Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lady with Mandala II — Day 2!

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Hi Everyone —

I don’t really have much to report today.  I quite enjoyed the remainder of my class and I am awed that we discussed every single stitched area, bead, and thread on this piece.  Cynthia was an energetic and supportive teacher, but we all would have liked more time to stitch.  I have a free morning tomorrow, so I may try to put a few more stitches in.

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My progress at the end of day 2.

Tonight was the closing banquet.  We had a table of 7 NJNA members and Donna F from San Francisco area who happens to be a California stitching buddy of Barbara L!  Small world!  Hello’s all around!

Tomorrow afternoon I have to pack up all of the correspondence pieces for shipment back to the teachers.   Surprisingly, Houston was a great choice for seminar and this is one of the best hotels we have ever had in terms of lighting, distances, and amenities.

Next year in Tucson!

Cheers, Rosie

 

Lady with Mandala II

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August 17, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Today I started a new class — a painted canvas by Brenda Stofft Designs — with Cynthia Thomas who designed the stitch guide and is teaching the class.  It is called Lady with Mandala II.

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The painted canvas!

I started the class by asking what a mandala was — I had thought that they were the crystals hanging behind the lady — but no — they are the disks in the upper right quadrant of the design.  So — here’s what Webster’s had to say:

Mandala, (Sanskrit: “circle”) in Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, a symbolic diagram used in the performance of sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation.

We have four students in the class.  I am the only one who does not usually do painted canvas, but I explained that I needed to get back to stitching on my Lombard Street and I hoped that the course would provide some inspiration.  I also asked Cynthia to explain how and why she picked the various stitches and it’s been great!

The kit has hundreds of threads, beads, and crystals and was beautifully kitted by Chandail Needlepoint.  We mostly worked on the lady’s hair today — I think this class could easily have been a three or four day class, so we have to hurry to get through everything in two days!

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My Progress at the End of Day One!

After class I walked the perimeter of Texas a few more times and then attended the Seminar Expo! after dinner.

I discovered my picture on Facebook today — ANG had taken a picture of me hawking the correspondence courses last night!

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Time is flying by.  I spent some time this afternoon looking at the classes that will be offered next year in Tucson.  I think I found some interesting options!

I’m looking forward to getting some uninterrupted stitching time!

Cheers, Rosie

Winter Lights — Second and Last Day :-(

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Hi Everyone —

First of all I have to thank all eight of my NJNA peeps for their help in moving the Distance Learning pieces to Teacher’s Showcase and back again!  I couldn’t have done it without you guys!

Today was a busy day starting with my picking up my canvas for tomorrow so that I can have it ready to go as soon as class starts!  (Still on my docket for tonight!).

My second day of class with Jennifer Riefenberg was every bit as enjoyable as the first.  We finished all of the candles and I even was able to light one of them!  The one candle that is not stitched on my canvas uses a reinforced sparkly tube — I chose not to stitch it onto the canvas until some of the surrounding areas are done — otherwise it would be too hard to lay those stitches around the raised tubing.

Here is my progress at the end of the day:

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I am very glad that I have three retreats scheduled in the near future!  I expect that Winter Lights will be one of my finishes!

Cheers, Rosie

A Fabulous Way to Spend a Saturday

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As many of you know, I spend a lot of time in the Bay area of CA visiting and helping out with my “little people.”  One would think that I am hopping in and out of San Francisco to explore and enjoy the culture and fun.  However, in truth, I have only been to the city a handful of times.  It’s busy, busy in my daughter’s household, so I often don’t go to the city and visit.  However, there is one thing that could lure me in and of course that one thing is needlework.

San Francisco is host to the three year old San Francisco School of Needlework and Design.  (aka SNAD) (https://www.sfneedleworkanddesign.org)  I have been curious about the school, but since right now the main focus seems to be on embroidery, and not much canvas work, I had not made the trek into San Fran to take a look.  Until now.

