July 06, 2013

I'm Losing My Mind

I went to Hobby Lobby today to buy thread for a couple of smaller projects that I am either working on or ready to start working on. I am trying to do some smaller projects (to feel some sense of accomplishment) and to finish the County Cottage monthly series from last year. For some reason, I took the patterns with me, with the thread I needed circled.

I bought my thread, put the patterns in the bag and headed home. Except, when I got home, none of the patterns were in the bag. I looked everywhere in the house I had been, went back through the car a couple of times, and then called the store. They couldn't find them either.

Here are two of the patterns I lost:

August County Cottage Needleworks
Moonshadow Mini - "Life's Journey"

I don't have the name of the third pattern, because the picture and information was on the front and the pattern, with the information for the thread I needed was on the back.

I am hoping that someone out there in our needlework groups can help me out. If you have done either of the two patterns listed above and no longer need the pattern, could you help a girl out? I'm especially upset with myself about the Country Cottage, because I need to finish it to keep up my monthly turn around in the frame. Plus, I had already started it. The Moonshadow Mini was an old pattern that I got from our needlework guild and is probably out of print by now.

If you have a copy of either pattern, can you let me know how much you would take for it and how I could get it from you? I can buy a new copy of the August pattern, but it seems like a waste of money to buy something I've already bought at full price.

I kind of feel like I've lost my mind since my mom died and things like this keep happening to me. I'd chalk it up to ADD, but it's more likely the scattered brain syndrome that happens when someone you love dies. (This isn't the first time I've done something like this since Mom passed and yes, I cried all the way home from the hobby shop.)

Thanks in advance for checking your stash. I hope I can pay it forward for you someday. If you can share this with your friends to get the word out, I owe you double.


July 03, 2013

My Quarterly Update (Or So It Seems!)

Hello fellow needleworkers! I know it's been awhile, so I thought I would show you what I've been up to. I fell way behind on reading blogs and commenting, but I think I'm finally caught up. Here's what I've been doing.

I decided that I needed to feel some sense of accomplishment right now and that all of my big projects were simply overwhelming me. So I fished out a few smaller ones and now I have two finishes! This first piece was kind of picked by randomly reaching into my stack of patterns and just pulling one out, but I chose several and this was the one that really caught my eye. My mother's favorite color was red and I can remember her talking about the Red Hat Society, so I thought I would stitch this in my mother's honor. It was a quick stitch, only taking about a week. I forgot how much I enjoy beading!

The Promise by Just Nan

I am continuing to try to keep up with my cottages that were started last year. I am trying to get the next one done before the month is up and I just started August yesterday. Here is July all laced up and in the frame.

July Cottage by Country Cottage Needleworks

This one is our hardangar project that we were working on as a foursome, but everyone else had finished theirs and I was dawdling along behind. Cutting threads is scary, people! So far, so good, but I have to be awake, alert, and able to concentrate to work on this one, so it's going slowly.

Beginner's Hardangar Course through the Embroidery Guild of America

I am loving my little sheep and have been working on one a month. I don't remember if I showed you "Peace," so I am including it.

Peace by Little House Needleworks "Stitchin' the Flock"

Here is last month's "Courage:"

Courage by Little House Needleworks "Stitchin' the Flock"

Here's how many I have done so far. There was an unfortunate bad measuring when I went to cut off the extra fabric and I now only have room on this piece for nine sheep instead of twelve. That made the decision to have them finished as pillows by Faye at Carolina Stitcher fairly easy. It will be cheaper than getting the whole thing framed, so really I'm coming out ahead.

This is a mystery piece (not to me, but to you guys) that I am making as a Christmas present for someone. I may or may not show more pictures as I make progress. I need to get working on it a little bit more if I want to finish it in time for Christmas. This piece is really special because my mom started it when she was having trouble quilting and was looking for some hand work to do. She hated cross stitch with a passion and was having so much trouble with her hands that I told her I would finish it for her.

What am I?

Here is my exchange piece with my friend out in Washington. She made one for me (which she misplaced!) and I am slowly working on getting this one done for her. There is a lot of embellishment once the cross stitching is done, so I know it's going to get harder before it gets finished. But at least the basics are almost finished!

