Author Archives: Mally Becker

About Mally Becker

I live in central New Jersey, where my husband and I kayak, hike and sail.

Needlepoint Yoga


Needlepoint makes me feel creative, peaceful and … ok, I admit it … sore. After an hour or two of stitching, my back, shoulders and neck start to rebel.

So I asked my friend Laura, a brilliant writer, editor and certified yoga instructor, for advice. With her own long sessions in front of a computer, I figured that she shared some of our pain. Neck pain, that is.

I was right. Laura was happy to pass along some thoughts on yoga poses that might relax “up tight” stitchers.  Here are her recommendations:

Neck rolls. Perfect for the tightness caused by looking down at a project. (Try the other stretches listed in the article linked here, too. The chair twist is my favorite.)

Wrist squeezes. Brace your right elbow on your right thigh. Wrap the thumb and pointer fingers of your left hand around your right wrist. Gently but firmly squeeze the area between the base of your hand and the bony protuberances of your wrist. Now comes the fun part: while squeezing with your left hand, flop your right hand back and forth and from side to side. Remember, you’re squeezing your wrist so that you can isolate the movement to your hand and fingers. Move only your hand and fingers, not your forearm.

Extended puppy pose. Laura explained that this pose is a gentle way to open the shoulders and upper back.

Child’s pose. This pose helps with tightness in the lower back and hips, which is common when we spend a lot of time sitting.

Not every pose works for everyone, of course. Try out the one(s) that interest you, and, if you have your own Rx to loosen tight “stitching muscles,” share your tips in the comment section below.

In the meantime, Namaste, y’all.



Resolve to do more of what you love – Take a needlepoint class


Almost 80% of all New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside before they’re achieved. In fact, most of us give up on our resolutions by January 12.

Is anyone surprised?

All of those pesky lose-weight, get-in-shape promises are such a bore. And, really, you’re fine the way you are. As a matter of fact, you’re wonderful.

So why not do something radical this year: Resolve to do more of what you love.

Do. More. Needlepoint. Find a new canvas or stitch. Retrieve one of the few unfinished projects in your closet. (“Few” is a relative term.) Or resolve to take a class.

Our local needlepoint stores have offerings to help you stretch your imagination, play with new techniques or stitches, enhance your skills, and make new friends … all of which are more fun than eating celery or getting up at 5 AM to jog.

Here’s what you’ll find at the fabulous needlepoint stores we all frequent:

Needleworkers Delight on Route One in Metuchen maintains an up-to-date class listing and on-line payment options here:

The Edwardian Needle in Fairfield offers the following classes and events through March. Contact The Edwardian Needle  at (973) 743-9833 in advance for information about cost and registration.

Sunday, January 27                 Goldwork Butterfly with Kate Festo   9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Sunday, February 3                 Super Bowl Party   Noon – 5 PM

Thursday, February 7              Stars “II” with Cathryn Curia   5 – 7:30 PM

Sunday, February 10               Canvas Embellishment Studio   Noon – 5 PM

Thursday, February 21           Stitch-In  6 – 8 PM

Sunday February 24                Bargello Class with Andrea Santiamo   10 AM – 4 PM

Friday, March 8                       Studio with Anthony Minieri  Noon – 5 PM

Sat. & Sun., March 9-10          French Ribbon 1 with Anthony Minieri   9:30 AM – 4 PM

Thursday, March 14                Stars “III” with Cathryn Curia   5 – 7:30 PM

Sat. & Sun., March 30-31        Crazy Quilting with Betty Pillsbury  10 AM – 4:30 PM

Knit One, Stitch Two in Pennington will offer The Gazebo – a red, white and blue canvas with a gazebo, topiary and flags – as a “stitch along” on February 11 (11:30 AM – 1:45 PM) and February 28th (11 AM – 2 PM). A stitch guide will be available.  Stitch Along fee $25. This is not a class. Minimal instruction is included, and attendees must be able to stitch basketweave. If you’re interested, please email me for the project photo (I couldn’t post it) or contact the shop at

I’ll post information about additional classes upon receipt. In the meantime, happy stitching!

Data sources for those gloomy New Year’s Resolution cited above:;

What We’re Reading


There’s something about the hot weather that makes me want to pick up a book or three. Maybe it’s that leftover feeling from childhood that summer will last forever, that there’s time enough for everything, even reading for pleasure.

So at the last NJNA chapter meeting I asked some of our brilliant, talented NJNA members for their summer reading “picks.” They were generous enough to share the following recommendations.

If you have favorite books to share, let us all know by commenting below.

Happy reading!  Mally Becker

  • Carol King is reading Robert Crais, who writes thrillers. “You never guess ‘who did it,’” she said. She also recommends Michael Connolly’s books, whih feature Harry Bosch.
  • Sue Chadwick gives a “thumbs up” to the “Goddesses Anonymous” series by Emilie Richards. These novels take place in Asheville, NC, and Sue likes that each story features women helping other women.
  • Carol Friedman recently read The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor, the true story that inspired the film “The Woman in Gold.” Carol then visited the painting at the center of the story, Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer,” which hangs in the Neue Galerie in New York City.
  • Heidi Kelleher enjoyed A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Bachman. People Magazine called this book: “A charming debut …You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life.” Heidi also recommends All Over But the Shoutin,’ a memoir about growing up dirt-poor in Alabama by Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter.
  • Nancy Brighton is in the middle of Havisham, by Ronald Frame. This prequel to Great Expectations tells the story of how and why Miss Havisham came to stalk the halls of her mansion in the tattered wedding dress she wore in Charles Dickens’ masterpiece.
  • Jill Williams enjoys the bibliophile mysteries by Kate Carlisle, featuring bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. She also recommends: the Gregor Demarkian series by Jane Haddam; Jeffrey Sigar’s mysteries, which are set in Greece; L.B. Hathaway’s Posie Parker series spanning the 1920s, Joseph Kanon’s thrillers, which are set primarily in post-WWII Europe; and, Susan Elia MacNeal’s spectacular Maggie Hope series, which begins with Churchill’s Secretary.
  • Cathryn Curia recommends The Bregdan Chronicles, a sprawling series of historical fiction novels that take place in the shadow of the Civil War. She also enjoys Adriana Trigiani’s stories, which include The Shoemaker’s Wife, and Jeffrey Archer’s historical family drama, The Clifton Chronicles.
  • Diane Burgess also enjoys Jeffrey Archer’s novels and those by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) featuring British detective Cormoran Strike.
  • Nancy Winterbauer likes Jacqueline Winspear’s series of mysteries featuring psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs, which takes place in Great Britain between WWI and WWII.