Category Archives: Chicago 2014 Seminar

Not Your Grandmother’s Needlepoint!


Hi, Everyone!

Wednesday at seminar is tour day and we woke to this glorious sunrise and the first clear, sunny day of the week!

Good Morning!  Good Morning!

Good Morning! Good Morning!

Since my ANG tour was cancelled, Sue and I decided to have some fun in Chicago.  First up….

The Lakefront Segway Tour!

The Lakefront Segway Tour!

We rode for about two hours and made our way from the Navy Pier area to the Shedd Aquarium and Soldier Stadium!

Chicago Skyline from Shedd Aquarium!

Chicago Skyline from Shedd Aquarium!

And lest you think I was getting too cocky with my “no hands” pose, let me just say that this “balancing” helped keep my Segway from moving.  Otherwise, I apparently am much too fidgety!

For Marisa!

For Marisa!  Sculpture in the Park!

Our Segway tour guide, Joe, is an aspiring actor waiting for his break and we had a BLAST!  Now we are wondering which muscles will hurt the most tomorrow!

After lunch, we boarded a Wendella boat for a Architecture River and Lake Cruise.  While you are on the river, the very tall buildings feel like canyon walls with one unique building after another.  We owe Meg a debt of gratitude for recommending that we take the boat tour that went through the locks and onto Lake Michigan.  The Chicago Skyline views from the lake were dramatic.  From the lake we also got great views of:

The Chicago Lighthouse!

The Chicago Lighthouse!

The Navy Pier!

The Navy Pier!

and — wait for it —

Building 1, and

Building 1, and

Buildings 2, 3, 4, and 5 from "Chicago Blues!"

Buildings 2, 3, 4, and 5 from “Chicago Blues!”

I think you can see that we had beautiful weather and although I took 120 pictures, I tried to curb my enthusiasm in this post!

Expo tonight!

Cheers, Rosie



The Little Yellow Basket


Hi, all

Monday and Tuesday were spent in a wonderful class with Margaret Kinsey. She is a very flexible teacher who gives lots of attention to each student. It was a smaller class (12) that Dee and I took together..

Monday was spent building the basket and Tuesday we began on the bling. The memory wire flower (there will be two) and the flower on the left side will be filled with purple chipped beads. There also will be lots of beads with spangles. I wanted to wait to add beads when all stitching is finished so nothing catches.

We started the background which is a combination of pulled work and darning stitches.

Today is a cruise on the Chicage river to get a different perspective on Chicago architecture.

Here is Little Yellow Basket so far


All the best!



Roaring thought the western states!


As you may have counted we had quite a few states to address today, but no extra hours of class time. We did need to “dry lab” as we used to say, a few states, meaning we read over the directions and took a few notes. There are some really pretty and fun stitches in the western states. I like the one for Colorado, but think I will take it out and rotate it 90 degrees so it looks like mountains even though they are the wrong color for the Rockies. The nice thing about these stitches is that they cover a large area. A funny thing in Gail's designing and writing up her directions was that when she ended the lower forty-eight states, she had only forty-seven stitches. Which was the missing state? Turns out it was Maryland which has probably the most irregular borders and wanders all over the place! The stitch for that is the encroaching Gobelin which should be fine for covering the area and easily compensated.

A Bit Here, A Bit There


After class today I wanted to walk down to where we will be taking the Segway tour Wednesday to make sure I knew the route and determine how long it would take to get there. It is down near the Navy Pier so after I found the door to the tour I continued on to the Navy Pier which was more than I expected with shops, restaurants, a Ferris wheel, carousel, and a few other entertainment activities. They are in the process of updating the area so some parts were closed for construction, but it looked like an interesting place to wander around. Maybe Thursday night when nothing is on the schedule.

I came back to see the Teacher's Showcase where teachers showed the things that they will bring to your area to teach. We all looked with the idea that maybe NJNA could bring a teacher in at some point. We did see a few things we thought worthwhile to put on the list of potential workshops.

Wednesday is an off day from stitching until we have exhausted our touring.



