Friday, July 13, 2018

TUSAL July 2018

CLICK HERE to go to Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog to read all about the Totally Useless SAL and discover why I’m posting pictures of thread snippets, otherwise known as orts.    

The Silly Stitching Calendar says I had 11 stitching days since TUSAL check in last month.  All the orts are from Jane Turner – and that’s the last time I’ll say that!  

What I kept thinking of as not-quite-orts - threads a bit too long to really be considered orts - were tucked into one of the sections of my project thread box so I could use them when I needed to do just a small number of stitches.  I sorted through them and the ones laid out straight will be wound back onto the appropriate bobbins while the rest join Jane's other orts.

Here are ALL of Jane's orts since I started working on her in 2015.  Rats - I forgot to take a picture of them in their pretty little jar.  Oh well, they're all together in the big ort jar now.

For anyone who hasn’t already seen Miss Jane in all her glory:

Jane provided all this month’s orts because I haven’t stitched since I finished her – that’s TWO ENTIRE WEEKS!!  (*gasp*)  Besides going to work, I’ve been reading, weeding, and working on a couple house projects with Wonderful Husband. 

And trying to figure out what to stitch next.

Happy stitching, everybody, I’m so glad you stopped by to visit me today!


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Three years

Jane Turner has been my companion, my friend, and my tormentor for the past three years. 

On June 28 in 2015, I took the first hesitant stitch, attempting Holbein, aka double running, stitch for the very first time.  One could argue that the starting date should be adjusted since the instructions directed using two strands of thread for ALL stitching … which made the double running motifs in the first band look like misshapen blobs.  I frogged first the peach flowers and – after stitching all the peach flower outlines with one thread – removed the dark blue ones also.

I recorded start and finish dates for each band as my original expectation was that I’d want to take breaks between bands and stitch something else, maybe an ornament or scissor fob or some other small thing.  But that happened only once since with each band finish I was excited about starting the next one.

Wednesday night, three years to the day after starting, Jane was complete!  This was not planned as I was really hoping to finish last weekend, but when it got to be the 27th, I was determined to finish, no matter what the clock said!)  Even though I went and ordered her frame yesterday (thank goodness for coupons!), I’m still having trouble believing she’s done, that I she’s not waiting for me to do more stitching.

Sixteen bands and 14 different stitches*, Jane measures 7 inches wide by just under 25 long on 36 count linen.  I had not begun using my Silly Stitching Calendar when I started Jane or I could add up how many days I worked on her … but that would probably be way too obsessive, wouldn’t it?  Probably someone who has the luxury of being able to stitch for an hour or two each and every day could have completed this sampler in six months or maybe less, but I am a slow stitcher who usually stitches three or four times a week so I guess three years isn’t too bad, even if my 2017 goal was to finish before the turn of the year.

And here she is.

Closer shots of the large bands with the twinned brands that bracket them:

Because Jane filled in so many of the motifs in the various bands (bands that are not filled in on samplers similar enough to Jane's to have been taught by the same instructor), it’s fun to speculate about why – was she a really fast stitcher?  Was her family well off and could afford more silk threads, and even a metallic thread for her name and date?  Was she simply an overachiever, a 17th century Type A?  

I think it's interesting that Jane used black thread blended with a very fine silver metallic thread for her name and the date - there is no black (or metallic) anywhere else in the sampler.  

Thank you for happy dancing with me, and for indulging me by reading to the end of this very long post! 


* Here’s a list of the stitches used in Jane Turner sampler – the ones I new before starting are bolded.

Holbein / double running
Spiral trellis
Encroaching satin
Detached buttonhole
Colonial knots (my addidtion – couldn’t manage that large flower and petals in spiral trellis)
Stem stitch
Marking cross stitch
Cross stitch over one thread

Thursday, June 28, 2018

She’s done! She’sdoneshe’sdoneshe’sdone!!!!

I’ve happy danced so much I’m exhausted!  I should have more pictures and better words this weekend (when there will hopefully be decent light for pictures and I can be coherent again).



