Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Early Merry Christmas Wishes - 12/6/22

December 6, 2022--I recently posted the below photo as my personal Facebook cover page.  It shows all the ornaments I've stitched and "finished" myself over the years, hanging on a metal frame in front of the fireplace (I have no mantel to speak of--it's used for my television's sound bar).  I love these pieces and very much enjoy bringing them out each December. 

But this is all I have to show you at this time.  I'm currently working on Stage 2 of ANG's Master Needlepointer Certification Program and cannot blog about it until I submit it for review next May.  I'm very much behind on the stitching of this project since I did a lot of traveling this year as well as having had eye surgery in September.  My vision is improving and I'm back to stitching, but not as much as I'd like because of ----   GOT ----  !!!!   

DH and I recently signed up for a year of HBO Max and are now binge-watching Game of Thrones (GOT)--all eight seasons (we've already watched what's been aired so far of House of the Dragon).   It's taking all of my attention to follow the numerous amount of characters in the story and their shenanigans, so I sit attentively for hours a day (when not out doing other stuff, of course).  We're half-way through Season 3, so that gives you an idea of how brain dead I've become (will I be a blue-eyed White Walker without having been killed first?).

Stay tuned--I hope to get back into my stitching chair soon, or at least into my craft room to "finish" stitched pieces into ornaments (that's always a lot of fun--ha, ha).

So, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and see you at the end of this year or early next.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Patriotic Ornament - Updated 11/6/22

November 6, 2022--Finished this fun project into an ornament in time to display on Veterans Day.   

See prior post below for more information about this project.

Ornament Patriotic Finished Front

Ornament Patriotic Finished Back

Just learned this will be a class taught by Ann Strite-Kurz at Denise's Needlework Shop in St. Michaels, MD sometime in the Spring of 2023.   If interested, call Denise for more information.

October 18, 2022--At the October 3rd meeting of Delaware's Seashore Chapter of ANG, one of our members, Ann Strite-Kurz (also a well-known designer and teacher) held a class on stitching her Patriotic Ornament. 

Working on this ornament was such a pleasure with lots of challenges and surprises.  Now all I need to do is finish it into an ornament.   The pencil markings on the edge of the circle will disappear as part of the seam allowance.

Patriotic Ornament Completed

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Heart My Patriotic - Updated 11/5/22

November 5, 2022--Finished this heart into an ornament using a 3 color, 6 ribbon Kumihimo braid as cording around the edge.   Note to self--be sure to maintain the cord twist when pulling it tightly around the corner of the heart.

See prior blog entries (posted below) for more information about the heart.

Heart My Patriotic Finished Front

Heart My Patriotic Finished Back

I tried something different in the finishing process--instead of using my glue gun to piece the front and back together, I used a new glue pictured below.  It enabled me to take the time needed to move the front and back pieces together in perfect alignment, then hold them with clips.  After less than an hour of drying, it was ready for the cording to be placed around the heart with my glue gun.

This was a game changer for me because my back is usually a smidge larger than the front (done on purpose so the cording sits a little forward on the ornament).  When I used a glue gun to put them together, I didn't have time to make adjustments because the glue would dry so fast, so something wouldn't be right on one side or the other.  This Tacky Glue gave me time to move things around a bit for a perfect balance all around before the front and back dried securely in place.

May 7, 2022--This patriotic heart worked up quickly, especially since the groundwork had already been done by Vicki T (silver outline and horizontal separation line).  The stitches were fun and as always with Nancy Cucci's designs, the beading makes it all pop.  

My Patriotic Heart Completed

April 29, 2022--In 2020, I purchased this project from the estate of an old friend and co-member of the Northern Virginia ANG Chapter.  She and I were seminar roomies for a couple of years, and I miss her dearly.   

This heart, designed by Nancy Cucci, is called My Patriotic Heart and is just the kind of piece I like to work on.  Nancy's instructions are very detailed and easy to follow.  Below is a photo of what my friend had stitched while taking this at an ANG seminar class years ago.  It'll be a pleasure to finish it for her.

My Patriotic Heart Partially Stitched by VT

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Dragonfly Mandala - Updated 10/6/22

October 6, 2022--Stitching on this challenging project is now complete, and the piece has been ironed as well as possible.  Now off to the framer (she has her work cut out for her in getting this evenly placed on a mounting board).  I'll have it mounted on top of black paper so the holes made by the pulled stitches will show nicely.

I learned a lot of new pulled thread stitches, e.g., Honeycomb Darning, Faggot Stitch, Double Cable and Pulled Upright Cross.  The paths taken for the lovely blackwork sections were very complex, so much so that I had to check off each stitch taken on the charts so as to not lose my way.

Please see the prior blog posts, below, for more information about this piece.

