Stitch of the Month – June

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Eight of the SOTM group gathered on Saturday to once again enjoy a day of stitching. The weather was warm and sunny but we did have some nice breezes and our stitching afternoon was quite enjoyable.

We had a small stitching crisis at the beginning of our session. Jill came prepared to start on Stars this month and had basted the outlines of the squares. She noticed that the basting just didn’t seem quite right. Margaret checked to make sure that the basting lines were all correct (how easy it is to jump over a thread or two). We made sure the stretcher bars were at right angles (they were). Jill tried remounting the canvas, which didn’t work. Finally, we got out a t-square, a drafter’s triangle, and a quilter’s cutting mat and lined up the basting lines. Lo and behold, the canvas was warped and there was a 1/2 inch difference in the line over the length of the project!

Jill was prepared to make a run over to The Edwardian Needle to get another canvas so that she could start her stitching. Fortunately, we were able to find a piece of blank canvas (and luckily it was the right size); Jill re-basted her piece and was able to start her stitching.

The rest of us continued our work on Stars and we all commented on how the individual squares look so different depending on which colorway we used. All of the pieces are just beautiful.

Dee, who is working on A Different View, completed the third octagon yesterday. It is stunning in those colors on the black canvas. She is now deciding on which design to stitch for the fourth octagon.

With apologies to Sylvia and Margaret, who left before I remembered to take a picture of our pieces, here is our progress on these pieces. Top row is Nancy’s in Granite and Jill’s just-started piece in her own colorway (which will be spectacular). Middle row left is mine in Egyptian Nights and Joan’s in Plum Honey (notice Joan is almost finished!). Bottom row is Mally’s, also in Granite. Sylvia sent a picture of hers later that day; she is stitching the Royalty colorway. (And many apologies if I got the colorway or attribution incorrect.)

Do not think that Jill has been slacking off this year, as she completed My Way and brought it along with her yesterday to share.  Isn’t it colorful?  And look at how Dee’s piece sparkles even without all those beads!

Jill & Dee 2 - June

I will remember to take pictures of all the pieces together next month!

We are all having a great time at these monthly sessions and seeing how everyone’s pieces are evolving.  Until next time …

Happy Stitching!

 

 

Stars for a New Milennium

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I had decided to do Stars for a New Milennuim for our 2017 Stitch of the Month but was still (and still am!) working on the 2016 SOTM and had not had a chance to get my threads for Stars. I finally decided to do the Jelly Bean colorway after looking at all the overdyes at The Gazebo outside New Hope. I was passing The Gazebo again and only had my thread list (without colors) on my phone so I bought what I could but decided the Tangerine threads listed were too brown for my liking.

Since I had the overdye and my canvas mounted, I decided to start stitching the middle border to see how it would look. I then took a trip to The Edwardian to finish picking my threads since I knew they’d have a better selection of threads and be easier to spread out and decide what I wanted to do. After about 3 hours and with much help from Catherine Curia and one of the workers at the shop (sorry I don’t remember her name), I picked out the rest of my threads.

I had done the center of the first block before our May SOTM and only had a short time available to stitch on Saturday but enjoyed seeing epwhat others were doing and how far they had gotten. I did get one of the squares started around the center of block 1. I was enjoying stitching it so much, I decided to try to finish block 1 this week and did as you can see.

I’m finding this a fun piece to stitch that works up quickly. I’m loving my colors, which are way outside my comfort zone! I hoping the rest of the piece is as much fun and goes as quickly. It’s amazing how different each of the color ways look. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone pieces throughout the year.

 

SOTM 5/13

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We didn’t manage to take photos of all our pieces yesterday for a variety of reasons, so here is my “My Way.” I’ve finished four of the six squares — but don’t think I’m a speed demon, I had all the borders done as well as two of the squares before NJNA started this SOTM. (It was offered through CyberPointers a couple of years ago, and I started it then.) I’ve also bought threads to do “Stars,” so I need to get “My Way” done so I can catch up to the Stars stitchers!

Here are photos of the square I just finished along with the whole piece in its current state.

