Year of the Dragon, Patriots, and Other Things

I wasn’t sure I was ever going to post another update, as my last update created too much opportunity for harassment from the thought police, since being a conservative in America is to be persecuted openly and loudly at every opportunity. Just to be clear, you can shout at me all you want, call me names, tell me how ignorant I am – that tack is definitely NOT going to change my way of thinking. If that really is all the interaction you choose to have, just save us both the trouble and don’t bother, delete this notification and cancel your subscription. If, on the other hand, you want to take personal responsibility for how you react to feelings that mere words can provoke, and can ignore that I may not check all of your social or identity criteria boxes, then please read on for 9 months of stitching updates, and Welcome to my stitchy corner 🙂

On a side note, this blog, and others I had before it, is not really a forum for social debate; this blog is a TOOL used to chronicle events in MY life, through my chosen medium of needlework. It’s not really here to agree or disagree with; it’s to read or disregard as the individual sees fit. There can be no right or wrong for the reader; if you feel otherwise, you may need to seek professional help.

So, DRAGONS (not in chronologically-worked order):

Well, that ol’ Tracy Horner of Ink Circles definitely knows my number; she has released a series of Elemental Dragons, which I of course had to have before they were even released to the wild. I have taken a somewhat literal interpretation of them.

First, we have Elemental Dragon: Earth, which I did on earthy-colored fabric, using organic colored floss – meet Earth on Oh My Moose from Fiberlicious, using Green Tea Waterlilies from Caron:

Next we have Elemental Dragon: Water, done on Calypso’s Cay from Under the Sea, using Gloriana Deep Blue Sea (one of my favorite colors):

Then we have Elemental Dragon: Air, done on Vintage Stormy Clouds, using Thread Gatherer Wild Blue Yonder:

Elemental Dragon: Fire is pending; I thought I had colors picked (PTP Phoenix and a Thread Gatherer silk), but rethought it a couple of times, and am now awaiting the arrival of a different fabric (was going to be WDW Banana Popsicle, which, apparently, is not a popular color, so I gave up waiting for it to be dyed, and have opted for a different yellow). Hopefully it will be started/completed not too far into the new year.

But that’s not all! I then got on a kick to try to locate some of the TW dragon charts that I missed, when I wrongly assumed they would always be around; I scoured ebay and my dragon-collecting friends, and managed to fill in a number of holes. I even found a copy of the Best Of Fantasy Collection #1 book for a decent price, even though I’ve done many of the charts, or owned the leaflets, already – I just wanted to have the book, too. Forget the 2nd one – it’s made of unobtainium, aka $2-400. Nope. So anyway, my friend Paula has loaned me her leaflet for Fortunate Traveler, which I have put a decent dent in:

This is on a piece of 28ct fabric that I got from a friend’s de-stash; unfortunately, I didn’t look at it closely, and the left side is not cut straight, so I am going to have a very narrow margin when I get to the bottom of this. It’ll work for framing, but I’ll have to add fabric to it to stretch it to stitch it. Damn it, I’ve never had an issue with that before, even when I knew I had fabric that wasn’t cut straight (crazy bird lady’s shop, anyone?). Meh, I’ll work through it, eventually.

And that’s still not all! There is a serious dragon theme to this year, as you can see. So of course, my Dragon Quaker had to come out for a spin, in which 2 dragons and a few other motifs made their appearance:

Not a great photo, sorry; you can’t see the sparkle on the dragons at all here, but trust me, they are sparkly 🙂

That’s a lot of dragons for one year!

Next up: PATRIOTS:

Some of you may remember that I had stitched Bent Creek’s Glory several years ago; well, when DH left his long-time job, he forgot to grab that framed piece (it was over his cube wall), and by the time he went back to get it the next day, it had been taken by one of his former co-workers. I hope they enjoy it in good health, freaking thieves…. So I re-stitched it, using different materials. I think the first one was on 28ct monaco, and the threads were all cotton from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe; this time (after I re-bought the chart), I did it on 36ct linen from Vikki Clayton, and used silks from Vikki Clayton and Thread Gatherer. I haven’t gotten it re-framed yet – the To Be Framed pile is mountainous at the moment 🙁

I also saw a small freebie online, 1776, and started it while I was waiting for one of my dragon orders to arrive, so I haven’t finished it yet:

And then, one of the Mill Hill kits in my travel bag begged to be started – Home of the Brave, which is on really stiff aida, which I kept because I didn’t have any other suitable white fabric on hand, and I wasn’t going to wait to order any.

