Saturday, January 25, 2020

JAN 25
Last weekend our ANG Chapter had our annual stitch away at a KY State Park. We had a tremendous turnout!  Lots of fun, laughs and stitching.  For me the downside was also lots of eating - chocolate!  One of our members makes homemade candies and you'd think it was Christmas all over again.  And I, of course, have zero will power.  Oh well, at home the treadmill awaits.  We missed a couple of our regulars but life gets in the way and hopefully we can all reassemble next year. Thanks to all the ladies who work continually to see that this continues and is a success.  I believe we've been doing this now 21 or 23 years - can't remember which.

We had so much fun and a nice crowd.  In addition to stitching we managed to catch up on each other's lives and eat a few foods that many of us had been avoiding.  But it was great.  We historically always have snow when we go to Blue Licks and this year was no exception.  This year's snow, however, was just a few flurries and nothing threatening.

Ducks are getting in a row as we gear up for our next Online Mystery Class the Fall Wreath Welcome Scarecrow.  

Invoices are being processed for the 8-session class for this cool guy.  Still time to join if you want to.  Just email us at  Session I has been stitched and I am anxious to share with the participants come mid-February.

Next up is registration for Kissmas Eve.

The design area for this delightful design is approximately 8" x 10".  It is painted on 18count mono canvas.  The first session is scheduled to begin mid-May.  Invoicing for the 6 lesson packet will begin around the first part of March. Email us at to be added.

Many of us are unable to resist this precious Llama.    We're trying  to come up with a worthy name but everything seems to fall short. So far I think Lovable Llama -

This happy fellow is painted on 13 count mono canvas.  Easy on the eyes.  The design area is approximately 12" x 12". We will start sharing suggestions for stitching him around mid-July.  That means invoicing should be around the first of June.

                Just email us at to join any classe


We are anxiously awaiting our painted canvases for the optional project for the upcoming Tulip Time on the Rhine.

Registrations is taking place for those who want to participate in this specific class that is optional - Windmill and Tulips. If you choose to play with us on this design just email us at Exciting as threads arrive from different sources to create the kits!

And, of course, we do have some surprises to share along the way.

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

This coming month we will be posting the second session of Sandra Gilmore's At The Seashore.  You can still join us as we play.  There is one canvas left and I have listed it in our Etsy Shop.  Hop over and take a look if you want to join us for the fun.  So far we've done the wallpaper so plenty of time left to play with us over the next 5 months.

PAY IT FORWARD  - Hearts A to Z Sampler

The next stitch we are sharing is for the letter 'C'.  This is a very popular stitch and very versitle.  Makes a great background stitch as well as a filling stitch.  Threads and colors can be easily mixed to give a totally different look.  Add a metallic or something shiny to complement a matte or silk. The small area that is diagrammed with a cross-stitch can accommodate a bead if wanted.  Have fun with it.

       You can see in this model that I have chosen two different threads and colors for the alternating rows as well as a third element for the small filling cross-stitch.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 18, 2020


This past week we finished the design Just a Sip!

Some things we did were to fill the tub with water.

We also added the rug and slippers.

So we said goodbye to Just a Sip and hello to At The Seashore!  

In this beginning we introduced several vertical stripe techniques to create the wall covering.

Invoices are being processed for the February class of Fall Welcome Wreath with Scarecrow.  Still time to join us for this guy.

There are so many threads and techniques I want to share with you in this design.  Who knew there were so many oranges?  Email us at if you wish to play with us. The shop that is kitting this has prices ready to share with you if you need assistance with obtaining the canvas and/or materials.

This guy is an experiment and we called No Schedule, No Stress, No Deadlines class. Life is definitely getting in the way with this wonderful project because it was not my intention to have it stretch out this long.  So, to expedite things we are going to post sessions that may not have stitched samples.  That is what we have done this month.  If someone has a specific question they need help with before I get a sample stitched they are to ask and I will move that area up on the list to share.  I will share stitched areas as the WIP goes along - they will just be behind the instruction portion.  The provides information so those who desire to do so may move forward. This month we are doing the Professor's head and top hat!

We also shared another session on Arctic Parade - don't miss that email.

ETSY -  duodesignsbySandra

This week's feature is for a Lee leather bag with window for needlework insert.

This beautiful bag is a wonderful way to display your needlework.  You can secure it to the self-adhesive backing for insert loose for the flexibility of changing designs with the event.  The black leather bag features a shoulder strap, studded feet on the bottom, inside zippered pockets and other dividers, and an outside zippered pocket as well.  It has a zipped closing at the top.  There is only one of this item in the shop and it is priced to go!  $95 plus $17 shipping/handling.  US shipping only.


