Finishes, finally!

I have some finishes this week!

After a long battle, I finally finished Eleonora Cosci!  She’s a beauty.


I didn’t measure her, but she is huge!  Stitched with overdyed floss on 36 count light mocha linen.


Finished this one too!  35 count raw linen with Gentle Arts Threads.  The pattern is called “Time Has Wings” on the cover, but “Time Flies” in the instructions.  It is by Sheepish Designs.


Christmas Topiary ornament, stitched with Classic Colorworks floss and DMC.  This was a 2-day stitch.  32 count scrap fabric — raw Belfast, I think.


Started yesterday.  Alpha Birds, by Sheepish Designs, 36 count ivory linen.  🙂  I had to rip out a chunk of the “E” tonight.  😦

This is what I’ve been up to!  The rib is feeling better.  It only hurts now after a shower and after getting out of bed in the morning.  That’s a big improvement and I am thankful for it.  God is good!

I’m hoping to purchase Alpha Menagerie and Alpha Sheep to go along with Alpha Birds.  They can be stitched as one piece.  I’ve ordered them but haven’t received my invoice yet.

We’re back to school and teaching is taking up much of my days.  Hopefully I will have more time to post now though, during tests, etc.

Have a blessed week full of fun stitching!


That Vicious Frog!

I’ve been working on Eleonora Cosci almost exclusively since my last update.  I finally diverged to an old design by Sheepish Designs — only because I am sick of working with brown, green, and orange.

I cruised right through pages 1 through 4, and got a bit bogged down on page 8.  Lots of the same 3 colors on that one!  So I started the Sheepish project and kept plugging away at Eleonora.  All was fine until page 7.

Page 7… why oh why???

The vine had errors and didn’t line up.  UGH!  The error was on the left side and required frogging it back.  Fixed it and it still had a small error.  Fixed it again.  Moved along to page 12.


Page 12 was easy peasy.

Page 7… again!


The post thingies don’t line up.  The error is in the one on the left.  The orange flower should have been down two threads.  I’ve already ripped out quite a bit and have more to go.  Why page 7 is such a problem, I don’t know.  I do recall paying a lot of attention to the baseball game while working this section.  Maybe I can’t do both at the same time anymore!


I didn’t bring my stitching to the game on Sunday, though I considered it.  I wouldn’t have touched it anyhow.  It was a good game until the bottom of the 9th.  The Rays came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Miami 6-4 on their first walkoff grand slam in history.  Great for the Rays fans (including my youngest son and husband.)

Not so great for the Marlins fans.  My older son.  Me.


I had gotten a bit further along on the Sheepish Design when I realized yesterday that… I had to behead the angel.  She is now fixed too.  Hmmm, I think I worked that head during a baseball game too.  It’s hard to cheer for bottom-ranked teams and stitch, I guess!


Maybe my stitching is off but my dyeing isn’t.

I figured out the issue with my photos!  It isn’t me!  It’s my camera.  It is a really cheap camera on my smartphone.  My son’s takes way better pictures.  The good news is, I should be getting a new one next month.  I don’t like to keep them more than 18 months.  It seems too much goes wrong after that point.  My husband insists that they program them to self destruct.  Weird…

May YOUR stitching be blessed and the big frogs stay far away from you!

From the Pot

Last Saturday I decided to dye some fabric for sale.  I’ve listed a few pieces on Etsy and the rest are on eBay (Tropical_Stitches).

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You can see this one is a close match for DMC ecru.  I’m calling it “Daytona Beach” and it is 32 count, a fat quarter.

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Another 32 count fat quarter.  This is a close match to DMC 3033.  I’m calling it “Palm Beach.”

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32 count fat quarter, close to DMC 842.  I have two of these, called “Pensacola.”


Two 36-count fat quarters, close to DMC 3893, called “Cocoa Beach.”

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40 count fat quarter, close to DMC 712.  I call it “Sanibel” (my favorite place!)

All fabrics are 100% linen by Zweigart, which is my personal favorite.

Why no international shipping?, you might ask.  I *would* sell to certain countries without a doubt, but after setting up all the complicated shipping rules and prices, I’ve found I sold ONE thing internationally, and I ended up with problems.  It took a lot of time and effort on my part to even complete that one sale.  (The buyer was in the Canary Islands and the shipping program refused to consider it Spain, and was blocking me from shipping it.)  Shipping costs are awful — even domestic rates.  $3.50 to ship up to 4 ounces???!!!  It feels like ripping people off but that is the actual cost, never mind the $1.00 for a padded envelope — I only lose money when I ship anything.