When I am away from NJ, I usually spend one day a week stitching at Luv2Stitch in San Mateo.  Recently they had a brochure for an exhibit by the artist Katie Strachan at SNAD. It is called “This Lovely Green”.  It features a lot of gold work, so I really wanted to go and have a look.  I figured out Caltrain from the burbs to the city and twisted the arm of a cousin who lives north of the city to come and join me.  She picked me up at the train station and we were off for our adventure.

We picked a good day because there were no classes going on and it was a quiet day of catch-up (until I got there!) for the program director and co-founder, Lucy Barter.  What a charming and energetic woman Lucy is. She is quite a bit younger than me and my peer group, which in itself is fabulous.  We all worry about how the needle arts are going to be passed down to another generation and it seems that Lucy and SNAD are providing the answers.

Lucy is from the UK and is certificate trained by the Royal School of Needlework from across the pond.  She had been teaching day classes all over the area, but wanted more of a center where people would come from all over to learn.  She has created that in SNAD.  So far, they have had participants from 40 states in the US as well as several countries.  When one first walks in, there is no much eye candy, it’s hard to know where to look.

The first thing Lucy did when she learned that I was from NJ was to show me all the sampler bands that have been submitted by our local EGA members for the school’s on going project. They hope to create the longest band sampler in the world.   My cousin couldn’t believe that I knew most of the needle artists whose work was in the folder.  Lucy made me promise that I would tell all of you who donated, that the bands were going up on display that very day.

The exhibit was in the main room where there is also a small store and a library of many, many donated books.  Katie Strachan’s work is not to be believed. It is so intricate, delicate and outstanding that it doesn’t begin to look as if it was created by human hands.  I’m going to try and insert as many photos as I can.  Not only was there exquisite gold work, but  the tiny, gorgeously created stump work, made these works of art delicate and realistic.  I have worked some intricate patterns, but my work looks like a crow bar next to these confections of Katie’s.

When we ran out of oohs and aahs, we moved on to the two classrooms where the student work is displayed.  There was a lot of gold work, but some other “one stitch” wonders from the sample classes that the school offers.  I may attempt another trip into the city in the fall to take a needle painting class. There are so many wonderful classes, that one doesn’t know where to begin.   They even have a certificate program if one wants to go to that level.  I asked about canvas work and Lucy reported that she is starting to teach beginning canvas work.  In fact, the last canvas work class that she taught was comprised of all men.  In general, Lucy reports that there are as many millennials in the classes as the silver haired ladies.  Her many evening and weekend offerings allows the working folks to also participate.

I already informed Stuart that if we ever really do move to this area, that I will be taking classes galore and volunteering at the school.  Of course, I would have to have time for both needlepoint and embroidery.  Oh, then where would the “little people” fit in?!  Such a wonderful dilemma.  If you are visiting the Bay area, I highly recommend a stop at the school.  Lucy was more than gracious, especially with my constant peppering of questions.  I do thank her and am so happy at her success.  Hopefully this success will continue for many, many years to come.

After SNAD, my cousin and I had a real “ladies” lunch to celebrate our respective birthdays, which are in August.  From there, my cousin really indulged me and we took a ride share trek to the Needlepoint Inc. store.  I had been to the store’s original location which had been in Union Square, within blocks of SNAD.  However, a few years ago, they moved to Jackson Street, near the financial section.  On a weekend, this part of town was quiet.  We were greeted quite friendly.  The store has many, many canvases, but most are on 13 mesh, so (luckily) I was not tempted.  Needless to say, there is a whole wall of Needlepoint Inc. stranded silk.  They also have some Rainbow Gallery threads.  I was able to pick up some of the silk that I needed for a new project that I am trying to get off the ground.

By this time, it was time to take the train home, which had its own adventure.  One of the passengers waiting for the train went into a seizure and fell down hitting her head.  There were many that stepped forward to help out until the paramedics arrived.  It was nice to see so many good samaritans.  Other than witnessing the distress of that poor lady, the day was a complete success.  I hope you will go and visit SNAD.

