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Category Archives: Chatelaine

Yes alright, I haven’t actually listed a stitching update for a looooong time, so here’s your three months or more catchup 🙂

Back in October 2011 I did finish Midi Mystery I. I only started it in August 2005.

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Parts 1-6 Complete

Midi Mystery I complete

I tried The Great Escape, but had problems, so I unpicked it and moved onto the next Chatelaine, Friendly Fullmoon Witch. Unfortunately, part way through this one, I discovered that I was doing my over one stitches with two strands, the same as my over two stitches. The thought of cutting out the over one stitches which I had stitched in-between the over two stitches and then having to stitch both the over one *and* the over two stitches was most disheartening.  Also it was this close examination, that I discovered that my tension was all over the place.  With my migraines I had lost my fine eyesight and I hadn’t noticed that my tension was slipping, so my top stitches were loose.

I was obviously so very depressed about this that I’ve put that project someplace very special – I’ve spent two days tearing the house apart and I cannot find the project to photograph it!  Included below it an earlier photograph of the same photograph – not the current stage including the one over one stitches and lack of tension that need to be removed.

Chatelaine Full Moon Witch

Friendly Fullmoon Witch - Start

After this disappointment, I simply stopped stitching for the rest of the year.  On New Year’s Eve I finally felt well enough to pick up a small kit and start some stitching, So I started Ink Circles – Reindeer Games: The Huddle.

Reindeer Games: The Huddle by Ink Circles

Reindeer Games - Progress

After this, I tried The Great Escape twice more and frogged it twice more.  These times, I had the Montenegrin stitch down, but I misunderstood the instructions on how many stitches to do on each row.

After all of this I decided to pull out the one WIP that is the simplest and yet gives me a lot of pleasure. So I spent one night on Angle of Love and got a start on the next section of it.

Cross Eyed Kat Angle of Love

Angle of Love - Progress

Other than this, I’ve spent a fair bit of time this January re-organising my blog and my physical stash.

I’m also have a lot of fun with the Project-of-the-Day. Most days I am just walking into my stash room opening a folder or box at random, thrusting my hand in and pulling out a chart.  So it’s a surprise to me as well as everyone else as what get’s posted each day.

I’ve learned a couple of things from posting the Projects each day.

  1. Just because I post an item that I have almost kitted up, I do *not* need to spend money to finish kitting it up right now. I have 365 of these to post, that could add up to a lot of money!
  2. Who knew that posting these would help me prioritize and declutter?  I’ve discovered that posting these has helped me really look at design and ask myself “Do I still love this? Will I really still stitch this someday?  Is that someday soon?”
  3. By the end of the year I should have a smaller, more organised group of charts and kits I know I still want to stitch and a clear shopping list of exactly what I need for just these designs. Who knew this would be an outcome?

I have decided though, from here on in, any chart I post, that I want to give away, I will give people a chance to comment for a period of time (say a week or a fortnight) and then choose randomly from those who ask for the chart within that time.  First in best dressed isn’t a fair system if I’m going to do this regularly.

I’ve still got to talk about the two Christmas presents I stitched up (and all the ones I didn’t) and send out thank you’s for all the Christmas presents that have started to arrive – but I think that might be another day.  I think this update is long enough already 🙂

I’ve been in a mood lately.  It’s too tempting to blame it all on the pain or the fac its pill changeover week or a hundred and one other reasons or excuses or I don’t know what. Whatever it is I’ve been in a funk for a few days and everything I say online has come across as bitchy or pissy or just down-right mean, so I’ve shut up for a few days until my mood improves.

I’m a hair’s whisker off finishing Midi Mystery 1, I only have about a dozen beads to add and then she’s finished.  I have two new projects floss tossed and ready to start and I can’t be bothered taking photos or talking about any of them. I can’t be bothered stitching, and when I do push myself into finishing Midi, I feel like just rolling her up and putting her away instead of crowing from the rooftops.  So this isn’t me.  So normal communication will resume when me returns.

In the meantime I do owe a few comments after the cliffhanger revelations before the last specialists visit, ie not being able to remember what side of the road to drive on, not being able to handwrite and forgetting most of my vocabulary.  Dr Andrews wasn’t surprised that I had these problems.  He said that the brain does not cope with chronic pain and parts start to shut down. I have a syndrome that he calls “dead brain” where parts of my brain literally stop working because I’ve been in so much head pain for so long.  Or as Kerry, myself and the writers of Quantum Leap call it, Swiss Cheese!