Puzzle Pieces – day 3 and 4


Yesterday we made great progress as we did sections 6 thru 9 and started on 10. I actually finished section 7 so I have 2 complete sections done! Having the basting of the sections made it so much easier to figure out where to start each section.

You can start to see some deeper oranges in these sections. Section 8 has several layers of Amadeus stitches with lots of bright colors. In section 10, we had to decide on what color crescents we wanted as there are 5 layers. Initially I was going to go with the blues and lavenders to balance with the right side. Then looking at the finished piece again today, I realized the balance of colors is more on the diagonal with the top and right being the blue and lavender and the bottom and left being more the bright oranges and green so I'm rethinking my color schemein the sections with options.

Day 3 results

I didn't do any additional stitching last night, which waas provably good to have a break. Today we worked through the corners of section 10. The photo shows even less done on that section than yesterday as I had gone with the lavender / blue color scheme there including the corners but decided the colors weren't working and, as I said, I realized the color balance In the pilot,so I tore it all out at he end of the day!

We also worked the rest of the sections including the center, which also has some choices to be made in terms of color. I decided to wait until I had other sections around it done to get the effect I ultimately want.

Day 4 progress


I have to say, I did learn a lot about overlaying and padding stitches in this class. I love the finished design and am looking forward to finishing this. It was the right level of challenge for me once I basted everything so I wasn't frustrated with my counting. I have to admit around 3:30 today, I panicked thinking my left side counts were all off. Luckily, I was mistaken although I know some had problems with their counting and were doing lots of ripping! Once the basting is in so you know where each section goes, the project is definitely a fun piece. There's lots of opportunities for color choices and the multi-layer stitches provide great dimension and effect.

I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the class and met wonderful stitchers of all ages from all over the country. While I was sad to see the class end, I was also happy as I tend to have difficulty sitting still for so long!

Tomorrow, Heidi and I are doing the Frank Lloyd Wright bus tour for a change of pace.

Happy stitching,



Day Four of American Mosaic


I should write this tomorrow when I am not so exhausted. But I just spent an hour getting my threads under control and into labeled baggies. My piece is a work in progress if you are optimistic. At best it is ready and waiting to be straighten out and understood, but I am a negligent parent throwing up my arms. I know I will enjoy many happy hours of stitching on this piece,once I get home to my stitching chair and light. I learned and laughed in this class. I look forward to working on it and I was given clear instructions on what we didn't cover, such as the doodad stitch for Hawaii. We did cover all but three states, which we can figure out. I relaxed with dinner out with the gals. Tomorrow I have the Frank Lloyd Wright tour, which should be fun. Here is a picture of my messy canvas so far.

My Lovely Mess


Geometric Butterfly — Bittersweet Endings!


Hi, Everyone —

My second wonderful class, Geometric Butterfly, ended today.  Sadly, I have to say goodbye to Toni Gerdes, the wonderful artist and teacher who conceived this beautiful design.

Geometric Butterfly -- End of Day Two!

Geometric Butterfly — End of Day Two!

You may not be able to tell, but we stitched some portion of every area on this design.  Toni was wonderful in that she taught us techniques that were so simple but would make so much difference in our every day stitching.  For example, do you know how to pull your DMC thread so that it doesn’t get into a birds nest knot?  We do — NOW!

As you know from prior posts, I was the angel for this class.  “It was fun and I was happy!”

Toni gave me this lovely “angel” thank you present:

I love my "angel" gift from Toni!

I love my “angel” gift from Toni!

And when I turned in all the evaluation forms at the SFC (Seminar Faculty Committee) desk, I received this lovely thank you for volunteering to be an angel:

This angel pin now lives on my nametag!

This angel pin now lives on my name tag!

Sad as I am to see this class end — the parting is bittersweet because I am enrolled in two more Toni classes at the EGA seminar in Phoenix!  So, I’ll see her again in a few weeks!  I’ll drink to that!

Cheers!  Rosie

Day Three of American Mosaic


Today was a productive day. We covered eleven more states, so we have done 35 states in three days. I suspect tomorrow will be a lot of verbal instructions to send us home to finish. I have really enjoyed this class, but I am exhausted. My family doesn't get it, but it's a happy exhaustion.

