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!

Small finishes

Two small finishes of projects stitched earlier this year.  First is Petite Confidences, or Key to My Heart. I saw a different way to stitch smalls together in Ginnie Thompson’s Linen Stitches and thought I’d give it a whirl. She outlined her pieced with chain stitches, saying it made for a pretty finish. It certainly makes for a pretty outline. I can’t say I noticed much difference when they were assembled.

I used a grommet to be able to hang the lock. I was going to use eyelets for the key, but I used thick interface to make the pieces sturdy and had trouble getting eyelets through each of the keys. I made Kloster blocks instead. It worked out well. This picture shows them hanging from my purse handle. I moved it to the zipper because my zipper pull broke, but I’m thinking of moving it again.

Petite Confidences 05.11

Next I finished the Tulip Bookmark by Needleworks. I struggled with the cord, but I’m happy with the finished product.

Needleworks Tulip Bookmark 06.11

Happy Stitching! 🙂

Tulip Bookmarker

I don’t like the word “bookmarker.” I don’t remember when I got Tulip Bookmarker by Sue Hawkins of Needleworks. It was long before she redesigned her website, which is pretty spiffy these days. Oh, wait. I take that back. Not the spiffy website part, but the where I got the pattern part. I remembered browsing for days trying to choose a pattern. Which one? Will I/Won’t I? It was grand fun. I didn’t browse Sue Hawkins’ site, though. I browsed Rose Cottage Needle Arts, which I found when I tried to find a link to a picture of Tulip Bookmarker. <–that exact picture is on Sue Hawkins’ site, but there’s the whole Scribd thing going on over there, and the page I linked to is more direct. It sort of looks like the Rose Cottage site hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, but I could be wrong.

Anyway. I started this project a long time ago. I’m not sure how long it’s languished. I recently decided to decide about my UFOs. I reached a tipping point with my stash. I’ve just got to get these things done, or have done with them. This was the first one. I love the colors. I don’t know why I stopped working on it. I do remember a general dissatisfaction, but I don’t remember exactly why. I didn’t love the way the stitching looked, and I remember a certain amount of pain trying to stitch in-hand with canvas. Don’t try that at home!

I was more than halfway done, so I decided to complete it. After I was done I saw that I’d used the wrong color floss on the red, long-legged cross-stitches on each side of the tulip motif on the bottom, humbug pattern. I also stitched the second row of long-legged x-stitches in a different direction than the first–I started at a different end. 😀  Whatever. I’m glad to be done. I wasn’t enjoying stitching it when I first re-started. I was regretting my decision to finish it. I gradually changed my mind. And now I’m Superwoman for finishing!! 🙂 😀

Needleworks Tulip Bookmark 04.11

Tulip Bookmarker, a kit by Sue Hawkins of Needleworks. A bookmark with a square fob on one end and a humbug at the other
Stitched with included supplies
Changes: long-legged cross stitches stitched with dark red instead of light red

Next in the stitching queue is another “decide to decide” piece that I’ve decided to complete.

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!

Another Christmas

Come and gone. Sigh.

Welcome to my tidy blog. My sister recently visited my blog and told me it’s quite tidy. So, thanks for that, Sissy M! Um, I think. Hope. Accept. I yam who I yam.

I had a wonderful Christmas, and hope you did, as well. It was a small, quiet affair, just me, the husband and the boy. December was filled with Christmas stitching and fun.

 Stitched by me, for me

One piece I stitched for myself was Atalie’s Decembre 2007 biscornu. I finished it fairly early in December, but I was waiting for the ornament from Wendy and didn’t get around to posting a picture. I like the teeny beads in the same color as the tree’s ornaments on the seam. I originally planned to cover some wooden beads with the red beads and attach them to the top “corners.” I didn’t bc I decided the shape wasn’t quite right. My first attempt was a bit of a disaster. If I’d thought they would work, I would have kept trying until I was satisfied. I admit I’m sort of glad I didn’t like it, haha.

