Author Archives: bglmom

Needlepoint Geography

Standard

As many of you local folks know, I spend a lot of time in CA with my “little people”.  My last trip there coincided with the celebration of the spring major religious holidays.  In my case this meant celebrating at a Passover seder.  Now in Jewish culture (not religion) we have a “thing” called Jewish geography.  It is similar to Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation.  In it, when we meet someone new, we begin by finding out their geographical history, immediately followed by, do you know “ so and so”?  Inevitably we find some distant way in which we are connected. Now bear with me, this blog entry is not about Jewish geography, but really is about needlepoint geography and friendship.

It just so happened that on the second day of the Passover holiday, I had two invitations for the seder.  My daughter’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting a kids’ seder.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting an adults only seder.  So I figured out a way to attend both.  

Since I was arriving late to my sister-in-law’s and brother-in-law’s seder I knew the religious part would already be underway. So, I tried very hard to enter the room as inconspicuously as possible.  Rather than climb over people to my assigned seat, I just plopped myself down in an available seat at the end of one of the tables.  I knew the woman to my right, but the woman to the left of me had her head down and so I paid her no attention.

After a bit I got up to use the rest room.  As I was returning to the table, the woman who had been to my left got up and whispered to me, “Barbara, I know you.”  It took me a moment to place her since she was out of context.  I soon realized that this woman was Deb R.  I knew her from the shop in San Mateo, Luv2Stitch, where I hang out to stitch while visiting the west coast.  She has also been present at the few ANG chapter meetings out there that I have managed to attend.

As I was thinking to myself, but trying to not say, “what is she doing here?”, Deb asked me that very question.  I paused and said, uh, my husband is Marcia’s (our hostess’) brother.  At that point, Deb said, “get out.  I’ve been in this family for 32 years.”  To that I replied that I had been in the family for 44 years.  Now my curiosity was really piqued.

For many years I had heard my brother-in-law speak of his Long Island, NY childhood friend, “Rocky”, who lived on the west coast and helped to ease the family’s transition when they moved to the the Bay area back in the ‘70s.  I believe I even met Rocky’s mother at another long ago seder.  So I was a bit more than surprised when Deb asked if I had ever heard of Rocky.  I said, “of course!”  It turns out that Deb is Rocky’s (aka Joe’s) wife.  We were both thunderstruck.

By now the religious part of the meal was over and visiting time really began in earnest.  

During the year or so in which I became acquainted with Deb, we had happily been sharing wedding planning notes since her son got married the same weekend that our daughter did, last fall.  At some point, my brother-in-law Elliot came over and Deb suddenly said to him, “that’s why you didn’t come to our son’s wedding!”  The connections went on from there.  Deb was sharing how her daughter was a speech therapist.  I started to laugh and told her that so was mine.  At that point, Rocky chimed in that their daughter had consulted my daughter several times before deciding to enter the field.  Deb and I were further amused!  

Needlepoint shops, ANG chapters, shared wedding weekend and daughters in the same field made this out of context encounter so much fun!  I think in that short hour and a half I went from having a very nice needlepoint acquaintance to having a lovely, fun needlepoint friend.

Now that is how needlepoint geography works!

Advertisements

Nashville Needleworks

Standard

As most of us do when we travel, we scout out local needlework shops.  I am no exception and recently found a jewel of a shop called Nashville Needleworks owned by Connie Camp.

It is a lovely, bright welcoming shop with two rooms.  One has a large table around which stitchers are always seated. There are hand painted canvases all over the shop of varying subject matter.  What struck me the most was the abundance of thread.  There were one or two threads I could not get locally, but there are walls of all the different color ways.  The picture on the bottom left is just Kreinik.  I did not end up purchasing a canvas, but did buy a kit for a frame weight that had been from a class taught at the shop in regard to beading.  I’d love to start that project soon, but the queue is rather long at the moment.  Of course, I did the obligatory magnet needle minder purchase as well.  Brenda Soffit is going to be teaching a remarkable rabbit that employs needle felting.  I’m sorry I did not get a picture of that.  It was so special that the rabbit was under a glass dome.

The store is known for its needlepoint retreats that are only open to out of owners.  Information on those can be found on FaceBook or call the shop.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit!

Needlework Friendships

Standard

As most of you have realized by now, being a needlework enthusiast brings with it, its own brand of friendship.  The non initiated think of needlework as a solitary activity.  It certainly can be that and many of us relish that alone time doing repetitive movement and creating at the same time.  However, the uninformed are astounded when I say, that needlework for me has a huge social aspect.  I have dear friends across the country that I have made over the years at conventions, classes, from guild memberships and stitch-ins.  Perhaps the dearest friendships of this type are with three ladies from my time spent on the national board of the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA).  We met in 1985 as each of us was going on to the board for the first time. (Technically, one of us came onto the board a year or two later, but we never seem to keep the facts of that story straight.)  Let me introduce you.  I (Barbara) am from NJ.  Bonnie is from Wisconsin, Cary is from Alabama and Regina is from the East End of Long Island.

