SBQ – Stitching Blogger’s Question

This was a fun “meme” type of thing a bunch of stitchers did for a long time. There may be those still doing this in some variant, but the woman I’d been following for the weekly questions I believe hasn’t done them for a couple of years now.

Nov 3, 2006
SBQ:“How did you decide on the title of your stitching blog? Was it random, or does it have a special meaning to you or about you?”

I gave the title of my blog some thought, actually. I wanted it to evoke a sense of needlework, yet incorporate a sense of antiquity. Not so sure I succeeded at the latter, but it was a name I used in the SCA “back in the day”. For me it calls to mind a time when people created things of beauty by hand, because that was the only way to have them.

While we can easily purchase a machine-made item now, I still prefer the handmade. They have a soul that the machine-made do not.

(2011 update: I love marigold’s and summertime and hand-crafted things. Solarium to me is a word which evokes a bit of a retreat from the manic frenzy of our modern world, a place full of light and warmth -especially in winter-, and where one expresses much creativity. Picking a blog title is difficult given how popular blogging is.)

Nov 17, 2006
Today’s SBQ is:

Do you stitch Christmas ornaments? If so, how many do you stitch each
year and for whom? If not, why not?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I have not stitched ornaments, but not because I don’t want to. I just seem to gather huge projects and then I don’t make time for some small ones. I do have a Christmas tree in progress, but I don’t know if it would finish nicely as an ornament or not. Embarrassingly, I’m not quite certain I know where the fabric is at … it may be in a bag or a drawer. I do know where the book is that has the chart though, so I guess all is not lost.

I do plan on stitching the Dragon Dreams mythical ornaments at some point, as well as assorted others I’ve come across online. There are some intricate, delicate, Victorian style ornaments that caught my eye.

I don’t know if I’d give them away as gifts or not. I tend to hoard, but if something seemed to just *fit* perfectly with someone, I’d probably give it to them.

Feb 8, 2007
I haven’t done these in a while, mostly because I forget that I wanted to answer them by the time I get done checking email and reading news & other blogs. Anyhow, I recall there was one asking about owning your own shop and if you’d ever done so or wanted to? And also the most recent one, if I’d ever been to a stitching retreat.

I haven’t really dreamed about owning a needlework shop, but I have dreamed of owning an earthy herbal spiritual mystical shop and could easily see having eco-friendly arts & crafts as part of that. It’s a very vague dream, because it would entail a lot of things. Insurmountable hurdle though would be that I don’t actually want to be tied down to such a business. That’s assuming I could visualize the concept fully in such a way as to do practical business plans. Not likely to happen.

The stitching retreat, on the other hand, I would love to do. I haven’t gone to any yet, but *someday* I will. To get together with a bunch of other needleworkers, do some stitching, learn some new things, just seems like a fun and rewarding thing to do.

Feb 22, 2007
So today’s was actually about thread count on fabric, but I didn’t have anything interesting to say about that. So, from the previous one:

Today’s SBQ is:

Do you like to buy “chartpacks” that include charms, buttons, and/or
beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I think it depends on the design and the contents that come in the pack. Some patterns seem to be designed around the charms and such, and they could be difficult to gather separately. In general, I would prefer to find the buttons, beads and charms myself, because it is an excuse to go shopping in the craft and hobby stores. There are always so many exciting things, and hunting for just the right one for the piece is quite an adventure. Additionally, despite what some people would have us believe, there usually *are* less expensive options than such things as Swarovski crystals. So if I need to kit a project on a smaller budget, usually I can. Plus, it lends a little uniqueness to my piece (as does variegated floss. I have discovered I love variegated floss, although it did take a while for me to reach this conclusion).

The fun thing about the packs that include the embellishments is getting to work with fibers and things that I may not have had an opportunity to do before.

Mar 8, 2007
Today’s SBQ is:

Do you use your needle, a seam ripper, or something else when you have
to frog stitches? Why do you use the method that you do?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I have, fortunately, not needed to frog a major portion of a piece of needlework. There was the unfortunate green floss episode with Springtime Roses… Usually I just need to undo/redo a few stitches though. I use my needle, because I would rather pull the floss out than have to remove all the teensy fiber bits that one gets when seam ripping. It’s bad enough to pick the short bits of thread off garments and such when ripping seams in regular sewing, but the floss tends to have very thin fibers that want to remain in the cloth. If it’s bad enough that I want the stitch removed, I certainly don’t want any hint of lint or fiber left behind.

Also, if I’ve made a minor mistake, and discover it after much time has passed, I’m likely to just leave it, or stitch over it or in some way work around it. I would be worried that fixing it would ruin other stitching surrounding the error, and I can just see the whole thing snowballing into a nightmare of starting an entire project over from the beginning. yikes.

