Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

A quiet day here with just my hubby and me. We've heard from the kids both near and far (Massachusetts and Italy) and our daughter gets to visit us for a few days soon.

My injured knee and seasonal depression haven't made for a jolly month, but we're surviving.

So here's to 2016 and its many blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2015

One Ornament Finish

Gift given so I can post this now.

The Silver Needle does these canvases of Massachusetts town signs. I bought Truro and repainted it.

Love the finishing.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Needlepoint - Making a Background

Here is a Labors of Love canvas that I fell in love with when we had the trunk show in the shop. She's called the Bride. 
I picked threads choosing Impressions for her skin so that I could get the colors I wanted. Impressions normally wouldn't be my first choice for skin. I would usually go with something shinier. But I figure she's a monster and I can take liberties. 

Her hair is done with white pearl cotton and the brown is 3 strands of Vineyard Merino strandable and two strands of Burmilana. I got exactly what I wanted in terms of color. Then I started laying the pearl cotton and stitching over it to create the effect of the marcelled waves that Elsa Lanchester had in the movie "Bride of Frankenstein." I was fortunate in that what I had dreamed up in my head, worked when I started stitching.  
After solving the mystery of the hair, the only thing I needed to decide was what was my background going to be. Initially I had pulled two purple threads to create a background. But then I remembered my friend Johnny's painting of the Bride.

And suddenly I knew I didn't want an all-over background pattern. I wanted a wall. Here's where it got tricky. I really love the color on Johnny's painting. Could I find it in a stranded thread? Nope. Found what I wanted in Pepper Pot. This meant I wouldn't be able to make shimmery highlights. But I'm okay with that. 

I started by using the scan of the canvas I had made before beginning to stitch. And I drew on a wall on the print out of the scan. Then I pencilled in those grout on the canvas. I started stitching the grout with one strand of Impressions. But that wasn't working on white canvas. Two strands covered much better. Then I needed a floor. That's done with a cashmere variation I found in Carole Lake and Michael Boren's Canvas Embellishment book. I used one strand of Watercolours "Granite" for the floor. 

Lastly I started stitching a diagonal scotch to make the stones. And I see this canvas as having light coming in from the top right. That's when my friend Liz suggests staggering the color on a diagonal instead of straight across. Brilliant idea.
Here she is. All done and ready to go off the finisher. Now to make her a mate. Funny how I'm doing this backwards...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Auction Fever

I now own my first antique sampler!

That was fun.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Around the World

I'm going on a journey. Got some friends going along with me. First stop - Scotland!

It's time to go around the world every 80 days with Amy Mitten.

Got my kit yesterday. Amy's beautiful threads and fantastic directions. Includes Scottish sampler facts. How-to personalize my sampler - I've got some choices to make on whose initials to use.
No linen in the photo because I washed it and it's currently in the freezer awaiting the iron.

I love that she has created passports for us!

Go more info head to Amy's website:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Meowww Finish

I finished this on Wednesday. Totally love it.

Had some issues - my bats were sinking into the moon. I had to frog them then stitched bullion knots for the skinny ones. And a made up thing for the big one.

Much more better.

The compensation on the background was a bear, but I tamed it.

All in all, just cute as can be.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Meowww Moon

I've occasionally been picking up this piece and working on it slowly.

It a DC Designs distributed by Amanda Lawford.

I really set myself some challenges here - compensating my background around the cats & compensating the moon.

First I stitched the bats with just tent stitch, but when I started stitching the moon the bats were sinking behind the moon. Nearly two hours spent removing them. But now I'm doing Bouillon knots for the small bats and I've got an idea for the larger one. Now the bats are in front of the moon where they belong.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

ANG Seminar

On Friday my roommate and I arrived in South Carolina. First we stopped for some terrific BBQ in North Carolina. And a bit of shoe shopping in North Myrtle Beach. We were totally surprised to find a huge sale going on at the shoe store complete with a live band and people gathered outside in their lawn chairs enjoying the show. I did purchase exactly one pair of Alegria shoes, my first pair. I believe I will be buying more.

