Category Archives: Other Classes

Bling in the Holidays – Day 1

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Today finds me at the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, MA. I am attending the Stitcher’s Hideaway fall retreat – Bling in the Holidays with Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler.  I am a big fan of Thea’s pieces and she is a fabulous teacher, so I try not to miss any opportunity to take her classes.

We received our pre-work package in early September. Somehow I actually managed to finish the pre-work well ahead of schedule. Here’s the project when I arrived. This is stitched on 28-count Clay Cashel Linen.

Project Prework

Today we concentrated on all the specialty stitches – Partial Rhodes, Smyrnas, and Mosaics, to name a few. Thea provides videos of the stitch demonstrations in the class, which she then posts as YouTube videos for future reference.  It really helps a lot when there is a large group as everyone can see the demonstration.

So here is the project after today (and I am, thankfully, all caught up).

Project Day 1

Tomorrow we decorate the tree with all the bling!

Tonight we also had a gift exchange – those who wish to participate bring in a handmade gift. However, there is no stealing!  These are all the lovely gifts that were part of the exchange.

Ornament Exchange

This is the gift I received. I love these little ornaments and aren’t the scissors just adorable?

Christmas Tree Ornament

And here is the pillow I made. The recipient was appreciative of my effort. I am pretty pleased with it, considering that I could be categorized as a pre-beginner seamstress.

Merry Christmas Pillow

Tomorrow night we will have Show-and-Tell, which is always exciting. Stay tuned for more progress!

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Bling in the Holidays – Day 2

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Today was a beautiful clear New England autumn day. It was delightful walking about (even if it was just from my room to the stitching room) in the crisp dry air. For those who have not been to Sturbridge, I’ve included a few pictures of the Publick House grounds.

Today’s class was all about the bling! Thea handed out accessory packets with beads, sequins, gingerbread cookies, and other embellishment goodies. Her videos this morning provided tips on attaching the various pieces to the tree. We were then left to our own creativity to attach the bling.

We started with Gold Rush couched with Kreinik for the garland. We then laid out our own bling scheme, taking pictures as needed so that we had a reference for attaching later on. Here is what mine will look like (more or less). I may still move a few pieces around before finally attaching.

Project Proposed Layout

Here’s my progress at the end of the day today. I did get my garland attached as well as all the beads in the snowflakes surrounding the trees. And I attached my lights, which are a little big so we’re considering them ornaments.

Project Day 2

I’ll attach the rest of the bling when I am at home where I can see the beads and have a large space to work on.

After dinner many of the attendees brought in pieces for Show-and-Tell. As always I was blown away by the fantastic projects and gorgeous stitching. Here’s just a sample of the pieces that were shown.

These retreats really are a great deal of fun and I look forward to attending more in the future.

Tomorrow I am heading to Bush Mountain Stitchery in Palmer, MA (just down the road), which had its Grand Opening last weekend. After that I’ll be heading to New Jersey for a night at home (after the NJNA October Meeting, of course). I’ll be blogging about Bush Mountain but it will likely wait until Thursday.

Progress!

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Hi Everyone —

I just packed up “Wishful Thinking” so that I could pack my suitcase for tomorrow’s early flight home.  Sue carried hers on board, so she will finish a bit more tonight.  Here is our progress at suitcase time!

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It may not appear like we got a lot done, but each package has six to eight steps.  In addition, we took my brother’s dog for about an hour walk each day and visited with my Mom for uncountable games of Bananagrams!

Cheers!  Rosie

Wishful Thinking!

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Hi Everyone —

Despite the NJ weather last week, Sue C and I were able to get to Ontario, California in time to take Ann Strite-Kurz’s class “Wishful Thinking”.   Thankfully, we had scheduled to fly early and ended up arriving just in time!

The class is planned as a four-day class at seminar, but we were part of a three-day pilot class sponsored by SBCANG chapter of ANG.  We had a small amount of pre-work to set up the dog outline and the border, but Ann told us that we could do as much of the border as we wanted if we had time.