Dragonfly Mandala Completed

July 17, 2022--One of the classes I'm taking at ANG's Seminar in Tucson, AZ in August is a project called Dragonfly Mandala by Terri Bay (project photo can be found below).  Terry describes this as a blackwork, whitework, and pulled thread sampler.  I've taken other classes from Terri (most recently at the Hardanger University in Myrtle Beach, NC in 2019) and find her instructions to be complete and easy to follow.

For the class at seminar, students are asked to prework the outline, and we received our kits with enough time to get this done.  I did laugh though when I read the prework would take between 6 to 10 hours to complete.  Hah!  With all the miscounting I did which required constant ripping, ripping and more ripping, I probably put in three times the amount of time suggested.  It got so bad at times that I seriously considered calling ANG to tell them I wasn't going to take the class since I forgot how to count.  Of course, this is done on 28 count linen which isn't the easiest to see.  Well, I persevered and below are pictures of the results (one with and one without basting).  So, I'm all set to take this class and hopefully will enjoy it much more than the prework.  

Hope to see you in Tucson.

Dragonfly Mandala Prework (Basting Removed)

Dragonfly Mandala Prework (With Basting)

Dragonfly Mandala Designed by Terri Bay Project Photo

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

October 5, 2022--Well, this was funny, but sad.  I just read an online article from ALOT (click on title to get to website):

Home Decor That Just Screams "Granny Chic"

Here's what they had to say about needlepoint:


Sure, needlepoint designs can be fun to create and they are a great way to kill time when you are absolutely bored out of your mind, provided you have the patience. You may even like the way your stuff turns out when you’ve finished it, but that doesn’t mean you should hang it on your wall.

Needlepoint is like the epitome of granny chic because it’s literally what you imagine in your head as a grandma doing all – that is until your mom becomes a grandma and she’s still not sewing. But anyway, your creations are best left stuffed in a box somewhere or maybe attached to a quilt.

Fortunately for me, I am NOT influenced by such nonsense and my walls are covered with needlepointed projects.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rehoboth Beach Museum's 10th Annual Needlework Exhibit - 9/29/22

September 29, 2022--So very, very pleased and surprised to have won four ribbons for four out of the five projects entered into the Rehoboth Beach Museum's 10th Annual Needlework Exhibit. Below is an excerpt from my Exhibited Pieces Page found on the right (click on each entry below for more information).


Monday, September 12, 2022

Eye Surgery - 9/12/22

September 12, 2022--I haven't done any stitching for the past few weeks due to the need for left eye surgery which was done last Wednesday.   So far, the results are very promising, and I hope to have needle in hand again in a few weeks.  

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with a macular pucker and my regular eye doctor told me surgery could not be performed without first taking care of my cataracts, which was done in February 2021.  Due to lots of traveling in 2022, I waited until September to get the surgery.  Now all I have to do is give my eye time to heal.  

Friday, August 19, 2022

Ornament Diamond Drops - Updated 8/19/22

August 19, 2022--These four lovely pieces worked up on perforated paper have now been turned into two ornaments.  One ornament has the white thread on gold paper designs on each side, while the other has gold thread on white paper designs on each side.  

To make the ornaments, I trimmed each design one "hole" away from the stitches and inserted some poly batting between the two ornaments.  Then, using 6 lb. crystal clear fishing line, I sewed the two together with a running stitch.  It worked up very quickly and I love the results.

Ornament Diamond Drop Design One Finished

Ornament Diamond Drop Design Two Finished (Flip Side of Design One)

August 14, 2022--Now there are four and the stitching of these beautiful and glitzy ornaments is completed.  Next step--turn them into two double sided ornaments (white paper on one side, gold on the other--maybe). 

I asked the monthly Zoom* group I meet with as to how I should turn them into ornaments--use buttonhole stitch all around?  Linda M suggested I trim the paper close to the stitches, then sew two ornaments together with invisible thread using a running stitch.  I like that idea and will give it a go.

* The Zoom group is a breakout of the NJNA Chapter called KBZers because, for the most part, we are all working on Kurdy Biggs projects, including the SOTM for 2022.  

Ornament Diamond Drop One Gold Thread on White Paper Completed

Ornament Diamond Drop One and Two Gold Thread on White Paper

May 9, 2022--Now there are three.  I've just stitched ornament number two, but this time with white thread on gold paper.  Here it is:

Ornament Diamond Drop Two with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed

Ornament Diamond Drop Two with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Side View

Ornaments Diamond Drop One and Two with White Thread on Gold Perforated Paper

The left photo below is ornament number two stitched with gold thread on white perforated paper.  My next ornament will be number one stitched with gold thread on white perforated paper.

