Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Bought a Needlework Shop

Lifelong dream realized!


I bought it at Michaels.

After years of saying I didn't want to get started on a Christmas village, I broke down and bought this piece. And maybe a few little things so it wouldn't be lonely like a stone bridge and some kids playing hockey.

As for the end of 2013 - what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I didn't have a daughter-in-law or a granddaughter.

I'm sure I didn't stitch as much as I intended to. Will 2014 be any different? I doubt it.

Spending tonight with two girlfriends. Dinner and stitching. My Map Guy is still in NH with his parents.

Stay safe everyone and have fun.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Miss Cuteness

My little princess likes to fall asleep with a hand on her face.

She loves everyone and will smile at you just for saying her name.

Feeling blessed at home in New Hampshire.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Finishing for Christmas

Merry Christmas to all. We are four generations in one house here in New Hampshire. It's snowing this morning and the baby's dressed in a holiday outfit. Big smiles all around.

I haven't been updating here, but trust me I have been stitching. I finished some ornaments - the Navy one is a birthday gift. The two Raggedy Andy mittens are for the twins whom we will meet today.

My finishing is not perfection, but I'm happy enough. I think I just need more practice.

Baby photos later!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Half and Half

While at my daughter's for Thanksgiving, she brought something to my attention. That I'm stitching a lot of canvas these days. And a lot less stitching on linen.

I used to be maybe 70% linen and 30% canvas. Now that ratio is probably flipped. This was happening before I started working in the needlepoint store. 
I'm enjoying my canvas more and it shows. 

But never fear linen lovers. I have dragged a project out of the past - the Tsunami Charity Sampler. 

 Here's when I started it - Feb 2006
Not much attention paid to it - progress as of Sep 2008.
By March 2009. It's a big piece on a large scroll frame. I can't just casually take it anywhere.
April 2009
By the end of April 2009 - I guess I got in the groove.
Maximum progress - November 2009
But this isn't where I was when I picked it back up, because I had to frog a huge knot on the back of motif on the bottom left. And I lost a lot of that motif.

I uncovered this piece from its hiding place when I was readying the china cabinet for shipment to daughter. It was living there along with two other forgotten beauties. I immediately felt guilty. It's a beautiful Quaker sampler. I changed the fibers to Crescent Colours (by the way, did you know that Sharon Crescent has sold her business? Just in case you missed this news -  Crescent Colours hand dyed threads will now be manufactured by Classic Colorworks, a brand new company in the cross-stitch industry. 

Ronny Williams, the son of Little House Needleworks founders Diane and Ron Williams and brother of Country Cottage Needleworks founder Nikki Leeman, is the sole owner and will oversee dyeing and shipping operations for his new company. )

I took my Quaker off to stitching with me today. There are some people there that have never seen it. Yikes. But my cold made my progress very slow. The medication fog coupled with the interrupted sleep. There's not much to show, so no photo yet. 

And that brings me back around to what kind of balance do I want in my stitching? 

Right now I'm completely enjoying hand painted canvas for the freedom it gives me. No need to follow a chart! Not sure if I want this to be 50/50. I'm guessing I will always have a foot in both worlds. Maybe I'll just stitch on whatever calls my name and keeps me captivated.  

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Smallish Update

I'be goth a cold. But I think it's getting better.

Meanwhile things that need to be done are piling up around my feet.

Got my models done for a 2014 class. Got an ornament stitched for an exchange. And started Give Thanks From Nancy's Needle.

The drive to Massachusetts was one long, horrid day. The drive home was better, but I was sick, so it was still horrid.
I'm a tiny bit further along with the stitching. I have 9 or 10 of these pieces of Nancy's to do. Most of them are kitted.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Finished Knot

My Ghordian Knot is done. Need to drop it off to our group leader tomorrow after work. Can't believe how much I stitched this week to accomplish this goal.

No more geometrics for me that are the same thing four times. Repition of this type does not make me happy.

I'm sorry I couldn't pull the pulled work. Just don't have the hand strength.

All in all, I'm happy.

Edit:  this morning I realized I can't see my photo, so I'm adding it. If you see it twice, that's why. My abilities to edit on my phone stink... 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ghordian Knot

Yes. I have been stitching like crazy on this. Trying to turn it in on Monday. I'll definitely make it. Just a couple of hours on the border and the beads left to do.

