The family and I traveled down to Alexandria this weekend to visit the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition. We left on Friday afternoon after the roads had started getting slushy so it was a slow go all the way through New Jersey. The posted speed on the NJ Turnpike was 35 mph and traffic was traveling that slowly. By the time we got to Delaware the snow had changed to rain and had stopped entirely once we got through Maryland. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria along with an untold number of school groups, including several competition cheerleading teams. I’m not sure who were more boisterous – the kids or the chaperones!
Saturday started out quite gray and a bit chilly. We decided to get to Woodlawn (about 20 minutes from our hotel) about 10:00 a.m. when the exhibit first opened. My husband insisted it was 50 degrees but I seriously doubted that. We did decide that it was a big mistake getting there first thing – the line getting into the exhibit actually had to be metered and once in the rooms it was difficult to see the pieces because of the crowds. I had of course forgotten that ladies of a certain age (I keep thinking back to my mother but of course realize it now means me) generally get up early and like to be places early!
Fortunately, we made a second circuit through the rooms and found that the crowds had actually thinned out so that we could linger a bit more. This was my/our first visit to the Woodlawn exhibit and I was awestruck at the number of stitched pieces and the beauty of them all. And the arrangement of the pieces by the organizers was outstanding. I particularly liked the samplers as did my husband although Nora was not quite as impressed. She was taken by the fairies and mermaids in several rooms.
I also really liked the Japanese embroideries, including several kimonos. There was a demonstration of Japanese embroidery (so detailed) as well as goldwork during the time that we visited.
Our jaws dropped when we reached the geometrics and the display of all of our Frankies. It was really quite a showing! And the fact that there were awards just made it more fun! I can see a display of A Different View next year!
I was told by two other visitors that this year’s exhibit was not as large as in previous years nor were there as many different states/countries represented as in the past. It seemed like a goodly number of pieces to me although it is (as one would expect) heavily oriented to Virginia and Maryland. Maybe next year we can have a larger showing from New Jersey!
Of course, after visiting the exhibit we had to stop at In Stitches, which is conveniently located just a mile up the road from Woodlawn on the way back to Old Town Alexandria. They were doing a brisk business and quite a few customers were either coming from or heading to the exhibit. The shop is heavily stocked with cross stitch charts but also carries needlepoint canvases and charts. I purchased a few more charts for both cross stitch and needlepoint to add to my collection! Nora has volunteered to start cataloging my charts over the summer since I have long past the point where I remember whether I already have a chart or just recognize it from various magazines and internet posts.
We did spend Saturday afternoon walking around Old Town Alexandria and visiting the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Nora and I had discovered this gem a few years ago when we were in Alexandria for Spring Break. It is located on the waterfront and houses more than 75 artists’ studios and galleries. Dinner last night was at Gadsby’s Tavern, which has been serving meals since 1770. We thoroughly enjoyed the “historic” experience. We drove back today which was a more enjoyable experience (if a more than four hour drive can be termed enjoyable) than the trip on Friday. It was nice to pull into the driveway and see the asphalt surface again.
We are already planning to return to the exhibit next year – at least Mr. Mosch and I will since Nora will be off at college.
By the way, for those who are still planning to attend, I just received a message that the exhibit will be open on Tuesday, March 24 and March 31, since they had to close other days due to snow.