Melitastitches4fun's Blog


What’s the Point and Magifest!
January 27, 2023, 11:07 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needlepoint Shops, What's the Point

Top billing should be Magifest but this is a needlepoint blog! We drove out Tuesday to avoid snow/rain on Wednesday and break up the 7.5 hour drive to Columbus, OH into 2 legs to be sure we wouldn’t miss any of Bill’s 3-day magic convention (which I attend too-I am his assistant and a mentalist-no not a mental case). What with stops to stretch legs and lunch, we took 9 hours. Wednesday morning  looked like it was going to get bad but I think we drove out of it.

We stayed near enough to the hotel where we’d stayed in 2010 for my first ANG Seminar (Bill was with me then too) that we knew to go to the North Market. Great spot.

These Magicians are night owls! Thursday’s events started at 5:00 pm and ended at 11 pm. That gave us time during the day so we could shop a little. And, I dropped Bill at Half Price Books and I went to What’s the Point and joined 6 ladies for a Stitch-in for about 2 hours! Karen was advising them on painted canvases. Some had less experience than others and Karen watched over them all. Very nice store. I picked up a notions bag and a small clear bag maybe to hold some magic that we’ll be getting at the dealer tables. I enjoyed dropping in and chatting with them.

Except for the hours, this is quite a bit like a needlepoint seminar. There are tables set up to sit and share their passion between lectures. People congregate in the bar and lobby. This event has been going on for years! Lots of first timers and they support the youth with special events. There must be over 750 people here. Two performers said 1,000 but I think that’s an exaggeration.



ANG Stitch of the Month 2008, Circles by Lois Kershner – Spiders
January 18, 2023, 12:11 am
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, ANG Stitch of the Month, 2008

My ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter is stitching Circles by Lois Kershner, the ANG 2008 Stitch of the Month.

We tackled Spider stitches in November (I forgot to post). The Ribbed Spider was first up. I’ve done Spider stitches before so I was surprised to see that Lois recommended making the spokes go from one side of the circle’s perimeter to the opposite side. Instead of crossing side to side I went into the center hole. I believe the spokes will stay straighter. And, other sources show the spokes going into the center hole.

The overview shows the N, E, S, and W spokes each going over 10 canvas threads and the 4 diagonal spokes over 7 canvas threads. Perfect location to get the same number of wraps on all spokes. When I got to the end of the spokes and didn’t think another wrap would fit, I added one last wrap.

Lois showed a multicolored Spider and Lisa stitched both hers that way. I had never tried switching threads mid-spider. So, I had to try it. It would be quite dramatic to see the colors radiate outward. A bit tedious to switch threads too often the way I imagine radiating and my blues won’t work because they are too close or too far apart in color difference. But I did use light blue in the center, a medium, medium-dark, and back to light to try switching. I love how wrapping these differently makes them so different. Very happy with both.



Learn to Weave Class
January 15, 2023, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Learn to Weave with Daryl Lancaster, Weaving on a Loom

Daryl Lancaster, her daughter, and the Jockey Hollow Weavers Guild sponsored a Learn to Weave class Saturday in Mendham, NJ. Thanks to Dee L who kept me posted about this beginner class and to her and other guild members who floated around helping the students throughout the day.

There were 15 students and we were each working on a 4 huddle shaft loom. Daryl has collected 30 of them! Learning terms started at 9:30 am and several set up steps took us into the afternoon with a lunch break.

We passed the yarn through the Reed one at a time. That’s 90 strands!

You turn the machine around. . .

Then, you feed each strand though the eye on a Heddle, a metal wire that reaches top to bottom on each of the 4 shafts/ harness/ frames. This holds the warp threads. Each shaft (1-4) moves up and down using levers which shift the threads allowing the weft/horizontal threads to interlace with the warp threads in different patterns.

The ends got tied to the front and back beams to create tension – this is when I forget to get photos until I was done! It was around 2:30 pm with 2 hours left, when we got to the fun part and started weaving!

We wove (from top to bottom): Plain weave (1+3 2+4), 2/2 Twill (1+2 2+3 3+4 4+1), 2/2 Reversed Twill (4+1 3+4 2+3 1+2), Lightening Twill (1+2 2+3 3+4 4+1 3+4 2+3 1+2 4+1), 1/3 Twill (1 2 3 4), 3/1 Twill (2+3+4 3+4+1 4+1+2 1+2+3), Rib Weave (Color A: 1 Color B: 2+3+4), Basketweave (1+2 two times 3+4 two times), Color and Weave (same color as your warp Color A: 1+3 2+4 Color B: 1+3 2+4).

As you can see, it is a very mathematically inclined craft which is appealing to me and I would try another class but I don’t see buying a loom in my future. The teacher’s work is incredibly beautiful. Check Daryl’s work out at weaversew (.com, /wordblog, and on YouTube).

The set up involved 3 warp patterns shown in vertical columns and we created 8 weft patterns resulting in the final sample:

My neighbor, Alisa, made much more even width of the various patterns and had better tension throughout and gave me permission to post hers (her last two patterns are in reversed order from mine).