This friendship of ours certainly defies all odds.  We are from different parts of the country, have different religious and political beliefs, had very different professional aspirations and have led very different lives.  We have no idea what binds us together so tightly, but it is quite evident that there is an abundance of chemistry.  We may not speak for months at a time, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off.  Our largest claim to fame are our giggles.  There are lots and lots of those.

We meet usually once a year.  Formerly, we always got together at the annual SAGA convention, but as our needlework interests migrated we breached out and started meeting in other places.  For many years, the ladies came to Long Beach Island to my beach house, but when I sold it (to spend more time in CA with the “little people” ), we had to get creative again.  It can take us months to plan (just coming up with mutually convenient dates is quite the challenge) but there is not much that keeps us away from our appointed get together.  I missed once because of a death in my family and one time Cary got as far as Charlotte and then the flight was canceled due to weather.  This year it looked as if Bonnie wouldn’t make it because of a blizzard in Wisconsin, but somehow she got there at the appointed hour.

So where did we go this year?  We went to Nashville.  Now one might think we saw the Country Music Hall of Fame or that we took the tour of the Grand ‘ole Opry, but you would be wrong.  What we did mostly was scout out yarn stores and the one needlepoint shop, Nashville Needleworks (more about that in another shorter blog entry) and hang out in our suite hotel to knit, stitch and laugh. Cary’s grandmother was from Nashville so we did do some driving to see some of the mansions and horse farms off the beaten track. No honky tonk nightlife for us.

We all cherish this friendship and will be devastated when we can no longer manage these trips.  We are always up for suggestions on places to go.  However, SAGA turns forty this year.  We are hoping to make an appearance at the convention in the fall to honor the legacy of SAGA and more importantly the treasure of our friendship.

I will attempt to upload a photo of us at a yarn store in Nashville called Bliss.  That is such an appropriate adjective for how we feel about each other.  From left to right, standing is Bonnie followed by Cary.  Seated on the left is Regina and on the right, yours truly.  Now let’s hear about your needlework friendships.IMG_0246

My Home away from Home

Standard

Every other month, I go to the Bay area in CA for an a couple of weeks to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and my “little people”  There are three of the latter, ages 7, 5, and 1.  As you can imagine, it’s a very busy household, so that is why I go so frequently.

Sometimes it is a little difficult (notice the little – after all I’m with the “little people”) being away from my normal routine, which includes hanging out with my stitching friends at Edwardian Needle.  However, I am really a lucky stitching soul.  I have found a home away from home.

Located about a half an hour’s drive north from where my daughter lives in san Mateo, is a gem of a shop called, Luv2Stitch.  It is owned by Dale Lenci, who is also the owner and creative designer behind DJ Designs.  His canvases are really beautiful.  At any rate, the retail shop has been quite warm and welcoming, as are the “regulars”.  I have been made to feel at home.  So every Wednesday when I am in the Bay area, I declare it my day off and I go and stitch.  Luv2Stitch is open late on Wednesday evening, so if you have the stamina, one could stitch from 10 AM to 8 PM if they like.  I’ve gotten close a couple of times, but I usually can’t last that long!

The shop has such a nice aesthetic.  It is filled with beautiful antique furniture as well as practical  furniture.  There is a stitching room with bright light and large tables.  In the next room there is a bead bar and some cushy sofas as well as a break front featuring finished samples of stitched boxes and picture frames.  The third room is the thread room.  There is a lot of eye candy on the walls and always so many canvases from which to choose.  There are many classes that are offered with national teachers.  I’ve arranged my west coast visits around some of those.  I’ve had classes with Meredith Hahn Willet and Susan Portra.  They were wonderful and I learned so much.

The staff of Rhonda, Irene and Sarah are always so helpful. Dale is extremely knowledgable and of  course if you need a bit of redesigning done on your canvas, he is your man!

I encourage you to visit Luv2Stitch when you find yourself in the San Fransisco area.  Here is their info:

715 Bermuda Dr
San Mateo CA 94403

‭(650) 571-9999‬

https://luv2stitch.com

My time at the ANG seminar, part 2

Standard

So, I was one of the lucky ones who was able to register for the Canvas Investigations Class with the Embellishment Squad, Tony Minieri, Meredith Hahn Willet and Debbie Stiehler.  Usually they are joined by Suzanne Howren, but unfortunately, she was ill and could not attend.  Previously, I’ve had classes with Tony and Meredith, but never together.  What fun!