Elegant Geisha by Dimensions Gold

We started learning crewel at Guild a couple of months ago and this is the project that we are supposed to complete. Well, it should be done by now, but I haven't touched it in weeks. Fancy that! I'm a little scared of the holly leaves because I missed the first teaching session and will have to wing it by following the instructions. I'm not good at instructions...

Christmas Ornament Initial by Maggie Fraser

Last (and maybe least?), this is a project that started out as a guild project. Unfortunately, only six people signed up and so they decided not to take the time in guild meetings to work on it. It's called Renaissance Jewels and is from an old magazine one of my guild friends had. She has made it and finished it, as has our president. It is supposed to be worked as a "band sampler," meaning you do it in sections. I'm way intimidated by this project, so I haven't even touched it yet, even though the two people who have finished theirs can help me.

Summer has meant fewer stitching groups to attend, as everyone is busy. And the ones that are meeting, I'm having a hard time going to, as I never know what I'm going to feel like when I wake up in the morning. Most days, I don't particularly want to talk to anyone (except Justin while he's working) and I confess to canceling my third Friday of the month stitching group until Fall due to lack of interest or people going on vacation.

The Renaissance piece is one that we were going to work on in my third Friday group, so I am hopeful to get this group back up and running again in September.

Right now, I am in an eight week grief group through our local hospice, which has been extremely helpful. It's nice to be around people who know how I am feeling right now and who don't mind listening to me talk about Mom's story over and over. I am also in a women's group every other Tuesday (same day as grief group) and individual counseling. I decided on Monday that this is simply more counseling than I can handle right now and I need to focus on the grief group, so I am going to withdraw from the women's group and make the individual counseling on an as needed basis until grief group is done. As I put it to Justin, I need people to get out of my head for awhile.

Hope you are enjoying your summer and that the fireworks on the 4th don't scare your animals or small children.


May 06, 2013

Oops! Update Part II

When I was updating yesterday, I forgot to show you these.

Elegant Geisha was started over a year ago (I think) as an exchange with a friend of mine from high school. She finished mine, but misplaced it. I still haven't finished hers. This was on her wish list from 123 Stitch. I've been fighting it because it's 18 count Aida and that count is difficult to get a needle through. Last week, one of my guild friends came over and we were looking through my stash. I noticed how close I was to finishing this, so I pulled it out and decided to just get it done already! I'm actually into the half stitching now around the border, so it's not as hard. It does have quite a bit of embellishment though, so we'll see if I get stuck again.

The Gold Collection Petites - Elegant Geisha

This next one is a mystery gift for my brother that I am hoping to finish by Christmas. When my mom was having trouble quilting, she was looking for handwork to do. I had done this piece for my brother several years ago and Mom had quilted a border for it. I never got a thank you, which was very strange, but I didn't want to ask him what had happened to it. Finally, last Christmas, my mom or I got up the nerve to say, "Hey, did you ever get this and what happened to it?" He never got it. Thank you USPS! It took me a couple of months to make and my mom time to quilt, not to mention the love that goes into every stitch. So, I bought my mom the kit and she started it, but it wasn't long before she put it aside because she simply hated to cross stitch. I can't imagine that, but then again, I don't particularly like to quilt. I think I should be able to finish this fairly quickly if I spend some time on it and don't get distracted by projects I want to start. I'd like to have it to him by Christmas.

Mystery Gift

These are free patterns off of the internet that grabbed my attention. I've never been particularly fond of the way my guild name tag turned out. I'm not really a fan of those colors and someone else decided to fasten my ecru colored cording down with red DMC floss and make a tassel at the bottom corner without consulting me first. I had left a hole in the top for the cording to be tucked into and I was going to put either a pin or a magnet on the back to hold it on when I wear it. It's also a bit larger than I like. So I pulled these patterns from the internet and I'm going to do my own design with the my name and the chapter information on it. I'm also planning to add my EGA number so that when I go shopping at the needlework shops, I will have it handy for a discount. I will be doing this one on Confederate Gray 28 count linen and combining two over two and one over one stitches. I may also put in some satin stitch, just for fun. It will be in pinks and purples or maybe just one of those. Purple may look better on the gray fabric than pink.

