Day Thirty-One: Blessed Samhain

The trick-or-treating is done, the kiddo is asleep, and Mom is not far behind. Welcome to how a modern Pagan celebrates her religious new year… about the same way we celebrate the secular one. With a whole lot of “Ugh, I’m tired. It’s early, but I’m tired, and I’m going to bed.”

Years ago, I’d do a writing to Close Down the Year on my blog, to reflect what happened in the year just past, and maybe put together a few hopes for the year to follow. I haven’t done one in quite some time now, and with the losses my husband and I have experienced in the last fourteen months, I feel like I should do one… but I’m not ready. I’m not even ready to sit Circle these days. I’ll get there eventually. Hopefully.

But before I head to bed on this last night of the Write 31 Days challenge (which hooray! I actually accomplished this year), let me indulge with the little Jedi trick-or-treater.  Max went out for about an hour with his dad, while I manned the candy bowl at the house.  He had a good time despite the chilly temperatures.  Erich said that there were a lot of houses that were completely dark in our neighborhood – I’m not sure whether it’s a sign of the neighborhood aging, of the immigrant blend we have (with folks who may be unfamiliar with Halloween), or just an odd quiet year, but it does sadden me.  The first couple years we were here, we had so many kids.  One year Erich had to run back to the store to get more candy.  Definitely not the case this year.  Those yellow bowls you see behind Max in that photo?  We drained one, but one full one remained.  Shocking, really.  And I thought I was doing pretty decent with the amount of candy we gave to each kiddo.


Due to the holiday, there was no stitching tonight.  But tomorrow, the Stitch Maynia Facebook group begins “NaNoStitchMo” as a piggy-back off of NaNoWriMo.  The theme is 50 of something… your choice.  So I’ve decided to try to dedicate 50 minutes or 50 stitches each day of November.  I probably won’t update the blog every day, but will make an effort to keep the writing going at a good pace.  It was nice to sit down and try to write every day.  I should keep that going as best I can – and update the stitching progress!

Thanks for hanging out with me and for the comment support as I pushed through October!  Happy Halloween, and Blessed Samhain to you and yours, with wishes of good health and happiness for the next Turn.

~ Mel.

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Day Thirty: Onward with the Rotation!

When I left for the library on Saturday, I made sure to bring another project aside from Here Kitty Kitty, just in case I managed to complete my cats faster than expected. It definitely didn’t work out that way, but Next Project remained in my stitching bag.

Tonight, Erich had some computer gaming to do with the guys, which meant I needed to camp out in our bedroom to watch all of tonight’s news. The stitching bag went with me, and out came a project that I never seem to quite get going on, even though I absolutely adore the finished piece. It’s called “I Love New England,” and it’s a large text sampler with a full border from a former shop called Sampler Needlework in Plymouth, MA. I picked up the project in the early 2000s… I want to say 2002 or 2003. I didn’t start it until years later, though. Aside from the sample in the shop, I’ve never seen another copy of it done.

I’m feeling the itch, so I think this may be the next focus piece I have for a while. The pattern takes six sheets of standard paper. My goal right now is to finish the first page. I have a pretty good start, so I think it’s doable in the next few weeks if I don’t get distracted by other shiny objects.

Here’s where I started this evening. This is being stitched on 32 ct antique white linen with the called-for DMC threads. The heart on the top border is the dead center of the top bar of the decorative frame. I’m not quite down the third on the left hand side. I think I’m about 30 stitches short at the moment.

There is a large cornucopia motif at the very bottom of the text sampler, but otherwise it’s all words in the center, with a repeating heart and vined flower border.  Each of the corner motifs is a different square – very quilt block style.  It’s not a complicated stitch… just a large one.  So hopefully after the energy of getting Here Kitty Kitty done on Saturday, I can use that boost to get some good progress on this one!

You’ll notice that unlike with Here Kitty Kitty, I’m using a Q-snap fabric wrap this time.  Some people call them grime guards.  I just always called them Q-snap covers.  I don’t always use one, but on these larger pieces, they come in handy to stuff the extra fabric in that extends past the current stitching frame.  This piece honestly should probably be on a scroll frame, but I can never quite get the tension how I want it.   I’ve heard about some specific frames that compensate and allow your stitching to sit drum tight, but the waiting lists for orders seem to be horrendously long, or it’s money I don’t know if I want to waste, given how I’ve struck out with scroll frames in the past.

