This & That


  • October and November few past with too much travel and too little stitching. India, Malaysia, back to India, then back to the US, then Dallas.  A couple of WIPS traveled with me but didn’t see the light of day, except when my nieces wanted to see my work.
  • I have pretty much given up stitching on planes.  It is not relaxing at all.  I think I hate stitching in public.  Stitching is my retreat from the world, a solitary activity.  So doing it in the cramped confines of a plane surrounded by too many people just defeats the purpose.
  • Most of my silk stash is now organized.  So are my patterns and fabric.  I still have to wind and label bags and bags of loose silk floss but 95% of my organization is done.  I can’t tell you how good that feels, even though I got behind on some of my stitching goals.
  • I am pondering stitching goals for 2015.  As in, I don’t want any.  I am tired of goals.  Life goals, work goals, financial goals, exercise goals.  Maybe I will just stitch by whim. Maybe I will just want to sit and watch TV and not stitch.
  • I kept looking and looking and looking at the Jane Ballard sampler.  I think I am over her now.  But you never know.  I still look once in a while.
  • Here is another piece I have fallen in love with:  Strawberry Fields Forever.  Maybe I will buy it for Christmas.  I don’t much care for the song though.
  • How come the very things that attracted you to a sampler become so tiresome when you have to stitch them? Take the flowers in Shooter’s Hill for instance.


Pattern: Shooter’s Hill
Designer: Heartstring Samplery
Fabric: HDF 40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Old Gold, Umbrage 3465, Kodiak Bear 5125 and 5131, Attar of Roses 1233, SeaWrack 3437/PennyWort 3449/Marsh Grass 3553, Rum Scullion 4333, Liquid Gold 4171, )
Started: August 10, 2014

Be True



I had started this little freebie design a while ago, but by the time I reached “True”, I got bored. I finally finished it this week during a torturous cross-country trip (SF-Boston one day, Boston-SF the next).  I worked on several unfinished pieces during these flights, but this is the only one I finished.  I think I am beginning to hate stitching on airplanes, especially if traveling economy class on a full flight.  In those cramped and crowded spaces, t’s much easier to watch a movie or read a book than than futz around with fabric, pattern, scissors, needle, and thread.

Pattern: Be True (free pattern)
Designer: Plum Street Samplers
Fabric: HDF 40ct (new) scrap
Threads: HDF silks: Marsh Grass 3351, Quince 1407, Quince 1413, Ecru, Mystery black
Started: Don’t recall
Finished: Sept 25, 2014

UFOs – 1



I was cleaning up my stitching basket (aka dumping ground for things I don’t want in sight) this morning and found some unfinished pieces at the bottom of the basket. I am posting them here – perhaps I will be guilted into finishing them someday. The first two are projects in the now-defunct German yahoo group, Sticklounge.  The group was based  on the German principle of “stitch each part before you can get the next part”.  I just could not keep up with the round design and I can’t even remember why.  However, I did purchase the full design when the designer subsequently released it.


Pattern: Odds & Ends 4 (aka Sticklounge Logo)
Designer: Tam’s Creations
Fabric: HDF 35ct Mermaid Blue
Threads: Assorted HDF silks
Started: July 16, 2010

This next one was a mystery design.  Each block made me wonder why I signed up for such a silly design and by the 9th block, I was ready for divorce.  That empty block bothers me and I occasionally toy with the idea of stitching it up, but there is an easier solution, which is to hide it again.  The colors do look pretty though, don’t you think?


Pattern: Cannot recall :-(
Designer: See above
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct (Newcastle) Flax
Threads: HDF silks – Enchantress & Popinjay
Started: Don’t recall

Shooter’s Hill


I have barely stitched in the last month or so, spending most of my free time organizing my stash.  The bulk of the work is now done and it feels wonderful to have everything in order.  I had almost forgotten what stitching felt like!  Here is my start on Shooter’s Hill by Heartstring Samplery.  I love the big flowers in the border, the bird, the house; in fact, everything about this sampler.  The pattern calls for GAST thread, but I changed everything to HDF.

Shooters Hill start

 Pattern: Shooter’s Hill
Designer: Heartstring Samplery
Fabric: HDF 40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Old Gold, Umbrage 3465, Kodiak Bear 5131, Attar of Roses 1233, SeaWrack 3437/PennyWort 3449/Marsh Grass 3553)
Started: August 10, 2014

My Jewels!

I have been spending the last few days organizing my stash of silk floss. I had been meaning to do it for a really long time, but my collection kept growing and I also had no idea where to start, and how I wanted it organized.  Finally I decided it works best to do it by HDF color family (99.95% of my sllk floss is HDF).  I decided to get rid of the separate storage of skeins, minis, and micros.  I am winding all my skeins on mini or micro spools.  Color selection will be much easier if I have the entire color family in one place rather than separate boxes.  I am using these boxes – they have 4 horizontal fixed compartments and 20 removable dividers, which make it easy to adjust the size of the slots for each color family.  I crossed the halfway mark today.


