Monday, March 29, 2010


Today finally brought the UPS man with the new scroll rods that I need for the Richmond sampler.  I've been waiting for these for a month and last week I was convinced that they were in my neighbor's garage...crazy, I know, but I got a notice saying they would be shipped and when I saw the UPS guy dropping off a long, skinny box across the street and my neighbor tossing it in the corner of the garage without even looking at it, well, you know how it is.  A watched package is never delivered.  Thankfully I finally got a tracking number and realized that they had not even been shipped at that point, saving me from making a total fool of myself by going over and asking to see the package in the corner of their garage.  That was probably golf clubs, lol.

At any rate, now I can pick up again on Richmond, which I haven't touched for several weeks.  I was stitching in hand but it's huge and I don't enjoy stitching in hand.  I have not done any of the queen stitches because my tension isn't right unless my fabric is taut, so I broke down and ordered the new 30" scrolls.  Here you can see how long they are!

Here's my progress on Richmond so far - I have almost all of the flowers done across the top, but I have not finished the baskets since they are done in queen stitch.  Those will be next, along with filling in the queen stitch in the border (first I have to get it on the scroll bars, which I always find challenging with a piece this large).

Last, a close-up of some of the flowers.  This is a beautiful piece and now I am going to be switching back and forth between working on this and Maria. 

Monday, March 22, 2010


As promised, I did take a few pictures of Maria today. I still can't seem to get the color quite right but you'll get the idea. First, here is the vine I was working on yesterday - you can see that while the leaves are a more blue-green color, they are not really any lighter than the vine, and they should be. Fortunately Margriet has come to my rescue and is sending me some of the lighter color.   Next is the spray of flowers that took me so long to do.  It's done in a reversible cross variation that only leaves vertical lines on the back.  There were a lot of color changes but if it was regular cross I'd be carrying the thread on the back and it wouldn't have taken nearly as long.  The reversible cross is denser on the front because you've got two passes on one of the legs, so I was able to "travel" by running my thread under on the front, but it was still time-consuming.   Here are pictures of the front and the back. 

Here's a picture of my entire progress so far - still a long way to go!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


These days it seems like I hit some kind of roadblock with every project I pick up.  Today it's Maria - although I have been making very slow progress, last night I finished the spray of flowers I was working on and moved on to some more satin stitch, which goes much faster.  However, I realized after stitching the vine that the silk that was in my kit that should be used for the leaves is much too dark.  For the online class Margriet is using a different color (one shade lighter) and it looks totally different from what I have.  I was going to just use what I have but I looked at the chart more carefully and there are several places that this color is used where it's next to other very light greens - the darker shade that I have just won't look right in those spots.  So, now I'm on a hunt for some 3422 - hopefully Margriet will have some that she can send me.  That didn't stop my progress, however, I just moved on to another area of the sampler.  If it's sunny I'll try and take another progress photo tomorrow and post it.

The basketball/stitching plan worked only slightly better this weekend - Friday's game was too close for me to actually stitch during the game and today I did stitch but the game was a total blowout.  Although the Badgers won't be playing, next weekend should have some interesting matchups.   They don't call it March Madness for nothing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Basketball and Stitching

Well, I had high hopes for this weekend on both the basketball and stitching fronts, however I fear that disappointment in one led to lack of progress in the other.  I was all set for a lot of stitching this weekend while watching the Big Ten Conference Tournament.  However, the Basketball Badgers were somewhat of a disappointment on Friday, losing to Illinois (I hate losing to Illinois!).   Once that was over there went my stitching/watching plans, as it was hard to muster up too much interest in the other games.   So, we spent Saturday running errands in the rain and putting together our new bookcases for the library (finally, enough room for my needlework books!).  Sunday I went to the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild meeting where we had a very interesting talk on framing by one of the LNS owners.  I enjoyed hearing what she had to say and got a tiny bit of stitching in at the same time.  Progress on Maria is one step forward, two steps back - I'm working on the reversible cross portions and I feel like I am ripping more than I'm stitching, but it's coming along slowly.

Since last weekend didn't work out, I'm going to try the basketball/stitching thing again this weekend.  Wisconsin is playing in the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon, so I'm taking the afternoon off and I'm planning on stitching and watching.  Assuming they get by Wofford (never heard of them until this fall when we played them in football and I'm hoping they aren't any better in basketball), that means another game to watch on Sunday.  Let's hope this plan works out better on both fronts this time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


One of my goals this year is to finish Maria Antoni.  This piece is a Mexican sampler and The Essamplaire is currently running this as an online class.  I am not participating in the class because I actually got this kit at Jeannine's sampler seminar a few years ago.  I went to the seminar not planning on taking any classes - Mexican samplers are not my primary interest and for whatever reason I did not sign up for the class.  I was just going to go and stitch for a few days.  I arrived, and the first night I went to the stitching room.  There were all these ladies with these beautiful silks laid out in front of them - I didn't even know what they were working on, I just knew I had to have it!  Clearly when someone asks what attracts me to a particular sampler, the answer is color!  These photos are a bit washed out - clearly I need to improve my digital photography skills - but you'll get the idea.

 I begged Jeannine and Margriet to let me into the second day of the class - fortunately for me there was an extra kit so they obliged.  After finishing Elizabeth Yeagers I was ready for some real color and Maria seems like just the ticket.  So far it's stitching up fairly quickly.  I'm skipping around as I want to do a lot of the satin stitch last.  The sampler is almost reversible - the cross stitch is a variation that just has vertical lines on the back.  Here's a photo of the back.

Maria Antoni back 3/10/2010

I'm trying to make as much progress as I can with Maria because I know that once my large scroll rods arrive and I can put the Richmond sampler on them, that will grab my attention again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Love Barnes and Noble

Outside of stitching my other favorite pastime is reading.  I love to read and can go through a book in a couple of days if I'm in the mood.  Tonight I went to Barnes and Noble in search of a digital photography book...didn't get that but came home with three novels I've been wanting to read.  Best of all, it was Buy 2 Get 1 Free!  I got The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  Hopefully those will keep me going on the treadmill!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Things Calling My Name

I seem to have the common stitcher's problem...too many things calling my name.  I was focused on finishing Elizabeth Yeagers but now that she's done my carefully planned goals for the year have a lot of competition!  Attending the Gathering of Embroiderers got me inspired again and now I can't decide what to work on next.  I was planning on stitching Maria Antoni from The Essamplaire (I needed some bright color after Elizabeth's soft pastels) and I also wanted to get about halfway through Dorcas Haynes this year. I really want to work on the Richmond Sampler from the Gathering.  And, when I went to take German Sparrow off the big scroll bars I decided I needed to work on that again too (hence an order for more scroll bars, lol).  And then like a fool I signed up for all three of the online classes that Tricia Wilson Nguyen is offering and the Floral Glove class has already started.  I already had that kit so now I really should stitch it.  What to do, what to do???

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting Started

I have finally decided to start a blog. This will either prove to be a time consuming endeavor or I will confirm what I've always suspected - that I don't do anything interesting enough to warrant a post that anyone else would really want to read about. We'll see how it goes, but expect to see my thoughts on all of my favorite pastimes - stitching, reading, gardening, traveling and watching football and basketball! That said, it's Senior Night for the Basketball Badgers tonight so let's hope they have a great game to send them off right.