Author Archives: suesci

Day 1 of Sisters by Nancy Cucci


Did you think I made a mistake?  Yes, this is my second class with Nancy at this seminar as these were my two favorite pieces of the offerings that I saw last year.  Nancy told us a story of visiting her best childhood friend, who had remained a lifelong friend, a few years ago in Iowa, half a continent away from where Nancy lived.  While seeing her friend, they visited the friend’s sister where Nancy saw a metal wall sculpture of interlocking squares that she liked.  A photo of this led her to the eventual design of this piece.  The name comes from the association of her friend, the photo at the friend’s sister’s home and Nancy’s feeling that her best friend was like a sister to her.  I like the story behind this beautiful design.

This piece of peach, aqua, and grey blocks is interesting as you will eventually see because all the small units are the same in each block but rotated.  We learned all but one component of the block that is foremost in the design today so we can transfer that knowledge to the remaining blocks when we return home.

Each section has beads that will be added and the missing block on the right will be just beads and stitched when we are fresh tomorrow morning.  I opted to wait until I am home to stitch the beads in the other sections.  Doesn’t this look like a pieced quilt block?  Nancy explained that this was her concept of the overall blocks, so there are no borders within the block but there is a Kreinik double border around it.  This block has two shades of peach as well as a Kreinik and a variety of beads coming.  I am looking forward to more stitching on it tomorrow.


Bits and Pieces


On Tuesday I was one of the lucky door prize winners.  I bypassed all the painted canvases and headed straight to the charted designs.  I found several that were appealing but settled on this one:

The design is cute, but I focused on the finishing.  It is stitched in one long rectangle and folded to get the effect desired.  I think I will try that this fall, and maybe it will be something we can try in the future!

Last night was Expo!  For anyone not familiar with the ANG Seminar, that is the merchandise night where you can find things sold by teachers, other needlework designers as well as those who cater to the desires for those of us in needlework trying to find the best in accessories including laying tools, bags, totes, jewelry.  It is also, later in the two hour shop time, a chance to connect with your favorite teachers/designers and tell them about the piece you finished and how much you loved it.

These were my purchases of note:

On the lower left are notecards that I purchased from Lois Kerschner with photos of some of her stitched scenes.  On the lower right are some cute small needle minder magnets purchased from Nancy Cucci.  There are four large disks with holes for stitching that I got from Toni Gerdes.  A couple of my other stitching groups would like to stitch designs on these as a meeting program.  There are other colors, but these are red, white, navy blue and black to complement the ones I currently have at home, beige, olive green, and burgundy.  Then in the center is a design with excellent directions being sold by the Potomoc Chapter as a fund raiser.  A chapter member designed the square for the fund raiser.  Several members stitched it in a variety of colors as well as altering the square motif in the top which were on display.  The directions are well done and the diagrams clear.  Hopefully, this too will be stitched shortly!

Part of the fun of Expo! is bumping in to others you have stitched with at seminars in the past and catching up with them.  They can also be enablers telling you what you really need to buy before the vendor runs out!  I skipped those booths where I knew temptation would be strong as I don’t need any more new kits before I have tackled a few purchased at previous seminars!  Maybe next year I will have completed a few of those, yeah right.

Day 3 of For the Love of Chocolate


Although you cannot see much progress on the canvas, there were several new techniques we covered today.img_0116
We started the day working on the cone for the ice cream cone beginning at the bottom of the cone to get a straight run up those diagonal cashmere stitches.  There will be three Hershey kisses in the band to the right in red, silver and the completed one, pink stitched in shiny Kreinik (HL).  Below that is a continuum of chocolate working in from the outside with dark chocolate, through milk chocolate to almost white chocolate in the middle.  The empty blocks include a chocolate  coated strawberry and a box of four See’s truffles–can you guess that Nancy is from California where See’s chocolate is king?  I began the heart chocolate to the right which will have dark chocolate and a decoration of white on it all in beads.  It is another box worked best from the bottom up.

Directly below the heart is an empty box which will eventually have my name or initials–same number in both–and the year of completion.  This is accomplished by the dimple effect–starting and stopping diagonal stitches so that dimples form showing the letters.  As all the stitches go from top to bottom and there is no backstitching, some planning must be involved–I am still at the planning stage and may be there for awhile!