There’s not much left to stitch, I should probably finish it….

Also from the Travel Bag, as my local group has been meeting online via Webex:
started last year when we were still meeting in person, By the Bay’s Meadow Hills, on Star Sapphire jobelan:

Also from the travel bag, though it hadn’t been out for a few years until I started the 3rd piece last year, Long Dog’s Foursome Reel; I am working on the multi-color piece, though am using the same colors I used for the other two pieces, Gloriana Elizabethan Green, Red Clay and Antique Gold on Shadowbrook from Silkweaver in various counts; I’m placing the colors randomly rather than as the chart suggests.

I can’t turn this right side up – use your imagination and know the swan isn’t swimming down a waterfall…

As many know, Long Dog released a freebie on the world this summer, aptly re-titled Pandemic, and of course, I jumped onto that bandwagon with everyone else 🙂 I went back and forth on fabric, first choosing a plain white to go with black silk from Silks4U, but then decided white was too boring, and I really wanted the reddest red I could find. Enter Fall Flame from Fiberlicious:

This is probably one of the prettiest pieces of fabric I have ever stitched on 🙂

Of course, Halloween being my favorite holiday, saw some stitching, even though my walls are jam packed in October; one of the things was an ornament, which actually made it onto the Halloween tree before the end of October:

One of the 2020 Painted Pumpkins from Mill Hill; I have a few more to do 🙂

That tiny ornament didn’t quite satisfy my need for Halloween stitches, so Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow came out, and I finished the center Witch panel, and got the Sinking Ship panel at least halfway done (so much water! These blocks are deceptive!):

When I updated last, I was working, finally, on Lady & Unicorn, with plans to finish a page; I did that, and got a good bit of the next page done, too. This row is not too far from done! Of course, my “not too far” can still be measured in years when it comes to this project, but I am just glad that I can enjoy working on this again 1) when my neuropathy isn’t too bad and 2) the Scarlet Quince stitch app makes this pattern that much easier to manage (I’m not planning to convert to all-device stitching – I work on multiple screens 10-11 hours a day, staring at a screen more is not my idea of a good time).

Where I was the previous update – you will see where the 2 orange threads converge on the bottom just right of center; these are the page boundaries.
Where I ended this rotation. About half of this maid’s arm is the next page, so I have a sizable chunk of that page completed. The Unicorn’s horn can also be seen cutting through that page, the ecru line of stitches from bottom right towards the top left.

I had also posted my finish of Chatelaine’s Secret Victorian Garden; I needed to put all the leftovers from the kit away, but included with the original class files was a small “tryout” design that Martina sometimes included with the older files, which used all of the fibers and delicas used in the bigger mandala. I had it sitting here kitted for some time, so did it in between other projects, so I could finally put all the bits away. On 28ct Sapphire from Silkweaver – not sure what I will do with it yet – box top? Pincushion or ornament? Dunno…

To close out this god-awful year, I broke out another long-kitted Chatelaine “freebie”, from the 2006 Advent gifts Martina released to the support group – the Snowflake! I have dithered over fabric for this for a long time, and despite trying literally every color in my stash, I couldn’t come up with anything better, so here is the snowflake, right at the beginning of the miles of silver PTB, on 28ct Snowstorm from Silkweaver:

I will be adding more beads than charted – because that’s what I do 🙂

And that is what I have been doing when not working all through this horrible year. I don’t think I am alone in saying that I am not going to miss 2020. I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but the horizon looks dark to me – I hope I am wrong, but it feels like we’ve maybe reached the end of … something. Anyway, here’s to the new year, whatever it may bring – may we all have the strength to persevere….

Spring Has Arrived!

