Monday, September 30, 2013

Nearly Done Pocket

I am nearly done with one of the pockets for Along the River James.  I like how it is turning out.  I am adding my own choice of colors at the bottom as the designer doesn't say what she used.  You can kind of figure it out from the color photo though.  I don't like the strongest purple color so I'm not using it.

I am half way around the 4th (of six) mirror frame piece.  I'll just keep plugging along.

I went clothes shopping this morning.  Didn't buy anything.  I was looking for something really stylish so I could look snazzy in Virginia Beach but a lot that I saw was overpriced or ugly.  I saw a nice dress that maybe I could fit into when I lose all the weight I am aiming for.  I wear exercise clothes in my regular life so I really don't need any fancy.

The bathrooms are clean.  I am up to 14,500 steps today.  WooHoo!!  I've printed out my boarding passes.
I'll tell you all about my trip when I get back next week.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I'm having so much fun stitching the bargello on the pocket of Along the River James.  I think it is beautiful.  I was disheartened yesterday.  I was working on this pocket when I discovered I had everything messed up.

 I made a mistake stitching the outline (again!) and a mistake in the bargello basic row.   It really wasn't all my fault.  These are the worst charts ever.  These are the least clear instructions.  ARGH.  It was like I needed to start over.  But I persevered.  I overcame adversity.  I frogged.  And here I am today:

Jane reminded me of a long arm cross stitch join and that is what I am going to do around the edge of the pocket instead of nun stitches.

I went back and tried to find my mistake on the backstitching around the mirror frame of Mermaid's Treasures.  I found several!  So essentially, I restitched one whole side.  Then I looked ahead.  Guess what?  I have four more backstitched mirror shapes to go.  Well, I should be better at them by now.
Look at the size of this chart for just one mirror frame backstitching.  It's huge!

It was raining this morning when I got up.  But I waited a little bit and the rain quit so I could go walking.  I'm going to start packing for my trip today.  A lot of my travelling clothes are too big.  Isn't that great!?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Other Stuff

The Farmer's Market was a bit skimpy this morning.  My favorite place wasn't there.  I will miss next Saturday as I will be in Virginia Beach.  So that leaves only one more Farmer's Market left this year.

I couldn't face trying to find the error in the mirror frame yesterday so I didn't.  I was looking at The Attic's Newsletter and saw an ornament that was stitched on that checked material (over one!) and it was so cute.  I thought, I'll kit that up to take with me to work on while I'm away.

It only has two colors of floss.  Then I got on a roll.  I kitted up three things to take with me.

I tried to kit up a fourth kit but I couldn't find all the threads.  I was sure I bought them, they must be somewhere.  Just not anywhere I looked.

Then I was remembering Along the River James.  I wanted to start the bargello pockets.  So I got out the linen and started it.  Who can't stitch a rectangle?  Me.

I got off and now I'm fixing it.  I haven't gotten to the nifty colors yet but I will today.

It is a wonderful sunny day.

Friday, September 27, 2013


I see some unstitching in my future.  I was working on the backstitch of the mirror frame for Mermaid's Treasures when I noticed that the sides did not match up.  One is 19 threads from the center basting line the other is 16 threads.  ARGH.  I'll wager a guess that one is wrong.  Let's hope they both aren't wrong!

So I went back to the chart and the 19 threads away from the center is correct.  So at least I know which side to look for the error of my ways.

I did a little playing with the motif that appears twice on each end of the UnPlayed Piano.  I wanted it to look like a stain glass window.  I used some colors of Hand-Dyed Fibers that were handy on my sewing table.  I looked at stain glass windows on Pinterest to get more ideas.  Then I set about trying some things out.  I didn't like the specialty stitches that were called for.  They were more work than they were worth.  You could hardly see them.

I am weaving threads in the fill in areas.  I learned this technique when I did Mute But Not Silent by Amy Mitten.  I like how it is turning out.  I think I want to make each one (of the four) a little different.

