Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Irish Blessing
October 31, 2010, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Irish Blessing, Other People's Pieces

The Irish have a wonderful saying that my mother (whose birthday is today – yes, on Halloween) stitched for my husband for his birthday one year. Both his mother & father are Irish. It is a stamped cross stitch piece. Oddly enough, his mother picked that to be on the back her memorial card when she died. So, now, it make us think about both our mom’s! Happy Birthday Mom!!

Bird Party
October 29, 2010, 7:50 am
Filed under: Bird Party, Melita's Other Completed Pieces

This must another “vintage” piece although I don’t have any of the information. It was a kit my mother bought & asked me to finish for her a few years ago. All in tent/continental.  The black & white coded chart was tough to follow. There a some lines on the piece to follow but then you had to look at the chart too. I was glad when that was done. But, she loves it. Big bird lover.

October 23, 2010, 10:54 am
Filed under: ANG Stitch of the Month Mystery Project

I got Sept SOTM done! Coming along nicely. I like that turning the corner technique. Just hope I’ll find the instructions when next I need them. Actually, I’ll note that here!

Points of Tranquility (Sky, Earth, and Sea)
October 20, 2010, 1:58 pm
Filed under: Points of Tranquility

“Points of Tranquility” in 3 color families were entered in the 2010 ANG Seminar in the original design category. My artist’s statement follows:

When I was given a lovely blue and gold square frame, I decided to design a piece of needlepoint for it. I like to be challenged and felt I had learned enough from recent geometric designs we had done as part of ANG Main Line Chapter projects to make the attempt.

Because the square frame has an inner portion of thin royal blue and gold strips, then a wider blue strip, and lastly a gold strip, I wanted to create that same ‘frame within a frame’ effect in the design area and keep the piece symmetrical. I found enough triangular-shaped stitch patterns that squared up nicely and didn’t require much compensation. Although I had to stitch no larger than the opening for the frame, I didn’t plan everything out in advance. For example, the Triangular Ray band, had a diagonal gap that filled in nicely by the Pearl stitch, with its small triangle portions, and really added to the effect of depth. The Raised Lattice Band for the outermost band could be as wide as needed. It all seemed to fit into place as I progressed.

I couldn’t think of anything other than, ‘Trianguality’, for a name but I knew it wasn’t good. So, I solicited input from the wonderful women who help take care of my mother. And, I just fell in love with Kathy’s suggestion, “Points of Tranquility”. Thanks again Kathy!

When I showed off my finished piece at our end-of-year dinner and my fellow Chapter members asked “Who’s design is that!?!”, I was thrilled. Then, I was flattered when they actually wanted to stitch it as a project. From my scribbled notes, I wrote my first stitch guide using just Adobe Acrobat. And, to make sure I was writing everything down, I stitched a second one in another color family. Then, when we stitched it in the fall, I did another in a third color. So, I distinguish each “Points of Tranquility” by adding “in the Sky” for the blue piece, “on the Earth” for the brown piece, and “in the Sea” for the aqua green piece.

Thanks for the frame Dottie & for many tranquil visits to your Pocono home!

“Points of Tranquility” scored the lowest (73% of total and 19% lower than the top score in the category). But, this was my first attempt at a geometric design and not surprised that they had issues. The comments get quite technical but key issues were around values chosen and confusion about the focal point. I’m still struggling with seeing different focal points in each piece. Apparently, in the blue, there are 2 focal points – one within the navy/metallic area and the other the true center; in the brown, it is the area enclosed with the brown metallic; in the green, it is the true center. I’ll keep studying them! One of the elements I liked the best was the outer border. I just love how it was described, “Your wrapped stitches for the outer borders are an effective and inspired selection. It is effective, provides a variation in texture and loft to the pieces and lends itself to the utilization of subtlety while still providing weight for balance of the piece.” I said it before and I’ll say it again, I really appreciate the thoughtful and thoroughness of each critique. 

Sun Flower, framed

“Sun Flower” was entered in the 2010 ANG Seminar in the Painted Design with Stitch Guide category. For this piece, the judges noted that the twist of the thread was lost in some sections, a comment I got for certain areas on several pieces & something I’ll have to work on. And, the French knots were too big in one of the lower petals, making it a focal point. Looking at the overall % of total points allowed in this category, it scored only slightly lower than “Madam Carina” and got nice comments such as “fun to look at” and  “an outstanding piece of needlepoint”. My artist’s statement follows:

I selected this painted canvas at Fireside Stitchery in Frazer, PA for a David McCaskill workshop. The piece is actually called ‘Daisy’ and is designed by Paula Manning for Dream House Ventures, Inc. But, I thought it was a sun until David said it was a flower! Thus, it is named “Sun Flower”. David picked the threads and created mostly free-style stitch patterns for the piece.