Performance Evaluation

We are going through this process at work, so I thought I would do one for my stitching.  It’s tedious and boring and even depressing to evaluate actual versus projected, but still much more fun than the one at work :-)  So here is how I stand on my 2014 goals:

  1. Completed FebFinish Ann Dale or kill myself.  Completed February 2, 2014
  2. Finish at least one of the two unfinished ones mentioned above (Marquoir Elise or Odds and Ends 4).  A big F on this one!
  3. Complete the Nativity Table Runner from Blackberry Lane Designs that I started on Christmas Day 2013.  Um…not a single stitch since Christmas.
  4. Start the Icelandic sampler and make decent progress on it.  I need to paint the fabric a dark brown because I have not succeeded in finding or dyeing the dark brown color that is needed for this in 40ct linen.  See above.
  5. Stitch a couple of smalls from purchased or freebie designs.  Working on Be True by Plum Street Samplers. Almost done. 
  6. Organize my stash of HDF floss.  This will be slow going because I have to wind all the skeins onto spools, sort and wind dbag floss, print labels, update my spreadsheet.  I might not be able to finish this in 2014, but I want to at least make some headway.  Organized up to Earth Stars.
  7. Keep up with the Stitch from Stash 2014 group that I just joined.  I have kept away from blog groups and SALs so far, but this is a different kind of exercise and there is a lot of flexibility because I can stitch whatever I want.  Moreover, it will keep me motivated to post more regularly here.  I am still participating but have probably busted my annual budget already :-(   No blog posts on this topic in the last couple of months because I have no new starts or anything to show.  
  8. Keep up with the Randje Per Week SAL.  Lagging behind at band 41, while the group is at band 60 right now.  I focused on finishing the CHS piece; now that I am done with it, I am back on this one again.
  9. Last and most important, keep stitching!  This is one goal I have had no problem meeting, knock on wood!

The New HDF Examplars

I have been sample-stitching 24 new colors that Vikki dyed recently.  She dyed them when I visited the factory last month. It has been fun to see each color in its different avatars: the freshly dyed hank of silk, then the dried hank (the color seems to lighten up a little upon drying), on a cone, on a spool, and finally, stitched.  Stitching the same motif over and over again drove me quite batty initially but later it became almost soothing :-)

IMG_1178sm-FrameShopIMG_1179sm-FrameShopHere they are all together:



Motif: From Token of Love by Stickideen von der Weihenburg
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct White
Threads: HDF silks (New Examplar colors)
Started: July 1, 2014
Finished: July 18, 2014

The Birds & the Bees – Finished!



I have admired Kathy Barrick’s designs for a long time, but it took a while to actually stitch one of them.  Now I wonder why I waited this long.  Fatigued by the Ann Dale sampler, I was looking for a fun stitch, a piece where I could go a little crazy with color.  The Birds & the Bees seemed perfect for my needs.  And what a joy this has been to stitch!  I enjoyed every bit of it, including the zillion leaves – I thought they would tire me to tears, but I managed to keep myself amused by changing the direction of stitching according to the movement of the leaves.  And of course, I changed all the colors from those in the chart.


I highlighted the birds instead of hiding them (you can see the original here):


I used French knots for the centers of the fruit (berries?) in the tree and basket. I had originally intended to leave the centers unstitched but Vikki came up with the great of idea of using French knots – this made a huge difference to the final look of the piece!


I used four different variegated colors for the tree to get better shading effects.  I am almost sorry this is finished.  Fortunately, I have several other Kathy Barrick charts in my stash :-)


 Pattern: The Birds & the Bees
Designer: Carriage House Samplings (Kathy Barrick)
Fabric: HDF 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (BeVexed, Rubbed Dark Gold, Rubbed Fuchsia, BeSeeded, Kodiak5139/Quernstones5169/Jackalope5271, Examplar Wattle N Daub, Rubbed Chocolate Version 2, Rubbed Turquoise, Rubbed Quartz, Rubbed Roses Ver 2, Rubbed Lavender, Rubbed Yellow, Rubbed Vermillion, Old Maid of the Soil)
Started: February 9, 2014
Finished: July 6, 2014


Here is the piece I stitched for my aunt, sitting proudly on her beautiful bookshelf in Lisbon!  I framed it using an off-the-shelf frame from Aaron Brothers.  I padded it with three layers of quilt batting to give some “pouf” and then stretched and pinned it to the foam core board.  It was a bit of a struggle to get the frame backing into place due to the thickness of the padding – I had to use a special tool called “the husband”.  My aunt loved the piece and it was very satisfying to see her reaction.

IMG_0842smPattern: Herz (free pattern)
Designer: Stickerin M.B.
Fabric: Gander 38-ct Nacre
Threads: HDF silks – Perfect Red 6209 wet sprayed w/ 6217 (limited edition)
Started: March 16, 2014
Finished: March 29, 2014

Randje per Week – Weeks 1 to 17



Here is my progress on this SAL, which is currently in its 19th week.  Forty bands have been released so far, and I am at #36.  Despite all intentions of staying current with the group, I fell behind but for good reason: pondering whether to stitch a few bands as charted, eliminate them altogether or stitch them with color changes.  Band #26 with the boys (or brats) and that chunky, ugly band #27 gave me the most heartburn.  However, the boys grew on me – I think they add a little element of surprise and playfulness to an otherwise predictable piece.  I alternated the clothing colors between blue and pink to make the band look less regimented (the original is charted with all the boys in blue clothing and shoes).  And I am quite satisfied with the result.  But I still hate that ugly chunky band #27.  Why did I stitch it?  Well, I am kinda determined that this should be a no-changes, mindless and relaxing project.


Band #32 is missing a few blue Xs, I have just been lazy to thread blue floss into the needle just for a few Xs.

Here is a cross-section. The linen color in the first photo is truer – for some reason, it is impossible to capture the true color of the fabric unless there is some white in the photo.


Pattern: Randje Per Week (free pattern)
Designer: Simone & Annalies of Soed Idee
Fabric: HDF 36×40 uneven linen in reddish brown
Threads: HDF Blue Pink (a “failed” color), Yonder Blue 2215
Started: January 9, 2014



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