Free Patterns from the Internet for New Nametag

Current Nametag - Not My Style

I still need to get around to updating the right hand side of the blog with my works in progress and put my finished projects from this year into the proper place under a 2013 tab at the top. I have four finishes so far this year - the two Stitching the Flock virtues, the June cottage, and the BA sampler. I hope to continue to get some finishes done, as I have so many pretty patterns and kits just waiting for me to get started on!

Happy Stitching!


May 05, 2013

Long Overdue Update

I'm finally here for a long overdue update. It seems as if everything just comes a little later and a little harder since Mom passed away in March. Justin did take me to Ocean City, Maryland for our 25th anniversary and we truly enjoyed having three days away from the house, children, and animals. He went all out on the hotel and we stayed at the Hilton in a beautiful suite with views of the ocean from two sides. It had a walk in shower with three shower heads, which got me to thinking about redoing the shower in our bathroom.

But, on to my update.

I decided to try to finish some projects before moving onto the ones I've recently purchased. I'm tired of looking at the full plastic bucket. Some projects are obviously larger than others, so not all will get done, but I am hoping to get the majority out of there so I can start on some newer ones.

This first one, however, is an ongoing Stitch Along with other Little House Needleworks fans for 2013. I have finished my first two and just got "Peace" in the mail from my LNS, so I will be starting on that one shortly. Here are my two finishes for this year:

Little House Needleworks Stitching the Flock

I finished up the June cottage from last year's stitch along. Only six more cottages to go. I have July kitted up and ready to start.

Country Cottage Needleworks June Cottage

I finally finished my sampler and have now stashed it away to be framed. I'm estimating at least $100 in framing costs (probably higher, even with a coupon), so I am in no hurry to get this done. My dad is going to be bringing up a bunch of Mom's stuff when he comes for Memorial Day and I want to see if he is gifting me with any of the framed stitching done by my great grandmother before I decide where this one will live. We just had the foyer and my sewing area painted, but I am thinking this sampler would look best in the kitchen and we haven't had that painted yet.

Sweet Humility Sampler by Brenda Keys

I know I have a long ways to go on my Butterfly Fairy, but it is going fairly quickly (you can look further down the blog for my last update on her. I love the colors and I am almost done with her skirt. This is another big project, but I am hoping to finish her up by the end of the summer. This pattern was gifted to me by Carrie probably last summer, but I know she understands how much crap I have gone through in the last six months. I have three other patterns she sent me and hope to get to them, as well as the stitch along we were supposed to start last fall. Sorry, Carrie!

Mirabilia Butterfly Fairy by Nora Corbett

This is a project I am doing in embroidery guild. We are learning all different types of stitching and so far, there hasn't been much cross stitch. This is a crewel Christmas ornament with the initial of my last name. I think it's really pretty and so far it hasn't been extremely difficult. Next month, we will begin to learn needlepoint, which I think is just like half cross stitches on canvas.

Crewel Christmas Ornament by Maggie Fraser

And that's about it. I know I really need to update the current projects over there on the right side of the blog, but it's been all I could do to get these photos taken and posted up. Thank you for your patience. It's been a really tough time, but I am hopeful that better times are right around the corner. Of course, nothing will ever be the same without my mom, but somehow the world keeps turning. I don't quite know how that works.

Happy stitching!


March 25, 2013

A Little Hope and June Finishes

I have my first finishes for 2013. I haven't had a whole lot of time to get stitching done, since the majority of this year was taken up with the caregiving of my mother, who passed away on March 21st. She saw the beginning of June and also saw me struggle over trying to do "Hope" one over one on 32 count linen and finally give up in frustration. I know she would be proud of these finishes. I hope she can see what I've accomplished from her quilting room in heaven.