Decembre 2007 Biscornu by Atalie 12.10

Decembre 2007 biscornu, designed by Martine Viard Ligier  of Atalie.
Stitched on 32-ct Little Boy Blue linen w provided silk fibers.

I also stitched myself an ornament from the 1998 JCS Ornament issue. The plan was to finish before the Night Before Christmas, but I came down with a HumBug. It wasn’t the kind where you don’t have Christmas spirit, but the one where you are sick. I was so fatigued. At one point I sat down to stitch the girl’s hair, and only got in two stitches before I stopped. I snapped to several minutes later. I’d been staring into space, about to doze off. It was after Christmas before I managed to finish. I’m not sure if I’ll finish it as an ornament or a flat fold. We’ll see what inspiration I get.

Night Before Christmas 12.10

This was a lot of fun to stitch. The dark blue night wasn’t even tedious. No, really! It took forever, but I didn’t mind. I’ve admired this for so long. I feel so lucky to have it! I’m so goofy. 😉

Night Before Christmas by Birds of a Feather as appeared in JCS Ornament issue, 1998.
Stitched on 32-ct Shell linen instead of Raw linen and with recommended fibers except the following substitutions: GAST Soot instead of WDW Charcoal, GAST Mistletoe instead of WDW Emerald, WDW Peach Fuzz for WDW Mexicali,DMC 4240 for WDW Navy, CC Lettuce Leaf for WDW Aqua, and WDW White Lightning in Santa’s beard and WDW Icicle for GAST Oatmeal.

Here’s a snippet of my lovely stitchy Christmas:

In addition to the pieces I stitched for myself, you can see my stitchy gifts and the card Wendy made me for our exchange. The pink fabric is the nearly impossible to find 24-ct congress cloth in rose. Had I known “rose” meant pink, I don’t think I would have been so nervous about getting the “just right” fabric (canvas). The husband was told that congress cloth isn’t made anymore, as it’s too fine for needlepoint. He managed to find a supply about 40 miles from home at Homestead Needlearts. Apparently, Theresa is rolling in congress cloth. She had to check to make sure she had a big enough piece of rose, but she was enthusiastic when she said she has congress cloth. Hooray! and Huzzah! for the husband. Now I can begin Bargello Symphony. I’m excited and a bit nervous. You can see I also got two Shepherd’s Bush kits–the new Merry Be pincushion and the Take Joy kit, along with the box that Take Joy is designed to go in. The box is hinged. The way it’s painted, I thought it was metal. It’s not. 😀 I also got a gift certificate from The Rocking Horse, my favorite LNS. That’s it on top of the congress cloth–they slip the certificate into a giant die-cut flos bobbin wound with different colors of yarn. How fun!

The other stitched piece you see is a gift from my dear friend, Jay. She stitched this for her mother many years ago. It’s Christiana Campbell’s in Williamsburg, VA. Jay told me her mother loved the tavern, especially the oyster stew and huge checkerboard napkins. I’ve only been to Williamsburg once, and never visited the tavern. If I make it to Williamsburg again, I’ll make a point of visiting Christiana Campbell’s. Jay has been slowly parting with her late mother’s things, and thought I would appreciate the gift. She was right. Thank you, Jay.

In the interest of full-disclosure, and too keep a reminder for myself, I share a picture of my bead-covered bead misstep.

I need to get my goals for next year organized. If I should refrain from posting until after the New Year, please have yourself a safe and festive New Year. I hope to see you next year. Happy stitching. 🙂

Scratch-N-Sniff post

Don’t I wish!  Don’t you wish?  I made time to finish my bargello pincusion this past weekend.  I was too excited to let it wait.  It now resides in my dresser, and every time I open a drawer  (specifically my underwear drawer–TMI?), I will get a lovely whiff of lavender.  Yay, me!


The pincushion is sitting on the backing fabric.  If I had ’em, I’d’ve thrown a couple sprigs of lavender in the shot for effect.   Can’t you just smell the lavender coming through your monitor?

Now.  If I get my stuff done today, I get to concentrate on Desiderata.  It is, after all, Desiderata Monday. 🙂