Although to be honest, the Q’s aren’t really working well with this piece.  The amount of fabric left over is just a little excessive.  I may have to bite the bullet and throw this on a scroll, even though I can’t get it to sit tight.

Maybe that’s just why I haven’t gotten much done on this.  I just can’t seem to get it framed up comfortably for stitching.  Hmm….

Off to bed!  G’nite…

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October 2017 WIPocalypse Check In

WIPocalypse ButtonHi everyone,

As this post goes live, I’m with my stitching circle, helping to move Sandy’s stash from her home to a safe place so we can sort through it, take things we’d like for our own stash, and prepare the rest for whatever fate it ultimately holds (likely brought up to Celebration next spring).

Since Sandy passed, it’s been one of those topics on my mind – what will happen to project stash?  I’ve heard so many stories over the years where stash is just thrown in the trash because family members didn’t know or didn’t care about it.  And I get that… sometimes it’s just easier to make things be gone.

But still… there’s a ton of money involved with a stitcher’s crafting stash. It’s a shame anyone would just toss it in the trash.  If nothing else, donate it to charity shops for some lucky stitchers to wander across it and put it to use.  Ultimately, though, if the stitcher had friends – like Sandy did – who also stitched, have them go through it.  Sandy’s sister is a crafter, but her craft (addiction?) of choice is knitting.  She’s keeping Sandy’s completed pieces – she knows the value of them.  I’m happy she’s keeping them.  I’m also happy she’s giving us the opportunity to sort through what Sandy had in her unfinished things before letting go of projects and such that aren’t to any of our tastes.  We’ll go through it slowly over the course of the winter.

It’s also making me think – not only of doing another organizing (and possible culling) of my stash, but also getting a plan together in case, Goddess forbid, something happens.  It may seem silly, but I don’t think some sort of instruction in my will to have it go to certain people who will know how to handle it is that bad of an idea, both to get it out of the way by family members who are grieving and already dealing with a lot, but also ensuring that it will go to someone who will enjoy it.  As an additional blogging question this month, I pose to you:  Do you have any plans or instructions for your stitching projects and stash for after you’re gone?

I’d definitely be interested in your thoughts on this.

Since it’s the end of October… and the year is now starting to get closer to the close, I have a few announcements:

  1. The WIPocalypse will definitely run again in 2018.  The schedule will continue as it did this year – the check-in will be posted the final Sunday of every month – with one exception…
  2. As we have in years past, there will be an Olympic Stitch-a-Long for the Winter Olympics in February.  The official dates of the Winter Olympics are February 9th to February 25th.  The normal WIPocalypse check-in date would be the 25th, but I will instead post it that week on the very last day of the month, the 28th, just to allow everyone to enjoy stitching through the closing ceremonies if they’re participating in the event.  Details on the different “events” will be posted next month, but they’ll likely be very similar to the ones for the Summer 2016 games.
  3. Questions for next year – do you have any you’d like to include?  Send me your questions, and you’ll also get a crediting plug when they come up on the calendar!

That’s it for this month.  Happy stitching everyone.  Have a safe and Happy Halloween (and Blessed Samhain to my fellow Pagan stitchers!)



Important SAL Announcements…

Question of the Month – How did you begin stitching?

Next posting date: November 26, 2017

Topic for next time:What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?


Please remember that this stitch-a-long is intended to be fun – so if you’re too busy to post, too busy/ill/etc. to stitch – no worries. Post when you can and share what you have going, even if you’ve only been able to toss a single stitch into it. If you miss a few months, not a problem – just jump back in when you’re back with us! It’s not a race or a competition – we’re all just here to cheer each other on with our progress.

Due to different browsing software, some bloggers have found it difficult to check-in with their posts. There are three different ways to check in:

    • Via Auto-link
    • Via comments (make sure you include your blog address!)
    • Via email – to measiwitch(at), only if the other two options are not working. Again- make sure you include your blog address! I’ll add it to the auto-link myself when I have a free moment.

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Day Twenty-Eight: Finishing Projects

Today was a day of finishing objectives.  When I left for the library today, I told Erich that I’d be home by 2:30. His cousin was kind enough to take Max for the day, so Erich and I made some plans to do some much-needed cleaning and dining room reclaiming.

Last summer, we had moved the computer down to the dining room for me to work on my days from home.  Our house is old and there is no central AC.  We do have window units, but despite this… the upstairs can get pretty unbearable at times.  It made more sense, both for comfort and for electricity use, to move the computer down to the dining room in front of one of the large window units.  That way during the day we don’t have to run every unit in the house… just the one that I’m sitting next to.  Originally we’d planned to move the computer back upstairs last autumn, and we’d play by ear for this summer whether it needed to move downstairs again.