We easily found our hotel, checked in, dumped a huge amount of stuff in our room - I regret not taking a photo of the luggage trolley - and headed off to the registration desk. 

We got the lay of the land, found a few of our friends, and headed off to dinner. 

The next morning found food and left for our first class. 


This is Color Play, a Teaching Excellence Class, by Jennifer Riefenberg. I have to say I picked this class because it is a Teaching Excellence Class, not for the project. Here's the painted canvas we started with. Just five hexagons painted like color wheels. 

So here's my progress on the first day. OMG. I love what happens on this piece. Totally cool. And Jennifer is a terrific teacher which is good because I've got another class with her on Monday and Tuesday. 

This is my progress after two days. I got lazy today, the second day of class. I could be further along. Do you like the blackwork pattern background? I do. Except for the fact that it is stitched with DMC Jewel Effects. I had given away all the skeins of that particular thread because it's horrible to work with. I will persevere with this even though I will grumble. 

If you'd like to see more about Jennifer and her art, her website is the Art of Sunshine.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Dance

I finished the pillow complete with extra rows the finishers want. Got to leave it at the shop yesterday before heading off to the American Needlepoint Guild seminar in Myrtle Beach.

We're here now getting ready for our first classes tomorrow. In a happy place.

(edit) This is a Charley Harper canvas called Lil' Sipper. You can view all Harper canvases on the Treglown website, But you must order through a needlepoint shop. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

And Then This Happened

So life was moving on in August. My son, his wife, and my almost two-year old granddaughter moved to Italy courtesy of the US Army. We're happy for them. Jealous, even. Sad for us. It's been nice having them be a six hour drive down the road from us. But I will now get to make that long awaited Italian vacation. 

Then end of month approached and I was just starting to ramp up some planning for attending the American Needlepoint Guild Seminar in Myrtle Beach in September. When one morning, rushing off to work, I fell right in front my own house. We used to have a half-step in our sidewalk that collected water and had puddles and ice and was generally useless. In the spring when we had our sidewalk redone they eliminated that half-step. 

Apparently that morning my muscle memory remembered the step. And down I went like the proverbially ton of bricks. I knew I'd hurt a finger on my left hand - I actually thought I'd ripped the nail off. And that my right knee was questionable. I limped back in the house. Bandaged my fingertip. Took ibuprofen and grabbed and ice pack for my knee which I kept on it while driving to work. 

The next morning I knew a visit to the ER was in order being a Sunday and all. 

Sure enough. Broken finger. (I think there were two broken fingers.) A splint. X-rays showed no broken bones in knee. A few days later I got to an MRI machine and few days after that I finally had a referral to an orthopedist. 

Meanwhile, I've been sitting with ice, ibuprofen, and the occasional vicodin. Hardly moving and watching my knee swell. And wallowing in self-pity because what if I had screwed up my trip.

I got to that fateful appointment with the orthopedist this past week. Had the needle under the kneecap to drain fluid. And then another to inject a steroid. Don't ask how much this hurts. Because I'll have to use very bad words. 

Meanwhile, all kinds of things that should have been getting done, weren't. Hubby stepped up nicely with cooking and laundry. But all my usual planning and organizing for Seminar wasn't happening. 

So today I sit here. Able to sit at a table again. First hurrah!

I've got water on the knee. This should dissipate with time. RIGHT. It's uncomfortable. And annoying. 

And I have nerve damage from the fall. Can't feel my skin from my kneecap to half-way done my leg. That's disquieting and strange. This, too, should improve with time. 

But I can move without massive amounts of pain. And I didn't tear anything major in the way of ligaments. I've got a follow-up appointment this week with Doctor Pain and then I am leaving for Myrtle Beach. 

Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sipper Progress

Charley Harper canvas I'm doing for my mom. Pretty straightforward. Only basketweave. Mostly Planet Earth silk. Except the flower is DMC #3 pearl and the hummingbird head is Silk Lame Braid. Needed just s touch of sparkle.

Name of this canvas is Lil' Sipper.