I really, really like this. Even if I couldn't pull the pulled work properly.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ghordian Knot

I don't have much time left to  finish my Ghordian Knot. It's due at the end of November and there's lots of stuff I need to be doing.

Made great progress today giving me hope.

But I find pulling pearl cotton quite difficult. Just don't have the hand strength.

Still it's quite pretty.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

You Never Know Who You Are Going to Meet

Like a month ago, I was in Louisville having a great time with all things Seminar.

In my Zebra class I met someone that's a member of this group - The New Jersey Needle Artists - an ANG chapter. We were in the same Zebra Out of Africa class. And another member was in Cardinal Country as was my roommate. 

They have a snazzy blog to go with their website and you can visit it here - blog of NJNA.

Makes me wish I had time to work on my Zebra! 

So a salute to my new friends in New Jersey - you are doing a fine job on the social media thing and more especially with the stitchy thing!

Just yesterday I finally picked up my Loudoun Sampler Guild Mystery Sampler which I've had to ignore for the past two months. But I finally finished the June band and added my horse and fox to the first band. I'm ready to outline my design my own band and then I'm moving on to the Quaker band. No way I'm catching up on this project, but at least I'm continuing to make progress. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Visiting Fort Bragg

Drove down on  Friday to visit with Airborne (new name for DS), his wonderful wife, and our Miss Cuteness. We've just been hanging out admiring our little girl.

Did some stitching in the car on the way down and will continue with that project on 10 ct canvas on the way home today.

While here I've done some work on my twins project. I finished the one on the right a few weeks back. It has an error that I'm still debating on whether or not to fix. Or maybe I'll just recreate it on the left one?

Very much still in love with the Pepper Pot silk. Looking for another project to use it on.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the Nation

Much happiness in Red Sox Nation!

Wonderful to watch the boys win in Fenway.

I almost finished my canvas last night. Just a bit of sky to go. But I may rework my stars on the flag. 'Cause I can.

Yes. I admit to watching nearly every Red Sox game - maybe 145 out of 162 games? And now comes the deep darkness know as the off-season...

But first - time for some celebration!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yes. I Am Busy Stitching

In fact, I've just got a moment to spend here as I am trying desperately to finish my Fenway canvas before the end of the World Series. I could only have 7-8 hours left...

Only sky and the stars on the American flag left to stitch. 

Been so busy running around and never staying home. I haven't slept in my own bed on a Saturday in 4 weeks and it's about to become 5 weeks. 

Here's a few snaps from my last adventure - the horses of Assateague Island.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Say Yes

On the recommendation of Susan Elliott, she of the blog "Plays with Needles," I purchased a copy of a book called Improv Wisdom. These days I read nearly all my books on my Nook. I chose this book as one I have downloaded on my phone.

So here I am sitting in a crowded restaurant on my way back from a Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting reading this book. And the second chapter is about saying yes.

It seems to me this entire weekend was about saying yes. I didn't really want to run away for a stitchy weekend the week after Seminar. But I said yes because I had volunteered my Chapter to host this meeting next year. So yes, and yes.

Got to the hotel and said yes to an early dinner with a friend. Said yes to bingo when I truly felt like staying in my room stitching. Said yes to myself about walking even though I'm having an ankle tendinitis problem. Said yes to stump work. Yes to rayon threads, twice in one weekend. And yes to a volunteer job. Yes to a dinner companion who is now a new friend.

I don't think I said no the whole weekend except to desert!

All this before I read the book. Maybe I am an improviser by nature. I had fun. And expect to have more.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DMC No Hassle Tassel

DMC just posted directions for how to make a tassel from a skein of Light Effects. I think this with the right charms, would look pretty great. 

So I'm parking a link here for me. But you can use it, too. 

DMC blog

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gender Reassignment Surgery

Yes. You read the title correctly.

But it doesn't involve hormones and surgeons.

Just a needle and thread.

Our niece gave birth to twin boys one week ago. And I had found this canvas on sale this summer of a Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. So I'm turning the Anns into Andys.

I'm using Pepper Pot silks on this and oh my. It's like stitching with butter.

