Tag Archives: Woodlawn

A Visit to Woodlawn and In Stitches


March turned out to be a very busy month but I wanted to visit the 59th Needlework show at Woodlawn since I had missed it last year. I made plans to do a day trip on Friday March 25th as it was the only day I could make it. Fortunately, it turned out to be a beautiful day and I had no problem getting there in time for my early afternoon timeslot. There were very few visitors which made it nice to browse but sad that all that work was not being seen and experienced. There were about 200 submitted pieces and another 100 in special exhibits. It is so inspiring to see all the different pieces, to notice multiple pieces of the same design, and to search out the NJNA pieces. I had an amazing time checking out all the pieces, seeing what I liked and didn’t like, and enjoying the display. I even met a 99-year old woman who was there with her 2 daughters – what fun to talk with her. I did not take any pictures to share; rather, I just spent the time exploring and examining. Nelly’s Needlers do an amazing job of displaying the needlework and organizing it for fun viewing.

I had planned to stop at In Stitches in Alexandria before going to Woodlawn but a minor car problem along the way delayed me so that I did not have time to go beforehand. I didn’t realize until I got there just after 3pm that they close at 3pm. While I was sitting in my car downloading a new audio book for the ride home, the owner Ellen came out to ask what I needed. I was honest and said I didn’t “need” anything but had been hoping to shop! Even though she had closed for the day, she invited me in to shop as she was busy doing some paperwork. How kind and helpful she was allowing me to browse and purchase what I had hoped to buy.

All around, it was a very successful day! I am so glad I made the time to visit both the exhibit and the shop even though it was a quick trip.

Winter travels


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!

Woodlawn – The Delivery


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.


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!




I am very excited that for the first time ever I have two pieces of my work entered in an exhibition. I was encouraged by my fellow ANG chapter members to submit an entry to the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition and Sale. So I dove in and sent two pieces down to the exhibit with Linda M and Mr. M.

There was no doubt I would go and look at all the needlework since I have a good friend who lives in the area. Of course the only time our schedules aligned, was for opening day. So off I went. It was a beautiful, but blustery day and I had the best time ever!

Upon my arrival the day before, I met with the “other” Barbara L. for lunch and a visit to Waste Knot in Arlington. We had fun getting to know each other better and of course shopping. The shop was quite nice. They had some threads I hadn’t seen before. It was quite funny that our respective husbands reminded us not to mix up the credit cards. 😀

The next day, I set off for Woodlawn. As one pulls up the drive, the mansion looks quite majestic.

Of course once I got inside, there was the usual confusion in regard to the “other” Barbara L. There was only one Barbara L listed in the program, so I had to explain there were two of us when I checked in. That Barbara lives near Woodlawn, so she has been involved with the exhibit for many years.

So, now I was inside the exhibit and there was such eye candy! The work across all media was really breathtaking. I saw cross stitch pictures that looked like photographs and stump work that had incredible detail. The gold work was amazing. I did find amusement that the morning guides were from the local garden club and I did a bit more explaining to them than the other way around. Yet, they were quite charming and lovely to chat with. They did explain some interesting things about one or two of the pieces in each room. One thing they did explain was that the ribbons had not yet arrived. So, on the name tags, the entries that won ribbons had different colored dots, indicating their place. Of course I couldn’t tell what the different categories were. I also over heard that people who had entries could have the guides get a docent and then they could take a photograph of their own entry.

You know I was really there to see the needlepoint, dot or not. I loved it! There is a lot of talent out there. Finally, I hit the dining room and there was my hydrangea piece hanging on the wall. I was excited!

Now, I started to look for the chapter display in earnest. It was no where to be found on the ground floor. I went upstairs and I still didn’t see them. Finally I went into a bright sunny room that had no furniture, but a whole uninterrupted wall for display. There they were! I also saw my second piece, which was a Tony geometric counted piece. However, I quickly looked away because I noticed Mary D’s piece ( I believe it is her Frankie piece) had a red dot on it! I was so excited for her. I quickly tagged the guide to find out what she had won and it is a second place. Sorry that I don’t know the category. Congratulations Mary! At any rate, I began to look at the wall in earnest and it was then that I noticed that my name tag had a red dot also. I kept looking back to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. What great positive reinforcement for a first time exhibitor! I also noted with amusement that the “other” Barbara L. had a piece on the same wall. Thankfully, the two pieces were labeled correctly. I took one last look around and then I was off to In Stitches.