Drats!  My computer illiteracy is showing again.  I am having so much trouble inserting more of the  (many) photos, so please take my word for it that this work is exquisite.  If you see me in person, please be sure to ask me to show you the photos.  So sorry readers!

Needlepoint Geography

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As many of you local folks know, I spend a lot of time in CA with my “little people”.  My last trip there coincided with the celebration of the spring major religious holidays.  In my case this meant celebrating at a Passover seder.  Now in Jewish culture (not religion) we have a “thing” called Jewish geography.  It is similar to Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation.  In it, when we meet someone new, we begin by finding out their geographical history, immediately followed by, do you know “ so and so”?  Inevitably we find some distant way in which we are connected. Now bear with me, this blog entry is not about Jewish geography, but really is about needlepoint geography and friendship.

It just so happened that on the second day of the Passover holiday, I had two invitations for the seder.  My daughter’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting a kids’ seder.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting an adults only seder.  So I figured out a way to attend both.  

Since I was arriving late to my sister-in-law’s and brother-in-law’s seder I knew the religious part would already be underway. So, I tried very hard to enter the room as inconspicuously as possible.  Rather than climb over people to my assigned seat, I just plopped myself down in an available seat at the end of one of the tables.  I knew the woman to my right, but the woman to the left of me had her head down and so I paid her no attention.

After a bit I got up to use the rest room.  As I was returning to the table, the woman who had been to my left got up and whispered to me, “Barbara, I know you.”  It took me a moment to place her since she was out of context.  I soon realized that this woman was Deb R.  I knew her from the shop in San Mateo, Luv2Stitch, where I hang out to stitch while visiting the west coast.  She has also been present at the few ANG chapter meetings out there that I have managed to attend.

As I was thinking to myself, but trying to not say, “what is she doing here?”, Deb asked me that very question.  I paused and said, uh, my husband is Marcia’s (our hostess’) brother.  At that point, Deb said, “get out.  I’ve been in this family for 32 years.”  To that I replied that I had been in the family for 44 years.  Now my curiosity was really piqued.

For many years I had heard my brother-in-law speak of his Long Island, NY childhood friend, “Rocky”, who lived on the west coast and helped to ease the family’s transition when they moved to the the Bay area back in the ‘70s.  I believe I even met Rocky’s mother at another long ago seder.  So I was a bit more than surprised when Deb asked if I had ever heard of Rocky.  I said, “of course!”  It turns out that Deb is Rocky’s (aka Joe’s) wife.  We were both thunderstruck.

By now the religious part of the meal was over and visiting time really began in earnest.  

During the year or so in which I became acquainted with Deb, we had happily been sharing wedding planning notes since her son got married the same weekend that our daughter did, last fall.  At some point, my brother-in-law Elliot came over and Deb suddenly said to him, “that’s why you didn’t come to our son’s wedding!”  The connections went on from there.  Deb was sharing how her daughter was a speech therapist.  I started to laugh and told her that so was mine.  At that point, Rocky chimed in that their daughter had consulted my daughter several times before deciding to enter the field.  Deb and I were further amused!  

Needlepoint shops, ANG chapters, shared wedding weekend and daughters in the same field made this out of context encounter so much fun!  I think in that short hour and a half I went from having a very nice needlepoint acquaintance to having a lovely, fun needlepoint friend.

Now that is how needlepoint geography works!

Resolve to do more of what you love – Take a needlepoint class

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Almost 80% of all New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside before they’re achieved. In fact, most of us give up on our resolutions by January 12.

Is anyone surprised?

All of those pesky lose-weight, get-in-shape promises are such a bore. And, really, you’re fine the way you are. As a matter of fact, you’re wonderful.

So why not do something radical this year: Resolve to do more of what you love.

Do. More. Needlepoint. Find a new canvas or stitch. Retrieve one of the few unfinished projects in your closet. (“Few” is a relative term.) Or resolve to take a class.