I went shopping this morning.  So I have lots of steps but no stitching done.  Time to fix that.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Visions of Sugarplums

I am so glad to say that I am done with the hard side of the shell.  I know it isn't perfect (isn't that what I say about all my stitching!?!?) but it is good enough. I ran out of the lace color of floss but luckily I had some left over in my Needlework pocketbook kit.
Front and back of the shell.  All done!
Now on to other things.  I finished the two backstitching lines around one side of the mirror frame.

Now I'm working on the other side with a sparkly braid.
The first side was worked in a silk pearl cotton thread.

I'm hoping to get better at this as I go along.  I'm anxious to get to the design part of the mirror frame just to see what it looks like.

DH said to order the things I want for Christmas.  You don't have to tell me twice!  It's three months until Christmas but I will be ready.  I keep a running list of stuff that I want. On the other hand, it will be like Christmas when my caskets get here.

A week from today I'll be at the retreat!!!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ducks In a Row

I thought I had all my ducks in a row today.  But I discovered that I forgot to put on my Fitbit Zip.  So all my steps before, during and after class were not counted.  Rats.  Yesterday I forgot to take my nano with me so I had to think of things to keep me entertained while I walked.  I looked on the internet at the latest nano and decided that I want one.  Maybe for Christmas.

I got so bored with filling in stitches on the hard side of the shell that I started something new. Since I am done with the pre-stitching for Ebony and Ivory, I pulled out the pre-stitching for The UnPlayed Piano.

 I started it but I want to change and/or add to the design.

The design is very angular and I want to change it to make it more curvy.  I want to change the colors as it is a bit dull.  I'd like to incorporate a stain glass window design that I took a photo of a few years ago.

We'll see,,,,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Am I Done?

That is the question we used to ask our watercolor teacher.  Am I done?  Is there anything else I should fix, change or add?  Marilyn said my shell looks done.  It isn't, but I was thinking, could I finish this today?  I sure would like to.  It does look finished but there are many miscellaneous stitches to fill in.  I'm going to try to get as many as I can filled in.  I've have been tempted to just fill them in with the in-between color since it is so hard to figure out what should go in each place. I hate having to do just one stitch.  What a pain!

I finished the tiny alphabet sampler for Ebony and Ivory.

And I stitched one more side to the scissor fob.  I still may have to do another.

Then I have one half of one side of the mirror frame backstitching done.

DH is washing and waxing my car today.  I hate that job with a passion so I'm am very happy that he is doing it.  It is a lovely cool day to wax a car.  The sun is shining.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Eleven Deer and a Circus Train

I went walking at our nearby park this morning.  I saw eleven deer.  Some may have been counted twice as I walk down to a street and turn around and walk back for a bit.  The park is bordered by train tracks.  Usually, I don't see a train.  But this morning a big train came along.  It was the Ringling Bros. Circus train.  I wonder where it was going.  It was headed to Indiana.  I like to catch up on news as I walk and I usually listen to NPR.  Once in while I get sick of hearing about politics and switch to music.

I worked on the shell of Mermaid's Treasures until I couldn't stand it anymore.

Then I peeked ahead to see what we do in lesson six.  It is backstitching the mirror frame.  So I got out the piece of basted fabric for it and threaded up the needle to start it.  I messed it up and had to take it out four times.  Good grief.  It is a good thing there are basting stitches to help you know whether you did it right or not.  Right now I have found another error (where the pin is) and have to back track a bit to fix it.

I am almost done with the tiny alphabet sampler for Ebony and Ivory.  It is a good thing to pick up when I am about to go nuts from shell hell.

I need to kit up a couple of things to take on my trip to Virginia Beach.
The bathrooms are clean, time to stitch.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am Determined

Yes, I am determined to finish this shell.  Because it is stitched in half cross, the shell is a little wonky.  I imagine it won't be too hard to stretch it back into shape.  I am making good progress in filling in areas. See all those little areas that need filling in?

I went back and put the last little bit on the snail shell.  I like sparkly threads.

