The better to see you with my dear….

Okay so I never was good with time…two weeks a month all relative.

But can I see…I have heard people say after cataract surgery, “white is white again”, but I had no idea what they meant until now. White is white again, colors are brighter, tints, shades and tones are clearer…oh my, what a difference! I was telling an artist friend of mine this and he said he was going to the eye doctor to see if they would do his eyes. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lenses have to be clouded first; if you’re not ready…you’re not ready.  And I can see 100 yards away…but up close is another story. But up close has been a problem since I was about 40 years old and I can correct that at the local pharmacy with readers.  I have my mag-eyes too and have been stitching.

At first, with one eye corrected it was not fun…computer and stitching gave me a headache (not to mention the sinus infection I had); so I did very little computing or stitching. But after my other eye was corrected and I found the reading glasses that worked I was back to stitching and computing.

But my poor blog has suffered…it is so-o-o-o easy to get out of the habit of writing for a blog. I really do not know how Mary Corbet (Needle ‘n Thread and Jane Wood  (Chilly Hollow do it. Every day without fail, it never ceases to amaze me and Jane also runs a Facebook page too.  I’m lucky to do once a week on a good roll.

But I will get back to the blue bird I waited to stitch until I could see, so next week I promise will show you some flowers…I really like this flower stitching. Here’s a hint…

2015-10-07 flowers

Thank you for staying around and Thank you for stopping by today.

I hope you find time to stitch today!


Taking a break

I am taking a two week break. Had a cataract removed from one eye and am having the other done in 10 days. And to add a little twist,  I either have a cold or allergies in my sinuses (even the doctor can’t decide). So since I tire out quickly and the whiteness of the screen tires both my good and bad eye, I am limiting my time on the electronic devices. My eyes are very important to me!

I am stitching and will be back in a couple weeks with ribbon flowers on the bird.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!


More on ribbon books

I am venting…

In my research of Ribbon work I found a couple books I did not own and so I purchased them (they were less than $10 and there was free shipping.) When they arrived I was happy I had not paid more for them. One was nothing but projects and the description did not say that, but I did not send it back,,, more trouble than it was worth and any way when you are a bookaholic , what’s one more book.  (Although I do promise that one of these days I am going to downsize when I find that round tuit again)


Left book best: The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery

The other book was pretty interesting Creative Ribbon Embroidery (book on right) and as I was going though it I keep thinking it looked familiar. The pictures and layout were enough different that I had to read a few pages before I realized I had read this before. That’s when I realized I had another book by this same author. And what do you know two books, same stuff one is just ten times better than the other.

And this does bother me!


Color pictures of stitches vs b&w

These two books are night and day. One is full of color pictures and the other is not…all the stitches are in black in white and in fact most of the book is in black and white. The projects in the second book  have been condensed and are not shown to their best advantage. But the cover picture is new to the second book as well as the title is different



suggesting different content. Then I went back and checked. Some pictures had been turned, some made smaller but it was the same book printed less expensively.  I guess both books are good, because I do like the first one (The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery ) but if you are investing (even though both were inexpensive, less than $10) purchased the better one. How do you know, I guess I would purchase the older copy in this case first

Don’t get me wrong, I have bought the same book more than once for a couple reasons”

I have about worn the first one out from use. I usually buy a second one to have for back up or if I have sentimental attachment to the first so I can keep it. My very first two needlepoint books I did this. I think I’ve told this story but it is worth repeating.

My mother gave me a needlepoint book in the 1972’s for Christmas. I was not a stitcher of any kind. I was an only child raising three little boys all under the age of 5 years…I was a mother in a foreign male kindom and did not speak a word of male.   I asked her what she was thinking and her response was, “I got it from my book club.  I forgot to send the card back that I was not interested, so I’m giving it to you.”  Thanks Mother. I put it with my cookbooks in the kitchen. WWho had time for needlepoint?  But the following spring a magazine ran an article on learning to needlepoint with six stitches. And that same month our youngest ended up in the hospital with an unknown ailment (turned out to be cutting teeth…my diagnoses that the pediatrician finally agreed after ten years was probably true). And I needed something to do to keep my sanity. So rather than learn just six stitches I had my friend go pick up my book and go  by the needlepoint shop to  buy me three colors of wool a piece of canvas. I had learned to needlepoint from my Grandmother and Mother but now I could do all these stitches too. The rest is history.  My first needlepoint book is still one of my favorites and my go to book when looking for a stitch.

