Friday, February 22, 2013


November, December and January were very hectic months for me stitchingwise.  So, there are several ways I take a brief break from my needlepoint (horrors!).  I have been an avid knitter for years, crocheted since I was 8 (20 yrs. or so ago), do needle felting, beading, and on and on.  These past few weeks our Temari group had a challenge hosted by a very talented and generous lady Joan.  We did the Ninja Star.

This design required that we make a C8 ball before we could begin the pattern.  Once we had the ball marked we began adding bands around from north pole to south pole down both sides.

 and then we changed and added a set of bands around equator.

Once we  had the 3 sets of bands woven we changed gears.  Now we needed to add squares around the 6 areas of all 6 intersections.  Can you see a star?  I didn't either.  But, wait . . .

There, that's a little better.  We had choices of how to continue.  I chose to continue filling in between the squares with black so the star would be a little more obvious.  Not too, too bad for a first effort and I am positive my next one will be much better.  But, it was a fun challenge and I am anxious to make another.  There were some great variations created by the participants.

So, this is how I have been spending the last few days relaxing.

Now, I must get back to my other swtitching.

Have a great day and stitch with a smile!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stitch Guides

Good morning everyone!  It is pretty crisp here in Central Kentucky.  When it is cold I am provided  with an extra incentive to try and take care of myself and my accompanying blood clot.  Doctor says all is going well, however.  Finished with tummy injections now just working on medication and regular visits for lab work.

My webmaster has been working very hard to try and get the stitch guides up on our website so you good folks can have the opportunity to purchase them.  Here is the link to what I think is the Online Shop of the Stitch Guides Only section.  If I didn't do this correctly, it is on our website under the Online Shop drop down menu that is contained in the banner that runs horizontally across the top of the page.

There are some of Sundance Designs - A Time for Love, Desert Garden, Heart and Flowers and Sweetest Tree - as well as some others.  Give it a look see.

Hearts From A to Z
A Time for Love

Sweetest Tree

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Overlapping Oblong Cross and Van Dyke Stitches

I promised some of my classes that I would provide them with a little more information on the difference between these two stitches that I discovered through some research.

A quick little story first, however.  My trip back from CA could not be the star for long.  When I returned home, I had tremendous pain in my left leg.  I was very suspicious as I have had this condition before.  Yep, after going to the doctor and surgical offices, I have a blod clot in my left leg now.  We just caught it before it reached the 'deep' stage so I did not have to be hospitalized this time.  I did not, however, escape the wonderful injections into the tummy routine.  I can happily say that today I am finally starting to feel some relief and the burning is subsiding a bit.  The leg is still extremely sensitive and sore and I am trying to make myself be good and not over do (somehow that does not fit with Sandy????).  I am very thankful that I was able to get help and that it seems to be working.

Okay, now on to fulfilling my promise about the van dyke stitch.

It has been my observance that many refer to the overlapped oblong cross stitch diagrammed below as a ‘van dyke’ stitch.  Heck, I, too,  had incorrectly referred to this stitch as a van dyke stitch.  My problem with this version was 'what makes it any different than the overlapped oblong cross stitch'?

One of my hobbies is to browse through old books at night before I go to sleep.  Here I made the discovery that a stitch does exist that is referred to as the van dyke stitch and it is executed differently.

The traditional van dyke stitch is usually narrow at the top and wider at the bottom.  However, variations can make the stitches equidistance in length and width to create interesting effects (ut oh, I hope that's not supposed to be affects or I'll hear it from the English teachers out there - but I think this is the correct one).  The traditional execution of the stitch produces a very prominent ridge down the center of the band or border (however you choose to use it). 

I am fortunate to have a pretty good sized library of stitching books.  Here are some  references I pulled quickly  (like in 20 minutes) and they are not properly set up the way a bibliography should be, I know, I just wanted to get the info down quickly and move on –

1.    Handbook of Stitches – Grete Petersen and Elsie Svennas
Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1959, page16 has a 4 step illustration of this stitch.
2.      Embroidery Stitches, Mary Webb, Firefly Books, 2006, page 124, described as “the top stitch picks up a tiny amount of fabric at the center to anchor the whole row.  The second and subsequent stitches crosses the line from left to right, passing behind the preceding stitch at the center; no ground fabric is picked up.”
3.      Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, Mary Thomas, Trafalgar Square Publishing,  1998, page 50, similar explanation as given in Mary Webb’s book “the subsequent stitches should cross the row from left to right and pass behind the preceding stitches at the center…without picking up the fabric.”
4.      The illustration below is from Samplers and Stitches, a handbook of the embroideer’s art by Mrs. Archibald Christie, London 1920.