On the other hand, I *know* what it costs to ship things, so when a store blatantly overcharges me on shipping, I don’t appreciate that at all.  I lose money every time.  And if you sell on line, you know that both eBay and Etsy hit the seller with shipping fees on top of shipping costs.  So that has to be added in.

If you are interested in the fabric and are an international buyer, leave me a comment stating how to contact you and we can try to work out something reasonable.

All this to say, sadly, that while dyeing this fabric I re-broke my rib.  😦

There will be an update soon on Eleonora Cosci.  I have pages 1-4 done and page 8.  I’m partway through page 7.

Happy stitching, and keep your ribs intact!


End of June

Hello stitching friends!

Last Saturday I started Eleonora Cosci by Gigi R.  The instructions are 12 pages long and I finished 2 pages by Friday night.  This is a really fun project so far.  🙂


I tried using my Needlework System 4 stand on her yesterday.  I have a love/hate relationship with this stand.  At first, I loved it 100% of the time.  But then the metal rods by the q-snap clamps turned black and ruined a piece of fabric.  My husband tried cleaning them with everything under the sun and nothing worked.

I called the manufacturer, who had never heard of such a thing.  Well, I turn needles black, so why not my stand?  He kindly sent me a second set, and those turned black too.  I questioned whether it was something in my house, but he said no — especially since they were located one county north of me (at the time.)

He replaced these with an experimental set of black rods (and I sent back the newest metal ones so he could see them.)  While these have not turned black, they do render the stand unable to open to the full 17 inch width, and I am a Big Project Stitcher.

So Eleonora was in the stand yesterday and it was putting too much torque into my left shoulder (remember, I am hypermobile and still have a broken rib.)  One of the q-snap clamps (left side) is fairly dysfunctional and needs a screw driver to tighten and the strength of Hercules to loosen.  Well, in trying to remove my sampler from it, the q-snap clamp bit down and tore two holes in my linen.

My older son said,  “What is this, the third or fourth piece it has popped holes into?!  Get rid of this thing!”

It’s in the garage now.  I tried to sell it once already but no takers.

Eleonora has TWO holes in the linen, one about an inch away from the stitching and one a little farther away.  Needless to say I was so ANGRY.

Now I am just disheartened.  I want to keep working on her and I don’t.  This was a huge custom cut of 36 count linen and with all the stitching already done on it, I don’t want to start again.  I’ve already gone through almost a full skein of the overdyed red and would have to re-order (and worry about dye lots.)

Stuff happens for a reason and I guess I have learned my lesson the hard way.

I hope your stitching week was better than mine ended up!

I’m off to stitch and watch the 6 Hours at the Glen.  Happy stitching!


Pre-Summer Finishes

I’ve had 3 more finishes since my last post.

Rosanna Pinkham reproduction sampler…


From the UFO pile… Right Spirit by La-D-Da.  Did you ever have a project that you like but hate stitching?  This is the one!


Dragged myself through this one…

A start and finish… Plum Street Samplers “Sampler Lesson 2”  (dragged myself through this one, too… mostly because I had some patterns arrive in the mail and of course, those interested me more.  Isn’t that always the way?  This photo is of the pattern because ALL the photos I took were too dark or too blurry.  And I used a tripod.  😦


In between Right and Lesson, I picked up another old UFO, Cardinal Points.  It was going well until this…

(Excuse the blur.  Accidentally put away the tripod/lights then remembered this one.)

What kind of “cardinal” is that???  Good grief!  He looks like a cartoon superhero or something!  Maybe Frankencardinal?  I had TWO people check my stitching and it is correct.  They checked my colors.  Then three people suggested making my own cardinal, changing the gold color and fixing his crest.  We have a family of cardinals that live in our bottlebrush tree and they sure don’t look like this one!  Back to the UFO pile it goes.  I actually considered selling the pattern and the started project together, but I’m a left-handed stitcher so I don’t know about that…  it might be worth a try.

Today I will be working on “Betsy” by Sheepish Designs.  🙂

My rib is better but not 100%.  I tried sitting in a normal chair yesterday and probably wasn’t ready for that.  It is coming along though!  The joys of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome…

It’s supposed to be 95 degrees today with high dewpoints.  I hope it isn’t like that wherever you are!  It’s not even 8:30 AM yet and it is 83.