And another  reason I have bought the same book twice is because I publisher changed the cover on the second printing. Not nice. So from that experience I Ann Coxcheck as well as I can before I purchase. My Ann Cox ribbon book states it is combined material from two of her other books and I happened to come across one of them and sure enough it has some of the material and enough not to warrant the second purchase. Thank you Ann because I think my book is the best of the other  two.

Sorry that this is my post of the week but I am venting.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!


Books on Ribbon Embroidery, Bullions and other creative stitches:

Here is a list of some of the books I am consulting. Some I have had just for the different embroidery stitches used to make flowers, some are specific to bullions and others are all about ribbons. And there are others, these are just the ones I pulled for the Blue Bird project.

I have three Hard to Find Book stores in my area and I never go by one that I don’t stop…never know what you will find (and I usually do too.)  I like to see the book before I purchase it. I want technique instructions rather than project books. I check several online sources for needlework books too and I price compare:

Abe Bookseller:


Hard-to-Find Needlework Books:

Ruth Kern Books:

The books in my library: I wouldn’t list them here if I didn’t like them but some are better than others.

A-Z Ribbon WorkA-Z of Ribbon Embroidery. Country Bumkin Publications. Susan Gardner, Editor-at Large, Quilter’s Resourses, Inc.; 2003 Illinois.

This book is out of print but if you are patient and check often you can get a deal on Amazon or Abe Books and I understand they are going to update and reissue this soon. But it is a staple for learning  Ifa picture is worth a 1000 words then this book is worth every penny you pay for it. There are pictures for every stitch and technique. Excellent Book

A-Z BullionsA-Z of Bullions. Country Bumkin Publications. Inspirations Magazine Publishers. Country Bumpkin Publications. 1999. Australia.

The instructions are clear and the pictures are wonderful. This book is strictly bullions, bullions of every kind. Again the pictures make the directions clear and concise. How can you go wrong with a book published by Inspirations Magazine?

American School of NeedleworkAmerican School of Needlework. ASN Publishing. California.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs #3409. 1997.

An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Holiday Designs #3410. 1997.

The Big Book of Little Ribbon Embroidery Designs #3411. 1998.

Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Borders #3412. 1999.

All these books are nice and they all have pictures to help.


Bradford Book Jenny Bradford. Textured Embroidery. Milner Craft Series. England. 1994.

A  book on Decorative stitching, it has nice drawings and projects.


Victoria Brown BooksVictoria Adams Brown. Watson-Guptill Publications. New York.

The Complete Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1996.

It is a basic Ribbon work book,  full of how to pictures and projects.

The New Ribbon Embroidery. 1997.

This book takes ribbon work to the next level. Dying ribbons, making ribbons, etc. Plenty of eye candy but not for the beginner. I like it but I like to push the envelop too.

book cableSheena Cable. Silk Ribbon Embroidery. A Reader’s Digest Book. NY. 1996.

Mostly projects with pictures and diagrams.


Ann CoxAnn Cox. The Handbook of Sik Emroidery. Search Press. England. 2010.

This is a small book (same size as the new Royal School of Needlework books) and it is material from Ann’s two other books: Beginner’s Guide to Ribbon Embroidery and Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs & Techniques (neither of these do I have). This book  is full of pictures and instructions for ribbon work techniques. I would recommend it.

Heather JoynesHeather Joynes. The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery. Kangaroo Press. Australia.1993.

Another book on ribbon work. Has pictures and clear instuctions. Ms Joynes is one of the experts on this subjecy and her books are reccomended in many bibliographies.

River SilksPaul E Krynicki. “OOOOOH”. The Essentials of Ribbon Needlepoint with River Silks 100% Silk Ribbon.Self published.  2006.

If you are using River Silk Ribbons you may want to read this book. It explains how to use RiverSilk Ribbons. It was written for RiverSilk ribbons only. When you order this book you will also receive a spool of Ribbon Silk and a doodle canvas to play.

Lampe Diana Lampe. Sally Milner Publishing. Austrailia.

Embroider A Garden. 1995.

Embroidered Garden Flowers. 1997. with Jane Fisk.

            Embroidery from the garden. 1997.

Diana Lampe’s books are decorative stitches…Any of these books are nice if you are doing a lot of decorative flowers.