Fray check can be applied to the top and bottom ends or tassels tied off as desired.

I can’t thank Sue C enough for dinners and letting me arrive Friday night and stay over Saturday night. That was a long class day sitting in an unnatural position to work (chairs should adjust to height of the loom). My back felt it and I was too tired to drive 1 hour 45 minutes home. We enjoyed chatting, mysteries and stitching both evenings!



A Day at Edwardian Needle and the New Jersey Needle Artists Holiday Luncheon
January 12, 2023, 5:44 pm
Filed under: ANG New Jersey Needle Artists Chapter

The day spent at The Edwardian Needle was busy – helping people pick threads or substitute threads for Crescent Journey. A couple more people joined the group planning to stitch it in 2023 (ANG Stitch of the Month). The store was full of folks who came to sit and stitch. Very nice time.

From there I joined Sue C who was so gracious to offer her guest room to me and made a great dinner. Always enjoy Sue and Rosie’s company!

The following day, we (almost 30 members) attended and had a lovely luncheon at The Grain House in Bernards, NJ. The Board gave all members a thank you gift. Yes, that is a Trish Vine bag with a specially made tag for NJNA, cute embellishments from Sundance, and coordinating DMC floss. Very nice. I talked about Crescent Journey and showed all 5 colorways. I think a few more are interested now too!



Silver Accessories Arrived
January 5, 2023, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Michelle Arsenault shipped my silver pieces and they arrived today except for Bill’s ring. This is my ring with the cubic zirconia and was made by Michelle. I selected the molds and made 3 needle minders (hold needles on canvas near stitching) in the first class and the 2 pairs of earrings in the second class at Christmas in Williamsburg. I could have made rings in her third class but I was happy to leave rings to the professional. Mine turned out great. Very strong magnets.



2022 Year in Review, A Last Finish, and a Look Ahead
January 1, 2023, 1:12 pm
Filed under: General comments

It’s been a busier than usual year with about 30 needlepoint stitched and/or finally finished pieces and several explorations into various fiber arts discussed in 93 posts with a little over 8,500 visitors having stopped by my blog. Thanks again for taking time to check in and especially to those who commented. I appreciate it. Connecting with others is my goal and I have done that through this blog but also by getting back full swing to in person events.

A few of the ANG New Jersey Needle Artists (NJNA) members who are too far apart to meet in person started meeting on Zoom once a month to stitch on Kurdy Biggs projects. Several members finished their pieces and I am far from done with Secret Window but we really enjoyed our sessions. By having my monthly Stitch-in with members of ANG Main Line Stitchers (MLS), I finally finished Orchid and Bamboo (JP canvas). The church where we meet is working out well – great lighting and we can spread out. A few new members joined and it was a great opportunity to get to know them better.

The NJ Needle Fest was a fun 2-day event this year with stitching, shopping, and rooming with Buff. Our table was full with 8 MLS members. I was a big winner each day getting the certificates for registration to the Summer Getaway in Radnor (near Philly) which I will go to in 2023 and Christmas in Williamsburg which I went to in December 2022 with Buff who had won it last year (more about that later).

One of our MLS members, Stephanie [who is also the Board President of the Media Arts Council (MAC) in Media PA] along with Judy of MAC, started the Needlework and Textile Guild of Media. It is drawing in a dozen or more fiber artists with a wide range of interests each month (second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm). We’ve had demos and hands on take home challenges for English paper piecing, stitching on paper/magnolia leaves, tracing designs onto canvas, visible mending, I cord, and more. Very enjoyable and inspiring. The members really enjoyed stitching on a magnolia leaf which I had learned at EGA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional meeting from Catherine Jordan in her Nature’s Palette class. I joined EGA’s Friends of Fiber Forum earlier this month and will see what that brings across my path. I do love learning new things.

Speaking of MAC, our in person exhibit of Orna Willis pieces in July was a big hit – we had a nice turn out for the opening and we mingled and had a lovely evening. Our chapter contributed 13 pieces to the exhibit – all Orna’s designs of course. Wearing her earrings that I stitched always starts a conversation!

The ANG 50th Anniversary Seminar was certainly memorable for many reasons. My classes with Jennifer Riefenberg (on photographing needlepoint, Kathy Rees and Dawn Donnelly were great and I finished both Mesa Triangle and Blue Hills within a month of returning home. I enjoyed meeting Carolyn and her husband Bill at the banquet, have stayed in touch, and wrote an article about her adaptation, My Neighbor’s Backyard, which is coming out in Needle Pointers Jan/Feb 2023. The President’s Award for A Spring Sampler was a big surprise (watch for more exciting news about this piece in 2023). And, Crescent Journey was announced as the ANG 2023 Stitch of the Month! The Beach colorway I stitched won a 2nd Place Ribbon at Woodlawn this year.