Little House Needleworks "Hope"

Country Cottage Needleworks "June"

Both of these finishes are part of year long stitch alongs. The Country Cottage SAL was started in 2012 and so I am a bit late, but at least I am halfway through the year. I am doing well with the Stitching the Flock stitch along, since I don't yet have the second "virtue" to stitch.

I am doing the flock on one piece of 30 count R&R Reproductions fabric (the color of which has now flown right out of my mind). I am planning on getting all of them stitched and then deciding whether to have them cut and made into little pillows, as Vonna is doing, or have the entire twelve months of virtues framed. I'm running out of wall space in my house. Since my mother passed away March 21st, I have even less wall space, as I brought home many quilts and wall hangings from her house. One of the quilts she left me was made by my great great grandmother in the 1850's and I am so fortunate that she left it to me. The only problem is what to do with it, as it is very fragile. Mom thought it would be a good idea to see if the Smithsonian would take it for their quilt exhibit and asked me to follow up with the person who is in charge of curating that exhibit. I am torn, because I want the quilt to stay in the family, but it's more important to follow my mother's wishes and how cool would it be to have a quilt in the Smithsonian that was made in your family? I'm just not quite ready to let anything of my mother's go yet.

Ben is planning on moving out when he graduates in May with his associates degree, which will free up a room upstairs. I had planned on moving Jamie to Ben's room (since I had promised it to him - it's a large room with a bathroom) and taking Jamie's room as my sewing room, but I am kind of enjoying using what used to be the dining room as my sewing/writing room. So we shall see what the upstairs turns into.

I am off to work on my Hardanger piece for my Wednesday group. I am very much behind after spending so much of the beginning of the year in South Carolina. I am finding stitching to be very therapeautic, although part of my grieving process seems to be falling asleep all the time. I think I've found the cure to insomnia. I don't think it's a bad thing to sleep your grief away until you can handle it.

Happy stitching and I hope to have a Hardanger update shortly!


March 10, 2013

More Than Time for an Update

I am not posting nearly as much as I would like and that comes from two reasons. As most of you know, my mother is in the end stages of cancer and I am back and forth between Virginia and South Carolina as we watch her decline. She is currently unconscious and non-responsive, so we are playing a waiting game. I have not gotten nearly as much stitching as I would like to get done (reason two for not posting), but I thought I would at least show you what I have worked on.

As you can imagine, I have been busy here in South Carolina helping my aunt clean out my mother's sewing room so that my father won't have to mess with it and it's been a large job. I also find it very hard to sit and concentrate long enough to get any stitching done. But here is what I have managed to get done.

This sampler is something I started working on seriously when I went to Camp Wannastitch in January and I still would very much like to get it out of my WIP pile and framed. It may end up being a gift for someone, as the colors are not really to my liking and it didn't occur to me until I got this far that I could actually choose my own colors and no one would be the wiser. It's taken me awhile to get out of the habit of just following the directions on the charts. You can guess what kind of student I was!

I am continuing to try to finish last year's SAL from Country Cottage Needleworks. I was trying desperately to finish June while I was here, but I got sick of it and decided I wanted to work on the Stitching the Flock 2013 SAL and why was I working on something that I was not enjoying at the moment? I did get very tired of the cottages and I don't know why that is, except that it's really the same design 12 times with different colors and themes.

This is the Little House Needleworks Stitching the Flock "Hope" virtue second beginning. I'm pretty sure one of my last blog entries was about trying to do this one over one and it ending up a disaster. I have switched to 30 count linen and am doing two over two and am much happier. I have a large piece of fabric I am using for this, as I want to frame all twelve together. I can decide later to cut them apart and do them as pillows, which is how Vonna intended them to be done. If I do that though, I will probably need to get one of the women in my EGA guild to finish them for me. I am not happy with my finishing abilities. We really need to have a finishing class as one of our programs and we may well have had that, since I have missed so many meetings with my mom's illness.

I haven't started this one yet, but I am anxious to get it out and get to work. I thought it was neat, since I had just joined the EGA last year. I don't know whether to leave the date of 1779 in there or change it to 2012, which is when our EGA was established, but I suspect I will leave it at 1779.

