Author Archives: lindam55

September SOTM


Fourteen of us gathered this weekend for our monthly session of stitching, chatting, and eating! It’s hard to believe that we are three-quarters of the way through the year, and our projects.

Take a look at the progress on Autumn Kaleidoscope and Stars for the New Millennium.

Barbara is continuing on her Stars piece in between travels to California to visit the grandchildren and getting ready for her daughter’s wedding here on the East Coast.

September - Barbara

Margaret is also working on Stars but she packed everything away before it could be photographed.  Next time, Margaret!

And here is our progress on Autumn Kaleidoscope. It is amazing how different this piece looks in the various colorways. Even those of us who are stitching the original colorway have variations because of the overdyed and variegated threads used.

From left to right – top row: Ellen S., Janice, Jill; second row: Joan, Linda, Mally; third row: Marge, Nancy, Robin; bottom row: Rosie, Sue C., Sylvia

October and November we’ll be working on those last boxes; December we’ll be putting in the border and the beads!

We will be discussing the 2019 SOTM project in the next couple of sessions and once again we will have a hard choice of which project to choose. We have some fabulous suggestions, so stay tuned! I think everyone in the group agrees that SOTM is a great way to spend a Saturday – we have a lot of fun, get a project completed, and learn from each other!

Happy Stitching!



Seminar 2018 Wrap-Up


Today was the last day of Seminar for me. I started out this morning working the Hospitality Desk, which is a great way to meet other stitchers. Mr. M met me there and we toured the Exhibit together. He even cast a “People’s Choice” vote!

We then walked up Connecticut Avenue to the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, one of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s homes. She purchased this home in 1955 and spent two years renovating it into a 36-room Georgian mansion to house her collection of French and Russia porcelain, furniture, and art. When she died, she left the estate to the Smithsonian Institute but the expense of operating and maintaining the property was too much for the Smithsonian so it was returned to the family. A private foundation now runs the estate.

We were just in time for one of the docent-led tours (you can also tour on your own with a mobile app tour or just walk through with a comprehensive guide book). Our tour took about an hour and was very informative. The French and Russian porcelain collections were spectacular. I don’t know how we never visited this site in the past.

One room that was particularly impressive was the dining room. The table was set for 12 people but can be extended to seat 30 people! Wouldn’t this be a great room for our SOTM sessions!

B91A71E4-0754-49B6-AE84-35A6210535B4.jpegOur docent told us that all of the guides keep complaining about the tablecloth as it hides the magnificent table. There is a leaf on display at the end of the room and I have to agree with the docents.


That is just one leaf! The table was originally located in another one of her homes, which was considerably larger than Hillwood. Consequently, the table has never been fully extended in its current location as the room is too small.

That other house was her Florida home – Mar-A-Lago – and it has 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms! We learned on our tour that Marjorie Post wanted to leave Mar-A-Lago to the federal government to be used as a Winter White House but the gesture was refused due to the expense. I’ll let that irony sink in …

Tonight was my last Seminar function – I attended Expo! which is a huge shopping event at which designers and chapters sell project charts, canvases, magnets, totes, and many other goodies that we all crave. I did purchase a few items, including the name-tag kit for the 2019 Seminar in Houston, a souvenir magnet, and some snap trays. I don’t do well in crowds and my tolerance is limited at these events (I told Mr. M that there is nothing I need that desperately to have to body-check another stitcher). I tried to patronize chapters who were there to raise funds and I think I succeeded in purchasing something from all the chapters who were there.

Tomorrow we are heading back to NJ. I truly enjoyed my time at Seminar and hope to be able to attend next year. I’m already trying to figure out class schedules!

Happy Stitching!

City Lake Conclusion and More Seminar


Today was Day 2 of my two-day class with Gail Stafford. I really enjoyed this class; I learned a few new techniques that I will be able to use on future projects. Gail is a great teacher – very relaxed – and her instructions are comprehensive.

We stitched the gazebo today as well as some of the greenery. At one point during the day Gail passed around puctures of some of her attempts during the design process showing different stitches and threads she experimented with before finalizing the design. She even had a photo of her doodle canvas showing thread combinations. It was a valuable insight into the design process.

We also cut out the “trees” (they are crepe myrtles which I think of as a bush despite their size). While I won’t attach the trees until more stitching is completed we did practice with some scrap ultrasuede.

I really like this piece and plan to finish it soon. Here’s where I stand as of the end of today’s class.


And here are my trees, ready to be attached to the canvas.


During  lunch Sharon B and I visited the Exhibit and saw all the wondrful pieces that were entered. All of the entries are fabulous and the ribbon winners are spectacular. Be sure to check them out when they are listed in Needlepointers magazine. We also saw the new Chapter Project Book and Group Correspondence Projects, as well as the projects being offered for the 2019 seminar in Houston. I’m already thinking of possible choices. There was even a hint for next year’s SOTM – it is another mystery piece, this time a collaboration by four designers (I believe the same ones who do the annual mystery retreat).

