Friday, February 28, 2014

Fish in the River

I put some fish in the River James.  I like them.  I want to put on one more little and one more big fish and then I'll be done.  I found that one strand of green floss will make two exes in the border.  I need to keep at it and do  little each day to get it all in.

I put a few more stitches into A Spring Garden.  This is an easy stitch.

Good mail yesterday!  I got an Inspirations magazine that I ordered.

 I just got the latest issue on Zinio but I wanted a certain issue that has the instructions for this:

Then I got the graziano over dyed fabric for two of the patterns I just got.

After exercise class I stopped by my LNS to see how many of the Weeks and Gentle Arts colors they had for my two new patterns.  They had about half of the ones I needed.  I'll substitute with Hand-Dyed Fibers if I need to.  But now I'm tempted to start new things.  Oh dear.

It is cold enough today to freeze the @##$%$% off of a $%^&&*.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snow Day

Schools are closed again today because of snow and cold.  So I didn't go to exercise class.  This winter is just endless and awful.

I worked a bit on the central tower of Hampton Court.

I started Cherished Stitches Limited Edition "A Spring Garden".  It is sweet and easy to stitch.

I also started Niky's Creations Limited Edition " Bunny Ruler Kit".  I probably have too many things started.  It sure is fun starting something new.

I finished up the pin cushion of Mrs. Hughes but I still have to finish the needlebook.

My friend Jane wanted me to post this information about SAGA and the Lacis Museum:

If you are a lover of smocking, the needle arts, fashion, fabric manipulation or fashion history, don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the exhibit Smocking, Fabric Manipulation and Beyond, at the Lacis Museum in Berkeley, California. Gathered in one place, you will find amazing pieces that span the decades and demonstrate the versatility of smocking. From the homely shepherd’s frock to the dress worn by Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, the breathtaking dress recently featured in Threads magazine to the work of modern artisans, it is all gathered at the Lacis Museum in Berkeley California from March 8th  through October 4th, 2014. The opening reception is March 13th and special classes and lectures are planned for the 13th through the 15th.
The impetus for the exhibit began with Sarah Douglas’ donation to the Lacis Museum of all her smocking tools, research and plates. Sarah was instrumental in the revival of smocking in the 1980s and was involved with the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA), a not for profit guild formed at that time to help preserve and foster the art of smocking and related needlearts. As word of the donation spread, Nelli Durand and Mimi Ahern, also part of smocking’s revival in the 1980s, also donated their collections. The Lacis Museum joined with SAGA, and the Cable Car Cablers, the local chapter of SAGA, to collect and display pieces of this art form from around the country. 
The art of smocking arose from the necessity to fit the fabric to the body. Without the skills of tailoring, the alternative was manipulate the fabric itself by simply gathering the fabric where it was too loose and securing the gathers by stitching across them creating a stretchable, comfortable fitting garment. The shaping would soon go beyond simple fitting to providing form to the garment as well as decoration through the use of elaborate embroidery on the pleats. Eventually the technique would become an independent art form free from any necessary function.
SAGA is sponsoring the opening of the exhibit March 13th-15th with a lecture on the history of smocking, classes in smocking on the 14th and 15th, and a reception on the 13th that includes a behind the scenes tour. Space is limited. For more information and to reserve your spot go to

I have never been to Lacis but it sounds like a great place to visit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ready for the Tower

I finished the side wings to Hampton Court.

What's next?  The central tower.  I read over the directions and it doesn't seem too hard.  I have to put in some horizontal lines.  I find using tape measure sticky tape works well.  The top side has inches and the bottom side has centimeters.  I hope to start this today.

I worked my way across the top of the inside of Along the River James.

 I thought I liked boring repetitive stitches.  Not really.  I want to put some fish in the river.  That will be interesting.

I worked on finishing Mrs. Hughes.  ARGH.  First I lost the felt pieces I cut for the ends of the pin cushion.  So I found some more felt.  There is no pattern, it just says cut an arc.  Then I decided that I wanted to use ultrasuede borrowed/leftover from another kit.  I had a time getting it to the right shape.  So now I am trying to sew it on.

