It’s Official!

Gwen was officially adopted yesterday! It’s taken some work, some scratches, and lots of hissing on her part, but she is finally settling in here.

Gwen condo

We call this our Cat Condo. There are three cubbyholes and an open space on top. This is the first place downstairs that she adopted. It’s not very big, but she feels safe and secure here. She is now spending every afternoon in the open space on top.

She has been hissing at Daisy every time she sees her – and growling. Daisy would get intimidated and walk away. But Daisy has not decided that two can play that game. If Gwen gets too close, Daisy is the one to hiss and growl – then Gwen is the one who walks away. They can now be in the same room without much fuss. If one of them starts to growl, we just take a few steps toward them, and they go their separate ways.

Gwen Laser

Trying to keep her mind off of Daisy, DH played laser with her. She was all over the place and had a ball. Once in a while, while she was running around, she would glance at Daisy, hiss, and then run after the laser again. She had us laughing too. Daisy is 16 years old and is wise to the laser trick. She’s keeping an eye on Gwen but won’t participate in the activity. Gwen looks a lot bigger than Daisy, but only weighs about a pound more than Daisy – she’s all fur.

She knows the feeding schedule too. First thing in the morning and after Jeopardy at night. One morning last week, I overslept and didn’t get up until 45 minutes later than usual. I heard her crying at the bedroom door. So cute!!

Why I Practice Stitch Designs

Since I’m on a Mac, I don’t have StitchWiz anymore. (I know you can run a virtual Windows machine, but it’s such a hassle). So I use a cross stitch software program – MacStitch. For my rugs that are Basketweave, this works well. But when you want to do more advanced stitches, it can cause problems.

I started working on a new design – creatively called the Blue/Green pillow. It’s based on a Moroccan tile that is used for walls.


I didn’t like the border, so I’ll do something different. But the center is a nice, simple repeat. I decided to make the squares 8 stitches square, and the “wings” 8 threads long. Simple, right? No. This is why I do practice stitching on all my designs.

Blue/green practice

The two light blue squares on the top are 8 stitches across and down. Across the top and bottom, there are 8 holes, but on the left and right there are 9 holes because you come up in the first hole and then do your stitches across 8 threads. The wings won’t match up and you don’t get the nice diamond in the middle. The square on the bottom is 8 threads across the top and bottom and 7 threads on the left and right – the only way to get the wings to share holes at the corners and create and diamond properly. I have the whole chart done for this and should have done the practice stitching first! But I now have the proper number of stitches for the design in the middle of the pillow.

The next problem is deciding which stitch to use for the outer border. Above is the Herringbone stitch, which I don’t like now that I’ve done a sample. I’ll play with some other stitches and see what I can come up with.

Reasons why I practice stitch –

  • To make sure the design works the way I have it charted or envisioned it
  • To try out stitches to find out what works/looks best
  • To make sure the colors I’ve selected will work together
  • To get an idea of how much thread it takes to stitch the design
  • To play and have fun with a new design – that’s really what it’s all about

Anatolia Rug – Progress 3

With the mandala completed, it’s time to spend time on my new rug. I’ve been working on the right side and turned the rug to make it easier.

I’ve completed the outline of the keyhole piece at the top of the rug and filled in some more of the variegated background. I can’t do any more right now because I need to complete more of the keyhole outline first. The outer border is now half done on this side. The middle of the rug is the middle of the bright red motif on the right.

Ana Right 1

I’ll turn it to the left now and work on the two borders – and the background as well. I also hope to start working on the keyhole medallion itself before I show it to you again. I’m working on this 4 mornings a week right now so progress is good each week. This will be back in 3 weeks or so.

Update: I forgot to include the photo of the whole rug so far:

Anatolia 3

Persian Iris Mandala – Finale!!!

The new crystals arrived late yesterday (the mail wasn’t delivered until almost 7 pm) and I just sewed them on. Finally this huge project is finished. And I still love it!!

I started it in 2011. Because of my hip problem I couldn’t handle stairs very well and put it away in 2012. I picked it back up in the spring of 2014 and have worked on it a little every month since then.

19″ square – it needs to be taken off the stretcher bars and straightened out a little before I can get it framed. This was the first cross stitch project I started – if you can believe that! There are mistakes and I still can’t do the gold top stitching as well as it should be, but I stuck with it and have completed this beautiful piece!

The center – with the replacement crystals in the dark blue square around the center and light green crystals in the green circles around the purple irises.