Montano silkJudith Baker Montano. C & T Publishing. California

Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993

This is eye candy for the ribbon world. Judith knows the rules, bends the rules and does inovative things. I have all the books listed her and look at them for information and inspiration.  Some of Judith other books… these are either inspiration and or quilting techniques.

Montao othersCrazy Quilt Odyssey. 1991.

The Art of Silk Ribbon Embroidery. 1993.

Elegant Stitches. 1995.

Free-Form Embroidery. 2012.

TrottPat.Trott. Three Dimensional  Embroidery Stitches. Search Press. England. 2005.

This book is similar to Diana Lampe’s books but with more and different techniques explored. I like it but it may not be for the beginner to decorative stitching.

AnchorSue Whiting. The Anchor Book of Ribbon Embroidery. David & Charles. England. 1997.

An old book but a goody. Small, 4 x 4 inches, will fit in your stitching bag. Has a complete list of stitches with explanation, drawing and picture. It is really inexpensive and I would recommend for beginning study of ribbon work and library.
Brazilian Embroidery Books: I have had these for years. Brazilian Embroidery Chapman was basically small embroidery (decorative stitches) flowers done with rayon floss. I used them to stitch on denim shirts in the 1980’s.

Floss Flowers, Book 1
. Virginia Chapman. !mpact Presentations. Oregon. 1988 This book was created basically for Brazilian Embroidery and covers a multitude of ways to use bullions as the cover photo attests.

Brazilian booksThe Bossa Nova rose and Friends. Mary Clark and Vee Wedoo. self published, Colorado. 1980.

Hand drawings , project book, a nice book if you can find it but not a necessary one.

Brazilian Stitchery, Instruction Book 1, Janice Gerst Levine and Patricia Von Coelln. American Crewel and Canvas Studio. New York. 1985. Another project book with photos  and line drawings.

Dimensional Embroidery, Book 2&3. Zeann Aguilar. self Published. Utah, 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

Brazilian Embroidery Instructions. Barbara Demke Johnson. Hawkes Publishing. Utah. 1980. Basic stitches and patterns.

By the way, while I am reading I may not be back too soon…but I hope to have other things to share while I read.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!


Blue Bird: Sides and wing

I made another creative decision on the bird bodies I made sure the stitches were slanted the same on both sides. I guess I should say I reversed the direction of stitches for one side. Whatever, I did it and it was a conscious decision.


one side


the other side






I think bird wings and sides are going to be the most fun, but probably the most labor intensive.

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample aI have been watching the internet and the trend to use silk ribbon in stitching and just being so creative stitching flowers.  I collected a few pictures from the internet that I thought would inspire me and set them aside for reference. You can just google “silk 2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample bribbon flowers for needlepoint” and click on images for an unlimited supply of ideas. And since this piece had lots of cute flowers… I decided to play.




I also had purchased Bullion needles from local shop earlier this year.( and wanted to play with them too. These are from Colonial needle and come in two types (of course I have them both): Tapestry or Sharp Point Bullion needles.  There are three needles packaged in a plastic tube for storage; there are a 3 1/2 inch, 5 inch and 7 inch needle in each package and they are equivalent to a #20 Tapestry needle in size. While I would like to see smaller sized needles available, we will play with these.

And of course there were more thread changes to be made. I have spent the last few days gathering up threads, silk ribbons and beads I think may work. I have a stash of silk ribbons for that future day of fun…so today has become that future days /weeks of fun.


Silk Ribbons

A word about silk ribbons: Most silk ribbons we are using to stitch with come in the following sizes: 2mm-4mm-7mm-13mm; 2mm is the narrowest silk ribbon.  Most common seems to be 4mm (but remember I am flying by the seat of my pants and have not done much research into this technique yet.) and it is what I have the most supply in my stash at the moment. Several companies are producing silk ribbon:

Dinky Dyes: 4-7mm (

Gloriana Threads: 4-7-13mm (

Planet Earth Fibers: 4-7-10-13mm (

Rainbow Gallery Splendor Silk Ribbon: 4mm (;

River Silks: 4-7-13mm (;

Thread Gatherers: 4-7mm (;

Treenway Silks: 2-3.5-7-13mm (;

YLI: 4-7mm (

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird silk ribbon on spoolI am sure there are others, but these are in my stash; I’ve seen one on a spool and would love to find it someplace…I just think the little spools are too cute. Anyone know where these can be purchased?

