Sunday, November 6, 2016

Little By Little

I haven't been so good lately about posting photos as I go, but here's what the whole thing looks like so far.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Look how gorgeous these beads are!
 And how many of them there are.  I'll be beading for hours and hours.

I think the rule is that you wait until all the stitching is done before you start the beading, but I did just a few.
I'm really looking forward to doing the rest! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Heron, and Framework

Finished up the heron

and stitched part of the framework for the rest of the piece.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lotus Flowers

Today I finished up the lotus blossoms on the right side, and started on the heron. Good weather, a long to-do list, and plans with friends and family are coming up in the next couple of days, so we'll see how much more stitching I get done.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Good Weather

Good weather on my days off this week had me spending more time outdoors getting my place ready for winter and less time indoors stitching.

I did a bit more stitching on the last set of columns.

Then I connected the bottom border to the side border, and stitched the rest of the stems for the lotus blossoms on the right side.
Not a lot of progress, but every little stitch counts.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sails and Columns

Today I did the sails in satin stitch and then back-stitched the boats and sails. 

After that I started on the last set of columns. 

When I get a bit more stitched, I'll take another photo of the whole piece. I think I've made it to the halfway point, so I ordered the beads for it. Can't wait to get them! 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

River and Sky

Tonight I filled in the river and the sky between the columns. All variegated silks, and just beautiful colors. Tomorrow I'll fill in the sails with satin stitch and backstitch everything. Recently I discovered a podcast app for Android called, appropriately, Stitcher. It's a terrific app because you can tell it what topics you're interested in and it will offer up suggested podcasts you're likely to enjoy. I seem to stitch more while listening to podcasts than when I watch television.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Better Day

Today was a much better day of stitching. I did the backstitching on the columns on the right side of the piece. I hate to backstitch so I'm doing a little at a time here and there. I noticed as I did the backstitching that I made a mistake on one of the columns. Can you see it?

After that, I stitched on the columns on the left side of the piece. I made mistakes here too, which I didn't notice until after I'd finished. Can you see those?

People say that what makes these Chatelaine pieces so unique is the hand-dyed threads. That's true, but my piece will be even more unique for all the mistakes I've made! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

One Of Those Nights

Ever have one of those nights when nothing seems to go right? Tonight my thread kept knotting, I made mistakes that had to be frogged, I dropped a bobbin down in the couch cushions... SIGH. Still I managed to get a bit done. Hoping for better stitching tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I almost put off doing those Rhodes stitches on the border until the very end because I was afraid they'd get mashed by being rolled up in the frame. (Even though I loosen the fabric every night when I stop for the night, it's all rolled up for hours at a time while I stitch, and I like my fabric to be pretty tight, so I was still afraid it'd be mashed.) Then I read somewhere that some stitchers use batting to cushion beadwork in cross-stitch, so I thought it might work for cushioning thick stitches as well.

I cut a piece of batting the width of my stitching and put paper towels between the batting and the stitching.
 I guess I didn't really need the paper towels, since the purpose of them is to keep beads from catching in the batting. Oh well, can't hurt. Then I just rolled it up carefully and tightened my scroll bars.
Hopefully this will keep those puffy Rhodes stitches looking nice.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bracelet, Part 2

I made more progress on the bracelet the past couple of nights than I thought I would. Just the flowers and leaves left to do, and the Rhodes stitches along the sparkly fancy part. I'm thinking about leaving the Rhodes stitches until I'm done with the whole thing because they get a bit crushed by being rolled up in the frame. Hoping for a good evening of stitching tonight so I can finish up this part!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Photo of the entire piece so far. 
I took this photo before I started stitching this week, but as of today it  doesn't look much different. 
I consider it half-finished. 
(Half-finished not counting 
all the beading left to do.)


Safe to say I'm tired of stitching eyelets, after doing 18 of them in one evening. I do love the variegation in that red thread. It's Gloriana hand-dyed silk in Cranberry.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I made a bit of progress on the upper left bracelet, mostly the metallic gold thread. It's called Petite Treasure Braid and it's so nice to work with. It hardly ever knots up, and it pulls through the evenweave like a hot knife through butter. I filled in the flowers that I outlined last week, and I just love the combination of colors. Hoping to get this bracelet mostly finished this week.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


These corner pieces are so much fun to stitch. I saw someone on Instagram called them "bracelets" and that's a perfect name for them. It's where everything that makes this whole design so beautiful comes together: beautiful colors, sparkly metallics, hand-dyed silks, specialty stitches, and (eventually) beads. I stitched a little of the framework of it--the dark navy background and the sparkly gold--hoping that I can sneak in a few stitches here and there in between work this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last One

That border there on the left, with the yellows and browns and the red flowers, is the bane of my cross-stitching existence. The symbols on the chart muddle together with the lines for the back-stitched stems so it's hard to follow, and I think the flowers and stems don't stand out enough against the background. I find this section tedious to stitch. There are four of these borders at each end of the central "plus sign" and each of them looks a little different from the others because of my mistakes on them. Minor mistakes that don't affect the overall design, and probably nobody will see them but me.

I'm happy I finished the last one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Frogging Forgiven

After last night's frustrating round of frogging, I was determined to make up for lost time so I kept at it until I finished the palm tree border and the blackwork on it too.  Can it really be called "blackwork" when it's done in that gorgeous variegated silk??