The good news is that once we get the pain under control, full functionality should return.  He said this is why pain management is always the first step in any brain related problem, to minimise “dead brain” amongst other issues.  I didn’t think to ask what the other issues were.

Anyway he’s now put me on another drug – Parnate.  This is not a new drug.  This is apparently the granddaddy of all migraine drugs and the last resort pillwise. It comes with some quite nasty possible side effects including stroke and thoughts of suicide. Brilliant!

I also cannot eat:

  • Cheese (pamphlet says matured cheese – but both specialist & pharmacist advised all cheese)
  • Meat, fish, poultry, pâté or yoghurt that are stale (glad I’m a food snob)
  • Marmite, Vegemite, bonox, bovril, promite etc
  • Pods of broad beads, sauerkraut etc
  • Smoked or sour fish (there goes the smoked salmon)
  • Sour cream
  • Soy sauce, Miso, Tofu, any soy bean products
  • Avocado
  • Yeast Extracts
  • Banana skins – OK who eats banana skins – seriously – who?
  • Red wine
  • Home brewed beers or liqueurs (again the specialist and pharmacist extended this to all beers and liqueurs)

This list gets added the current list of:

  • Alcohol (all alcohol)
  • Grapefruit
  • Gluten (which has nothing to do with the medications)

So yes – give the woman with no working memory and huge list of something else to remember.

Anyway I’ve been on the new pills about a week.  Apart from a bad dose of a diarrhea the only effect is a bad case of wakefulness.  Apparently they used to market this drug as a “smart drug” to help kids study.  Well I can attest to that.  I took my first pill on Thursday and by Saturday night I was still awake at 3am playing Warcraft.  Unfortunately this is a false drug.  Although I feel awake and alert into the wee hours of the morning, my brain is mush and has been for hours.  It just “thinks” its alert and absorbing new information.

For example in the Warcraft example I was in a real low-level dungeon, the sort where the bad guys attack me and impale themselves on my armor.  So I was doing a lot of standing around going “huh” while the bad guys killed themselves and Stephen did all the thinking required and worked out where we had to go and what we had to do for me to get the recipe we came in for.

Most nights this week I go to bed at midnight and cudgel my brain with “You’ve already stopped working, now shut up and die peacefully”  while my brain is hopping around like a puppy on PCP going “what are going to do now?  Are we going to read a book?  Check the email again? What’s on Google Reader, we haven’t checked that in a couple of days!”

We’ll get it sorted out, it’s just getting the new drug settled in with the rest.  It’s not making much of change to pain levels yet, but that will take another week or more apparently.

Seeing as I had the camera out, I decided to do a floss toss with the existing DMC I have to see how the Houppelande design will go on the fabric I’ve selected.

Chart Cover

As can be seen, Martina has purposely designed the clothing on a grey mannikin to show off the fabrics and clothing to best effect – the way it is done in a museum.  I’ve done a floss toss below to check that the greys in the manikin “work” with the mottled greys in the fabric.

Houppelande Chatelaine Costuming Series

Floss Toss

So what do you think?  I’ve purposely taken the photo without a flash to give the best representation of how the colours look in real life in the lounge room on any given normal day.

Martina has provided a variation on the chart with “human” hands and face as can be seen here:

Houppelande Chatelaine Costuming Series

Face & Hands

But to be honest, I don’t like the face.  It looks like the face is painted on the grey slab manikin rather than having the contours associated with a proper three-dimensional head.  Or maybe I’m just projecting.

Either way, if the greys work on the fabric, I will probably stitch the manikin.  Or do what I did with Catherine of Aragon those years ago and leave her headless for months and months because I enjoy stitching the dress and then get side-tracked 🙂

Anyway thoughts, ideas, advice – please be honest!

While I’ve been gleefully plotting and planning Kay’s birthday surprise with a few of her friends for the last month, some people have done some plotting and planning of their own!

Junior Mints Dinky Dyes Socks

From Sisu

From Sisu I received some of my very favourite American chocolates ever!  Yes you see empty packets in this photo!!  A pair of socks to remind me what my very favourite American chocolates are – Sisu is very thoughtful as she knows how shockingly poor my memory can get 🙂 Finally there is the most gorgeous bookmark chart and floss for me to make up as a memory to Trubs.  You picked well Sisu – the cat in the model even has one ginger hind leg like Trubs did …

Thank you so much Sisu – it is a wonderful parcel full of thoughtful perfect gifts!