That's about it. We are in waiting mode right now and I am anxious to get home, but so, so sad that cancer is taking my mother from me. She had a lot more to give and wasn't ready to die and may be hanging on just to show the cancer that she's in charge. That wouldn't surprise me and would be in keeping with her liking to be in control of what's going on. I've been in SC for about 10 days now and I only brought a few changes of clothes, so I will be glad to get back to my own closet and not doing laundry every other day. Unfortunately, my going home rests on my mom's passing and that is a no win situation, no matter how you look at it.

I do miss Justin, my kids, and my furry people.

Happy stitching,


February 27, 2013

My Mom's Beautiful Needlework

I have not been blogging much or reading other people's blogs recently and I apologize for that. The reason is that my mother is in the last stages of terminal myxofibrosarcoma and I don't have any idea what I am doing most of the time.

Today though, I thought I would honor my mom by showing you some of her beautiful work that I have in my stitching room.

Reverse Applique

Wall Hanging (with matching quilt upstairs in my hope chest)

Appliqued Hearts (by me) and Quilting by my Mom

Message on the back of the hearts applique from my mom

This is only a small fraction of her work that I have in my house. Before she lost the use of her arms and hands from the cancer, my mom was an extremely talented quilter and an expert on the longarm machine, which takes up an entire room and costs about as much as an economy car. She had her own quilting business and was quite well known in Virginia and West Virginia. She had just started to get her business going again in South Carolina when they got the news that the cancer was back and was going to be terminal.

I feel very lucky that she made so many quilts for me and for her grandsons. Ben still uses the rag quilt she made for him when he was in elementary school, even though it is almost threadbare. He loves that quilt so much that he won't use the two new ones she made to replace it when it wore out! I know how much she misses her quilting and I hope that if she reads this, she will remember that even though she can no longer work at the longarm, there are quilts all over the Mid-Atlantic region that people will treasure for generations.

For right now, I am kind of turning in circles and not knowing what to do with myself when I am not crying, sleeping, or getting really angry at a God that, if he exists, took my best friend from me in October 2012 with breast cancer and now is taking my mother. The pain and suffering that goes with cancer is simply inconceivable, both for the patient and the family.

I spent two weeks in South Carolina this month with my mom and dad, just hanging out and helping as best I could. Mom and I spent a lot of quality time together and had a lot of good talks. We still talk on the phone, although now she has to be on speaker because she can no longer hold the phone. I treasure each and every conversation with her. She is such a strong, beautiful spirit and it just makes me sick that cancer doesn't discriminate between the good and the bad.

I have been doing some cross stitch and will post an update at some point soon so you can see my progress. In the meantime, I hope you are all doing well.

Happy stitching!


February 11, 2013

Stitching the Flock, January - My Crappy Sheep

I'm taking part in the Stitching the Flock year long Stitch Along from Little House Needleworks. Well, I will be once I get my act together.

I'm down at my parents' house, spending two weeks 600 miles away from my limitless stash (ha!) and the January "Hope" sheep was something I thought would be a short and easy little stitch. The pattern called for 30 count R&R Reproductions Dark Chino fabric, which of course I didn't have because I haven't built up a stash of fabric yet and I hadn't even heard of R&R Reproductions. But I checked my fabric that I did have and discovered that I had a 32 count Weichelt Lambwool that looked about the same color as the fabric pictured on the pattern. I was supposed to be using this fabric for my Country Cottage Needleworks monthly cottages from last year's SAL that I worked on up through May. But I got tired of them after I finished May and set the rest of the patterns back in my pile to go back to because I hate to commit to a project and not finish it.

So I went online and did the fabric count conversion thing and came up with what I thought was the right size piece of fabric. I cut that out of the larger piece of linen and spent a couple of hours overcasting it because I don't own a sewing machine because they hate me. Then I was all ready to get started until I realized that I hadn't cut the fabric big enough to do all twelve flock designs and that was how I wanted to stitch it.

