Bargello Symphony Redux, Part 4.5


Here is my current progress on my sister’s Bargelo Symphony. I’m about halfway through part five, and still have so far to go. It’s the background stitch, the Victorian step stitch that’s the biggest part of what’s left.

I had some anxiety about the colors of the step stitch. I tried another color combination, but instead of easing my anxiety, it gave me a stomachache. Nerves are a much more tolerable form of anxiety to manage than stomach pain. As long as my sister is satisfied, I can let my uncertainties pass.

Time for the next motifs of part five and the little bit of step stitching. 😀

Happy Stitching!


Typing “stitchier” will get you a “that’s not spelled right, or something” red line. Stitchier, stitchier, stitchier. March isn’t half over yet, and I’ve already stitched more than last year, so stitchier it is.

Here’s what I’ve been up to–Oh, wait! I forgot to share this last year–



This is Just Nan’s Gingerbread Jingle Mouse, stitched on 32-ct gingerbread fabric (I want to say Picture this Plus?) with recommended DMC fibers. I stitched it for a friend for Christmas. It’s so freaking adorable. You know how sometimes you stitch a gift and don’t want to give it away? Yeah, that. I gave it to her, but it wasn’t easy. OK. Now for 2015 stitchier stitching.

Last December I was in AZ, and visited the Attic Needlework shop in Mesa. Yes, it’s as wonderful as you’ve heard. It was more wonderful than I expected, honestly. I relieved them of much stash when I was there. The Just Nan mouse above was one item that left with me. Another was this Rovaris pendant, which I stitched in January.



I completed the stitching fairly quickly, but I haven’t assembled it yet, because it went missing twice. The first time was in my stitchy trash can (gasp!). The second time was because I have too much stash. I rediscovered it yesterday. I’ve got to get busy with the assembly.

Next came Leaping Cat by La-D-Da. I stitched this over one over one on 40-ct. Light Exemplar as an experiment. There are counting errors that I learned to accept, though I wouldn’t have on another project. It was just too small and confusing to find the errors.  I love it anyway, so the experiment was a success.



What this project needs is an image that gives perspective. Trust me, it’s small. The framing was unexpectedly expensive. It deserves the extravagance.

I did some work on a WIP, too. Going to Market by Dimensions. The mother and child are walking to market, waiting for the background stitches. I’m stitching this over one on 32-ct. It’s challenging, but much easier than over one on 40-ct. linen.

I have strong magnifying lenses I clip to my glasses.



I also finished the January design of A Year in Chalk by Hands On Designs. I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t wait to stitch it. I haven’t decided how to finish it. I don’t plan to stitch every month. I have March on order at my LNS. They are very cute designs.



I’ve also been working on a bigger project–Bargello Symphony by Loretta Spears. I’m not stitching this in the original colors. My sister saw my original Bargello Symphony and asked me to stitch it for her, but not in pink, as she doesn’t like pink. She ultimately decided on taupe and cream colors. My sister once asked me to never stitch anything for her, which, OUCH! But really, better to know beforehand, yes? I got over the sting quickly. More stitching time for presents for me. 🙂 When she asked me to stitch her something I was surprised and flattered. It’s really important to me that she likes it. I’ve been sending her progress pictures.



Fabric on the stretcher bars!



First stitch!


Part one (of six) complete.



Part two complete.

I have to wait to complete the third part. The instructions say you only need one spool of metallic, but I used it up already. Maybe I cut the pieces too long. I don’t know. But I’ll be able to complete part three when the spool comes into the LNS, as I had to order it. It’s so weird to be stitching this again. I never expected to.

I hope you’re warm and dry. Happy Stitching!

Hummingbird Sampler

I’m in a blogging slump. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I just don’t feel like taking the time to say it once I sit at the computer. It’s a shame, really, especially when it comes to this project, because there’s so much to tell. First, the important stuff: the finished sampler, stitched in my mother’s honor.

