Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Cards and Needles by Orna Willis and the Opening of the July Needlepoint Exhibit at Media Arts Council

We had the Media Arts Council exhibit opening last night. There was a good turnout. There were also 2 other artists displaying paintings. So it was a nice mix of people. I had some very interesting conversations with other artists and people interested in our needlepoint. Six other members of the Main Line Stitchers attended as did my husband, another member’s husband, a member’s sister, and friends of mine from Delaware. My husband had to remind me to tell people I was wearing Orna’s earrings – they were a hit!! Orna Willis spoke first, I spoke next, and then the other 2 artists. I relayed Patrick’s comments which summarized were: “Orna’s color choices and the way she combines threads and layers them is simply genius. Her designs speak for themselves. Orna is an excellent instructor, generous with her ideas and just fun to be around. You can’t ask for much more than that in Life.” Then, I discussed 3 classes from Orna in which she explained how she selects colors during the Color Inspirations class, how she designs in the Come Dance with Me class, and finally walks us through how to find a design within ourselves through drawing and painting in her Dare to Design class. There are only a handful of teachers who make the effort to share how they design which really contributes to the growth of our art form.

This is the other Cards and Needles piece I stitched which was designed by Orna and is one of 13 pieces on display from our chapter members. Each design is 2″ x 1.25″ that is stitched three times in 2 colorways (orange/fuchia-shown previously and purple/green-shown here) although colors repeat within a colorway and across each colorway. These could easily be created in a variety of colorways. The frame measures 9″ x 15″. The other colorway will be raffled to raise money for Media Arts Council as my way of thanking them for letting us join the exhibit. Raffle tickets for the orange/fuchia piece will be on sale all month long at the gallery. Be sure to visit the MAC gallery (11 E State Street in Media, PA; open Wed – Sat from 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday 12 – 4 pm) in July.



Corinthian Earrings from Adorn By Orna
June 29, 2022, 12:40 pm
Filed under: 2022, New Jersey Needle Festival

Well, I will truly be “Adorned by Orna” (which you can Google to find her) for our Friday night (5 pm) opening at the Media Arts Council (MAC) needlepoint exhibit featuring designs by Orna Willis. MAC is in Media at 11 E State St and our exhibit will run until the 31st. These earrings are her Corinthian Earrings that I bought as a kit when she opened up her new studio (December 2018). Great motivation to finish them! Six members from ANG Main Line Stitchers are exhibiting 14 pieces designed by Orna including 6 different Color Inspirations. And, Orna has at least 50 pieces, bracelets, and other small finishes. An amazing collection.

It took me 2 days at New Jersey Needle Fest to stitch these earrings on Congress Cloth though I should have been done in a day (I had to redo some because I counted incorrectly). And, it took a day to attach the ultrasuede backing, apply the beads along the bottom and top edges, and add the hardware. The beads took several attempts and rethinking because I wasn’t happy with adding the large (4 mm) round beads into the bottom edge. So, I pulled out her instructions from her Flower Cuff piece for adding a Picot bead edging (2 layers) and I switched from gold beads to a purple iridescent 11/0 seed beads. I tightened them up which is creating the buckling effect which I thought was more interesting than a very uniform appearance. All ready for Friday!!



Greystone Needlepoint
June 25, 2022, 11:50 am
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, Greystone Needlepoint

I heard about Greystone Needlepoint not too long ago and more recently saw there were 10 stores on the Canvas Crawl going on around the area (NY, NJ, PA, and more) in June including Greystone Needlepoint. So, I made an appointment for 6-8 of us for Saturday before our Stitch-in.

Shannon welcomed us and we explored the canvases. It worked out very nicely for our small group. Any purchase came with a small project bag and Shannon provides a Beginner’s Guide with Do’s and Don’t along with diagrams for Basketweave and Continental.

I managed to find a cute canvas with stitch guide. It’s more interesting to me now to read stitch guides to find out how succinctly they can be written particularly now because I am helping with articles in Needle Pointers magazine.



Tapping into Weaving
June 22, 2022, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Introduction class with Bobbie, Weaving on a Loom

About a week and a half ago, I took an introductory class on Tapestry weaving from Bobbie from At Home Modern in Philadelphia. And, I finished it yesterday. I enjoyed the process. I see tension issues but perhaps that was because the top part was done in class, the middle one night, and the bottom another night. I didn’t expect a masterpiece on the first attempt anyway.

