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!
I’ve probably mentioned this in the past but my bucket list includes attending an ANG (and an EGA) National Seminar. I can only imagine the thrill of being able to take a few classes, chat with fellow stitchers, shop, and retire to a room that has been prepared by someone else. It sounds like heaven. Alas, I am resigned to waiting a few more years to experience that pleasure. It just won’t happen with college move-in occurring at the same time as ANG Seminar and having to budget vacation days for all those other college-oriented events. However, I do keep my eyes open for classes offered locally (and those held on weekends are an added bonus) or by mail/on-line.
This weekend I was able to attend a two-day workshop organized by the ANG Central Jersey Chapter: The Wright Friends designed and taught by Tony Minieri. You can read about the piece on Tony’s website. As many of you know I have taken more than a few of his classes and always learn so much.
The workshop was held at the Colts Neck Library and the venue was just amazing. The room was large enough to provide ample room for about 15 stitchers at tables and we were all able to spread out comfortably. Although plenty of extension cords were provided for additional lighting not many of us needed it; the overhead lighting was sufficient for stitching. Additional tables were set up to allow us to enjoy bagels and other goodies before the class as well as our lunches and more goodies during breaks.
Stitching started promptly at 9:30 a.m. and we worked one of the four windows. The windows are stitched alike but with variation on the four colors – fuchsia, turquoise, purple, and lime green. As always, Tony’s designs feature unique stitches as well as familiar stitches used in unique ways. Those of you who attended our August meeting saw Cathryn’s beautifully stitched and finished piece up close.
At the end of the two days my first window was about 95 percent complete, although I do have to admit that I found a few mistakes that needed to be ripped out before I could complete the window. Here is what the fuchsia window looked like at the end of the second day. You’ll note that there are accents of turquoise to the right and lime green to the left – the adjacent windows will be turquoise and lime green.
I am planning to work on The Wright Friends this week before starting on Class 2, which will be the subject of another post.
Kudos to ANG CJC for organizing a fantastic workshop. I enjoyed stitching with this group and hope to participate in other programs with them.
I know I’m a bit late with this post, but did want to share!
Day 2 of our Loon Tunes class was interesting in the way Ann Strite-Kurz approached it. She spent the first part of the morning explaining everything we had not yet worked in and then set us free to work on whatever section we wanted. She encouraged us to work on the water areas as they require compensation around the circles. The one section was easy but the bottom one is a bit of a challenge.
Ann also set aside time where she could demonstrate the spider stitch to small groups of us so we could see what she was doing. Likewise she demonstrated the buttonhole stitch covering a metal ring which will be applied for the eye. This was far better in both cases for me than having her demonstrate to the whole class at once or to provide charts only to do this. You can see I got the idea but need some more practice to improve my spiders.
One class member had gotten the blue canvas but the grey threads. It gave a softer view to the background. I decided to try a combination of the blue and grey threads to liven up my background but realized I needed to put in more of the Loon before deciding. At least it’s an option to play with!
Meanwhile, we did lunch once again at The Local Baker and Café. Their food is outstanding and their cookies are to die for! I ordered a sandwich to take on the plane and they wrapped it to keep it fresh.
I thoroughly enjoyed this class and am eager to have time to do more work on my Loon. Even though it was a pilot, the material was very well done and I had few questions or suggestions. It was great fun meeting Pat, Ann, and several other members of the San Bernadino ANG chapter.
Here’s my and Rosie’s progress at the end of class:
Rosie and I are taking the pilot class for Loon Tunes by Ann Strite-Kurz. The class is sponsored by the San Bernadino chapter of ANG so it’s been great fun to meet people we had only communicated with via email before. The class is held in a local bank’s conference room which has an outside entrance. The room is large and bright, which makes for the perfect stitching environment.
We had done some pre-work outlining the loon and the side borders. Day One, we did the two upper left sections of the loon’s head and neck. Ann used Blackwork to simulate the stripes of the lower left section of the loon’s head. Ann provided the start for the Blackwork and encouraged us to use that to learn how to do the rest. The upper left section is a combination of pearl cotton and Kreinik which gives a wet look to the loon’s head.
I’ve learned a lot about carrying threads in open canvas and keeping the threads straight in the border diamonds.
Rosie and I went to dinner at Kishi’s, a Japanese steakhouse, with Ann, Pat C from SBANG, and Kathy, another student in the class from out by the coast. It was great fun with a lot of interesting discussion.
Ann is an interesting teacher who provides lots of background commentary, knowledge of other needlework teachers, and detailed information on the piece. I am thoroughly enjoying this piece.
Here’s our progress after Day One. Mine is the gray, Rosie’s is the blue. We’re eager to see the comparison of the different color ways once completed.