Marilyn Nepper's "Stitch & Travel" Kit.

Marilyn Nepper from Canada has been a long time reader of my blog and we have become friends over the years.  She sent pictures this morning of her "Stitch And Travel" kit.  It's obvious that she put a lot of thought into this project so she would have just what she needs when away from home.  One thing she has in her bag is a packet of templates.  I've never carried an extra set but often wished I had them so I think I will add that to my travel kit.. 

Originally I used a different fabric and was putting in a zipper all around but instead I decided used a lovely sari   put the flanges with the snaps.


Addendum from Marilyn:  Its 12"x12"x3".  And it would be nice with a cq cover too but at the time I made it, that wasn't in the time frame."


The first page is for hoops although I don't use them often.  But it’s a good place to store them.  There is a pocket  on the left side. (back of cover)

Then there is the page with the scissors, needlebook, thimble case pin keep, emery bag, thread roll and pencil/utility case.

Last page is a template envelope and a beading case made from a vintage cigarette case with felt glued inside. (I use a metal CD case lined with felt for bead soups)

Pockets on inner front and back covers for the blocks, a book or two and my chatelaine.

The inner page is attached with velcro so can be taken out if need be. Now I think that is a great idea and will keep that in mind...

 Lisa B. said she would send pictures of hers...  Anyone else?


Tips for Stitching Away from Home.

Over the course of my stitching life  it seemed I have stitched almost as much away from home as at home.... in waiting rooms, meeting rooms, at ball games, on decks, banks of rivers, hospital rooms, airports, on planes, etc. etc. Being able to do this has helped to pass countless long boring hours...  A blog reader wrote and asks if I had tips for doing this.... I sure do.... start with being prepared.

This bag ALWAYS hangs on this chair ready to go packed with the most necessary tools  In 5 minutes I can add some additional threads, beads, or trims and be out the door.

Take a long hard look at your most indispensable tools and keep an extra set in your bag.  For me it is these four tools:  Do note: both hemostats and scissors are on retractable badge holders so if for some reason I do not have my chatelaine, I can clip them on my shirt and not be searching all over for them.

 (1) a tiny pair of hemostats 

(2) A  favorite scissors.

(3) An awl. Mostly for making holes for button shanks but also a very useful tool  for teasing ribbon work as well. 

(4) This threader intended for needlepoint... larger yarns and needles.  But I find it fabulous for threading Kreinik threads which separate like crazy and works for perle, etc. as well..  It is a MUST for me and I  have a special pocket for it on my chatelaines.

You will notice I do not have a thimble because I do not use one.  Your list of tools will be slightly different... but it is so nice to have the right tool when you need it.  But for me it is the rarest of occasions that I do not have a chatelaine I designed for my own needs. It is great not only for travel but for workshops and retreats where you are working amongst others.  The biggest plus is you can't mislay a tool if it is attached to your body..

This is an older chatelaine and you notice I had to put my name tag on separately but my newest chatelaine has my own name  on it.

This is an older one and does not have the tiny forceps which I now want with me. But I have gone through several   chatelaines until my latest one meets all my needs.  Every item has its own pocket and nothing is dangling about to catch on things.

I did make a pattern when I taught a class for it but need to update it and do printed directions and plan to offer it as an online class by late summer.

So I always have a chatelaine in my bag.  This one only looks like it is crazy quilted.  It is actually whole cloth embellished.. trompe l'oeil


Next I have a piece of a velour blanket approx. 12x15"  It is handy to keep a supply of various needles and pins on it so I don't need a needle book and if I have something special like the beads in the little bag, I attach it so it won't get lost.  It's fuzzy surface is great to keep beads from rolling about.

And an added bonus is if I am using it  with beads, I do not need to put the beads away when I have to leave.  I fold the cloth in thirds one way and in thirds the other way and pin it.  When I need it next I just unfold and all is ready to go.

Next at the last minute  I pop in a ziplock bag with my needlework, the valuor pad and just a few threads, ribbons, etc. and am out the door...

Now for the nice but not necessary... First is a work surface.   In the car I use a padded lap tray which are readily available in craft and thrift stores... But they are bulky and not always useable.

So I keep a folding TV tray in the trunk of my car.  I buy the cheapest, most lightweight one I can find at a thrift store.  The old vintage ones are the best because they are the lightest and have the lip around the edge. 

But they are harder to find and now I have one like this.  It does have a bit of a lip and is so light I can carry it and my bag in one hand... 

They are the most useful for places you are going to be for a while like a hospital room with someone sick and you need to be there... Also they are nice in hotel or motel rooms as you can easily set them where there is the best light.  They are also nice to set out on a balcony or deck. It takes up next to no room in the trunk of the car and that is where I always keep it.

And then there is the issue of light.  I cannot recommend a light more enthusiastically than this one.  It was actually designed  for a music stand. Each head had TWO LED bulbs so it is very adjustable and can be easily focused where you need the light.  If you don't have a table to clip it to, a book works just as well.

 It operates on both batteries or AC/DC.  Of course you get a brighter light on AC/DC which is usually how I use mine.. Much of the hospital time I have spent sitting in a semidark room.  This clips right onto my folding tray.  It is less than $20 and available at Amazon.

Recently we went to the hot springs... I like to wake about 5:30 and DH likes to sleep until seven.  Not much to do in a dark cabin,  I used this light clipped to my folding tray table and stitched until he woke up. 

If you have something that works for you when you stitch away from home, let me know and I will add it.


A dress for the hereafter!

My mother became a widow in 1988....27 years ago.  As I mentioned in a previous post she promptly got a face lift and then wanted to ride with us to Seattle to buy a new dress.  She had her eye on a particular tall, handsome widower.  We shopped at a store specializing in fancy wear for proms, weddings, etc.  I kept bringing her dresses which I thought were classic and elegant.  She quickly dismissed all my choices.

