Author Archives: jawilliams4

Fun with Mille Fleurs

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Strangely enough, given that this was (almost) all the same stitch, I had fun stitching this! And I’m very pleased with how it came out. A far cry from pastel flowers! Still haven’t decided what to do for the background, though.

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SOTM Progress

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I came home on Saturday and finished stitching the January and February installments…Although I’ve been feeling some regret at using colors similar to one of the provided color ways, especially after seeing what some of the other pieces look like, now that I’ve got more stitched, I’m really happy with how mine is looking!

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Herringbone Happening Tip

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For those of you doing the Herringbone Happening piece, I thought you might be interested in what I came up with to make stitching a little easier.

The issue I had was figuring out where to END the bands…trying to follow the master diagram just wasn’t cutting it for me. Left to my own devices I would probably have stitched the corner squares before the bands, giving myself a clear sign about where to stop stitching the bands…but since I couldn’t do that, I basted a diagonal line from the corner of the large square in the upper left, down to the lower right. You can see the basting stitches. in the photo.

After pulling out two or three bands because I got the length/placement wrong, I was annoyed with myself for not thinking of the basting at the beginning!

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Christmas in SC

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I arrived to spend Christmas with Carol on Thursday, and by Saturday we were ready to shop. We set out early, met up with another of Carol’s stitching buddies, and drove to Atlanta.

The first shop we visited was the new Labors of Love. Carol and I have decided to stitch “Patchwork of Peace,” the American-flag-in-little-boxes piece that I think Margaret and Sylvia have already stitched, so we had a LOT of threads to search out! We decided to focus on the blue threads to start. Mark and Charlesy helped us pull the threads, and especially in my case, to find substitutions…because of course I decided to be different and stitch on Congress Cloth and not 18-count canvas. Imagine, we found ALMOST all the threads in one shop! And they special-ordered several that they didn’t have.

For anyone visiting Atlanta, we highly recommend that you visit Labors of Love! The shop is spacious and airy and the walls are lined with full ranges of many threads not always found in smaller shops. You want Dinky Dyes? How about those Threadworx overdyed Kreinik braids we had trouble finding for Autumn Kaleidoscope? They had them both…Burmilana? Bella Lusso? Yes and yes again. And Mark and Charlesy were knowledgeable about all the threads and very helpful. They even recommended someplace for lunch…but when we got there we couldn’t find parking so we headed over to the second shop on our list…

Nimble Needle is a smaller shop, but also carries a large thread inventory and walls full of painted canvases. We found a couple of the thread colors we hadn’t found at the first shop and I succumbed to an ornament canvas from the trunk show currently on offer. But frankly I was a little shopped out and didn’t spend as much time absorbing the surroundings as I might have otherwise. But this would also be a great destination for you if you visit Atlanta!

We ended up having lunch at an unassuming-looking barbecue place just a few shops down from Nimble Needle, and it was wonderful.

Both shops have off-street parking, always nice in urban settings.

Another Kaleidoscope

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Since I wasn’t able to make it on Saturday, I thought I’d post about my progress. I wasn’t able to do section 4 because I don’t have one of the threads yet, but I’ve finished the rest. I made a little change in section 5 — after stitching it according to the instructions, I decided that there was too much of the canvas color showing, so I added horizontal laid stitches in the Kreinik, tucking them under the already-stitched crosses. I’m glad I did — it looks better with less canvas showing, and the increased amount of orange actually tones down the turquoise of the crosses. You can’t tell that in the photo, but in person the color really did change.

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Day One of A Dusting of Snow

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Carol K. and Marge K. and I are all taking Gail Stafford’s “A Dusting of Snow.” I am really enjoying the class — Gail is a great teacher and I’ve learned a couple of new tricks…the piece is a manageable size, the threads are all cottons, and the finished piece is spectacular. The design is based on an actual gazebo that is a couple of blocks from her house.

Here’s my progress after a day of stitching…How is it that it looks like I’ve accomplished so little after an entire day?

Notice the magnet in the upper right — a special hand-crafted one for this seminar. Carol and I both succumbed when we saw them in the boutique.


And speaking of the boutique, it is spectacular! It’s run by ABC Stitch Therapy in Spring TX and they came with a huge selection of threads, cross stitch patterns, painted canvases, tools, and oh did I mention threads? On top of the impressive inventory, the people are really nice and helpful too.

This evening Carol and I went to dinner at the Grove Park Inn, one of Asheville’s landmarks, with two other stitchers we’d met at the opening banquet. We ate on the Sunset Terrace — outdoors, overlooking the MOST incredible view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dinner was wonderful, but the setting was equally if not even more wonderful.

This is a photo of one of the two similar stone fireplaces in the Inn’s lobby, almost as spectacular as the mountain view!

Touring Biltmore House

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Today Carol and I went on a tour of the Biltmore Estate, the Vanderbilt home in Asheville that has been open to the public since the 1930s. The day included a self-guided audio tour of the interior of the house (think Downton Abbey), a little stroll through some of the gardens, a buffet lunch at a restaurant in a building that used to be the cowsheds, and then a visit to the Biltmore Winery for some wine-tasting and, of course, some wine purchases.


The views from the house are spectacular, across acres of forest to the Blue Ridge. We were told how Mr. Vanderbilt had a large scaffold constructed in the precise spot where the house would be to determine if the views were going to be captured as he wanted…I think he succeeded!


My favorite part of the tour (aside from the view) was the basement–the kitchens and pantries, laundry rooms and so forth, where the work of keeping the house running was done. It was easy to imagine all the servants bustling around keeping things on an even keel, enabling the Vanderbilts and their guests to live the life of ease that they did.