Saturday, December 28, 2019

We have been blessed with another promising New Year.  May your year be filled with good health and lots of love!  Don't sweat the small stuff!  Life is too short.

During this brief posting we are going to share with you some of our various ways of communicating with fellow stitchers.

Etsy Shop:  duodesignsbySandra     

One thing that most of you may not know about is our Etsy Shop.  duodesignsbySandra.  In this shop you will find our Stitch Guides that are to be instantly downloaded by the buyer.  Little by little we are getting them added.  Most stitch guides are needlepoint but we are starting to include some of the cross-stitch charts.

The other thing found in our Etsy Shop is the surplus items from various hosted classes.  These can be extra kits from f2f classes or online classes, canvases and embellishments.  If listed as a kit they are generally a full kit.  If a thread or two is missing from the kit the description will state so.

Finally we tend to post some items that are our preference in various stitch guides but most needlepoint shops do not carry as the demand may be low and the minimum requirement for stocking is high.  A good example of this is the wonderful roving by Clover - much better quality than the local hobby shops tend to carry.

Needles 'n Fins Stitching Adventures

This is a secret Facebook page that you request to join.  It is secret because we do not force ourselves into your computer without your wanting us to be there.  This group is a catch all of persons who share our interest for stitching and cruising at the same time. We discuss upcoming trips and get feedback from participants who share some of their experiences along the way.  We are always open to suggestions for trips that would interest the group.  We generally strive to keep our groups relatively small - 50 or less.  We enjoy the intimacy of the lower number and smaller vessels.  Some areas - those that move beyond our normal river cruises - require a slightly larger ship.  We no longer teach on the larger ocean going vessels however.  First we're not crazy about the possibility of rough waters and second we like being able to walk down the hall and see a familiar face. The Mediterranean cruise required a slightly larger ship and the Hawaiian adventure will require a larger ship - still much smaller than the ocean mega ships.

Simply send us an email at duodesignsinc@yahoo and request to join this group if you would like to follow along


Of course you know about the blog if you are reading this.  It is suggested that you follow or join or whatever it is that FB requires you to do to see what we are up to.  Here I just chat a bit with you.  I try to keep you posted of all our stitching shenanigans.  Mostly cover the Online Mystery Classes and lessons and talk about the stitching travels. I also make an effort to share with you various deadlines and registrations of places where we will be teaching face-to-face classes (f2f for short version).

We do not try to represent ourselves as being the all knowing source of information.  While I am a certified Senior Master Teacher of Needlepoint through American Needlepoint Guild all I want to do is share with you how I interpret doing things or my view and sometimes opinion of some technique, practice, etc.  We break some rules sometimes but I try to make sure you know the rules you are breaking.  That way if anyone ever calls your hand on the way you do something you can always say 'yes, I know that blah blah is the proper way to do blah blah but I chose to do it this way.'

PAY IT FORWARD - Freebie stitches

Next week we begin our first installment of the weekly post of a stitch that can be incorporated into the hearts sampler.  Hearts from A to Z is set up as a sampler and has been taught at various venues.  After the initial first week of getting the canvas ready and gathering supplies we will begin posting a new stitch each week for 26 weeks - plus an extra at the end.  There is no charge for this adventure.  Just visit the blog and download the chart.  Remember this is copyrighted material and we ask that you respect the rules of copyright.  Enjoy for your own personal benefit.  Tell friends to come follow the blog and they too can have their very own copies.

Thank you all for sharing my journey through my stitching adventures and I cherish you all!  Never hesitate to ask questions.  That is how we all learn.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Oh my!  Only 4 more days until Christmas. Time - I'm always amazed!


This is the last of the classes for 2019.  Unbelievable.  I try to slow things down in November and December and I did a pretty good job this year.  I only had one session to post for this month.

Just a Sip got the chandelier embellished this session.  Ooo those tiny hex beads!

Such a shame that I cannot manipulate the camera properly to show off the bling in this piece.  There is sparkly Kreinik braid, Petite Facets, hex beads and crystals!  Oh my!

Next month will be the final lesson for this design.  We'll do the wine table and bottle of wine, the rub and house slippers.

Also next month we will be introducing the first class for 2020 - At The Seashore a Sandra Gilmore design.

Registration is active for Fall Welcome Wreath with Scarecros and the Kissmas Eve classes. Just email us at

PAY IT FORWARD!  Hearts A to Z Sampler

And, of course, we begin discussing the Pay it Forward project - Hearts A to Z - a sampler of stitches.


