This past week I went up to Sturbridge, Massachusetts to the Winter Stitching Retreat run by Sue Donnelly. You could sign up for five days of stitching with great meals or less. As this was my first time, I decided to try two days. There were two other NJNA members stitching there this week, Ada D. and the mysterious Ellen S. They both spent all five days stitching. The retreat is held at the Publick House complex, a very old hotel.
The stitching room with two NJNA members and friends
There were about ten tables of stitchers working on a variety of embroidery related items, some huge, some small, some cross stitch, some needlepoint and other techniques as well. As you know we are always looking for new tools for our hobby. One woman was using a bead mat about the size of a 3 X 5 card held onto her canvas by a strong rare earth magnet. Nancy gave us all the information we need to buy one for ourselves!
Meals were an important part of this retreat! We had a choice of about three main courses and three desserts for each lunch and dinner which we selected about a week before the event. I enjoyed everything and heard nothing from others except how good it was. The fruit offering for dessert at each meal was always fresh and loaded with flavor and there was always a delicious choice from the inn bakery. The waitstaff was always on top of things and ready to respond to a request for another cup of tea or coffee. Conversation and laughter flowed at every meal.
Do we look happy?!!!
The accommodations were very good and available in several places at the Publick House, in the main building, next door in a newer building and about a block away in a motel like building. I stayed in the motel, walked down for breakfast and then drove down for class as we did not want to walk up the hill after evening stitching in the dark. The weather was beautiful so the walk and distance was not an issue.
Other inducements to come included a lovely reusable gift bag which included several design charts, a spool of Kreinik, a card of Weeks Dyeworks, a sample of lotion, Kreinik thread color chart, a button pin for the event for stitching. There was even a Victoria Sampler Christmas Cardinal stocking design with the thread/bead pack included. The hotel kept ice and ice water available at all times. Cookies were set out daily which I do not even try as I filled up at the meals. A nearby shop was the vendor with numerous cross stitch designs, a few accessories and a few Nancy’s Needle counted work designs. The owner would take orders for threads she carried and bring the threads in the following day for those requesting. Each evening after dinner about ten names were drawn for door prizes that had been donated primarily by companies such as Kreinik and 123stitch.
If you think you might be interested, check the website for Stitchers Hideaway which should have the information posted for next year by mid March.
As I was writing the previous blogs it dawned on me that I never posted about the third class I started last Fall. So, here’s progress on another project – Background Sampler I designed by David McCaskill. The class is being taught by our own Cathryn C at Ridgewood Needlepoint.
This piece is being stitched in Anchor pearl cotton and floss, with a Threadworx overdye thrown in for some interest. I am stitching in the gray colorway although there are several other colorways available.
There is a back story to this project. I had originally seen it on a Facebook post and contacted David about getting the instructions for both samplers, choosing the gray canvas. I then sort of forgot about it. Fast forward a month or so – Ridgewood Needlepoint posted that they were offering the class. I signed up for the class although they did not offer the gray colorway (I chose lavender instead). A few weeks later I got a call from the shop that my kit was ready for pick-up (had to do some pre-work before class). Wouldn’t you know – that same day I got home to find a package from David with the instructions and gray canvas for both samplers!
I apologize for the picture; I just couldn’t get a good angle on the lighting so it looks a bit washed-out. We have our third class on Sunday so I’ll try to get a better photo for next time.
Technically I didn’t finish this piece during my holiday vacation; I completed it last night after having time on vacation to stitch. This is, of course, The Wright Friends, designed and taught by Tony Minieri. You may recall that I was able to take this two-day workshop through the ANG Central Jersey Chapter (CJCANG). Many of you have seen the finished piece at NeedleFest or one of our monthly meetings since the original “Wright Friends” are local to our area.
It is a stunning piece and the colors are luscious. I just love the pinwheel effect. It’s off to the framer this weekend. I’m not sure yet what mats will be used – Cathryn C used the turquoise and a hint of purple on her framed piece. I was thinking of purple with a hint of the chartreuse/green since those are my daughter’s favorite colors (and that’s why it’s oriented that way in the photo). Tony’s model used all four colors with the pink on top. I may just have to play a bit when I’m at the framer.
Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. I decided to take some time off this week to relax and get caught up on my needlework projects before starting some major projects for next year.
This past weekend I was able to finish Thank You Jean by Karen Garinger, the class I ghosted through the ANG Mt. Rainier Chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed this project and I think it is just a great piece. It will be an ANG Cyberclass in 2018 for anyone interested.
Over the rest of my week off I hope to finish a few more pieces that were started this year.
I hope you all have a very Happy New Year – best wishes for 2017!