You can’t see it in the picture but the yarn sheds and I don’t like that. It seems messy. And, it was stretchy which probably led to tension differencestoo. So, I will try a different yarn and there are lots of yarns to try!

It’s nice to see something finished relatively quickly unlike needlepoint which is a much slower process. The reasons it worked up quickly is because the fiber was so bulky and that won’t happen with thinner threads and warp thread was on every other tooth and I want to try it on every tooth.



Hearts of Gold: Fourth Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornament by Michele Roberts

Hearts of Gold is an excellent ANG Correspondence Course that includes 20 Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts and is available under Distance Learning on ANG ‘s website. Michele’s are all done using only 4 gold threads while mine are all different colorways for different seasons.

This Swirl Burden work ornament has horizontal laid threads or trame lines with burden work showing exposed thread. Boy is this stitch named appropriately. What a pain it was. I wanted to try it and I am not likely to stitch anything with it again. Although it was getting easier the more I did it, it was too tedious. Turned out pretty but I didn’t find it enjoyable. What’s your experience with it?

This ornament is red and white to join our Phillies sports and Valentine’s Day decorations. The laid thread is Snow 00 White. The bargello pattern includes YLI Ribbon Floss 142 Red, YLI Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss 023 White/Opal, Flair F502, and Fyre Werks F38.



Hearts of Gold: Third Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornament by Michele Roberts

Hearts of Gold is an excellent ANG Correspondence Course that includes 20 Heart-Shaped Bargello Ornaments by Michele Roberts. It’s available under Distance Learning on ANG ‘s website. Michele’s are all done using only 4 gold threads so they are all color coordinated. Mine are all different colorways for seasonal display.

This Diamond and Stars Bargello ornament adds non-Bargello stitches inside each diamond. I thought magenta would be good for a fall flower color but adding pink makes me think Spring and Valentine’s Day decorations. I have plenty more of the 20 heart designs left to try. So, I will probably do another heart for fall. I’m sure that I have enough threads!

These threads are Vineyard Merino M1014 Grape Wine, Silk & Ivory 185 Cosmopolitan, Silk Lame Braid for 18 Ct SL26, and Kreinik 1/16″ Ribbon 024. The diamond Bargello pattern seems like an easy pattern but the over 6 canvas thread stitches were tough to remember. I would get into the over 4 repetition and forget the over 6 (too often).



Needlework and Textile Guild of Media
June 16, 2022, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

Last month, we took home some unfinished quilt squares. I thought we were to use them as we wanted. However, they were intended to be used in our own visible mending projects to show in June. Well, even though I bought the darning loom, I don’t do mending! So, this is what I did with my fabric pieces. Sally made a key ring out of hers. We were the only 2 to give it a go.

This turned into a lesson using Pellon Wonder-Under Transfer Fusing Web. It “turns any fabric into a fusible fabric”. It also turns your iron into a mess if it touches a hot iron directly. Learned that the hard way. But, Magic Eraser cleaned it up. So, I cut the fusing web slightly smaller than the quilt squares and placed the fusing web between the canvas (14 count) and the quilt square and then applied heat for 15 seconds. And, it worked great.

I stitched gobelin stitches around the edge. And, I added nested Jessicas on one and a corner Amadeus with crescents on the other. Stitching without seeing the holes was a challenge. That’s why I started them on the edges. I’ll probably finish them into ornaments. There is a stack of ornaments building up for me to finish. I’ll have to block out a few days.



Cards and Needles by Orna Willis and July Needlepoint Exhibit at Media Arts Council
June 12, 2022, 4:58 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, Media Arts Council Exhibit

Save the date! July 1, 2022 (5 pm) for the in-person opening of a month-long needlepoint exhibit featuring Orna Willis and her designs at the Media Arts Council Gallery in Media, PA. Members of ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter will share 10 stitched pieces of her designs too. Read all about the exhibit and Orna at https://mediaartscouncil.org/calendar/mac-art-show-orna-willis-and-mainline-stitchers/ If you are in the Philadelphia area in July, be sure to visit the gallery (open Wed – Sat from 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday 12 – 4 pm). 

I will contribute Come Dance With Me, Flower Cuff (finished flat), and Color Inspirations. In addition, I have completed Cards and Needles from my stash. It was a kit from around 2009 which was one of the first Main Line Stitchers classes that I signed up for. 