Do you happen to live in an area where it is cold and yucky right now?  Well I do!  And what better time is there to dream of our upcoming Stitching Adventure for Hawaiian Island Hopping.  So far we have our date confirmed and wanted to get that to you as early as possible so you can make plans.  Be sure to mark your calendars to save the date of April 15-24, 2021. Brochures are being created and we will share prices with you as soon as we can.  Just wanted to make sure you had the dates for now.


Fingers crossed that this week's posting works better than that of last week.  Here goes!
This week's stitch is Byzantine for the 'B' block.

Here I used an overdyed thread. The background is probably something like 4-6 ply of Splendor.  I used the same thread for all the block backgrounds so that might be one you make sure you have enough.

Enjoy the week and stay warm till next time!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Okay I give up on the Bathing Beauties.  Here are the pictures individually for those who are interested:

No. 1

No. 2
No. 3 

Seems I am having difficulty with the embedded pdfs.  They worked fine last week.  This is a test to see if this one comes through.  I apologize for the intrusion but I don't know how else to test.

Is anybody seeing this document?

This first document is shared to help with compensating on the hearts.  Most all hearts will have some compensation.

UPDATE:  Just posted an update of this morning's blog to include pictures of the stitched square.  Enjoy.


We are preparing to begin our new sessions for 2020.  As we move forward on our classes, we are making an effort to trim down the number of projects we feature.  This will afford the participants more time to devote to each project and not become overwhelmed.  Remember if you have a project you would like to be considered for the group send an email together with a picture of the project and the name of the designer to and we'll look it over.

2020 brings in our final session for Just A Sip.  
This gal has been such fun to develop and next week we will share with you some peeks of the last session.  We are trying to decide if we need to do a second picture to join her for a pair but need input from you.  As you know I need a commitment of 20 people to sign up first of all.  Second I need to have feedback which of the other ladies we should choose.  Email me with your choices so we can determine if there is enough interest and if so for which design. (Sorry for the duplication - don't know how to delete the second set - hmmm.)
Next we will begin our first lesson in At The Seashore by Sandra Gilmore.

The next new class will be the Fall Welcome Wreath with Scarecrow!  This cute guy has so much to offer and a ton of threads to consider. We will be sending invoices for the lesson packet in the next few days.  There is still time to sign up as the first lesson doesn't begin until mid-February.

And of course the cute cute cute Kissmas Eve which begins mid-May.

For any of these classes just send email to and we'll get you included!

New Designer for Online Mystery Classes 

We just could not resist Gayla Elliott's whimsical designs any longer when this guy came across our monitor.  Is this Llama not just about the cutest thing you've seen today? What a personality!

He's painted on 13ct canvas.  We have added him to the agenda to tentatively begin mid-July 2020!  If you wish to participate just email us at and we'll add you to the list.

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

We have added some Aida cloth in our shop for your cross stitchers.  This is 18ct white from Zweigart.  It is cut approx. 16.5" x 20.5"  Each individual cut is $4.00 plus $4.75 shipping/handling.  Fabric will be folded to fit envelope. US shipping only!  There is a free weekly class out there on blackwork that this would work perfectly for.

Most of our Etsy items are surplus from class kits, etc.  so are very limited in quantities.  Once they are gone they are gone!

Pay it Forward - Hearts A to Z Sampler

It is time for our second week in the Pay it Forward section.  We begin with a share of an easy method to determine where to place compensation stitches.  Almost every heart will require some compensation.

For our first stitch block we acknowledge the letter 'A'.  Our stitch choice is the Algerian Eyelet.  As stated on the document, all even numbered stitches share the center hole.  You might need to use your laying tool, an awl, large darning needle, etc., to gently enlarge the hole to accommodate all the threads.  So due to the center bulk, when selecting your thread you might consider a thinner textured thread such as Impressions, size 12 pearl cotton, 2 ply of floss, whatever you have that is handy.

This diagram eliminates the need for compensation because I have numbered each stitch precisely where it is to be placed to create the heart shape.  The diagrams are well-made and should make it very easy for you to count canvas threads.  Notice that '1' is 2 canvas threads down and 4 canvas threads in from the right side of your block.

Remember when doing an eyelet that you never pull your thread on the down motion - only on the up.  This means when you bring your thread up at '3' that is when you will gently pull your thread.  Pulling the thread is what creates the hole in the center for the eyelets.