This past week I started the second class in what I’m calling my “Alternative Seminar”. I am ghosting a class through the ANG Mt. Rainier Chapter – Thank You Jean, which is a study of Jean Hilton stitches. The designer is Karen Garinger, a member of that chapter. We have a Facebook page so that we can ask questions, share photos, and get advice from Karen. She told us that the piece was originally intended as Frank Lloyd Wright-inspried but as the design evolved it was clearly using the stitches devised by Jean.
I originally saw the piece on Facebook and signed up immediately. I am stitching it on black 18-count canvas although it was also available with red and green canvas. The threads are all silver/gray. Interestingly, the project also includes a piece of chiffon which is mounted between the canvas and the stretcher bars. When we first got the kit (which was beautifully shipped, by the way, and included a project bag), I assumed the chiffon was provided to give the piece some “texture”. However, Karen explained that when she stitched the piece she found some of the threads showed through the canvas and, since there was no way to avoid some dragging, the chiffon provides backing to help hide those threads. I have heard of stitchers who mount felt or other material behind their canvases so that they don’t have to worry about dragging threads, but have not done so myself before now.
The threads include Shimmer Ribbon , Silk Lame Braid, Kreinik, Neon Rays and DMC rayon floss and perle cotton, and Sulky Metallic. The first step was to complete the outer and inner borders which are stitched in #8 perle cotton in satin stitch. I started stitching last weekend and was able to do only an hour or two a day during the week. It was a very stressful week at work so those few hours in the evening were therapeutic for me. I managed to finish the borders on Thursday night.
Step 2 is to place Waffle Stitches along the long side between the inner and outer borders. The Waffles are stitched in two colors of the Shimmer Ribbon. I did get a few of those done last night and will continue with the Waffles today. Here you can see the placement of the Waffles. These are done in a silver Shimmer Ribbon and the stitches in between will be done in a darker gray Shimmer Ribbon.
I am looking forward to sitting down later today to complete the areas between the borders. I’ll post progress in a few days.
I continued to work on The Wright Friends through the past week. I have other classes lined up (more later) so I wanted to get to a good stopping point. I mentioned in my previous post that we worked on the fuchsia window in class. We also started on the center square in the class. I finished that center square and started/completed the lime green window. I’ve declared myself half complete since I still have to fill in some beads on the first two windows as well as stitch the remaining two windows.
The remaining windows are purple and turquoise which I’m planning to complete in the next month but I’m off to start another project. I’m hoping to post about that class later this week.
I usually watch DVDs while I’m stitching – I rarely watch shows when they’re actually on tv and prefer to “binge watch” several episodes at once. I couldn’t make up my mind what to watch so I listened to an audiobook recommended by a friend: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It is the story of two sisters in occupied France during WWII and how the choices they make in reaction to the events affect their lives. I enjoyed the story thoroughly and I thought the narrator, Polly Stone, was excellent. I recommend it highly.
This past weekend several of us from NJNA were invited to join the Monmouth Chapter EGA at their annual stitching retreat at a hotel in Voorhees, NJ. We went down on Friday afternoon stopping first at the Nimble Needle in Haddonfield where we browsed, found threads for projects, found new things we could not do without and generally had fun. Karen, the owner, is a delight to work with helping with finding things or suggesting stitches to use, or picking out the ideal thread. From there we went to the hotel about twenty minutes away. Monmouth Chapter had a large meeting room set aside for us from three on Friday to four on Sunday. You could find someone in there stitching from 7:30 in the morning until 11 at night!
From NJNA Tina finished four pieces that had been languishing at home waiting for the final few hours of work! Then she began working on another needlepoint piece that needed several days of work but did come out of the dark for work to begin again. Ada was thwarted in working on her Japanese work but had brought some other pieces and almost completed the background on a winter piece after receiving suggestions for a good stitch from others gathered around. She also completed the stitching of another small piece. And I completed the stitching I needed to do for a piece being offered at Friends of Counted Thread, began Bali Hai unsuccessfully and then worked on Sisters from seminar with very good results.
It was so much fun to see what others had brought to stitch with them. One woman had been in Linda’s class from the previous weekend and was working on that. Another brought a Ton Mineri piece that she had set aside for several years and can now see the end in sight. An interesting bit was that a section had been stitched with a plated silver thread which had tarnished in the intervening years. It would have been impossible to remove or clean but outlining the section in a dark thread did make that section show up, rather than recede into the piece. One woman made a beaded bracelet before moving on to needlepoint. A cute York Peppermint Patty ornament was completed and the next, a Hershey bar was begun. Others made great advances on a single piece of cross stitch or needlepoint or knitting or moved from one piece to another. But stitching with others gave us companionship, many laughs, suggestions or encouragement when needed. of course, there was food involved with many trees available for snacking or dessert all day. All in all a wonderful weekend!