Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Woodlawn Needlework Show 2011

First, I know a lot of people are disappointed that there was not an online slide show of the entries this year. I have e-mailed that question and we'll see if I get an answer. 

I do love volunteering at the show. This year I only went once. And I find myself debating now if I should give the commitment of joining Nelly's Needlers. 

I was sorry to see so many smalls stuffed into the display cases, making it difficult to truly appreciate them. There were some lovely original pieces in the very first case in the reception room - all by one woman. And the childrens' pieces this year were fantastic. A Girl Scout Troop had submitted some wonderful cross stitched pieces. And there was fabulous counted canvas piece upstairs on the linen room door also by a junior stitcher. 

It was nice to see four pieces of needlepoint by a 93 year old man who was honored by a special director's ribbon. And John K.'s samplers continue to amaze me. I don't know how he does it. And watching Jeff K. step off into the world of original design has me cheering. I loved his Halloween themed piece from last year. And this year he's been very original. 

The only piece that spoke to me about find me and stitch me, was an original colorway of a counted canvas piece by Tara R. I'm trying to track down the name of the piece now. The stitching was superb. Not to mention her color choices. 

My favorite part of the day was that one of my guild members who was coming in to volunteer for the afternoon shift won the People's Choice Award for her Japanese embroidery. Congratulations! 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Finally Woodlawn

I am finally going to Woodlawn today. Doing the volunteer guide thing today with other members of my EGA Chapter. 

This is the latest I've been. And I am unhappy that they did not manage to put up a flicker slideshow this year. I wonder why not? It certainly made people out in the wider world take notice.

Crying in my Beer This Morning

Figuratively. Not literally.

Prior to Saturday's hockey game, I was not believing that this would be UNH's year in men's hockey. But their total dominance of Miami (OH) had me believing in miracles. 

Alas. Notre Dame won. So congrats, Coni. 

It will be interesting to watch what happens in St. Paul. Though I don't believe anyone can stop the buzzsaw that is North Dakota right now. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small Break in Stitching for Ice Hockey

Hey, Coni, my team is gonna beat your team in ice hockey tomorrow night!

We watched the UNH Wildcats dominate the heavily favored Miami (OH) team. And then I cheered on Notre Dame over Merrimack. 

What's at stake? Only a berth in the Frozen Four. 

Go, Cats!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Impulse Control

Apparently I have no impulse control. 

On Wednesday I received the latest issue of Needlepoint Now. I had a moment and scanned through it, mostly focusing on the ads. And then I hit the backpage. 

Before I knew it I was in the office ordering a limited edition Pischke Pocket. What can I say? I saw it and it spoke to me. And you know what it said. Buy me!

And how's this for terrific customer service? I ordered it on Wednesday afternoon. And I came home to a package on my doorstep on Thursday afternoon. And no, I did not pay for expedited shipping. 

Here it is! It's big and beautiful. And I'm totally thrilled.

I love how the canvas and threads are tied onto the bag with brown raffia ribbon. Right where the finished piece will eventually be attached.

It's kitted with Anchor wool and DMC pearl cotton with a special overdyed pearl called Green Turtle. Oh happy days. I'll be dreaming of the beach and taking this bag with me to the Outer Banks.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Needlepoint Rennaissance

From today's Washington Post's local living section:


It's Not Your Grandmother's Needlepoint...

Again with the grandmothers and stitching. How cliched. 

But I do like the Jonathan Adler pieces I have seen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meeting Day

It was that time again today - EGA meeting and time to stretch my non-counting mental muscles. Today was stumpwork. A basic, beginner's piece. Which is good. 

I'm back. I just went to my photos to see if I had a picture of this piece, but I don't. At least not on my computer. 

Let's talk about this counted/non-counted thing for a while. I've got friends who only stitch painted canvas. And I've got friends who only do counted cross stitch. And I've got plenty a friends who do a little of this and little of that. We all seem to develop some preferences. As a matter of fact, I've got quite a collection of crewel pieces for when the mood strikes me, which it hasn't for quite some time. Right now, I seem stuck between the worlds of counted canvas and samplers. 

Both of which involve counting. Either holes or threads. (Let's face it. I've got some friends who struggle when they move off the linen and onto canvas. I don't seem to have a problem.)

So when you give me fabric with a drawing and say have at it, I have that moment of panic. What to do? And slowly I start to remember. Chain stitch, fly stitch, buttonhole stitch. 

Like this beauty which I can hardly believe my mother still has hanging in her living room:

Yes. I stitched this back in 1985. It definitely was a kit. Probably Paragon. It's not small either - 14" x 20." Kudos to Mom for still hanging this. I'd have burned it by now. But that's just me. All kinds of crewel goodness going on here. But I think it's the steps that I despise. Get rid of them  and I might still like this, though that gold is rather bright. 

