Category Archives: Phoenix 2014 EGA Seminar

Two Finishes, stones and beads as well


In my last post, just after Christmas, I said that I had finished stitching Jasper, the Toni Gerdes design. I still had the stones of jasper to place on the stitching. On Wednesday I tested several selections and placements and finally sewed them to the piece. Toni gave us many stones to select from, either leopard or autumn varieties of jasper.

jasperI also put the last bead and bicone on A Different View by Kurdy Biggs, the year long SOTM piece that NJNA was doing in 2014, and completing in 2015 if needed. I did not select one of the offered color ways so picked my own. I decided to use green and white on a light jade or turquoise canvas. As I was selecting threads a friend suggested that I add a bit of apricot as well which I did. The apricot led to the use of the copper Kreinik which I really like. So mine has a much more limited palette than the others in the group, but my stress level Was lower as selecting the color and thread I wanted to use for each stitch was always much more limited. When it came time to putting on the beads, I again used a limited variety, white seed beads, a few copper colored beads, 3mm and 4mm bicones mostly in a very lightly colored crystal with a few clear colored crystal bicones as well. Diane directed me to where I was able to find the bicones that I ordered. With the advice of Sue R. I used Fireline to attach the bicones. It is opaque and barely shows when carried from place to place on the back. It took me much longer to get all the beads and crystals attached with all the flipping of the canvas from front to back. I am interested in seeing what the framer suggests that I do.


Jasper completed on Christmas Eve!


Jasper, a Toni Gerdes piece, was my last class at the seminar in Phoenix but the first one completed. I enjoyed stitching it and found that I learned quite a bit about compensating, especially in the sections with the diagonal lines. I did change both the stitches and threads for two blocks. One had a stitch and thread repeated and neither the stitch or the thread was a favorite of mine. It is the first block in the second row across. I found the bound cross stitch in the map of the U.S. directions for Minnesota. It was about the third try before I hit on one that worked.

The large block below that used the bouclê thread couched on the diagonal. I could NOT find the right hole for the couching and could not even count the laid threads accurately. My first try at altering the design was to change the thread to the Vineyard silk two strands, same troubles, but one strand was too thin. So on to a new diagonal stitch from the map of the states. This time I went with the soufflé variation, the stitch for Missouri, again after a number of test runs. (The state map is on congress cloth v.s. the 18 count here which had an impact.). Next step is adding the jasper beads–tiny polished stones.





Good by, Phoenix and Seminar 2014!


The last day of the last class and soooo much learned this week as well as new friends met and enjoyed. Ironically, I rarely saw NJ people while I was here, but several new friends I bumped into time and again! Hope to see them again at one of the seminars!

Today's class on Jasper had us working on boxes in the middle column as well as the one on the right. This is the third class that I have taken this year where the design lent itself to learning new stitches. These seemed to be sampler classes where the stitches were incorporated into the design, for instance the map of the United Stares, the High Country Winter taken earlier this seminar as well as Jasper, the current class. There have not been many repeats of stitches which I find pretty amazing.

When class was over today, one woman said that one important thing that she learned was how to compensate

along an oblique angle which we did in several boxes that were sectioned by a large page X in the middle. I had not thought about that, but I struggled enough in the beginning to agree that we DID learn how to do that these past two days. This is a project that I look forward to completing including putting the jasper on the backgrounds.

Jasper, Day 2


The banquet tonight ended a good week with a beautiful favor made for EGA Seminar by Puffin &Company, the magnet people. It is a magnetic scissor keeper of a dream catcher with EGA 2014 on it. There is also a cord for the scissors and two counting pins. It is awesome! It is so useful! It will bring back many good memories.

Banquet Favor

After a visit with Rosie's mom, we will be back to NJ and stitching on our pieces.



Farewell to Another Great Seminar!


Hi, Everyone —

We had another wonderful day with the lovely Toni Gerdes!  We stitched on all but a few areas of our Jasper design.  The unstitched areas are “easier” versions of stitches that we already did.  Sure they are…

Jasper -- End of Day 2!

Jasper — End of Day 2!

Tonight was the closing banquet and I must say that EGA does banquets well.

I’ve started packing — tomorrow Sue and I will fly to California for a short visit with my Mom.

Cheers!  Rosie

Angels among us


Now it is my turn to be an angel for Toni Gerdes! She is very easy to be an angel for. Aside from passing out the kits as students arrived, I have had to call for an extra chair and more paper towels. Not bad for the beautiful pin I am wearing as well as the angel magnet Toni gave me which is on my canvas.

