Category Archives: Travel

Woodlawn Report

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At last I have a few moments to write about our trip to the 55th Annual Needlework Show & Sale at Woodlawn.  The last few days have been quite an adventure – no power until Monday morning, followed by a scheduled loss of power Monday night into Tuesday morning, and then yet another storm!

We drove down on Friday through the nor’easter that pummeled the East Coast.  It was slow going along the New Jersey and Delaware Turnpikes with pelting rain and, at time, some wet snow.  We finally caught a break in Maryland when the precipitation stopped but by then the winds had picked up and we were buffeted as we drove, particularly on the bridges.

We stopped in Falls Church for lunch at the Mad Fox Brewing Company.  They have quite a variety of sandwiches and salads, and Mr. M enjoyed the beer. And, it is only 15 minutes from Waste Knot Needlepoint in Arlington. I had emailed Lori, the owner, before our trip to get some threads I needed.  Of course, Mr. M managed to pick out two new canvases to add to the inventory!  So I now have Santa’s Workshop from CH Designs and Easter Bunny from Robbyn’s Nest Designs to add to my list.

Waste Knot Needlepoint has a wonderful inventory of canvases and threads, and they are always a pleasure to visit. The shop will be moving this month – their last day at the current location is March 17 and they are hoping to reopen at their new location on April 2. They will be just around the corner at 2100 N. Glebe Road in Arlington.  I’m already looking forward to visiting!

We arranged to meet Nora in Bethesda on Friday evening (she took the bus from Pittsburgh). I made a wrong turn heading from the hotel in Alexandria to Bethesda and had quite the time getting corrected. The Nav System didn’t know about the winds and all the downed trees/closed roads, so I had to keep diverting off the route. Usually we get to the drop-off location about 40 minutes early but the diversions resulted in us arriving at about the time the bus was due (7:15 pm). Wouldn’t you know – the bus was actually 30 minutes early! Fortunately the bus waited for all the students to meet their rides.

Saturday was clear but windy and chilly. Our first order of business was to head over to Woodlawn for the exhibit. This year there are a few local artisans set up in the reception area, which made for a nice entrance. There are about 410 entries this year (not 660 as I previously reported as the numbering started from 100 and not 1, and numbers were skipped). I found last year’s program and it looks like there were about 390 entries, so a slight increase.

As usual the pieces were outstanding. I think there are less samplers this year and more stumpwork, but that may just be how everything is displayed.  I was disappointed that all of our Feuilles d’Ananas arenot displayed together but that may be because two of the four are finished as pillows.  There are a few exhibitors from other areas who submitted the same piece with a completely different center! It would have been interesting to see all of the pieces together.

I was very pleased to see five of the 19 entries from NJNA earned awards! While we all know that NJNA is home to outstanding stitchers it is gratifying to know that the judges recognize our members’ skills.

In addition to the submitted pieces one can wander through “exhibits within the Exhibit”. One room contains absolutely stunning Japanese embroidery pieces, entitled “Exploring the Art of Japanese Embroidery”, which showcases pieces by Antonia Evans, an instructor from Silver Spring, and her students. I was awestruck by the beauty of these pieces.

A second exhibit entitled “Snakes & Ladders” includes embroidered photographs of Dawn Whitmore, a Virginia-based documentary photographer and visual artist. According to the program, the pieces are “a modern musing based on her fear of snakes.”

The third exhibit includes the works of Mary Duckworth, who was a longstanding member of Nelly’s Needlers as well as a designer, teacher, judge, and shop owner. Many of the pieces that she designed and stitched are exhibited along with some of the awards she received. Interestingly, one stitcher submitted two pieces based on a Mary Duckworth design for this year’s Exhibit. The exhibit includes the original piece as well as the later interpretations. Make sure you take a look at Mary’s Survival Kit!

I urge all of you to visit Woodlawn if you have the chance. There are so many wonderful stitchers who share their work. And, let’s continue to show NJNA’s support for this wonderful Exhibit.

 

 

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Winter Adventure

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Hi Everyone —

While watching all the angst about cancelling the NJNA meeting due to weather…..this is me coming in after a trek to the Barrow grocery store in about -15 degrees and windy and dark.  I was told it was a two-block walk, but actually it was more like six blocks each way.  The snow was too cold to be slippery, but I was walking blind!

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One night we went to the Heritage Center and had a private tour of the whaling museum.  I thought you all might enjoy seeing this Inuit sewing kit.  You can see the sharp leather cutter and the awl for making holes in the leather all contained nicely on a sealskin thong.  So clearly we needlepointers were not the first to invent scissor fobs!  The small leather gathered piece is a thimble.  The floss above the tool is caribou gut which was used as thread.

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Whales were another source of fiber — this picture shows a baleen (one of hundreds in each whale’s mouth).  The baleen is hard with brittle threads (cilia?) but after soaking, you can pull on a thread and pull it all the way to the end of the baleen.  We saw baleens that were about five feet long to ones that were about two feet long — apparently the length depends upon the location in the whale’s mouth.  These threads were traditionally used to weave baskets.

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I hope you find this as fascinating as I did.  I think I would really love to take a course in making a pair of traditional mukluk boots!  Do you think ANG would consider it for a national seminar?