Our local needlepoint stores have offerings to help you stretch your imagination, play with new techniques or stitches, enhance your skills, and make new friends … all of which are more fun than eating celery or getting up at 5 AM to jog.

Here’s what you’ll find at the fabulous needlepoint stores we all frequent:

Needleworkers Delight on Route One in Metuchen maintains an up-to-date class listing and on-line payment options here: http://www.needleworkersdelight.com/DesignerClassSeries.html

The Edwardian Needle in Fairfield offers the following classes and events through March. Contact The Edwardian Needle  at (973) 743-9833 in advance for information about cost and registration.

Sunday, January 27                 Goldwork Butterfly with Kate Festo   9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Sunday, February 3                 Super Bowl Party   Noon – 5 PM

Thursday, February 7              Stars “II” with Cathryn Curia   5 – 7:30 PM

Sunday, February 10               Canvas Embellishment Studio   Noon – 5 PM

Thursday, February 21           Stitch-In  6 – 8 PM

Sunday February 24                Bargello Class with Andrea Santiamo   10 AM – 4 PM

Friday, March 8                       Studio with Anthony Minieri  Noon – 5 PM

Sat. & Sun., March 9-10          French Ribbon 1 with Anthony Minieri   9:30 AM – 4 PM

Thursday, March 14                Stars “III” with Cathryn Curia   5 – 7:30 PM

Sat. & Sun., March 30-31        Crazy Quilting with Betty Pillsbury  10 AM – 4:30 PM

Knit One, Stitch Two in Pennington will offer The Gazebo – a red, white and blue canvas with a gazebo, topiary and flags – as a “stitch along” on February 11 (11:30 AM – 1:45 PM) and February 28th (11 AM – 2 PM). A stitch guide will be available.  Stitch Along fee $25. This is not a class. Minimal instruction is included, and attendees must be able to stitch basketweave. If you’re interested, please email me for the project photo (I couldn’t post it) or contact the shop at http://k1st2.com.

I’ll post information about additional classes upon receipt. In the meantime, happy stitching!

Data sources for those gloomy New Year’s Resolution cited above: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2980864;https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/wellbeing/this-is-the-date-most-of-us-give-up-on-our-new-years-resolutions/news-story/ae2e1a32a5e5f5ef0783412fefe6abbf

My Home away from Home

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Every other month, I go to the Bay area in CA for an a couple of weeks to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and my “little people”  There are three of the latter, ages 7, 5, and 1.  As you can imagine, it’s a very busy household, so that is why I go so frequently.

Sometimes it is a little difficult (notice the little – after all I’m with the “little people”) being away from my normal routine, which includes hanging out with my stitching friends at Edwardian Needle.  However, I am really a lucky stitching soul.  I have found a home away from home.

Located about a half an hour’s drive north from where my daughter lives in san Mateo, is a gem of a shop called, Luv2Stitch.  It is owned by Dale Lenci, who is also the owner and creative designer behind DJ Designs.  His canvases are really beautiful.  At any rate, the retail shop has been quite warm and welcoming, as are the “regulars”.  I have been made to feel at home.  So every Wednesday when I am in the Bay area, I declare it my day off and I go and stitch.  Luv2Stitch is open late on Wednesday evening, so if you have the stamina, one could stitch from 10 AM to 8 PM if they like.  I’ve gotten close a couple of times, but I usually can’t last that long!

The shop has such a nice aesthetic.  It is filled with beautiful antique furniture as well as practical  furniture.  There is a stitching room with bright light and large tables.  In the next room there is a bead bar and some cushy sofas as well as a break front featuring finished samples of stitched boxes and picture frames.  The third room is the thread room.  There is a lot of eye candy on the walls and always so many canvases from which to choose.  There are many classes that are offered with national teachers.  I’ve arranged my west coast visits around some of those.  I’ve had classes with Meredith Hahn Willet and Susan Portra.  They were wonderful and I learned so much.

