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!

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