Also too many beads

This is Aires – whom I stitched back in early spring of 2022. On the same  32ct Vintage Country Mocha linen as almost all of the rest of the series. She will be number 8 of the completion stack of Zodiac girls.

Backstitch? – Bleh, but no problems…

Then I went and looked at the number of beads. Five colors of beads. I could find four. Good excuse, that – so I went on to consider dragons, time, and then pulled out the Solar System SAL by Climbing Goat Designs. It is a left over from 2021. I have Saturn left to stitch. And some random stars. And a comet. Now if I can just find the PDF….

Oh, yes, and I actually did some dishes last night.  Something about feeding a cat (who needed his food bowl washed) and deciding I might as well empty out the sink while I was at it.

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She is finished

The last 169 beads –

Pisces – by Nora Corbett on 32 Vintage Country Mocha linen. less than 5k stitches but it seemed like all the beads. Started about Feb 2022, finished 25 Feb 2024. Which is actually during Pisces..

Also arriving today was Ilan Rehm weighing in at 8# 7oz or so (3.845 kg) by emergency C-section. The youngest is staying at the hospital tonight as the Eldest is recovering from follow on surgery secondary to complications. A fun time wasn’t had but it looks like both mom and baby will be ok.

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And more beads

It seems like the beads on this project are never ending.

I think this takes me down to the last 160 beads.  I really have little love for beading. I don’t think any of the rest in the series have as many.

On the positive side – Tea-Rex is DONE!

It was a matter of the last couple of tea cups and that tea pot!

I decided that all this hard work (18 finishes thus far) has entitle me to one new start. On 18 ct Rustic Asia with DMC 3371 & 3750 I started “Its about Time” by Modern Folk Embroidery.It isn’t a small piece (35.5k stitches) but relatively easy to stitch given that I am using only two colors. I’ll have a picture for your tomorrow.


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Fish & Tea

As it turned out, Pisces might not have had any specialty threads, but it has an inordinate number of beads. So many in fact that I have decided that completing it in one go was likely to be 1) not fun 2) highly likely to have mistakes 3) did I mention drive me insane? Anyway – I am going to attempt about 100-150 beads a day till it is complete.

Here was my start today – followed by adding 161 beads..

So, I moved on to Tea-Rex by Silver Creek Samplers. I started it last year, got as far as this –

and realized that there was something wrong with the “E” and put it aside. Today, I decided that this would be a maximum of 2 days and I would have another finish.

The E is now fixed, the X is done as are three more tea cups. This just leaves me one more tea cup and the rest of the tea pot tomorrow.

The Cal Women’s Basketball Team managed to pull off a win this evening. I don’t think it is going to be that easy on Sunday – which is the last home game of the year.

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I finished Capricorn this morning –

And Scorpio this afternoon –

I did make a few changes on each.  On Capricorn there were some small “antenna” type things scattered here and there among the flowers with a single bead on the end. I looked at the dozen or so of them and decided not to bother.

On Scorpio I dropped some loopy backstitching at the very bottom and added beads rather than a dark brown stitch to he center of those six square things going up each side.

Being a glutton for whatever – I then pulled out Pisces thinking that there wasn’t much left to do. Wrong – I have a few more stitches to put in. Backstitching is almost done. But beads? Insane number of beads. Like almost 700…. of which I managed the first 104…

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Number 15

Even though she needed over 1100 stitches today, it turned out that finishing Cleo didn’t turn out to be all that difficult.

It was mostly blocks of color…. She is stitched on 16 count chocolate Aida with the called for DMC + some Kreinik.  I skipped the fake hieroglyphics  that were charted around her head piece. They were weird. She will now join all the other Barbara Anna’s on a hanger till I figure out what to do with her.

So, back to the Zodiac girls. I started Capricorn the end of August 2022 as best as I can figure out. This is where she was 3 Sept that year

and progress today –

backstitching is complete, and a lot of beads added. I guesstimate I have between 250-350 to go. Not exactly my favorite thing.

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April shower in Feb

And, although I really don’t like the colors – I finished April Quaker by From the Heart which had been hanging out for a couple of years. Notice I am not quite breaking my arm, patting myself on the back for finishing up older projects.  I did confirm a couple of things. First, I really prefer working off a PDF rather than paper pattern. Secondly, This particular stitch would have been much better on white or ecru rather than the Picture this Plus Legacy which I dug out of one my bins. The fabric is just too dark for the floss colors which turned out to be much lighter than their names or the pattern model implied. Especially the lighter green which is visible in person by not easily seen here.

Tomorrow I will tackle Part 3 of Barbara Ana’s Cleo which was a stitch along from last year. Once that is done, the only small projects left to work on will be the Zodiac Girls which need beads & backstitching.  The remaining six are larger projects which will take more than a couple of days each….