This evening I attended the Cyberpointers meeting and ran into two stitchers from CT I know from the Stitchers Hideaway retreats. Their ANG Chapter folded so they were looking into joining Cyberpointers. I also attended the Teachers Showcase at which I saw a number of pieces that I woul love to stitch. At what age do I finally not need to sleep more than a few hours? Surely I must be gettinng close!

Tomorrow I will be volunteering at the Hospitality Desk in the morning. Mr. M will meet me after my shift to tour the Exhibit after which we will do some touristing. Tomorrow night is Expo!, which I’ve been told is a must-see shopping event.

We will be leaving DC on Sunday to return to NJ. I have really enjoyed my first Seminar and have met quite a few new people. I even met Lorene Salt, the designer of our current SOTM Autumn Kaleidoscope! She told me she has been following our progress and was really impressed by the different colors. Great praise for our talented stitchers!

I am sorry to be leaving this Seminar and hope I can attend next year in Houston.

Happy stitching!


Seminar 2018 – Day One


Today was the first day of my class – City Lake taught by Gail Stafford. It turns out that Sharon B is also in the class and is the Class Angel.

We were given a line drawn canvas with a few areas already painted. One of our first assignments was to paint the sky using acrylic paints. Painting is not one of my accomplishments so I was particularly intimidated but it turned out okay. We started on some stitching and then had to draw the outlines of the trees onto ultrasuede using carbon paper. Who actually remembers carbon paper?

Here’s my progress at lunchtime today.

D40F657B-4487-4C57-B477-A35EB1CC0D8CAfter lunch we painted the trees we had traced onto the ultrasuede. If I characterized myself as intimidated by the sky I would have to say I was traumatized by painting trees! We had to shade the trees and get some color variation as well. We will attach the trees tomorrow.

The rest of the afternoon was spent stitching other areas and there was a lot of random stitching, again not my specialty. But I think I’m off to a good start. So here’s my piece at the end of Day One. I’m going to clean up some of the spaghetti tonight to prepare for whatever Gail has in store for us tomorrow.


ANG Seminar 2018 – First Timer Report


The big day has finally arrived – Mr. M and I showed up in Washington, DC today after visiting with Nora in Pittsburgh (hard to believe she’s starting senior year at UPitt). I have wanted to attend an ANG Seminar for many years but it has always conflicted with summer camp and then college move-in week. Since Nora has an apartment this year we didn’t have to worry about dormitory life.

We started out from Pittsburgh this morning and arrived in DC mid-afternoon. Since we hadn’t stopped for lunch on the drive down, our first order of business after checking in was to find someplace for lunch. Fortunately, the Lobby Lounge was open so we were able to grab a sandwich.

After unpacking I headed to the Registration Desk to officially start my sojourn at Seminar. I received my name badge, some goodies, and the Seminar tote that I purchased as a souvenir of my first (hopefully not my last) time at this event.

Name Badge

It’s official – I’m registered!

Registration Goodies

Goodies – needle minder, scissors fob, post-it notes, and note pad (from First Timers Reception)

Tote Bag

Stitchers can never have too many tote bags – and this one has a zippered top!

I attended the First Timers Reception which was very informative. Members from National Board discussed what to expect at Seminar, including the Exhibit, banquets, stitching areas, and Expo! I am looking forward to attending all of the events, as well as my class, City Lake by Gail Stafford.

I have already come across a few people I know and I look forward to meeting some new stitchers as well.  The Marriott Wardman Park is a lovely venue with lots of areas that for meeting up with other stitchers.

More tomorrow on my first day at class!

Happy stitching!

SOTM – July 2018


It was a warm day but that didn’t stop nine of our SOTM members from gathering to continue with our projects. Eight of us worked on Autumn Kaleidoscope by Lorene Salt and Dee continued her considerable progress on A Different View from Kurdy Biggs.

This is picture-intense; we’ve decided to take individual pictures each month as it is difficult to get a good photo of all the canvases together. So, here goes.

Dee is continuing her work on A Different View, which was our SOTM a few years ago. This is one of the suggested colorways although it is up to the stitcher to choose the elements. Isn’t this just gorgeous and so rich-looking on the black canvas?

July 2018 - Dee

Several stitchers are working Autumn Kaleidoscope in the original colorway, or a slight variation thereof, while others have chosen their own colorways. Even the pieces being stitched in the same colorway look different depending on how the variegated threads are placed.

