Melitastitches4fun's Blog

A Spring Sampler Pillow

I realized that I never posted just the pillow of A Spring Sampler. This began as a result of a design class, Making Stitches Work For You, taught by Carolyn Mitchell through an ANG Cyberworshop that began January 2020. There were 4 lessons over 4 months with the opportunity to discuss issues with Carolyn and other students through messages. We had several very engaged members which led to wonderful discussions and mentoring from Carolyn.

A Spring Sampler is a symmetrical band sampler (9″ x 12″) that uses different stitches in each of the 21 bands (all my stitch choices and thread choices). To create additional symmetry, the stitches for bands on either side of the center band are related and use the same threads. This pattern of related bands continues as the bands progress outwards.

The pillow was finished by Needle Me in Havertown, PA. Her finisher was fast too considering all the delays I’ve heard about due to coronavirus. Very nice work.

My piece will be returning home shortly after spending the month of May at Woodlawn where it got a 2nd Place ribbon in original design multi-stitch 4+ category.

And, here it is flat before it was made into a pillow.

Woodlawn Needlework Exhibit 2021

Luckily, Woodlawn postponed their Needlework exhibit from March to May due to coronavirus and many people are now vaccinated including my husband and I. Two of the New Jersey Needle Artists, Sue & Rosie, happened to mention that they go down through Delaware, Maryland, and over to Alexandria. We needed a break from staying in Alexandria and decided Annapolis would be a good alternative.

Normally, I keep this post needlepoint related but I love soup and have never seen or heard of two soups being served in the same bowl! So, I had to try it. Being in Maryland, the Boatyard Bar & Grill combined their spicy crab soup with crab bisque. Both were delicious and they stayed separate for most of the time it took me to eat. Amazing!

We had great weather but it was so sunny that the pictures are not all good (they allow glass covered pieces which causes glare unless museum glass is used). I will mention some of the big winners below. All of the winners of awards are listed on their website at:

Unfortunately, the number of submissions took a hit and was down to new all time low of 299. But, it was still a great exhibit. Most pieces were not hung so high that you had a hard time seeing them which has happened before. You enter from a different door and proceed along room to room.

The first room we entered had both my pieces. The Lee’s Flying Cranes Wedding Kimono popped out at us. It got 2nd Place in the Commercial category. This piece was part of an article published in Needle Pointer’s magazine (Mar/Apr 2020 issue). It was compared by a certified judge to a basketweave stitched canvas of the same design. It’s an interesting discussion if you have not read it. Needle Pointers is a publication for ANG members and well worth joining ANG just for the magazine (6 issues per year;!

You can also see the fantastic owl, What R U Lookin’ At III, DDB-006 on the upper right side (one of the few ones up too high to get a good look at which was disappointing). Noelle Drollas, a member of NJNA, stitched it and it is part of an article, A Tale of Two Stitchers, in Needle Pointers (Mar/Apr 2021). Very interesting article. Several members of my Main Line Stitchers chapter are interested in stitching the owl too.

You have to turn around and look in the middle of the couch for my pillow. The last two years there were 2 and 7 original designs entered under Canvaswork Multi-Stitch (4+) Adult. This year there were 5 pieces. Mine is called A Spring Sampler that I had finished into a pillow at Needle Me in Havertown, PA. It is a 9″ x 12″ design and it got 2nd Place (325). No 3rd Place was awarded. Congratulations to Dawn Donnelly for Snow Drifted Pathways (101) for 1st Place and Jeffrey Kulick for Circles and Rustications (472) for Honorable Mention. I don’t feel comfortable sharing photos of original designs without permission of the designer. Dawn’s was a three dimensional all white piece and was very interesting. Here is mine which came about as a result of a design class led by Carolyn Mitchell called Making Stitches Work For You (my stitch and thread choices). Great class if you have a chance to take it.

I usually focus on the Canvaswork: Multi-stitch (4+) and Traditional pieces in the Commercial category. And this year had plenty to offer. I really appreciate the electronic submission process this year because the posted list of entries included the names of the pieces as did the tags. I reviewed the list beforehand and really enjoy seeing some of the designs I am familiar with in person including:

Sudoku Delight by Kathy Rees stitched by Jill Beare (476).

Autumn Crackers by Marilyn Owen stitched by Brenda Cote (439). This was from the 2015 ANG Chapter Project Book and is still in my stash to do!

Blueberry & Lime by Jeanne Polzin stitched by Brenda Cote (440; published in ANG Needle Pointers 2012, Number 3).