And I would be remiss if I did not tell you about Florilegium…If you are in the Midwest or plan on being here; plan a trip to Weston, Mo ( It is a quaint little town about 35 miles (45 minutes) north of Kansas City or 30 minutes from KCI airport. Great shops and food.  Make sure it is a week-end, that’s when most all shops are open. But DO NOT MISS seeing Florilegium (, even if you have to call ahead and make an appointment for early in the week visit; this is eye candy overload for the creative soul. Gretchen is the owner and Kathy, her friend, are the two sweetest ladies around. But the reason I mention them here is that if you need a silk ribbon Gretchen dyes them and has beads, embellishments and ribbons forever.  It really is eye candy overload! Every time I go in there I feel like a kid in a candy store and when I leave I am exhausted and know I missed half of what was right in front of me.

But I digress…I have a few books that I need to look through too. I’ll post again in a day or two with a list of books I have. Even though I prefer a book in front of me, the internet is always a good source and sometimes you can find videos that allow you to see the stitch being created.

But first I am going to Basketweave the backgrounds of these pieces. Yes I am going to use Silk and Ivory in medium color blue. Remember I use #20 or #22 tapestry needle…it works. I will Basketweave right up to the flower edges and if I have to go back and fill in I’m sure it will not be noticeable for all the flowers.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!


My Stitching bird.







I usually set the next un-stitched canvas I want to stitch out on stretcher bars so I can look at it as I finish stitching the last one. This usually gives me incentive to finish a canvas and not dawdle; but sometimes (usually) I get ahead of myself and stick the new canvas audition out to soon and it frustrates me that the canvas I am working on is stitching so slowly.

This is one of those pieces that had many side stories to it, or maybe it is just insight into my crazy thinking. At any rate, I will try and explain as we go…I am going to walk you through MY processing. It takes some turns and twists…so let’s get started. This canvas is painted on three separate pieces of canvas for easy of handling; so I have three canvases framed up and I am going to start the bird’s bodies first.

2015-08-05 MS Bird tear sheetThis Melissa Shirley ( canvas is another guild member’s canvas (Remember if you like this canvas ask your shop to see if the canvas is still available.)  She loved birds and stitched many of them…I have a couple turkeys she stitched but this was one that spoke to me, so I brought it home. I knew I wanted all the squares to be the same stitch: middle blue square are Reversing Scotch, lightest blue squares are Milanese; and dark blue squares are Byzantine.  The yellow bars are Slanted Gobelin and the little squares would be Smyrna Crosses. I had even decided to stitch the bird in Brown Paper Packages’ Silk n Ivory (

(1st twist). Yes, I know some stitchers think Silk & Ivory pills on 18 count canvas and it may; but I have never had this problem. I think if you are stitching something that is going to get a lot of wear (belts, purses, etc.); Yes, then you should think about using another thread. But remember any thread on a wearable garment will wear: perle cotton will lose its luster as will silk pearls, floss will not hold up to constant wear, and wool will pill too. So in my opinion, you should use what you like. Wearable stitching is not for a lifetime in most cases. Using Silk and Ivory on 18 count ornaments, standups and other decorative pieces works for me and I use it. The only problem I have ever encountered over the years is that large area of Silk and Ivory stitched in Basketweave tend to be tight (but I did it on this piece as you will see), but I have very little or no problem with decorative stitches. I do us a size 22 needle when stitching with Silk and Ivory, I think the larger needle opens the wholes of the canvas a tad more and helps the thread move smoothly through the canvas.

So I had pulled my threads (I originally intended to do the entire bird in Silk and Ivory and had pulled all the threads. Good thing I have my stash at hand…because the best plans usually change.)

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird square counts usedI don’t know why I picked a center square to start must have been Stitching Angel intervention, but somewhere I got it in my head these were not perfect squares. They are 16 threads to each square separated by 3 threads. But I made a mistake and stitched the Reversing Scotch Stitches over three threads instead of four. I could have taken it out but 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird scotch squarefor whatever reason (I hate Frog stitching) I kept going.  I assumed the squares were off, but if I added a fourth thread to the dividers I could continue…I later went back and charted the Reversing Scotch and I liked my mistake better, so I kept it. After I played around and decided this mistake would work there was another twist: I have decided to change some of 2015-08-05 MS Bird rev scotch used 2the threads.