There were four of us at a table with about 50 stitchers in the room.  We were each given a very extensive handout with diagrams of all the stitches to be used by students in the class, added to the stitch diagrams from other classes.  That plus the required “Stitches to Go” book by Suzanne Howren were all that was needed to execute the stitch plan.  The teachers rotated among groups of tables, but switched after lunch which tables they were servicing.  Each of us had previously selected our canvases and we were given some stitches and areas on which to stitch.  As the teachers went from student to student, they helped with the execution of stitches, but also designing stitches for the other areas.  I send a huge shout out to Lori, the owner of Waste Knot for supplying us with needed thread for the next day for the areas that had newly been covered.  She did a great job!

One fun part of having so many multiple teacher perspectives, is that you can learn different ways to execute a stitch.  I learned three different ways of approaching Or n’ue. By George, I think I’ve (finally) got it!  Here are some progress photos of my canvas.

 

As many of my local fellow needle enthusiasts know, I travel a lot.  Seminar weekend proved to be no exception.  I had to leave the seminar for a short period of time to attend a wedding.  I’ve known the bride since before she was born, so I really wanted to be there.  However, since I was missing Vendor night, I was a bit bummed.  So, of course, when my hubby said he was going to take a nap before we got ready for the wedding, I took off.  Just a mere five miles away from our hotel was a shop in Merrick, NY called Needlepoint Nook.  The owner of the shop is good friends with the aunt of the bride.  So, we had a great time chatting.  I indulged and bought a Funda Scully canvas for one of the little hinged boxes.  So now I was a little less bummed about having to leave the seminar for that short period of time.

Thanks to hubby’s vacation that week and him usually being a pretty good guy, we drove back to DC in time for the afternoon class session on Sunday and both sessions on Monday.  Since the instruction is so individualized in my class, it felt like I didn’t really miss that much for my class.  The teachers were able to finish giving me ideas for the canvas and I have enough information to finish, when I get more time to stitch!

All in all, I had a great time with all that I did.  Sigh – a really happy one.

 

My time at the ANG National Seminar, part 1

Image

Well, I am a bit late in commenting on my experience at the ANG national seminar, but I thought late is better than never!

I started my trip on Tuesday so that I would have time to spend with my dear friend who lives right next to DC.  Since I was driving, I do what every other enthusiast does, I made stops along the way at needlework shops!

Frist, I went to Hillside Needlepoint in Stevenson MD, right outside Baltimore.  As usual (I stopped here once before), the owners were delightful and helpful.  I love accessories, so as is often the case, I bought “gadgets”  They included heavy duty plastic project bags, a tote and plastic needle cases with screw lids to replace the ones that I use in my needle case that keep opening.  Having chenille needles mixed in with the tapestry ones is not fun!  Of course, I made a quick visit to Lori K, which is in the same shopping plaza and bought a couple of tops for fall.

IMG_0013

Then came decision time, should I drive to Waste Knot in Arlington or go to my friends’ home which is halfway between the two shops?  They were holding Evertites for me at Waste Knot, so I decided I would drive to Arlington.  As I started out on the drive, I was hit with monsoon rains.  Then the traffic ground to a halt.  So I decided I would turn around and go to my friend’s house.  Oh boy, I “got” off the road I was on, to turn around and there was no place to exit the new road for about 5 miles.  I was not happy!  By the time my GPS got me back on the right road, the traffic had started to move, so I just went on to Waste Knot.  They had my Evertites, but of course I also bought some great magnets from the Meredith Collection as well a couple of books I just had to have.

IMG_0015

With some rest and visiting time in Chevy Chase with my friend, I went to DC the next day to register for the conference.

Missing all of you

Standard

Back in May, I started to post an entry about my 2016 Stitch of the Month, which is finally finished.  Well life got in the way and the blog entry never got published.  Here is what it said:

“So I’m only five months behind, but I prevailed.  I am totally finished and framed with Stitch of the Month for 2016.  It is the ANG Stitch of the Month by Susan Hoekstra (a former NJNA member)  It is called Feuilles D’Ananas.  This is a fun way to stitch a project and I liked figuring out the variations on the turquoise color scheme.

I won’t be around much the next several months, so I won’t be able to attend our chapter’s official Stitch of the Month monthly gatherings.  However, I am hopeful to take a stitch or two of this year’s project, Tony Minieri’s “Stars for the New Millennium.”  I”ll keep you posted!  I wish a fun summer for all.”

 

Well, I am now addicted to the “Stars” piece.  I am having so much fun. Working on that design is keeping me from doing the baby knitting that I need done by September when my newest grandchild will be born.  I agree with Jill W., these colors make me happy!  I can’t wait to see how the next area showcases all of them .  My overdyed thread is Silk and Colors, 994 – Kaleidoscope.  All of it just pops!

IMG_2031.jpg

So now I will really wish all of you a wonderful summer.  I will miss all of you in the fall while I help out with the big sister and brother and of course the new baby.  Grandchildren are the only thing that will trump my addiction on stitching the Stitch of the Month projects!  Happy stitching to all.