No repainting. I'm just stitching the reverse image and when these are done I'll have two ornaments - one for each boy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I still can't publish comments from my phone.

Will try to fix this when I get home.

Louisville has been a blast!

Can't wait to come back in five years.

Friday, October 11, 2013

At the Galt House

Every minute of the trip to the EGA National Seminar in Louisville has been a pleasure.

First - I have a terrific traveling companion and roommate. We've been taking care of each other and maximizing our experiences. We shopped our way here through West Virginia and Ohio. And we've got plans on continuing on our way home through Kentucky. Then there was Wednesday, our day off from classes, where we hit nearly a dozen different places. Our lunch that day was Comfy Cow ice cream as we'd had such a fabulous breakfast at Wild Eggs.

We are staying at the Galt House and the folks here are extremely helpful and friendly. I don't have a bad word to say except for the food at the opening banquet was subpar. We'll see how they do tonight.

I will gladly return here with a smile.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

From Louisville

I'm exhausted. Five nights in a row of sleeping poorly will don't that.

Thus far, Friend and I have visited needlework shops in West Virginia and Ohio. And survived two days of classes.

Here's a photo of my Nutcracker penny rug in progress.

I'll get details about the teacher up when I can.

Also here's a fabulous table. Some of you may have this book like I do.

Friday, October 04, 2013

On the Way

This morning I woke up in the suburbs of Cincinnati. My partner in this adventure and I meandered our way here slowly yesterday from Virginia. Funny, we never ran out of things to talk about.

Stopped at a nice little shop in St. Albans outside of Charleston. The owner was extremely nice and helpful.

At home, DH is furloughed. Thus, I am being conservative with my spending. Felt badly about leaving him behind. Last year he went with me to Santa Fe where he had a tremendous amount of fun.

Today we are stopping at the needlepoint shops here. Then we'll head on to Louisville. Tomorrow penny rugs!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Couple of photos I took on Sunday when DH and I went to the National Gallery.

We haven't been doing the museum thing much lately so this was a welcome treat.

Even ran into a stitching friend which was funny.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

All the Pertinent Stuff

First, the business. My phone has problems when I try to approve comments here on blogger. Gets stuck in some weird google accounts loop and I've had to unistall and reinstall blogger. But to have it continue to happen is a pain. So if you make a comment, but don't see it posted here right away, I've read it, but haven't been able to approve it. How stupid is this. 

Now on to the fun stuff. 

 This is Ghordian Knot, an ANG Group Correspondence Course. I may have tweaked the colors a bit. It needs to be completed by the end of November. Do I have a chance? Maybe. After I get that fourth quadrant in, it's all pulled work. You can see I started a little bit already. Because I'm tired of doing the same thing. 

Seriously, I love this design. I love these colors. I'm bored out of mind stitching on this. 


It's not the design. It's me. Maybe I need to put down the charted canvas for a while. 

If it wasn't a Group Course that I'm working on along with some friends, I'd probably have set this aside by now. I do intend to finish it. In fact, it may be the only thing I'm working on in November. LOL

 Another class piece. This one though is slightly different. I took an online class with Janet Perry on creating stitch guides. Somehow, some of us rolled that on into a class on painting your own canvas. We all started with the same line drawing of the girl and umbrella. And now we're starting to see the painted canvases. I used Copic markers on this instead of paint - a further expirement on my part. They work well, but you have to be careful as they do want to run across the canvas threads.

 I don't think I'll give up my paints for markers as on the advice of my boss I checked the colorfastness of the markers. I had a spare piece of canvas with a small square of each of the colors on it. With room temperature water, everything was fine. Then I tried saturing the canvas with hot water. This time one or more of the pinks gave off a tiny bit of color. In the world of needlepoint, this is bad. No steam blocking for this piece.

 Lest you think I'm all canvas and no linen, here's where I'm at on my Loudoun Sampler Guild Mystery piece. This is the 6th band on my piece. I'm not quite finished yet as I need to complete the satin stitching. And I decided to add my granddaughter's initials to this piece as this is the band I was working on the month she was born. 