I'm thinking of peeking ahead to see what comes next.  I think it is back stitching around the mirror frame.  That will feel so easy after shell hell.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Before and After

I was pleasantly surprised at how much stitching was accomplished on Mermaid's Treasures' shell.  I worked on it all day.  Maybe I can finish it!  Thanks Marilyn for your encouragement.  And thanks Margaret for your sympathy.  There are lots of places that need filling in.  The filling in part takes forever but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  This project is quite challenging.   I was trying to decide if the shell is hardest thing I've ever stitched and I think it is.  I stitched things that were hard because the directions were awful.  But this is hard because it is so easy to get lost, horribly, terribly lost.

My back is killing me.  My right sacroiliac is out of whack.  Of course the chiropractor isn't open until Monday.  So I've been using a heating pad.  I went walking anyway (I wanted to get my steps in!) but didn't go to step class.

Back to the grind.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Lesson

I was horrified to find that we have another lesson up on Mermaid's Treasures.  I'm not ready!  I'm still working on that darn shell!  Wait!

 So I've decided I must get that shell done.  I have to concentrate and do nothing else until that is done.  I would guess I am somewhere around three quarters done stitching the shell.  But now I am on a mission.  No goofing around on anything else until the shell is done.  Period.  No quitting when I get lost.  I have to work through it.

I'm using that special tape and coloring in certain symbols to help me figure out where I am.  I am going to get a pair of those binocular glasses for Christmas but I sure could use them now.  I have to keep checking things out with a small hand-held magnifier.

I did finish the border of Ebony and Ivory.

I got a bit more filled in on the alphabet background.
Excuse me while I go to shell hell.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I am making good progress with the loop stitch around the edge of Ebony and Ivory.  I've kind of got a rhythm going.

I am off one thread at the end but I don't care.

 I think I can finish this part today.  I put in just a bit more of the background in the alphabet.

I worked on shell hell.  I'm going to show photos even though you can't tell that I did much.  My goal is to get all the right half of the shell done.

I got another kit in the mail yesterday - but I don't dare start it.  I've got too much going on!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To The Edge

The annoying box didn't pop-up today on blogger.  Maybe the problem is solved.  I hope so.

I finished the stitching on the main piece of Ebony and Ivory.  Now I am just doing the loop stitch around the edge.

I also finished stitching the alphabet for the needlebook and am finishing the border.  I tried a bit of the filling in to see what it would look like.

Not too bad.  Then when I'm done with the pre-stitching for this project I can look at the Unplayed Piano pre-stitching.

I worked on shell hell for a while.  I keep telling myself  "a little bit everyday and I will be done".

I picked up the kit I bought on ebay.  I shouldn't have started it but I did.  I just wanted to see how it would go.  It is stitched over one (mostly) on 29 count.  This count looks huge when I have been working over one on 34.
Time to stitch.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What the Heck am I stitching?

Sometimes when you follow the directions to a pattern, you don't really know what you are stitching.  Sometimes there is no picture or the photo is tiny and indistinct.  That is what I am doing with the needlebook to Ebony and Ivory.  I am stitching a tiny alphabet sampler that I think will go on something black that looks like it has ribbons.  Is it a book?  Is it a bag?  I have no idea.  I worry about how this is going to turn out.  I am doing all the black stitching and then I will fill in the background with the creme color.  I worry that the black thread will mess up the creme color, that little black fibers will get imbedded with the creme.  But maybe that is just how it goes, how it is supposed to look.  We'll see.

I am having a hard time with the shell of Mermaid's Treasures.  I keep getting lost and being off one thread and losing my place.  ARGH.  I decided I should look back at just a week or so ago just to show myself how far I've come.

It is shaping up to be a glorious day here.

I saw a new Just Nan mouse.  It is adorable.  I'm glad I signed up for the automatic on this.  I gave the last mouse to Claire and have meant to make another for me.  But I haven't gotten to it yet.

I got the Mermaid Tapestry pattern by Sharon Cohen.  I think this will be great on a casket.  After working on Mermaid's Treasures, I have mermaids on the brain.

I also won a great kit on ebay.  It uses Glenshee linen.  I want to work on this linen to see if I like it as I'm thinking of ordering some.
Two weeks from today I will be in Virginia!