugs me that diligent is misspelled.

I put the lining in my #1 fan.  I want to iron the edge so that it is nice and flat.   I should have ironed it before I put it in but I didn't.

I finished stitching the needle insert and am ready to finish-finish it.  Then I get to start the next fan (there are three).

I'm hoping for my Just Nan Humbug to come in the mail.  But if it does, I'll have to start it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fan #1

It is hard to post on Mondays as it is a very busy day - even when I'm not going to see Dylan.  I am very proud of myself as I got in over 12,000 steps yesterday.  Shopping is the absolute easier way to get in steps.  I went looking for another pair of shoes just like the ones I bought last week.  I need "exercise class shoes" (indoor and clean)  and I need walking at the local park shoes (outdoor and dirty).  I didn't find the shoes I was looking for.  Zappos seems to have the ones I want so I may order them online.

I didn't stitch at all on Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I need to finish the acorn row and move to eyelet/satin stitch row.  That is my goal for today.

I finished the first "fan" on Brightneedle's Lady's Collection.  I wanted to see if it was hard to sew together so I worked on finishing it.  It is darling.
 The whipping together of backstitches went fine but the white of linen shows through on the curved edges.  The hardest part was lacing the linen to the skirtex.

 I was flying by the seat of my pants on that, trying to get the linen around the curves to lay nicely.  Now a needlebook insert goes in the top of each fan.  I'm halfway done with one needlebook insert.

 I want to finish it today so that I have one whole fan done.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

I wish I could say "Happy Father's Day" to my father.  He has been gone for 30 years.  Instead I am rejoicing in the kind of father Son#2 is.  Look forward, not back.

I didn't get much done on the acorn row of Needleworker's Pocketbook.

I'm about halfway across.

I got good mail yesterday.  I saw something I wanted very much to stitch on an Italian blog.  I contacted the designer to ask if I could buy the kit and she had one and said yes.  It came in the mail and I started on it right away.  I love it.  It is exactly what I love stitching most.  It's delicate and sweet.  Not primitive, not stitched on linen that looks stained and dirty and old but on clean white linen.  Nice linen and silk floss.  I love the color palette.

  I've tried to drag myself away from it but I can't.  It's that much fun.

This is the front and a start to the back of one of five pocket shapes.  I just love this.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nine In, Nine Out

I was a bit discouraged yesterday as I put in nine eyelets in the next row of Needleworker's Pocketbook then discovered they were one lousy thread over too far.  Rats.  So I picked them out and tried again.  I finally got it right and finished the row.  It doesn't look like I got much done but that's the way is goes sometimes.

So now I ready to put some time in the next row which is acorns (and snowflakes?).
I read yesterday that there is pre-stitching for the class I'm signed up for in August.  I worry about stuff and I am worried about how I will get there (Bath, Ohio) and where will I stay and do I have to rent a car.  The thought of pre-stitching makes it better.

Snow peas are finally available at the Farmer's Market and the first of the strawberries.  I'm trying to steer clear of the dough  balls (for chocolate cookies) and other bad stuff.  There was a huge cinnamon roll iced with cream cheese frosting on one table.  Boy did that look yummy.  But I resisted!  I'm trying to exercise intestinal fortitude whatever that is.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

I try to avoid mirrors actually.  I ignore them, pretend they aren't there.  Even when I am in the front row in exercise class, I don't look at myself in the wall of mirrors that is right in front of me.  I like my mermaid's mirror though.  It is supposed to look like her fingers are wrapped around the handle.  It's not quite centered over her stitched reflection but it is fine anyway.

I got the next strawberry row done on the Needleworker's Pocketbook.  I used yet a different light coral for the tip of the strawberry and really like it. It's a keeper.  I've started the two rows below it.  Slow but sure, I'm the stitching hare.  See how long it is getting.

Since I finished the mermaid lessons, I have been itching to start something new.  But I know stuff is coming in the mail that I will want to start for sure.  So I'm holding off and just putting a few stitches in WIP's from my laundry basket of shame.

I so enjoyed Lisa's blog (The Inspired Stitcher) about her trip to Michigan.  I wish I'd been with her when she stopped at shops along the way and to Margriet Hogue's class with our guild.  I have to remember that in one month my BFF and I are going to a retreat at Silver Needle in Tulsa.  One more thing to cross off my bucket list.