 Finally we have my Fenway canvas. I said I wanted it by the end of the World Series. That deadline is fast approaching. I'm taking this piece with me to Seminar because I've got lots of boring sky to do that I only need half a brain engaged to stitch it. Seminar has a way of sapping your abilities by the end of the week. You pretty much have to alert and attentive all day in class and that exhausting.

That's pretty much where things stand right now. I'll be on my way to Kentucky next week. Driving with a friend. We're going to have so much fun!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I feel like I've slipped off the edge here. But I've been busy. 

Just thought I'd stop and say everything's okay. 

I'm getting ready to leave for EGA National Seminar next week. 

I'll try to post some progress photos before then, but it's hectic time at my house. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Miss Cuteness

Sugar Pie at four days old. It was hard to leave her and come back home.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Baby, Baby, Baby!

She arrived last night.

I've been trying to post all day.

Everyone's happy!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Baby Day

If all goes according to plan, our granddaughter will be born today. 

Yes. I am excited. And a little bit anxious. We'll be heading off to see her and her new parents tomorrow.

It's a strange and exciting time for all of us!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Ten Years

Ten years have passed since that first blog post dated 9/3/03. 

Here it is in its entirety:

A new month and a new adventure. Brought here by my habit of lurking on RCTN. It's a gray and dreary day, not conducive to stitching at all. Even the cats have gone back to sleep and it's only 8:32 a.m.

As for the stitching, I am all encompassing. There is little that I won't (or haven't) attempt(ed) at least once. But samplers are a big passion. I am committed right now to my Agnes Scott sampler and should try to make some progress if I can get out of today's funk. I would like to finish my current band by next week's EGA meeting.  

That's it. I did finish Agnes Scott, but not in '03. I think it was '05. Anyway, she was finished and I love looking at her at dinnertime. 

There are not many things I've stuck with for ten years in a row. On my one year blogoversary in 2004, I didn't even know to acknowledge that a year had passed. I was writing about procrastination - a problem that is still with me today. (Notice, though, that I didn't procrastinate this post.)

I did not post on September 3, 2005. The closest post came nearly one week later. We had moved that summer and I was busy painting and getting my daughter off to college and then Hurricaine Katrina happened. But later that month I went to my first EGA Chapter meeting here in virginia and look, eight years later I am the President of that Chapter. 

On September 3, 2006, I still didn't acknowledge my blog's beginnings. Instead I was writing about making my own padded headboard. Which I am considering recovering. 

In 2007, I noted my blogoversary a day late. On the third, I was counting my UFOs which numbered 37. Right now, I do not dare count my UFOs. No. I dare not. Here's what I wrote on the 4th: 
Yesterday was the four year anniversary of my first post. Today is post number 802. I know my posting goes in spurts - I bop along posting consistently then something happens IRL and I stop for a week or so. Still, 4 years and 800 posts. I did manage to stick with this whole blogging enterprise fairly well.

In 2008, I forgot again. Instead we have:  I seem to have misplaced my stitching mojo again. But will search for it today. I think I had car lag. I did accomplish things, but picking up a needle just didn't seem like the thing to do.

I did laundry and changed the sheets. Straightened DD's room just a little. (Note to her: I had to create access to the window for Zoe.) Vacuumed. More laundry and now I'm all caught up. Picked up dry cleaning. Stopped at Michael's and remembered why I haven't yet framed those two photos of bluebirds in the hills of Tennessee - because they are an odd size. Watered the plants. Cleaned the bird bath. Made two new recipes for dinner. Did the dishes. All the usual stuff.

For dinner I made grilled salmon with cucumber salsa. And creamy grits with sweet corn. I have no problem admitting that this was the first time in my life that I have ever cooked grits. One bite and DH said this is what he wants next time he gets sick. What I think we have here is a comfort food.

And smooches to my honey. Today is the first day of his new job. He's back in the employ of the federal government. Now, go kick some ass.

But I did remember 10 days later because Dani wrote about her 5th blogoversary. 

On Sept 3, 2009, I was busy picking out stitching to take on vacation with me as we were heading to the Outer Banks. Completely spaced on the time of year.

In 2010, I remembered early and followed up later with a giveaway. Not something I've done a lot of. But I do have some things to giveaway here. Which I will post later this week. 

