We are at the end of May – the unofficial start of Summer. The weather over the past few weeks has been quite variable with 90-degree days followed by 50-degree days. Climate change or just Springtime in New Jersey?
Our NJNA SOTM group is still meeting virtually although many of the COVID-era restrictions are now being lifted. We hope to get back to seeing each other in person someday soon. In the meantime, Zoom check-ins are sustaining us.
Progress is being made on the ANG SOTM Stratigraphy and we’re starting to see some color changes on the stitch layers.
Barbara continues to make progress on Petite Arabesque when she’s not visiting the grandchildren!
And Jacqui is busy with Asymmetrical Copper.
Linda and Nancy are both working on Ruby Razzle Dazzle, although in very different colorways.
We’re looking forward to the halfway point in June!
The Annual Needlework Show in support of the Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA has become a tradition for New Jersey Needle Artists members. While several members exhibited at – and visited – the Show in the past, NJNA has been submitting needlework pieces as a group since 2015.
NJNA members rose to the occasion again this year despite the restrictions due to COVID and submitted 25 pieces to the 58th Annual Needlework Show. Since we haven’t been able to meet in-person this year, we had to come up with an alternative to our usual practice of collecting the pieces at our January meeting. Fortunately, our members are flexible and we gathered 23 framed pieces, one Christmas stocking, and a pillow before heading down the NJ Turnpike/I-95 on Friday. In years past this trip was made in February so weather was always unpredictable. Although we still traveled under gray skies and cooler temperatures than I would have liked, the trip down was smooth sailing.
While we usually look forward to this trip each year as a chance to get away, this year it was even more anticipated as we haven’t been able to do much traveling. Mr. M and I stopped for lunch in Catonsville, MD at our new “favorite” spot, Matthews 1600. We found this restaurant last year when our previous “go to” eatery in Ellicott City closed down. Matthews 1600 is located in a historic building (circa 1862) that started as the Terminal Hotel and was a station at the end of the line for the Frederick Road horse car line. The building was renovated in the early 2000s and reopened as Matthews 1600 in 2004. It has an extensive food menu and the appropriate beverage menu to appeal to Mr. M.
On Saturday, we headed to Woodlawn to begin the process of check-in. As a result of COVID, everyone who submitted pieces to the Show had to pre-register on-line and pay their entry fee directly. This really streamlined the process as I didn’t have to deal with individual checks/cash for the pieces. We were able to unwrap all of our pieces and place them on tables in the check-in room. The QR code on each Submission Form was scanned and an email was generated almost immediately indicating that the piece had been registered. The volunteers checking in our pieces also assigned each piece its own Show Number.
The volunteers who check in the Show pieces have developed a really efficient system; we were done and on our way in under an hour. In years past we would then head into DC or Old Town Alexandria to visit a museum. COVID restricted our ability to plan for a museum visit so we headed over to Mount Vernon and had lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
The Needlework Show will be open from Sunday, May 2 through Monday, May 31 (except Tuesdays). Timed tickets are required and are available on the Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House website. I encourage you to visit – the needlework is exquisite and it’s an easy trip to make. With the show held in May instead of March, the weather should be great. And I just learned that the Smithsonian Museums and the National Gallery of Art will be re-opening in mid-May, so I’m hoping I can book some tickets for the weekend we’re there.
Once again it is time to show off our Stitch-of-the-Month projects. Our group is still meeting on Zoom, which provides us with some interaction while we stitch, but we are all missing the in-person experience. We continue to hope that we will be able to gather together soon.
Those in the group who are working on Stratigraphy have incorporated a third stitch into the design.
Barbara is moving ahead with Petite Arabesque.
Linda added the center petals to Ruby Razzle Dazzle and Noelle has started her version. Nancy is making progress but is too shy to share a picture yet!
Our newest NJNA member, Melita, has joined our SOTM group and is working on ANG’s 2020 Stitch-of-the-Month project – Star by Kathy Rees. Her colors are delicious!
We are looking forward to our April gathering to see more progress on everyone’s projects!
Our intrepid group of stitchers is continuing to make progress on the various Stitch-of-the-Month projects for 2021. With meeting restrictions still in place, we again met on Zoom to catch up with each other and to report on stitching.
Stratigraphy, the ANG 2021 Stitch-of-the-Month project, continues to intrigue the group, even those who are not stitching that project this year. A new stitch will be introduced each month and then will be combined with previous months’ stitches to create the layers.
Brenda is using colors in one of the bathrooms in her house as inspiration for her colors.
The Grand Canyon is Robin’s inspiration.
Rosie chose a USGS theme.
Janet is one of our turbostitchers, so she has already completed Asymmetrical Copper, which she also squared off to turn it into Symmetrical Copper.
Barbara is making great progress on Petite Arabesque.
A few group members decided to work on past SOTM projects, either as new starts or to finish projects that were hibernating!
Sylvia chose A Different View by Kurdy Biggs of Threedles NeedleArt Desgins, which was the NJNA SOTM in 2014. The stitching on black canvas is just stunning!
