Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Colorful Forest in Williamsburg, VA

Buff and I won a free registration for Christmas in Williamsburg event sponsored by Needleworkers Delight at 2021 and 2022 New Jersey Needle Fest events, respectively! Buff had deferred hers and now we’re here together.

We drove in rain throughout the morning but it broke around Washington DC. A break for lunch and we are checked in at Kingsmill Resort. Quite a lovely place. Our registration package included a piece of Anne Cloth Fabric with instructions to make 8 cute holiday designs. However, I can use the cloth on my dining room table underneath the centerpiece poinsettia!

During the Stitch-in, I will be working on Colorful Forest (SS050) by Stitch Style Needlepoint. The stitch guide is by Jinny Barney McAuliffe. I picked it up at Greystone Needlepoint earlier this year. It’s a perfect project for a holiday Stitch-in! I kitted it from my stash.

Talk about serendipity. And the instructions and threads fit perfectly in my lovely project bag that Linda made!

I may switch out Trio in favor of Pepper Pot Silk Cream 003 because it is whiter and providing better coverage. I threw that in at the last minute. But, between the lecture on appraising needlepoint, silver classes, and shopping at the boutique, will I get to the white background before I leave on Sunday? What are silver classes? Stay tuned!



Ginko Leaves Stitched and Finished

The Lee canvas (design size 8.5″ x 3.75), BR67, Ginko Leaves, was easy and fun to stitch. The Gloriana Duchess Silk threads I got from Busy Lizzy were great to work with – so soft. I mixed in some sparkly threads on the edges of the leaves and in the patterns of four leaves.

Patterns are from a variety of sources including Desert Island Vol 1 and 2 by Carole Lake and Michael Boren, Lone Star’s Grab-n-Go Stitches, Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts, and The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen.

Patterns in the top row from left to right are from: Desert Island, Vol 1, pg 29; The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #1; Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches, Carl; and Lone Star, pg 50.

Patterns in the bottom row from left to right are from: Lone Star, pg 37; Lone Star, pg 53; Desert Sand, Vol 2, pg 30; and The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #2.

Basketweave with Pepper Pot Silk, Cream filled in the background.

I found a Vera Bradley bag online that has a lovely interior fabric and good pockets.

The front of the bag had a large enough area to apply the canvas. I cut out the design leaving 9 canvas threads on each edge (1/2″). I cut a piece of ultrasuede allowing a 1″ border on each side. Then I cut the window out to fit the design exactly. The piece of vinyl is about 4 canvas threads larger than the design area and rests on top of the design without being attached in any way. A little Aileens fabric glue attached the ultrasuede to the outer edge of the canvas not covered by the vinyl (waited 2 hours), more glue to attach the ultrasuede to the bag (waited 2 hours), and glue again to place the black trim on the outer edge. Thanks to Jacqui C for the trim suggestion – it really makes a difference although from a distance you probably can’t see black on black. But up close you can. Also thanks to Jacqui for telling me there is such a thing as fabric glue! I was going to use E6000. This was so much easier and faster than ornament finishing!

For those of you super observant people who noticed a piece of wood sticking out from underneath the bag (bottom right corner of photo), the bag came with straps on the bottom. They said it was for a yoga mat but it holds my Elan lap stand! I wouldn’t “travel” with it there but for going back and forth to class this bag will hold the stand, my charger, light, travel supply bag, bottle of water, and perhaps a small project bag.



Finally Finished Orchid and Bamboo
November 24, 2022, 10:29 am
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2017, Orange Orchid & Bamboo

When last I posted, I was stalled on JP’s Orchid and Bamboo canvas. That’s an understatement. I was up against 2 brick walls. Nothing was working for the orange or green areas of the Orchid.

The Silk Lamé Braid for 13 count was way too heavy so I switched threads to a reddish orange, orange, and light orange Impressions using a packed stem stitch. It follows the colors of the canvas nicely. I did skip adding the little green spots that were painted on two of the petals. It took quite some time to finish all 5 petals and got kind of boring packing stem stitches in such a large area but I am very happy.

The center green areas of the orchid really appealed to me. Silk was too flat compared to the surrounding orange petals. I couldn’t get shading with Neon Rays although the padding which Cynthia Thomas had suggested would have been good. Otherwise, I really liked her stitch guide. An overdyed thread had been suggested (thanks Patrick) but then I couldn’t find a stitch to create the shading. Eventually, I opened up Judith Baker Montano’s Elegant Stitches right to the Flat Stitch which is “wonderful for filling in leaves and petals”. It was meant to be. I decided to cut up Watercolours (211 Cucumber) into dark and light shades and alternate them from side to side. For a very little padding, I added a perpendicular stitch on the dark side first. The Flat stitch solved my problem.