As Rosie said, we are both in Toni's class today and tomorrow stitching Jasper. Just looking at the colors used, you might not think that the piece had any life to it, but the variety of stitches and the different textures and shades of the threads definitely bring it to life. I learned the hard way today how not to open a skein of Soy Lustre and with the second skein we opened, I learned how to do it correctly. I have about a two hour job ahead of me untangling the first skein! (And I was being so careful!). The other thread that is a bit difficult to manage is the Edmar bouclê.

Soy Lustre, 1, Soy Lustre 2 and Bouclê

This is the time when you can see just how fast (and accomplished) a stitcher Rosie is when you compare the day's output on our two canvases. But I remind myself that this is not a competition. I am having a good time and feel good about what I was able to do today, even if it was only to learn how to open the Soy Lustre! My favorite stitch so far is the Double Dutch stitch which can be found in the large rectangle on the left side. There will be a color change in the threads as I progress down the block, and this will also be a rectangle where some of the leopard and autumn jasper beads will be attached.

Note the angel pin and Double Dutch


Only one more day of class. I am ready for a stitching retreat so that I can work on some of these pieces. Or maybe all I need is to set up some stitching dates for some of us who have unfinished pieces to gather and STITCH!



Jasper — Day One!


Hi, Everyone —

For the first time — Sue and I are taking the same class at seminar!  It is “Jasper” with Toni Gerdes.   Most of you will realize that this is the third class I’ve had from Toni — this year!  And the second — this week!  Toni has groupies and I admit that I am fast becoming one of them.  Her designs are spectacular and her instructions and classroom manner are A-Number-One!

Jasper is very different from Navajo Blanket.  Whereas in Navajo Blanket, the thread and stitches were wool and heavy enough to emulate a woven blanket, in Jasper we are using silk, cotton, soy, and even some wool threads.  Toni says that she wanted this piece to have the texture to go with the rocks that will be used in the design and she also wanted it to be a sampler of different, unusual stitches.

When Harold and I were in Sedona (see I went into a store that sold beads.  Among the “beads” that were sold were many, many varieties of Jasper.  It seems that Jasper can be blue, green, coral, gold, and beige.  In our piece we are using Leopard Jasper and Autumn Jasper beads.  It is beautiful, but I can’t help thinking that it will go better in my Mom’s house than in mine.

First Day Progress on Jasper!

First Day Progress on Jasper!

After class, Sue and I decided to check out “River Ranch” which is an entertainment water park that is part of our hotel here in Phoenix.  We both floated around the lazy river and then did some exercises in a lap pool.  While we were floating we noted that there was a miniature golf course, a day care center, a ghost town, a water slide, and concession stands.  It seems that this is a great resort for families, but I think they are overwhelmed by all the “ladies who needlepoint!”

Cheers!  Rosie

Wednesday is Tour Day at EGA!


Hi, Everyone —

Tour day is one of my favorite days at seminar because I just love visiting new, interesting places.

Our tour today had several stops.  The first was at Cosanti Bells.  Our tour guide, Jim, kept saying that we were going to Arcosanti after Cosanti Bells.  And even when we got to Taliesin West he called it Arcosanti again.  Arcosanti and Cosanti Bells ARE related, but our tour did NOT include Arcosanti, which is closer to Sedona.  Arcosanti is an experimental city that was designed to be self-sufficient.

The Cosanti Bells stop was mostly a shopping stop so that we could buy bells.  I walked around the site and saw the molds which are used to make the bells.  There was no commentary about the process, but I must say that the bells were beautiful and had a Southwest feel to them!

Cosanti Bells

Cosanti Bells

Molds for Consanti Bells

Molds for Consanti Bells

Next we went to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Camp” at Taliesin West.  Wright built Taliesin during the depression when his third wife suggested that since he didn’t have any commissions that he should teach.  Taliesin West still functions as an accredited school for architects — during the winter months.  During the summer, the students migrate to the original Taliesin in Wisconsin.  The students must learn by doing — including building their own “tent/rooms” on cement slabs on the campus.

“Taliesin” means shining brow.  Wright believed that the architecture should fit into the environment and not overshadow it.  Therefore, the structure sits below the top of the mountain and no structure is higher than the surrounding trees in this case the Palo Verde trees.

