Saturday, September 23, 2017


Can you think of anything more fun or relaxing?  Well, anyway, based on a lot of discussion out there I thought I'd throw in a plug for the classes I'm teaching at the ANG Seminar in DC held in August 2018.  Apparently registration will be open to first come-first served and participants don't know quite what to expect as yet as the class descriptions and/or pictures are not ready for posting on the webpage.  So, all I can share with you are the 3 classes that I am responsible for.
              Come on folks, these are volunteers who have a life and just finished with
              a major seminar.  Give them a little breathing room.

I am teaching 3 classes, all techniques.  The first I'm sharing is an encore and it is called Can Do Hairdos.  This was taught in ANG Seminar 2016 in New Orleans and was well attended.

We will stitch as many hairdos as we can in the 1-day time frame.  The stitch guide provided will be the Can Do Hairdos book.  I think the following is the description that will be in the brochure.

"What can be more fun than playing with hair all day? We will create hairdos for all ages!  Techniques such as stitching, ruching, couching, padding, twisting and knotting will be covered. Threads include such delights as Wisper, floss, silks, wools, etc.  A canvas sampler will be created in class.

Proficiency Level:  All
Design Size:  Sampler
Kit Cost:  $80

Kit Contents:  11” x 16” Line-drawn 18ct canvas, threads for exercises and complete instructions"

I will be providing a canvas that has rectangles drawn for playing with the different hairdo techniques.  There will be extra rectangles for more experimenting if desired.

The second and third class are the same but broken down into either a one-day class or  you can sign up for two-days.  That gives you a little flexibility of your time.

Stitching  Solutions

With Sandy Arthur

Puzzled by a particular technique?  Hit a wall on what to do next?  Wondering where to start?  This one-day workshop may be just the solution you are seeking.  Bring your design problem to class and discuss possible solutions.  Is it the thread?  Is it the color?  Is it the stitch?  Is it a mental block?  Stitch at your leisure and ask questions as you need assistance.  Share in brainstorming various parts of  different designs as plans are discussed with Sandy and possible solutions are agreed upon.  Store these ideas away for some possible projects in your future or currently in your stash.

Here's how it might appear in the listings for the classes:

So I would love to see you in DC to play with our needles f2f! If these are of no interest to you, there are a wide variety of class offerings so please try to be patient with your volunteers as they try to manage through some very large changes in the system right now.  Sometimes we tend to forget that these members are just like us who love to stitch and love our group but additionally they offer up (volunteer) their time to try and help the organization continue to be a viable one.

Now, back to what is going on now here at Duo Designs. 

 I am less than a month away to host the exciting riverboat stitching cruise Party on the Po.  Everyone is getting really antsy to get to Italy and start playing big time.  Our tickets and travel packs arrived yesterday and we are sooooooo ready!  Margarita Pizza!  Gelato!  Wine!  Pasta!  Oh, and beautiful scenery and wonderful historic spots as well.  My biggest goal is to see The Last Supper painting.  We have tried before but something always interfered.  Hopefully this time we will be successful.

One of my really big concerns is to make sure I do not drip my gelato on my needlework!  Other than that, I'm good.  I have so much to share with this group and I can't wait to dive in.  There are 50 actively in our stitching group and some non-stitchers as well so we will have a lot of new friends to add and stitches/experiences to share, etc.

On this cruise as well, our travel agent, Liz of Viking Travel, has decided to join us (boy she has no idea what she is in for!).  But she is sharing with us all the news about our upcoming 2018 cruise - STITCHING DOWN THE DANUBE.  Four (4) countries!  WOW!

The brochure has been loaded in the files section of the Facebook Page - Needles 'N Fins.  If you would like to keep in touch with what is going on just hop over.  If not already a member of that closed group just request to join and we'll get you fixed right up. Or email me at and I'll send out an invitation to you to join the group.  No obligation.

