Saturday, January 30, 2021


I am not good at 'cold'.  So I chose to think about our Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise.  Today we shared the picture of the Optional Class Kit that participants may purchase if they want something unique.

So much about our upcoming trip is documented in this piece!  Lots of fun to stitch.  Lots of interesting threads and fascinating stitches and techniques.  Can't wait to share with our cruising stitchers. Email us at for information on the trip and the Optional class - or visit Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures group for discussion.

I'm getting so excited.  I get my first Covid shop this coming Tuesday!  Yay. Hubby got his first one a couple weeks ago at the VA.  He gets his second one next week.


I made a giant leap for me today.  I host4ed a Zoom meeting with some of my online class participants.  This techie stuff drives me crazy. I think it went fair.  The biggest issue from my end was to get my new wireless headset set up.  I couldn't tell if I was projecting or not.,  Eventually I got that part fixed.  I think I should be able to hear the participants better so I need to work on that.  Oh well, as they say, Rome wasn't made in a day.

It was really great to see everyone!  That was a real bonus for a dreary day.  Lifts your spirits immediately.
Looking forward to the next one in a couple weeks.

Our adorable Two by Two from Strictly Christmas will have its first session in a couple weeks.  Excited to share this with everyone.  So many fabulous threads that I know many have never used before. The 15+ animals give us lots and lots of technique possibilities.  Great fun to stitch.

Each pair of animals is a design all their own.  Here's a close up of the piggies.

Remember that registration is open for Raymond Crawford's American Train now.

Just email us at to sign up for any of the classes.


Our newly introduced book for the Pocketbook Series Leaping Thru Leaves has taken off like gangbusters.

Even though the first shipments went out mid-January, many shops are already on their 2nd or 3rd reorder.  We are beyond ecstatic at the success of this little guy. Thank you all for your support! To get your copy if you haven't already be sure to check with your Local Needlework Shop.
I'm odd to stitching now and enjoying my wonderful fire.  Stay safe everyone.

Saturday, January 23, 2021


We (my daughter and I) did not let any moss grow under our needlework projects this past weekend.  Teresa even finished some and made a bad dent in others.  I accomplished quite a bit as well.  Some stitching and some class preparation.

We planned ahead and did a pretty good job of it.  We had great meals and our suite had a full sized refrigerator to accommodate what we brought.  We lacked for nothing.  The snow fell, some days heavier than others. n We did not mind, however, as we were snug, had our needlework and plenty of food.

Guess how many sweaters I have on - lol.

  I think there was a TV in the room - (I think it is that black rectangular thing on the right LOL) - but it is none the worse for wear from our lack of use. Wasn't even on nor missed! We had other priorities.

We have promised ourselves to try to do this more than once a year!


Our newest release in our Pocketbook Series - Leaping Thru Leaves - is leaping out the door.  We have already had a second printing.  

Check with your Local Needlework Shop (LNS) for your copy.  Many are on repeat orders so you may need to preorder from them.


    NOTICE:  Be sure to check this group in the next day or two (maybe tomorrow even) as we hope           to share the Optional Class Project for those participants who want to purchase them.

This week we look at days October 3 and 4 on our cruise.  We arrive at Kahalui, Maui and stay there overnight and most of October 4.  We leave at 6 pm.  I had a personal family member tell me that Lahaina was her favorite part of her Hawaii vacation several years back.

Some excursion possibilities offered include the historical district of Wailuku. Take a motor trip on the Road to Hana - you enjoy the views while someone else maneuvers the curves and twists of the highway.Snorkeling anyone?  It is stated that one of the top ten snorkel sites in the world is here. There's lots of other nature possibilities - how about seeing how lavender is added to products.. Stroll a beautiful botanical garden.  Ocean Vodka - sounds interesting don't you think? Check out how Hawaii's best-selling vodka is made.Of course the Maui Ocean Center sounds incredible - lots to see and learn.

How about if you want to just stay close in and enjoy the wonderful weather?  That is most likely what hubby and I will be doing for the major part of the trip.  He will be napping and I will be - - - you guessed it - stitching and checking on my fellow stitchers who might be onboard relaxing after exciting mornings.

Just email us at or our agent Russ at to get your own brochure.


Registration is active for the next classes in line.  Two by Two - Noah's ark is up next from Strictly Christmas. I understand that canvases have been shipped so we are ready to go. While we will be revealing the stitched piece the execution of stitches/techniques and threads are still a mystery.

This is a large canvas and has so much to offer in techniques and thread selections. You still have time to join us for this delightful piece.  There are 15 animals (sets) and of course Noah - plus the border, rainbow and background.  Even if no little ones are in your life think of the little ones at various nurseries - hospital, church, etc., and make a wonderful donation. It will be worth it if nothing more than for the delight of stitching and experiencing the wondrous threads.  If you need assistance let us know as we have shops that kits the classes to our exact specifications. 

Here's a sneak peek at one pair of animals.  