And that's how far two skeins of Planet Earth got me on the background. I've got three more skeins and two may be enough.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Finished Now Framed III

Here's the third and final piece I picked up on Saturday.

This is a Design by Kathy. I originally saw it stitched at Everything Cross Stitch in Fredericksburg. And it wowed me.

I think this is a Crossed Wing fabric, but it could be Picture This Plus.

Love, love, love it.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Finished Now Framed II

Quick photo at the frame shop as this on didn't come home with me.

They put the wire on like it's a square, but it's a diamond. Words should be level, people.

You can see the date - 2010. This was a diamond Quaker challenge for my guild from Pam Darney of Guildhouse Samplers.

We picked our size of diamond, our colors, and then turned traditional Quaker motifs to fit our space.

I decided that I was never going to go back and tweak the few things that bother me (slightly.) It's all about positioning.

Photo doesn't do justice to the red frame from Total Framing!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Finished Now Framed

Last Saturday I fell. Stupid. Broke a finger - ring finger none stitching hand, phew.

But I'm waiting to hear about the MRI on my knee. Could be an ACL tear. But here's a photo of the backside. Yikes.

Meanwhile picked up some newly framed stuff.

One Sleepy Hollow. Finished six years ago.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jack: in a Box

Here's a little piece I did and taught to my EGA guild yesterday. 

I got the idea from stitching Marilyn Owen's Halloween Treat that had a white ghost surrounded by Purple.

It's just two stitches - a slanted gobelin border and the interior is all byzantine.

Three threads and there you have it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bunny Surgery

 Here we have one ordinary bunny from Bunnies by the Bay names Ittybit. Maybe not so ordinary. He's really cute.

Ittybit is about to undergo surgery. 

Step one. Gather the supplies. Sewing machine, fabric, scissors, seam ripper, BBs, and a small funnel. 
Step two. Make a small rectangular bag using the sewing machine. 

Step three. Using the funnel, fill the bag with BBs. 

Step four. Sew the bag shut. 
Step five. Locate a bottom seam and use the seam ripper to open it up. How much? Large enough to stuff the bag into...
Step six. Stuff that bag of BBs into the bottom of the bunny. 

Step seven. Sew the bunny closed. In this case, I didn't have to be extra neat, as the fur covers a multitude of sins. 

Step eight. Flip him upright and laugh. He's just had the opposite of liposuction and he's completely adorable.

For those not in the canvas world, what I have created here is a frame weight. We use them to hold our frames on the edge of the table and then we can use both hands to stitch. 

Sometimes I use mine to counterweight a table stand when I'm working on a large piece. 


I'm officially licensed to practice needlework. No animals were harmed in the making of this frame weight.   

Sunday, August 02, 2015

The Alphabet Club

A day late because I haven't been keeping up with my reading. 
Trite as it may be, a is for alphabet. Because I've stitched a ton of them. Some without the letter j or u. Because that's how the schoolgirl's stitched them. You knew if the i or the v was a vowel or a consonant by its position in the word. I'm sure foreigners learning English are glad we decided to stop the double duty because English is difficult enough to learn. 
See these samplers? Three of them are Sekas designs and the 4th - bottom left is my own version following their designs. Funny when I started these, I didn't pay any attention to the fact they weren't all the same size. LOL. The white one with the moon that you can barely see is bigger. Bothers me to no end. 

Anyway, these used to hang in my dining room along with several other samplers. And once when my in-laws were visiting and they had old friends stop by, the wonderful gentleman said, "Donna, I have just one question for you. Do you think you finally know your alphabet?" I still think of him fondly. 

And yes. I know my alphabet. 

But a can be for other things. Like Assisi. 

I did this dragonfly a few years ago for my contribution to a thank you gift for our EGA guild president. My own design. 

And a can be for Amadeus. Like Jean Hilton's Amadeus stitch. 

 Jean Hilton was a fantastic designer of counted canvas. She did some fascinating stitch diagrams that are like converting string art to needlepoint. 