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


In cross-stitch, there's a term called "frogging". It means the process of removing stitches when you've made a mistake, called frogging because you go "rip it, rip it" to the stitches.

Tonight I'll be frogging this whole vertical border.
That very first green bush at the top of the border should be 5 stitches wide at its widest point, not 4. That mistake throws off the whole border. Once I found the mistake, I considered fudging a row of stitches at the end of the border to make it even out. That won't work though, because the first tree trunk needs to line up with the edge of the corner piece, like this one on the opposite side:
Not having it lined up ruins the symmetry of the design. Rats. I have no choice but to take it all out and stitch it over again. This is why it's good to check your stitching often for mistakes. On many designs, one wrong stitch here or there doesn't make any difference (and I've made a couple small mistakes on this piece) but on this part of this design it makes a big difference.  I guess I should be happy I caught it now instead of later when I had more done.

Rip it, rip it...

Thursday, September 8, 2016


When I was little, my grandma and I were talking about our favorite colors as we sorted through fabric scraps for some project she was doing. (Probably a quilt block or clothes for my Barbie.) She said she liked most colors, but if pressed to pick a favorite she'd pick orchid. I feel the same way about colors: I like most all of them, but aqua blues and lavenders are my favorites. 

So this week I really enjoyed finishing up the sky on the pyramids picture in the upper right corner of this design.

Just look at those lavenders and turquoise blues next to those dark blues. The empty spaces in the sky will be filled up later with beads: tiny seed beads described as "silver-lined sapphire" and at the point of the largest pyramid, a cube-shaped bead called "iridescent sapphire". 

I also finished up the sand and the pyramids on the upper left corner (a mirror image of the right).  I almost finished the sky. I had just a little bit left, but my eyes were tired. 

Maybe I can stitch on it for a few minutes before and after work this week and finish it; otherwise, it'll be next week before I get back to it. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In No Time

This week so far I've added the coconuts to the palm tree

and stitched the "fluffy flowers" and the third of the four Bastet figures

and started again on the sky around the pyramids.

I am really pleased with how the coconuts turned out because of the shading in the variegated silks. The coconuts are done in an eyelet stitch, though I didn't pull the stitches tight because I don't want a hole in the center. I thought they'd look like doughnuts if I did. 😊

Something is off with Bastet. I stitched her correctly, so I think the way I outlined her made her look not quite right. I haven't decided yet whether to leave it as is or re-stitch the outline.

I showed my son the piece so far and after he admired the design and the colors he said, "If you buckle down you'll have it finished in no time." In no time--that makes it sound as if I'm almost done and it's encouraging.

I'm almost through the last season of Doc Martin on Netflix, so I'll have to find something as enjoyable to watch and listen to while I stitch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Dratted Backstitching

Backstitching is not my favorite thing. The border with the sand and the red flowers is my least favorite part of this design, partly because the chart is hard to follow (the color symbols and the lines for the backstitching are muddled together) and partly because there's a ton of backstitching or long stitches in this section. I decided to concentrate on that border and get all that drafted backstitching finished.
I admit I took breaks from it to work on the corner palm tree bit. The palm tree is all finished except for the coconuts which I'll add tonight.  You might not be able to tell from this photo, but the trunk of the palm tree is eyelet stitches inside an outline of long stitches. I really like doing the specialty stitches on this piece, and the eyelets give the trunk a nice texture.

  While I stitch, I've been binge-watching Doc Martin again. It's my favorite show. I'd watched the whole series (at least, all of it that's on Netflix) once before, but I like it so much that I'm watching it all over again from the beginning. I enjoy it even more now that I've seen some of the animal documentaries that Martin Clunes has been in and discovered that he's nothing like the disagreeable, dog-hating doctor he plays in Doc Martin.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


I have come to the conclusion that I am a very slow stitcher; to-wit, the small difference between yesterday's photo and today's.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Forty-four Percent

How much of this piece have I completed? A chunk, but I still have a ways to go. I decided to use spaghetti noodles (uncooked, of course!) to divide the piece into small sections so I could get a better idea of how much of it I've finished.

About 44%, I think. 

Just A Bit

Just a bit of progress.

I think next I'll start on the tan-and-yellow section at the bottom. (Like the part between the ducks and the columns in the part to the right there that's done.)

Saturday, August 6, 2016


It took way longer than I thought it would to finish those ducks! This is partly because I find backstitching tedious and so I stitch really slowly. However, the real culprit here is my decision to binge-watch the rest of Season 2 of Bloodline on Netflix. Holy moly. I'd get involved in the show and realize that I had watched almost a whole episode without taking a stitch. If you like dark family drama, I highly recommend Bloodline. It's a slow burn, but it's riveting. Sissy Spacek is one of my favorite actresses and she delivers as the complicated, troubled matriarch of the Rayburn family. Besides, the sets of the interior of Rayburn House Inn are gorgeous--beachy without being kitschy, beautiful fabrics and wallpapers, and set decorations that make it seem like a house that's been lived in for 40 years.

Anyway, the ducks are done. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Picking Up Again

After a months-long break from stitching, I'm in the mood to pick it up again. I unrolled the piece to get an idea of my progress on it. (My phone is uploading these pics upside down, but since it's a repeating design I guess it doesn't really matter.)

I was just about to declare it at least 25% done when I noticed that I hadn't finished the row of ducks all the way around. 
So my goal in the next couple of days is to finish the ducks and then backstitch around them. The chart doesn't call for them to be backstitched but I think they show up better if they are.