Vickery Collection Carries Threads Inkcircles Scissors Fob

From Rosanne

From Rosanne I received her copy of Mike Vickery’s Celtic Cross Stitch book.  I discussed stitching some of my secret Christmas stitching projects from this book and Rosanne offered to send me her copy.  Not only did she ignore all offers of payment, she also sent me the cutest little scissor fob – a beaded one that Abby hopefully wont focus attention on.  And if that wasn’t enough she also included four skeins of Carries silks, for the Ink Circles chart, Red Square.

Thank you so much, the inclusions were a real surprise, and your letters brought tears to my eyes.  You wouldn’t accept payment for the book, but I’ll figure out something!


Chatelaine Debbie

From Debbie

Debbie sent me the kit (minus fabric) for Chatelaine Midi Mystery IV!  Such a generous surprise! I’ve barely finished Midi Mystery I, but as Debbie says I now have no excuses not to finish the set!

Thank you Debbie, your kindness is as usual, overwhelming!  And thank you for the mystery!  Over a week of wondering who this as from!  This is karma for the fun I was plotting for Kay – wasn’t it ….



Thank you so much my friends – you never cease to amaze me!

Yes it is now October and the new Chatelaine design range of historical costuming has commenced.  The first pattern is Houppelande.

Chart Cover

Given my love of historical costuming this series was always going to be a MUST for me.  It’s actually quite fortunate Dad is visiting this weekend – it’s the first time he’s seen his cynical, jaded, sarcastic, pessimistic daughter go SQUEEEEE since she was about 10.  OK so Dad and I don’t actually see each other that much and we try to act cool around each other.

So the upshot is, Dad has offered to buy me the kit for Christmas.  Well he had already agreed to fund the kit for Christmas, but now he’s extended the offer to the series.  As long as:

  1. I am unable to return to fulltime work
  2. The kits cost around $100-$120 each (depends on Martina not becoming too extravagant and the Aussie dollar remaining near parity)
  3. I finish stitching each one before he buys the next one

then Dad has offered to buy me each of the kits as they come out for birthdays and Christmas presents. I find these quite reasonable terms.

Now one hopes that I get these damn migraines under control sometime soon and I am back in fulltime work sometime in the next couple of months.  But at least this is something nice to consider as the time drags on and the couple of months stretches out further and further.

Now to stalk the ECC site until the Cindy and Angela upload the kits and cross my fingers that I’ve judged the cost of the kit accurately.

The dress itself is mainly DMC but the sleeves, dress hem, neckline, chemise, hairnet, belt and the brocaded overwork are all done in silks and beads.

The piece is 142 x 187 stitches.  I have a piece of 18 x 28″ Wichelt 32ct Queen Anne’s Lace here that I think might do the job quite nicely.  It’s a pale grey mottled background colour. If I skimp a little I might get both this and the next the design out of the same piece of fabric!

The kit requires:

3 skeins Needlepoint Inc silks
1 skein Caron Waterlillies
1 skein Dinky Dyes silk
1 skein Gloriana silk
2 skeins Gloriana Florimell
2 Skeins Gloriana Princess Perle Petite
3 cards Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid
1007 assorted Delica beads
a few swarovski crystals

Minus the fabric I estimated that to be around $100-$120 kit.  What does anyone else think?  Am I way off?


Updated 7 October 2011:
The kit is now out and its only $71.10 US!

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Part 5 Left Side Closeup

1 Sep 2011

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Part 5 Right Side Closeup

1 Sep 2011

Well my plan to fool my brain seem to work because I have a stitching update to show 🙂 I have completed Part 5 of Midi Mystery 1 and even fixed up a few errors I have found I made in previous parts.

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Parts 1-5

Progress 1 Sep 2011

Abby isn’t interested in being a stitching companion, but in true cat form when I was trying to add the beads at the end, she was all over me.  She was sitting on the chart, eating the chart, picking the spool of beading thread and carrying it off to bat around the floor, trying to pull out my needles and drop them on the ground…

Only one packet of beads was knocked over and I did that all by myself late last night when I was just too tired and should have stopped, but I was only three beads from the end …

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Part 5 Closeup of Beads

1 Sep 2011

And now it’s time to move to Laura’s Round Robin and see if I can continue to fool my brain ….  Don’t forget that the Christmas plotting and scheming starts tomorrow, non-stitchers welcome too!

I always knew that when Trubs passed on I would have a lot of problems continuing to stitch.  Having her in my lap, purring, was part of the whole meditative experience. The first week after her death I tried stitching without her and found the experience frustrating, depressing and very difficult.