Liz will be sharing lots of discounts and specials for those on the current tour and who will make a commitment while in Italy.  There will be more specials to follow I'm sure as Viking Travel is always giving us some new carrots to chase after and I don't think this cruise will be any different.  We will be on a new, larger ship - River Beatrice - and I can't wait to enjoy what she has to offer.

With four countries on the itinerary I am trying to focus on what will be an exclusive canvas for the trip. I may have to do more than one.

Must be off and work on those Online Mystery Lessons because mid-month will be here before I know it and between those and the cruise I am a bit busy.  LOVE IT!

Happy stitching and have a great week!


Saturday, September 16, 2017


Yes, this week our Viking Travel Agent, Liz, posted our itinerary for the 2018 Stitching Down the Danube riverboat stitching cruise!  We will visit 4  countries right in the heart of Europe.  How exciting!  Mark your calendars!  October 21 - 31, 2018.

River Beatrice

We will begin our adventure in Prague, Czech Republic  and spend 2 nights in these fabulous surroundings.  Touted as one of the most beautiful and romantic locales of Europe, the skyline offers up spires and turrets galore. And, we will begin our first stitching by having a class with me on an exclusive design created just for this trip.  From Prague we go to Nuremberg, Germany and board our ship. We leave Nuremberg and cruise the Main Danube Canal - 16 locks - then arrive in Regensburg.  Next day we cruise through beautiful Barvarian countryside going to Passau, Germany.  The most leisurely day on the trip will be onboard as we pass through wonderful scenery.  More stitching opportunities, or just hang out and have a massage.

We will arrive at Spitz, Austria  going through beautiful gorges through the Bohemian Mountains.  Stroll the village , enjoy wine tasting or visit the Melk Abbey.  Next, on to Vienna!  (The brochure tells us that Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here.) There will be a city tour with Vienna state opera visit or an exclusive "Vienna, City of Arts" tour.  And there is a private early-morning viewing of the acclaimed art collection of the Kunstkammer Vienna.

On down the river a bit we come to Budapest, Hungary.  The Danube divides the city into the old and the new - Buda and Pest.  Then sadly, we will depart Budapest the next day and head by home.

If you would like to keep up with the happenings, see the exclusive needlepoint piece (s) that are created and learn more about this adventure, come join us over on Needles 'N Fins.  There will be a full brochure there in the files for you to review the itinerary, the staterooms,  and the various prices. You must request to join this Facebook page as we do not want to assume everyone has the same interests as we - lol.
Email me at and we'll see to it that you can follow along.  Once registered we will have a secret Facebook Page just for the cruise participants.

 The riverboat offers such an intimate setting.  It is so peaceful and relaxing and has an ambience that cannot be enjoyed on the larger cruise ships.  The River Beatrice is a new ship and slightly larger than  River Countess that we will be cruising next month on the Po.


And, boy am I in trouble. Raymond Crawford has really outdone himself at this market!  Or at least as far as I am concerned he has.

First we have the Grinch!  Or as Raymond refers to it 'Who Has the Joy?' How do you say no to the Grinch?

A stitch guide is well on its way - more to follow.

As if this wasn't bad enough, look at those wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Stars.  These guys have made it to the Online Mystery Class schedule for 2018.

I'm seriously considering them for the Quickie Series - 1 a month beginning January 2018.  Let me know if you would like to join me in this adventure.  Email me at  I'll provide more information as I decide on the various threads and embellishments. 

And, yesterday was mid-September so that meant posting lessons for the ONLINE MYSTERY CLASSES.

The Songbirds from Danji has Lesson 5 distributed this month.

She seems so regal to me for some reason.  

Lesson 3 was shared in the Cupcakes from BB Needlepoint.

This is one of several cupcakes that was included in the lesson.

Steampunk Cat from Brenda Stofft received Lesson 2.  

We worked on more background and some pumpkins this time.

And a new design was added this month!  Santa Ornament Wreath from Raymond Crawford.

