Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Ginko Leaves

Ginko Leaves is a Lee canvas (design size 8.5″ x 3.75), BR67. In June, at Cleo’s First Tuesday Stitch-in at Busy Lizzie, I found a new thread Line that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is from Gloriana Threads and is Duchess Silk, a hand-dyed thread. Some colors have more subtle changes in the skein than others. The Antique Black is darker than the canvas but that’s ok. And, I will not use Brick after all because I am using some sparkly threads including Kreinik, Silk Lame Braid, or Snow for the edges of the leaves.

I was thinking basketweave for something easy to stitch but discovered that Duchess Silk is too thick. So, I selected various stitches incorporating a little additional sparkle into four of the eight (different from the edges).

My main goal was to find stitch patterns with stitches over 2 or 3 canvas threads that would create a diagonal effect according to the direction of the leaf. They came from 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

Part of this was stitched at yesterday’s Stitch-in with the ANG Main Line Stitchers. We had 5 in person at Buff’s house because the church is working on the floors. Speaking of Buff, she was quite observant by noticing that I was uncharacteristically stitching “in the well”. It is something that I have done when the canvas has too little around the sides of the design because it makes ending threads easier. When do you work “in the well”?



Cottage Garden Threads at Expo!
August 2, 2022, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Cottage Garden Threads, General comments, Threads

Terri Bay was selling Cottage Garden Threads (.com.au) at Expo! The Grasshopper colorway popped right into my bag and wanted to come home with me. CGT is a mother-daughter duo from Victoria, Australia. Lovely hand-dyed threads. Not sure what to do with them yet!



Trasherella at Pop Cycle
August 2, 2022, 11:14 pm
Filed under: General comments

While wandering around today on 4th Street in Tucson, AZ, I discovered a local fibert artist who repurposes materials. Jenn posts on Instagram/Facebook under “Trasherella” but only sells through her sister’s store, Pop Cycle. The whole store has “upcycled handmade goods”. Very cool store. I got permission to blog about Jenn’s fiber art.



Ornament Finishes

Practice is supposed to make perfect. We’ll find out. This one is by no means perfect but I’m happy with my first attempt. “Finishers” really earn their money. Since I have about 8 ornaments and an eyeglass case to finish, I will not be sending them out!

I have multiple sets of finishing instructions from various sources. So, I have used some techniques from each.

I sewed the edges down on the left and Sewline stick glue to attach the ultrasuede to the foam board on the right.

They lined up adequately.

There was a pretty decent gap between the front and back. I had just seen Mary Corbet’s post on finishing an edge with a Palestrina stitch. I am not adding any beads. But, the stitch was perfect for covering the gap. However, I had stitched 2 rows around the design because one finisher said that having long stitches on the edge would make finishing more difficult. Bargello is long stitches. Well, stitching through basketweave, folded back canvas, and ultrasuede was not easy. I pulled out my jewelry pliers. That helped pull the needle through. This first one took much, much longer than I had hoped. I did take breaks but it had to be around 6 hours.

Part of my break during the day included a stop at Michael’s to use my 40% off coupons. Two of them! With one, I got a cutting mat. Self-healing! I’ll be testing that. Hope it can survive.

The Wonder Clips are working wonderfully.

So, I am going in the edge between the two rows of basketweave and canvas. Picking up a little of the ultrasuede for the decorative edging using the same Silk & Ivory 86 Shamrock that was used on the design.

Once is was done, I was happy with it and really felt a sense of accomplishment. So, I encourage you to give it try – if you have plenty of time and want to save money. Otherwise, send it to a professional!



Swatches of 18 count Monocanvas
July 13, 2022, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Canvas Swatches from Fireside, General comments

These samples are from a package with 25 colors that I bought from Fireside Stitchery (3 x 3 swatches) years ago. I have posted them before but not spread out like this before. They come in handy especially when starting new projects.



Floral Fantasy at First Tuesday and a New Thread Line

I finally joined Cleo of Busy Lizzy for one of her First Tuesday sessions at her shop behind her house. It’s not large but Cleo has a good selection of painted canvases, threads, and miscellany including books. The table and chairs still allow enough room to walk around looking at everything. Eight of us fit comfortably around the table. Lively conversation made the time fly and before I knew it, it was 2:30 pm which was 30 minutes past the time I was planning to leave (just over an hour to and from Chadds Ford for me). Two others from ANG Main Line Stitchers, Gloriann and Stacie, were there. My travel SMASTA (tool case) was a smash hit! A very enjoyable day.

I found one book there that I couldn’t find anywhere online!! But, that will be the topic of another post.

The piece I’m working on is a small (4″ square) 14 count canvas with designer initials of BTB or BT8. I have no idea where I got it from but it looked like an easy piece to stitch at a Stitch-in. If anyone recognizes the designer, please leave a comment. I named it Floral Fantasy for lack of the proper title.

I selected basketweave for the white flower outlines, a 4×4 Norwich Stitch for the white center of the red flower, and 2 upright waffle stitches for the white center of the pink flowers using ThreadworX Expressions (200, white). These areas were finished the day before.

The green is Boucle (170) done with Checkerboard Cross which are alternating cross stitches and upright crosses each over 2 canvas threads. I wanted a random looking grassy texture. I began this area to make sure the thread worked. Since it is 14 count, the Boucle works ok. I finished this today and found out Pepper Pot Silk would not cover on 14 count at least for the stitch I wanted to use.

It was a perfect time to try the new thread Line at Cleo’s that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is from Gloriana Threads and is Duchess Silk, a hand-dyed thread. Some colors have more subtle changes in the skein. I had brought along another canvas and selected other skeins of Duchess Silk but that too will be the subject of another post.

