Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year In Review - 12/29/16

December 29, 2016--Happy New Year!!  I am so looking forward to 2017 because this year, 2016, has been wonderful and the next promises to be even better.  It begins with a resort vacation in Pensacola for a month, then a two-week cruise, rountrip, to Alaska, then the ANG seminar in Anaheim and then a week in Napa, CA with family and lots and lots of wine.  And I know there'll be much more.

This is also the time I like to look back on what I've accomplished in the past year.  Surprisingly, even with all the traveling we've done, I managed to accomplish some serious stitching.  Here's the roundup (click on the caption title to access more information):

Let It Snow

Christmas Tree Santa

Summer Solstice Sampler

Orange Grove

Chapter Name Tag

Downton Abbey

Christmas Diamond Ornaments



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Diamond Ornaments - 12/4/16

December 4, 2016--The threesome of diamond ornaments is now finished and ready to hang.  I loved how easy it was to just glue (using my trusty tape gun) each layer onto another, measure, cut, then done.

Christmas Diamond Ornaments Threesome Finished

December 1, 2016--Here's the last of the trio designed by Kurdy Biggs.  I have so much enjoyed stitching up these beautiful ornaments on perforated paper, and they worked up quickly.  I just returned from Michael's Arts & Crafts with some very pretty paper to place on the back.  Pictures of the finished ornaments will be posted soon.

Ornament Christmas Diamonds No. 1, 2 and 3 Completed

Ornament Christmas Diamond No. 3 Completed

November 12, 2016--And now there are two.  These designs are so pretty, and they work up quickly (being small in size helps).  One more to go.

Christmas Diamond Ornaments One and Two
Christmas Diamonds Ornament Two Completed

October 25, 2016--Finished stitching the first of three ornaments.  Love how easy it is to stitch on perforated paper.  Here's a picture and now to stitch the next two designs.

Christmas Diamonds Ornament One Completed

September 20, 2016--I found the instructions for these Christmas Diamond ornaments by Kurdy Biggs of Threedles in the November/December 2015 issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine and knew I would have to stitch them.  There are five examples using three different patterns, two of which were stitched on perforated paper.  Never having worked with perforated paper, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give it a try.   I found some off-white 14 count paper and decided dark blue thread would look good, so below is my progress to date on ornament number one.  Still have additional beads to stitch (ran out and had to order more) but am very pleased with the look so far.

The instructions in the magazine lacks details about the threads used for all three of the different patterns and Kurdy Biggs was very helpful in getting me the information I needed.  The problem was one of space--there wasn't enough room for the instructions and the full thread list when the article was published.   If you decide to stitch these ornaments, Kurdy is very helpful in supplying any additional information you may need.

Christmas Diamonds Ornament One

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Downton Abbey Framed - Updated 9/15/2018

September 15, 2018--Just learned this piece won a 3rd place ribbon in the 8th Annual Rehoboth Beach Museum Needlework Exhibit in the Canvas/Needlepoint category.  Cool.

November 8, 2016--At last, here's the Downton Abbey threesome framed along with the cards made specifically for each design.   You can read about each of the the three pieces by clicking on the names of Countess of Grantham,  Lady Edith and Lady Mary.  I think the frame is perfect.

Downton Abbey Framed

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thread Organization Updated 10-22-16

October 22, 2016--Well, that didn't work.  Six months ago I organized my stash of threads by brand rather than by color.  A lot of work--3 days in fact.  No go for me.

Recently I agreed to participate in a pilot stitch program that requires the use of your own threads.  So now I wanted to stash dive to see what color I might use and found myself tearing my hair out trying to locate all threads of one color.  Aaarrrgggg!  Soooo, the only thing to do was to reorganize the threads by color and do it better than before.   After a day of threads all over the floor of my craft room, I now have bags of thread sorted by color using the Joen Wolfrom system.  For my new project, I was able to find the threads that, to me, would be perfect.  And it only took five minutes.

Another reason to keep threads by color rather than brand--it's so much easier to put them away after a project is completed.  To keep brands together, I had to search for where that brand was located.  It wasn't bad for brands with lots of threads, e.g., Splendor, DMC Perle 5, etc., but the lesser used brands with fewer threads in my stash were impossible to immediately get my hands on.  And I have a lot of those various brands with just a few threads.  When looking for colors, those lesser brands were overlooked.  Not anymore.  Yay!

And as for knowing what threads I have for what brands--I can still get that information by using my HanDBase Thread Inventory database.   All is well now.