 I like this new way of finishing but you have to cut it to fit.  Not easy.

The needlebook calls for a bit of warm and natural padding but I think I want it to be stiffer than that so I'm going to put some file folder paper inside it.  I'd like to finish-finish these today.

I started two new things but I'll show you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I had fun finishing off the little horn book scissors fob from the Purple Thread.

I also finished stitching Mrs. Hughes' Pin keep and needlebook.  Now I need to put them together.  Stitching on 40 count was not a problem.  Except when I was nearly done I saw that I left three threads between border stitches instead of two.  Am I going back and frogging that ?  Nope.  I changed some of the colors.

I am very close to finishing the queen stitches on the side wings of Hampton Court.  I haven't peeked to see what comes after putting in the windows on this side.

I so enjoyed watching the season finale of Downton Abbey on Sunday night.  But now I'm sad that it is over.
I'm wanting to go through my new stash to see if I can start another new thing.  I'm so bad.

I got an alphabet that I ordered on ebay in the mail yesterday.  I think it will make a sweet "Claire" banner (or even an "Amy" banner!)

I can't believe we are almost to March already.  Dylan wove a potholder yesterday and we made a smoothie.  He's lost his glasses.  I hope he finds them this week.  He reads much better when he is wearing them.  I'm nearly blind without my glasses!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I put two windows in Hampton Court.  They are made of smooth purl.  I still have to run some threads over the metal threads to make a diamond pattern to look like panes of glass.

 Cool.  I''m about have way done with the other wing of the castle.  Slow but sure progress.

I finished off the owl.  I tried to find something else to back the eyes but everything I tried (gold spangles, silver jewelry ring) didn't look right.  So I give up, I'll do it like the pattern says.

I put a quarter in the bottom to make her nice and stable.

She's kind of odd looking but cute.  I may save her for Claire's ornament this Christmas.  But for now she'll hang out in Curio Cabinet #2.

I started one of the Purple Thread kits I got on Friday.  It is a really quick stitch and now I'm ready to put it together on a mini hornbook.  It is a scissors fob.

Then I started the other Purple Thread kit called Mrs. Hughes (as in the housekeeper of Downton Abbey).  It is worked on 40 count.  But it is also a quick stitch.  I think it is a pin cushion and a needlebook.  I am itching to change it just a little.

I got the third band of AW 1662 all done.

I looked at the next band and I don't like that the infinity shape is not symmetrical.  I want to change it in some way.  I have a couple of ideas.  One is to do "A" flower "A" flower, across the row.

Then I went looking for small fish to put in the inside river of Along the River James.

 I worked my way down to it.  So the goal today is to work my way over to the other side.  If I put in several of the border x's everyday, it will get done eventually.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


In a weak moment I ordered some stash from Elegant Stitch.  They had a page of all the stuff they got at the Nashville market.  Oh, I'll just make a list of the things I like.  Then oops, I pressed the send button.  I love that they sent my order right away.  I got it in yesterday's mail.  How I'm going to resist starting something new is beyond me.
 The cherry box is very nice.  The chart calls for some overdyed graziano (check) linen.  I ordered some on ebay.
 Limited Edition kits from Cherished Stitches.  I'm a sucker for those Norfolk sampler cartouches.
 Another sampler!?!?  Me?!?
 Two things that struck my fancy.  The bird one calls for some overdyed graziano too.

 Sweet little complete kits.  I confess I started one already.
Cute ruler.
What a lucky girl am I!

Friday, February 21, 2014


I never get as much done in a day as I think I can.  Things happen.  I wanted to finish the Just Nan Owl.  But first I had to find the silver thread.  It was hiding under my happy chair.  I got it put in and then thought, that doesn't look right.  I used the wrong thread.  It was a mix of gold and silver.

Rats.  I took it out and went looking again for the silver thread.  Guess what?  It was under my happy chair too.  That's what I get for being a slob.  So I finished the Owl stitching and cut it out.

 It is ready to be put together.  I don't like the eye things so I may change them.