Cheers, Rosie

 

Winter travels, addendum

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Oops, I totally forgot to comment on a stop I made on the way home from DC.  As per Linda M’s suggestion, I stopped at Hillside Stitchery in Stevenson, MD.  As I was driving, I could not understand where the shop might be since at the exit, one drives for a few miles in quite the bucolic setting.  Then all of a sudden there is this sweet little shopping plaza, in which the needlepoint shop resides.  The staff and owner couldn’t have been nicer.  They currently have a NeedleDeeva trunk show.  One of the staff members had stitched and displayed quite a few samples of the Needledeeva canvases.  I was quite taken with one of the faces she had done.  I did decide to purchase the canvas (again without the aid of an enabler).  So, the staff member allowed me to take a photo of her work and she also made a color copy of the canvas and wrote down the stitches that she used.  I could not believe how accommodating she was.  The shop also featured some totes in which you could put inserts or sew the canvas onto the front of the bag.  Great choices!  If you are going to see the Woodlawn exhibit, I highly recommend that you stop and take a look.  I wish the shop well and hope they have staying power.  They deserve it.

Winter travels

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So, I have had some fun travel adventures this winter.  I apologize for no photos, but when I get any where near new fiber/stitching sources, I lose my head and forget to do what I want to do to blog.

So in February, we spent a little bit of time on both coasts of Florida visiting with friends.  First we ventured to Siesta Key which is a barrier reef island right next to Sarasota.  My host is not a needlework enthusiast, but she indulged me.  Boy, am I glad she did!  First stop was the Needlepoint Studio of Sarasota.  What a nice, welcoming, bright shop.  There were stitching stations all over the store, with lights and magnification.  I wanted to spend the rest of my vacation there stitching, but alas, I remained polite to my hosts.  There were beautiful canvases everywhere, lots of threads and a great assortment of books.  I added to my library with a purchase of The Handbook of Ribbon Embroidery by Ann Cox.  I’m very excited to have this well illustrated reference book as I am taking some lessons from Pam at Edwardian Needle in Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I know this book will be helpful in the hours that I am away from Pam.

Down the road by no more than a 1/4 mile was A Good Yarn.  What a great yarn shop. This shop too was very bright, with lots of knitted samples and lots of sales help.  I also did damage in there.  My friend was not much help, as she was enabling me.  I was told that the two shops used be to be located right next door to each other.  If I lived there full time, I would just bring a cot and never leave.

Next we moved on to the east coast of Florida to Palm Beach Gardens.  This host is a fiber enthusiast (along with her daily golf obsession), so there was no twisting of arms to go take a look.  The needlework shop near where she is located was not such a good one, so I will not mention it by name.  However, while we were there, we unfortunately needed to make a condolence visit with another friend.  So we took a drive further south of where we were staying.  Of course, I was furiously googling needlepoint shops near “current location”.  I found a gem in Delray Beach, called Stitches by the Sea.  The shop is small but full of life and stitchers who crowd around working on their canvases.  Lots of bright cheery motifs with lots of Kreinik in them.  This shop had a Penny McCloud trunk show.  Without any enablers around, I managed to order a canvas of a funky looking face that I can’t wait to start on, once it gets here, of course.  The sample in the shop was so much fun, but stitch guides are not written down.  However, I was allowed to take photos of what was there.  I will not publish it here because I did not get permission for that.

March brought me to what will probably turn into an annual trek to see the Woodlawn exhibit.  I stayed with my dear friends in Chevy Chase and I spent the day that I went to Woodlawn with the “other” Barbara L.  We started out at the shop in Arlington called In Stitches.  I’m pleased to report that there are many more canvases available for purchase than last year.  There is also lots of cross stitch.  I did not notice if any of the charts were for canvaswork.  Again, everyone was cheery and helpful.  I was able to reign myself in at this shop.  We had lunch at Mt. Vernon and then headed over to Woodlawn.  Of course, Barbara and I had some fun with the registration lady when she asked for our names.  She did do a double take when we both used the same name!  We got there a few minutes late for the docent led tour of the winning pieces in the exhibit, but since the “other” Barbara L is friends with the retired ANG judge, Kathy Meyers, who gives the tour, we were allowed to join in.  Although this year’s exhibit is smaller than last year’s, the work is just breathtaking.  I am always so awe struck.  Kathy’s talk was so informative.  She pointed out that not all of the winning pieces looked complicated, but that the stitching was so superb, they were awarded ribbons based on their excellence.  The judging that takes place here is based on a system called consensus judging.  (Kathy, please forgive me if I get some of this wrong.)  The three judges have their sheets on which they tally marks in many areas and then award one ribbon for first place, and many ribbons for second, third and honorable mention.  The three judges then confer and and they must agree on how to award the ribbons.  At the ANG national seminar exhibit, the three judges write down their marks, they are added together and the highest number gets the blue ribbon, etc.  Little things like a wobbly stitch, shadows of threads in the back and even how the piece is finished can affect the marks.  Like things are judged together.  In other words, the cross stitch is not mixed in with the canvas pieces.  They do separate out soft finishes (like pillows) from hard finishes (frames).  Hopefully, I got this right.  But with the little I did glean from the talk, I have added respect for our chapter winners.  Kudos to you!

March will bring me another travel adventure since I am heading out to CA to babysit my “little people” while their Mommy and Daddy take a much needed break.  However, I start my trip with a class by Susan Portra at Luv2Stitch in San Mateo.  More about that next time!

Hawaii vacation

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I am so fortunate to have spent the last 9 days on the islands of Kauai and Oahu.  I had hoped to start Windmills of Stinson Beach on the long flight from Newark but my seat mate kept the window shade down do not enough light 😦 .  But I have had time in the mornings on our beautiful lanai to finish the project.  Sadly it is home tomorrow on the red eye.  Must leave the sun, sand and 80 degree temps.  Still I have my Hawaiian stitched Windmills.  Colors are sort of tropical, don’t you think?

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