Background Sampler Workshop – Day 3

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Seven members of NJNA met with Cathryn C at Needleworker's Delight in Metuchen for the third and final day of our Background Sampler workshop. Today would focus on the four corner sections as well as address any questions from the earlier sections.

As usual, Cathryn teased us by doing an easy stitch first in the upper left corner – couched window pane with filler – which went quickly. She then moved us onto a little more challenge with an eyelets pattern in the lower left. After lunch, the real challenge began with the Oriental Octagon stitch in the upper right corner, which is sort of like blackwork! Imagine that David McCaskill's Background Sampler II has overlapping oriental octagons! Even Kevin commented you could hear a pin drop with the concentration as we all counted! We ended the day with the Diagonal Trellis in the bottom right, another wise move by Cathryn to end on a bit easier stitch!

As always, Kevin and Jimmy from Needlworker's Delight are outstanding hosts, providing lunch and snacks throughout the day in addition to the excellent lighting in the work space. It's a wonderful shop that is friendly and welcoming in addition to having an excellent supply of charts, canvas, painted canvas, threads, and needlework tools.

Thanks again to Cathryn and Needleworker's Delight for providing this opportunity for us. We'll look forward to our next workshop.

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2017 SOTM – October

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Eight of us gathered for our monthly stitching, chatting, and eating.  It’s hard to believe that we are getting near to the end of the 2017 project.  We’re still having fun stitching on Stars for a New MillenniumMy Way, and Ruby Razzle Dazzle.

Here is the latest update on Stars for a New Millennium – starting from the top left and proceeding clockwise are projects stitched by Jill, Sylvia, Margaret, Diane, and Linda. 

Stars - October

Sue is continuing with My Way; she has decided to do one block and use it as an insert in a box.  Her turquoise, copper and white combination is fabulous.  Rosie is determined to finish Ruby Razzle Dazzle and is making great progress!  Joan has started My Way but left before the pictures were taken.

My Way-Ruby - October

We are beginning to think about our project for next year!

Happy Stitching!

A stitching retreat

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This past weekend five NJNA members attended a stitching retreat offered by the Monmouth Chapter, EGA, in Voorhees, NJ. There is a needlepoint shop nearby in Merchantville, the Nimble Needle, run by Karen Milano.  Karen opened earlier in the day than her usual hours and gave those attending the retreat a 20% discount!  Her new location is roomier, and it is much easier to find threads.  Karen has a wonderful selection of threads as well as great accessories (think magnets, with bling and without).  She is also wonderful at helping select the threads needed for a painted canvas.  

Then it was on to stitch.   There were twenty three of us taking over the Hampton Inn along with the families participating in a boys soccer tournament.  We had the large meeting room with wonderful lighting both day and night.  (I never used my light and stitched on congress cloth without my magnifiers!). We sat at round tables with four Stitcher’s at a table, ample room for us to spread out our supplies.  Most of us worked on several projects during the three days we stitched.  We took over the room at three Friday afternoon with all our bags and carts, set up our edible treats and were ready to go.  Stitching continued after dinner with participants dropping out for bed as the evening progressed.  Last one out locked the door and first one up to stitch asked the front desk to open the room.  

There were a wide variety of eating places within five miles on route 73.  Or you could walk across the parking lot and eat at the Voorhees Diner which almost everyone did on Saturday evening.  If you had been there, you would have seen Ada D. working on her Japanese embroidery and a birth sampler.  Ellen S. divided her time between a painted canvas of a snowman and a counted Bargello design, “My Favorite Things”.  Tina F. spent her time working on a birth sampler for her grandson.. Sue R. has a beautiful painted cuff she was stitching as well as a painted autumn canvas on which she was stitching a beaded pumpkin and the background in a sign for her newly painted bathroom.  Sue C. Divided her time between the chapter project, the Magic Shell and beginning her Bargello, “My Favorite Things” which she bought after seeing Ellen’s–I finished purchasing the threads at Nimble Needle on Friday.

There are so many benefits to a retreat like this, time to escape from your daily life–no laundry, no meal preparation, no work!  It is a chance to meet new stitchers and to share ideas among all, a chance to see new designs and projects and to admire the work of others.  We learned the names of excellent finishers for our beautiful pieces. We heard about good shops and what they offer.  Best of all a productive, relaxing weekend for all.  By Sunday at three we were headed back to the real world refreshed.


Sue

Sturbridge Stitching Retreat 2017

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These past two days have seen me at the Stitcher’s Hideaway retreat in Sturbridge, MA. I had a wonderful time stitching on Thanksgiving Sampler designed and taught by the wonderful Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler.

