Category Archives: Travel

Winter Adventure

Standard

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!

IMG_4511

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.

IMG_1094 (2)

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.

IMG_1061

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Woodlawn – The Delivery

Standard

Despite the intense snowstorm on Thursday, we were thrilled that Friday dawned bright and sunny. Mr. M and I hit the road about 8:00 a.m. headed towards Alexandria.  In the trunk of the car were the 15 pieces of fabulous needlework that our members submitted for the Woodlawn 54th Annual Needlework Show & Sale.  NJNA is ably represented at the Show by Tina, Rosie, Sue C, Sue R. Linda, Cathryn, Diane, Joan, and Barbara. All of the pieces were well-protected and carefully arranged to avoid any damage during the trip.

woodlawn-delivery-2017

Our first stop of the trip was a new needlepoint shop in Stevenson, MD right off I-695 – Hillside Needlepoint.  The shop opened in November and I’m sure it will become a regular visit when we head to that area.  The owners, Kristine Kingston and Leslie Aronson, couldn’t be more delightful and helpful.  The shop itself is in a new strip center and is full of light and space.  Right now Kristine and Leslie have two trunk shows in the shop – Susan Roberts’ wonderful nutcrackers in all shapes and sizes and the colorful designs of Needle Deeva.  There is a very nice collection of threads and canvases apart from the trunk shows. It is a lovely shop and I wish them much success.  One can never have too many shops to visit!

Hillside Needlepoint is located at 10437 Stevenson Road in Stevenson, MD.  They are open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

I did pick up three new canvases – all small so they stand a chance of actually being stitched!

Mr. M’s reward for being such a good sport was lunch at the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company in Ellicott City.  We’ve stopped there on previous trips and the menu is quite varied.  Of course, Mr. M is a big fan of their beer. We did learn that Ellicott City flooded at the end of last July and the brewery had water in its basement.  They are just now getting back their own beer.  But many of the stores further down the hill flooded into the retail spaces and are still boarded up. Unfortunately, a number of them will not be returning.

Saturday we were again up bright and early as we had a 9:00 a.m. appointment at Woodlawn to deliver all those pieces. The check-in went very smoothly and the volunteers were very organized.  Mr. M assisted with unwrapping all those precious needleworks while I matched Submittal Forms and checks to the pieces. All of our pieces garnered lots of “oohs and aahs” from the volunteers, and they thanked us for supporting their show. The entire operation took about 30 minutes and we were on our way!  I had planned to stop at In Stitches right near Woodlawn but we were too early so we will save that shop for our trip to the show itself.

We headed into DC on the Metro and another brewery lunch at Gordon Biersch.  After a very relaxing lunch we walked to the DAR Museum which had an exhibit on clothing from the 1700s and 1800s.  We did some walking around the Mall and passed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the newest of the Smithsonian museums.  We were thinking of visiting the museum when we return in March.  However, the only way to get into the museum is with a timed pass – and as of March 1 they will be distributing passes for June! So we will either have to try to get last-minute tickets on the day we are there (available at 6:30 a.m.) or just wait until next year now that we know to get tickets in advance.

We traveled back to NJ this morning – mostly through rain although there was some freezing rain when we got close to Morristown.  Our driveway was a sheet of ice making unpacking the car a bit of an adventure.  Mr. M salted and hopefully the temperatures will now stay above freezing.

We will be attending the show the first weekend in March and I am looking forward to seeing the displays.  I encourage all of our members to attend if you can – it is really quite incredible.  And consider submitting a piece or two next year!

Happy stitching!

Linda

EGA Seminar next year in Asheville, NC

Standard

On Friday I drove down to Alexandria, VA, with friend Barbara K. to see the classes that would be offered in Asheville next year as well as to go to the boutique and Merchandise Night.  I was hoping that there would be classes for the 2017 EGA Seminar that I would like because I really wanted an excuse to return to Asheville.  There are and I will register this month during early registration!  To tempt you to log on to the EGA website–egausa.org–to see the classes, let me tell you a bit about some of them.  Ann Strite-Kurz will be teaching the hedgehog Rosie has been talking about, Happy Hedgie, as well as Loon Tunes, that we have seen stitched by Rosie in a pilot class.  Ann also has a one day class, Leaf Luster.   Another teacher we are familiar with is Gail Stafford.  She is teaching Fog in the Mountains which Jill took at the ANG seminar in Myrtle Beach last year.  Gail’s second class is A Dusting of Snow showing a gazebo in the snow. Kurdy Biggs has a one day class of a three dimensional ornament and a four day class reminiscent of A Different View in that the canvas is covered with many different stitches that all fit together–how does she do that?  Gail Sirna has two offerings, Rosalie’s Roof Garden and Lily of the Lake, both beautiful designs.  Joan Thomasson has a one day class with another of her Santas, this one called Medieval Santa Ornament and a four day class, Bavarian Wedding.  Janet Zickler Casey has a two day class stitching a “minaudiére” which by the class description is a small purse.  Janet is also teaching another two day class with two of her Santas, Christmas Light Santa and Candy Swirls Santa.  Jeanette Rees has a four day class, Feeding Frenzy.  This is described as a mixed media class and is not as canvas.  All of these classes as well as the rest of the offerings should be online this evening or tomorrow morning.  Early registration runs through the end of November.

Asheville has other draws as well.  The famous Biltmore Estate is located there as well as the well known Southern Highland Craft Guild located on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the outskirts of Asheville.  If you are going to Asheville, the Grove Park Inn is well worth a visit just to see the lobby and walk around the public areas reading a bit of the history of the building.  One of the women working the area showing next year’s classes told me that the day following the last day of classes there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible in this area of North Carolina making it worthwhile to stay an extra day before coming home.  You can see I am excited about visiting Asheville next summer!  If you are not currently a member of EGA check to see if there is a chapter near you!

Sue