Category Archives: Chicago 2014 Seminar

All Good Things Must Come to an End!


Hi Everyone —

I thoroughly enjoyed my second day of “Spirit” by Sue Reed.  Sue is so wonderful at giving us all of her accumulated knowledge of needlepoint.  I was watching her make a knot by wrapping the thread around the needle, so I asked her to teach me how to do this knot, which I now know is called a quilters knot.  Worth the price of admission!

It was quite interesting to see how each of us chose to stitch “Spirit”.  I chose to stitch the areas that I wouldn’t remember the special little hints for:

"Spirit" -- End of Seminar!

“Spirit” — End of Seminar!

So last night I took out the color matching threads since one of them had split.  They are now ready to go back into the piece.  So….imagine my surprise to find that IF I had put them in, I would not have been able to put in the Kreinik “X” segments without a lot of bother.  So, it’s all good!

So after all week of trying to go to the Purple Pig, we decided that lunch today was our last option.  So four of us checked it out and had a delicious lunch of fried olives stuffed with chorizo, fried deviled egg with capers and cornichons, roasted cauliflower (my favorite), braesola, English cheddar cheese, shaved squash summer salad with pickled blueberries and roasted hazelnuts, and a ham and cheese panini!  YUMMY!


Cheese, Swine, and Wine!

Tonight was the closing banquet which was a bit of a let down.  We had the same meat (chicken) as our Sunday banquet but with a different sauce.  The dessert rated an A+ with mini cheesecake, chocolate torte, and a few other chocolate treats!  We were excited to learn that the seminar after Myrtle Beach would be New Orleans, but deflated to hear that the year after that we would be returning to Anaheim.

Right now I have to get back to the first Arizona football game of the season.  I’m keeping an eye out for Marisa and the piccolos!



End of a great seminar


Today was the last day of seminar and there were so many things I planned/wanted to do and never accomplished. I guess I had better hope we return here in the future to see the Chicago things I hoped to see. The seminar things I missed are now lost.

My BEADazzled class went very well today as we applied beads in two other areas, the center section has a Bargello frame and the beads are applied by stitching the delica beads to the canvas with FyreWorks thread by Rainbow Gallery. The black band on the left side has random beads stitched on with black beading thread. Take a look.

New ways to bead

If you double click on the picture, you can enlarge it and actually SEE the beads in the left black band. Not only did I learn new techniques of applying the beads to the canvas, but I never used a beading needle! With a Bohin size 26 needle, you can go through the delica beads. Nancy told stories and passed on many tidbits that were both interesting and educational. She knows how to keep a class happy as she had cookies from Eatily for us after the afternoon break.

Before the banquet tonight I took a walk down along the riverside to the east of Michigan. It is a beautiful walkway with eating places, landscaping and fountains to see along the way. Just west of the Lake Shore Drive underpass is a beautiful residential building that had tiny gardens in front of each unit filled with flowers and well maintained. It is nice to see such an inviting area in the middle of a big city, an oasis of calm and beauty.

You cabin see through the water fall

The best part of the final banquet was learning that the 2016 seminar is in….New Orleans, but then we heard that the 2017 seminar is in Anaheim. Both Rosie and I were shocked that we were returning to Anaheim so soon after the last seminar there in 2013. Chicago and Philadelphia it is not. Home tomorrow. What will I stitch first? Another seminar is history.



BEADazzled is dazzling!


My last class began this morning. Yesterday's outings revitalized me and I was off to new adventures in the stitching world this morning with Nancy Cucci's class where we will be attaching over 2500 beads before finishing, yes, I did not make a typing error, 2500. The piece is about 5.5 inches square. Today we learned three different patterns for the beads. The first was to stitch a basket weave stitch but with on open thread between the stitches. The beads are applied to every other open intersection making the overall appearance less intense. The second area had the same open basket weave but with beads applied to each open intersection making the appearance of beads stronger. (You will have to take my word for it having seen the model because I have not yet put beads into this area). The next area you stitch the beads on with floss on every other intersection so that the beads are in diagonal rows. Next we will stitch in floss between the beads over two threads so the overall appearance is off a diagonal mosaic.