My first post in September of 2011 is dated the 5th. I had a cold and was packing to attend my first ever EGA National Seminar. And here I am getting ready to go for the third time. I'm going with a friend who will attending her first seminar. It's going to be a blast!

And last year I apparently totally punted on the whole idea of acknowledging how long I have been writing here. 

Let's see where I stand today. I don't blog as often as I used to. Part of that is the Smartphone. I don't have to get on the computer. And though I can blog from my phone, it's a pain to write anything longer than a couple of paragraphs. 

My intentions are to continue blogging. I'm not stopping now. Though I have considered taking my blog to facebook. It's a lot easier to add photos and have discussions there. For right now, things remain as they are. 

Thanks for reading and commenting and in general being my virtual stitching friends! It's always nice to know I'm not alone in my obsessions. 

P.S. I still miss google reader. Feedly isn't so wonderful on my phone. Sigh.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beading My Garden Path

At our July EGA luncheon, we had renowed teacher, Marie Campbell, join us. She taught us her Garden Path project which was featured on the cover of Needlearts magazine in 2012. In a testament to how much we loved the project, at our Guild meeting yesterday there were six finished pieces. 

Not my best photo, but it was early and I hadn't had my coffee yet. This was designed as a nametag as the name part would be above it. But we six chose to bead just the heart. I know there are some coming along with names attached. And it's funny, but no two hearts looked alike. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Planet Earth

I cannot resist kitting up a project even when I have no idea when I'll be able to start stitching. Right now I'm working feverishly to finish my Garden Path beaded heart for tomorrow's Guild meeting. And in heavy rotation I have my Fenway Canvas, my LSG Mystery Sampler, and my Ghordian Knot correspondence course. Those three all have real or imagined deadlines. I did a lot of basketweave sky last night, but of course in reality it's not that much. I think that's slightly depressing. But with luck, I'll meet my World Series deadline on that one. (Notice I did not specify beginning or ending of the Series.)

I didn't realize the white balance is so far off in the photo until I got it on the computer. It's a Cooper Oaks Warren Kimble seasonal panel. With a lot of Planet Earth Silks and just a touch of Brown Paper Packages Stardust for the snow on the trees. I probably won't get around to starting this until December, but I can look forward to it.

Then there's this online class I'm taking where I get to pick everything. It's not a big project and I just needed to go all Lilly Pulitzer on it. 

This has been my preferred color palette for the past three years. I don't know why. But it just makes me happy. And you have to love the names of these threads. From top to bottom we have: Malibu, Aquarius, Girl Friend, Passion, Hearthrob, Shrub, and Fern. Interestly enough, in the store we saw some Hearthrob tags that had a space inserted so they read: Hearth Rob. Someone has a sense of humor? On their website, it's spelt Heartthrob. However you spell it, it's a beautiful non-stranded silk that's easy to work with. It's meant for 13-14 ct. canvas, but I've got a feeling I'm about to work with these on 18 ct. so I'll be doing the thing I usually have to stop myself from doing which is the tight tension thing. The whole piece is an experiment for me. I might need to add some dark silver metallic to this, too.

The big news is that if grandbaby doesn't decide to arrive on her own this week, she'll be making her debut next week. And that's where we stand in my little corner of the world today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies

I don't remember the last time we looked at my Fenway canvas. I know I took some photos in July, but apparently I didn't post them. LOL

See, I was having a problem and even though there are non-problematic areas of the canvas I could have been working on, I don't work like that. I had to put this away so it could simmer on a backburner in my brain. 

Here's where I was when I put it away:

 My problem was the sky. I didn't like what I was doing. Here it is up close:

 This week this canvas reappeared in my stitching bag. On Tuesday night, I stitched the left hand column of bricks beside the flag. Most of the time I was working on this, I was thinking about that sky. 

And on Wednesday I frogged the sky. And tried something else. And frogged that. And tried a variation of the last stitch. And frogged that. And tried something else. And frogged that. And tried a variation of the last stitch. And frogged that. Then unbelievably I tried something else and it, too, was frogged. At this point, I reached a decision. The problem wasn't necessarily the stitches, but the thread. So out with Vineyard Silk and I tried two versions with Splendor silk. 

I told my troubles to a friend on Wednesday night. And on Thursday at stitching she tossed a handful of Finca #12 perle at me saying she didn't think any of the colors would be right. 