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four done small

EGA Regional Seminar: Fire and Ice

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Hi Everyone —

Several of our NJNA members participated in the EGA Metropolitan Regional Seminar in Florham Park this weekend.  Following our arrival on Friday afternoon, shopping in a wonderful boutique provided by Needleworker’s Delight, and  taking our chances on about fifteen beautiful opportunity baskets, we settled down to two days of concentrated stitching.

I’ll let others report for themselves, but Diane, Barbara L, Jill, and I were all enrolled in “Fire ad Ice” taught by Toni Gerdes.  This is about my fifth Toni class, so I knew it would be a wonderful class.

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Toni’s original Fire and Ice

Here’s my progress at the end of the weekend:

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Rosie’s Weekend Progress

I hope that I’ll be able to find some time to continue to work on this beautiful piece.  I am even more interested now that I know the inspiration behind the project.  This beautiful building in Kansas is an annex to the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History in NYC.

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Prairie Fire Museum

The architect used the red dichroic glass to simulate fire, and Toni found her inspiration for this lovely needlepoint piece.  Can you see it?

Just imagine being able to create a piece based on this beautiful building and then being able to teach it to the multitudes!  Color me impressed!

Keep on stitching!

Rosie

PS — I “won” one of those opportunity baskets!

Winter Adventure

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Hi Everyone —

While watching all the angst about cancelling the NJNA meeting due to weather…..this is me coming in after a trek to the Barrow grocery store in about -15 degrees and windy and dark.  I was told it was a two-block walk, but actually it was more like six blocks each way.  The snow was too cold to be slippery, but I was walking blind!

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One night we went to the Heritage Center and had a private tour of the whaling museum.  I thought you all might enjoy seeing this Inuit sewing kit.  You can see the sharp leather cutter and the awl for making holes in the leather all contained nicely on a sealskin thong.  So clearly we needlepointers were not the first to invent scissor fobs!  The small leather gathered piece is a thimble.  The floss above the tool is caribou gut which was used as thread.

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Whales were another source of fiber — this picture shows a baleen (one of hundreds in each whale’s mouth).  The baleen is hard with brittle threads (cilia?) but after soaking, you can pull on a thread and pull it all the way to the end of the baleen.  We saw baleens that were about five feet long to ones that were about two feet long — apparently the length depends upon the location in the whale’s mouth.  These threads were traditionally used to weave baskets.

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I hope you find this as fascinating as I did.  I think I would really love to take a course in making a pair of traditional mukluk boots!  Do you think ANG would consider it for a national seminar?

Cheers, Rosie

 

Winter travels, addendum

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Oops, I totally forgot to comment on a stop I made on the way home from DC.  As per Linda M’s suggestion, I stopped at Hillside Stitchery in Stevenson, MD.  As I was driving, I could not understand where the shop might be since at the exit, one drives for a few miles in quite the bucolic setting.  Then all of a sudden there is this sweet little shopping plaza, in which the needlepoint shop resides.  The staff and owner couldn’t have been nicer.  They currently have a NeedleDeeva trunk show.  One of the staff members had stitched and displayed quite a few samples of the Needledeeva canvases.  I was quite taken with one of the faces she had done.  I did decide to purchase the canvas (again without the aid of an enabler).  So, the staff member allowed me to take a photo of her work and she also made a color copy of the canvas and wrote down the stitches that she used.  I could not believe how accommodating she was.  The shop also featured some totes in which you could put inserts or sew the canvas onto the front of the bag.  Great choices!  If you are going to see the Woodlawn exhibit, I highly recommend that you stop and take a look.  I wish the shop well and hope they have staying power.  They deserve it.

Winter travels

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So, I have had some fun travel adventures this winter.  I apologize for no photos, but when I get any where near new fiber/stitching sources, I lose my head and forget to do what I want to do to blog.