Ann’s design shows a stack of Christmas presents with a Scotty dog trying to reach a bone on the top of the stack!  Sue is doing the piece in this original Christmas colorway.  Another woman did her own Hanukah colorway and we saw her stitched model in class — it was lovely.  I had asked Ann for a girl’s birthday colorway, but she had trouble finding the right threads, so she did a boy’s birthday colorway for me instead.  I am stitching the sample for this colorway (which Ann plans to also offer) so I am under a self-imposed deadline to get this done!

The following picture shows our progress after the second day of class.

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It’s hard to believe, but we did the bottom four packages on the first day and the “top” two on the second day.  Ann walked us through all of the intermediary packages which did not introduce any new techniques, but we still had a number of questions.  The top red package was an interesting pattern and Ann used it to discuss how she comes up with new pattern ideas!

SBCANG workshops meet in the community room of a bank in Ontario, CA.  It is large, well-lit and Pat Correz provides an awesome set up of coffee and pastries for our breaks.  There is a wonderful “Local Baker” about three miles away in Upland, CA that is a favorite lunch place for sandwiches and salads.  Sue and I ate there on two of the three days.  The middle day we walked to an individual fast-fired make-your-own pizza place about two blocks from the venue.   Sue and I ate wherever the teacher went — that way we were never late to class!

The  following picture shows our progress at the end of the workshop on Day 3.

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We spent most of the third day on the dog and the dog’s shading.  Sadly, a number of our classmates missed the morning session while they attended a memorial service for a local chapter member.  Ann walked all of us through the rest of the design and we spent most of the afternoon stitching what we wanted while Ann walked through the dog again.  I actually learned quite a bit — while adding the “whiskers” to the dog.  Ann showed me (and a few others) how to do the stem stitch and the outline stitch which were required for the whiskers.  She also showed us a ruche technique for adding a few of the bows.

After the conclusion of the workshop, Sue and I had been invited to dinner with several of the local members at an Italian restaurant a few miles from the venue.  We had a wonderful time and I feel like I have more and more connections to this guild!  SBCANG often has a workshop teacher stay and do a chapter program on the evening of the last day of the workshop.  So, after dinner, we all went back to the community room.  After a brief business meeting, Ann provided a slide lecture with fifty (?) or more of her designs with close-ups of unusual stitch variations.

Luckily, Sue and I have a few days to continue stitching at my brother’s house before we head home.  My goal is to finish the piece, but that too is “Wishful Thinking!”

Cheers!  Rosie

Background Sampler Workshop – Day 3

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Seven members of NJNA met with Cathryn C at Needleworker’s Delight in Metuchen for the third and final day of our Background Sampler workshop. Today would focus on the four corner sections as well as address any questions from the earlier sections.

As usual, Cathryn teased us by doing an easy stitch first in the upper left corner – couched window pane with filler – which went quickly. She then moved us onto a little more challenge with an eyelets pattern in the lower left. After lunch, the real challenge began with the Oriental Octagon stitch in the upper right corner, which is sort of like blackwork! Imagine that David McCaskill’s Background Sampler II has overlapping oriental octagons! Even Kevin commented you could hear a pin drop with the concentration as we all counted! We ended the day with the Diagonal Trellis in the bottom right, another wise move by Cathryn to end on a bit easier stitch!

As always, Kevin and Jimmy from Needlworker’s Delight are outstanding hosts, providing lunch and snacks throughout the day in addition to the excellent lighting in the work space. It’s a wonderful shop that is friendly and welcoming in addition to having an excellent supply of charts, canvas, painted canvas, threads, and needlework tools.

Thanks again to Cathryn and Needleworker’s Delight for providing this opportunity for us. We’ll look forward to our next workshop.

NJNA Workshop!

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Hi Everyone —

Twelve of us met this weekend at Needleworker’s Delight in Metuchen for the first two days of our three day workshop of David McCaskill’s “Background Stitches 1” led by our own Cathryn C.  Our hosts at the shop were long on hospitality and we had a wonderful time learning, stitching, shopping, eating, and chatting.

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I, for one, have a few new ideas for my Lombard Street canvas!  Now I have lots of stitching to do before the next session in November!

Thanks to Tina for arranging the workshop!

Cheers, Rosie

Two days at the Winter Stitching Retreat

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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.

Sue