I worked on one side of Hampton Court.  It is looking pretty good.  I haven't tried this effect of working queen stitches over canvas and I really like how it looks.  The perfect color of floss with the perfect technique for the perfect effect.

My BFF signed up for November classes at The Attic.  So guess what?  Me too.  I wasn't going to but I did.  It was a lot of fun last year.

My driveway was so icy that I couldn't even walk down and get my paper today.  DH was kind enough to retrieve it.  They delivered me the wrong paper!  I get USA Today and they gave me The Detroit Free Press.  Whatever.  I should get some Bay of Evil things in the mail today.  Nifty.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today's Goals

One of my goals for today is to finish one side of Hampton Court.  I seem to always get bogged down when working on queen/rococo stitches.  I'm liking how the stitches are looking and I want to finish one side and take a look to see if I need to adjust anything for working the other side.

I had fun playing with AW 1662.  I didn't like how the flowers were so square on the corners.  They looked like crosses.  So I took out the flower (again!) and tried leaving out the corner stitches.  Then I filled it in with a satin stitch.  I like it!  This is how it looks so far.

 I am very happy with it.  It is much more "me" now.  So I want to work on this third band and see how far I can get.

I worked on the Just Nan Owl.  There is a lot of fiddly stuff to do like backstitch and beads.  But I can see that I could finish the stitching part today.

Another goal is to work my way down to the river that divides the inside of Along the River James.  I'm about half way there.

The weather is awful today.    When I came out of exercise class there was an inch of slush on my car.  I saw two car accidents as I was driving home.  So I drove slowly and carefully and I'm not going anywhere for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Need Silver

I finished the two skinny towers of Hampton Court.  I think they turned out fine.

Then I started the next part.  I'm not sure yet whether this is going to turn out as I haven't done this before.  First you stitch down a piece of needlepoint canvas.  Check.  Then you do a rococo stitch (three legs instead of four) over the canvas in every other space.  I'm waiting to see if it is going to look like the photo.  I really like the effect in the photo as it looks like a stone wall.  It seems like I've made a lot of progress on Hampton Court this week.

I picked up AW 1662 and started fooling around with it.  It is done on 30 count (I think) so it looks huge compared to other stuff I'm working on.  So the spaces look huge.  Then I had an error.  I stitched the first flower of the colorful band.  Then I looked at the photo of the sampler.  Uh-oh.  There's a problem here, the flower in the photo is red and I've just stitched it in yellow.  Come to find out, z is used as the symbol for yellow and Z is used as the symbol for red.  Rats.  So I took out the yellow thread and restitched the flower in red.  That's better.  Then I started playing around with the yellow thread I had taken out.  I put it in the first row.  Then I thought it needed some flowers in the first row too.  Red flowers in smyrna stitch.  Not two but three on each viney thing - an odd number always looks better.  It is fun to add my own thing.  But now I have to finish that first band.

Then I picked up the Just Nan Owl.  It only take a couple of colors of floss.  I really like the colors and design.  I'm missing the silver Krenick #4 braid.  So I stopped at LNS (which is really a local yarn shop) and luckily they had what I was looking for.  So now I want to put it in the owl and see what it looks like.

The streets were nice today and I was so glad to be able to go to exercise class and get my steps in.  We are expecting bad weather again tomorrow - an inch of rain and dropping temperatures.  Oh, joy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Two Towers

I made good progress on the large towers of Hampton Court.  They aren't perfect as I would like the rows to be straight across and they aren't.

But they are okay and there will be some metal threads that accent them and will make them look straight.  Really.  I started the skinny towers.  They are going to be stem stitched on top of the thread padding.  I think they look pretty good.

Then I finished (Yeah!) the outside of Along the River James.

Wow, that took a long time.  I'm glad to have that done. Now to work on the inside.  I just have to do a border that is a bit tedious.  There is the river down the center and I want to put some fish in it.  I really like how the fish turned out on the outside.

It is great to see some progress.  I didn't go to exercise class as we got 5 inches of snow last night and the roads aren't plowed yet.  Schools are closed, again.  If I'm a good girl, I'll put in some stepping here at home.  I have good intentions, let's see if I can follow through.