I filled the center with beads and was done! What a relief to be done.

Hopefully, with Linda’s help, I will find fabric for the finisher and enough to make both pillows. She knows fabric and the area fabric stores.

At least for a day or two, they (the companion piece is Bird of Paradise with Bamboo) will sit on the living room couch like this! I want to enjoy these now. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!



ANG Central Jersey Chapter (CJC) Visit for Saturday Meeting

Since the CJC-sponsored Autumn 3-Ways class with Toni Gerdes was cancelled due to Toni’s plane cancellation last month, I visited the chapter at their November meeting to pick up the kit. Since class had already been postponed a year due to covid, it will be on 2 or 3 Zoom sessions for questions. Toni’s directions are good and we’ll be getting lecture notes too. It would have been nice to have a 2-day in person class but this will work out fine.

Toni’s kit has a line drawn canvas, 2 needle felting needles, foam, felt, lovely fall colored threads, teeny tiny beads (Delica Suze 15). I don’t recall ever using Sparkle! Braid or Soy Luster and know I haven’t used Painters Threads. I love trying out new threads. Oh boy, Fusible Web is included! I hope my iron survives this. We had over a dozen different fabrics to choose from. All were lovely but I selected the original used in Toni’s design. Considering this design has been out at least since 2014 (copyright date), it’s amazing that she still has swatches of the original fabric. I love the needleminder she included which is the same as the design! So cool.

The chapter will be stitching Festive Fireworks from the July 2017 issue of Needle Pointers magazine (https://melitastitches4fun.com/?s=Festive&submit=Search) in June/July 2023. So, I took my framed piece to show them. At least one person discussed changing the colors to a Mardi Gras theme. Sounds intriguing.

I also took the 5 colorways of Crescent Journey, the 2023 ANG Stitch of the Month. The materials list and guidance for selecting threads will have to wait until January (probably the 3rd due to the holiday). They and I will be visiting ANG PA’s Keystone Garden in December and NJNA in January. Thanks so much to Linda, Lisa, and Kristen for allowing me to hold onto their stitched pieces for a local tour! They were a big hit and I discussed the lessons learned about looking at values as much as colors. The Neutral seemed to be the most popular. Beach at Night got alot of discussion because it looks so lacy but stitching on black was a concern.

While many of the CJC members worked on their month’s project, I basketweaved the background of Ginko Leaves, a Lee canvas. I will probably stitch on this again at my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in on Saturday.



Penn State Coaster
November 18, 2022, 4:55 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media, Penn State Coaster

Last month (October) at the Needlework and Textile Guild of Media, Sally (also in ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter) did a demo of designing and sizing images for a needlepoint belt. It was really engaging and very informative.  We learned how to choose and adjust images for different sized projects.  Sally’s excellent handout gives step-by-step instructions for calculating image size and placement.  On reflection, we realize that this approach will work for translating images into many types of projects, such as knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, and more.  Way to go, Sally!

Our take home project based on Sally’s demo was creating our own image on a square of plastic canvas. Since the canvas was 7 count, I didn’t want a complicated design. I had this Penn State cookie (more as a decoration) sitting on a shelf. So, I held it under the canvas and used a blue marker to outline the mountain lion.

It probably could have handled 3 strands because the holes are so large but I used 2 strands and had just enough Silk & Ivory, color 01 natural and color 10 classic navy. It is done in basketweave except for the white ear and blue mouth (straight stitches). It wasn’t hard and definitely looks like the model.

Step 1 is find your design. Shrink or enlarge on a copier to fit your space. I didn’t have to do anything to the size.

Outline the image (don’t use Copic markers on plastic canvas unless you want blue fingers). Rough as it was, Bill knew instantly that this was his alma mater’s Nittany Lion.

Stitch the design. Keep looking at the original since this was not “stitch painted” and adjust as needed.



ANG Stitch of the Month 2008, Circles by Lois Kershner
November 16, 2022, 5:07 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, ANG Stitch of the Month, 2008

Last month, my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter has started Circles by Lois Kershner, the ANG 2008 Stitch of the Month.

