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 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!



Purchase Arrived
January 11, 2021, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Amy's Golden Strand, General comments, Threads

I’ve ordered online from a few needlepoint stores over the years and only a few packages arrive so prettily packaged that I choose to remember them. This order from Amy’s Golden Strand was not a large order but still they took care to place the threads in a sealed plastic bag (essential), wrap in a pretty tissue paper, and a fun plastic envelope. But, they went one step further by adding a thank you note with a stitch diagram saying they appreciate my business and a hand-written note wishing me a Happy New Year! It looks like they change the stitch diagram monthly. Thank you Amy’s Golden Strand for making my day. I look forward to placing future orders with you.



Framing Bonanza

Many thanks to Meghan and Rebecca at Michael’s framing department in Pottstown. Meghan did a great job helping my husband and I select the mats and frames. They have a very clever device that displays an image on the computer of your piece in the mat and frame to see how it will look before finalizing. I really liked the shape of the mat for the diamond shape piece. I’m very happy with final pieces.

Stitches Galore from Needle Me Contest
Build A Geometric with Kurdy Biggs
Interchange with Linda Reinmiller
Blanton’s Bottle


2020 Year in Review
December 29, 2020, 9:06 pm
Filed under: General comments

Thanks to the 6,700 visitors from all over the world who took time to visit my blog this year. It’s always nice to see your comments. It’s been a great year of needlepoint and little else due to coronavirus. Thankfully, most everyone I know has avoided this virus.

My blog is 10 years old now. WOW! WordPress gives 3 GB free storage space. It took me 10 years, about 780 posts, and over a 1,000 photos (because each post has one photo & some more) to run out of free space. So, I upgraded to the Premium version with 13 GB. It has lots more features that I don’t understand but I can work on that over the next 10 years!

My first project begun in 2020 was Carolyn Mitchell’s Making Stitches Work For You and it was finished in 2020. I ended up with a 12″ x 9″ design of 21 beautiful bands. The instructions are being proofread by two people in my chapter. Thanks so much Linda & Lori! I just love this design (all stitches and threads were my choice).

Other finished pieces included Blanton’s Bottle, Barbara’s Patchwork (ANG Stitch of the Month 1999), Welcome Fiona (great niece baby piece), Build Your Own Geometric with Kurdy Biggs (ANG Cyber Workshop), and Vases with Curly Bamboo (Sharon G canvas stitch guide and class begun in 2012 with several members of my ANG Main Line chapter and restarted in 2019 as we compared with 2 other stitch guides).

I also completed Steps 2 and 3 (with distinction) of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas Certification program. Steps 1, 2, and 3 will be on display in the Education area of the Chicago EGA National Exhibit.

Two pieces finished in 2019 were published in articles in ANG’s Needle Pointers magazine including Lotus Kimono (Jan/Feb 2020, A Tale of Two Stitchers) and Flying Cranes Wedding Kimono (Mar/Apr 2020, Constructive Criticism and How’d She Do That?).

As always, a few pieces got started and not finished: Klimt Kimono with Toni Gerdes (ANG Cyberpointer’s Cyberworkshop), ANG 2020 Stitch of the Month called Star of Stitches by Kathy Rees), and Rainbow Ribbons by Kam Wenzloff using wonderful threads from Lorraine at Color Complements. I didn’t have time to start Hearts of Gold from Michele Roberts (ANG Correspondence Course) but it looks like a lot of fun and they are wonderful instructions.

The ANG National Seminar moved to an online venue (as most things did due to coronvirus). I learned a lot from Susan Hoekstra from her Teaching Needlework 101 class (which I would not have been able to take in person because it conflicted with my other classes). I proposed Overdyed Spools to EGA THaP (Take Home a Project) intended to let a person get used to teaching (a 2-hour class). It is taught to as many as 30 people to take back to their chapters for teaching as group class similar to the ANG Chapter Project Book. It was accepted and now I can use tools learned in Susan’s class to prepare for the Regional EGA meeting in the Fall of 2022. The design is in the 2017 ANG Chapter Project Book.

The other two classes I took at the ANG Seminar were with Linda Reinmiller: 21st Century Designer (learned publishing tools) and Interchange (learned pull work and designing a stitch sampler on the diagonal). Interchange was fun stitching and I finished it (one of the benefits of a virtual seminar which allowed class to last a month).