We were lucky to have a wonderfully informed tour guide to take us through the Taliesin facility.  We started with this petrograph that was found on site.


Taliesin Petrograph

It was from this petrograph that the symbol/logo for Taliesin is derived.

Taliesin Logo -- Depicts Two Hands Clasping!

Taliesin Logo — Depicts Two Hands Clasping!

Since I know that Sue has some wonderful pictures of the facility, I wanted to show this one:


On the left in the picture is the Taliesin West kitchen. If you are familiar with Wright’s history, he twice lost his home to fires that started in the kitchen. Here in the desert, he built the triangular pond so that he could form a “bucket brigade” in the event of another kitchen fire!

The triangular shape of the pond and of the roof and of the windows was intended to reflect from the triangular shape of the mountains behind Taliesin.  Someone in our group asked about the orange fabric and paint that featured prominently in the furnishings of Taliesin.  We were told that it was “red” and that Wright used four colors of red:  Chinese Red (which seemed orange to us), Red, Taliesin Red (brownish), and Fire Engine Red which he used only for his many cars (and which all of his students also used for their cars).  So they made a long red caravan as they made their way from Wisconsin to Arizona and back every six months!  “There go the Wright boys!”

We also learned about a sculptor that came to Taliesin West while Wright lived here.  She did a bust of Wright and then everyone tried to persuade her that sculpture was her true calling.  She is now in her nineties and still lives at Taliesin.  Below is a sculpture tat she completed within the past six months:

"Equilibrium" by Heloise Crista

“Equilibrium” by Heloise Crista

Most of her sculptures only have about ten copies made before the mold is destroyed.  The base on which this (and her other) sculptures are displayed rotates so that you can view it from all sides!

Finally — a lovely sunset from our hotel was a nice way to end our day!


Sunset at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak

Tomorrow Sue and I both begin “Jasper” with Toni Gerdes.

Cheers, Rosie

A day away from stitching


Tour day! Rosie and I went on the same tour today with the high point being the tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, an architectural school that is still operating today. He purchased the land in 1937 and began the place and program as a camp. The early buildings had canvas roofs which were rolled up every spring when the school returned to Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin East. The tour guide was excellent describing the history, the philosophy of FLW and his approach to architecture and the environment. Maybe these photos will give you an idea of the setting.

Building blocks formed from rocks, pebbles and a minimum concrete


He was very interested in Asian art. He acquired a number of Chinese friezes but they were broken into pieces. He had some of his students reassemble them. They can be found all over the property.

Chinese artwork


Shortly after his death, the third Mrs. Wright received this fountain dragon. After placing him in several locations on the property spouting water, she moved him to his current location. She decided that a dragon does not spout water, but breathes fire! Now it is hooked up to a gas line and during events the dragon breathes a flame of fire lighting up the area.

Fire Breathing Dragon

After the ninety minute tour, we returned to the gift shop which had a number of beautiful things such as these stand glass pieces.

Gift Shop Oieces

This stop was definitely the best of the day!



Day 2 of Sedona–Cathedral Rock


My canvas is looking good! I can see myself finishing this canvas as there is no section that has me questioning whether it is something that I can accomplish. We added more sections to the scene today, including the river edge–basketweave needed for a foundation for the river, a large shrub, rocks in the river, and the river. We discussed the sky which is stitched the same way as the river but different threads obviously. Since our classroom was so dark, Lois recommended that we wait to do more than establish the stitching for the river until we get home where there will be better light. Then we will be able to see the shading done with threads better. So now I have a second canvas that I can work on if we get that blizzard that keeps me home but does not interrupt the electric power!

Cathedral Rock

Tomorrow is tour day so there will be different pictures to see.



Navajo Blanket


Hi, Everyone —

I really don’t have much to blog about today.  Sue and I found a terrific fresh deli across the street and after having a wonderful lunch, we ordered salads for dinner so that we could eat quickly before merchandise night at EGA.  Plus, we discovered a creamery on site and wanted to try the ice cream before it closed at 7:00 PM.  So now we are sated and awaiting the opening of merchandise night!

“Navajo Blanket” class ended today, but I am pleased to have another class with this teacher later in the week.

Navajo Blanket comes to an end.

Navajo Blanket comes to an end.

Tomorrow Sue and I will tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s home at Taliesin West.  I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard that the EGA seminar would be in Phoenix!

Cheers,  Rosie