Thursday, June 14, 2018

TUSAL June 2018

CLICK HERE to go to Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog to read all about the Totally Useless SAL and discover why I’m posting pictures of thread snippets, otherwise known as orts.     

Even though I took pictures on the correct day, I’m late posting this month’s TUSAL – last night I just *had* to stitch rather than crop pictures and type and edit.  The Silly Stitching Calendar says I had 21 stitching days since TUSAL check in.  And all the orts (again) are from working on Jane Turner.

I’ve hit bottom!

See that last blue line, the short one in the center?  That’s the very bottom of Jane!  Here, take a closer look.

It's hard to settle down and stitch, I'm so excited!

To bring you up to date, since my May Ort Report, I’ve finished the wide Montenegrin band …

… and the reprise of the narrow Montenegrin band.

I’ve learned how to do marking cross stitch – a reversible stitch (when done properly, that is) that I believe got its name because it was used to mark the household linens.  The instructions said the stitch can be worked from any of the four sides, but I wanted to insisted on making sure the top of the Xs would ALL go in the same direction - between the top left and bottom right corners (the way my plain vanilla cross stitches do).  I’m going to say that's the reason I’m having difficulty making the letters completely reversible.

Not too bad.  And I'm getting better.  But when you look at the back, it’s pretty clear my stitching would not have been good enough to mark those sheets and things!

Happy stitching, everybody – thanks for visiting today!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

TUSAL May 2018

CLICK HERE to go to Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog to read all about the Totally Useless SAL and discover why I’m posting pictures of thread snippets, otherwise known as orts.    

Jane Turner is the only project I’ve worked on this month and the Silly Stitching Calendar says I had 21 (!) stitching days since TUSAL check in.

Still working on the wide Montenegrin stitch band, and would probably have finished it by now if it weren’t for those diagonal parts which have continued to give trouble.  But ALL the Montenegrin stitching in this band is complete - there’s some filling yet to be done on the flowers and leaf on the right and also that knot motif and inside the long green double line, but should be able to finish it up by the end of the week (I hope, I hope).  

I think the knot in the center is pretty neat.

The middle portion was rather cool all by itself too.

The entire band so far (and yes, I've continued to make adjustments to satisfy my obsession with desire for symmetry):

It’s finally springtime here!  Apparently things were just waiting for a bit of warmth – flowers and trees and have just exploded open.   And the hostas – yikes!  They always surprise me by how fast they grow – sometimes I think they get taller while I watch. 

Happy stitching, everybody – I’m so glad you stopped by today!


Monday, April 16, 2018

TUSAL April 2018

CLICK HERE to go to Sharon’s It’s Daffycat blog to read all about the Totally Useless SAL and discover why I’m posting pictures of leftover thread snippets, otherwise known as orts.    

The Silly Stitching Calendar says I had 25 stitching days since TUSAL check in time last month.  I’m pretty sure that’s a new high count since I’ve joined the TUSAL fun, and I’m certain my March monthly total of stitching days – 28!! – is also a new high - woohooo! 

Once again, Jane Turner has provided all the orts for this check-in.  And yes, that ort pile has a fair amount of the telltale, short-fuzzy-twisted bits that show the frog spent several days in my stitching bag, and required me to rip out the lower right side blue flower.  Twice.  (er … maybe it only counts as once since I ripped out about half of it two different times?  I dunno.)

The bottom center will have an almost-Celtic knot which I was just about ready to start when I decided a long run of stitches with only a few turns was in order and so shifted over to the lower line of that double green ribbon-like bit.  It looked really good to me last night, but seeing the picture, I notice that the diagonal portion at the bottom is different from the one at the top – narrower space between, and it seems like the angle itself is different (how the heck can that be? 45 degrees should be 45 degrees ... right?).

Ugh, why do things like that hide when you’re stitching, but scream out their presence once you take a picture?  Or maybe you don’t have that problem.

Perhaps this new moon will herald real, actual springtime for the northern hemisphere.

Happy stitching,all – thanks for stopping by today!