Janice is stitching her own colorway, dubbed “Cherries and Chocolate”. She started with a variegated thread from Colour Complements and then picked other threads to go with the colors in the base thread. Interestingly, her concept is based on the colors and not on the type of threads, so she makes choices in each box. This really does look like chocolate cherries!

July 2018 - Janice

Rosie is also stitching her own colorway. While she started with a concept of substituting colors one-for-one, she has improvised along the way depending on how she thinks the areas work in relation to each other. The colors are really vibrant.

July 2018 - Rosie

Marge has been traveling a lot this year so she is just starting out. As a result she’ll get the benefit of the group’s experience. Her colors feature pinks and magentas, with some “pop” colors (apologies for not taking a picture of her threads). But she is off to a good start.

July 2018 - Marge

Robin and Janet started with the original colorway for threads but changed the canvas colors (the original was stitched on black). Janet is stitching on ecru and Robin is stitching on a darker beige.

Janet changed out some of the “pop” threads and made some other adjustments in colors. It is really interesting to see how the threads look on the ecru canvas.

July 2018 - Janet

Robin went rogue and used the solid pearl cotton on the inside borders, rather than the variegated thread, as well as changing the canvas color. The result is more of a stained class look. She also changed out some of the purples and blues.

July 2018 - Robin

Mally, Nancy, and I are all stitching the original colorway on the black canvas. However, even though we are stitching the same colors, our pieces look different due to placement of variegated threads.

Here is Mally’s piece – note that herringbone stitch in the lower right quadrant. That was our “challenge” stitch this month!

July 2018 - Mally

Here is Nancy’s stitched piece.  Look at how different the center bargello section looks (and it’s not due to the quality of the photography).

July 2018 - Nancy

Finally, here is my piece. Again, it’s in the original colorway on the black canvas.

July 2018 - Linda

Please don’t think that I finished all of this month’s sections in one sitting. I finished stitching after everyone left, so I waited to take the picture until then. I lost some time during the afternoon session – I had to leave to rescue Mr. M who was in a car accident. Fortunately, he is okay although the car didn’t fare too well.

It’s hard to believe that we are more than halfway through this project. Everyone is enjoying this project immensely, and I think we are all in agreement that each month’s “assignment” is a manageable amount of stitching that doesn’t consume us, enabling us to stitch on all those other projects. We love getting together each month to chat, stitch, and enjoy each other’s company. And, we are really thrilled with being able to talk through stitches and colors and techniques with each other. Perhaps that is the most valuable part of our SOTM group.

We encourage those SOTM members who weren’t able to attend this month to share photos of their progress as well.

Happy Stitching!

Needlework Exhibit


This past weekend Mr. M and I made one of our trips out to Pittsburgh to visit with Nora.  She is staying there this summer as she is working as a TA for an Organic Chemistry class as well as continuing her job at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center as a research assistant. Since she won’t be able to travel back to New Jersey until August, we celebrated Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and our wedding anniversary (39 years) at one time.

We had a great time visiting and even got to attend the Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday.  Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Dollar Bank, this is a 10-day music and arts festival in downtown Pittsburgh with free music, theater, dance, public art installations, gallery exhibitions, a visual artist market, creative activities, and food. There are well over 200 exhibitors over the course of the 10 days – many local artists/artisans but many from as far away as California. The Festival takes place every year starting on the first Friday in June.

While there we came across one vendor, Silk Handmade Embroidery Arts out of Depew, NY, selling silk embroidered art that was absolutely amazing. You may have seen them at the Morristown Craft Fair. We did purchase one piece for Nora’s apartment.


Irises and Butterflies

On our drive back on Sunday we stopped at the Fort Hunter Museum & Mansion in Harrisburg to visit the Needle Art Exhibit presented by the Apple Needlepoint Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild, and the Molly Pitcher StitchersSusquehanna, Nittany ValleyYork White Rose and Lancaster Red Rose chapters of the Embroiderers Guild of America. There were more than 50 pieces of needlework, including painted and counted canvas, pulled/drawn thread, Japanese embroidery, Rozashi, counted cross stitch, and hardanger. The pieces were placed in several rooms throughout the mansion, which itself was a treat. I was not able to take pictures of the pieces but there were a number that I recognized, including a few that I have either completed or are in my collection for “someday”. There were even a few pieces for sale. Congratulations to the ANG and EGA chapters for mounting this wonderful exhibit, and to their members on such spectacular stitching!

The Needle Art Exhibit runs through next Sunday (June 17). ANG and EGA members held demonstrations on Saturdays.

There are four antique samplers on view as part of the collection, and quite a bit of clothing worn by Helen Reily, one of the owners of the property (think Gilded Age). The property is quite extensive with several buildings and gardens, but the weather was not cooperative. The mansion is beautifully maintained and well-worth a visit if you are in the area.

Happy Stitching!