This is no bull - you will learn how to make this fabulous free flowing tail and switch - think of all the ways you can use this technique.  To register just email us at  This is an 8 session class as there is so much to cover. 

The canvases have been shipped for the American Train by Raymond Crawford also.

We plan. to start this ASAP in hopes of your having it finished in time for the 4th of July celebrations if you desire.  Just check with us at to register. This class will be 6 sessions with approximately 2 sessions a month.

Gotta go now and work on finishing the fabulous Hawaiian piece!  Stay safe!

Sunday, January 17, 2021


We are staying in Frankfort (our State Capitol for those who get it confused).  But for our purposes we are staying in our suite just happily stitching away.  It is snowing here and has been off and on since we arrived yesterday. 

I'm so pleased with how the Hawaiian Optional Class design is progressing.  Will be sharing soooooon!

NEEDLES 'N FINS STITCHING ADVENTURES - Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise

Next phase. So we've met everyone and got our stitching plans underway.  October 2 we begin our next schedule and that is to embark on the Pride of America for our 7 day sailing adventure.  The brochure states there are 15 restaurants and 12 bars and lounges.  Sounds like lots of stitching area opportunities!

After a morning of running and picking up those last few things we can't possibly leave behind, we leave Honolulu in the afternoon to begin our island hopping. 

Our beautiful ship has been totally remodeled and feels like a new one.  Such beautiful decor!  You feel like you are in a great place to get spoiled rotten - as cruise crews have a way of doing.

Hmm - looks like a group photo opportunity to me!

I think we will manage to find an abundance of areas to meet and stitch and have workshops.

We'll check it all out and become familiar with our favorite spots.  First priority is to have lunch as we try to get settled in to our stateroom.  Spend some time studying the excursion options for the next morning. 

Get your copy of the brochure and have fun looking over all the fun possibilities.  Email us at or our agent Russ Dunlap at


A couple days ago we shared the lessons for some of the Online Mystery Classes.

For the sweet, sweet Lovable Llama from Gayla Elliott we did this pretty boy's face and ears.  

On our Spring Welcome from PLDesigns we started preparing and working on the butterfly stump work.

Wait till next month!  Wow!


Shipment of our new Pocketbook, Leaping Thru Leaves, has pretty much consumed our waking hours for the last few weeks.

Pre-orders have all be shipped and invoiced.  Second printing is well on its way.

Don't be left out!  Check with your LNS to get your copy right away!

So, since I am at a stitching away with my daughter - bye until next week!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

WOW!  What a week we have witnessed in this great country of ours.  I'm ready to get back to normalcy on all fronts!  Hope it comes soon.

In KY they are giving some of the vaccines now - our front line workers are being taken care of first - as it should be.  We are not to the place (at least here in my county) were Phase 1B seniors are invited to get the vaccine.  Hope to be soon.

One disruption we had this months that saddened many of us. Our annual stitch away at our area state park was cancelled.  I know it is not anywhere on the scale of what is going on the world but in our little cubicle it was important to us. It historically is on MLK weekend so we have a long weekend to stitch, visit, catch up and of course eat!  But this year our event had to be cancelled.  It is one of the few times my daughter and I get to go play without any interference whatsoever.  So, being the daughter that she is, we are having our own special stitch away.  We are meeting halfway, have a suite for easily delivered meals so we can have a smaller version of our annual event.  Big miss is our fellow friends sharing what is happening in their lives and seeing the plethora of stitching that has been accomplished during this past year. Next year hopefully!


As stated before, we are so excited to be moving forward on our upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise.  It is wonderful that we are getting so many requests for the brochures and interest in the trip.  It is going to be so lovely. 

One of my goals on the above stitch away is to finish the exclusive Optional Class model so I can share it with you.  It is going to be such a fantastic souvenir! I know you are going to love it!

We are highlighting some things on our itinerary each week.  Last week we made our plans to get to Honolulu and start our fun trip. 

After we settle in to our hotel we will check out what all is going on around us.  We will have 2 .5 days before we head for the ship.The beaches are fabulous, there is so much shopping that you might want to ship home your fantastic finds before we begin our cruise. I'm not much of a shopper and even I got carried away at the Market. Then of course there will be our first stitching class.  More about the class next week.

Generally the first thing one thinks about when hearing about going to Honolulu is the Pearl Harbor Tour.  If you have not had the privilege of visiting this Memorial you might want to seriously consider doing so.  For me it was a very emotional experience. My Daddy fought in the front lines during WWII.

The Ala Moana Center is a must for your shoppers! If you can't find it here you probably can't find it on the Island!

This center is advertised as the world's largest outdoor shopping mall and I can believe it.  Make sure you have your cell phones because you will likely get separated from your shopping friend as there is so much to see and pull you in separate directions.

Of course there are many other options our agent is recommending so be sure to discuss with them.  OR you could just chill at Waikiki Beach and leave all your troubles behind.