In a short amount of time after this piece, I discovered counted cross stitch. We were stationed in Germany where supplies were rare. But I managed to stitch this Boston lighthouse as gift in maybe 1986? 1987 at the latest. This is my second or third cross stitch piece. My memory is kind of fuzzy on this score. I know I stitched a large colorful duck right around this time, too. Everything I did then was for giving away.

It's small - 18ct in a 4" x 6" frame. I stitched it from a copy of a copy. Did not know any better in those days. Patterns, fabric, thread were all in short supply until we took matters into our hands and opened a cross stitch shop inside of our crafts consignment shop.

Can I still straddle the counted and non-counted worlds? Yup. But I'd still like to be stitching on Stars. Right now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Right, Right

Look. I know I said I'd be back here yesterday to post a progress photo on Stars, but I got involved with Marlon Brando and I just couldn't leave him alone. 

I mean, once you get your hands on something like Marlon, you just start marveling at what an evil genius Mr. Minierie is and that's it. You're lost. 

It was somewhere in the second layer on the rice stitches that I caught on to his evil, evil plan. 

He starts things simply enough. But things rapidly start building and soon you're just amazed at how pretty and shiny things are. And then he brings you back down with some wool and then adds more wool. And before you know it, you're mesmerized. Completely lost. And you can't stop. (Good thing I'd made the meatballs before starting the pink wool...)

I finished off Marlon last night at 7 p.m. And then ate dinner. And did the dishes. And took a photo.

Here's how Marlon fits into the general scheme of things. Remember, at this point I am working the piece upside down. That will change soon. One more bar of sashing and I can see what surprises Cary Grant has in store for me.

Oh. What's the evil plan? To make it impossible to put this piece down.

A little bit of bargello I'm whipping up as I go. Frame weight, maybe?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning

I'm starting my Monday morning by stitching on Stars. Will post an updated photo later today!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Really Really Bad at This

If Anna is counting, she knows just how bad I've gotten about blogging and how my resolve to make this into in a habit again isn't working well. 

I'll just have to keep trying. Smile.

This weekend I was supposed to be in Bethlehem PA for the Mid-Atlantic EGA Regional Seminar. And I didn't go. Personal problem kept me away. And I'm very sorry I didn't go. I'm sure I would have had a wonderful time. 

So instead yesterday my Stars group was meeting. How much stitching did any of us actually accomplish? Not much, I fear, if I am any example. I did one bar of sashing and started stitching Marlon Brando. One my version Marlon starts out with baby blue and then you use a medium tone pink. Hardly seems very Marlon like. But again, a few of us have realized to get this piece done requires a fair amount of perseverance. As Marlon is only my fifth block of twelve that I've done in over a year, I can see that I need to stop putting this piece away and just stitch the darn thing!!!

Today is the last sunny day for a few days and I'm hoping to spend some time straightening out the studio. How I've let it get this messy, this quickly is amazing. That's what comes of walking in and setting thing down and walking out. Many times.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Moving/Organizing Advice

I know someone who reads here who might be in need of some help. I thought I'd make an effort at writing down my processes for the moving/organizing thing.
Just to get this stuff in print before I forget...

Thanks to my husband's 20 year Army career, I've had lots of practice at moving. Ask any career military person and they can tell you moving stories. Good and bad. Fortunately for us, our stuff never caught fire on a moving truck. Our storage goods were not in a warehouse in Missouri that burned up. We never had all our crystal broken. As a matter of fact, very little was ever lost, stolen, or damaged. 

I consider this both a matter of luck and planning. 

The day the movers arrived to pack, I was always ready. This meant advance planning and work. If you're disorganized, those packers can't work fast and efficiently and they sometimes might not be as careful as they could be. (I've seen people cooking breakfast while the movers wanted to start packing. NOT a pretty picture.)

Here's how I did/do things:

At least one month before a move I start organizing. Being a packrat by nature, this is a difficult process for me. So I break it down into parts.

I would start in one room. Pick a corner of that room. Start at the corner. Now go through every drawer, closet, box, container and work your way around the room. 

Here are the questions to ask yourself when contemplating an object:

1) do I love it?
2) does it bring me joy?
3) is it useful?
4) is it beautiful? 

Be truthful with yourself. We all have things we've kept years past their useful lifespan. We all have things we once thought were great, but now our style has evolved. 

Create these categories for your objects. 

Keep. Discard. Donate. Sell. 

The discard pile. Nothing is more satisfying than removing junk from your house. Makes you feel good. Refreshed. Ready for a new start.

Donations. You can give to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a host of other agencies. You can give to friends. Enemies. Freecycle!!!