And then everything in life happened.  The computer remained on the dining room table.  And everything else started to remain on the dining room table.  Our house has been a physical symptom of the chaos and frustration both of us have been feeling now for quite some time.

Erich finally hit the depression over the house phase that I’ve been in for a long time – that “I need to do something, but there’s so much to do that I don’t even know where to start” phase.  The difference is – he’s a bit more motivated to solve things than I am, and also a bit more willing to just dive in somewhere. He announced he was focusing on the dining room table, which meant I needed to focus on the upstairs guest bedroom to prepare for the computer to get back upstairs.

Tonight, I’m typing from the upstairs bedroom again.  It’s not perfectly clean, but it’s 100% better than it was, and tomorrow we’ll get the floors mopped and vacuumed.  Completely functional again!

So that’s one big project down.

The other, of course, was my stitching project.  I didn’t get home at 2:30 as I’d promised Erich… it was more like 4 pm.  BUT… BUT… I had good reason to be late.  I finished Here Kitty Kitty today!

Here Kitty Kitty by Country Cottage Needleworks, completed 10/28/17. Stitched on 27 ct Linda evenweave (Sand) with original pattern color list.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out!  The cats are partially recolored from the original pattern… I used only colors that were part of the original palette list, but used them to approximate the cats we have in our horde at home.  I added one black cat on the tall pumpkin, and omitted the fifth paw print that was originally there.  So left to right, the cats represented are:  Hoodz, Jack, Harry Potter, Gus, Bear, Elly, and Noby.

This was a fun stitch.  It moved fast, the motifs were fun and easy to place.  From beginning to end, this took me just over a month – incredibly quick for me.

I do plan on framing this one – either with a weathered white frame or something rustic.  One of the women in my stitching group mentioned that Hobby Lobby had some frames that resembled weathered barnboard, which I think could work great, too.  I just want something country/rustic for it.

I’ve heard hints that Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks will be hosting another stitch-a-long for winter themed projects soon.  I started this project for their autumn stitch-a-long, which was scheduled for Sept. 1st to Nov. 1st.  I imagine the winter one will start on Jan. 1st and run for two months as well.  I’ll have to see what patterns I already have in my stash to use for it!

Now to go through my current WIPs and decide what’s next for some progress stitching!


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Day Twenty-Seven: Rotation Thoughts

It’s been a long, stressful week at work – complete with a meltdown on my part, insanity with car repairs, and some crappy weather that has just made me feel… bleh.

I’ve been dragging all day today, feeling like I didn’t get any sleep despite getting a better than average six hours.  I had a feeling that I wouldn’t get any stitching done tonight regardless.  My brain is just mush, and I don’t dare risk counting.  So once

Tomorrow I’ll be at the library for a little bit, though – and hopefully will wrap up the piece.  🙂

In the meantime, I’ve been doing some thinking this week about rotations.  With three-quarters of the year gone, I’m finding that the things I hoped to stitch this year didn’t happen… again.  Now I’m debating whether I’m still meant for rotations, whether I’m just using the wrong type of rotation, if I’m trying to do too much in each rotation, or if I’m in a phase of life where I just need to focus on one piece at a time.

The idea of one at a time doesn’t appeal to me, though.  I like the freedom to play, and rotation stitching has allowed me to comfortably switch projects whenever I feel like it.  BUT… that also has put me in the position where I’ve started too many and haven’t finished that many, getting me into the hole that rotation stitching was supposed to alleviate in the first place.

Perhaps I just need to have a bit more structure on my rotation.   Rather than stitch on a piece until I’m tired and want to move on, maybe I should go back to a more structured hour style one as I did when I first started rotations.  Give myself ten hours per piece, then switch.  I don’t think a weekly style one would work for me – because my weeks can vary too much.  But hours may work better. And I shouldn’t do rotations of six or seven pieces anymore.  Maybe I should just do three or four.  (sigh)

Either way, I just want to be able to enjoy my stitching, but also have a few more finishes, too.  I just have so much I want to stitch!  I can’t justify starting more projects until I finish some!  (twitch, twitch)

More photos of the project tomorrow… but tonight I just needed some ramble writing time.  Let me know your thoughts on rotations, and what’s worked for you…

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