This class was fun and enjoyable, and this is a project I am excited to finish hopefully before the end of the year as I have diagrammed 2016 and not 2017!  Two days away from stitching and then on to another Nancy Cucci class.


For the Love of Chocolate 


I have just completed Day 2 of Nancy Cucci’s “For the Love of Chocolate” with one more day to go. Looking at the canvas and what I have done, it is hard to see what each section is designed to represent (with the possible exception of the M & M’s). I will identify them for you in the paragraph below.

First row: Brownie Fudge Cake, Rocky Road ice cream, Cupcake, and coming soon Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Second row: Chocolate Chip Cookie, coming soon Choclate Wipe Out Cake–5 layers, a See’s Chocolate Heart, M & M’s, Marble Fudge

Third Row: Ice Cream Cone with Chocolate, Mint with chocolate chips, and Chocolate Ribbon, and an almost completed Hershey bar.

I have picked up numerous tips from Nancy as to stitching order–made the Criss-Cross Hungarian in the cupcake frosting much easier for me to stitch–with her reasoning behind it. We have also heard several ideas of other projects we might like to do on our own or as chapter projects. I am glad that this class really appealed to me when I first saw it and that I was one of the lucky ones to get a spot in this class.


Metropolitan Region, EGA, “Stitched Art” exhibit


“Stitched Art” is the exhibit being held at the gallery in Annunciation Hall at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ, from Saturday, June 18 through the following Sunday, June 26, from 10-4 daily. The exhibit is open on Thursday until 8:00 p.m. and will close the last Sunday at 3:00. The college has easy access off both I287 and highway 24. The college address is 2 Convent Road, Morristown, NJ. You can find directions to the college on their website under the heading “About”. When you arrive on the campus, you will see “Event” signs directing you to the building.

I was there this morning to see the display of almost 70 pieces of all sorts of needlework, all exquisitely done. You will see that some are originals, some adaptations and some give you the name and designer of the piece as well as the stitcher’s name. The gallery is well lit with outside light as well as spotlights highlighting the pieces. Here is an overview of two walls of the exhibit. The admission is free.


For those of you who knit or do any form of hand work, there are table set up in the large, well lit hall outside the gallery (with outlets for your lights if it s a dull day) if you would like to make a day of it. Come, see the exhibit, stitch for awhile and go out to lunch. We have both Discovery maps showing Morristown, Madison and Chatham, as well as a listing of some local restaurants.

Hope to see you there in the coming week. It is well worth a visit!


SOTM, March, 2016


We are in our third month of the ANG SOTM designed by Susan Hoekstra. So this is the second round about the center. The stitch this month is the Byzantine which you will see in a variety of threads in the photos. Since you may begin wherever you have a long diagonal run of complete stitches, you will see a variety of appearances. Some of us changed from under compensating to over compensating, and the compensating will be in different areas but everything works. Linda M. even managed to complete the section before the day ended! As it was Jill’s birthday (what better way to spend a birthday than stitching with friends?), we had sponge cake with strawberries for dessert. Let’s see if I can get the pieces labelled correctly!

Upper left, Joan, S. upper right , Sue C. Bottom,, Dee L. completed the second medallion from 2014!

Nancy W. on the left and Mally B. on the right. As a first timer, Mally is really going to town!


Robin M. upper left and Mary D. upper right with Linda M.’s completed round!

Jill W. on the left, the green on the dark green canvas does not show up well, but Tina F.’s red/pink shows up well in the turquoise canvas!

Next month we will be stitching at NeedleFest on our SOTM and Susan H. will be able to see our work and colors!


Empire of the Sun


Toni Gerdes designed a beautiful kimono filled with rays similar to the rays on the Japanese rising sun flag. When I first saw it last year, it was the rays that impressed me. I selected to do this on the pewter canvas with the accent color teal. The remaining threads are shades of grey as well as an almost white. Aside from some blue Bijoux for glitz the other threads are all silk. As usual, Toni has a visual table of contents–a drawing of the piece with the area and page in each section. This makes it fast and easy to select what page you are looking for. We worked today primarily on learning the stitches for all the rays in the bottom portion of the kimono and one ray in the sleeve. We had lots of stitching time to work on each portion. For me that means I can get all the loose threads completed and tied off at least at same point in class.