So feel free to go search for the info on The Alphabet Club. You'll find that Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and Chiara at The Grey Tail are behind this. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sometimes with the Stitching

Started this Charley Harper canvas on Tuesday. About 3 hours into it. That's a lot of background...

Using all Planet Earth silk except for ruby throat.

Name of this is Little Sipper and it's destiny is to be a pillow for my mother.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Always with the Stashing

Well. My name is Bad Girl.

And I have a problem.

I ran into the Patti Mann trunk show at work.

So bad. But I'm still smiling.

The spaceship one! Oh my.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Due to some karmic good timing, my husband is out of town while I'm tackling two big projects.

One is some major charting for someone. I've been learning tons about my graphing programs. And finally have gotten to the point where I rarely consult the manuals. That's where I spent most of today emerging from the office at 4:15 just in time to shower before heading off to a dinner meeting for my EGA chapter.

Then I came home to tackle the physical job. We have a stash sale on Saturday at our meeting and I've been given the stash of a friend who was a major collector. It's been occupying a section of our office for a while so it's good to see it leaving. But this meant I had to haul it all up the stairs. I'm exhausted.

This brings up that issue that we talk about from time to time - what will become of our stuff when we are no longer here? And didn't I just buy a stack of needlework books at the used bookstore? Ha!

I've got enough projects to stitch for several lifetimes. But I can't resist buying more canvases at work.

I've even been contemplating swapping my studio for the larger guest room.

Hello. I'm a stasholic.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Pillow Fight

So I've been kinda sick since going on retreat. Came home with bronchitis and I haven't picked up my needle in over a week.

But I did drag my half dead self into work today and found this pillow back from the finisher.

It's a Jean Smith canvas that I bought purposely to play with silk ribbon.

I love it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bride of Frankie

I bought one canvas in May from the Labors of Love trunk show at the shop.

It's the Bride of Frankie.

I'm on retreat this weekend and after I finished my obligation stitching, I started it. Her face is Impressions and pearl cotton with a tiny bit of silvery white Petite Silk Lame in her eyes.

Her dress is pearl cotton and Silk Lame 18 ct.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pillow Finish

Year of the Ox canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs.

I found this in a bargain bin in January, pulled threads and took it to Hawaii with me. I'm in love with these colors - that's why I bought it. Took me a while to find the correct color velvet for finishing (which I didn't do myself.)

Basketweave on 13ct is so relaxing...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Finished - Two Ornaments

Here are photos of some finishing I got back last month.

A Streetcar Named Desire came from the Garden District Needleworks a few years ago. I have one more New Orleans themed ornament left to stitch. This is 4 of 5.

The sheep is by Derek Clark and is available through Amanda Lawford designs. I think this is too cute. I'm in love with his designs.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Needlepoint Book

Just thought I'd share my little bit of fun in Jo's new edition of The Needlepoint Book.

My frame weight, which I designed for a bargello class for my EGA Guild, is on page 18.

Thought I'd show it to you in color.

Jo is a lovely person who lives and works in northern Virginia which is how I came to meet her at a shop. Then she needed people to review photos of projects for possible inclusion in her book and I did my part helping out with that. It was all fun, for me anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Halloween Treat Progress

All the boxes are done except for the ones where the buttons belong.

I located my collection of buttons yesterday that I had amassed as possibilities for this piece and I'm not happy with them.

I have two options - continue the search for buttons I like or make fabric ones.

Or wait. Third option. Add beads.

I've always been a big admirer of Plan C.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Halloween Treat

We did this project in my ANG Chapter. I don't remember exactly when - 1-2 years ago.

I finally decided to pick it back up.

Last weekend I finished the bargello block and the block in the upper left.

This week I finished the ghost. And I'm halfway through the top right block today - not in this photo.

I need to locate all the buttons I collected as possibilities for the piece. There somewhere upstairs...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day Tripper

Took the Metro to D.C. to visit the DAR for a Tuesday Talk on samplers.

The current exhibition is on early Maryland and Virginia quilts. Pictures are from the exhibit. The cherry tree is just a bonus from my walk home.