I'm sure if I took the time to research I would find many more references in some of my older books but these are some I just grabbed on the go so I could keep my promise.

A search on the internet provides many videos for executing this stitch.  Also, when reading the text you learn that the stitch can be broadened at the top and/or bottom to create an entirely different look.  This could be something like the oblong cross stitch illustrated above except the thread needs to slide under the intersection of the previous stitch, not pierce the fabric.

Anyway, this is my interpretation of how a van dyke stitch is to be executed.  Note that I said 'my'.  There are many interpretations of a kazillion stitches and we, as stitchers, will follow what the stitch guides or designers suggest to get the results they obtained no matter what it is called and love it just as dearly.

Stay warm if this is an issue for you today, be happy, and stitch with a smile!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Quail Run Visit

Wow.  So much has been going on.  I have lots to share with you regarding TNNA market, but I wanted to mention that I have just returned from Quail Run in Scottsdale where I conducted an Old Crow Workshop.  We had such fun an the gals were great!

What a lovely shop!  I have been fortunate to have taught here before so I knew what was awaiting me.
Susan Barlow and her staff keep her shop in tip-top shape and if she doesn't have something she can sure help you get it or get a suitable substitute.  Models abound in the shop which are very helpful for customers who cannot always visualize a finished project.

The Old Crow Workshop consists of working on three of Leigh Designs in the Old Crow Series:  Night Cap, Squashed and Fast Friends.

It was amazing the amount of progress these gals made.  There were lots of techniques covered and each group could come watch demonstrations of techniques for the other groups.

Beautiful threads were incorporated in all three.  Some of the projects shared techniques with another of the Old Crow Series which made it possible to have  class of the three designs being taught simultaneously.

Check with your local needlepoint shop and see if a workshop is scheduled to be in your area soon.

Later - and remember to stitch with a smile!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Last day at market for me.  Need to run around and tell friends good bye until Columbus show.

Unfortunately, I did very little shopping.  There is soooo much to choose from I just don't know how shops decide on what to get.  I want them all - canvases, threads, beads, gadgets, on and on.

SuZy Murphy and I are generally fortunate enough to get together and visit and discuss - Apps - what else?  We also shared a couple of classes together.  She wears the coolest shoes to match her outfits!  I should have taken a picture.

Gotta go and will try to share more info later.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Great Show, Wonderful Friends, New Friends = TNNA Market.

After a rocky start, we are having a great time here in Long Beach.

I have been quite busy with teaching 3 classes and trying to visit and say hello - I know I am missing several with whom I'd love to visit, but when I go by their booth they are very busy - and, I certainly am not going to interrupt a potential sale.

My first class was Sweetest Tree for Sundance Designs.

I had great students - some new faces and some returning ones (does that mean they didn't get it the first time?)  We had fun and still managed to accomplish a lot in the small time frame that we were allotted.  Unfortunately, I have no pics from that class.

The second class was A Time for Love, also for Sundance Designs.

Another great group of students - my students seem to always be the best!  I love them all.

We managed to get a few pics from this class.  I must say, however, these guys look like they are working awfully hard don't you think?  Their CPA can't say that market is all play from the looks of these photos.

My last class was Night Cap from Leigh Designs' Old Crow Series.  Another great bunch of students.  

There would be no pics from this class had not Amy Bunger immediately grab one of the gals and have her take our pics before class began.  Otherwise, again we were all so absorbed in the project that pics didn't cross anyone's minds.

Then, I worked in the Sundance booth for awhile and was able to visit with so many wonderful shop owners.  I will be visiting some of you in the next year or so, so be sure to discuss upcoming classes with your particular shop owner.

Later yesterday, we got to visit with THE Jo of THE Bible.  Here is a quick photo of her and Libby Sturdy (wonderful friend and designer) that Jo's husband Ralph took for us.  Doesn't it look like we are dressed to just do a song and dance any moment - all in our costume of choice - black and white.

Gotta go now and get breakfast and get ready for an 8 am class.  I hope to be able to have more later.