Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Out of Whack

Lately when I see my friends, especially my stitching friends, they often mention that they notice I'm not blogging much anymore.  I rarely have an answer for that, but I think about it long after the conversation has ended.

The simple answer is that I'm spending less time at my home computer and more time in offices.  The  more complicated answer is that for various reasons (I'll spare you the whiney-woe-is-me list) over the past year I often felt out of whack.  Out of whack and overwhelmed and it's hard to write when you are feeling that way.

Nevertheless, I'm taking advice from my good, wise friend Kansas Judy and in 2014 I plan to take small steps to feel less overwhelmed and more in-whack.

One of those steps is to update my blog from time to time  Today is giving me the perfect opportunity.  It's snowy outside, warm inside and I don't need to go to any offices other than my own.

So.  Welcome to my blog...again!

And since this blog has Stitcher in the title, I'll show you at least one project I've been working on since the last time I posted any stitching photos.

One of these Christmases, I'll finish this sampler.  I pull it out every December so it's been in my WIP pile for a few years.  This year I've actually kept at it through January, so maybe by Christmas 2014 it'll be ready to frame.  Sometimes the house is the big hurdle for me when I'm stitching samplers.  Once that's done, it's relatively smooth sailing.

And here's something else...One of the big kerfuffles in my house in November was that we installed carpet through our whole upstairs and that included my office/sewing room.  Every single thing had to be moved out of the office and that meant moving every bit of my quilting and stitching stash  - - - which was NOT fun.  You can only imagine the kinda-started and half-done projects I uncovered.  And the many plans and ideas that had been moved way to the back of the closets!

I also decided that I am not a Quilter anymore, (but that's a story for another day) and decided to donate most of my quilt fabric stash to the Salvation Army.  They hold a huge fabric sale every year and just after my big clean-out I met one of the women who coordinates the donations and it was kismet.  Like it was meant to be.

Anyways, the fabric sorting dredged up a bag.  Actually, a bag of bags.  I admit to being kind of a bag and box hoarder.  And way before we had Vera Bradley and Thirty-One, we stitchers knew the value of a good bag., so if you had one, you didn't foolishly throw it away!  Remember when needlework shops gave us canvas tote bags?  Usually if you bought a lot, you got the bag for free.  Or you could buy one for a couple dollars.  I ate those promos up...

Over the years I know I've thrown several away, but waaaaaaay back in the closet I found a few and I thought I'd share them with you.  Cat hair and all.  And I think all of these shops are gone now, but isn't it kind of interesting that their bags live on?

A trip to the Jersey shore always meant an afternoon shopping in Cape May, so I enjoyed many visits to The Victorian Sampler.  They used to chart the more popular Victorian houses in town and I owned (and even stitched!) a handful of those charted houses.  They'd release a new chart every year and that kept me coming back for more.

It used to be easy finding needlework shops in Philadelphia, and this one was one of my favorites.  My mom (who was stitching at the time) and I spent some nice "girl time" in this shop.

And finally, the Thread Connection, which was my favorite shop in Pittsburgh.  It was super conveniently located on the South Side, with a parking lot close by and they had everything I could have ever wanted in the late 80's and early 90's.  Ahhh.  The good old days... when there was an LNS on every corner.  Like Starbucks.  Well...not exactly, but you know what I mean.

How about some of you?  Does anyone else have bags from old shops? Even current shops?  Come on...I know you have some hiding in that closet of yours!

Till next time,


  1. You're back, how lovely! Missed you. I remember the
    Thread Connection but didn't get a bag and that one out on Route 8 in a wooden building, forget the name.

    With moving so much my stash gets um revamped? fairly frequently!

    I decided I'm not a quilter either or at least one that has to have points meet. Not quite ready to give it all away yet!

  2. I hope you're feeling in whack again soon. I also hope that you ended up finishing that quilt of my mothers. If not, can we talk?

    I don't let giveaway totes pile up. But I do have a bag that's supposed to get me 10% off, and I never bring it. D'oh.

  3. It's nice to see your post, Lee. I can understand the being out of whack. Totally.

    I donated a lot of my quilt fabrics too a couple of years ago. Now I just have to let go of this wool sweater I have yet to finish...and probably never will!

    I love the piece you are stitching - very pretty.

  4. We've all been out of whack from time to time, I'm glad you are back to blogging :)

    Love the Christmas Sampler you are working on .. very very pretty.

  5. It is always good to see/read a new post from you, Lee!

    I don't think any of the shops that I shopped for stash had bags although some did have personalized paper bags.

    Robin in Virginia

  6. What is the Christmas sampler you are working on called? I love it!

  7. Oh, I can so relate to feeling out of whack! It seems to be my normal state these days.

    Love your bag pictures. I have a few myself, including a small one from the Noble Craftsman. They gave them out a few months before they closed, I think. I'll put some pictures on the blog later in the week.

  8. PS, when did the Thread Connection close? I had heard about them, but I think they were already out of business when I moved to western PA in 1997.

  9. Welcome back!

    The shop I used to go to back in high school/university had really nice paper bags with sturdy handles. I still have a couple of them that I use to store older projects.

  10. I've been out of whack too! It happens I guess. I hope your whack is back in again soon.
    I have never gotten ant canvas bags from LNSs. Only plastic.

  11. OMG ~ About a year ago, I washed all of my old canvas bags that I had received at various conferences and realized that they are quite nice.

    Your Christmas piece is gorgeous! Welcome back!

  12. I can so relate!

    I'm came on the stitching scene long after the canvas bag promo. Loved seeing your stitching memorabilia! I really think you'll finish your Christmas project this year!

  13. Oh to be out of whack. We all go through it. And then we get more more wonky the more we thnk about how out of whack we are. Things will fall back inline. Slow and steady wins the wacky race.

  14. What a great post Lee!! So glad that you are back and stitching. Your Christmas piece is looking great. I need to stitch this one...of course it is somewhere in the stash.
    I love the tote bags. I will have to look and see what ones I have kept. There were so many wonderful stores that are gone now.

  15. It is good that you will be back stitching and blogging. We are women, we go out of whack. It happens to us all. January is the month for going thru stash we have accumulated, and then re-evaluating. I have done it twice so far this month! I have Jenny Bean started too! I hope to finish her and my other Christmas starts soon, like this year! That would be nice! I have not been stitching that long that I have many canvas bags but my local LNS gives them out at their retreats every other year. I've got one. Hugs!

  16. It's nice to see a post from you again. I've missed them. You always write about something that makes me think, or smile. Yes, I have one of those bags...from the days of many shops... Mine is from the defunct shop in Peoria Heights, IL that I went to back in 1991 for stitch nights.

  17. Love the Christmas Sampler, the colours are just so gorgeous.

  18. I've been out of whack myself ~ and working on getting straightened out! Lol!
    Aahhhh...I have a canvas tote or two floating around from the good old days! They were quality canvas totes too ~ durable.