PIG finale 2

The corner – Delica beads in the scroll/flowers around the top edge and turquoise crystals beneath each scroll and one crystal at the bottom of the corner “knot.”

PIG finale 1

And finally, the whole piece!

PIG Finale

I’m not insane enough to start another mandala just yet though. I have Serengeti all kitted up and ready to go, but I’ll wait a while on that one. I also want to buy Moroccan Lace when it is released. So I don’t know which one will be started next year. We’ll see….

ASOW Tall Ship – Progress 2

I haven’t been spending a lot of time on this – maybe 1-2 hours a week. But I wanted you to see how the sky is developing and how I started the rigging.


I’m using 4 overdyes and two solid colors (light blue and white) to stitch the sky. It does take some planning to decide when to change colors and try to have it look fairly realistic. I’m only about a third of the way through the sky.

But it was time to do the start of the rigging. This is going to get really complicated! For each rope, I have to decide which mast it will be attached to, and whether the rope will go to the crossbar, in front of a crossbar or behind each crossbar. I’m going to print out the photo I took of the rigging before I started to stitch and see if I can figure it out. Right now I have 4 ropes on the canvas (each is #8 brown perle). The first two go from near the top of the main mast to the side of the first crossbar. The other two start in the same place, but go behind the first crossbar to other masts. Right now I’ve run the perle under stitches for the crossbar and then followed the line to where it will go next and left the end of the threads hanging on the front of the canvas. This way I can pull the ropes out of the way as I stitch the sky and then pull them taut to keep the thread straight.

While I figure out the rigging, I’ll put the canvas away for a while. Once I have the paper copy marked where the lines need to attach, I’ll get it back out and get back to work.

Quick Update

No photos today.

Persian Iris Mandala – it’s done – sort of. I ran into two glitches. I ran out of one thread, ordered more of it and it will be here today. I can finish the cross stitching in the morning. I was happily attaching beads yesterday morning and this morning and didn’t have enough of one of the crystals. I actually had enough but the last one I picked up didn’t have a hole through the middle. I contacted ECC and Cindy wrote right back. That crystal is no longer available, but she has some biscones that are a close match and wanted to know if I could take the others out easily and replace them. Of course, I said Yes! So waiting for new biscones. I’ll post photos next week after the new biscones are in place.

Gwen – She is thoroughly enjoying being in our home and being around DH and I. But she just isn’t getting along with Daisy. Every time she sees Daisy she hisses and has a low growl. Daisy has been so patient and is confused by this cat that won’t be her friend. She moves to a place where she is visible to Gwen and sits quietly. After a minute or two, she moves a little closer. I assume she is giving Gwen the slow blink to show she is a friend. Then she moves away and gets into my lap – her usual hangout. The last two nights, Gwen has gotten on the big scratching post and will settle down and stay with all of us for about a half hour before running back upstairs where she spends most of her time. I’ll post a photo of the two of them together – when that finally happens.

On second thought…

We lost Julius a month ago. We had decided when we got Julius that he would be our last kitty.  We don’t want to be taking care of cats when we’re 85-90 years old. So we were really upset when he died.

Yesterday, I took Daisy (our 16 year old female cat) to the vet for a checkup and to check on her thyroid levels. While I was waiting, I saw they had two little kittens for adoption. They were adorable and I loved watching them, but no way I would take one home. BUT…. they had an older cat that needed a home. She’s about 7 years old, a flame point Himalayan, and very quiet. No one wants to adopt her because she is FIV+ (feline AIDS). When I got home, I told DH about her and he did some quick research about FIV and whether it could be transmitted to Daisy if we brought the new cat home (unless Gwen bites her, and the chances of that happening are really low) . Then he called the vet and talked with her for a while. DH said she needed a good home and no one else wanted her. So we went to the vet and brought her home.

Here’s Gwen (she already had this name and answers to it).


She and Daisy are staying away from each other so far, but it’s only been 24 hours. She is a quiet girl, but loves to answer any time you talk to her. She comes running whenever we open a door in the house and doesn’t mind being petted or picked up. She’s a real sweetheart. She should live a long time and isn’t on any type of medication. We’re trying to have DH spend more time with her than I do so she will bond to him. That should help Daisy feel less threatened. Daisy actually slept in my chair in the living room last night so Gwen wouldn’t try to claim it. We’ll see how things go, but I don’t expect any problems at all.

One good thing already – Daisy has been yowling every night when we go to bed and she’s alone. No yowling last night.