April 9, 2016--For quite a few years I've lived with my thread stash organized by color.  For example, all the red threads were in a clear plastic bag together, all the blues in another, no matter what the brand.   I had about 10 or so bags of different colors.  Not a bad way to organize threads, but a royal pain when looking for a particular brand name.

So, after reading on various blogs how many have organized their threads by brand name, I decided to do the same.  However, I did not purchase the beautiful plastic bins and organizers that have been proudly displayed in photos.  Instead, I've placed all threads of one brand on a "ring" in color order (not number, at least not yet).  So all my RG/Splendor threads are now together on one ring, my DMC Perle 5's are on another, etc. I'm using inexpensive rings instead of plastic organizer boxes because I don't know if I'm going to like this new setup.

I'll give it a year.   If it works, great.  If not, all the threads will go back to my color "filing" system which is certainly easier to use when putting threads away after a project is completed.

The picture below is a white plastic rolling 3 drawer system I've been using to house my threads. Now the top drawer has all cottons, the middle drawer contains silks, silk blends and wool, the bottom drawer has novelty threads.  (Kreiniks are in another location, along with DMC floss.)

Whew, what a job.  It took 3 days to organize about 1500 different threads.  I suspect I'll tweek this system over the next year by placing the large brands in numerical order rather than by color, and place all the miscellaneous little brands by color only because at this time I haven't a clue how I'll find them again, never mind add to them.

Drawers containing, from top to bottom:  Cottons, Silks, Novelties

Miscellaneous Cotton Threads on "Rings"  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Downton Abbey Lady Mary Geometric - 10/17/2016

October 17, 2016--The Lady Mary geometric, third of the Downton Abbey designs by Gay Ann Rogers, is now complete.  I've also attached a photo of a card designed by Annette Navarro and sold through Gay Ann Rogers on her website.    Now off to the framer.

Downton Abbey Lady Mary Geometric Completed

Lady Mary Card
October 4, 2016--I am now stitching the last of the three Downton Abbey Geometric designs by Gay Ann Rogers.  More information can be found here.  This one is called Lady Mary and the colors are sumptuous.  The other two , Countess of Grantham and Lady Edith, are done and can be seen by clicking on their project names.  So far, most of the outlining is finished and the upcoming filling stitches will add depth and dimension.  Next posting will be of completed piece.  A view of the project photo can be found by clicking on the In Process Projects under the Page heading on the right.

Downton Abbey Lady Mary as of 10-05-2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

ANG Seminar 2016 "Parade of Stitches" Itinerary - 9/5/16

September 5, 2016--Attended the 44th American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) Seminar (Parade of Stitches) in New Orleans, LA and had a blast!  I was also very, very busy.  If you look at my itinerary and comments below, I think you'll agree.

Thursday, August 25:

  • 2:00 pm:  Arrived at the Hyatt Regency, New Orleans and checked-in.
  • 3:30 pm: Met other Distance Learning (DL)* members in the Exhibit Hall to display the DL projects for viewing by attendees.  Actually, Barbara E and Kristi H did all the work possible before I got there.  Thank you B and K.
  • 4:00 pm:  Checked in to the seminar.  Received a seminar pin for my name tag, a free Mardi Gras Fleur de Lys ornament designed by Michele Roberts, bead necklaces (of course in green, gold and purple), a beautifully printed informational booklet (which included instructions for The Jester's Mask Ornament by Connie Camp), banquet confirmations, a blue accessories tray with snaps (lays flat when opened),  etc.
Friday, August 26:
  • 8:30 am:  Back at the Exhibit Hall with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to hang and label the DL projects.  Wrapped this up quickly.
  • Free Time All Day--Walked to the French Quarter with DH.  Whew, the weather was, hot, hot, hot!
Saturday, August 27:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 1 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Janet Zickler Casey called "Let the Good Times Roll".  
Sunday, August 28:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 2 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Janet Zickler Casey called "Let the Good Times Roll".  
  • 12:00 pm:  Lunch meeting in the suite of ANG's Vice President of Education, Becky B, to discuss DL project proposals with Kristi H, the DL Coordinator; Melita G, the outgoing Correspondence Course Committee Chair; Sue E, Chapter Project Book Committee; Barbara E, CyberWorkshop Committee; Kathy L, Workshop by Mail Committee; Marilyn O, Stitch-of-the-Month (SOTM) Committee; and myself, the incoming Correspondence Course Committee Chair.
  • 12:00 pm:  Exhibit Hall opened.  Learned I won a Second Place Ribbon for Rose Swirls.  Received a special "exhibitor" pin.
  • 5:45 pm:  Welcome Reception.
  • 6:30 pm:  Welcome Banquet and announcement of Special Ribbon Awards recipients.
Monday, August 29:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 1 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Toni Gerdes called "Bronze Purse". 
  • 11:45 am:  ANG Executive Council Lunch.  Met members of the ANG Board and learned of some exciting plans for the guild's magazine--Needle Pointers
  • 7:00 pm:  Attended the CyberPointers Chapter meeting and met some of the officers and other members.  Was nice to put faces to the names I know.  A nice event and we received a free instruction pamphlet for Pat Mazu's Crescents with Sparkle Ornament.
Tuesday, August 30:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 2 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Toni Gerdes called "Bronze Purse".  I was Class Angel (to assist the teacher as needed, hand out and collect evaluation forms, etc) and received a pin from ANG for this service.  Toni gave me a pair of petite embroidery scissors by Sullivans as a gift for being her Class Angel.  Thank you Toni.
  • 5:30 pm:  Work with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to move exhibits stitched by the seminar teachers for display at the Teachers Showcase event.
  • 6:00 pm:  Attended the Teachers Showcase to meet the teachers and view current and upcoming class projects.  Enjoyed meeting Diane Herrmann, Terry Dryden, Gail Stafford, Joni Stevenson, Cynthia Thomas (a new FB friend), Jennifer Riefenberg, Joan Thomasson.  It was also nice to again see Nancy Cucci, Lynne Wilkinson, Susan Hoekstra.  Also got to personally thank Debbie Rowley of DebBees Designs for the help she gave me on the project she designed called American Beauty Rose; and Kurdy of Threedles for the help she gave me on her Christmas Diamond Ornaments instructions published in the Needlepoint Now Magazine, November/December 2015 issue.
  • 7:00 pm:  Moved the teacher exhibits out of the Teachers Showcase room back to the Exhibit Hall.
Wednesday, August 31:
  • A free day to enjoy my birthday with DH.  Did some shopping, sightseeing, gambling and dining,  A delightful day!
Thursday, September 1:
  • Another free day.  Went on a VIP Tour of New Orleans with DH and Melita G.  We had a very informative and energetic guide who showed us a New Orleans most people know nothing about.  
Friday, September 2:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  One day class taught by Michele Roberts called "Theo Faberge's Jeweled Spiral Coil Egg".
  • 12:00 pm:  Work with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to pack up the DL exhibit pieces for mailing back to the designers.
  • 5:45 pm:  Closing Banquet Reception
  • 6:30 pm:  Closing Banquet and announcement of People's Choice and Delegate's Choice award recipients.  DH attended this banquet with me.
  • 9:00 pm:  Pick up my project from the Exhibit Hall to take home (get to keep the beautiful ribbon).
Saturday, September 3:
  • Leave New Orleans and begin the two-day drive home.  Fortunately we drove northeast to Delaware after Hurricane Hermine ran her course up the east coast.  We had clear weather all the way.

So that's it.  Loved being at seminar, but am so very glad to be home.  Just reading through this itinerary probably exhausted you as well, but thanks for hanging in there.

* I am the incoming ANG Correspondence Course Committee Chair.  ANG's job description for this position can be found here.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rose Swirls - Updated 9/4/16

September 4, 2016--I am so pleased to report that this project, Rose Swirls, won a second place ribbon in Category 3 for Independent Projects (Non-Professional) at the 2016 American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) Seminar Exhibit in New Orleans, LA.   I feel this venue is the pinnacle of exhibits with the most stringent judging, and winning ANY ribbon is something to be extremely proud of.

All in all, very happy.

Second Place Ribbon Won at ANG 2016 Seminar
March 18, 2015--Won 2nd Place Ribbon in the Canvaswork-Multi category at Woodlawn's 52 Annual Needlework Exhibition in Alexandria, VA.

November 18, 2014--From January through April of this year, 2014, I participated in an ANG pilot stitch program and am finally able to write about this beautiful project.  It's called Rose Swirls and is designed by Carol Algie Higginbotham.  This is the first time I've done anything as a pilot stitcher online and thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Of course, Carol's written instructions and photographs were wonderful and I had very few comments to make to assist Carol in preparing her final classroom instructions.

BTW, this is now an ANG Correspondence Course and can be found at this link.