Email us at or our agent Russ Dunlap at for your very own brochure. We are available to answer any questions you may have as well.  


Spring Welcome has had its second lesson shared.  Look at this beautiful daisy everyone is creating.  So fun!

This class is on a shorter time frame than most others and its lessons are posted closer together.  This technique was a first for many students - the needle weaving went well.

Registration is ongoing for Two by Two - Noah's ark from Strictly Christmas.  We learned this week that all canvases should be shipped to the various shops next week!  This means everyone could have their canvas in plan th of time for our first class.  This is scheduled to begin mid-February.  It is an 8 session class because there are tons of techniques and unusual threads to share with you. If you don't have a LNS and need assistance, let us know as we are working with shops to provide kits that use exactly the materials we have in our stitching instructions.

While this is a 'mystery class' in that the mystery may be in how something is done, we are sharing a small sneak peak for you!

I cannot possibly explain how much fun I am having stitching this design.  Strictly Christmas has managed to pack a lot into this package! Not counting Noah I believe there are 15 critters represented!  That's a Big Bang for your buck!  If you would like to join us email us at  


I was told that our new book in the Pocketbook Series, Leaping Thru Leaves, should be ready for shipping next week!  How exciting is that?  Check with your local needlepoint shop to see if they have it on order and be sure to get your name down for one.

I'm sure I'm forgetting to share something with you that I wanted to cover but maybe next week.

Please stay safe and may God Bless America and watch over our wonderful country!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

 WELCOME 2021!  Boy are we happy to see you!

Okay, 2020 is behind us.  There is still much lingering baggage but we choose to see 2021 as a new light of hope. There is no magical wand that will cure everything but we can savor the idea that the vaccines will help us through these trying times. There is so much to rebuild but we need to take baby steps.  We must remember that as the saying goes 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.  It is difficult because we are a nation of wanting action and results now and that is not always possible.  Anyway here's to 2021!


We are so happy to share our brochure for the upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise for September 30 through October 9, 2021! Email us at and just ask for us to send it.  For some reason I am having difficulty embedding the pdf in the blog like I used to.  I also noticed that all my previous pdfs are missing from past posts.  Not sure what is going on.  We'll get it figured out eventually.

Many of us are most anxious to get back out there and enjoy traveling and revisiting with our friends.

Have a look at the above Facebook Group - Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures. If you visit this Facebook Group you can chat with many who have taken cruises with Duo Designs in the past.  I am sure they will gladly share their experiences with you so just ask.  You can also look at the Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise brochure that is on file in that group as well.

We will begin our journey by adding 2 days at the front end of the NCL cruise so we can play in Honolulu.  Read up on some of the plans in the post over at Needles 'N Fins.   This gives us time to overcome the jet lag (for those of us who are a bit older), enjoy the beach or even go shopping!  All within walking distance of our beautiful hotel.

The luxurious Alohilani Resort Hotel will make us feel like kings and queens!

Our travel agent has worked to put together some suggested excursions for those wanting to explore the island on their own in more depth. Be sure to contact our agent Russ Dunlap at to get registered and reserve that balcony stateroom before they are gone.


We have a fun class going on that we have been sharing lessons approximately every 2 weeks. This is not a mystery class.  It is the Spring Welcome rabbit from PLDesigns.

Our first two sessions have involved creating the background which included adding beads.  New technique for some.  The second session included a stump work technique of free standing needle weaving.  We are very close to start working on needle felting!  Oh boy!

We finished up another class under a different venue - the Peanut Butter and Jelly design from Art Needlepoint.

These guys were such fun!  We have even had some students finish it already.  This class involved weekly lessons - which we had never done before.  

Registration for our next class of Two by Two from Strictly Christmas is ongoing.  We had this class set to begin mid-January but some painters are still behind.  We are going to move this to mid-February.  We will begin class mid-February and hopefully everyone will have their canvases by them.

There is sooooooo much to share in this piece.  We have introduced several threads that might be new to many of you has well.  I particularly love the thread I used for Noah's beard.  Can't wait to share.  I have just about decided that we probably will donate this piece to the Shriner's Children's Hospital.  My husband is a 50+ year Mason, I am a past Eastern Star member, our daughter (and partner in Duo Designs) was very active in state level of Rainbow Girls and our son participated in DeMolay.  So to me it seemed fitting that this might be a good place to make this donation.

Remember we will have classes on:

       from Raymond Crawford


We are thrilled at the reception of our new addition to the Pocketbook Series.  Leaping Thru Leaves has been pre-ordered by many shops so  check with your local needlepoint shop and pre-order your copy before they are gone.  Shipment is expected within the next couple weeks!


For some reason Etsy was having difficulty with our shop and our customers couldn't process their orders for their downloadable stitch guides.  Hopefully this has been corrected.  Just email us if you continue to have any trouble.

Gonna have to go for this week - please stay safe and check back in next week!Q