Thanksgiving Sampler

This beautiful piece is stitched on 28-count linen both over two and over one, and includes many specialty stitches in addition to cross stitch and Hardanger. Our homework in advance of the class was to stitch the Kloster Blocks needed for the Hardanger. I stitched a lot of the cross stitches as well as some of the specialty stitches for placement. I also stitched the Kloster Blocks on a practice piece because of my intense fear of cutting the fabric on the project piece when I’m sitting in class.

I did some stitching in class and made some progress on the piece. The lighting in my room was not conducive to getting a really good photo, but it gives the general idea of how much has been stitched so far. We spent the day on Monday going through all the specialty stitches, which included Rhodes Hearts, Algerian Eyelets, Smyrnas, Knit Stitch, and Arrowhead Stitch.

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My Progress

On Tuesday we started on the Hardanger with the morning devoted to cutting and the afternoon to stitching. As I said, I have this horrific fear of cutting the threads in class so I do that all on a practice piece. Here are the photos of the first section of cutting as well as my progress on my Greek Crosses and the Dove’s Eyes.

Practice Piece 1

Morning Cutting

Practice Piece 2

Afternoon Stitching

We had a great time and I learned a lot. This is the third class I’ve taken with Thea and I definitely have more confidence about the Hardanger. I may even complete this piece sometime in the near future!

The model was finished as a wall hanging. I usually frame my pieces but our project included the fabric, which is luscious, for the wall hanging so I may even attempt that type of finish.

Fabric

Fabric Pack

In addition to the stitching we had wonderful meals, exchanged autumnal-themed needlework gifts, and had a great show-and-tell. There were quite a few new attendees this year (about twelve out of forty), so I was able to meet and chat with people from previous retreats as well as many newbies.

I will be traveling back tomorrow so I’m hoping I avoid the traffic and the weather cooperates.

Happy Stitching!

 

NJNA Workshop!

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Hi Everyone —

Twelve of us met this weekend at Needleworker’s Delight in Metuchen for the first two days of our three day workshop of David McCaskill’s “Background Stitches 1” led by our own Cathryn C.  Our hosts at the shop were long on hospitality and we had a wonderful time learning, stitching, shopping, eating, and chatting.

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I, for one, have a few new ideas for my Lombard Street canvas!  Now I have lots of stitching to do before the next session in November!

Thanks to Tina for arranging the workshop!

Cheers, Rosie

September SOTM

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Hi Everyone —

We had another great SOTM session today at Sue C’s.   Everyone is making great progress on Stars of the New Millennium by Toni Minieri.

 

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Aren’t the various colorways magnificent?  The same star can look startlingly different from one to the next.

Of course, a few of us are working on the alternative “My Way” and some of us are still on “Razzle Dazzle” from two years ago!

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We are already starting to discuss next year’s project!

Cheers, Rosie

 

One person’s eclipse story

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Staying in Asheville for the eclipse the day following the end of the seminar seemed like a good plan, but after the banquet on the last night there were many distressing stories.  Our plan–Jill and myself–was to leave our hotel after breakfast for the hotel in downtown Asheville where we would spend Monday evening.  Then we would wander through the shops during the day and ending at the designated eclipse park in downtown Asheville.  When we were leaving the banquet, we were told that downtown Asheville would be closed on Monday.  Now what.  We postponed any decision until Monday.  There was nothing on the internet about shops closing so we left before nine expecting lots of traffic.  There was very little.  We got to the hotel, parked, sat in the lobby with a cup of coffee and layed out our walking route before setting forth.  Almost all the shops were open but there was virtually no foot traffic in these stores.  It seems that most people were staying away from the area.  About one we walked towards the Pack Park where the downtown event was being held.  As we walked we saw more and more people headed in the same direction.  The park is small and had a number of families set up on blankets. There was music as well as activities going on for the youngsters.  We found a place across the street with trees for shade and a low wall for sitting where we waited and watched.  At that time there were some clouds in the sky but it was easy to see the moon “eating” the sun using our eclipse glasses–thanks to the library for supplying them.  As the time for the maximum coverage approached, larger and larger clouds appeared and we were concerned that we would not be able to see it.  Watching constantly was difficult because you needed to crane your neck.  One diligent woman kept us all posted and shouted out when the sun was visible!  The clouds broke open for about a five minute window with the maximum coverage right in the middle of the window!  As we waited the sky got dark enough for the street lights to come on.  The maximum darkness was similar to the time right after sunset in Asheville where the coverage was 99%.  It was a great experience and fun enjoying it with friendly strangers appreciating the same event.