The dark green area used Wild Hairs couched with Anchor floss. The light green area used DMC #5 Cotton Perle and Kreinik Very Fine #4 braid for the sparkle.

The petals in the forefront are a brighter combination of Neon Rays + and Trebizond while the receding petals are muted by using Grandeur Silk Pearl and a subtly overdyed Watercolours.

Once I got into a rhythm of the skip tent stitch, the green area surrounding the petals filled in quickly. David recommended using that stitch to cover the holes from the back.

The abstract area used 3 Wildflowers with DMC Cotton Perle #5 couched on with matching DMC floss. The Wildflowers, rather than the Watercolours, is thin enough to allow the canvas to show through. Because I matched portions of the overdyed thread to the canvas as much as possible, I found this area of the piece particularly challenging.

And, I want to thank Dan at Framer’s Workshop in Philadelphia for always steering me to just the right frame! However, the judges thought the luster of the gold frame was a little bright for the mostly matte needlework. I’m going to have to politely disagree – I love the frame! And, I totally agree with the parting comment in the critique, “I know that you will enjoy this piece for many years.” I certainly will.

Madam Carina
October 14, 2010, 7:16 am
Filed under: Madam Carina

Madam Carina was entered in the 2010 ANG Seminar. I was really pleased that she scored just 1 point lower than “Beautiful Ohio” in each area: design, color, workmanship/technique, suitability, and finishing. They were both adaptations but Madam Carina used a variety of stitches. My artist’s statement follows:

This mysterious woman appeared at my hair salon as a stained glass piece (original designer unknown). As I continued to be intrigued by her at my appointments, I decided she’d look striking in needlepoint. So, I took a photo and looked through my collection of pins for one to adorn her hat. But, as soon as I saw the pearl and gold pin, I knew it was ideal for her earring. I’d been designing needlepoint to showcase jewelry, mainly pins (which I call “Pinsations” and is designed so that the pin can be removed and worn).

I enlarged the photo using a xerox/printer until I determined a size appropriate for the pin to work as an earring. Then, I drew the design on the canvas and selected stitches as I progressed. I started with the jacket and chose stitches based on the angle of the particular piece of her jacket. For the collar of the jacket I decided to use the darkest portions of the overdyed thread to help bring that area out and I did some free-style weaving with threads that added some sparkle. Once I decided to couch the outline of the jacket and face, she came to life. If the pin were removed and worn, there is an Octagonal Rhodes stitched underneath the pin which serves to attach the pin and look like an earring.

Naming “MadamCarina” became the hardest part. I finally chose Madam because she is mysterious and Carina, a Danish short form of Catherine which is my sister-in-law’s name and the original owner of the pin!

The parts of the coat include: interlocking gobelin (5×1 and 2×2) & diagonal cashmere. The collar is padded alternating continental & free-style weaving with Accentuate (275) to match Watercolours (090 Ruby). The outline of the coat is couched Petite Very Velvet. The face & lips are tent stitch. The hat is Alicia’s Lace Variation with the outline using threaded back. The earring (under the pin) is octagonal rhodes & the hair is turkey. The background is the palace pattern.

Stitches came from The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen, Stitch Sampler by Lucinda Ganderton, and Stitches for Effect by S. Howren & B Robertson.

Beautiful Ohio
October 10, 2010, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Melita's Adaptations, Ohio Star

Beautiful Ohio was entered in the 2010 ANG Seminar, my first time submitting any needlepoint to be judged. I was thrilled it took a Second Place ribbon in the Adaptation non-professional category & shocked when it won the Princess Grace Award.

It was the only piece I didn’t ask to be critiqued (I submitted 3 others that I’ll blog about in the days to follow). Apparently, being on 18 count & use of a special technique described by David McCaskill during a class (and explained below in my artist’s statement) made the difference. Considering the state motto of Ohio (“With God, All Things Are Possible”) and not believing I had much of a chance to win a national award, the outcome seems quite ironic.

My Artist’s Statement (required for this category) follows:

I had recently become reacquainted and enjoyed using the tent stitch on a small piece. So, when I saw that one of the competition categories was for the Princess Grace Award using only the tent stitch I decided to design something to pay tribute to our host city, Columbus, Ohio.