At the time of this writing, the world is in the grips of the COVID-19 outbreak, WHICH IS A VIRUS THAT ORIGINATED IN WUHAN, CHINA, which makes it of Chinese Origin. It’s ALWAYS Identity Politics with some people, and actually stating that a virus originates in China is MUCH worse than the same statement about a virus that originates in the West Nile region, the Ebola River region, the Middle East’s respiratory syndrome, etc., though I have no idea why. So for all the people who like to play identity politics, I am well aware that YOU are the ONLY people who are allowed to express your opinions, which you do, loudly and frequently, and everyone one who disagrees with you is WRONG – we can’t be DIFFERENT, we can only be Right or Wrong. The only time we can be different is when using the color of someone’s skin to differentiate between victim and aggressor, which, by the way, happens to ALL colors in the right circumstances – it’s HUMAN nature, since the dawn of man. Someday, when this identity politics fades into a dark chapter in our history, I hope people realize that there are no RACES based on skin color, there are only tribes based on geography, and that we are ALL the HUMAN RACE and we ought to start acting like it. What we call it doesn’t change the fact that we are all hunkered down because of something that began in China. I hope when we come out the other side of this – and we will – this sets this country on the road to independence from that country. Unbelievable that this country allowed its leaders to put us in this position – never again. And also unbelievable the state our MSM is in – 90% should be held accountable for idiocy and panic. IF you do not believe free speech is a right, or that it only applies to YOU, feel free to never read my writing again. Strangely enough, I don’t write for YOU, I write for ME. Considering the fact that the opening paragraph of MY blog post was basically just a way for me to put the time-frame in context, which will mean something to me later when I read back on it, I don’t know why you think your opinion of it matters – you are NOT a contributing author, this is not a collaborative effort. It’s a freaking needlework blog, folks! If you read all this other stuff into it, wow, are you exhausted from all the leaping? But yet, you don’t block me on FB – why, so you can continue to share your dislike of any statement or opinion that runs contrary to yours, in a public forum where you will gain the attention you so clearly crave? So you can continue to show the world your mental and moral superiority? Piss off.

Onward and upward….

So, last time I updated, it was fall. We didn’t really have much winter this year, thankfully, though the weather has been less than desirable here because it won’t stop raining; for every day of light – I won’t say sunshine because most days that aren’t actually raining at some point are still overcast – we have 5-6 days of rain and heavy overcast. This is why I left Ohio, folks – the only state in the union that gets less measurable sunlight than Alaska. I’d like to get a garden in this year, but we have to completely overhaul the old one, which means we 1) need to be able to go buy the things we need (wood, fencing, dirt, etc.) and 2) it needs to be dry enough to be able to get up & down the hill to where the garden lives. The one day of winter we had, I will admit, was kind of pretty, though the one day was definitely enough.

In stitching news, when I last updated, I had just started Primitive Needle’s Wicked Alphabet; that was a pretty quick stitch, and I finished it before the middle of November.

I am never going to be able to get portrait photos to show correctly on this blog – tired of trying. Primitive Needle’s Wicked Alphabet, on 36ct Thunderstorm from Silkweaver, using HDF Rubbed Black and a few colors from a DD Bits Bag for the colors.

After I completed that, I decided it was time to get Secret Victorian Garden out and get her done. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, though in my defense, when the kids were here over the holidays (Big Kid +1 for Turkey Day, and both Big & Little Kids +2 for 2 weeks at Christmas), we were doing other things – Big Kid brought a bunch of games with him, so when they weren’t out – which was a lot of the time, they actually were at the house more than not – we were playing games. I thought for sure I could get SVG done by 12/31, leaving me clear for a new start on the 1st, but, I was late, by 3 days! So close! But I did finish her and these pictures will never show you the real sparkle, especially the 36 cantaloupe bicones in the center!

Secret Victorian Garden from Chatelaine. On 28ct pewter jobelan, using all but 1 called for silk (the outer border’s charted color disappeared, so I swapped for a slightly darker silk), and I swapped some of the bicones for slightly different colors, most of which were not around yet when this was designed years ago.
So sparkly!!!
That blackwork corner was maddening until I found the rhythm – the last 3 corners went much faster, the 4th practically stitching itself.

