Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Perforated Paper
January 19, 2022, 1:16 pm
Filed under: General comments, Perforated Paper

I was fortunate to be on an EGA-sponsored Zoom lecture given by Claudia Dutcher Kistler on the History of Perforated Paper Needlework 1840 – 1900 this past Saturday. Claudia has quite a collection and is very enthusiastic about the topic. Quite interesting.

She has a couple of websites: Bristolsamplers.com (not paper samplers); Dutchtreat.com & perforatedpaper.net (both paper related). Most of her pieces with descriptions & some history will be found on the website with .net & she sells on the .com website. Sheets of perforated paper in 14 and 18 count are available. Mill Hill makes 14 count 9×12 sheets (google perforated paper to find a variety of sources).

I have stitched on perforated paper before for a color wheel on sheet of 14 count. The scissors sheath for both designs in the photos below are stitched on 20-count Confection Perforated Sewing Cards from Tokens and Trifles. They also had some designs on 18 count but all have been discontinued.

It took some digging through my stash to find these and had no idea I had purchased so many different shapes while they were available (around 2010). Glad I did! While these were available, they also posted graph paper of some of these shapes to work out designs before stitching and I printed them.

So much fun stuff in my stash! I never need to buy anything else but I probably will anyway.



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!



Woodlawn’s 58th Needlework Show is Online and Photographs are Wonderful!
December 7, 2021, 10:57 am
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

From Woodlawn’s email:

Woodlawn’s 58th Annual Needlework Show was earlier this year. Perhaps you weren’t able to make it to Woodlawn to see all the pieces, or maybe you came and want to see all the incredible work again!

If so, we proudly announce the second annual virtual showing of Woodlawn’s on-site Needlework Show. Our 2021 Needlework Show, “Hindsight 2020: Needlework Expressions of a Historic Year” is now available to view online! Purchasing a ticket allows you to peruse the hundreds of beautiful pieces that appeared as part of May’s in-person needlework show via our online platform. We are so excited to virtually share this wonderful show with you!

To purchase tickets, please visit the following link: https://tinyurl.com/VirtualNeedleworkShow

After you purchase your ticket, you will receive a confirmation email with a link and a password to view the Virtual Show, which you can view at your leisure from December 6, 2021 through January 6, 2022. Your ticket price helps us preserve this tradition and supports our efforts as we prepare for the 2022 Needlework Show.

Here’s a small sample of the photos & when you click on one, close up photos of that piece can be seen as well! They have really done a lot of work for the online exhibit & it’s wonderful.



Stitching with Overdyed Threads from Beautiful Stitches for Orchid Lady by Mary Knapp

I’m using threads from Ann-Marie Anderson-Mayes in Australia for Orchid Lady by Mary Knapp on black Congress Cloth. The others at ANG Main Line Stitchers are stitching Anne-Marie’s design, Celestial Twist, with her threads.

I had to pull out the magnifying glass with a clip-on light (which I found when organizing after the carpet was cleaned). I need it to work on the black Congress Cloth. It’s a StarMag by Daylight Company. I’m glad I found it when I did!

The overdyed thread, Heather, has yellow, green, and purple, and pink areas. I cut the overdyed skein in the middle of a large stretch of purple expecting to see more green and yellow. But, a good amount of purple is apparent too. Since I have worked with purple so much, I decided to use the solid green and yellow colors instead of two values of purple (not stitched with the solid colors yet). So, I selected a Kreinik #4 Braid 2829 that has green and yellow in it.

I really lucked out and the 36″ resulting length was ideal for completing the inner motif. And, I started the thread half on each side of the center so that the colors are symmetrical as they are worked outwards. And, it results in less wear and tear on the longer length of thread. I had to finish all four directions in order to be sure I stitched it in the same direction for a consistent color flow.

I love that the purple fell in the four center areas and the green and yellow are in the eight side areas. Very happy with the start! Now if I could get a great photo! It looks more yellow in the photo and more green in person – photographing needlepoint is tough.



More Stitching with Threads from Beautiful Stitches for Orchid Lady by Mary Knapp

I expected to use the green and yellow threads but once I separated the plies and only used 2 strands, you couldn’t see the difference between the two colors. And, they blended into the eight areas losing the definition of the design. So, it’s a good thing I like purple! I am using two of the three purples from the kit. This is the lighter of the two to be added. It’s such fun watching the piece develop in front of you! This brings the piece out to 5″ x 5″. It will be 5&1/2 x 5&1/2″ when finished. Only dark purple and more of the overdyed to go.



Cleaning Up = Organizing and Starting New Pieces
November 18, 2021, 9:18 am
Filed under: General comments, Organization

We are getting ready for carpet cleaners next week. So, I had to organize my projects that are accumulating in our dining room. There are eleven projects with threads but not on canvases calling me to work on them next! Since I am almost done with three projects, I put four of the projects on bars yesterday. Also sitting around were the needed canvases, bars, and tacks.

Speaking of canvases, I organized my collection of blank canvases that were in several locations throughout the house. I wrapped them up in acid free tissue paper, tagged each with the color and sizes, and now have to figure out where to store them-all together!

I have a whole bag of threads to put into my thread drawers! All those pinks are for a project that I’ve tried a couple of times but haven’t gotten it to turn out yet. I will get what I want eventually. How does this accumulation happen?? I know. I should put them away as soon as I finish the project but that’s not fun!

What four projects are next you ask? One is for my EGA Master Craftsman program Step 5 regarding appliques. I didn’t submit for the November review. This step is more tricky than the previous steps and isn’t something I have done before (or likely to do again). No need to rush.

Two counted projects are using threads from Australia’s Ann-Marie Anderson-Mayes. These are on black Congress Cloth.

Lastly, Razzle Dazzle by Ann Strike-Kurz has intrigued me for years. However, I do not want to stitch the whole piece as originally designed. So, I will make a couple of ornaments and maybe bookmarks of the various patterns. While cleaning up, I found the threads from Gail Stafford’s EGA class regarding overdyed threads which should be great for the design.



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 groups.io 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.



Follow-up on Woodlawn regarding Woman From the Dawn of Time
May 21, 2021, 7:52 pm
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

My husband really liked Year of the Woman From the Dawn of Time depicting 218 women by Anita Barondes. And, there was a note by the piece that shirts with the design are available. So, we left a note in the box asking her to contact us. She did and here is a link (https://invincibles.threadless.com/) to her site selling a wide variety of products that you can get the design printed on. I’m not affiliated with her but appreciate her entrepreneurship & wish her luck. Since her piece is pictured on her site, I am comfortable sharing the photo I took at Woodlawn.



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: http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/annualneedleworkshow

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; https://www.needlepoint.org/page/NeedlePointers)!

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 (https://blog.njneedleartists.org/). All the information about the project can be found on the ANG website (https://www.needlepoint.org/page/SOTM2019). 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 https://rosiesmidnightsun.wordpress.com/2021/05/09/a-california-delivery/ . 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.



Vintage Tacks
January 21, 2021, 7:56 pm
Filed under: General comments

I love these vintage tacks and use them on special projects. I must have gotten them from a past chapter member’s stash, probably Mae V-D. The symbols may be Chinese and I wish I knew what it says. I tried a translate feature that I found online and ‘text ninety soldiers’ is what I get. There might have been 90 tacks in the container at one time but I only have 38 now. They hold up well (don’t bend upon carefully removing them) and I don’t see the wear on the heads like the newer tacks. Another, “They don’t make things like they used to.” example.

If anyone knows what the symbols are, please leave a comment!