About Me

Monday, May 28, 2007


Derby Fever is a malaise peculiar to Kentuckians in the spring when their immunity is at its lowest having just recovered from March Madness. The primary symptom of March Madness is the inability to talk about anything but basketball followed by compulsions to visit sports bars, pick favorites and party. Derby Fever has been around much longer so there has been more documentation of it. Visitors come from around the world to study the phenomenon only to succumb themselves. A month long whirlwind of associated events causes rapid spread of the delirium. Everyone can suddenly talk horses, pick favorites, know a bookie and party shamelessly. Folk remedies abound, and everybody has a secret recipe for Derby food and drink. At least one day at Churchill Downs is recommended as therapy.

Obviously I was feeling the onslaught of Derby Fever when I started making my spirit of friendship doll for CQI's exchange. I chose her fabrics to represent jockey silks (I later found this site online where you can create your own!). All the women wear derby hats to match their outfits. Although the roses the horses run for are red, my doll is wearing pink ones, so I named her Bluegrass Rose. Here is part of the message that accompanied her:

"May I present to you BLUEGRASS ROSE,your hopefully kindred spirit from Derbytown, USA. She can always pick a winner! I just know she'll love it there with you. It is her mission to bring you the warmth of friendship, and if you heed her powerful intuition, she will guide you to wise choices and good fortune."

Above is the front view of Rose. I suspect she's covering her face because she enjoyed one too many mint juleps! Here's the back, her hair a tad disheveled possibly for the same reason.

Below are more Derby related links:

Queen Elizabeth
Her Majesty
royal millinary

If you'd like to have my favorite version of a derby style pie, email me

P.S. I was out of town during this year's Kentucky Derby!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Snails in the Garden, TAST 21

Crossed buttonhold stitch was our TAST assignment this week.
It's an easy to do stitch and holds a lot of potential particularly when one wants to keep a baseline.
I set out to explore the ups and downs or inside outs of this stitch, plus I wanted to see if could be worked on a curve. I started with the border and worked half with X's out, half in. I saw I could then have an overhead line with possibilities for building upwards.
I didn't do that here, but it's nice to make a note for further reference.
The small snail was my starting point. I began with a small button and graduated the buttonhole stitches as I worked outward. Interesting that you start with the baseline at the bottom and watch it end up on the outside as it scrolls around,
giving nice definition to the snail shape.
I did just the reverse on the large snail, where the line appears on top of the crosses. I graduated the size but without consideration for symmetry. There's enough line there to suggest a snail, but I was more taken with the overview which I thought could be useful in making a spiny fish, maybe a blowfish -- fugu, anyone?
I decided to use a long stem flower as a filler. I tried to do a vertical crossed buttonhole to create a stem, but it didn't work. Next I tried to make a soft, curving S-line, but as you can see that technique didn't quite pan out. It got the job done, but to me, it's choppy looking and angular. Bead buds helped, I think. Oh, and the button! You can't see it in the scan, but it has a wavy surface which made me think of a flower.
I dyed the 14 ct Aida. The finer stitching is done with overdyed floss from Six Strand Sweets called Tutti Fruiti, while the large snail is Caron's Watercolours in Carnival.

Friday, May 18, 2007

TAST 18 - 20

In the interest of catching up, I did three weeks in one small sampler. The outer ring is butterfly chain, the foundation straight stitches done in Caron's Watercolours
"Painted Desert" and the wraps done in #8 perle cotton with size 8 seed beads strung in between. I later added French knots in the Watercolours.

Again, in the same thread I used Basque stitches for the inner circle. I would have preferred the colors were more evenly distributed, but a guessed wrong when beginning a new strand.

I did like the look of the resulting frame, then had to think about what to put in it that would utilize wrapped or woven wheels. In reviewing Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary I realized spider web roses were an option, and I'd never tried them before. Although I used 4mm silk ribbon for filler leaves, the ribbon used for the flowers was 2 mm ribbon of unknown content but with subtle sparkle. Given more time I might have been a little more select in the colors and may even have added some tiny beads around the floral spray. I enjoyed these versatile stitches and plan to utilize them in broader experimentation in later projects.

It was fun catching up on what others have been doing on the Take a Stitch Tuesday Group Flickr site. Everyone is doing so well and is obviously benefitting from the commitment, but I was blown away by Lin Moon 's flowers, truly inspirational.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


This is funny. If I'd've been sipping a cuppa I'd have to buy a new keyboard. I just read Luci's
blog post. We'd been tagged by the same person, but the greater coincidence is I could very easily copy her seven things. I always thought I was an only child, but I'm guessing we were likely twins separated at birth. You should also know that this paragraph is a prequel; I'd already drafted part of my post!

THANKS to Dy , I will now reveal 7 things about myself before spreading the joy through new targets. Rest assured I will not be sharing any dark or abysmal secrets (Du-uh, like I had any!), and these little known disclosures about me may or may not be reflected in my creative efforts today.