I googled Ohio, read many interesting facts, and learned why the cover of ANG Seminar 2010 magazine depicts a cardinal for the state bird, a lady bug for the state insect (who even knew states select bugs!), a scarlet carnation for the state flower, a buckeye for the state tree, and the nearby Scioto River. Before I knew it, I located a variation of the Ohio Star Quilt Block pattern by Janet Wickell (

Then, the design came easy enough when I considered the Ohio flag. I started the center with the red circle within a white circle (although nobody is certain if the white “O” stands for Ohio) and surrounded it with blue like the flag. And, the eight-pointed star stood out nicely using red surrounded by the white like the stripes in the flag. Normally, the four corners of the Ohio Star Quilt Block are all plain but I like the variation. So, I used a red, white, and blue overdyed thread (Wildflowers) placed within Flair (a tubular ribbon) for the half triangles which was a technique described by David McCaskill during a tips and tricks class.

As I write this in July, I am looking forward to enjoying some tomato juice (the state beverage) especially in the form of a Bloody Mary in October in the Buckeye State (the state nickname). Perhaps, I’ll be sitting on the banks of a river (‘Ohio’ is derived from the Iroquois Indian word meaning ‘good river’ or ‘large river’) listening to ‘Beautiful Ohio’ (the state song).

I don’t know if “Beautiful Ohio” will win an award or not but “With God, All Things Are Possible” (the state motto).


ANG Seminar 2010 Trip Report
October 10, 2010, 7:17 pm
Filed under: General comments

I’m back from Columbus Ohio, all unpacked, & ready to blog!! The seminar was a great experience. I can tell it takes a lot of effort in advance & during but it is well worth it! While I’m used to writing trip reports for work & writing in my travel journal, I know you don’t want to know what happened every day but I have to share my first impressions of Seminar. 
Unfortunately, my husband, Bill & I arrived late on Saturday so I missed the first-timers get together. All we saw at the bar that night was all the hairdressers sporting some wild outfits & hairstyles for their 3 day affair. But, I got up early to volunteer at the hospitality desk. I enjoyed that & can honestly say that anyone should consider spending at least a shift there. It is easy & fun. Luckily, Barbara Richardson was working there too & informed my husband about the Jack Nicklaus museum in the area because the weather was a little iffy for the first few days of the week when he was planning on golfing. 
I shopped briefly at the bookstore which must be more difficult to work at than the hospitality desk because I got charged $5,124.00 for 2 June McKnight booklets! Thank goodness for the void key. Then, since Sunday was our 23rd wedding anniversary, we wandered the North Market & had a wonderful scone for breakfast, went to a used bookstore, & a few antique stores in Columbus for a few hours (& to get my husband oriented to the area).
The exhibit area opened Sunday at noon & I hadn’t known that the ribbons would be awarded that soon. So, when my husband & I wandered in later that day, we found that Beautiful Ohio (on my blog) had received a Second Place ribbon in the Adaptation non-professional category – boy were we pleasantly surprised! This is the first time I submitted any needlepoint to be judged. I submitted 3 other pieces that I’ll blog about in the days to follow but they didn’t win anything. I did get very thoughtful, useful feedback on those pieces from the judge’s critiques (which I was given on the last day). Well, it wasn’t long until the Welcome Banquet. We sat with some folks from various parts of the country & enjoyed chatting with them. Even though Beautiful
Ohio qualified for the Princess Grace Award, since it was a second place winner, I was shocked when it won the Princess Grace Award. What a wonderful surprise!

We topped off the evening by meeting & having a drink with Josie, a fellow stitcher, her husband & my husband’s golf partner for the trip, Tony. What a nice couple! And, thanks again to you both.

Over the whole rest of the week, it was so nice to put names with so many faces of stitchers & teachers. And, in halls & elevators, I heard “Oh, you’re the Melita who blogs all the time.” more often than I expected! I’m glad you enjoy it as much as I have been. So, thanks for telling me – I really appreciated it. 

Pat Rusch was gracious to take over in Lois Kershner’s absence for our Landscape class. I learned several things regarding perspective & implied lines which made driving home more distracting than usual – as I do most of the driving & was looking as much at the terrain as the road!!  I created a stitch guide, selected threads, stitched some, & look forward to reading the booklet in more detail now that I’m home. I’ll finish Santacicle first though so that I can get it to the finisher in time for Christmas.

Calendar for October
October 1, 2010, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Calendar, Melita's Adaptations

For October, I kept the pumpkins but used an encroaching gobelin stitch & a simple stem stitch. I used a light & dark combination of threads to help create the shading.