We encourage you to follow our private Facebook Page Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures if you have travel interest.  Several things make these wonderful adventures rather unique to our company.  First we seek out needleworkers - Needlepointers, cross-stitchers, quilters, leaders, knitters, crocheters, macramé's, sewers, anything involving creativity that we can carry with us..  Those who share a passion of needlework are instant friends. Second while our main emphasis is riverboat cruising we sometimes must venture outside the box to get to our destinations.  The riverboats are small and intimate and very friendly to those with motion issues.  The Mediterranean required a larger ship but not too large.  If I recall it was around 620 people.  Riverboats are less than 200 for the most part.  When we do Hawaii we will need to a larger ship even still.  This one is around 2200 or somewhere around there.  And I think Alaska may be larger yet.  But those are unique trips and while not our focus occasionally appeal to us.  Another strong appeal to this type adventure is we are able to keep the number of participants to a manageable size.  We can all become friends if we desire and we can all share our stitching time together while not exploring the new areas we are visiting.  So join up and keep up with what we are up too.  You may want to come along.  Our next adventure Tulip Time Along the Rhine is sold out so you'll need to watch for the next one - Hopping the Hawaiian Islands April 2021.

Registration for the Optional Class and Kit - Windmill and Tulips is in process.  Email us at if you would like to reserve your kit.  You must be registered as a stitcher to  be eligible to participate. Email us at for details or scroll older posts.


We celebrate Christmas in our home.  We wish to all of you many blessings, good health, lots of love and a wonderful holiday no matter what way you choose to celebrate.  May you be surrounded by family and friends creating memories to cherish.  We pray for those less fortunate and ask that our wonderful troops be watched over and protected as they sacrifice on our behalf.  


Saturday, December 14, 2019


Isn't it amazing how busy the holiday seasons become!  No matter how much ahead you plan or how prepared you think you are, boom!  It is upon you before you know it! Next thing you know we'll be preparing our taxes.  UGH!  I did not just say that.

I just found a surprise.  Someone posted about where they were on the Top 50 Blogs so I went to look.  Didn't even know there was such a thing. Hey!  Look what I found! This was a fun, unexpected and exciting find!  We made the list!

34. Sandy Arthur | Needlepoint blog

Sandy Arthur | Needlepoint blogAbout Blog A blog about needlepoint for a wealth of free needlepoint patterns. Advice, tips and tutorials, for beginners to experienced needlepoint fans.
Frequency 1 post / week
Domain Authority 13View Latest PostsGet Email Contact

Great surprise.  I have no idea how this is determined but I'll take it! So if you are in position where you can do so be sure to subscribe to the newsletter  - I take it that's the way they determine where you rank unless you see some place that asks for input.   Thanks to everyone for your support!


This private Facebook page is used to discuss and share ideas for upcoming stitching cruises hosted by Duo Designs.  We primarily go on riverboats as that is our favorite laid back way of traveling.  Occasionally we must move up to a bit of a larger boat depending on our destination.  Hawaii Cruise will be one of those destination.  There is only one cruise line that does the Hawaiian Island Hopping cruise that we desire to host.  We are in the planning stages for our trip and currently negotiating  with agents to secure a contract.  Our target date is mid-April 2021.  Block that on your calendar! You don't want to miss out on the fun.

Our last few cruises have sold out - for which we are grateful.  We deliberately try to keep our numbers around 50 or less.  We like the intimacy and we like the freedom to be able to give stitching time with each of you as you need and ask for it.  If you are seriously considering playing with us please try to make plans and reservations early.  I am always saddened when someone cannot join us because they waited too long and there was no room at the inn.  

We are heavily into preparations for our upcoming Tulip Time on the Rhine stitching cruise that will take place in April 2020. We have so much fun on these adventures.

                  NOTICE:  We only have 1 spot left on this cruise.  If you want to join us
                                    and need a roommate, Dec. 19 is the deadline.  We have the roommate.
                                    Contact us right away or we will have to sail without you!  Oh No.  Liz
                                    is and we are

I so love our exclusive design for this trip.  What more could you expect other than windmills and tulips when beginning a cruise in The Netherlands.  Only those cruisers registered as stitchers may sign up for and purchase this optional class. There will be structured class times to work on this design.  There are also other times set aside to work with those who bring items from their stash and want assistance with those.  We are there to assist you.  We work with questions such as what thread is suggested, how about a color, is there a stitch that might work better in an area than another one, etc. With our class sizes everyone is able to benefit from the instructions being given to whomever.  We always suggest that people bring a doodle cloth in case there is a stitch being discussed with someone else that they would like to try out. Some even email us a picture of a design and point out a problem area that they might like for us to assist.  So this is the exclusive design for our cruise participants.  It will not be available commercially until several months after the cruise.