Rose Swirls Completed
I only made two changes to Carol's instructions.  The first involves the outlining.  Her instructions called for a stem stitch outline which I changed to couching.  I've not had good luck doing stem stitches--the lines are more zig zag in fashion instead of straight or curved.  So I purchased perle 5 in the same colors as the floss being outlined and couched the perle with one strand of matching floss.  It worked great for me.   The picture below shows the raised, couched outline.

Rose Swirls Raised Couched Outline
The second change was to add a trellis darning pattern to the background.  Her instructions didn't call for anything in the background, but I wanted to place the project in a square frame, so needed to do something with all that blank space.  I really like how it came out.

I learned a number of new things doing this project--ribbon embroidery being one of them.   I loved the petite ribbon roses and also used ribbon to make some of the french knots.  Of course, the feather stitches were done in a random fashion which I'm not a big fan of, but they too came out well.  Many of the white pulled work stitches inside the circle were new to me and again, had a lot of fun working them.

The last picture shows how this piece is framed.

Rose Swirls Framed

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Updated Name Tag - 08/21/16

August 21, 2016--Leaving on Monday for ANG's Seminar in New Orleans.  DH is coming with me and we're driving, taking three days for a little sight seeing along the way.

Anywho, I took a look at my pathetic chapter name tag that I sloppily put together 5 years ago and decided it needed an upgrade, a remake, a total makeover, so to speak.  So here it is, before and after.  Amazing what a little cording can do, and some ribbon, white lining, etc.

Name Tag Before

Name Tag After
Now I'm ready for seminar.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sisters by Nancy Cucci Pilot Class - Updated 9/15/18

September 15, 2018--Just learned this piece won a 2nd place ribbon in the 8th Annual Rehoboth Beach Museum Needlework Exhibit in the Canvas/Needlepoint category.  Yay!

September 22, 2016--Sisters is now framed.

August 4, 2016--This project is now completely stitched, including the "sisters" box on the bottom.  My sister's initials are CW and are placed with mine (BC) inside the turquoise square.  I love the feeling of connectedness this piece conveys even though we are separated by many miles.  Now to have it framed.

Sisters Completed
June 26, 2016--Block 3 in turquoise is done.  This is the last block with beading.  The five smaller ones should go a lot faster.

Really like how the stitches in the three blocks look different from one another even though they are the same.  The difference is in the placement, angle and rotation.

Sisters Block 3 Completed
June 22, 2016--Block 2 (the gray one) is now stitched and am starting another.  This is really pretty.

Sisters Block 2 Completed
May 6, 2016--Happily stitching on this lovely project.  Here's my progress so far....block 1 is completely done.

Sisters through Block 1
April 27, 2016--Just completed a two day pilot class taught by Nancy Cucci for her "Sisters" project, held in Georgetown, DE.  One of ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter members organized the whole thing.  Wow, another success for sure!  One of the pictures below shows how much, or how little, I accomplished over the last two days, but I really learned a lot.  Click on the In Process page on the right for a view of the project photo.

PS  I believe this is the fifth class Nancy has come to Delaware to teach and I've been lucky enough to participate in two other of her classes:  Stitches in Sterling and Irrisistible Iridescents.

Class Members

Our illustrious instructor Nancy Cucci

What I Stitched in Two Days

Saturday, June 18, 2016

18th Century Sampler by SJ Designs - 6/18/16

June 18, 2016--Have been wanting to stitch this beautiful sampler ever since I read about it on other needlepoint blogs.  It has all the elements I love--beautiful design, challenging stitches, perle threads, etc.   So I ordered it from SJ Designs and a few days ago received the kit and prework instructions.  I managed to stitch the middle section and that's all that will get done until the class starts July 1st, or whenever I receive the instruction manual in the mail, whichever comes first.  I hope to keep up with the class, but with all the traveling DH and I will be doing (most of July, lots of August, September and October), it looks dubious.

I chose to stitch this with ecru perle on 24 ct. eggshell canvas.   Susan has set up a Facebook page for those participating in this project to share their progress and ask questions.

18th Century Sampler through 6/18/16

18th Century Sampler by SJ Designs Project Photo

Monday, June 6, 2016

New App from Ruth Schmuff - 6/6/2016

June 6, 2016--Just purchased the latest app from Ruth Schmuff called "iStitches Vol Four".  I love having these little books with me at all times, on both my iPhone and iPad.  In fact, I probably would purchase every needlepoint book out there if it were made available as an app, or at a minimum, a Kindle book.   My Favorite Apps and Tools Page has been updated to add this new guide.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Orange Grove - Updated 6/8/16

June 8, 2016--Found the perfect frame, and this lovely piece now sits on the night stand in my guest bedroom.