Lesson 1 had several ornaments included in the mix.  I'm sharing one with you here.

There are so many wonderful ornaments in this design that it is difficult to pick one.


I have received some delightful pictures from some of the ladies of the Piney Pointers Chapter.  They had me come teach to their Guild in May 2017 the fun Heloise Hooty from ACOD.  They are really cranking out these gals.  They have also graciously allowed me to share their end results with you.  Thank you ladies!  I thoroughly enjoyed the class and the wonderful environment.  Always love to come to LaTorretta Resort in Conroe,TX.

Galia Moral has her Heloise back from the framer already!


                                                                        Chris Hook


                                             Mary Schumaker


Aren't they all pretty?  Great job ladies!  I love my students!


ANG Encore! 2018

I am fortunate to have been asked to teach at this great venue.  2018 this will take place in Houston - April 7-8, 2018.  We will be teaching an exclusive design just for us by Leigh Designs - Beijing Butterfly.

A REMINDER:  One of my upcoming retreats is teaching at the Winterthur Museum in March 23-25, 2018 in Delaware - registration is active now - do not be left behind.
When I was approached and asked if I would teach at Winterthur Museum, the carrot for me was that youngsters from 10-18 could attend the retreat at no cost and could learn along with their attending adult.  To me, this was HUGE!  If you are a parent of a youngster in this age range, how could you not take advantage of this opportunity.  We need to get our youngsters more involved in our passion for this art and what better way than create a memory of attending a retreat with Mommy or Daddy? This retreat is embracing all skill levels. 

I will be teaching the class for Fruit and Flowers.  We will be doing techniques such as thread painting, reverse chain, round Rhodes, stem stitch, buttonhole, Cashmere, leaf stitch, and many, many more.  Design is stitched using beautiful silks.  I am sharing a sneak peak of one of several flowers showcased on the canvas.  

For details visit:

This Retreat is hosted by Art Needlepoint.  I was attracted to this venue when invited because of the inclusion of our youth.  The brochure states that participants may bring a youngster between the ages of 10 and 18 free of charge to attend class with them.  And the youngster will be given a canvas upon which they may try stitches to learn as we go.  Isn't that fantastic?  For more details check out the various links that are available.…
Here's an early registration link:
Contact Art Needlepoint right away to make your reservation.  And even more exciting plan to bring a youngster along to share the experience.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


This past week spent with my sister has really pulled our riverboat stitching cruise to the forefront.  And it has made me realize how close we are to heading to Italy! Party on the Po is in full swing!

When we started planning this stitching cruise it seemed ages away.  Not so!  Lots to do in putting this together and I have loved every minute of it.

I have gotten everything in order to the point where I have been able to reclaim our guest bedroom.  Don't have any guests but have a bedroom in case.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I have now placed on the bed the suitcases that my husband and I will be taking to Italy.  I have a phobia about overweight luggage and things get kinda testy at my house when hubby starts packing 10 pairs of slacks and I need that space for my stitching and class stuff.  Really!

But once we are on the plane and there is no last minute adjustments I completely change.  It is what it is and we will have a fantastic time.

Special order ornaments have been shipped.

Custom ribbon tassel kits have been made and shipped.

We'll have fun with these  - lots of other combinations as well.

And the exclusive design for the optional class kit has been packaged and in the participants hands ready to mount on the stretcher bars and hit the ground - Italian ground that is - running!

I am going to love sharing these ideas with my students as we enjoy the surrounds of Italy - Oh the scenery, the music, the food, the gelato, the art, the history - and on and on - did I mention gelato?

But as we wind down one wonderful adventure, we begin work on the new.  

Check out our Stitching Down the Danube! trip scheduled for October 2018!  Join us at the Facebook page Needles ' N Fins for details as they develop.  Our Viking Travels agent will be sharing all the particulars on the voyage in Italy and will be offering up some early bird specials that we don't want to miss.  This riverboat is a little larger than the Countess we're taking down the Po but we will still have the wonderful calming journey of gliding down the river and the intimate setting that the smaller riverboats provide.  So personal!  Love it.