Hummingbird Sampler 10.11

My mother lost her battle with breast cancer in 2006. She would have been 73 this month. She loved hummingbirds. And geraniums. I had a plan for stitching this sampler and a small geranium piece I saw in a magazine somewhere, and having them framed with my favorite snapshot of her. Then I learned that the hibiscus I thought was pinkish was purple. When I started stitching the sampler I discovered that my plan for stitching the flower in a pink color wouldn’t work with the dyelot of overdyed floss I had. Which is just as well, as I had already succumbed to stubbornness in the face of my trouble with numbers and had to abandon my original framing idea. See, this is a counted needlepoint chart, meant to be stitched on 18-ct canvas. I reasoned that 18-ct is 18-ct, so I can stitch it on whatever fabric/canvas I choose. This is true, except: many motifs in this design are stitched over 2, and as we know, over 2 on 18-ct = 9-ct. I say we know this. I know this because I stitched this on 36-ct. fabric and ended up with a sampler that is much smaller than I planned, what with 36-ct stitched over 2 being 18-ct, not, um, 9-ct. Oh, yes, I could have stopped stitching and waited until I had the proper size fabric/canvas, but there was that stubbornness trait I mentioned earlier. I was supposed to be 5-3/8″ by 8-1/4″. It’s not. It’s tiny.

See? So tiny! It’s adorable and tiny, as is the hummingbird. So, good. Except that durn not being pink thing. I like purple, I do. I didn’t expect purple, and now I’m all unsure. That and because it’s tiny I’m  fiddling with the idea of adding a pulled/drawn thread border to it. I can’t decide. By the way, this is what I was expecting:

See what I mean? Pink flower. Very rainbow-y overdyed floss. NOT.

Hummingbird Sampler by Rainbow Gallery designed by J.R. Patterson & Pam Miller
Stitched over 2 on 36-ct white linen with RG Bravo! A119 (boquet), RG Splendor S812 (dark lavender) and S808 (med purple), RG Flair F502 (white), and Kreinik #4 very fine braid, color #032 (pearl).

Still, it’s beautiful, and I do love it, in spite of the troubles, uncertainty and hair loss. Here we have fun close-ups, for fun.

Happy Stitching! 🙂

Drive-By Post

Just a quick “Howdi Do” to share a picture, because, OMG, Ponies!!!!1!!11!!

I finished, I took it off the stretcher bars, I took it outside. Swoon, drool, faint, I am so excited! It needs to be blocked, but it’s completed! Woo-Hoo!!

Bargello Symphony, AKA Mystery #8 by Loretta Spears
Stitched as recommended

OK, now what? 😉

Step-Stitching and Daydreaming

In which my mind wanders while I Step Stitch…

Bargello Symphony doesn’t photograph with the same shade of pink I daydream in, but the lightest pink in the Victorian step stitch is similar to pink angora, to peppermint smarshmallows. Mmm…peppermint marshmallows… I’m so close, I can’t stand it! 🙂

Bargello Symphony, Lesson Five

About halfway through the fifth lesson.

I worry too much.

Finishing Lesson Five was more Victorian step stitching. That’s when I learned the importance of a single thread. The framed motifs have given me no end of headaches. It’s a long story, there are so many words, so much over-thinking coupled with not thinking through a situation. How does that happen? I don’t know, but I excelled. Have you ever read Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler? I love that book, it’s one of my favorites of hers. I’ve only read a few of her books, and I stopped noticing when she publishes new stories, but Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant remains a favorite. <–See? Too many words. At any rate, I bring it up because the mother in the story observes that her children show their character in everything they do. My experience with these motifs are a perfect example of my perfectionism, pointless worrying, tendency to withdraw and unwillingness to be kind to myself. I simply haven’t had the heart to blog about this (tendency to withdraw). I’ve carried on stitching and frogging, stitching and frogging, and not blogging. The worst part is that I realized last night that my original frogging (before I even took this picture) was probably unnecessary.

When I got about halfway through the outlines of these motifs, they seemed to be off by one thread, and I couldn’t stand it. I knew it wasn’t a big deal, but I couldn’t let it go (unattainable perfectionism, pointless worrying). I frogged the outline (the probably unnecessary frogging). I over-thought the situation and moved them over two threads instead of one. This was also not thinking things through, but it wasn’t until I started step stitching that I learned that. Because I moved the motifs that extra thread, that meant there would be compensation stitches meeting the motifs over one thread instead of  the standard, non-compensated, two threads. This was bad because when you go over only one thread, it’s very difficult to get the same coverage as going over two or more threads because the threads have nowhere to “spill over” to, if that makes sense. It also looked wrong, and I realized the motif was charted where it was to avoid this problem. I didn’t mind frogging the motifs and step stitches near them. I’m a novice with compensation stitching, counted needlepoint, and stitching without a full chart. It was a learning experience.