Glitz & Glamour Copper by DebBee’s Design stitched by Jeffrey Kulick (471).

ANG Stitch of the Month 2019 Mystery Project by designed by Debbie Rowley, Linda Reinmiller, Mary Knapp, and Pat Hartman which was stitched by several members of the ANG New Jersey Needle Artists Chapter including Sue Chadwick (321), Diane Burgess (323), Rosie Lunde (317), and Linda Mosch (339). They always come up with great colorways! NJNA has a great blog and post regularly ( All the information about the project can be found on the ANG website ( The last photo also includes Indian Autumn designed by Laura Perin stitched by Sondra Horn (544) which I really like too.

Holiday Patches by Susan Kerndt stitched by Marilyn Prado (201) is beautiful.

Holiday Patches by Susan Kerndt was also stitched by Sue Chadwick but in a non-holiday theme (322). I added this to my stash after the 2019 Woodlawn exhibit but have not gotten to yet. Seeing both these makes me want to pull it out. 

And, even though Rosie’s Holiday Patches went to California instead of Woodlawn, it is worth taking a look at her fishing themed piece at . Love her explanation of the blocks.

Winter Lights by Jennifer Riefenberg stitched by Rosie Lunde (318). I love the matching colors of the mat and frame.

Speaking of frames, there were several that were particularly appealing with their lovely coordinating framed needlepoint that really popped for me including Connie’s Quilts by Carol Tweedt (222) with the four inner frames (fillets?) matching the outer frame, Magnolia Pair (Tranquility) by Susan Porrazzo (120) has flowers on the wooden frame, and Poppy Pattern by Elizabeth Dichysyn (435) stitched a patterned mat within another mat and coordinating the frame color to the poppies, and Sunny Flower Hopscotch by Marilyn Prado (202) added painted flowers on the mat. While I am speaking of flowers, there was an original design (not photographed) by Ausra Merkelyte called Allium in a Dew which is categorized as surface embroidery with the flower done on a see through gauze (?) in a hoop hanging in a doorway. It reminds me of another piece in a previous exhibit. It’s a great effect.

Besides the canvas work, I particularly like to look at the Miniatures (32-count). There were only 5 pieces this year and all won an award (two 1st, a 2nd, a 3rd, and HM). Three projects were from Senior stitchers including My Japanese Maple, an adaption, stitched by Norma Campbell (221). She also won the Pope-Leighey Award and a Judge’s Choice.

Birdhouse Village designed by Lynne Tomlinsin Needlework and was stitched by Alison Kearney (545) was placed near one of the peacocks which were popular this year in the counted cross stitch category (117 by Emily Demsick won the Eleanor Curtis Lewis award, 104 by Richard Buchmiller, and 500 by Christinia Armstrong). And why not, they were gorgeous! Does the piece below the last peacock look familiar? It is the geometric from the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas program Step 2 stitched by Heather Gitlin (112).

There were a good number of samplers of various styles. My favorite was a very large, colorful, floral piece called Dutch Sampler by Patricia Young (200). An amazing beaded ensemble (jacket, hat, shoes; 510) by Sophia Shultz was in the stairway as you went upstairs. A good number of women, covid and Black Lives Matter themed pieces, mostly original designs were shown. Bill’s People Choice vote went to Women from the Dawn of Time (466) by Anita Barondes. There are 218 women depicted and cover performers, athletes, artists, musicians, writers, poets, healers, fighters, and leaders. Always nice to see a few juvenile entries. Congratulations to Nathalie Schelin for her Cathleen R Durkin award winner (555). I found out that my post can’t accept any more photos.

Congratulations to all the stitchers – fantastic work! And, to Nelly’s Needlers for putting on the exhibit. I picked up Daffodil which was stitched by one of the Nelly’s Needlers.

Spring Sampler, Bands 2, 3 and 23, 24

I got the threads I wanted to finish up the sampler.

Bands 3 and 23, both over 3 canvas threads went well enough by using Silk Lame Braid SP100 in an Encroaching Oblique Variation and Plaited Gobelin.

When I added Band 24, the bottom band in the picture, of Florentine and Satin, it seemed ok. But, now with most of the top band of similar stitch of Stacked Cubes added, it seems that the bands which are over 24 canvas threads overpowered the design. It is 3 colors of Splendor (light, medium, and dark). 