And the showers? It has been raining. Sometimes pouring, sometimes just a steady cold, nasty drizzle. I was lucky enough this afternoon to catch the five minutes of sunshine before the skies opened up again!

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As you have been able to see – I have been putting a significant effort into finishing cross stitch projects started and left over from previous years. My tally thus far is 11 finished from previous years and two started & finished from this year.

Then there are the older projects which were stitched in 2018 & 2019 and have been hanging around since. Turned the two Weaver’s Band Samplers  into wall hangings this morning – now I just have to find the hooks which I put in a safe place so that they don’t spend too long hanging on the dining room cupboards –

Both were stitched on Aida with ThreadworX #12 pearl cotton.  I also managed to frame & lace two presents. (not shown)

Next up is the April monthly quaker which I showed the measly few stitches on yesterday. I am working off hard copy, so no stitch count but –

the large upper motif is complete, the two upper small motifs are done, and I have started the three in the middle tier. That leaves four small, two medium, and two large to go. Size wise, I am about ½ way down. In reality? Probably 1/3 done in terms of stitches.

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And she’s done!

There were a lot more stitches left on Octavia than I had thought. Like between just over 2x my guestimate. But here she is –

the fourth one of the Sheep punk series. The pattern comes from ForbiddenFiberCo and is stitched with their floss on 16 count called for, also dyed by them.  I have no idea yet as to how I am going to finish the series. 

Speaking of finishing things – my count is now 11 finished WIPs and 2 finished new starts from this year. 

Then I had to decide what to tackle next. As much as I would love to start something new – I would like to get at least one more project completed and out of the “to be completed” cubby. Of course, picking the smaller items is just going to leave me with the three large suckers…

And…. yet another project started in 2021. From the Heart had a series of monthly quakers. I did the first three – one each month and then got distracted just after I started April. It was easy to be distracted; the design was fine, the colors were meh. But I pulled it out and figure 3-5 days and I can check this one off as well.

as you can see, it is hardly a start at all.

Otherwise, it has been raining. Cold (obviously wet) rain. I have been staying inside. So far, nothing major from the new meds other than mild nausea… 


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Significant Progress

I would really like this particular little sheep completed. I can’t tell how many stitches I have left. I have the original printed pattern from which I loaded pictures into Pattern Keeper. Managing to match up the grid, but not read the particular floss symbols, I am stuck at the “ever square on the whole thing counts” stage. So % accomplished is out the window. But the program does count stitches marked off. Page 1 – still have the border. Page 2 – complete, Page 3 – not started (Border & name). Page 4 – small bit of border left.

Perhaps it would be easier if I just showed you the difference that 1440 stitches make?

Yesterday’s end point &

todays ending.

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The quiet one of the Sheep Punk set. I didn’t get a chance to start stitching till after lunch time, but I have made decent progress – like 864 stitches according to my little counter. To review – here is where she was at the end of yesterday –

and today –

This leaves me with finishing her head and face, completing the border and adding her name at the bottom. Oh, yes, and there is a “?” mark on the other side to balance the “!”  Other than the border, it is really blocks of color stitching so it goes reasonably fast. I am hoping to finish her tomorrow which means I need to have my next project needing completion to be lined up!

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It looks benign

This capsule that I get to take once a day for 21 days. Then I get a break for 7 days and then I get to do it again. The plan is X6 at this point.

there are a ton of red label warnings –

Only ½ of which apply to me. Oh yes, and rituximab once a month as well.  I am really glad that I have no copays or deductibles.  The bill would not be fun. (This was an early morning commute. I was westbound on the Bay Bridge so wasn’t impacted by the 2 car/3 death fatal crash on the east bound side on the San Francisco side of Treasure Island).

While I was there, I managed to work on the Ten Stitch Afghan –

working my way up one side, around a corner and starting down the next side. I am just about done with the first ball of gray ombre and well into the second ball of the blue.

Started last fall while on on the Star Breeze – Octavia Morgan is one of the Sheep punk from ForbiddenFiberCo, I didn’t get all that much done, but some progress is always good –

even a few hundred stitches count.


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Another trip

Into San Francisco early this morning. Making my usual stop at Peet’s just before they opened I still managed to get caught in the lane control lights at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza. After that point, the traffic was reasonably heavy but at least it moved at a decent speed. Not reasonable, you understand, nor anywhere near the posted speed limit but at least we were never at a standstill.

One of the advantages to arriving early is an easy and close parking space. Finding one near a light pole, I ignored the rain in favor of knitting on the Ten Stitch Afghan and listening to an audiobook. The Cat’s Meow – by Jonathan B Losos (borrowed electronically from the San Francisco Public Library on recommendation from Rebecca) is about the evolution of cats. Salted with enough scientific references to make it credible it is interesting. Personally, I wish the author had been a bit less verbose but it still is interesting.