Numero Uno: My mother was a gifted and versatile artist who was far too critical of her own work. I didn't have many coloring books. As soon as I was able to clutch a crayon, she insisted that I stay within the lines and leave little blanks as highlights. Mom only allowed me coloring books with artistic or educational merit. She didn't give much thought to detailing in the line drawings as age appropriate. As a result I was traumatized by the picture of a Mandarin gentleman with fingernails every bit as evil as those portrayed on Snow White's wicked witch. I was afraid of opening let alone coloring in those books, lest they fall open to the scary pages. Like most kids around the world, I was not given a new coloring book until the old one was finished. What moms never seem to learn is that the incentive backfires, and impatient kids like me inevitably tried to shorten the interval by coloring fast which equals sloppy which , for me, brought out the anger in my mother. Coloring was not fun for me.

Amazingly my love of color has never wavered. Even though I didn't like the coloring book activity, I still got a thrill whenever I got a new box of crayons. What I did like to do was arrange and rearrange the crayons into colorways, and I spent a lot of happy time just making color combinations on paper. Whenever I shop for stash: fabric, fiber, beads, I experience that same Crayola rush.

2. I was a smuggler for a thankfully short time. I smuggled art books out of East Germany and was nearly caught by VOPOS in East Berlin.

3. I met my DH in the Tuborg Brewery in Copenhagen. We were married 45+ years ago in Switzerland. We're still married, and although it might prove interesting or even insightful, I would never dream of soliciting his opinion re 7 facts about myself to share with others. Certainly he would remind me that our always-at-my-feet pets love me more than him and that I pay more attention , in no particular order, to my animals, my computer and that "BS stuff" I'm always working on. Somehow knitting and sewing is not a waste of my time, however. He tends to turn gruffy when I spend on stash, and begs, can you believe it, implores me to spend money on clothes, all I want, $'s no object. Where's the joy in that? I don't need any more clothes. I do need to feed my addiction for creative pursuits.

4. Perhaps you've wondered about bluegrasssainte , my Yahoo ID which shows up occasionally on my group posts (I have a similar username on eBay. For over 30 years I've been a fancier and member of the St. Bernard Club of America. Stray hairs usually find their way into my projects. And since I'm now one Saint away from a condo, I've been saving bags of fur so I'll never run out. I'd like to learn to spin Chiengora (even if you already know what it is, read the google headers. They're hilarious, but I'm warped.

Allow my digression of gratuitous pet photos. Only my spouse would adopt a 6 week old kitten from the vet's office the day before we leave for the SBCA National Show with an entry of over 300 Saints. And he names her for her medication: Moxie, for amoxicillin! Instead of crushing or devouring this tiny creature, Lexi, our 186 and not fat Saint, nurtures the kitten who thrives and morphs into Evil Kitty who doesn't know she's a cat.

I was never able to capture the shot, but the kitten would actually climb up Lexi's tail where she would dangle and struggle until she became ensnarled and I'd have to pick her out.

5. I've been blessed having been born an optimist with a sense of humor that has served me well throughout my life. I was born in the Year of the Dragon. I'm a Virgo. I'm a Mellow Spring. My personal colors are aqua, coral and grey, which makes wardrobe shopping far easier now that I know that. I'm honest, fair, understanding and non confrontational which may account for how DH, generally pessimistic and negative, and I have been together so long that we know what each other is thinking and usually finish each other's sentences. I love him dearly, and he's my best friend. I loved my mother, too, in case you were worried.

6. Mom taught me to read and write before I got to school. I did well in everything early on except penmanship (those lines! agggghhhh h h). My grandfather gave me a Smith Corona typewriter circa 1913 which I pecked at constantly and amused myself writing stories and plays because being an only child in a neighborhood with no other kids left little else for me to do. My first story was published when I was 7. It was science fiction, about the mad scientist Dr. Jhocton and his rocket ship. I guess becoming a Trekkie was inevitable. Anyway, writing came easy to me, garnered lots of positive encouragement and was actually fun! I learned to design and color with words.

7. I cannot handle numbers in any form. I struggled through arithmetic and was tutored through algebra and geometry. I can't remember anything with a sequence of numbers like addresses, phone numbers, dates-- imagine me struggling with combination locks! As I get older I'm losing my perspective of time and chronological order. Must be I was traumatized by fractions. No. Earlier. First grade. I remember taking a standardized test and trying to answer the question : "What is (drawing of half a circle) and (drawing of another half circle)?" To me the obvious answer was a whole . I didn't know how to spell whole and I was afraid if I wrote hole I would get it wrong because a hole is empty. I drew a circle . Wrong answer! I went into kid apoplexy, couldn't convince my teacher it was not a zero and couldn't understand why the correct answer was 1.