But here’s the worst part, which I only realized last night. If I’d left the original outline where it was and let stitching nature take its course, as it were, it would have been just right. That is, just right according to the picture I was using as a model. I wasted so much stitching time over nothing. Let this be a lesson to me: It’s only a beautiful, inspirational photo. It’s not the definitive model photo, or the only, exact way for this project to be stitched. I’ve caused myself no end of trouble with this project, all because I love it so much and wanted it to be perfect. I think the most insane part of this is the frogging didn’t bother me. I was happier being unkind to myself and frogging a “known” um, “imperfection,” than accepting my interpretation of the instructions. Which, heh, turned out to probably be spot-on.

Ta-Da! Lesson Five complete.

Happy Stitching, and be kind to yourself out there. 🙂

Bargello Symphony, Lesson Four Complete

I was so happy to find a photo of the completed fourth lesson. I thought I’d forgotten to take a progress picture at that point. I don’t think Ms. Spears refers to this pattern as ribbon bargello, but I’m confident that’s its name. She doesn’t name any of the upcoming motifs, either. They’re just purty.Hooray for finding lost treasures!

As Fred Kwan says in Galaxy Quest, “It’s the little things in life you cherish.”

Happy Stitching. 🙂

Bargello Bling

I love Picasa’s collage feature. And you know what that means–you get to see update pictures employing it. I can’t believe I’ve neglected to post updates. And I forgot to take a picture of Lesson 4 when I completed it. That’s a big disappointment for me. I was enjoying taking the lesson-by-lesson photos. I don’t know what happened. But you get another collage, you lucky ducks. This part of lesson 4 involved adding beads and straight stitches to the open parts of Loretta’s Diamond Petal Stitch, which The Sweetheart Tree calls the Amadeus stitch in their new design, M’Lady’s Quadrielle. I know this because I recendly blew my Christmas gift certificate at my LNS, and M’Lady’s Quadrielle was one of my scores. Because what’s a stitchy Christmas gift certifciate for, if not buying more gorgeous stuff that you can’t imagine finding time to stitch?

More pictures later. In spite of sketchy stitching the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed to complete oll of Lesson 5, save teh Victorian step stitch. I’ve got to get busy getting busy with that. It’s a lot of busy work.

Happy Stitching. 🙂

Bargello Symphony, Lesson Three Complete

Lesson three took quite a bit longer to complete than lessons one and two due to the Victorian step stitch. Lesson four doesn’t have any step stitching, so it will go much quicker than lessons three, five and six. This is especially good since I’ve been too busy to make substantial progress. I finished lesson three about a week ago, but have only now found the time to blog about it. Such is life. 🙂

Oh, sorry, that’s not right!

There we go.

Happy Stitching!

Bargello Symphony, part 6

I’m nearly finished with Lesson 3. I have quite a bit of background filling to do. The tricky bits will be compensating the pattern when I run into motifs. I’ve had a few interesting adventures with compensation so far. What I know: It’s ever so much easier to add compensation stitches than to frog mistakes. I know that sounds obvious, but, boy-oh-boy! You know? 😉

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to so far.

Happy stitching! 🙂

Bargello Symphony, part 5

I knew Lesson Three was going to have more stitching than Lessons One and Two. Couple that with a busy week, and I didn’t get as much stitching done as I would have liked. Or I’m enjoying this project so much, I really miss it when I can’t stitch. That’s probably it, but I like it better when I don’t get as much done as I wanted bc I was too busy. It makes me feel like Super Stitcher! Here’s a quick peek of my progress this week.

The space in the diamonds is getting smaller and smaller, and soon will be closed. Then the “hard” part of the stitching begins. I get to continue some of the victorian step stitch.