I will put a few more detail shots in the SVG Flickr album, just for gee wiz 🙂

I don’t seem to have taken any photos over the holidays – hmmm, that’s a first. Well, we had them, kids all around, food to the ceiling. The Lego fairy was good to me, and DH got a new smoker and a roll around toolbox, so maybe the red handled hammer doesn’t have to live outside anymore 🙂 It was good to have all the kids here, especially as Big Kid and his fiance are off to Rota, Spain this month for a couple of years; our grand-cats are staying with us while they are away – I’m sure their pictures will make a future update 🙂

So, on the 4th of January, I was able to have a new Chatelaine start – Mushroom & Fern yelled loudest! The middle was awesome – pretty blues, a ton of beads. But then, the outer ring, called “the meadow” – wow. This was quite possibly the most difficult, labor intensive, frustrating bit of stitching I have ever done! I am not good with what is essentially free form embroidery in a counted stitch environment. And layer on top of layer. And then, French knots, 2 in the same space a regular X would occupy, so one on one thread, one on the other. I was never so glad to finish a section, holy crap! I even had a time-out, in the form of a surgery, in the middle of it; when I was recouped enough to be able to sit for any length of time, I powered through it and started the bigger inner border before I called it and put it up. It’s going to be worth it in the end, but wow, I did not enjoy that section much 🙁

Mushroom and Fern Mandala by Chatelaine. On 28ct Antique Copper jobelan, using all called for fibers and beads. Wait until you see the big crystals that go in the middle!

While I was recovering from surgery, I was able to sit for a bit and stitch with my tabletop/lap stand that I use for travel stitching. I needed something simple to work on, so I dug out my Prairie Schooler WIP from my travel bag, Bump in the Night, and finished it:

Bump in the Night by Prairie Schooler. On either 28 or 32ct Lambswool jobelan, using ye olde 3371 by the yard!

And that didn’t quite slake my thirst for PS or easy to work projects, so I did a few PS Ornies:

From the Trick or Treat Leaflet. 2/2 on 28ct Lambswool jobelan.
The two headstones are form All Hallows Eve leaflet, and the Skeleton is from Bump in the Night; these are all 1/1 on 28ct Lambswool jobelan.
And lastly, the 2nd ornie from Bump in the Night, this 2/2 on 28ct Lambswool jobelan.

I have some wool from WDW coming in my String Theory Market order to use to finish these ornies 🙂 Along with my Primitive Hare and Ink Circles haul – never going to get it all done, but it’s fun trying 🙂

When I put Mushroom & Fern up, I was really feeling the call of L&U, so I got it out, to see if I am actually able to work on it with my neuropathy; so far, it’s going okay. I have signed up for the Scarlet Quince stitching app and have been slowly transcribing the progress to date to the app. I am not sure if I will 100% convert to stitching from my tablet for this or not – I’m using it now to find the confetti, and marking it done in the app & paper both, but perhaps once I am caught up in the app with the reality, maybe I can break the paper habit. I don’t have a convenient place to put the tablet at the moment – too heavy to put on my frame, and if I easel it, and put it on the arm of the couch, that may work when I am in a fresh area and can work in landscape; right now, I need it in portrait, so I can see basically 80% of the page I’m working on. And the stupid Galaxy I’m using can’t be plugged in unless it’s flat – the cover I have it in has the charging port on the bottom and no hole in the cover to get to it – what idiot designed that? But, since it was old when I got it (my 15 year prize for work), I took what I could find. We’ll see how it pans out – I am NOT buying yet another device for this.

There were a lot of holes from the rabbit down, to the left to the instrument. Now, I have the flower to the left and above the head-shaped void, and then I can fill in her head, arm & bodice, and this page (10?) will be complete, leaving only 1 and a partial page left on this row.

I will complete this page, and however much on the next, before I put this up again – however long it calls to me 🙂

That’s the stitching news from here! Next time I update, hopefully we will be well on the road to recovery from this China mess, and my garden overflowing with produce – yay peppers and cucumbers! Until next time, Happy Stitching and BE WELL! Be KIND to each other! The world is already a mean place to be, without us tearing each other down on a never ending basis. Spend more time looking at the beauty of nature, and less time looking for things to be offended by.

Old pic- won’t stop raining here long enough to bother going outside with the camera…

‘Tis The Season – an Autumn Update

It’s been a while! Summer has come and gone, finally – we weren’t sure it was going to leave this year, as it was near 100 into the first week of October, and almost no rain since July. But Fall is definitely here – we got into the 40s the last few nights, making for some chilly mornings, and making sure the furnace works, too early. Trees have been dropping leaves, though more because they are cooked & dry.