I stayed in tonight and tackled my tails. I only have one from today unstitched, but yesterday's are still there. I guess that will be a September project, in a more familiar stitching location

Diane and I took our lunch time to check out the exhibits and next year's seminar offerings in Myrtle Beach. There are several potential options. I need to finish my time here before planning next year. Diane and I also went to an officers meeting this evening which gave us some useful information. Then I went off to stitch!



Geometric Butterfly Angel!


Hi, Everyone —

I’ll start by issuing a retraction on my post from yesterday.  Betsy Devonshire’s sister is murdered, not her Mother.  Thanks to Dee for the correction — I guess my listening ears weren’t tuned in well.

So today I started my second seminar class, Geometric Butterfly.  This beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design by Toni Gerdes appears deceptively easy, but so far I have learned tricks for straight stitching, starting and ending threads, and color shading.  We had a lot of stitching time and so I was able to make amazing progress.

Geometric Butterfly -- End of Day One!

Geometric Butterfly — End of Day One!

My duties as the class angel are to take attendance, to fill out forms for missing people so that they can get their kits sent to them, to hand out evaluation forms on day two, and to turn in the evaluation forms to the SFC (Seminar Faculty Committee) at the end of class.

Exciting news today — I won a door prize!

A Little Zippered Case to Hold and Protect my Laying Tools (from Bella)

A Little Zippered Case to Hold and Protect my Laying Tools (from my wood chewing granddog, Bella)

Carol, Diane, and I ate dinner at Benny’s, a steakhouse about two blocks from the hotel and recommended by the concierge.  In addition to a delicious Steak Tartare, I had a deconstructed, grilled Caesar Salad.

Love those Little Fishes!

Love those Little Fishes!

After dinner, Diane and I decided to take a gander around EATALY, an Italian superstore.  EATALY covers two floors and contains multiple restaurants, a green grocer, a book store, a nutella boutique, books, , olive oil, pastas, a gelato stand, and wine!


Beautifully stocked shelves full of imported food stuffs!


Did I mention wine???

I had a yummy salted caramel gelato to sustain me on my one-block walk back to the hotel!

Finally, compliments of Meg, a look at our blog stats for the past few days!  Congratulations NJNA!

Two Days -- Over 1000 views!

Two Days — Over 1000 views!

Cheers, Rosie

Crossing the Mississippi


Today we did begin the westward journey across the Mississippi once we learned the stitch for Illinois. Much less compensation is needed with these states with mostly flat borders! You can see that we are moving away from the greens and into the blues and purples. Wondering why Wyoming is sitting out there by its lonesome? The design calls for the waffle stitch which is 9 threads square. Which means we needed to make the state a multiple of nine squares or find some way to accommodate extra stitches or threads. I took a canvas thread from Montana to help out and have put a row of tent stitches on the west and east borders as well as a slanted Gobelin between each column of waffle stitches.

We did learn the stitch for South Dakota, but I decided to get another waffle into Wyoming instead of using the ten minutes we had for the Old Florentine which will go in South Dakota. Unfortunately, what I stitched for Nebraska had to be removed as I put it in the wrong place, it is pretty and will be stitched soon.

It is apparent that some of our instructions tomorrow will have to be verbal as class does end at 4:30 and by that time most of us cannot even think straight. I did go to the well lighted but cold stitching room this morning at six to finish up a few threads and complete the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so I got off to a good start this morning with only a few loose threads!

Wagons Ho!

Last day of this class tomorrow.



Chicago Blues-Second Day


Our second (and final) day of class was very busy. We learned how to do our Waffle stitch and background, worked on two buildings and couched down the ribbon on the third piece of organza. Because the organza is very bowed, it makes the ribbon look crooked but I swear the stitching is straight!

There is still lots left to do – like chords and musical notes. But Joni gave very detailed written instructions and reviewed them thoroughly before class ended.

Last night was the opening banquet – got to meet some lovely people and ended up with one of the special award winners at my table. She was sooo excited!

Here is my progress on Chicago Blues.

Today starts Little Yellow Basket