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Not the flower... explanatory detail

While working on the Montenegrin bands these past several weeks, I've learned how to see and count the stitches.  But even though you all are my stitchy friends, you're not really sitting with me and chatting while we all work on our projects, are you?  So I thought it might be helpful to post a marked-up and more detailed picture about the flower the frog decided to make his home in.  I do not have the control over my current version of PSP as the one I had years ago, but hopefully the bright colors will work.  I also cropped out the middle of the photo so it would be easier to compare the two flowers.

The bright green - though sloppy - arrows point to the first line that I stitched on the right side flower and the corresponding line on the left (correct!) one.  The pinkish-purple lines are drawn on top of the vertical stitch (uh ... well, it would be vertical if the line of stitching were running left to right ... in this section it's actually horizontal, isn't it?) that is what I count to know how many stitches I've done.

Ugh - I have no clue if there's special terminology for Montenegrin stitch, but I think there ought to be! 

Anyway, if you were to count the pinkish-purple lines,  you'd see there are 13 in the flower on the left and 14 in the one on the right - the reason for my angsting last evening.

But (yay!) I was able to snipsnipsnip the stuff that was in the wrong place and then unstitch about half an inch of thread on each side of the lower part that had to be removed  - yay!  Maybe I'll boot out that frog and be able to finish this flower after all!

Hope all your stitching this week goes forwards!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

This is not the flower you’re looking for

Out darned frog, out I say! 

Okay, clearly I’m guilty of extreme quote mixing, but I believe it’s warranted.  If you look carefully at the light thread that’s runs between the two dark blue motifs, you’ll see that the flower on the right is NOT right – the far right vertical (which is where I started) is one stitch too long, putting the bottom … section … piece … thingy one stitch too low.  At least the upper portion is okay.

Argh.  (I used to have a .gif of a stick-figure guy bashing his head on his desk but seem to have lost it - please imagine that here)

I’ve already snipped this flower out once because the entire thing was too low.  Not ripping the whole thing out again, nope, nuh-uh.  At least I hope I can just remove that bottom bit!  Sigh.

Hope your week is free of amphibian infestation!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Small tip

Wanted to share a quick little tip with you.  If you wind your DMC floss on those plastic bobbins, then you probably already have the winder tool.  What a marvelous thing – so much faster than winding those bobbins by hand. 

But not perfect.

The small peg that holds the bobbin in place is made of the same hard plastic as the winder and (for me at least) works best with the paper/cardboard bobbins.  But I want the durability of the plastic bobbins.

Over the years, I’ve tried a bunch of things to either snug up or take the place of the peg, most often stuffing a piece of paper in the hole with it so the peg doesn’t fall out after three or four turns.  Some plastic bobbins are thicker than others and I’ve had ones that barely fit into the slot – the peg was unusable with those as the holes did not align perfectly and then I used a piece of copper wire snipped out of a bit of leftover romex.

Having quite a bit of floss to wind right now (will explain that below), I was once again mentally grousing that the peg has no give and then inspiration struck.  Years ago, a friend suggested using knitting needle point protectors on the tip of my embroidery scissors to protect both my fingers and the scissor points and at some point I’d bought a package of them.

Ta-dah!  A softer, friendlier peg!

And why am I winding all this floss?  Some of you might remember that Wonderful Husband gifted me with an incredibly scary amazing chart of the Unicorn in Captivity tapestry for Christmas. 

I took advantage of a great sale at my favorite online needlework shop to get fabric for the unicorn.  And since I expect this project to take approximately forever, it seemed wise to just go ahead and get new DMC, so have been using coupons at Michael’s and JoAnn’s to accumulate all 119 colors in the design.  Eeek!

The other day, Wonderful Husband asked me what I’d like for my birthday.  And being mindful that the size of the Unicorn is 285 x 404 and is solidly stitched (eeek again!), I thought perhaps something smaller would be a better first for a solidly stitched piece.  So I suggested this, which is a detail from the Cluny tapestry known as  À Mon Seul Désir. 

(image from Scarlet Quince website)

Hey, it’s only 123 x 274 stitches.  And has only 109 colors of DMC. 

Yes, I probably am crazy.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!