The last class of 2020 was Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy at Fancywork Finishing. Another great class. I painted and stitched a geometric design on a 13 count and 18 count canvas. A floral piece was more challenging and has not been stitched yet. I have another project in the works to be painted and stitched too.

My EGA Brandywine chapter invited Ann Strite-Kurz to talk about the history of EGA and Lois Kershner discussed achieving perspective in stitching. Both were excellent.

Instead of vacationing (Branson, MO & Whistler, BC, Canada will have to wait for coronavirus to subside), I spent money on getting many of my finished pieces framed (even splurging on museum glass for most of them). These are now framed: Crazy Quilt, Sisters, Vases, Lotus Kimono, Wedding Cranes Kimono, A Dusting of Snow, Scotch Flower and Hearts, and Crescent Journey Beach colorway. I’ve been keeping Romeo’s & Reppening’s busy this year! I took Fiona to Michael’s (in Feasterville) and Interchange, Build My Geometric with Kurdy Biggs, Blanton’s Bottle, and a small geometric to Michael’s (in Pottstown where our newest chapter member, Meghan, works in the framing department).

Although travel was limited this year, I did manage to visit a new store Needlepoint For Fun in Lititz, PA.

While I have done well using Excel to create diagrams, I believe I need to take diagramming my designs to the next level. Thanks to Marilyn O and Needle Pointers, I have the opportunity to learn Adobe Illustrator by becoming an Assistant Graphics Editor for the magazine. It’s great to learn and give back to the ANG organization that I enjoy so much. And, it’s a perfect time to learn a new tool.

The EGA Seminar is being held in Chicago (drivable and my husband’s favorite city). I signed up for some great classes including learning how to manipulate overdyed threads from Gail Stafford in a notebook class, learning stumpwork from Alison Cole by making one small flower, and learning ribbon embroidery from Deborah Mitak on Congress cloth by making a 9″ x 9″ bouquet of flowers. I won’t be going to ANG’s Seminar this year because I don’t want to fly to Kansas City, MO and because there is a magic convention being held in Pittsburgh (drivable, one our favorite cites, and my college town) in July. Bill enjoys magic (I dabble in it) and he deserves a special event too. As long as we get vaccinated by then, wear masks, and the new strain doesn’t make things much worse, we’ll be traveling in 2021.

As we start 2021, I am starting Step 4 of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas program. It’s a bargello design and I am working out the design as I practice using Adobe Illustrator. Here’s a sneak peak of my border.

I am hopeful that May 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Stay well everyone!



Learning Adobe Illustrator
December 5, 2020, 11:32 am
Filed under: Adobe Illustrator, General comments

I’ve decided to expand my diagramming skills by learning Adobe Illustrator (AI). And, I’ve got an excellent teacher in Marilyn O, the current Graphics Editor for Needle Pointers. I am one of what hopefully will be two Assistant Graphics Editors in training for the magazine. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn AI and give back to the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG).

Learning Excel for diagramming was good but had limitations especially when it got into the more complicated diagrams. Had I know I could have learned AI by volunteering, I would have done this a couple of years ago. Give it some thought. If you want to learn a fantastic diagramming tool, this can be your opportunity too!

In just a couple of days, I have made great progress with the tool.



Second Coaster Stitched

Here is the second coaster stitched from when I tried painting on 18 count (a little tougher but manageable) during my class for Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy of Fancywork Finishing. I switched from Silk n Ivory to DMC Perle #5. The colors match fairly well to the first coaster.

18 count canvas, 4″ x 4″
13 count, 4″ x 4″


Update regarding Tent Stitch Issue on a Diagonal

The center V is stitched as basketweave would be normally. For the left V, I laid the Ecru DMC Perle #8 thread first, stitched over it with DMC #5, then stitched the surrounding green with DMC #5. It pinched the #8 thread slightly more than the right V where I stitched the green first, laid the Ecru #8 thread, and then stitched over it with the DMC #5.

The left and right V appear to be essentially identical but the thread is still more visible than I expected.

I had to try reversing the colors. I only needed to lay one strand of green floss after stitching the ecru surrounding area first. You can not see the floss at all and the V is so much more evident.

So, I think that this works only with dark threads and would very useful for defining dark letters in pieces.

Classes for Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy of Fancywork Finishing finished up on Wednesday. The third class went over mixing paints more and a variety of questions we had. No more classes in 2020. Bummer. But, I will be busy finishing up a few of them!