So I sat and thought and turned the problem on its head.  Under what conditions, did I used to stitch without Trubs?

  1. When I didn’t want her there – when stitching items that were going to other people e.g. round robins or model stitch projects
  2. When she didn’t want to be there – when I used an oversized frame that made it uncomfortable for her to be there
  3. When I didn’t notice if she was there or not – when the project excited me that much

I know point three sounds very iffy, but we have been discussing inspiration and passion in one of the groups lately and I have been “in the zone” with a couple of projects so much that I honestly couldn’t remember if Trubs was on my lap or not.

So I looked for a project that fitted at least two of the three criteria. The project I came up with was Midi Mystery 1

  • I had already finished four of the six parts so every time I looked at it I was amazed at the stitches that were already there.
  • Also as I had beaded as I went, I now needed to purchased a set of 17″ q-snaps specifically to continue to stitch this project. 17×11″ q-snap frame is quite unwieldy compared to the 6×6″ hand frame I usually use.
  • The fifth section of this project as mainly cross stitch but with a little mental flexibility required for the hand-dyed fill-in stitches. The level of complexity was perfect for my current mental limitations.

And … it worked!  I’ve managed to stitch on Midi Mystery OK for the better part of a week. I’ve gotten my enthusiasm back and even managed some small meditation during parts of this.  Much happier with this project than the struggle I had the last week.  I’ve already finished all of the cross stitching on Part 5. All I have left to do is fix some mistakes in previous parts I found and then bead Part 5.  Then Part 6 – the final Part!

Chatelaine Midi Mystery 1 - Part 5

So I am going to use this technique for planning my stitching for the rest of the year.  I’m planning:

  • Finish Midi Mystery 1 – hey its working so far
  • Finish Round Robins – these would have had to be kept cat free anyway and both projects inspire me
  • Start Chatelaine Costumes 1 – that project inspires me more than any other has in years and it will definitely need the 17″ q-snaps
  • Stitch some Christmas Presents – stitching some secret presents to give away excites me (yes I’m just a kid at heart) and these would need to have been kept clean.

So hopefully this will keep me calm and happy throughout the rest of 2011, and we will see what happens in 2012.  I know there are some projects I wont be able to get back to for quite some time – but hey I have some WIPs that haven’t seen the light of day for nearly five years for no reason anyway, so there’s no need to stress.

So thoughts? ideas? Am I over thinking again? Making mountains out of sand grains?

Yep, even with 2010 being what it was, I’m still making some goals for 2011.  Admittedly these aren’t life-consuming stressful goals.

  • Keep up with my stitching commitments and not commit to anything else until I complete the commitments I have. This is where I am letting others down as well as myself. Kay’s RR is being worked on now, and Rosanne’s (which is due to be posted in Feb) is already here.  Also I have shamefully long overdue stitching to be done for Laura and Hilary.
  • Stitch and finish Mariann’s birthday present. A couple of years ago Mariann specially made up for me instructions and a kit to start Hardanger or drawn thread work. There is now a person coming to the Colours Down Under friday night sessions who does a lot of this stuff and has agreed to help all of us through starting with hardanger and drawn thread.  My project for this get-together will be Mariann’s Birthday present.
  • Decide to either fully join in BAPXS and other stitching groups again, or to leave. This half-assed crap that I’m doing with yahoogroups is not conducive to anything productive. On a related note – is anyone interested in taking over the Wednesday Wobble as I’ve really let that aspect down too.
  • Finish presents I have started for other people. i’m thinking here mainly of Wild Thing for Alison and Ash for Kim, but I’m sure there are a few others buried deep in the WIP pile.
  • Finish at least one Chatelaine project.  This will most likely beMidi Mystery 1 or Mystery IX but I have a few others kitted up so you never know.
  • Start and finish at least two new projects, one from Inkcircles and one from Cross Eyed Kat.  I have the projects in mind, I just have to rummage through my stash to *find* the charts, threads and fabric.

At the last Friday get-together at Colours Down Under, Cathy gave these out to all of the regular stitchers.

I’ve been bad at documenting my presents this year and saying thank you to those who sent them. So here are my lovely Christmas gifts and the people who sent them.


I’ll try to take some better pics later, but here is a first photo of Vienna Ball completely finished. Its slightly out of focus but you can ceertainly see the beads.  Feel free to make the pic larger to look closer, but I do warn it is slightly out of focus …

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