We are not going in the order Lois did so we have the background to stitch over the long winter months. I am very happy that Lisa, a chapter member, agreed to lead the project. I’ve wanted to do this for awhile. This month we stitched the Smyrna Cross Eyelet Combination that sits inside the Circular Buttonhole. I did use the dark Copic marker underneath but since I didn’t want the canvas to show through, I used Lois’ suggestion to place spokes in a circle first and then the buttonhole stitches. The spokes really helped me keep the buttonhole stitches even going around in a circle. If I were to do it again, I might use a thinner thread for the spokes to allow more of the blue to show through. Petite Frosty Rays provided almost full coverage.

Couched thread appears around that motif. My inclination would have been to stagger the couching threads but Lois suggested letting them radiate in a straight line and I tried it. Lisa staggered with matching thread and that looked good too. I find couching is challenging on a soft thread like DMC #5 Pearl because you want the thread to stay in place but without any indentation  in that thread caused by the couching thread.

Besides not liking the couching line on the second upper right spoke, I don’t like the texture or color of the pearl cotton next to the Petite Frosty Rays or the silks. So, I went to my stash. I found 4 possibilities including Alabaster, Gold Rush 14 Variegated, Petite Very Velvet, and ThreadworX. I previewed them and selected ThreadworX. It’s cotton and rayon and has a visible twist like Pearl cotton. Petite Very Velvet was my second choice because I like the texture but it’s not as bright a white as ThreadworX.

This time I used a pencil to make the spokes so I got them where I want them. Freestyle stitching is not easy! Much happier now.



Fiber on a Whim at Expressions in NeedleArt

Last Saturday I went to Expressions in Needle Art in Canandaigua, NY. Lori has a wonderful collection of threads and yarns for stitchers and knitters. Lots of counted instructions and painted canvases.

First, I got talking with the 5 ladies from Endicott/Endwell, NY who had arrived almost the same time as I did. They were with the EGA B.C. Stitchers chapter. And, they will be stitching my Overdyed Spools in January! That was fun to find out. We exchanged information and I look forward to hearing from them next year.

Then, we got to exploring the store. I found an overdyed cotton thread by Fiber on a Whim. Pretty but I did resist them.

I don’t consider the 2 booklets that I picked up as “Books in My Library” because they are more project oriented. That is especially true for Vienna Hearts by Sue Lentz Needlework (1998/1999). I have a piece of interconnected hearts that I need to redo and write up. These are much larger than mine and I liked the patterns Sue choose.

The other booklet, That’s Not Needlepoint (It’s Inspired Art Created with Your Needle) is by dede Ogden (2011) which are now represented by Fleur de Paris, Inc. It’s not intended to be complete charts or diagrams to finish various painted canvases but to offer suggestions for types of elements found in seascapes. The first canvas discussed is Seahorse Spyglass 18073 and is still available (and so is a stitch guide by Tony Minieri). Other canvases discussed are still available from a variety of sources including Undersea Fish 1373, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Green Fish 18015, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Blue Fish 18034, Undersea Garden 1378, Seahorse Pillow 18056, and Enchanted Mermaid Dream 18050. The Casalgudi stitch is a new one and quite interesting. I’ve read the section several times in the past week to understand it. The center of the Orchid (which I have been putting off because I haven’t found the right stitch) may be why this stitch is calling to me. I’ll give it a try. The Railway Stitch makes a good background stitch. Sue has an interesting Bead Cup Stitch and shows how to expand an overlapping cross stitch to fit fluctuations in the width of seaweed.

The store walls had a bunch of stitched samples. I spotted the Textured Treasures design, From Dusk to Dawn, that we are stitching at ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter. I’m doing a group of three too but it will be a different three designs and in a different colorway than displayed.

In fact, that was the piece I had taken on the road to stitch. The outer boders of straight Gobelin stitches were easy.



Painted Magnolia Leaves
November 2, 2022, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Magnolia Leaves, Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

I showed my leaf from Catherine Jordan’s class, Nature’s Palette, to members of my Fiber Guild last month and this month they are going to try it.

After I got the correct acrylic paint (do not use acrylic textile paint on anything other than fabric), I painted Magnolia leaves for members of the Needlework and Fiber Guild of Media. Much better.

I am not handing out Catherine’s instructions because they are not an EGA chapter and they don’t need to make it reversible. I am giving them verbal instructions, a pattern I worked up, a pin, needle, gold thread, and a painted leaf.

I’m quite happy with how the leaves turned out! My husband’s favorite is the large one on the top center row.

We meet at the Media Arts Council on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. So, this month we meet on election night, November 8. Be sure to vote first and join us for something fun. If you use any kind of fiber, then you will find this an interesting mix of artists sharing, learning, and inspiring each other.