For Cards and Needle, Orna created one design 2″ x 1.25″ that is stitched three times in 2 colorways (orange/fuchia and purple/green) although colors repeat within a colorway and across each colorway. Orna has a very clever instruction sheet as well. It is fascinating to see the results. Although Orna suggested using them for cards or individual mounted pieces with inspirational sayings, I decided to frame each colorway in a collage because keeping the colorways together looks more appealing to me. The frames measure 9″ x 15″. This one will be raffled to raise money for Media Arts Council as my way of thanking them for letting us join the exhibit. I’ll wait to share the other colorway.

Please join Orna and members of the Main Line Stitchers on July 1 at 5 pm for the opening!



Introduction to Tapestry Weaving Class
June 11, 2022, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Introduction class with Bobbie, Weaving on a Loom

Bobbie is an art historian, runs At Home Modern, and is a weaver. Five of us joined her at Second Street Press, an art center, near Center City Philadelphia. In a 3-hour class, we got introduced to Tapestry weaving.

We put the warp thread on first winding up and down. It is the thin black cotton vertical threads. I upgraded to the 14″ Weaving Frame from BekaInc.com in case I want to create larger pieces. In order to keep up with class, I kept this one at about 10″ wide.

We started with Twining.

Added rows of Tabby. You can weave with your hands or the long wooden weaving needle seen in the photo. I did it both ways.

Then, I manipulated the colors because weaving rows back and forth would not have been much of a challenge. And added Soumak stitch using wool roving the fluffy large light blue fiber (also used in needle felting).

I see now that my top row of Twining is wrong. It should look like a braid. Easily removed. That was as far as I got. I could end it here but we got yarn to take home so I will make it longer to practice weaving more. I also need to add a row between the light and dark blue rows because they are woven in the same direction although it certainly would be interesting to see in a larger area. Kind of like a double brick stitch. I enjoyed seeing Bobbie again and very nice people in class.

The thinner of the light blue fibers and the darker blue fiber are both single ply yarns called Tuff Puff, which you can get at knitpicks.com (https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/tuff-puff/c/5420288).



Floral Fantasy at First Tuesday and a New Thread Line

I finally joined Cleo of Busy Lizzy for one of her First Tuesday sessions at her shop behind her house. It’s not large but Cleo has a good selection of painted canvases, threads, and miscellany including books. The table and chairs still allow enough room to walk around looking at everything. Eight of us fit comfortably around the table. Lively conversation made the time fly and before I knew it, it was 2:30 pm which was 30 minutes past the time I was planning to leave (just over an hour to and from Chadds Ford for me). Two others from ANG Main Line Stitchers, Gloriann and Stacie, were there. My travel SMASTA (tool case) was a smash hit! A very enjoyable day.

I found one book there that I couldn’t find anywhere online!! But, that will be the topic of another post.

The piece I’m working on is a small (4″ square) 14 count canvas with designer initials of BTB or BT8. I have no idea where I got it from but it looked like an easy piece to stitch at a Stitch-in. If anyone recognizes the designer, please leave a comment. I named it Floral Fantasy for lack of the proper title.

I selected basketweave for the white flower outlines, a 4×4 Norwich Stitch for the white center of the red flower, and 2 upright waffle stitches for the white center of the pink flowers using ThreadworX Expressions (200, white). These areas were finished the day before.

The green is Boucle (170) done with Checkerboard Cross which are alternating cross stitches and upright crosses each over 2 canvas threads. I wanted a random looking grassy texture. I began this area to make sure the thread worked. Since it is 14 count, the Boucle works ok. I finished this today and found out Pepper Pot Silk would not cover on 14 count at least for the stitch I wanted to use.

It was a perfect time to try the new thread Line at Cleo’s that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is from Gloriana Threads and is Duchess Silk, a hand-dyed thread. Some colors have more subtle changes in the skein. I had brought along another canvas and selected other skeins of Duchess Silk but that too will be the subject of another post.

This Rose Violet (232) has more variations than many of the other colors in the line. You can see I got the upper right corner started using the stitch, Pointing Fingers. There is nice variation of color. It’s taking some time to “see” the pattern and compensation isn’t easy yet. Hopefully, I’ll get it once I start stitching in the larger area.

Also in the upper right corner are 2 small clusters of 5 beads each. I have accumulated (mostly from Trish who was unloading her stash before moving south) a slew of beads including a large tube of pink beads that are calling to me, “Use us!” I don’t know what kind they are so I hope I have enough for both pink flowers. If not, then I will improvise. The differences in texture are pleasing me most about this piece. I have no idea what to do with it when I finish it. Any suggestions?