Happy stitching!

Late Spring

It’s hard to believe that it is late spring.  After an unusual two-week stretch of very rainy days (unheard of around here), summer has come on full blast.  It’s the worst time of year for so many reasons.  The heat, the humidity, the tropical storms/hurricanes…  But having a snow-free, ice-free winter is worth the trade-off.

The rib is still not better, though it *is* better than it was before.  So I still have plenty of time for stitching.  The silver lining to the dark cloud of broken bones!


This was the freebie I mentioned last time, “Here Kitty Kitty.”  This fabric is Sage Jobelan.  Not that you can tell by my photo.  Photo woes have kept me from posting.  I can’t seem to get true color, no matter what setting I use.  I have a nice Nikon camera which does way better than my cell phone.  This issues are with the person taking the photos!


The color isn’t even close, and every picture today was taken in the same light.  The fabric is Jobelan, Star Sapphire, which is a light greenish blue.  And the silk color is not close.  It’s a sunny day, and these were taken on the North side of the house with a south-facing door and two northern facing windows.  It’s a cheerful room…  but a dreadful photo.

The project is the 2017 SAL from Linens and Threads.  This is part of January, and I think it is going to stay this wide.  (The pattern shows three repeats.)  I am just trying to use up some old silk threads.  This particular one is VERY old.  I know I bought it at a store that closed in 2001.


This is “Grant House 1865” by Chessie and Me.  Yours truly started it in the wrong direction on the fabric, thus I had to leave the top section off.  I think I like it better this way anyhow.  This one was stitched on 32 count Belfast that I hand-dyed, with GAST and WDW threads.


“Progress” on Mary Burgess.  Next to none.


“Samplers” by The Scarlett House.  A finish!  🙂  On 36-count Edinburgh linen that I hand-dyed.  I loved working on this fabric!  I did have to change two colors because they weren’t showing up on my linen.

Rosanna Pinkham reproduction sampler by Sheepish Antiques.  After finishing “Samplers” yesterday, I picked up Rosanna as shown on the left.  Last night she looked like the photo on the right.  Pretty good progress!  The fabric is 32 count raw Belfast, which feels like 14 count after working on lots of 36 count pieces!

Two pieces of fabric that I hand dyed that I have for sale.  The one on the left is 25 count Zweigart linen, and the one on the right is 28 count Cashel linen.  🙂

I’m hoping to come close to a finish on Rosanna today.  According to USPS package tracking, my over-3-weeks-ago order of fabric is *partially* shipped and may arrive tomorrow.  Our mail doesn’t get here until the afternoon, so hopefully Rosanna will be finished by then and I may start something new.  My UFO pile is down to 8 pieces, and it normally is between 11 and 13.  Pretty good!  I guess a broken rib has its blessings.

Happy stitching to all!

May 19

I’ve had lots of time to stitch while having this broken rib.  The CT scan didn’t show anything much with the rib (it is not reliable for detecting breaks) but it found plenty of other things wrong.  Since I want this to be a positive, happy place for stitchers, I’ll drop it there.

Mary is coming along.  I don’t feel like I am making great progress, but progress nevertheless.  Here she is, as of earlier today:

Mary Burgess

The flower band at the top of the photo was tricky.  Modern patterns are usually symmetrical, and this band surely isn’t!  The Frog was very active here.  The width of the winding green vine (?) varied every time, and if you look at the flowers, they are all spaced differently.  There are 0, 1, 2, or 3 spaces beside each.  Well, I kept going on autopilot and centering them.  And the stems are different lengths, which got me, too.  Now it is the way it should be.

It feels like I have been working on the current band for weeks, but it’s really only days.  The birds are different, the trees are the same shape so far, and the satin triangles are all different.  Notice the trailing red on the 2nd one.  Yes, I forgot it and had to go back.  This one is keeping me on my toes!

I stitched this freebie yesterday and finished it today.  I tend to have a lot of needles threaded when working each project.  I have lots of pincushions, but they are small and lightweight.  I stuffed this one with weighted polyester pebbles for stuffing weighted dolls.  Not the best choice, most likely, but it weighs enough that it stays put.


It is poked full of needles from Mary Burgess at the moment.