Holly is working on Star by Kathy Rees, ANG’s and NJNA’s SOTM from 2020. She is using threads from her stash.
Tina realized she had miscounted and put aside Feuilles D’Ananas by Susan Hoekstra (ANG’s and NJNA’s 2016 SOTM). She’s corrected her mistake and will use this year to finish the project.
Nancy and Linda both chose Ruby Razzle Dazzle by Ann Strite-Kurz (NJNA’s 2015 SOTM) for their 2021 projects. Nancy admitted that she found the canvas easily enough but then couldn’t find the threads. She finally realized that she had put them all back into her stash! Fortunately she was able to recover them all.
I’m looking forward to seeing more progress in March!
What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time our SOTM group gathered to start on the 2020 project – for most of us it was Kathy Rees’ Star, the ANG Stitch-of-the-Month. We lasted two months before COVID forced us to find an alternative means to meet. As with many other groups, we had a crash course in Zoom technology. While we miss the in person sessions, at least these virtual gatherings provide us with the opportunity to catch up with each other and share our project progress. It looks like we’ll be continuing our virtual sessions for the foreseeable future.
This month thirteen of us met during our morning session and nine were able to return for the afternoon session. We had no overwhelming consensus for our project this year, so the group decided that three projects would be selected – Jennifer Riefenberg’s Stratigraphy, which is the ANG 2021 SOTM; Jeff Kulick’s Asymmetrical Copper; and Laura Perin’s Petite Arabesque. As always, group members can also stitch a previous SOTM project.
Stratigraphy promises to be an interesting project. Jennifer Riefenberg describes it as “a band sampler representing a cross section of the earth such as a geologist may see if taking a slice through time – complete with horsts and grabens (those pattern “offsets”), which are geologic features of fracturing (faults) and movement in the earths’ crust, often associated with valleys and ridges.”
Several of our stitchers are taking that description to heart. Robin is going to use a photo of the Grand Canyon as her guide for threads.
Rosie and Jill are both going to replicate map colors from the US Geological Survey (USGS), supplementing stash as needed. Since Rosie is using her stash, she has made a start on the project.
Sue C will be stitching hers in pastel colors as a true band sampler. Diane and Dee are opting for the Jennifer’s colorways as the subtlety of the gray palette really appeals to them.
Janet and Jacqui, as well as a few others who were unable to attend, will be stitching on Asymmetrical Copper. Both have picked their own colors with lots of red, black, orange, pink, and turquoise in the mix. Janet is also going to stitch it symmetrically! Jacqui did finish her fabulous version of last year’s project.
Barbara is stitching Petite Arabesque in the original colors as she had previously purchased the kit. It’s always a great feeling to be able to pull a project out of stash! I know a few others have said they would be stitching on this project, so expect to see more versions in future blogs.
Members of our SOTM group are encouraged to choose one of our projects from previous years if the current selection(s) do not fit in with their stitching style. Our newest member – Holly – decided to join the group after seeing last year’s project. She’ll be stitching Kathy Rees’ Star from stash, and has already made a great start.
A few of us are going to be stitching an older SOTM project from 2015 – Ruby Razzle Dazzle by Ann Strite-Kurz. Nancy and Linda had started the project that year but, for various reasons, put it aside before completing it while Noelle is just starting it. Linda’s piece is in Russet and Turquoise while Nancy is stitching in Green and Purple. Noelle will be using the original Red and Purple.
In the meantime, Nancy has finished her Star from last year, adding a border in one of her overdye threads. That border really finishes off the design!
We are all looking forward to stitching together this year – even if we must do so virtually. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will once again be able to gather for our monthly sessions.
This year’s SOTM project is now history. We all agree that Kathy Rees’ project was a perfect SOTM – the design and stitches were interesting and the amount of stitching each month was perfect. Now the challenge is deciding how to finish our projects.
All of the colorways are just fabulous!
Although we could not meet in person for much of the year, technology helped us stay connected and stitch virtually each month. It looks like we’ll continue to meet remotely into 2021.
We are all looking forward to next year’s SOTM. Watch for another blog to find out what project we’ll be stitching!
Tina sent her progress photo but I unfortunately didn’t receive it. I wonder if there are undelivered emails floating around in cyberspace?
Tina is the stitcher who came up with the idea of changing the November Hungarian stitch to a Balloon stitch so that the size matched the other background stitches. Quite a few of our stitchers agreed with her and used that same Balloon stitch on their pieces. Our group just loves designs that can be adapted!
The December instructions were posted today so we are all set to finish this yeat’s project.
We are close to the end of this year’s SOTM project. It has been quite a year – we have been meeting via Zoom each month rather than in person. While it has been great to “see” everyone, it’s just not the same as being able to stitch together in one place. It looks like we will continue to meet on Zoom for several more months.
We have continued to progress our projects despite the challenges. Several folks made modifications to the this month’s stitch – can you spot them?
Next month is our final installment for this year’s project.