DH has been working the last couple of weeks adding about 500 square feet of new deck out back, which we’ve wanted to do for years, so we can actually enjoy our back yard without 1) sliding down the hill, 2) twisting ankles on the acorns and rocks, and 3) getting stuck at the bottom and too tired to get back up. Now we can really sit out in our tree house 🙂

I think when I last updated, I was either just getting Tuscany Town Mandala out, or had worked on it just a bit. I got 2 corners of Neverending Trees done – will probably split the last two up unless I am reallllyyyy motivated – and got Piazza del Campo & Sienna Cathedral, the right side, done. It’s big enough now that I can’t get a very good picture of it:

Chatelaine Tuscany Town Mandala, on 28ct Waterlily jobelan. Using DMC, silks, PTB & lots of Miyuki delicas :)Definitely on the downhill side now….

After I put this up, I got Winter Watergarden out for a turn, and put Part 2 in – I wish these photos could show it off better, the fabric and the subtle color changes in the threads are so much prettier in person:

Chatelaine Winter Watergarden, on 28ct opal Frozen Fractals from Stephanie, suing all called-for fibers. LOVE these cat tails!

After that, I decided to work on a gift for my great niece, who loves all things pink – Nor’a mermaid Cara Mia. I raided my friend Jackie’s stash for the perfect piece of fabric, a 28ct opal lugana from Under the Sea, Caribbean Tides. I used all called for fibers & beads – despite all the pink (so much pink!), I think she turned out great!

Cara Mia by Nora. If she doesn’t display correctly, I have edited all I can…

I don’t have pictures of either of my travel bag projects – a By The Bay piece, Meadow Hills, and also the 3rd of 4 of the Foursome Reel by Long Dog. I only started the LD because Julia has been releasing charts I want too fast for me to keep up with, so while I waited for Templar Prophecy to get to me, I was compelled to start Life After Death, though I had to go back & forth w/Silkweaver (Needleworker’s Delight) to get the right color fabric for my purple Silks4U silk – ended up w/36ct Silvery Moon:

1/2 silk on 36ct Silvery Moon – just barely grey. Templar Prophecy will be silver silk on purple fabric 🙂

And then, because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment, I started yet another Nora, Snow Queen. I saw this one done on FB, or I likely would never have paid any attention. Of course, that’s how half of my Chatelaines came into my possession, too, so… I have her on 28ct jobelan in Changeling from Stephanie, and so far, have an entire skein of white in her, along with several other colors, including two Carons:

This fabric is beautiful – but like most, doesn’t photograph well.

After I put her away last week, I really wanted to work on something Halloween – hard to believe, I know 🙂 Remember Primitive Needle, the designer who was swept away in a flash flood several years ago? I loved her work and miss her designs, but fortunately, I have a couple. I broke out a little kit, Halloween Garden, which came with 35ct WDW fabric (Tin Roof maybe? I forget, I don’t have it handy now), and kitted it up with a variety of fibers – some of the called-for WDW, some old HDF, DD, and a Caron leftover. A nice 6-day project 🙂

Halloween Garden – again, if it doesn’t display upright, it’s not for lack of editing the image….

And lastly, another Primitive Needle that has yelled at me pretty steadily for years – Wicked Alphabet. I pulled this piece of 36ct Thunderstorm fabric as soon as I got the chart, but it took a couple of tries to find the right HDF silk – I tried BeGrimed, but it wasn’t dark enough, and then I found Rubbed Black – perfect! The design is charted for multiple colors, but I’m doing it in one, except the with will probably have a couple of additional colors added (gotta have a green face, I think) when I get that far. I just started last night, so not much to see yet:

Primitive Needle’s Wicked Alphabet, started 10/19/19.

That’s the stitching news for the last few months! In health news, I am 4 days away from being done with my treatments, so hope to have a clean bill of health shortly, as soon as I get rid of all the nasty side effects from the capecitebine (Xeloda) that has been destroying my feet, among other things, the last 4 months. I would like to be able to walk normally again by Thanksgiving, when we should have one of the boys home. Added to work stress, this year just needs to be over. Next year will be making up for being on hold the last 15 months 🙂 Until next time, here are some visitors we’ve had this summer….

What kind of bird is that???
Bambi, Faline, and Bambi’s mom…
Dragonfly sitting on a bird.