So in February, we spent a little bit of time on both coasts of Florida visiting with friends.  First we ventured to Siesta Key which is a barrier reef island right next to Sarasota.  My host is not a needlework enthusiast, but she indulged me.  Boy, am I glad she did!  First stop was the Needlepoint Studio of Sarasota.  What a nice, welcoming, bright shop.  There were stitching stations all over the store, with lights and magnification.  I wanted to spend the rest of my vacation there stitching, but alas, I remained polite to my hosts.  There were beautiful canvases everywhere, lots of threads and a great assortment of books.  I added to my library with a purchase of The Handbook of Ribbon Embroidery by Ann Cox.  I’m very excited to have this well illustrated reference book as I am taking some lessons from Pam at Edwardian Needle in Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I know this book will be helpful in the hours that I am away from Pam.

Down the road by no more than a 1/4 mile was A Good Yarn.  What a great yarn shop. This shop too was very bright, with lots of knitted samples and lots of sales help.  I also did damage in there.  My friend was not much help, as she was enabling me.  I was told that the two shops used be to be located right next door to each other.  If I lived there full time, I would just bring a cot and never leave.

Next we moved on to the east coast of Florida to Palm Beach Gardens.  This host is a fiber enthusiast (along with her daily golf obsession), so there was no twisting of arms to go take a look.  The needlework shop near where she is located was not such a good one, so I will not mention it by name.  However, while we were there, we unfortunately needed to make a condolence visit with another friend.  So we took a drive further south of where we were staying.  Of course, I was furiously googling needlepoint shops near “current location”.  I found a gem in Delray Beach, called Stitches by the Sea.  The shop is small but full of life and stitchers who crowd around working on their canvases.  Lots of bright cheery motifs with lots of Kreinik in them.  This shop had a Penny McCloud trunk show.  Without any enablers around, I managed to order a canvas of a funky looking face that I can’t wait to start on, once it gets here, of course.  The sample in the shop was so much fun, but stitch guides are not written down.  However, I was allowed to take photos of what was there.  I will not publish it here because I did not get permission for that.

March brought me to what will probably turn into an annual trek to see the Woodlawn exhibit.  I stayed with my dear friends in Chevy Chase and I spent the day that I went to Woodlawn with the “other” Barbara L.  We started out at the shop in Arlington called In Stitches.  I’m pleased to report that there are many more canvases available for purchase than last year.  There is also lots of cross stitch.  I did not notice if any of the charts were for canvaswork.  Again, everyone was cheery and helpful.  I was able to reign myself in at this shop.  We had lunch at Mt. Vernon and then headed over to Woodlawn.  Of course, Barbara and I had some fun with the registration lady when she asked for our names.  She did do a double take when we both used the same name!  We got there a few minutes late for the docent led tour of the winning pieces in the exhibit, but since the “other” Barbara L is friends with the retired ANG judge, Kathy Meyers, who gives the tour, we were allowed to join in.  Although this year’s exhibit is smaller than last year’s, the work is just breathtaking.  I am always so awe struck.  Kathy’s talk was so informative.  She pointed out that not all of the winning pieces looked complicated, but that the stitching was so superb, they were awarded ribbons based on their excellence.  The judging that takes place here is based on a system called consensus judging.  (Kathy, please forgive me if I get some of this wrong.)  The three judges have their sheets on which they tally marks in many areas and then award one ribbon for first place, and many ribbons for second, third and honorable mention.  The three judges then confer and and they must agree on how to award the ribbons.  At the ANG national seminar exhibit, the three judges write down their marks, they are added together and the highest number gets the blue ribbon, etc.  Little things like a wobbly stitch, shadows of threads in the back and even how the piece is finished can affect the marks.  Like things are judged together.  In other words, the cross stitch is not mixed in with the canvas pieces.  They do separate out soft finishes (like pillows) from hard finishes (frames).  Hopefully, I got this right.  But with the little I did glean from the talk, I have added respect for our chapter winners.  Kudos to you!

March will bring me another travel adventure since I am heading out to CA to babysit my “little people” while their Mommy and Daddy take a much needed break.  However, I start my trip with a class by Susan Portra at Luv2Stitch in San Mateo.  More about that next time!