Mar 16, 2007
This week’s SBQ was once again suggested by Danielle and is:

If you had $500 to spend on stitching-related items, what would you buy?

I would buy fabric. Especially linen and linen band, but also some of the lovely hand-dyed silks. I have a lot of patterns and floss, but not a lot of fabric. So I’d stock up. Oh, and several packages of the gold-plated needles.

Apr 5, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by Heather
( and is:

How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or
regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular?
Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a
good example of what you like to read?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I am guilty of being inconsistent and random with what blogs I find interesting enough to read again, and with what blogs I put on my links lists. There are a lot of blogs I read often, which aren’t on my list, because I’m actually quite lazy about updating blogrolls.

That said, generally I look for craft blogs (not just needlework) that focus solely or predominantly on crafting. There are some I read which interlace personal life stuff, and that’s ok. If the person intrigues or interests me in some way, and they mostly post personal life stuff, that blog will end up in my “people” or “parent” bookmarks folder, rather than my “crafts” folder. Most of the craft blogs I read regularly are 99% crafts and very little “personal”.

I look for blogs where people post updates of their work that are more than a few insignificant stitches. I look for blogs where the person is interested in creativity, where they are willing to stretch their skill boundary, where they for whatever unquantifiable reason strike a chord in me as a reader. I enjoy watching beautiful art come into being, even if it isn’t the sort I myself would stitch (like the primitive samplers. Not interested in stitching most of them, but I love seeing the work others do on them.) I also like seeing needlework used in curious and inventive ways.

I don’t try to blog what I like to read. I blog what I want to share, and if that is interesting to someone else it’s a happy bonus. 🙂 I do make a mindful effort at keeping this blog focused on the needlework/crafts, and my other stuff elsewhere.

May 19, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested Juls
( and is:

If you could only stitch one more piece what would it be and why?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


Hooo-boy. Only one piece? I am not sure what I’d stitch. There are quite a few I want to stitch, or have started and need to finish. I guess if I had to pick one, then I’d pick the Sistine Chapel. Why? because it would guarantee that I would be stitching for at least the next decade. heh.

July 6, 2007
Today’s SBQ is:Do you consider yourself a “floss miser?”

The permalink to this post is:
http://blog. blondelibrarian. net/archives/ 2007/07/one- thousand/

Happy Stitching!


I am not a floss miser. If it’s an expensive silk or other specialty hand-dyed floss, I’ll stitch as much as I can with a piece, but I don’t stress about getting the last two or three stitches with it. I save “leftovers” regardless of brand if I only had to stitch a couple Xs out of a strand. I save smaller pieces of the specialty flosses though, because some of them are over $5 (500 cents) a skein, compared with the 25 cents a skein for DMC. The small plastic floss bags are really handy for that sort of thing.

I was going to save the snips, but what the heck would I do with them? While the little clear ornaments and jars are cute, they’re really not “my thing”. And if I wanted such things filled with snips of floss, I would want them to have a “theme”, perhaps shades of blues. And my snips are less thematic. I would never stuff little pillows and things with snips either, so… I throw away the snips. If my boys don’t abscond with them first.

The only times I’ve really “misered” my floss have been when stitching from kits that include floss that is labelled with some esoteric numbering scheme making it impossible to go buy extra DMC of whatever color is running out. That experience of running out of floss is a huge reason behind why I am generally looking at charts instead of kits.

July 12, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by The Wagon (
and is:

What do you love to do that many people hate? What do you hate to
do, but do anyway?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I don’t know that I love French Knots, but I can make them and it’s enjoyable. I also enjoy blended floss and partial stitches, and don’t mind back-stitching. I adore large projects that takes months and months to stitch. I love hardanger, and intend to do more of it. Designers who create complex patterns are also on my adore list, while many people seem to be intimidated by such patterns. I see them as an artistic challenge at worst, and as something which will create beautiful art.

I hate metallics. I love the way they look, but absolutely detest stitching with them. Rayon floss is also annoying, but shiny. Gridding is something that is mind-numbingly boring, but I do it anyway because it makes the large projects much easier for me to stitch. Instead of counting a zillion times to make sure I’m in the right place, I can keep track by the grid on the pattern and the cloth.

Oct 4, 2007
Today’s SBQ was suggested by Jennifer
( and is:

What are your favorite online stitching supply sources?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


I love Patterns Online because I am able to get charts for Teresa Wentzler designs that are otherwise impossible to acquire. There are many other designs there as well, that I like. 🙂

I’ve also had good shopping experiences with Nordic Needle (with the added bonus of them being located in a state near me).