Continental outline and basket weave

The pilot group for this class was Fox Chapter which is near to Chicago. Many of the participants in the pilot class are working here at the seminar and are unable to take classes. They did bring in their finished projects for Nancy (and us) to see. Nancy suggests that we take her design and use it as a starting point although we could stitch the design as the model is stitched. Seeing the pilot stitchers' finished pieces certainly did give us ideas of changes that could be made very simply. Tomorrow I will give you an idea of what my possibilities will be.

After class while Rosie and Carol went for a swim, I walked down to Millennium Park. This weekend is the Jazz Festival in Chicago and they were getting ready for a concert tonight at the open air auditorium in the park. I saw many couples and couples with youngsters walking toward the park with their chairs, blankets, coolers, etc. in preparation for a picnic on the lawn before the event. On the way back to the hotel walking across the bridge over the Chicago River, I saw not only the tour boats but also a number of kayakers enjoying a late summer outing on the river on a beautiful evening.

Evening on the river

Last day tomorrow; how did the week go by so quickly!



The “Spirit” of Chicago!


Hi, Everyone —

Today I started a new class, “Spirit” with the lovely Sue Reed.  Three of my fellow chapter members are also in this class.  Most of today’s stitching was straightforward and I was able to make a fair amount of progress.  Toward the end of the day, however, Sue taught us how to find matching lengths in our over-dyed threads so that we could do color matching on each of the four corners of our canvas.

"Spirit" -- End of Day One!

“Spirit” — End of Day One!

Sue used my canvas to demonstrate this technique and I was rolling right along UNTIL one of my threads split and I ended up with 2.5 plies instead of 3 plies.  So tonight my spirit is sad as I begin some remedial repairs…



Reflection on Seminar


Now that I’m back home after 5 days at Seminar, I thought I’d summarize my thoughts on the overall experience since this was really my first full Seminar experience.  I had attended a one-day workshop in Philadelphia and had some time to check out the Exhibition and shop but didn’t get to any of the evening activities.  Taking a 4-day class is a bit draining as well as hard on the back, especially for someone who doesn’t sit still for long periods of time.  I did try to get up every 30 minutes or so even though it wasn’t break time and I waited until the teacher was done talking, but I don’t think she appreciated my need to be up and moving regularly.  I know some women use heating pads and footstools; however, I just need to get up and move – my work colleagues used to quickly learn I finished most meetings within 45 minutes because I’d be up and about at that point!  I do sit near the back but maybe I should think about being in the last row!

I picked my class because I loved the design and I still love it.  I’m really glad I realized I had to baste the sections after the first day so I could fully appreciate working on the piece.  Unfortunately, I’m about 2 months behind on the stocking I’m doing to be completed by Thanksgiving and am at least 2 months if not 3 on my Stitch of the Month!  I’m working on figuring out how I can work on all 3 as I am eager to work on Puzzle Pieces!  I got out of the class what I’d hoped in terms of learning how to overlay stitches and the different effects you can get.  I’d hoped to be a little further along in what I completed, but I wouldn’t even be this far if I hadn’t spent the time basting, so I’m happy with how much I got done!

I should have come in earlier in the day on Friday so I could have done more exploration of the Chicago area.  I did get to run or walk every day and did a lot of exploring.  However, there is so much to do such as the museums, river, and lake that I just didn’t get to.  I found Jewels Osco on Saturday at lunch and bought stuff for breakfasts, lunches, and cocktails since we had a refrigerator.  While I did get my tea every day at Starbucks and stopped a few days at Corner Bakery for lunch, it was a great savings that I could spend on needlepoint supplies!  Most restaurants I went to for dinner were fabulous – there were a few I would not recommend!

I didn’t get nearly enough time to go through the Exhibition or to review the classes for next year.  I have a list of about 10 classes I’d like to take, which we all know is not possible!  I also didn’t take enough time to look at the Opportunity Baskets or Book Store.  I’m glad I went to the Teachers Expo and spoke to most, if not all, of the teachers about their programs.  I had fun doing the Silent Auction, but probably could have spent more time and will do so in the future.  Expo was just so overwhelming for me that I have to think about how to deal with that in the future.  The store was okay, although I think the one in Philadelphia had a lot more canvases, charts, fibers, and tools.  I did buy a few things I needed, but they didn’t have several other items I needed and would have bought.  I didn’t have time to just browse in the store.

