Woodlawn Drop-off 2023


On Wednesday, Mr. M and I headed down I-95 to Alexandria to drop off NJNA members’ needlework for the 60th Annual Needlework Show at Woodlawn. This trip was a bit different than those in the past – the weather cooperated (past years have seen us travel through torrential rain and even snow); we didn’t have to stop at the Mt. Laurel Starbucks as Melita was able to drop off her and the other Linda M’s pieces at our holiday luncheon earlier this year; and, we were able to get an appointment on Thursday instead of Saturday since Mr. M is now retired.

We woke up on Wednesday to a bit of snow on the ground, not an auspicious start for the trip. But the weather was dry and we did finally manage to see sun by the time we hit the Maryland border. We stopped in Catonsville at Matthews 1600 for lunch where I enjoyed a deconstructed brie flatbread (a small wheel of brie, cranberry-pear chutney, chopped pecans, and flatbread pieces). Fortunately, we did bring along a cooler bag so the brie will be enjoyed over the weekend.

We arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon with enough time to take a short nap (travel is so exhausting) and get some stitching done before heading out to dinner. We dined at a restaurant we found last year on our way back from the Williamsburg retreat – Old House Cosmopolitan Grill. Mr. M enjoyed Cordon Bleu while I had the Züricher Geschnetzeltes, accompanied by a white wine from Bosnia-Herzegovina. We did save room for dessert – Apfel Kuechle for the gentleman and Pistachio-Raspberry Cheesecake for the lady.

This morning we headed over to Woodlawn to submit the 27 pieces from 15 NJNA members. As always, the volunteers who staff the Exhibit were happy to see us and expressed their appreciation for our continued support of the fundraiser. The needlework filled the trunk of my Mazda 3!

Fortunately, our packaging system, which we’ve implemented over the last few years, proved to be effective in getting the pieces unloaded and ready for logging into the system. The volunteers were well-organized and ready for us – a large table was set aside for the pieces. Since we had so many, we did wind up using a second table.

The staff then carefully examined each piece and noted whether there were any nicks in the frames or any distortion in the canvas/linen. Each piece was then assigned a number, which will be the number you see in the Exhibit listing. Our numbers start at 204.

As we walked around the tables examining and logging the pieces, we did discuss the judging process. I was told that the judges see the pieces exactly as shown in the photos – placed on the tables. The judges do not see the back of the piece at all. They are also instructed to evaluate the stitching only – how the piece is finished, the condition of the finish, and whether the ground material has buckled are not considerations in the judging process. I thought that information was good to know.

We talked about buckling of ground material, whether due to the type of stitch used or some other factor such as humidity. It was recommended that pieces be laced to the mounting board rather than pinned; lacing allows for better control of how well the piece is mounted. I attended a workshop last October at which lacing was demonstrated. The speaker takes her pieces to the framer prior to lacing to select the framing molding. She determines the amount of the overhang for the molding as well as the distance from the edge of the stitching to the framing to calculate the size for her mounting board.

NJNA is known for bringing one piece stitched in various colorways. This year we had the 2021 ANG Stitch-of-the-Month, Stratigraphy by Jennifer Riefenberg. Although we only had three versions, they were all very different with one done in the original grays, one in browns, and one very colorful.

Way back when, our first multiple colorway entry was Michael Boren’s Frankie! which was a 2014 workshop submitted to Woodlawn in 2015. At that time, they were all showcased in one room on a single wall.

Since then, our multiple colorway submissions have been scattered throughout the Exhibit. I was told that the single wall treatment overwhelmed the visitors, and they did not stop to look at the differences in the colorways. Obviously, they were not stitchers! However, scattering the pieces throughout the Exhibit has allowed the organizers to use them as a scavenger hunt for children. The kids are told that there are X number of pieces that are the same and asked if they can find them. It sounds like fun; Mr. M and I always comment when we find similar pieces. This year they are going to try to hang all three Stratigraphy pieces together.

We were complimented on our packaging system and were told they wished other groups adopted the same standards. Whether it’s the best, I don’t dare comment. But we were able to unload the car, unpack the pieces, and have them evaluated/logged in under one hour!

Once we finished with the drop-off we headed over to Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant for a leisurely lunch and some browsing at the shop. Dinner tonight was at a restaurant that Melita and Bill found – The Warehouse. Tomorrow will be a sightseeing day (yes, there are still places in the area we haven’t visited) and we’ll head home on Saturday.

We’re looking forward to visiting the Exhibit in March. It opens on Wednesday, March 1, and runs through March 31. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can be purchased at the Woodlawn website. The café will be open for dining this year. We were tortured with the aroma of the cookies baking while we were there this morning!

I hope that you all have a chance to visit the Exhibit to see the fabulous needlework that is submitted. In addition, there are needlework demonstrations and other activities throughout the month of March.

I do want to thank all of the NJNA members who submitted pieces to this wonderful Exhibit. NJNA’s support of this Exhibit is truly appreciated.

Happy Stitching!


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