So, I reached out to several stitching friends, my husband, classmates, and the teacher, Carolyn Mitchell, of the class which began this project for their opinions. And, I got some wonderful feedback about the 2 bands including:

  • The light is reflecting off the lightest laid threads drawing your attention.

    • The stitches are too modern for the rest of the bands.
    • The width of the bands are going to be a focal point no matter the stitch.
    • Leave the piece in a place where you can look at for a while and see how you feel about it.
    • Since I was talking about making into a pillow to go with other purple pillows, leave it with the pillows and see how you feel about it.
    • Several liked the bands as stitched.
  • The rest of the sampler is traditional and elegant. The new bands are modern and bold.   
  • The width of the bands are going to be a focal point no matter the stitch.
  • Make the band half the width.
  • Leave the piece in a place where you can look at for a while and see how you feel about it.
  • Since I was talking about making into a pillow to go with other purple pillows, leave it with the pillows and see how you feel about it.
  • Several liked the bands as stitched.

Well, it’s been 5 days considering what to do. When I cover up the 2 outside bands, I really see a cohesive design that I find very pleasing.

Initially, I selected 12″ x 12″ to match the size of another pillow that I have. And, I selected 25 bands because that was how many Carolyn Mitchell had in her design. However, nothing says I can’t just end the piece at 23 bands. That would make a 12″ x 9″ piece. That’s a good size and I can still make into a pillow. So, I am quite sure that I’ll rip them out and leave it as is.

Any thoughts you’d like to share?

Continue reading

Spring Sampler is Banding Along

I continue to make progress and have added 6 more bands 5-6-7 on top and 19-20-21 on bottom. This is an update on my symmetrical band sampler from the Making Stitches Work For You class with Carolyn Mitchell that has ended now.

Bands 7 and 19 are both over 6 canvas threads using the key thread, an overdyed purple thread (Waterlilies 006 Amethyst). In order to see the pattern of the stitch, I used just 2 stands. These are both cross stitch patterns from The Encyclopedia of Canvas Embroidery Stitch Patterns by Katharine Ireys. Band 7 is Triple Cross Variation over 6 and Band 19 is Brazilian Variation over 6.

Bands 6 and 20 are both padded with an oblong cross using 2 strands of Planet Earth Silk 6-ply Palm Beach 1126.  There are straight stitches over top on Band 6 and oblong crosses over top on Band 20 using Bijoux MMT423 (from Sherlee Lantz/Maggie Lane A Pageant of Pattern for Needlepoint Canvas and Sandy Arthur Shapes of Needlepoint Series 1, respectively). Little oblong crosses are in between each padded oblong cross using Splendor S864.

I came across two different but related stitches in two resources. Band 5 came from Lone Star’s Grab -n- Go Stitches which are unnamed but I am calling a Reverse Leviathan because Band 21 is called Leviathan in The Encyclopedia of Canvas Embroidery Stitch Patterns by Katharine Ireys. The rays either go toward the center or towards the corners. I used the same threads as in Bands 6 and 20.

I like how the diamond shapes are carrying throughout the bands.

Spring Sampler Continues to Bloom

One of the elements I applied from Carolyn’s sampler is that while different stitches are used, they appear related.

I do have another skein of Waterlilies in a different lot number. It is very close but closer to the blueish purples. The next two medium Bands 10 and 16 are Sprats Head with a diagonal base and Waffle, respectively. They used almost a whole skein of Waterlilies 006 Amethyst.

For two other larger bands, Bands 8 and 18, also serving as focal points and related to the center band, I selected two other composite stitches from Kathy Rees’ diagrams modified as needed for my space. I had one full card of Silk Lame Braid For 18 count SL110 and 144″ on a second card in my stash. I did the math to make sure I had enough for both bands. So, I was surprised to have 12″ left!

In between Bands 8 and 10 is Band 9 which is 3 canvas threads, I used another couching stitch, Diagonal Weave Couching. And, for Band 17 another row of 3 canvas threads between Bands 16 and 18 is a staggered cross stitch over a laid thread. For both Bands 9 and 17, the laid thread is Neon Ray’s N127 and couched by Splendor S812.

Spring Sampler in the Making

Making Stitches Work For You with Carolyn Mitchell is an ANG Cyberworshop that began January 2020. It’s 4 lessons over 4 months. So, this is the last month. However, Carolyn extended our class through May 15. Now that I finished Fiona’s piece, I can focus on this piece.