Windmill and Tulips


Yes, you are reading that correctly. Last week we announced that we would be sharing an online project with our followers.  This is our version of Pay it Forward. The class will involve weekly postings of a stitch that is created in the shape of a heart.  These stitches are contained in our stitch guide entitled Hearts A to Z.  The name was derived from taking letters of the alphabet and applying a stitch to that letter and then stitch in the shape of a heart.  The end result is a sampler of 26+ stitches.

My sampler decided to live in a tray.  

The first posting in January 2020 will give you information of the canvas used, the various threads and some hints.  The only requirement is that you check in to the blog each weekend to get that week's stitch  The postings may be downloaded and printed.  They are, of course, copyrighted and are meant for my supporters who visit the blog on a regular basis. Anyone may use them - just don't abuse them please.


Tomorrow is mid-month and when we share our monthly lessons for the various Mystery Classes.  Next week we will share some photos of the results for this month's sessions.

In the meanwhile we are accepting reservations for our next classes.  Still time to register for At the Seashore by Sandra Gilmore. Sit and stitch in the comfort of your own surroundings and at your own pace!

The first session is scheduled for mid-January.  The 6-lesson packet is $150 and is invoiced through PayPal. We have a shop that is preparing kits for those needing assistance so if you want to participate in the class just email us at I love, love, love how the rug turned out.

The next class is the Fall Wreath with Scarecrow from PLD.  Can't wait to get into this one too! Of course most of you who have followed me for some time know that I won't stitch something I don't like.

This guy has so much going on that it is an 8-lesson project.  The 8-lesson packet is $175.00. First session mid-February.  Email to join:

The next is Kissmas Eve from PLD.  Isn't this just the sweetest design! A perfect name too!

This class will be shared in 6-sessions.  First session scheduled for mid-May.

For more details on any of these classes just scroll down through older posts.  If you do not find what you need just send us an email at and we'll try to answer your questions.

Let's see, we have summer, fall and winter - we need something spring don't we? Open for suggestions and requests.

Have a great week! Stay warm (in our case here in Central KY - although yesterday was lovely) and safe.

Saturday, December 7, 2019


Several years ago I had a sampler-type class that I named Hearts A to Z.  This class involved teaching  26 +stitches - one for each letter of the alphabet and background, etc.  Additionally, the stitches taught begin with a letter of the alphabet. For instance, Algerian Eyelet for the A and so on.

We at Duo Designs, Inc. have decided to share these techniques with you my followers.  Beginning the first posting in 2020 we will share a technique on our blog.  Our first few postings will provide information for materials needed to participate, an aid in setting up a canvas and general guidelines that could be helpful. There will be a template, detailed instructions on how to compensate, etc.   I'll try to get a better picture for you next time.

I believe you will have fun with this project and use up some of those red 'stash' threads.  Stay tuned.


Gosh it is unbelievable that it is almost time for our Tulip Time Along the Rhine Riverboat Cruise!  My agent tells us that we only have 1 room left.  We are in search of a single looking for a roommate!  Don't miss your chance to come play with us.  Email us at or Liz our agent at for details.  We would love to have you come play with us.   This would make a great Christmas present to you don't you think?

I am very excited about the exclusive optional class that we offer and hope to share with you next week.  Fingers crossed.  Waiting for one more ribbon from River Silks to add the finishing touch!  So excited!

Registration is in full swing for the January 2020 class - At The Seashore!  Still time to enroll if you would like to join us.  $150 for the 6-lesson sessions.  You get your own canvas and threads from your LNS or stash.  We have a shop we have been working with as well if you need assistance.  Email us at Duo Designs letting us know you want the shop to contact you with the details of pricing options.  Just email us at and we'll get you in the class!

Also taking registration for the two PLD classes - Fall Wreath with Scarecrow - he's sooooo cute!

He will encompass 8 sessions at $175 - hop onboard!

And this cutie Kissmas Eve.

If you have a special design you would like to see us offer just send an email and we will be happy to investigate to see if there is enough interest to move forward.  Email

Also, remember that registration is no open for the NAN Seminar and ANG Seminar in Tucson.  My classes are great fun and I love sharing with you.  Scroll down to the past couple of postings for full details and links for registration.

Have a great weekend and as in our case here in Central Kentucky - try to stay warm!