I had a very nice visit there and bought a few notions. I found a reproduction magnet with an embroiderer on it.

Keeping with the historic theme, I decided to visit Washington’s mansion at Mt Vernon. I think the last time I was there, I was about ten. Needless to say, the park service has made vast improvements. No photographs allowed inside, but here is a panoramic view of the Potomac.

For you knitting and weaving enthusiasts, here are some photos of the spinning room, which is an outer building.

Of course no day would be complete for me without a stop at a local yarn shop. I went to Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria. What luscious yarn, some of which is locally dyed. However, I was able to stay on my yarn diet by focusing more on notions. They had a new needle that I had never seen before. It looks like a boomerang and is used in place of double point needles. Really interesting.

So my fun day came to an end. I felt really happy and satisfied. I encourage all of you, if you can, to go south and take a visit to Woodlawn.

Woodlawn Needlepoint Exhibit – The Delivery


Mr. M was a godsend for dealing with the delivery of the pieces you all entrusted to us.  On Wednesday we examined each piece to make sure it was packed and secured.  Fortunately, many of the pieces were the same size so he made a few stacks and fastened bungee cords around them so that they would not all slide around the trunk of the car.  I don’t think anything shifted during our trip!

Mr. M and I traveled down to Alexandria on Friday night.  While the trip is not difficult, I had forgotten how horrible DC traffic can be.  I always hate driving at night in an area that is unfamiliar and dealing with the traffic just made it worse. However, we arrived safely at our destination in Old Town Alexandria, a little tired and a bit hungry.

Saturday was every bit as cold in Alexandria as it was reported here.  Sue C had contacted this year’s organizer, Christy, who gave me an appointment at 9:00 a.m., before the general public was scheduled to start registering pieces.  We arrived promptly at 9:00 and were happy to be inside, out of the cold and wind.  The ladies working that day were very well-organized so registration was a breeze.  It was especially nice to have Mr. M unpacking the pieces while I dealt with the paperwork.

NJNA was remembered from last year – and everyone was thrilled that we had another class piece to exhibit again this year.  Several of the women mentioned how fascinating last year’s display (Michael Boren’s Frankie) turned out with all the different color combinations.  They are planning to show our A Different View from Kurdy Biggs as a single display again this year, barring any logistical problems.  All of the pieces were well-admired and it was so nice to be able to comment on techniques with an appreciative audience.  The ladies were so efficient the process took less than 40 minutes!  And it didn’t hurt that Mr. M was quietly folding all the bubble wrap while I was otherwise occupied.

Woodlawn Registration

Registration Angels

In all we have 13 pieces in the Exhibit this year, representing the work of nine of our members.  I have the complimentary tickets for each of our exhibitors, and will bring them to our monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Once we finished our mission, we headed back to the hotel, dropped off the car, and hopped onto the Metro for a trip into DC for a leisurely lunch and an afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, which share a building. While perhaps not as well-known as some of the other museums in DC, both are among our favorite museums.  It is truly amazing to walk around the gallery that displays the portraits of all the U.S. Presidents.

Woodlawn logoFor those of you who have not been to Woodlawn and the Pope-Leighey House, it is well worth a visit.  Woodlawn was the home of Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis Lewis, a granddaughter of Martha Washington.  Nelly was renowned for her needlework, a skill she learned from her grandmother.  The Washingtons gave the land upon which Woodlawn was built to Nelly and her husband Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of President Washington, as a wedding gift.  Woodlawn was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol.

The Pope-Leighey House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for journalist Loren Pope and his wife Charlotte Pope.  It was originally located in Falls Church, Virginia, and has been relocated twice.  It is built on Wright’s Usonian  model of well-designed space for middle-income families. Both homes are now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The exhibit (officially, the 53rd Annual Needlework Exhibition and Sale) is March 2 through March 31.  The show hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.  The exhibit is organized by Nelly’s Needlers, a volunteer organization that raises funds to preserve Woodlawn.  This is a wonderful opportunity to view some incredible needlework.  The members of Nelly’s Needlers do a tremendous job of displaying the hundreds of needlework pieces submitted for this exhibit – using every square inch of the home for gorgeous displays.  Last year was my first visit to the exhibit and I was hugely impressed with the works of fellow stitchers.  We are planning to attend again this year.