Author Archives: dmbstitch

Autumn Kaleidoscope


I finished Stars so that I could start on Autumn Kaleidoscope! I knew John and I were heading to the lake for a few days of skiing and relaxing, so I wanted to be able to start stitching Autumn Kaleidoscope this weekend. Since I didn't like the purple and blue highlights in the original but liked the base colors, I changed the overdye to use 2 colors from ArtFabrik – Fall Maple and Pumpkin Patch. They have similar colors but each was missing at least one color I wanted but combined, they were exactly what I wanted. I'm alternating which color I use as I stitch the inner border and it seems to be working. For my “pop” colors, I changed the purple to cranberry and the blue to yellow/gold.

When I went to start stitching, I realized I did not have any of my #8 Pearl Cotton so I was extremely disappointed thinking maybe I couldn't start after all. Then I realized I could baste the outline so I would have the proper counts to do the inner borders. No problem, right?! What I didn't realize as I started the inner border was that I had basted the outer part of the outer border Smyrnas. I thought I'd checked my counts of Star stitches but apparently mis-counted on the first diagonal row. I was going to start in the Chilly Hollows in section 1, but my counts weren't t working. Aha! Fortunately, I mostly counted from the top border and I'd only stitched the top quadrant so I only had a few stitches on the left border and one vertical row of Star stitches to take out.

So here I am at this point. January sections done! Lots of Smyrnas and Star stitches to go! I'm really enjoying the piece – other than the borders, it seems to be a quick workup. Another great choice for our SOTM!

Diane's with January sections



Background Sampler Workshop – Day 3


Seven members of NJNA met with Cathryn C at Needleworker’s Delight in Metuchen for the third and final day of our Background Sampler workshop. Today would focus on the four corner sections as well as address any questions from the earlier sections.

As usual, Cathryn teased us by doing an easy stitch first in the upper left corner – couched window pane with filler – which went quickly. She then moved us onto a little more challenge with an eyelets pattern in the lower left. After lunch, the real challenge began with the Oriental Octagon stitch in the upper right corner, which is sort of like blackwork! Imagine that David McCaskill’s Background Sampler II has overlapping oriental octagons! Even Kevin commented you could hear a pin drop with the concentration as we all counted! We ended the day with the Diagonal Trellis in the bottom right, another wise move by Cathryn to end on a bit easier stitch!

As always, Kevin and Jimmy from Needlworker’s Delight are outstanding hosts, providing lunch and snacks throughout the day in addition to the excellent lighting in the work space. It’s a wonderful shop that is friendly and welcoming in addition to having an excellent supply of charts, canvas, painted canvas, threads, and needlework tools.

Thanks again to Cathryn and Needleworker’s Delight for providing this opportunity for us. We’ll look forward to our next workshop.

Stars for a New Milennium


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.


Show-and-Tell Gift Certificate


For 2016, the NJNA Board decided to offer a Gift Certificate for The Edwardian Needle to one individual selected from everyone who brought a “Show & Tell” to our monthly meetings.  The project could be anything finished within the past year – it did not have to be “finished”, just at least finished stitching, although we also love seeing everyone’s finished products as well.  We had over 250 Show & Tell items for 2016 – we certainly are a prolific group.

Of course, this was helped by the 6 small projects the chapter did as our programs for the year.  Members were encouraged to complete at least 3 to be eligible to receive a small gift at our March 2017 meeting.

I was very excited to find out I was the recipient of the Gift Certificate to The Edwardian Needle for my Honey I Shrunk the Flag project.  Pam from The Edwardian was kind enough to provide the gift certificate to the chapter.  While many of our members do shop there, it still was a generous donation on her part.  Pam is a wonderful supporter of all our needlework guilds.  I will definitely be traveling to The Edwardian soon to kit up our 2017 Stitch of the Month project (Stars for the New Millennium) and NJNA’s next chapter program Shell Game.

Thanks again to The Edwardian Needle for their generous donation to our chapter.  I will update you on all my purchases!

Happy Stitching!


Loon Tunes Day 2


I know I’m a bit late with this post, but did want to share!

Day 2 of our Loon Tunes class was interesting in the way Ann Strite-Kurz approached it. She spent the first part of the morning explaining everything we had not yet worked in and then set us free to work on whatever section we wanted. She encouraged us to work on the water areas as they require compensation around the circles. The one section was easy but the bottom one is a bit of a challenge.

Ann also set aside time where she could demonstrate the spider stitch to small groups of us so we could see what she was doing. Likewise she demonstrated the buttonhole stitch covering a metal ring which will be applied for the eye. This was far better in both cases for me than having her demonstrate to the whole class at once or to provide charts only to do this. You can see I got the idea but need some more practice to improve my spiders.

One class member had gotten the blue canvas but the grey threads. It gave a softer view to the background. I decided to try a combination of the blue and grey threads to liven up my background but realized I needed to put in more of the Loon before deciding. At least it’s an option to play with!

Meanwhile, we did lunch once again at The Local Baker and Café. Their food is outstanding and their cookies are to die for! I ordered a sandwich to take on the plane and they wrapped it to keep it fresh.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and am eager to have time to do more work on my Loon. Even though it was a pilot, the material was very well done and I had few questions or suggestions. It was great fun meeting Pat, Ann, and several other members of the San Bernadino ANG chapter.

Here’s my and Rosie’s progress at the end of class:



Day One of Loon Tunes


Rosie and I are taking the pilot class for Loon Tunes by Ann Strite-Kurz. The class is sponsored by the San Bernadino chapter of ANG so it’s been great fun to meet people we had only communicated with via email before. The class is held in a local bank’s conference room which has an outside entrance. The room is large and bright, which makes for the perfect stitching environment.

We had done some pre-work outlining the loon and the side borders. Day One, we did the two upper left sections of the loon’s head and neck. Ann used Blackwork to simulate the stripes of the lower left section of the loon’s head. Ann provided the start for the Blackwork and encouraged us to use that to learn how to do the rest. The upper left section is a combination of pearl cotton and Kreinik which gives a wet look to the loon’s head.

I’ve learned a lot about carrying threads in open canvas and keeping the threads straight in the border diamonds.

Rosie and I went to dinner at Kishi’s, a Japanese steakhouse, with Ann, Pat C from SBANG, and Kathy, another student in the class from out by the coast. It was great fun with a lot of interesting discussion.

Ann is an interesting teacher who provides lots of background commentary, knowledge of other needlework teachers, and detailed information on the piece. I am thoroughly enjoying this piece.

Here’s our progress after Day One. Mine is the gray, Rosie’s is the blue. We’re eager to see the comparison of the different color ways once completed.



SOTM 2016


While I was unable to join the group stitching this month since we decided to spend the weekend at the lake, I did get to spend the day stitching due to the extreme cold which kept us inside. And I actually finished this month’s stitching today – 2 months in a row is a record for me!

I was grateful that Linda had shared her progress as I was confused about the compensation on his month’s sections. The picture with the directions seemed to conflict with the wording about not crossing the lines for the section. It looks like Linda did what I did following the words rather than the picture.

I was surprised when I started stitching that last month’s and this month’s blues area more different than I realized when picking the threads. I’ve done enough playing with colors and have decided to stick with my latest choices! I did decide to go with my darker blue Kreinik even though Susan’s was a lighter one in hopes of blending better with section one. I would have liked some suggestions from Susan on picking colors as part of the SOTM info.

This is why I love stitching as a group. All these decisions can be done via group-think versus me on my own!

Here’s my progress for this month.


Diane’s Feb progress