Well, I didn't have my canvas with me, having put the troublesome thing back in its pillowcase and leaving it at home. But I thought one ball of Finca might be close to the right color. And I took it home to experiment. 

Thursday night after dinner I sat down one more time to stitch on the sky. And knowing when I am beat, I decided to just try basketweaving. 

Lo, it works!

 And I rewarded myself by starting to stitch the second flag. All I wanted was for this sky to disappear. And now it does.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Beading Class - Garden Path

At our July EGA luncheon, we had a special class with a bead expert, Marie Campbell. 
Some EGA people might recognize this as a Needlearts magazine cover from last year.
I kind of got distracted while beading because I was chatting with friends and I may not have followed Marie's directions to a T. But I'm even further along now and I think it's beautiful. 

So this weekend when I got to pop into the Potomac Bead Co. inWinchester, a few more things might have come home with me. Because I'm pretty sure I'll be doing more of this. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Back from the framers. I'm happy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Notebook Classes

Needlepointers may be familar with the concept of a notebook class, but the cross stitchers probably are not. In fact, the essence of a needlework sampler is what a notebook class is. You take a piece of canvas. You take a type of thread. You take a stitch and stitch a sample. You save your stitched piece with the information and you now have a reference.

In fact, I'm stitching 3 different notebook classes right now. And that's okay because the pieces are small and if I don't feel like stitching on a big project, stitching a square or two on one of these gives you a feeling of accomplishment. 

The first one I started last spring, but didn't get very far. The class name is Potpourri and it is designed by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson of SHEAR Creations. Their names might be familar to you if you have ever used the Stitches for Effects books or the Red Thread Thesarus. (Stitches for Effects, More Stitches for Effects, and Even More Stitches for Effects are wonderful needlepoint stitch reference books. The Red Thread book is a completely different type of book that details all the needlework threads that were available at the time the book was published. Its thread equivalencies are invaluable if you do substitutions like me!)

I took this class with the Shining Needle Society. Aren't familar with that? Try here:  Shining Needle Society. It is a yahoogroup and here's the basics:

Mission Statement:  To provide nurturing and inspiring opportunities for growth in the study of needlework, with the hope of continuing the legacy of embroidery art for future generations.

 About:  The SNS is a friendly, supportive group that seeks to provide connections for enthusiastic stitchers and the teachers who inspire them. We sponsor online support groups for needlework classes.

There are no dues for SNS and membership is open to interested stitchers.

If you ask to join, you'll be given access to the Home Room and can see what the current classes are. And what's coming up. SSN is always dangling something exciting in front of me.

I knew I needed to start a stitch notebook for myself and this class seemed like a good starting point. What I got: Instructions and threads and holder for my samples. I provided canvas, etc. for this class. 

My first stitch, long upright cross, was stitched with Impressions. The second one, oblique slav, uses Neon Rays. I didn't finish this one because I needed to stitch this one on a stand and use a laying tool. So I started the mosiac checker with Hyla's High Cotton.

 The information with the stitch diagrams includes what that particular stitch might be good for. And other threads that will work well with it. As you see, I get practice with different stitches. And get to work with different threads.

My next notebook class is another Suzanne and Beth class, but this one I took in person with them at Waste Knot in Arlington. I signed up for this before I started working there...

This class theme is animal stitches. I knew I needed this one. I don't have lots of experience with the wools, alpacas, etc. It's been a while since I did turkey work. We played with bunka brushes to raise the nap of the threads. In general had fun and learned a lot. 

My third notebook class is another one offered through the Shining Needle Society. Another collaborative class, this one if offered by Carole Lake and Michael Boren of StitchPlay Designs. The emphasis here is an introduction to different threads.
I'm signed up for all 6 parts of this class. And first one is using Duchess Silk by Gloriana. And I have to say "WOW!" I'm in love with this thread. It's a handdyed silk perle. Suitable for 13 ct canvas and for long stitches on 18ct canvas. It feels so good. You just want to rub it against your cheek. 

As you can see by the time I'm finished with all 3 of these classes, I'll have dozens of stitch samples stitched with various threads. What an invaluable reference tool. Much more organized than my doodles on the sides of my working canvas...