Orange Grove Finished
May 31, 2016--Have just returned from two weeks out West (brief itinerary below), and while traveling around by car, was able to complete the stitching on this delightful little project.

However, please don't look at the stitching too closely.  Some of the roads were quite rough and bumpy. and trying to get an even tension while laying two threads proved to be a challenge.   Also was distracted by the beautiful scenery along the way.

The places we visited:

Badlands National Park, SD
Mt. Rushmore, SD
Devil's Tower, WY
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Grand Tetons, WY
Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ
Snow Canyon, UT
Zion National Park, UT
Death Valley, CA
Las Vegas, NV

Orange Grove Completed

May 14, 2016--Orange Grove, otherwise called Introduction to Paradise, is a pretty little project by Lois Caron and taught to our ANG chapter in March 2014 by one of our members, Pat vd A.

My husband and I are traveling for the next few weeks and I wanted to work on something I could easily hold while riding in a car.  This piece is perfect.  I started working on it to be sure it wasn't too complicated and believe I can complete it while on the road--it's that easy.  So here's a picture of what's been done to date and hopefully the next picture will be of a completed project.

Orange Grove as of 5/13/16

Orange Grove Project Photo

Sunday, May 8, 2016

ANG Seminar 2016 in New Orleans, LA - GOING! - Updated 5/8/16

May 8, 2016--Finally received confirmation that my first choice class picks have been approved.  Yay!  I'm on a purse kick these days and have signed up to take 2 two-day classes--the first is "Let The Good Times Roll" by Janet Zickler Casey and the second is "Bronze Purse" by Toni Gerdes.

Let The Good Times Roll by Janet Zickler Casey Project Photo

Bronze Purse by Toni Gerdes Project Photo
Because DH will be with me on this trip, I didn't want to take a full week of classes, so with four days filled, I snuck in one more one-day class called "Theo Faberge's Jeweled Spiral Coil Egg by Michele Roberts.

Theo Faberge's Jeweled Spiral Coil Egg by Michele Roberts Project Photo
I haven't taken any classes from Michele Roberts and Janet Zickler Casey and am looking forward to learning as much as possible from them.  Took a class from Toni Gerdes at seminar in Philadelphia called Let It Snow--loved that project.

January 9, 2016--Just filled out the registration form for the 2016 ANG Seminar in New Orleans, LA.  And....DH is going with me.  Yay!  We plan on driving, taking a different route there and back.  What a delightful vacation this is going to be (a full two weeks for sure).  It's been exactly 20 years since I last visited New Orleans (for business back then) and am looking forward to exploring this delightful city again with DH.   Because I'm taking 4 days of classes, attending banquets, teachers' showcase, etc., he'll have to fend for himself for much of the time, but that's OK with him.  I did convince him to attend the Closing Banquet with me so he can appreciate how involved ANG is in all facets of needlework and feel the excitement of its members.

ANG Seminar New Orleans Marketing Photo
More information about the seminar can be found at:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Summer Solstice Sampler - Updated 10/10/16

October 10, 2016--Had this framed at my local Michael's Arts & Crafts and am very pleased with the results.  The frame looks "antique" and the two mats are perfect with the linen.  Looks very colonial.  However, my house is not colonial so the sampler will be relegated to dress up my craft room.

April 30, 2016--My first cross stitch sampler is completed and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick and easy piece.  Using my new MagEyes made the job so much easier on my eyes.

One change I made, however, was deciding not to continuing to stitch "in hand" and to mount the linen on stretcher bars.  What a difference!!!  I was able to stitch more quickly without worrying about warping the fabric or getting it wrinkled and dirty.  Here's the results.....

Summer Solstice Sampler Completed

Summer Solstice Sampler Mounted on Stretcher Bars
March 9, 2016--Our March, 2016 member led project at the ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter meeting was Summer Solstice Sampler by Sally Ann Designs.  I understand this is second in a series of four seasonal samplers and a companion piece to "Winter's Whisper Sampler", another beautiful sampler done in pale threads.

I've never worked on a cross stitch sampler and this is a beautiful introduction which includes a variety of stitches.

I'm working "in hand" on 32 count linen using 1 strand of Caron Waterlillies over 2 threads in a darker, less variegated color than that used by the designer.  My magnifying glass is going to be an eye saver while working on this piece.  Below is my progress to date.

Progress at 3-9-16