During these past few months, I tried mapping out stitches from a couple of books on my computer but it wasn’t working. It seemed that the symmetry on either end was always off. Making 25 different bands seemed daunting.

Finally, I remembered the main lesson I learned from Kathy Rees’ design class which was to select stitches that would be divisible for your area. In this case, I wanted 12″ square. Since 216 can be divided evenly by 18 and 24, then I could look at stitches with heights/widths of 2, 3, 6, 9 and 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, respectively. Once I combined the lessons learned from both teachers, I began to create this symmetrical band sampler. Except for the center band of 30 threads (not mathematically divisible with 216), the rest of the band heights/widths will include: 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24.

I started on the center band with a decorative Jean Hilton plaited ray stitch (from Jean Hilton’s Stimulating Stitches, Plaited Rays, pg 28). However, 7 units of my center Band 13 motif was slightly smaller than the 216 thread width but compensation with three threads on each side worked out fine. This is also part of one focal point Kathy Rees provided in her class diagrams.

I have no idea how much thread I will need. And, am going to work out of my stash. So, I pulled purples and blueish purple and am going to contrast with off white/beige which I have plenty of and goes with almost every. Now, I may have too many threads!

As I said, I started with the center focal point and wanted to introduce the key thread, an overdyed purple thread (Waterlilies 006 Amethyst), purple (Splendor S809), beige (Soie Perlee SPS #694), and sparkle (Bijoux MMT 412 Amethyst and 411 Cape Amethyst). I was really surprised that just the one band took so much of the Waterlilies, Splendor, and Soie Perlee.

For the bands adjacent to the center Band 13, Bands 12 and 14, I selected a sparkling beige Silk Lame Braid Petite SP100 for two cross stitches, an overlapping cross stitch and Greek stitch.

In Painted Canvas Embellishment: An Idea Book by Carole Lake and Michael Boren (pg 89), I saw that they diagrammed a variation of the overlapping cross stitch by laying a single laid thread first. So, I did that for the next lower band, Band 15, which is over 2 threads. The laid thread is a light, shiny purple Panache PN11 and the cross stitch is a single strand of Splendor S918. For the upper band, Band 11, I laid a single strand of Panache and used the Greek stitch with a single strand of Splendor.

I’m very happy with my beginning bands.

Band 11 (top) through Band 15 (bottom)

Making Stitches Work For You with Carolyn Mitchell

Making Stitches Work For You with Carolyn Mitchell is an ANG Cyberworshop that began January 2020. It’s got 4 lessons over 4 months. Carolyn sent an introductory letter with thread suggestions. She shared how she stitched her pillows but she is encouraging people to be creative and use our own designs, threads, and stitches.

This is a good opportunity for me to use a couple of books from her bibliography that I have but haven’t really looked at much:

  • Ireys, Katherine. The Encyclopedia of Canvas Embroidery Stitch Patterns. New York: Thomas Crowell, 1968.
  • Lantz, Sherlee and Lane, Maggie. A Pageant of Pattern for Needlepoint Canvas. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1973.

And, I want to use my new book, ANG Chapter Lone Star’s Grab -n- Go Stitches.
I have tagged several stitches that I really like because they are new to me. That gave me more than enough without using her stitch diagrams. I went into my stash and found some wonderful browns for use on a Sandstone canvas. After opening the overdyed Waterlilies, I changed my mind about using it because there was a large dull grayish section along the thread. I found a Wildflowers in my stash with a splash of green that might be good.

I also have a lovely purple Waterlilies overdyed thread and a card of Regal Purples Splendor Design Collection calling to me too (second design?). But, after looking for more threads to go with the Amethyst, I saw quite a range of colors causing me to abandon the Regal Purples and go towards blue-violet and red-violets. And, I found a partial Waterflowers Fushia that is looking really good with these threads too. The Amethyst has some large sections of rather dull grayish sections but maybe I just need to try the thread with certain stitches. Carolyn shares some thoughts about threads and stitches in Lesson 1 but more on that topic is coming next month.

In this first month’s lesson, we are playing with line drawings. I’ve done about 6 so far. And, of them, this is my favorite so far. Each graph line is 4 canvas threads making this a 6″ square.

However, I expect that I will stitch a band sampler like Carolyn’s pillows that advertised the course. They were stunning! I’m working on an asymmetrical piece and a symmetrical one. I’m mapping them out on my computer and adding to my stitch library.

I am enjoying this opportunity to “play” before stitching. Carolyn’s input on my drawings and other’s in the class has been interesting.