In the meanwhile, I'll work on the Online Mystery Class lessons that are scheduled to post next week!

Have a great week and keep all our friends in harm's way in our prayers and thoughts - Washington, Oregon, Montana, Texas, Florida - much, much going on placing many in danger.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Had a fantastic visit with my sister and BIL this past week.  We worked on tidying up things for the upcoming stitching riverboat cruise Party on the Po.  I am so excited to share what we have done with all who will be joining us in Italy! Finding it hard to wait!  Not a very patient person.

Picked this up from the framers to take along for the exclusive class we will be having while there.

Less than 2 months away!  Oh my!

In the meanwhile, I must get back to the deadlines at hand - Online Mystery Classes.  September will be introducing a new class to the lineup - Lesson 1 of the Santa Wreath Ornament from Raymond Crawford.

The kits have gone out so participants who ordered should be getting them soon!  Lots of fun stuff in that box!


Uncle Sam is on his way?  The kits for this class have also been mailed so lesson 1 will be sent in the next few days.

This Pepperberry Design was lots of fun to do and fits right in with our other QUICKIEs to date.



Also, the ANG Seminar group will soon be posting the upcoming classes for the 2018 Seminar to be help in DC.  Be sure to check them out.  I have 3 scheduled classes to share with you.

One is the Can Do Hairdos.  This is an encore class that was taught in New Orleans and was a wonderful success.

Lots of fun hairdos covered in this one-day class.  Watch for the ANG announcement.

The other 2 classes are one-day events that are entitled Stitching Solutions. 

These classes are structured around individual issues that will be addressed on canvases brought to class by the students.  Lots of sharing of ideas, techniques, etc.

And, another ANG Event known as ENCORE!  will also be featuring one of our classes.  This event will feature the wonderful exclusive design from Leigh Designs!  The event is to be held in April of 2018.

So much activity!

Tips to Treasure

I recently saw a posting by Fire Mountain Gems that I was fascinated by. (It doesn't take much to fascinated me at my age.)

It is one of the most thorough documents on the various craft glues, their uses, their curing times, etc., that I have come across.  I am sharing it here with you in anticipation that it might come in handy for you someday.  Especially true now that we are adding so many 'things' to our needlework it is helpful to know some of the 'okays' and some of the 'stay aways'.  The descriptions help us with those determinations.

Have a great weekend and get lots of stitching time!

Saturday, August 26, 2017


I'm so excited because my sister (my baby sister that is) is coming to visit tomorrow!  We are going to have so much fun playing with cleaning up details for my riverboat stitching cruise Party on the Po!  It doesn't seem possible that it is only a few short weeks away!  It is going to be so much fun!  And I get to share the trip with my hubby, our daughter, and my sister!  And, since the beginning stages of this journey, I have been able to add a few new friends as well, but there are many, many more to meet f2f and to become better acquainted on this trip! I'm busting (yes, I said busting not bursting) at the seams!

Another bonus is that I have introduced my sister to needlepoint.  We all have a history of crafting, crocheting, knitting, embroidery and cross-stitch in our family but not many do needlepoint.  She seems excited about it and is very open minded - which is the main factor in conquering any new adventure in my opinion.  Wait till she sees my stash!  Oh dear!

(She questioned if I had permission to post her picture so in the normal sisterly fashion I showed her and blocked out her face!  So there!) Notice that I have started her with stretcher bars!

Time is fleeing by quickly for the next new Online Mystery Class to be introduced.  Raymond Crawford's Santa Ornament Wreath will begin mid-September.

There are so many possibilities in this fun class!  Kits will be mailed this week so if you have ordered through our resource start watching for them.  You will be sent an email letting you know that they are in the mail.  Still time to join so email me at if you want to play with us.