March 30, 2022--Now there are two.  I completed stitching the gold Diamond Drop Ornament on white perforated paper with gold threads and beads (the piecing of the paper is explained below on 3/24/22).  I'm very happy with how both look and plan on stitching another set but do the opposite--stitch Diamond Drop One with gold thread on white paper and Diamond Drop Two with white thread on gold paper.  They both have lots of sparkle with gold and white beads.  Here are some photos:

Diamond Drop Ornaments Two (gold on white) and One (white on gold) Completed

Diamond Drop Ornament Completed

Diamond Drop Ornament Two Side View

March 24, 2022-- This project has been fraught with issues--not getting the right size bugle beads, one of the gold threads is too light for the project, AND the white paper for ornament number 2 sent as part of the kit is 18 count, not 14 count as needed.  The second ornament I partially stitched (blogged about it below on 2/19/22) is on 18 count paper--too small for placement of the kitted beads and won't match the size of the first ornament.  I wrote Kurdy Biggs, the designer, about this and she told me she had to order 14 count white perforated paper since all she had was 18 count.  To date that paper hasn't come in.  Glad I ordered some from eBay and received it a few weeks ago.  I also ordered a darker gold thread RG Elegance 901 to replace the RG Elegance 900 included in the kit.  Kurdy tells us she could not find color 901, but I had no problem ordering it.  

So that's three worthless items paid for in the kit--wrong size perforated paper (needed 14 count white, not 18 count as sent), wrong size beads (needed 6 mm white bugle beads. not 12 mm as sent), wrong color thread (needed RG 901, not RG 900 as sent).

Then I made a monumentous error in stitching ornament 2 on the correct size 14 count paper.  I must have been asleep when I calculated how low to start stitching on the left side, wanting to have enough room for another ornament on the right side.   Below is a photo of how much I stitched before I realized what I had done--duh!

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem--Too Low

So I took the paper off the stretcher bars, cut off a few inches from the top and taped it onto the bottom to add length.  Then remounted it on stretcher bars.  Yes, that did the trick.  The edges won't show when stitches are done and the paper is cut to the ornament's shape.  BTW, I normally stitch "in the ditch", but because I needed access close to the stretcher bars on the left side to maneuver my needle when working up the Jessica stitches, I'm stitching this project "above ground", so to speak.  And yes, I do use a lot of tacks--keeps the canvas (or in this case, paper), from stretching.

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem Fixed

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem Fixed and on Stretcher Bars

February 19, 2022--Have begun stitching the Diamond Drop Ornament number two--gold threads on white perforated paper.  The designer of this project, Kurdy Biggs, had to swap out a number of threads in the kit I ordered from what was used to stitch the project photo, so what I have are threads that are a lot lighter than the original ones (see project photo below).  I think darker gold would be more dramatic but am not going to repurchase threads and perforated paper to start over.  I'll live with what was sent as part of the kit.

I changed the order of stitching.  We are instructed to stitch the Bracket Crescents (upper and lower stitches) first then stitch the Center Rhodes inside the Bracket Crescents.  I've learned from experience to always stitch the inside design first, then do the outside stitches.  Otherwise, you're unable to locate where the needle should go up and down because the outside stitching covers up a portion of the inside area.  Hope this makes sense.

Ornament Diamond Drop Gold Part 1 Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Gold Part 1

February 11, 2022--Completely finished the stitching of one Diamond Drop Ornament (white threads on gold perforated paper).  Love the shine and dimensions of the different threads and beads.  

Had one problem, though--the designer, Kurdy Biggs, wasn't able to send the 6mm bugle beads called for in her stitch guide when ordering the kit for this project--instead, she sent 12mm bugle beads which are waaaay too long for the project.  Fortunately, I had the right size in both the white and gold bugle beads in my stash, so it's not a serious problem.  Hopefully she'll be able to order the right sizes for future kits she sends out.

Next up:  stitching the ornament with gold threads on white perforated paper.   There's enough room on each sheet of paper, and I have enough threads to reverse the colors, to make a total of four ornaments.  Yay!

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Side View

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed

January 27, 2022--I have had the pleasure over the last two years to work on ANG's Stitch of the Month (SOTM) projects with the NJNA Chapter.  This year is a little different.  Rather than work on the 2022 SOTM designed by Kurdy Biggs, I chose instead to stitch her Diamond Drop Ornaments (one in white on a gold background and another in gold on a white background) being offered as an ANG Workshop by Mail.  I love these ornaments, having done three others offered by Kurdy which were published in the 2015 November issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine (click here for more information).  Like those 2015 ornaments, this project is stitched on 14 count perforated paper.  

Luckily for me, a few NJNA Chapter members are also working on this project and/or others designed by Kurdy Biggs and have formed an online monthly stitch-along group called KBZers (Kurdy Biggs Zoomers).  This is going to be fun.   I divided this project into 12 sections (6 months for each color) so that I'm not feeling overwhelmed.  So far, I'm a little ahead of schedule and my progress to date is below.

Ornament Diamond Drop Number one with White Thread on Gold Paper Part 1 Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Number one with White Thread on Gold Paper Part 1

Below is a photo of the project as designed by Kurdy Biggs.