Sell. Why not put somethings on craigslist or in a consigment shop? Make a few bucks. After all, you're going to be in transition and it's likely you'll want money for pizza!

Keep. If the previous three piles are small, maybe you need to examine your keep pile again. Either that or you are already the most organized person in the U.S.A. Stop being sentimental. Got tons of your kids artwork? Have you ever considered taking digital photos of it? I know some of us love our purses and shoes, but if you sell some of these now, you can buy more later. There will always be shoe stores somewhere. I promise. 

I do this in every room in my entire house. Including the basement and storage areas. 

I try to stop shopping for groceries and eat my way out of my pantry and freezer if making a long distance move. This never totally works. But I found with planning, I usually didn't have that much food to give away. 

Yes. This takes time. But it saves you time. And money if you're paying for the move. 

It's almost been six years since the last time I had to do this. Trust me there are days when I wish someone would get PCS orders and I'd have to start the process. Without a move looming over me, I'm slow to organize the house further. Though every once in a while, that urge comes over me. And I start opening drawers.


Well, I never made it to Woodlawn yesterday. Life intervened. It's a good thing I hadn't made plans with anyone. 

Now I doubt if I'll get there this week. 

We're having a new front door and window installed - I can hardly wait to have that ugly faded, red door gone. I wish I could install something pretty and stylish, but because of convenants the door must be plain steel. At least we can pick out a new color! 

And while the door's being installed, I'll be doing some advance cooking. I'm heading to Bethlehem PA this weekend for the Mid-Atlantic EGA Regional Seminar. One beading class and Catherine Jordan's Knot Garden which I am very excited about. Going with some friends and we'll all  have a very nice time!

Need to go kit up Count of Needlemania that my ANG chapter is going to start working one. At first, I thought I'd skip this one, but I've reconsidered. 


Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Morning Update

Today is maybe an okay day to head off to Woodlawn to see the show. I like going on a sunny day much more than a cloudy day. My only other free day is Wednesday and it's going to rain here so that's out. I will be there one day at the end of the month, but I can't wait to go and see all the pretty, inspiring projects. It's not bright and sunny outside yet, but the sun is trying to break through these clouds. 

Saturday was Loudoun Sampler Guild and we had the Piedmont Lace Guild come to visit with us and talk and demonstrate. A lovely group of ladies! Some of the work they do is tiny and fine and you nearly need a magnifier to appreciate it. I loved the piece one of them created with a collage frame - you know those frames that are several frames all attached together - and she had mounted different lace pieces in each frame. Makes a stunning display. And had me wondering if I wanted to try something like that with needlework. If I see a frame like that in my travels, I'll be buying it. 

This week is all about me finishing a bargello design. And starting the serious work on my color class. 

Well, here comes the sun. Time to get dressed and go!


Friday, March 11, 2011

A Shout Out for Great Customer Service

The items I ordered from Soft Expressions on Tuesday arrived at my house on Thursday. 

Terrific turn around time. 

Yes. It is a quilting site. But as stitchers, it's fun to step into these other stores sometimes and see what's new. Maybe find some interesting buttons for embellishment. Or try dyeing. Or experiment with gold foil.

I've got three different "color" challenge pieces in the works right now. Which is why I wanted the 3-n-1 tool. Finding the book was a bonus. And it's a gorgeous book. Plenty of photos and terrific explanations about choosing color. 


March Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Month

Do you have a favorite Irish or Celtic stitched piece?  If you don't, what about a piece that represents your heritage?  Or maybe a family tree style sampler?  Think about it, then tell us the story of your piece and show us your photos, if you have them.

First, I'd like to thank Lee for continuing these questions. Always nice to have a jumping off point for a post.

I'm only showing this because of the name. It never made me think Celtic even though it's called Celtic Christmas. You know that one of these days, I am going to finish this. It's only been on a scroll frame since July of 1998. Which I know because that's when I finished the Newburyport Sampler. 

This is gets my vote for my favorite Irish piece. A couple of years ago I realized the day before March 17th that I was supposed to be demonstrating at Woodlawn on St. Patrick's Day. So I got inspired by something else I was stitching and realized that you could make a shamrock with Rhodes hearts. That first version has my name on it because I stitched it on the fly without graphing anything and my border gave me extra space at the bottom. It has four different Rhodes stitches - Rhodes, half Rhodes, diamond Rhodes, and the hearts. A tiny bit of gobelin for the stem and the background is basketweave. The cleaned up version that you see here was a class I taught last February for my guild. 

The funny part of the Irish thing was that I only had a vague notion of maybe some Irish ancestry until this winter. Now I have names and dates and will have much more fun next time we go to the Highland Games.

