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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!

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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.