Please excuse me while I neglect my computer some more. I have stitching to do. 🙂

Lesson Two Complete

I haven’t been able to stop stitching this project. I’m enjoying it so much. I guess I’ll have to for a day or two. I’ve gotten terribly behind in important duties. This part seemed to be about ruffles. The florentine area and the diamond motifs are both ruffly, I think; hence the name I gave the stitches.

I keep asking the husband how he can fail to be captivated by this project. He points to his chess books and asks me if I’m captivated by them. Of course I say no. He claims it’s the same thing. I scoff. I can’t look at a finished chess problem and appreciate its beauty. I’d have to be involved in the entire process, which isn’t going to happen. I don’t expect people to be involved in the stitching process, but they can still appreciate the finished product. Therefore, I win. Why is he not fawning? I don’t get it.

I wanted to label this WIP photo with the stitches’ names. I have no idea why. It’s important to me just now. I apologize if it’s distracting.

The woven point stitch was stitched with two colors. Ms. Spears called it optic mixing, which I found charming. Two of the ruffly diamonds in pattern area B use multiple colors as well, but she only called it color blending.

Happy stitching! 🙂

Lesson One Complete

Bargello Symphony was designed by Loretta Spears in 1996. Unfortunately, she passed away several years ago. She sold her designs online as mysteries. This is Mystery #8. I gather from the instructions that these mysteries were originally broken up into lessons which were sent out every two weeks. This lesson took me one week. I would be full of anticipation for the next lesson if I’d started this in the dark. This project is broken up into six lessons. I’m pretty sure future lessons are going to take me longer than one week each.

I completed Lesson One last night. It’s a sunny day, but this project has taxed my very limited photography skills (ahem: Point. Shoot. And oh, yeah, hit that macro button). I can’t manage a photo that comes close t0 making me feel the way the real thing does. This photo can only say, “You get the idea.”

Happy Stitching!

New Year, New Start

Happy New Year!

I started Bargello Symphony yesterday. When the boy went to bed, he told me to enjoy my stitching. I told him I was, and he exclaimed that he could tell! I don’t think I’ve had as much focus and had myself parked on the couch without getting distracted for a while. I’m glad I finally started this, and yes, I’m wondering what kept me.

I’m glad I stitched yesterday. I didn’t get any stitching done today. To many maintenance issues to take care of today. I got a terrific start yesterday, though.

I wasn’t able to get good pictures. It was quite a gloomy day today. Here you can see my start. The store where the hubby purchased the congress cloth taped it with fancy tape and put it on stretcher bars for me. That was a necessity. When it comes to canvas and stretcher bars, I don’t know what I’m doing. You can see a tiny corner of the clamp in the upper right corner.

Here’s a closer picture of yesterday’s stitching. I’m not sure which is a better representation of the actual colors. On my screen the top picture looks like the fabric is a more true color. I think the bottom may show the floss colors better, but not by much. The top picture makes the floss look shiny and harsh, I think. It all depends on the light, and we haven’t had good light in the last few days.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this start, and hope you are having fun with your New Year stitching.

Happy Stitching!


July is almost half over. =8~O  I guess it’s a good time to share what I haven’t managed to share from June.  First, I finished the stitching for the Peacock Stitching Chair by The Cat’s Whiskers.  I’m not sure when I’ll find the courage to assemble it.  I had planned on July being a ‘finishing month,’ but that’s not shaping up as I’d hoped.  Maybe I’ll stitch the Garden Chair and tackle finishing them both at the same time.  I don’t know.  It’s a mystery.

I did manage to get a jump on my ‘July finishing’ before we went back to Seattle and finished my Bargello, excuse me, Florentine or Flame Stitch Needlecase:

Florentine or Flame Stitch Needlecase  
kit by The Essamplaire
Stitched with provided 35-ct linen and Au Ver A Soie silks

Happy Bastille Day!  Are you enjoying Le Tour de France as I am?  I love July, I truly do.  Must go, the race is on!

Test Pattern

When I was looking at my shots, I was reminded of a test pattern.  I can’t duplicate the effect, but I tried.

Ooh, ocean waves!

Here’s an oriented shot:
bargello needlecase finish 02.08

I need to take Desiderata update pics.