By the time that class had finished today, we had worked on each of the different rays making sure we understood how each stitch would fit in the ray. The only portion that we did not begin was the beading for the color. Toni's explanation was so clear that it should not be difficult. The kimono has some beads trailing done the rays in a random pattern. We all know that asking needlepointers to do something random places a heavy load on us. Toni showed us random: imagine a playground with second graders out there playing and you are watching from above. Here are three girls giggling together over here. Further away is the new girl standing alone watching everyone. Over there are two boys kicking a ball and in another area a group of kids are playing softball with several clustered around home plate and others a bit scattered. That explanation made random clear to me! Thank you, Toni, for that story and visualization!

Empire of the Sun


One of the women in class had a neat Ott light that was not available at one of our favorite stores for Ott lights. She purchased it at an electronic store. It weighed less than three pounds, folded flat, with a power cord. It had three kinds of lights and different intensities. On the arm it had a clock, calendar and thermometer–our classroom was 70 degrees.

Ott light

This class was a perfect ending for the seminar. New Orleans, here we come!



Stitch of the Month, 2016


Those of us from NJNA who are attending the seminar were delighted with next year's offering. It is designed by our own Susan Hoekstra! (We still claim ownership although Susan has moved to Maine.). The design is called “Feuilles d'ananas, a Study in Values”. The layout is similar to a pineapple quilt block and the title means pineapple leaves. Susan stitched hers in different values of gold ranging from very light to very dark. The threads look like they would be floss or silk, (maybe Splendor would have the range needed) with some Kreinik and a few beads. It appears as though you would be working out from the center of the design and adding layers each month. I think it would be a fun piece to stitch and to see what happens as different stitchers use a different family of thread values. (Pictures are not permitted in the display area.)


Seminar tidbits and Day 1and 2 of Copper Line with Sue Reed


I took a look at the classes being offered next year at New Orleans and there are some good ones. I had hoped I would find only a couple of classes that I liked and could spend more time working on finishing one project instead of sharing the time among several projects. Maybe that will come sometime in the future, but not next year! There are some really good classes with some excellent teachers.

Yesterday was the first day of my first choice for the whole seminar, Copper Line with Sue Reed from Peabody, MA. I had taken a short 1/2 day program with her right after the seminar in Anaheim at the San Bernadino chapter meeting. I knew then that if I saw a class of hers I really liked, I would take it as she is an excellent teacher. She has the patience needed to spend time with someone who is having difficulty doing a stitch until they can do it on their own. This is an encore class first done about ten years ago. I was able to get in the class because someone dropped out and my name was at the top of the waiting list.

Day one

I obviously did not post last night so to continue with the class, day two was another good day with Sue Reed. It is often amazing the little tidbits you pick up from a teacher as well as new stitches. One of the things I learned today about Smyrna stitches is that the placement of the top stitch depends in part on its location. If you have a row of Smyrnas the horizontal line is enhanced if the top stitch is placed horizontally as well. In a column it is better to have the top stitch vertical. Who knew?

A pretty stitch we did today was a scotch stitched with several tied stitches in it. The ties were a metallic adding a bit of bling or sparkle to the section. For some reason the photo becomes distorted when I try to insert it so I will leave it out.



Color Play, day 2


Today was a good day for stitching! We began with the background stitch which is a double running stitch that creates a hexagon design when completed. Three back and forth passes create the honeycomb. We worked a row across the top or bottom to create the frame work and will complete the background off of that section. The stitch is worked with a single strand of DMC Jewel Effects. The way that the light reflects off it makes a perfect simple background. We did start the last hexagon which will eventually use four different threads to complete it. Now it looks a bit like a smattering of mud on top. Once I established the design and completed the thread. I returned to complete the two smaller hexagons and to work on one of the large ones. The addition of the red thread, only a single line in each pattern made all the difference. It was a fun class and oh what I learned!

Day 2of Color Play