Ornaments Diamond Drops Designed by Kurdy Biggs Project Photo

1 comment:

  1. That's some journey! Looking forward to seeing more.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

ANG Seminar 2022, Tucson, AZ - 8/11/22

August 11, 2022--After two years of not having seminars due to COVID, ANG held the 2022 seminar at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ from July 29 through August 5, 2022.   This beautiful resort is located in the Catalina Foothills just north of Tucson.  The play of shadows as the sun rose and set on the hills was enchanting.  

The facility consisted of central buildings housing the meeting and classrooms, banquet halls, restaurants, etc. around which were the guests' quarters.  I knew there would be walking involved each day, so I requested a room as close as possible to the main building and I was pleased to get exactly that--I was just a few steps away from where I needed to be each day.  I also asked for a microwave to be placed in my room, and they were able to accommodate all my requests.  The room itself was very large and well-appointed with a luxurious bathroom.  I was very comfortable which was a good thing as you'll see further down in this post.

What My Room Looked Like

For the first two days of seminar, on Friday and Saturday, I took Toni Gerdes Golden Candles class.  Toni's classes never disappoint, and this project is right up there on my must get done first list. 

Golden Candles Designed by Toni Gerdes Project Photo

I had a free day on Sunday, so did a little sightseeing with Dorothy B of the NOVA Chapter of ANG.  Our first stop was the Mission San Xavier where we attended Mass while enjoying the beautiful alter statuary and artwork.

Mission San Xavier Exterior

Mission San Xavier Interior

Our next stop was the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.  This was an extraordinary collection of over 500 houses and roomboxes filled with tiny furniture and household artifacts.  My eyes just couldn't get enough.  Below are two examples of the details found (excuse the glass glare).

Museum of Miniatures Example 1

Museum of Miniatures Example 2

Our last stop for the day was the Bead Holiday Shop with room upon room of beads, beads and more beads (as well as jewelry making paraphernalia).  I found a few instructional brochures that looked like something I could manage using a stash of beads I have at home.  By the time we got back to the resort, I was exhausted but happy. 

Next up that day was the Welcome Banquet with a cocktail hour beforehand.  I don't know about the other libations offered, but the wine was FREE, so that got the evening off to a good start.   I enjoyed the camaraderie of the NJNA Chapter members at dinner and was amazed by the needlework pieces that won special exhibit awards.  So many amazing projects.

Then on Monday and Tuesday, I had two jam packed days of whitework, pulled work and blackwork in a class called Dragonfly Mandala by Terri Bay.

Dragonfly Mandala Project Photo

On Monday I also attended a Chapter Presidents meeting where we shared ideas on managing chapter documents, increasing membership, etc.  Later that day, I attended a CyberPointers Chapter get together where the benefits of this ANG online chapter were reviewed.  

Then the SH**T hit the fan.

By the end of class on Tuesday, I knew I was in trouble--sniffling, coughing, all with a fever.  The hotel gave me a home COVID test and I passed with flying colors.  So the next day, Wednesday, I visited the Urgent Care Facility at La Paloma and it was confirmed--I tested positive for COVID.  They wouldn't give me the Plaxlovid concoction, saying they don't believe in it, so I left their clinic with prescriptions for cough syrup, antihistamines, etc.  Then I placed myself in quarantine for three days.  The resort was wonderful in giving me what I needed to rest in place, so I have nothing but kudos to give them.

But I did miss a lot.  I was scheduled to take two more classes--Sugarplum Santa and Tiffany Heart, both designed and taught by Janet Zickler Casey.  I also missed Expo Night where teachers sell their projects no longer being taught in a classroom setting.  Then I missed the Teachers' Showcase to view upcoming projects for future classes.  I also never got to view the beautiful needlework in the Exhibit Hall.  I had planned to stop in on Friday but being in quarantine kept me from doing so.  I also missed the Farewell Banquet.    

So I left for home on Saturday, feeling really, really good after three days of rest.  But that was short lived.  By the time I got through my second leg of the trip home (from Dallas to Philly) and the two hour drive home to Southern Delaware, I was very sick again.  I think I picked up another COVID variant at the airport while my immune system was in a weakened state.  

So I'm back in quarantine, but happy to be recuperating at home.  

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Holiday Light Yellow Ornament - 7/21/22

July 21, 2022--Here's the 14th of 16 Susan Portra Holiday Ornaments stitched to date (this one is from Needlepoint Now Magazine, 2017 Vol XIX, 1).  This is the brightest of all--the yellow threads (and the beads) really shine.  No electricity needed here.

There are lots of french knots on this ornament, and I'm noticing that with practice, they actually are getting better.  Now I need to start "finishing" them into tree ornaments.  Soon....

Ornament Holiday Light Yellow Completed