So then I had the brilliant idea of doing it one over one and entering it in next year's needlework show at Woodlawn Plantation in the miniatures category! I haven't done much one over one stitching, but I really like the way it looks. Except I tried one over one on my HAED (which was only 25 count Laguna fabric) and I ended up tossing it into the scrap bag when I realized I hated stitching one over one because if you make a mistake, frogging it is nearly impossible.  So I switched to 16 count Aida on my blog friend Carrie's advice. I got through two pages of the 20 page pattern and put it back in the rotation box to work on something else for awhile. (Did you guys realize that the HAED patterns are stitched in EVERY hole???? Why didn't someone force feed me the fact that I had picked a 200,000 stitch project???

Okay, really I knew that and figured I would probably work on it on and off over the next twenty years and that's okay.  (Trust me. I have a point here.)

Fast forward to the flock project (or my crappy sheep because of how badly I screwed this up).

I got a little bit of the border stitched before leaving for South Carolina a week ago and then packed up the kitted pattern to work on and hopefully finish while I was down here.

The first day when I got it out to work on, I got the border finished up and was starting to cuss at the fact that I couldn't see what I was doing and really needed a magnifier if I was going to stitch it one over one. But I didn't want to spend the money on one and have it shipped here, only to later remember how full my suitcase was and that I couldn't bring it home with me.

My mom gave me her reading glasses, which I put on over my regular glasses and that sort of helped until I realized I was getting dizzy from looking through what seemed like a really long and really claustrophobic tunnel and started getting queasy. I took off the extra pair of glasses and decided to soldier on, since it really was looking cool.

Then I got the border finished and stitched in the "Hope" and the little green thing with red berries and was really thinking it looked really good. Oh my gosh, how freaking talented am I???

Until I got to the sheep and realized that the lambswool color wasn't dark enough for the colors recommended in the kit and my poor little ewe was getting lost because the thread color was too similar to the fabric color. Mom suggested backstitching and I thought okay, cool, I will backstitch it after I finished the whole January piece.

Moving on to the snowflake in ecru, I was dismayed to see that it showed up even less than the sheep. But I thought maybe I could leave it and people could use their superpower vision when they looked at it. And that was when the serious mistake happened. I got off by one stitch. (I know you are all groaning with me if you've ever gotten off by one stitch doing one over one.) I had almost finished the snowflake and not only was it hard to see it, it wasn't going to be counted right and there would be a noticeable error, which meant trying to frog the whole snowflake, or at least back to a place where I could fudge it enough to make it work.

My dream of the needlework show was pretty much fading by now.

But I frogged it back far enough to find the mistake, adjusted for being off by one and started around the snowflake again.

I was almost finished with the snowflake when I realized the back felt kind of lumpy. Turning it over, I discovered that there was a huge tangle of thread that was not unravelable (look, I made up another word!).

Well crap! I now had spent four days off and on and I realized that (a) one over one just wasn't going to work and (b) that the fabric color was completely wrong. I made the executive decision to stop before I hurt my brain any further and order the right color fabric. Which apparently is not being made because I couldn't find it on any of the usual needlework sites.

Crap, crap, crap. Okay wait. I'll just give 123 Stitch a call for another recommendation! Um no. It was Sunday and they are closed on Sunday. After extensive research into whether or not Mom's town had a local needlework shop (consisting of my asking her and her saying she didn't think there was one here; you see how hard I work at this, right?), I made another executive decision to just order another color 123 Stitch recommended as close to the Dark Chino in a size large enough to do two over two and fit all twelve of them on one piece of fabric.

After extensive calculation (consisting of my mom and me doing bad arithmetic in our heads because I was too lazy to hit the calculator button on my iPhone), I figured out the correct size and ordered the fabric, which will be waiting for me when I get home.

And then it hit me. I was working on 32 count instead of 30 count and my original size assessment to do all twelve sheep on the piece of fabric I had cut two over two might not have been off after all. Of course, that still didn't solve my color problem, since all of my DMC floss is at home.

At least I will be able to see all the colors on the new fabric. I think. Since I haven't seen whether its dark enough yet.

So, after wasting four perfectly good sewing days on this instead of working on something and making progress, I have finally thrown up my hands and said, "Self, work on something else!"