One of the intriguing features of Crescent Journey is that the different colorways look so different. On the top left is my water color design I started from and below it is the Bright colorway which is the original stitched piece (I should have used a lighter blue around the crescents like I had painted). The alternate colorways are Linda’s Neutral colorway (center top), Lisa’s Lavender colorway (top right), my Beach colorway (center bottom), and Kristen’s Beach at Night stitched on black canvas (bottom right). So much credit goes to Linda, Lisa, and Kristen from MLS who stitched such stunning alternate colorways and lent me their pieces for about 9 months so far! You must be an ANG member (needlepoint.org) to get the monthly free instructions starting January 3, 2023. Only a Kreinik and silk are needed to start stitching in January. So, if finding Trebizond takes a little longer, don’t worry!

In November, the ANG Central NJ chapter (CJC) invited me to join them because they will be stitching Festive Fireworks (from Needle Pointers July 2017) and Crescent Journey in 2023! I recently joined the ANG Keystone chapter in PA to show them the 5 colorways of Crescent Journey – great to see them again – I was a member for several years. And, Crescent Journey will travel twice to NJNA in January. Between NJNA and CJC, there are 30 members planning on stitching Crescent Journey. It is so much fun to see people discuss this design and am curious to see if people come up with more colorways.

At the Christmas in Williamsburg event, Crescent Journey generated a lot of interest and 3 people said they would join ANG (which they had not known existed) so they could stitch it. I looked up local chapters for them too. It was another nice event shared with Buff. I happened to sit with Cindy B from my EGA Overdyed Spools class and met new people including her friend Janet H. The silver classes were fun and gave me a break from stitching. Once Michele Arsenault can fire and polish them, she will send out what we did. I also ordered a ring for Bill that she is doing. I got the ring I picked out from her table as a Christmas present and will blog about that when everything arrives. The event is 4&1/2 days of stitching. We missed the first half day and left a day early – still plenty of stitching time. A wide variety of classes were offered but I resisted another stitching project.

Overdyed Spools has brought me into contact with lots of EGA members and chapters! Now it is a Petite Project and one of the many free projects available to all members of EGA. I had a lovely chance encounter with members of the EGA BC chapter who will be starting it in 2023. We just happened to be at Expressions in Needleart, a needlepoint store in Canandaigua, NY at the same time. I visited the EGA in Bucks County Chapter in PA and will be visiting the EGA Mollies and Susquehanna chapters in March 2023 (and probably will see Cindy B again) to discuss overdyed threads. Members of the chapters have been great about sending me photos of their finished pieces – one even made it into a clutch. Seen in this photo is also Rhode Rage by MLS member Heather G, Pretty Petite Fall by NJNA member Vicky Witterschein, and Favorite Medallion #1 by Harriet S (more on this below).

When I was home and not stitching (I do not stitch all day long!), I wrote up almost 20 needlepoint book reviews with lots more to get to over the coming years. I was able to draw diagrams for an EGA Petite Project which allowed Harriet S to fulfill one of her life long goals to bring pulled work designs by Hetsie van Wyk to the next generation. I contributed an article, assisted with diagrams and proofreading, wrote and stitched a stitch guide for a counted a piece for the Needle Pointers magazine. And, it was the year of “finishing” with a dozen ornaments (starting with the 4 bargello hearts), placing Framed Seven which is my second published piece from Needlepoint Now (March/April 2022) in a Sudberry Box, placing 6 small pieces from Cards and Needles by Orna Willis in 2 frames, constructed Corinthian Earrings by Orna Willis, Ginkgo Leaves was placed on a Vera Bradley bag, and an eyeglass case was lined. One stand up and several framed pieces I did have finished professionally.

A few pieces stitched this year still need finishing including Orchid and Bamboo and the Bird of Paradise and Bamboo which will be made into pillows by a professional, my design of Lady Sybil which will be framed with other pieces designed by Gay Ann Rogers after I stitch one more black and white design I have in mind to make 6 pieces in total, Variations of a Florentine design which I want to make into an eyeglass case for me, Blue Hills which will be framed professionally, and I will probably frame Floral Fantasy myself.

My stitching plans for 2023 are to send Night Owl to Woodlawn and finish Finnegan (for new great nephew), keep stitching along with monthly MLS projects (Circles and From Dawn to Dusk), continue working on 3-Way Autumn Leaves (Toni Gerdes/CJC workshop), finish EGA Step 6 Master Craftsman Canvas Program, start an EGA Correspondence Course regarding painting canvases with Laura Smith, start Imperial Topaz by Sue Reed (upcoming MLS counted project) and start Rainbow Butterfly by Danji for discussion at MLS meetings. Somehow, I need to find time to work on 6 pieces I have started as far back as 2011 and through 2019. I also have threads purchased for 7 others. Maybe I should try to stitch all day long! If I can just say no to new projects for 2023, maybe I can catch up with these older pieces.

I am looking forward to a weaving class coming up in January (weather permitting) and my first choice classes at the EGA Seminar in Boston in the summer, Pomegranate Heart with Melinda Sherbring and Understanding Color Relationships: Luster and Luminosity with Patricia Goaley.

Hopefully, our 2023 is filled with lots of new stitching adventures! Enjoy!!