My roommate was great.  Our schedules and interests matched very well and we were not dependent on each other either.  I was definitely lucky in this regard!  And our room with a small view of the lake and fireworks was outstanding.

Being back home is  a let down and I’m exhausted!  I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight.  I look forward to hearing from those still experiencing Seminar 2014!

Happy Stitching,


Back in New Jersey


Diane and I were up at 5:30. She left at six. Then I got my packing together and handed in our evaluation sheets. I had fifteen minutes before the pick-up to the airport, and I had my project safe in my carry-on, so I eliminated the tail for New Mexico before I left. At the airport, once I got to the gate I had 45 minutes, so I eliminated the tails for Idaho and California. The airport was crazy with several flights delayed, gate changes, mechanical problems, and even a cancellation. My flight was delayed for 70 minutes, but I didn't want to take out my project in the unpredictable confusion. I am home and have started eliminating my Arizona tail while I watch Project Runway. I look forward to reading the blogs of those that are still there and taking more classes. Boy will my bed feel good tonight! It was a great time in Chicago.

An Unstitched Day


Today Diane and I took a day off from stitching to enjoy Chicago before we leave tomorrow. We went on the Chicago Architectural Foundation's “Frank Lloyd Wright by Bus”. It was a four hour tour in Oak Park. first we toured his home and studio and then took a walking tour in the gracious suburb that included six FLW designed homes amongst Queen Ann Victorians. What exquisite visuals. The walking tour ended at the Universalist temple that he also designed. We were back in the Loop by 1:30. We walked back to the hotel through Grant Park and particularly Millenium Park with the big reflective bean sculpture. Then we headed off to walk to Navy Pier and back. It was a lovely day for walking. When back at the hotel, I found out I won at the silent auction. This is what I got.

My Winnings

The canvas was five dollars and can probably fit in the leather bag insert. I'll bring it to our Sept meeting to show it off better. It a wonderful project bag.

Seems Like More than Fifty!

Rosie, Diane and I had an excellent dinner at Seasons 52. Then it was on to the Expo where I spent too much money. I bought Kathy Rees' Colorways, which I will take to Florida to stitch there. I did not stitch at all today but I did take a picture of my bagging of all the threads by states. I put the picture above instead of below. Sorry.

As Diane and I packed to leave for NJ tomorrow Diane realized the fireworks were going off over the lake at Navy Pier. We were too tired to walk it again, so we watched from our window. Diane took a shot of what we saw. Look to the right of the tall building in the middle of the picture to see the fireworks.

Red Fireworks

Diane's pedometer recorded over 18,000 steps for us today. I've had a great time these last six days. So long Chicago, hello New Jersey!


Stitching? What is that?


Today was our break day and Rosie and I sure took a break from stitching! We began the day with a Segway Tour along the lake front to the museums. We began in a large concrete floor room where we learned how the Segway operates. It was so easy that by the time we slowly rode out the door we were adept. No spills or collisions the whole trip! We were with three others, a father with two sons about 12 and 15. The ride along the waterfront gave us views of the yacht basin. With stops along the way, Joe, our tour guide, pointed out many of the buildings we saw as well as the Buckingham Fountain. We did see the outside of the Shedd Aquarium which was the first sea water aquarium away from the ocean. Until the early 60's sea water was brought in by rail from Key West, FL, by tank cars! The whole experience lasted about two hours and was a exhilarating way to see the lake front of Chicago. Ask me tomorrow what muscles are aching.

Look, Ma, no hands!


After lunch was the River/Lake Architecture Cruise. Meg, may I pay you in cookies for the excellent advice to take the cruise which includes both the river and lake front? Our guide was excellent. She knew all the buildings and told us interesting as well as trivial information about each. This building is above the rail lines going into Union Station. It is held up by cantilevers in the large X on the roof! Imagine that.

13 stories supported by the X on the roof


This tour included the lake as well so we were able to go though the lock (and watch all the mechanical operations that went with it) as we moved from river to lake. Some of the buildings that we had seen in the morning were against pointed out on this tour. In one spot we could see the four tallest buildings in Chicago. We saw the Millennium Park which I have not yet walked to and hope to fit that in tomorrow. Chicago has a great deal to offer and at least today we were able to see and experience some of that.

Chicago Skyline

And also the main tourist attraction

The Navy Pier and its Ferris Wheel

Tomorrow it is back to stitching!