I have another freebie started for something more mindless to do while recuperating.  I find Mary mentally taxing as I have to pay soooo much attention to the chart.  I think after that freebie is done (maybe tomorrow?)  I will start something else on a larger count for when I am ready for breaks.  I do have Our Lady of Guadalupe started on 28 count, and I finally gridded her this week.  I kept losing my place and it was wasting so much time trying to figure out where I am.  Perhaps something more mindless and simple.  I could start this year’s Christmas ornaments but it takes me ages to decide what to stitch for each child.  It takes longer than the actual stitching!

It’s rained every day since I last posted, which is very unusual for this time of year (or any time, really).  It’s been so dark in the house!  When it’s like that I tend to yawn most of the day and go to bed early.  I’m going to try to get through two periods of the hockey playoffs (Go Lightning!)  I normally enjoy stitching through baseball games but tonight the boys are channel hopping between the two sports.  Playoffs are stressful — not time to work on Mary.

Have a wonderful week, everyone, and enjoy every stitch!


May 12

Did you ever have one of those stitching streaks where you wonder where your mind is?  After a bit more work on Mary Burgess I noticed something.

Something BAD.

Here is my Mary, and the chart photo is to the right.

I’ve done a bit more than in this old photo.  And as I stitched along, I realized I had made a mistake.  The zero is one stitch wider than it should be.  That means the zero through seven are WRONG.

This is a kit with silk threads.  I will have to wait to see if I have enough leftover silk in those colors before ripping it out and fixing it.


So Mary was set aside and I started Bettsy Wood last Saturday, and finished her today:

Bettsy Wood 1808, Sheepish Antiques

I’m not too crazy about the light colored floss used for the over one stitching.  You will probably have to blow up the picture to really see it, and this is 25 count raw linen.

Notice the backwards “9”, the missing “1” in the 12, the non-symmetric blue plant thingy in the middle bottom of the sampler.  I had to pay a lot of attention when stitching that one!  The bottom border has a color change in it that I assume was due to thread shortage in the original.  What IS that thing beneath the crown on the left?  No one at my house could figure it out.  And I’m not sure what the animals are supposed to be.

Bettsy was 16 when she made this sampler.  That’s kind of old!  And she made so many mistakes.  I wonder if her name was really spelled with two t’s?  This would be really nice if done in primitive colors.  I considered it, and probably would have liked it better, but it really wouldn’t have been a reproduction then, just an adaptation.

Last Saturday night in bed I had one of my sneezing fits — multiple, violent sneezes.  And I broke a rib, according to my doctor.  Does it ever hurt!  It hurts to stand, hurts to walk, hurts more to sit back, and hurts worst to lie down.  This has not been any fun, though I have been able to stitch so far.  I had 13 x-rays (WHHHYYYY so many????) and a CT scan.  I have pain pills though I haven’t been taking them.  It hurts horribly to cough or sneeze.  I’m just trying to make the best of it but at times it is hard to concentrate.  The Frog has been hanging around over my shoulder, it seems.

My totals for 2018 are 13 starts and 15 finishes.  🙂  Not bad, considering I tend to like bigger projects.  Sometimes I feel bad when I see someone bragging about all their finishes, but then I realize that most of their projects are small and mine aren’t.  🙂

Do you mostly stitch smaller projects, big ones, or a mix of both?  I know some people only tend to do one type.

Have you ever hurt a rib?  How long did it take you to get well?

Until next time…

Happy, healthy, frogless stitching!

Margaret and Mary

Since my last post, I had gone back to working on Mary Burgess.  And unfortunately, the frog has been keeping close by my side.  This is as far as I had gotten (I still have a leaf to rip out) —


Mary is a kit from the Essamplaire.  I especially hate frogging when it is a kit because one never knows if that will cause a thread shortage.  This is silk on 35-count linen.  Mary has some lively colors and she is the oldest known Rhode Island sampler.  I was born and raised there, so Mary is especially meaningful to me.

I thought that maybe if I switched projects, the frog would leave.  No such luck!  I started Margaret Havelock last Sunday and finished her today.  I probably could have finished yesterday, but that darn frog was active as ever!


Margaret was stitched with DMC floss on 32 count linen that I dyed myself.  I’m a much better dyer than stitcher.  I loved the colors on her sampler, and I am especially fond of simple schoolgirl samplers like this one.  I always enjoy every stitch (except the frogging) and it has gotten me thinking.  Sampers are my real love.  Pictures not so much.  So WHY would I stitch anything else?