This above piece is a Rainbow Gallery design. It's 2/3 finished but I couldn't find a recent photo. I stopped when I got to a part that I didn't like. I've experimented with some other stitches and should really drag this one out of the closet. 

Below is my Laura J. Perin piece from Needlepointers. I was much more interested in creating a green version than stitching the red version. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bad Habits

Bad habits. I have a few. I can be lazy. Unmotivated. I like to lick my floss before threading my needle. 

But my current bad habit is not writing. See? This is what happens when I'm forced to take a ten day break from my computer. 

And today will start my renewed efforts to post as close to every day as I possibly can. I always forget the number of times we have to do something for it to become a habit. Or even who it was that came up with a number. More trivial information that has left the brain. I'm sure that someday I'll reach the point where I will have forgotten more than I remember. Please let me be unaware of this day. 

On the stitchy side of things:  I scored some more used books yesterday at a guild meeting. LOL Fell into the category of couldn't resist. But I did keep it reasonable. And I had a lovely conversation about books with another lady. Also made a beaded bracelet. In about two hours. This may be the easiest one I've done yet. No photo as it is gray and dreary here. Flooding expected later today. Sun will be out tomorrow and then I can take pictures. 

I'd like to point out that Gay Ann Roger's is running a series on needlepoint for beginners. If you ever wondered about the canvas side of stitching, you couldn't ask for a better teacher. Look here at needlepoint for beginners.

I've a got couple of things on order around the net. At Amazon:  Sampler Workbook: Motifs and Patterns Sampler Workbook: Motifs and Patterns
Caroline Vincent
Also:  Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Art & Embroidery of Jan Messent Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Art & Embroidery of Jan Messent
Jan Messent
The sampler workbook is new and won't ship till after March 15th. 
I've also got a 3 in 1 color tool and a color book coming from Soft Expressions. It's my first time ordering with them. Oh, yeah. And I order some Lutradur for playing around. If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, it's  a spun bond web material manufactured by Pellon. Many fiber artists are playing with it. There's even a book called Fabulous Fabric Art. There's info on it on Joggles and even videos on YouTube.  

All I have time for this morning. Off to stitching group!!!


Monday, March 07, 2011


I've been traveling a bit. On Friday, Feb. 25th, my sister and I met up in Atlanta and then we met up with our step-sister in Tampa and then we drove south to our parents place. 

Don't know why we haven't done this sooner. I suspect money has something to do with it. But we'd all love to make it an annual thing. 

The weather in Florida was in the the 80s and sunny every day except one. And even that day wasn't unpleasant. We had fun just hanging out. Going to the beach. Watching the wildlife. Shopping. Eating. Playing cards. Doing puzzles. And, yes, I even went to Bingo. Oh, and I won $8 playing internet slots. I stopped when I made my money back plus a little profit. 

Life in Florida is definitely on a different pace than life where I live. I could get used to the laid back thing. Maybe. 

Stitched on planes and in airports. And even at the house one afternoon. Visited Cathy at the Golden Needle in Port Charlotte. They are very friendly in there and if you're ever in the neighborhood, you should stop by. Lots and lots of shop models. 

Came home on Friday evening. Ran in the house. Emptied my suitcase, took a quick shower. Repacked said suitcase. And drove off to my EGA Chapter's first ever retreat weekend. Had a great time stitching and laughing and talking and drinking. What a wonderful group of people! 

Here's my current progress:  I took my red rose with me to the retreat. This is the upper right hand corner. Piece is maybe 10% stitched? I got into a rhythm on this. But realized that looking at that much red for too long isn't a good thing. I think two hours a time on this one may be my limit.

Here's what I really made progress on, my O Canada sampler. I couldn't locate any pearl 12 in the color I needed to match my fabric before I left. So I bought some DMC Floche. Son of a gun - this stuff works like a dream. I've done four-sided stitch and eyelets with it and am happy to have discovered a substitute for pearl 12. I know a lot of the needlepointers are using it on hand painted canvas. It's a 5 ply lightly twisted thread which is meant to be used as is, but Mary Corbet of Needle n Thread has been experimenting with plying it. It's equivalent to two strands of floss. And the coverage is great on my 32ct Glenshee. 

A couple of beach photos for you! I know what I was missing this morning as I had to scrape ice and snow off the windshield. Sigh.

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P.S. (an edit about needlework shops on the west coast of Florida)

I tried to go to Needlepoint Ivy in Venice, but they were closed on Mondays. The shop looked nice through the windows. And Jackson's which is nearby, was a terrific place for lunch. Kelly suggested the shop in Naples in a comment on this post. I would have driven down there, but I'm going to Seminar in September and I figured that would be soon enough!!! Trust me, I spent enough at the Golden Needle...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I Am Home

Big updates in the next few days! 

I've been busy.