Melitastitches4fun's Blog


2021 Year in Review, A Last Finish, and Multiple Preview Alerts
January 1, 2022, 12:33 pm
Filed under: General comments

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, coronavirus variants are still causing havoc and I must comment. The saying “History repeats itself” is so true. The 1918 influenza epidemic (which began in January) had 4 waves of infection and finally became less deadly causing ordinary seasonal flu (which can still cause severe illness and death). Luckily, thanks to the vaccines including booster doses, it’s not causing as much severe illness and my husband and I are back to some traveling (by car not planes), dining in restaurants, and meeting others in person. We love it that proof of vaccination has been and is being required in various venues and starting Monday in Philadelphia restaurants. Since we are in the fifth wave, more than likely due to vaccine hesitancy among too many people, this virus will continue to circulate through at least 2022 and probably beyond. We will learn to live with it as we do the flu. Luckily, again thanks to therapeutics being developed, illness caused by the virus will likely reduce the chance of progressing to severe disease. The government and the pharmaceutical industry have really stepped up to the difficult tasks of developing a vaccine and recently an effective treatment. Was everything perfect – no – but so many individuals only need to get the vaccine and wear a mask – how simple for the individual.

In 2021, I posted 74 times which is the exact same number as posted in 2020. The only other years that I posted the same number, 70, was in 2015 and 2018. The fewest at 54 was in 2017 during my first year of retirement and the most at 85 was 2019 with little else to do due to the onslaught of coronavirus. My blog saw a few more visitors than last year, a little over 7,200 visitors, and still from all over the world. Thanks again to everyone who visits especially those who comment, send a comment via email, or tell me in person that they enjoy reading my blog.

Connecting with people is one of the things about needlepoint that makes it wonderful. I did that this year not only through my blog, but I joined New Jersey Needle Fest after missing it in 2019 because I was on a stitching cruise and due to coronavirus cancellation in 2020. It was a wonderful day. And, I am looking forward to the expanded 2-day format in May 2022.

I also attended my first EGA Seminar in Chicago and saw half of some familiar faces (we were masked) and met many new people. Preview alert: Gail Stafford encouraged us to go home from her EGA Seminar class, Overdyed Thread Notebook, and make a sampler which has resulted in two small samplers using overdyed threads which I hope to share in 2022. Two other EGA classes will be discussed in a minute.

Susan Hoekstra taught Teaching Needlework 101 virtually in 2020 which came in handy this year because I taught Overdyed Spools to a group of 31 EGA Mid-Atlantic Region members, half of whom will return to their chapters to teach it to their chapter members. It was a good experience and I would do it again. But, a lot of work goes into teaching just as a lot of work goes into “finishing” a piece. Stitching, designing, and diagramming are more fun than work – for me anyway! The ANG Seminar was online and on Zoom this year where Susan Hoekstra taught her class Interpreting Color Theory which used our painted canvases as a teaching tool and allowed me to finally finish a small seashell. There is a lot to learn about color! The other ANG class made the To Do list will be discussed at the end.

After our trip to Woodlawn in March which is always enjoyable, I also connected with Anita B who designed and stitched Women From the Dawn of Time – A Tapestry of Female Trailblazers Throughout History, my husband’s favorite piece this year. A note by Anita’s piece at Woodlawn mentioned that she was selling her design on a shirt and Bill filled out a paper requesting more information and she replied. We chatted via email and eventually I created the first pictorial draft of her booklet which she has since self-published. She sent me a final copy (actually twice because USPS is not what it used to be but I will not get started on that subject). In her booklet, she acknowledges my contribution and even Bill for introducing me to Anita and for being her first “customer” of her invincibles.threadless.com shop (we got a T-shirt, small bag for travel, and a shower curtain; Anita sent us 2 travel coffee mugs as a thank you for my efforts). Woodlawn does a great service by allowing that exchange of information with the exhibitors. And, for a second year, Woodlawn offers photos to be viewed online for a month. You can still view them through January 6, 2022. Purchase tickets at: https://tinyurl.com/VirtualNeedleworkShow

Since I am also learning Photoshop in addition to Adobe Illustrator to help Needle Pointers over the past year, I was able to help Anita. One thing leads to another. I’ve worked on diagrams for about 8 projects for Needle Pointers and started writing or modifying text (depending on what is provided) to accompany them. Preview alert for ANG: There are lots of articles and projects coming in 2022 but the one with 3 stitchers is particularly of interest to me. Can’t say more. Preview alert for EGA: My work on Needle Pointers prompted EGA to reach out for help with diagrams for a project that is being pilot stitched now.