I woke up this morning with my neck out of place and I couldn’t crack it back in, which causes a nasty headache.  Heat didn’t help.  Tylenol either.  And while I was in pain, I remembered a conversation I had with my doctor several years ago.  I thought it could be helpful for someone so I decided to tell the story,

My neck was hurting horribly.  I am not big on going to the doctor, but I went this time.  This was before we knew I have Ehlers-Danlos (the hypermobile type.)

“Do you do projects?”  She asked me.

“Uh… I don’t know what you mean.”  I had to admit.

“Projects.  You know, like knitting or anything like that.”

I told her I was a knitter and an avid cross stitcher.

“Aha!  A cross stitcher!”  She went on to tell me that she had treated another stitcher for horrible neck pain.  She solved the issue by purchasing a needlework stand and keeping her work at shoulder height, so that her head wasn’t tilted down.  She said if I wanted to stitch into my old age, I needed to get a stand and STOP looking down at my work.

I have to say that this works.  But yesterday I took Margaret out of the stand and worked through 2 baseball games and I got a good ol’ case of Stitcher’s Neck.  Today Margaret went back into the stand until I got to the last row (too hard to reach at that point, even with adjustments.)

I took Mary back out this afternoon and started working on her, and DUH forgot to put her in the stand.  I noticed quickly enough that my neck is fine and I will put her in the stand, I promise.

Happy, pain-free stitching, everyone!

Quaker Update

It’s been a rough Spring, between tooth problems (dentist tomorrow- again!), colds, allergies, etc.

I took this picture this morning.  Yes, Quaker Gone Tropic should have been done by now.  No excuses, other than massive allergy problems that miraculously clear up if I go outside or leave the house altogether.  Wheezing (haven’t had asthma in over 10 years) sneezing, congestion, headaches, and a nonstop cough have kept me from stitching.  We have tried to figure out what I am allergic to, even getting rid of the new furniture and rugs temporarily, and while it helped it didn’t end it.  I got rid of my mattress topper, my foam cervical support pillow… and still feel like my airway is going to close permanently.  I have coughed so much that I have lost weight.  Whatever it is, it is miserable.


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In this picture, you can see that I finished page 6 and page 8.  Since I took this shot, I have finished page 5.  (I only had a little more palm tree and the orange plant to go.)

There’s a problem here.  Neptune/Poseidon or whoever he is is DOWN one row altogether.  He should be one square higher.  I haven’t decided whether I will rip him out or not.  What would you do?

This one should be finished in a couple of days, barring repeated disasters at the dentist.  I will be glad to see it done!  Then on to the next UFO.

Rant ahead:  If you don’t like rants, stop here and happy stitching to you!

I have so much stuff for sale on Etsy and eBay,, and sales are little to none.  I hate how much shipping costs,  and I don’t make anything on shipping at all.  When you consider what I paid for the pattern, or the pattern, frame, mats, framing job, etc., I almost always lose money.  Charts are barely moving.  My finished pieces – forget it!  I never will figure it out.  Someone is always willing to pay more for a wrinkled stitched-on-14-count-Aida piece made in China than to pay for mine.  I was hoping to make back SOME of the money lost to the dentist but that doesn’t seem likely.  I had one person make an offer to buy a piece a couple of months ago, and they barely wanted to cover the cost of the materials, never mind the framing.  And how about my labor?  I would much rather be selling something else, but stitching is all I have so when I need money, this is what I try to do.  I would NOT recommend it to anyone.  Same for knitting.  I found out I was allergic to wool one day when I wore one of my lace shawls.  Welts up and down my arms and everywhere it touched.  This shawl had been washed and blocked.  I was so sad to have to put them up for sale on Etsy — about 12 of them.  All lace, all made with laceweight yarn.  I priced them at half of what others were going for, and watched people buy shawls that were straight knit stitches, just rectangles and triangles, made with acrylic yarn for more than TWICE what mine were priced.  I ended up donating mine to charity, and of course lost the money paid in listing fees.  Maybe I need to become a hoarder, instead of an antihoarder.  I don’t like anything hanging around that I won’t/can’t use, like cross stitch patterns that I stitched, books I didn’t enjoy, shawls I can’t wear, fabric I don’t like, and the list goes on.  Rolaframes?  All the rage.  Mine are on eBay.  (I hate them.  I can’t get the fabric tight and neither can my husband.  I love my q-snaps.)

What do you do with used charts?  Craft supplies you dislike?  Do you hoard them, sell them, swap them?  Suggestions are welcomed.  Do you ever sell your work?  Where?

Happy stitching to all!