But here is a look at what four days of trying to do one over one on the wrong color fabric netted me:

Can you see that tangled blob on the left side of the snowflake That was it for me.

I'm back to working on my sampler, hoping to finish it while I'm here. And I brought the June country cottage and two other kitted up patterns.

Mostly though, I'm spending quality time with my mom and enjoying not having to let the dogs out every five minutes.

I hope you are having happier stitching than I have the last few days!


January 26, 2013

I Have No Idea What to Call This Update

Obviously, I'm not posting much. So I have no idea what to call this. Be warned though. It's pretty picture heavy! (I love pictures on other people's blogs, so I figured you must love them too!)

As I have written before (I think - my mind is totally going), I have been in the process of setting up our dining room as my craft room/office. I managed to convince my husband that we could split up the furniture and now he is using the dining room table as his desk and the hutch/cabinet as his storage in his office. Which left me the huge china cabinet and the cabinet that my grandfather made for my own storage. Here are some pictures of my new, homey, gorgeous room of my own.

I am in love with my new chairs and the little table in between that I bought at the local furniture store. The chairs are glider rockers and they are the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in. We are going to replace the ugly chandelier with a combination ceiling fan/light fixture. This room has an entire wall of windows that have the sun in the afternoon. The light is simply awesome and I am in love with my own space!

Right after I got my craft room all set up, I went away to Camp Wannastitch in Ocean City with our EGA president for three days. It was absolutely awesome and if you are able to get to the east coast without too much difficulty and are a member of the EGA (and maybe even if you're not), you should definitely sign up for this next year. It's every January on the three day weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. It's held at the Clarion on 101st Street and they provide a room block at a reduced rate and an entire banquet hall with tables for all day/night stitching. If you'd like to check it out, you can search Camp Wannastitch on Facebook, as there is now a page with information. I am trying to convince them to do a second weekend because it was so much fun, so we are discussing maybe going in October this year. Since that was my idea, I might have to do the planning, but it would really be worth it.

Weirdly enough, the best needlework shop I have ever been in is on 8th street on the Boardwalk. I would never have thought that there would be a shop at the ocean, but this one has been there for 30 years. It's called Salty Yarns and they do have yarn, but they also have the most comprehensive selection of designers' charts and kits, thread, fabric, and embellishments. I discovered the designer Shepherd's Bush last weekend and here is what I bought:

Aren't they adorable? And they are all kitted up with silk thread, which I have never used, linen, and embellishments. I kept it to three, but I suspect I will be buying more if I enjoy stitching these.

Speaking of stitching, here is what I accomplished at the retreat.

I am really not enjoying the Hardanger project at all. I think it's the number 5 perle cotton the pattern calls for. I am hoping to get all of the icky number 5 finished so I can change to number 8. The hardanger fabric is very hard to use, as the holes get covered by the thick thread, so I spent a lot of the weekend ripping out and putting back in to make sure it's right. You don't want to miscount on this piece because there will be cutting down the line. I'm terrified of cutting the threads, but the whole point is that there will be holes between your motifs.

When I got frustrated with the hardanger, I pulled out my sampler and have gotten quite a bit done on it. I really would like to finish a few projects before starting any new ones and have forced myself to put away the ones I bought last weekend so that I can try to get some of these UFO's finished.

One of the things I noticed on the retreat was that almost every woman there was using some type of frame to hold her stitching. I never knew that I was doing it "wrong" for 30 years by not putting my work on a frame! So I came home and borrowed a scroll frame and lap stand for it and my friend, Monica, from the guild came over and put it all together for me.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring Princess
This is one of those UFO's I was talking about and I would really like to get her out of my to be finished box! We will see how I like using a frame. I also ordered a smaller lapstand that I can sit on and work with both hands from above and below, so I will put that together and see if I like it with the q-snap frame that I have. I may end up going back to stitching without a frame, but with so many people doing it the other way, I have to give it a try.

I have lots of pictures from the retreat of other people's work, but I will save them for another blog entry, as this one is already too long.

Happy stitching!