In Jan/Feb 2021, Needle Pointers published A Tale of Two Stitchers (actually was Three Stitchers) featuring Vases with Curly Bamboo which I stitched with 2 other members, Beth and Linda, of the Main Line Stitchers as part of our painted canvases discussions. Instruction for Tahitian Treat appeared in the Mar/Apr issue and from June through August, Meg W posted her progress with Tahitian Treat on Needlepoint Nation creating quite a buzz! I heard some people joined ANG to obtain the instructions and that Karen at Nimble Needle in NJ had gotten several orders for the threads. Meg’s enthusiasm was wonderful. An errata sheet was issued to revise one diagram and adjust the number of skeins needed (https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.needlepoint.org/resource/resmgr/needlepointers/tahitian_treat_errata_2021_m.pdf). And, the Sept/Oct issue shared information and the link to the ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter online needlepoint exhibit which is still available to view at
https://mediaartscouncil.org/mac-gallery-guest-artist-mainline-stitchers/ Many thanks again to Stephanie and Media Arts Council (MAC) for their support. We shared much more than we could have in person. Preview alert: Watch for an in person needlepoint exhibit in 2022 featuring a local artist and hopefully a few of our pieces! MAC has a new location in Media right on State Street and I wish them all the best.

My first publication in Needlepoint Now, Prime Examples, appeared on the back cover of the Sept/Oct issue. That was exciting! Preview alert: Watch for an another design to be published in 2022!

I finished stitching 11 counted projects including Rainbow Ribbons by Kam Wenzloff with Colour Complements threads from Needlepoint Now; Star of Stitches by Kathy Rees from ANG’s 2020 Stitch of the Month which is going to Woodlawn in February for the month-long March exhibit; Flutterby, from the 2017 ANG Chapter Project Book by Kurdy Biggs, which is buzzing about My Mauve Pansy (not back from the finisher yet), a small Tree Ornament by Vicky Witterschein (taught via Zoom through the New Jersey Needle Artists). And, all four Gay Ann Rogers Downton Abbey pieces were finished: Lady Edith, Lady Mary, Cora, Countess of Grantham, and Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Preview alert: I’m about ready to start stitching my interpretation of Lady Sybil (the youngest sister) based on this photo. I’ve got the threads and am very pleased with the design which I’ve worked out on my computer.

The last 2 counted projects were completed with the same thread line called Beautiful Stitches from Ann-Marie Anderson-Mayes in Australia. They were Orchid Lady by Mary Knapp (a Cyberpointers project from 2021) and my final finish of 2021 which is Starburst by Patricia Hartman (from the 2013 Chapter Project Book and was a Main Line Project years ago).

Four years after I began JP’s Bird of Paradise & Bamboo at the 2017 ANG Seminar in the Embellishment class with Cynthia Thomas, it was finished! A 2022 goal is to finish the companion piece, Orange Orchid & Bamboo. The other painted canvas I finished was Swirling Leaves, a Dream House Ventures painted canvas, with a stitch guide by Janet Perry’s class begun even earlier in 2015!

These are neither counted projects nor painted projects exposing me to stumpwork with My Mauve Pansy, a 2021 EGA Seminar project designed by Allison Cole and taught by Kay Stanis; ribbon work with Annette’s Bouquet designed and taught by Deborah Mitek also at the 2021 EGA Seminar; and needle felting with Watering Can designed and taught by Vicky Witterschein through a Zoom class with New Jersey Needle Artists. All were enjoyable projects but I still prefer counted projects.

My ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter is stitching various colorways of my design, A Spring Sampler. Linda and I found it challenging and fun to help people pick threads. Based on our experience, I added more tips to selecting threads for a Zoom presentation to EGA’s Philadelphia Area Chapter in advance of them selecting threads and stitching it in February/March 2022. I enjoyed the opportunity to join two EGA members on a Rittenhouse Run to select threads and we may do another run in January with more members.

I passed Step 4 for the bargello design of the EGA Master Craftsman with distinction and it was on display along with my Steps 1, 2, and 3 at the EGA National Seminar in 2021. Other people from the various Master Craftsman programs were displaying theirs too. It was an amazing collection of interesting pieces. I wrote up the instructions for Bargello Bowls from Step 3 and two members of the ANG New Jersey Needle Artists will be stitching that in 2022.

I did not send Step 5 in for review in October. It is demonstrating the technique of applique and I needed extra time after discovering that the applique must be a smaller count ground than the main design. That tops my To Do list along with Lady Sybil and Orange Orchid & Bamboo. Joining that list is a couple of new projects not started yet including Secret Window by Kurdy Biggs (from this year’s ANG virtual Seminar) and Razzle Dazzle by Ann Strite-Kutz which was a gift from Linda from the ANG New Jersey Needle Artist chapter.

That covers everything except to send you best wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year!


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow, you have been, and are, very busy! Love all your blog posts. Looking forward to your interpretation of Lady Sybil’s costume.

Comment by brendasneedlepointstudioblog

Yep, busy, busy, busy! Thanks as always for your interest. I am going to check out your year end review today.

Comment by melitastitches4fun




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