I was home from my VA appointments by noon and spent the afternoon putting 554 stitches into the not yet shown stitching which became my 12th finish of the year. I put in the recommended backstitching. Looked at it, then took it back out. It didn’t add anything and actually distracted in some areas. I may think about it, changing both the recommended colors as well as the recommended number of strands.

I now need to decide what it is next. I can tackle the next Zodiac Girl, the last planet from the 2021 Solar System SAL, or start something new.  Hummm.

But since it is Valentines Day – perhaps I should just go have supper with George first?

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Cancer (the Zodiac Girl) complete

I had originally titled this – Cancer Complete. And then I thought about it. Since “Cancer” is more than a sign in the Zodiac and the word is also used for various nasty diseases experienced by too many, I didn’t like the ambiguity.  And that uses up all my big words for the day.

According to an old worksheet I found (and also noted here) she was started 7 July 2022. The fabric is  32 ct Vintage Country Mocha linen purchased in a batch from and stitched with the all the called for DMC, Caron Waterlilies and Mill Hill Beads.

Besides the last couple hundred beads, I had to add about 50 stitches that I had ignored. Located with the beads on the end of the antenna type things, apparently I had decided to wait til the backstitching in order to insure they were in the correct location. This also obviously avoided a lot of counting….

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Starting Cancer

Just in case you are wondering – there is no particular order to my completing of the Zodiac Girls. I have them all clipped into a pants hanger and am just working down from the top. There are a dozen of them all told. I know have the first on done (Virgo) and picked up Cancer this morning. The pattern is from Nora Corbett. I30x90. Stitched on Vintage Country Mocha 32 Ct linen in DMC and three Caron Waterlillies. As with the other patterns in the series, this much was stitching in 2022.

I managed the backstitching, then started on the beads. Then realized that, because of being at the end of some of the extra outline type stitching – I still have about 60 stitches that also needed to be placed. It was time to go to bed.

Other than that today I managed to get to 68% on the other project, went to Avenue yarn for the Sunday morning stitch group, and celebrate’s Shana’s 45th a day late. 


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In this case stands for Backstitch & Beading. I detest backstitching. It is one of the reasons that I have a tendency to avoid most patterns out of Eastern Europe. It isn’t that many are interesting or lovely. It is that all of the details really come from outlining rather than purely from color or shading. Unfortunately, many of the “fancy lady” type of patterns also have this nasty tendency to need backstitching. Add in the necessity of then adding 220-whatever number of beads and the finishing feels like it takes as long as the stitching.

this is about where I left her in August of 2022. Effectively the stitching was complete. I went ahead and added the largest beads (mostly because I could) then went to backstitching). This is how far I got by the end of the day –

Then I just need to finish backstitching the last nine butterflies, add the two largest numbers of beads (one has 36 & the other ~130) and call it done.

I also managed another 490 stitches on my secondary project.  And now the hot tub is calling me…..

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Castle Complete!

And I present to you – The Castle. #2 in the Fabulous House series by Cottage Garden Samplings. 120×120 stitched on 18ct Vintage Stormy Clouds with the called for specialty & DMC Floss. This is my 9th finish of the year and was a total of 9654 stitches.

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Less than a thousand

Stitches to go on the Castle. Due to errands, this was the only project I worked on today. Even so, I zeroed out five colors.  This leaves me with the lower portion of the last tower and all the wavy stuff on the bottom.

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More Castle

The downside of this fabric is that the white (B5200) doesn’t show up all that well. It is better than either of the other simple alternatives – blanc or 3865. So I am just ignoring it for the present. This particular stitch is 120×120. I still have a few ninja stitches of white in the upper half. Otherwise everything is stitched down through row 70 and across to row about 50. I think this will be done by the end of the week.

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Variable weather

I made it a point today to stay inside, warm and dry. I went out only twice – once to drop George at BART and a second trip to pick him up at the end of the afternoon.

Otherwise – I put a small bit of time into organizing in the studio, more stitches into the Castle,

and several hundred stitches into a birthday present (not being shown here for obvious reasons). I also pulled out the Seasonal Skies SAL by Ship’s Manor from 2011.

As you can see – I stitched all 12 of the vignettes but barely started on the border.
I remember at the time thinking it was rather detailed and contained way too many colors.  So “all” I need to finish this is complete the border. After loading the border into Pattern Keeper I was appalled to find that the border was actually over 6k of which only about 1500 has been completed. Hummmm. Not on the immediately able to complete list. More like needing about a week of full time designation. Back into the project bag it goes. Or maybe one color a week of the seven colors in that fussy border?

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