The staff of Rhonda, Irene and Sarah are always so helpful. Dale is extremely knowledgable and of  course if you need a bit of redesigning done on your canvas, he is your man!

I encourage you to visit Luv2Stitch when you find yourself in the San Fransisco area.  Here is their info:

715 Bermuda Dr
San Mateo CA 94403

‭(650) 571-9999‬

https://luv2stitch.com

My time at the ANG National Seminar, part 1

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Well, I am a bit late in commenting on my experience at the ANG national seminar, but I thought late is better than never!

I started my trip on Tuesday so that I would have time to spend with my dear friend who lives right next to DC.  Since I was driving, I do what every other enthusiast does, I made stops along the way at needlework shops!

Frist, I went to Hillside Needlepoint in Stevenson MD, right outside Baltimore.  As usual (I stopped here once before), the owners were delightful and helpful.  I love accessories, so as is often the case, I bought “gadgets”  They included heavy duty plastic project bags, a tote and plastic needle cases with screw lids to replace the ones that I use in my needle case that keep opening.  Having chenille needles mixed in with the tapestry ones is not fun!  Of course, I made a quick visit to Lori K, which is in the same shopping plaza and bought a couple of tops for fall.

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Then came decision time, should I drive to Waste Knot in Arlington or go to my friends’ home which is halfway between the two shops?  They were holding Evertites for me at Waste Knot, so I decided I would drive to Arlington.  As I started out on the drive, I was hit with monsoon rains.  Then the traffic ground to a halt.  So I decided I would turn around and go to my friend’s house.  Oh boy, I “got” off the road I was on, to turn around and there was no place to exit the new road for about 5 miles.  I was not happy!  By the time my GPS got me back on the right road, the traffic had started to move, so I just went on to Waste Knot.  They had my Evertites, but of course I also bought some great magnets from the Meredith Collection as well a couple of books I just had to have.

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With some rest and visiting time in Chevy Chase with my friend, I went to DC the next day to register for the conference.

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As many of you know, I am often traveling.  Most of the time, I head to CA to visit with those precious little ones that I call grandbabies.  However, this spring I had a rare opportunity to travel twice to Europe.  The first trip was on a Craft Cruise riverboat cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium.  For those of you not familiar with Craft Cruises, they are a company that specialize in putting together cruises (both regular and riverboat) that specialize in one’s favorite craft.  This was my second time traveling with them.  Right now, most of their offerings are knitting related.  Since this is a needlepoint blog, for any of you more interested in that trip, PM me and I’m happy to gush and share my experiences.

My second trip was with my 90 year old mother-in-law (whose energy level makes me look pretty much dead), my two sisters-in-law and a female cousin.  This trip was a regular cruise through the British Isles.  Loved the countries.  I did bug my traveling companions a bit to stop at knitting stores.  However, I was also determined this time to find something stitching related.  Although I did not have time to visit the Royal School of Needlework, I did find the time to visit a charming needlepoint shop in London, thanks to the heads up of Cathryn C.  She directed me to a charming shop call Tapisserie.  I got there about a half hour before closing, but the store clerk was charming and did not make me feel rushed at all.  Although they had some canvases, their specialty was hand painted canvases that turn into beautiful and breathtaking evening bags.  There was a whole case of samples.  What they didn’t have in stock, they were most happy to have painted up and sent to you.  Of course, they also do a finishing service of making the purse for you.  Most of the designs were executed in tent stitch with beads put on top of the stitching.  However, for those of you adept at making a stitch guide, one could easily do a more embellished piece.  I’m including some photos for you of their interior.  Please enjoy the eye candy.  The one close up of a canvas is the one that had to come back to NJ.

It is a shop well worth the visit.  The neighborhood is just charming, so the visit is a win-win.  Please let me know about any other good traveling finds.  However, after those two trips, the only place I will be going for a while is to CA to visit those grandbabies.  Of course, that does mean an afternoon of stitching at Luv2Stitch in San Mateo.  More about that another time.