BTW I have no intention of making this series a class but the teacher in me cannot help but throw in some suggestions as I want you to succeed!

The Algerian Eyelet heart as stitched.  I believe I might have used YLI Ribbon Floss on this square.

This is the white square stitched:

That's it for this go around.  Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to Stitch with a Smile!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Okay guys, seems some aren't adventurous enough to select colors, etc.,  This design was created to share a possible new stitch and use stash while doing so.  The threads and colors are not critical.  I am sharing with you some of the threads that I used.  I do not remember what I used where, however, so wing it.    The white squares are filled with the size 8 pearl cotton - either DMC, Anchor or any brand will work fine.  Some of the threads I used may no longer be available.  It does not take a lot for each heart.  The most thread used of one color is the background and the thread creating the blocks.
Hope this helps!  
18 ct. monocanvas    design area 6.5 x 12 – cut canvas approximately 12” x 16”

Accentuate #024- Gold
DMC Floche #321- Red
DMC or Anchor Size 8 Perle Cotton – White
Glitzy – Red
Impressions #2010 – Deep Red
Impressions #2011 – Burgundy
Kreinik Braid Size 8 #002 – Gold
Kreinik Braid Size 16 #002 – Gold
Neon Rays #N20 – Red
Panache #PN15 - Red
Painter’s Threads #111 –Freda
Shimmer #017 – Red Metallic
Splendor #S821 – Red
ThreadworX #1090 – Lipstick Red



WOW - I know, can you believe it?

So to start the new year off right I am going to share my version of Paying it Forward.  I am sharing with you - my followers - this fun class called Hearts A to Z.  I developed this class as a way for shops to be able to share some quick stitch tutorials to develop their business relationships. This developed into a class later. I toyed with the idea and then I thought why not develop stitches that begin with the letters of the alphabet?  This would provide 26+ opportunities for interaction with customers plus the background, etc.

(This is sorta similar to a class I'm teaching at ANG Seminar this August in AZ entitled Crazy Needles Journey. The Journey came about because the sampler-type design is made up of many stitches that have a place connection - Dutch, French, Japan, etc. )

So here we go!  READY?

NOTE:  Model was stitched on 18ct Zweigart orange line mono canvas.  The design area is 6.5" x 12" approximately.  For ease in stitching, framing, etc., the cut canvas used was 12" x 16".

First up: what do you need and how can you get ready to begin. Note that in this post we will already be sharing three stitches that are used in addition to the 26 representing letters of the alphabet.  It is suggested that you read through these pages a couple of times to grasp the concept of what we will be doing.  Feel free to ask for clarification when needed.  You may Email me at - click in the upper right corner to enlarge and print this document if desired.  A more detailed document on compensation will be posted with next week's share.


As many of you are aware Duo Designs has 5 published books for the needleworker.  Two of these books are also available as apps.  Because of the interest in the free Hearts A to Z Sampler we have several new people joining us who may not be aware of these wonderful resources.  Shapes of Needlepoint comes in a Series of 4 publications.  Check out the individual volumes as well as a group price special over on our Etsy Shop - duodesignsbySandra.  Also available at select LNS.

Sample Page

Series I and II of Shapes are available as apps - look to the column on the right of this blog and there are direct links to ordering these two apps.

A fifth book is one we published in our new pocketbook series and is entitled Can Do Hairdos.  This book is also available in our Etsy Shop. Also available at select LNS.

                                                         Sample Page

Online Mystery Classes 

In a few days we will begin our first new Online Mystery Class for 2020.  At the Seashore is a Sandra Gilmore design.

You still may sign up for participation in this class.  The six-lesson packet is $150 and the first lesson is to be posted mid-month.  Drop us an email at if you would like to be included. In these classes you are encouraged to purchase your canvas and material needs from your LNS.  If you need assistance, however we do work with shops to assure that proper kit supplies are prepared for those requesting assistance. Scroll down through previous posts and get information on other classes being offered through this venue.

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures

April 16, 2020!    This upcoming adventure is just around the corner.  As we advised earlier the trip is a complete sell out.  I am so sad that some did not make the decision in time to join us.  However - - - - be prepared!  The next adventure is just around the corner!  Our Hawaiian Island Hopping is fast approaching and details will be released soon.  The ad is almost finished for Needlepoint Now and other finishing touches are in progress.  If not already following, be sure to join Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures facebook page to get updates as they occur.

So look out 2020!  Here we come!