2nd twist: I have a list from Kreinik ( of the threads they are no longer stocking (some you can request others have been discontinued) and I had spent a day separating these out so I would not use them for designing. I had lots of 042 Confetti fuchsia; I had used it to teach a class years ago when I was in certification for teaching. I use discontinued threads only in pieces for my personal use. So I decided to take yet another twist…

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird copic marker3rd twist: A few years ago I discovered Copic pens ( and and now I can’t get enough of them. While playing with the Copic pens and an air gun I realized I could color areas of white canvas to simulate any color canvas I could want to purchase…hummm…but that’s another story. But I have used them to color canvas backgrounds if I need a larger or different shaped background.  I wonder if I can change the color too?  So I stopped stitching and changed all the yellow to sorta pink so I could use the Kreinik Confetti Fuchsia.

So now I am back on track, well at least my track. I am stitching the blue squares and looking at the wings and sides too

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin aAnother turn came (not really a twist but a stitchers/finishers decision) when I went to stitch under the beak. Since I have been doing some of my own finishing I am more aware of these sharp, small turns that do not finish well. So here, under the beak I made another stitchers choice. See that one stitch that is unpainted, it went away; not the finishing there will 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin bbe easier. As you are stitching and you see this little opps, you can cover them with a stitch and finishing will be much easier

So for now I am stitching along on the blue bird bodies…I will be back with the sides and wings soon. .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!  ttfn… sue

Finishing up the Kids and Butterfly

I did finish the couching and am posting from afar…I am still watching nature go 2015-07-28 deerby, but I spoke too soon about our wonderful temperatures. Summer is here with a vengeance; hot temperatures and humidity. Even this doe doesn’t want to move much.  I hope after this week I will be able to finish up some of those half-done projects I have been creatively avoiding.  I like Anne’s term “Creative Avoidance’; if it were a disease (and it may be), I have a terminal case of it!

Couching is fun and it hides a multitude of creative stitches (if procrastination= Creative avoidance then it stands to reason we can also have creative stitching…another thing I am very good at doing)

2015-08- MS JapButterfly  top of head & stringAfter I finished the clouds and sky I added the antenna to the butterfly I decided a Wrapped backstitch was better than couching.

2015-07-28 cording on canvasAnd then on the lower part of the butterfly (red outline) I made a small cording or twist on the canvas and couched it in place. I make my cording or twist on the canvas and DO NOT turn it back on itself, but rather twist until I get the twist I like, I also use a few extra ply or a larger thread since I am not turning the cording/twist back on itself. . I find this much easier that trying to turn it back on itself and getting the proper length I need.  I start couching at the ends brought up through the canvas and stitch toward the open ends of the twist. This way if I need to twist more I can. When I get to within an inch of the ending I plunge the open ends of the cording/twist threads to the back and hold in place under where my couching will continue so I can catch and secure these ends. When I am through couching I plunge couching thread and secure cording/twist even more.

When I laid the cording twist out for the initial placement I realized that I was not going to be able to coil this at the end of the tail so I did a Cross Stitch over 1 thread and then placed a tiny Jessica around this. Then I plunged the cording/twist under this stitch area.

2015-07-28 MS JapButterfly couching aLest you think I was trying to cop-out of couching…all the gold is couched using 0023 Kreinik Japan #1 for the couched thread and Accentuate Gold to couch in place. I like to couch from the outside toward the 2015-07-28 MS JapButterfly couching bstitching. I think it makes for a soother line and I can control those little opps areas that I always seem to have.

2015-08- MS JapButterfly couching orderNotice that when you are couching either the red twist or gold some planning has to go into the placement of these threads. I did the upper red cording /twist before I did the lower red twist. See the picture for the order of placement for the red and gold. And the shorter kite string was couched before the longer one. I even thought of bring the gold back out under the child’s hand and letting it hang free; but decided against this for wear reasons. I did not want it to maybe accidentally get pulled and mess up other couching or just begin to wear poorly and then I would not have rest of couching secured well if I cut it off.

I have decided to frame this piece after all and am not going to stitch the black bands but have it matted in a black mat with a gold bamboo frame. I can see this, just hope I can find the gold bamboo for the framing.

2015-08- MS JapButterfly complered

The Children with a kite was a former guild members canvas and threads and I hope that as Jessie is looking down from her golden cloud in heaven, she likes the way I stitched it.

I have already picked my next piece to stitch another Melissa Shirley Canvas(s) from another former guild member. More about this after I get back…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today…I am!