Other shops I’ve ordered from, with a good experience (customer service being quality matters more than speed of orders being filled):

Stitchin’ Post Nashville

ABC Stitch Therapy

Oct 14, 2007
This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ternezia
( and is:

What for you means to achieve mastery as a stitcher?

The permalink to this post is:

Happy Stitching!


"Stitched with Love and Cat Hair"

I've been giving this question some thought for the past few days. For me, achieving mastery is a melding of meeting personal goals, perfecting technical skill, having an 'artistic eye', and being recognized by other Master crafters as having achieved such a level.

Meeting personal goals: these currently are informal for the most part. I strive on each piece I stitch, to lay the floss a bit neater, to keep the backs a bit tidier. I look for patterns that combine some quality of Art with the purpose for which I'm stitching (example: I stitched Teresa Wentzler's Needle Guardian. I could have stitched some simplistic small design, but I wanted something "more" than ordinary). Learning new stitches, understanding stitches well enough to do them automatically without referring to the stitch guides. Venturing into creating my own patterns. Learning other styles of needlework. Casting aside conventions and mixing various types of things together.

Perfecting technical skill is a tough one for me. I believe it is necessary to do, to become a Master. But to stitch something that could one day be held up as an example of stitching done perfectly, would really be an accomplishment. From everything to do with cloth types, to needles, to flosses, to how one threads various things, etc and so on. Technical perfection is probably the side of stitching I am least interested in. It requires more time, more attention to detail, and less rushing. I tend to want to see the results NOW, and have yet to develop the patience for the technical. I'm working on it 😉

Having an artistic eye. This is a big one. Perhaps the most important one. To be able to tell the difference between a piece in which all is in balance, and a piece which is merely pretty or quaint or cute, is the difference between a Master and everyone else. To discern what makes something Artistry, to understand color and texture and the weights of each of the elements, theories behind these things, is what enables a person to alter designs that aren't as strong as they could be; as well as creating designs that *live*. Some stitched things are just that. Things. Other stitched things, are magically alive. Like fine art, where you are drawn into the painting, curiosity sparked about all the external history and story of the object of the painting.

I see creating one's designs, quality artistic designs, as a vital aspect of what it is to be a Master.

I can make a list of things I believe are required to achieve before I call myself a Master. But true measure of one's place often can only be seen from without. Being regarded by other Masters as being a Master is certainly part of it. Can someone be a Master without that? Certainly. Not everyone who does this is going to be in a situation to mingle with other stitchers, with Masters, and if people don't know about you, they won't be able to evaluate your stitching and your creations.

In some small way, then, I see having your patterns released into the wild, and stitched by other people, as also being part of this "recognition".

Personally, I know I have a loooong way to go. A large part of the fun of this craft is the process and the journey anyway, so I don't really mind that it takes time. 🙂

Oct 25, 2007
Forgot last week's SBQ, and so today I'll answer both.

This week's SBQ was suggested by Jennifer
( and is:

What proportion of your stitching is for your own personal use versus

The permalink to this post is:

I would say most of my stitching is for myself at this point, but I have a lot of ideas of things for certain people that I'd like to stitch at some point. I imagine the percentage will always be more towards stitching for me, simply because the thought of someone casually tossing aside, giving away, or throwing out (horror!) a piece of needlework I spent time to create, is a bit traumatic. Not everyone understands what goes into creative endeavors. I will admit I want the things I create to be appreciated.

This week's SBQ is:

Do you railroad?

The permalink to this post is:

I do not railroad for the most part. I have a beautiful laying tool though! I like the idea of railroading, but I would need a third hand to hold the cloth, stitch the floss and smooth with the tool. If I used my stand to hold my needlework, I could railroad on pieces I use a frame with. However, I stitch 'in hand' most of the time as it is easier for me to flip the piece over to start/finish sections of floss. I believe if I tried the 'parking' technique, I could use my stand with ease. However, this also works with only some patterns. Patterns with open areas of fabric really shouldn't have a lot of floss criss-crossing the back side of that area.

Nov 2, 2007
This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ternezia and is:

If you were a cross stitch designer, what would your design style be?


I think my style would be more of a mixed needlecraft- cross stitches as well as specialty stitches (including embroidery stitches). I'd want to experiment with projects that have dimension to them- both on the surface of the cloth as well as the finishing techniques. I'd want a mix of pieces – some for framing, some for practical use.

Think: flowing, fluid, rounded, holistic

Think: nature / mythology themes, gardening / kitchen themes.

I definitely would be more interested in designing intricate advanced level projects, but if I were going to be marketing my designs and hoping to sell enough to support my habit I would include some easier designs or at least some smalls.

Most pieces would be in the small to mid-size range, though I wouldn't discount the possibility of larger projects.


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