What's up next you ask?  Well the fantastic Gingerbread House from Rebecca Wood. This 3-D design will be approximately 9" square when finished.  

Registration is ongoing so email us at to be placed on the notification list.  The first lesson is scheduled to be posted mid-November. The 6-lesson packet fee is $150 for the 6-month class.  

Also on the horizon is the beginning class for Uncle Sam from Pepperberry for our Quickie Series.

Emails will be sent to let you know that the kits are on the way to the participants.  The first lesson will possibly be posted before the 15th.  The all inclusive kit is $135 - handpainted canvas, threads/embellishments, 2 lessons in pdf format and shipping/handling. Still time to join us so email me at to participate.

Oh My Gosh!  I just received my Reindeer by Raymond Crawford canvases!  I cannot wait to share with you guys!  Which to do first?  Just email me if you think you'll be interested in a class around the first-mid year!  This class looks like it might lend itself to being a little different than the regular Online Mystery Classes.  My mind is spinning.  I think a lot will depend on how people approach it.  At first glimpse, I think I am approaching this as a matched set that will be either hung together as a group, finished as matching stand ups, pieced together as a wall hanging (as shown in one of the promotional photographs) or pieced together to make a bolster pillow. So many possibilities.  And you can do one or all 4 - - - these will be even more beautiful when we are finished. Email me at if you would like to be notified when more particulars are available. No obligation at this point.


Let's see, beads, ribbon, glitz, bling, on and on! And those sweet, sweet faces.

Tip to Treasure

Beginning and ending threads seem to perplex some so I'm addressing that issue today.


Students are forever asking how to being and end threads?  How to hide a thread under a thin stitch?  How to secure fussy, slick threads? 

Some methods that work for me are shared in this document.

I refer to a couple of techniques I use as a waste knot and an away waste knot.  What is the difference?

A waste knot,  also known as an inline waste knot, is a knot in the end of your thread that is placed on the topside of the canvas. This knot is placed in an area that will be inline with the stitching. I refer to this as an inline waste knot. It is necessary that the beginning thread on the back lay ‘inline’ with what stitching is to come as the stitching will cover the waste knot thread on the backside and these hold the beginning thread secure in place.  While stitching, once the waste knot has been reached, it is safe to cut the knot away and continue stitching.  If you check the back you will see that the stitching covered the beginning thread securing it in place.

Another method that I teach I refer to as an away waste knot.  This knot is handy when there is not a large area to be stitched and/or you do not have the luxury of knowing there will be enough stitching to secure the beginning thread in place.  This knot must be placed an ample distance away so that when the knot is cut there is enough thread to thread the needle and work the beginning thread through the back of stitches that will be in place later. I suggest a minimum of 4-6”. This knot, too, is placed on the front of the canvas.

                                          Away Waste Knot

                                        Beginning Stitch

Isolated Stitches

One troubling beginning is for when there is an isolated stitch such as a simple star, cross stitch, etc., that is placed out in ‘never, never land’ somewhere and there is nothing around.  And there is likely to not be anything around.  This is especially a problem if the stitch is contained in an open area.
One popular technique is often referred to an a pin stitch or an ‘L’ stitch.  The thread tail is on the back of the canvas.  Bring thread to the front of the canvas at ‘1’ and follow the diagram. 

Once this stitch is in place you may stitch the technique required for your design over the threads.

A method that I am particularly fond of is great for when you must push aside a thread – such as a long vertical or horizontal thread - and stitch underneath it to secure the thread. It is the good ole’ backstitch.   Two or three stitches are more than sufficient to secure the thread – beginning and/or ending.

Another troublesome issue is securing slick or slippery threads when finished.  In this instance  I prefer to use a Bargello tuck.  This requires the ending thread be run under several finished stitches on the back of the canvas.  Then bring thread up and over a canvas thread and slide the ending thread under the stitches in place once again – this time moving in the opposite direction.


Hope that some find this useful.

Have a great weekend and remember to stitch with a smile!