She picked a dress that was bubblegum pink, covered in lace, bedecked with bows, and an abundance of net petticoats. (Quite similar to the one pictured)  When she tried it on,  I was about to open my mouth to make a comment that it would be perfect for a 14 year old going to a junior high dance...  But I quickly shut my mouth as she twirled around, swishing all the petticoats and said it would be just perfect as everyone would notice her as she danced...  She bought the dress and soon she and the widower were an item and off on a cruise.

I recently asked my sister if she had picked anything for mother to be buried in.  She said some time ago mother herself had given her a garment bag with the dress she wanted to be buried in.  My sister couldn't ever remember seeing it and didn't think it appropriate.  She wanted my opinion but when she unzipped the bag  and pink petticoats billowed out I had to laugh.  I told her the story behind the dress and she agreed it would be perfect.  Now forever when I think of my mother I will have a vision of her twirling through her afterlife swishing her petticoats.


End in sight for Wool Sheep Book

I did some final touches on the wool RRs.  I had asked for SPRING!  with blocks festooned with flowers  so I did a little more "festooning" on some...  I hope to have this finished within the week.  The front cover is done and I'm working on the back.  I will do a tutorial on how I integrate the text.
I had a great rest at the hot springs and walked several times a day with the dogs... but even still I managed to get a killer cold after I got home..  They had a great "getaway package" two dinners, two breakfasts and a night's lodging plus the hot springs... $199.  Here is DH enjoying his lobster...  I had prime rib.  The food was incredible... Both appetizer and dessert were included...  The appetizer was a seafood platter with two kinds of shrimp, calamari, and crab cakes.  The weather was mild and the 3 hour drive through the mountains was lovely...  We went there for DH's 80th birthday last June and might make it an annual getaway...


WIP and life goes on

My mother is buried and we're taking a few days to go to the hot springs in Montana where I plan to soak, rest and walk, walk, and walk...   I'm taking along my wool sheep blocks which I plan to make into a book.  This will be the cover..

This is Molly and her brand new lamb.  Whenever I would coo and sweet talk the ewes they would rub my chin with their nose.  They were such loving animals.  When I was milking them I would sing "Ewes Are My Sunshine" to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine"


A woman who knew her own mind...

Elizabeth Margaret Knott -  October 1919- March 2015
A woman who knew her own mind…and she was invariably right.  She instinctively made important life decisions such as building, buying and selling at the most opportune moments. She started life with everything stacked against her succeeding and had to quit school during the depression.   But she was unstoppable.  She designed and built seven houses plus designed and built an eighteen-hole golf course as well.  She was strong willed, opinionated and she not only knew what was best for her, she knew what was best for everyone else as well.

Widowed in her sixties it was suggested that she would now have to spend more time with other women. Absolutely not! She promptly had a facelift and made a list of criteria for the next man… tall, played bridge, played golf, liked to fish, liked to travel, a good dancer and, most important, liked to cook as she never did.  And being a natural beauty she soon found one - the first of many companions to be replaced as they died off… Gradually as the pool of available men became fewer, her list grew shorter…. down to “liked to cook” and then “drive at night” was added.

I loved her and admired her but our mother-daughter relationship was difficult and complex. She had no intention leaving this world peacefully and didn’t… Someone may be taking her to an unfamiliar place but that won’t stop her from telling them how to get there. There will be NO service.  She herself arranged it years ago so she goes straight from the mortuary to the grave and no obit as she didn't want anyone knowing her business. 


Year of the Sheep...

And it's a lucky omen as my wool sheep blocks finally arrived home.  I had just assumed after all this time I would never see them again..  And as it is every spring when it is lambing time, I wanted them terribly.

And the timing couldn't be better as I am desperate for something to stitch on while sitting with mother.

This is how they looked when they left home.  Sometimes making your wishes known in the booklet is one of the hardest parts...  Sometimes it doesn't matter and I say so...but often I should be more explicit... In this case I did say I wanted flowers - lots of them - but I neglected to say lambs are the very essence of SPRING!! So I think because of the wool  I did get a lot of fall colors.  Since I have the time and these are special blocks to me, I am adding more flowers and more spring color. A lot more finishing touches as well.

I will be making a front and back cover.  I dashed out to the barn find the wool scraps and of course, being in a rush, I couldn't.  I thought I could cut new patches at mother's facility.... Even still there is enough to do for a several days.

Dh felt this group would not be complete with out including Pitiful Pearl....his favorite...and so she shall be added.

I am so happy these blocks finally came home.  I adored my sheep.  We have had many animals over the years... a horse I fell off of, pigs I chased all over the prairie when they escaped,  goats who climbed on my car and ate everything, geese who bit my legs and a rooster who attacked me... BUT the sheep were the most loving and gentle and only left the fondest of memories.


Fawn Update

Remember our baby orphan fawn?  This photo was taken shortly after its mother was shot by our neighbor. 

We wanted to keep it on our property out of harm's way to help it through its first winter so we put out a little alfalfa occasionally for it..

This photo was taken 2 days ago and you can see how it has grown.... Healthy and not a rib in site...good sign.

After a little alfalfa it comes to snack on sunflower seeds under the feeder next to the house.  Morris watches and doesn't make a peep.  Morris is trying to keep one eye on the fawn and one eye on me...
Now that spring is near we will stop the supplemental feeding gradually and let nature take its course.


March CQJP 2015 done

Again two ribbon seams...both using 2 ribbons folded together.  Also I am really happy with the paisley on this one.. One of my hand painted buttons is the finishing touch...

April is 98% done so you can see four of them together.  I love it that they all completely different and work so well together.  I have something for lower left on April but can't remember where I put it....sound familiar?
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