This Rose Violet (232) has more variations than many of the other colors in the line. You can see I got the upper right corner started using the stitch, Pointing Fingers. There is nice variation of color. It’s taking some time to “see” the pattern and compensation isn’t easy yet. Hopefully, I’ll get it once I start stitching in the larger area.

Also in the upper right corner are 2 small clusters of 5 beads each. I have accumulated (mostly from Trish who was unloading her stash before moving south) a slew of beads including a large tube of pink beads that are calling to me, “Use us!” I don’t know what kind they are so I hope I have enough for both pink flowers. If not, then I will improvise. The differences in texture are pleasing me most about this piece. I have no idea what to do with it when I finish it. Any suggestions?



NJ Needle Fest 2022

This year NJ Needle Fest was 2 days (Friday and Saturday) at the Embassy Suites in Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Buff and I drove up Friday morning. We found our table for ANG Main Line Stitchers right inside the main entrance joining Kristen, Linda, and Lori. There were dozens of other stitchers at tables in a large room and a second atrium room where the folks from ANG NJ Needle Artists sat. The rooms were not completely full which is why next year the event will be on Saturday and Sunday in April (15-16). On Saturday, Patrick and Beth joined us. Lots more people came but there were still about 30 cancellations even 3 at our table. It would have been too crowded for 10 anyway. Now we know that 8 is the maximum at a table.

There were lots of vendors and I couldn’t resist buying a piece of linen (30 count linen by The Primitive Hare), Easy Guide Ball-Tip Needles (2 each size 26 and 28 good for stitching on linen), a dozen beaded counting pins (by MyBigToeDesigns.com), beautiful hand-dyed threads (by RomysCreations.it – who is on Facebook), a 10″ x 8″ thread bag by Trish Vine Designs (who is on Facebook) and a 14″ square clear project bag by Trish who is formerly from the ANG Keystone Garden chapter. It was great to see her again and glad to hear she’s enjoying North Carolina.

Breakfast (bagels, toast, pastry type food, coffee, tea), lunch (salad, meats/cheeses/bread for sandwiches, grilled eggplant/zucchini, chips, water/soda), afternoon snack (cookies and fruit) were all very good. Friday night three Main Line Stitchers, 6 NJNA, and I met for dinner at Delicious Heights in Berkeley Heights for a wonderful evening of good food and conversation.

Besides stitching and vendors, we looked at a variety of wonderful pieces that others at the event were stitching covering a variety of categories. My favorite was the beaded piece Infinity by Tela Artis (seller is in Ukraine). The amount of beading is unbelievable but will be beautiful when finished. The shading on the fabric is pretty enough to just frame the fabric.

Dee from NJ Needle Artists shared her hand woven towels making me get more excited to learn weaving even though I am learning tapestry weaving which is different.

During the day they gave away door prizes and I won big prizes each day! On Friday, it was registration to their Summer Getaway in Radnor near Philadelphia that I can use in 2023 (I’ll be away at ANG Seminar in 2022). And on Saturday, it was registration to their Christmas in Williamsburg in Nov 30-Dec 4, 2022 which I can go to with Buff who won that prize last year! We can drive down and share a room. What are the odds of me getting both? Amazing!! Before I won the Williamsburg registration, I was paying for next year’s NJ Needle Fest and saw the Joyful box behind the counter and commented on how cute it was. Don’t you know that the certificate came in that box. It was certainly my lucky day.

Can’t forget to talk about the stitching that I did. I brought 2 projects expecting to zip right through the Corinthian Earrings by Orna Willis but between gabbing, shopping, looking around, and some frogging, it took 2 days to finish the earrings. I should have Xerox copied the pattern to highlight areas stitched as I progressed. They are on Congress Cloth and come with the materials to finish them but that will be the subject of another post.



Fur Stitches
May 12, 2022, 11:45 am
Filed under: General comments, Melita's Adaptations, Penguin Family

I was asked recently about what stitches would be good for the fur of wolves. What thread used could vary some depending on the animal but I think my response would offer good suggestions for the stitch for any animal.

Random long and short or random encroaching Gobelin-split stitch all come to mind first with two or more colors for shading (or a subtle overdyed). Regular encroaching gobelin on an angle to match direction needed would work too. Packed or Outline Stem stitch moves directionally as well. Do you have others you like?

The only animals I have done (as far as I recall) are penguins. I used Split Encroaching Gobelin of various colors and various lengths on my penguins (https://melitastitches4fun.com/2010/03/16/the-penguin-family/). I used Trio and Fuzzy Stuff. If I were to do this again (10+ years later), I would make the black more slick with different threads. I see now that my sky is vertical – I would switch that to horizontal.



Woodlawn Virtual Needlework Show opened April 15
April 21, 2022, 1:05 pm
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

The Woodlawn Virtual Needlework Show opened April 15.  The link is shown below.  

Tickets are $12.00 and the purchase allows you to access as often as you like through May 31, 2022.  You are also able to access the recordings of three of the programs that were held during March – African American Needlework in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Kathy Staples); Shared Sampler Threads (Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Sampler Designs); and Passing on the Tradition of Needlearts: Community Conversation

http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/2022-virtual-needlework-tickets

Thanks to Linda M from ANG New Jersey Needle Artists for sending a reminder to chapter members.



Woodlawn Needlework Exhibit 2022
March 31, 2022, 11:11 am
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

March means the Woodlawn Needlework Show. The weather did not cooperate with our schedule and Bill and I didn’t get to visit until March 30. It was chilly and sunny (so photos may not be great due to glare or appear washed out – sorry) but no rain. It is unfortunate to see the number of judged entries has dropped to 296. But, the quality is more important than sheer numbers and it is always a joy to share and celebrate needlework.

Plus, there was a wonderful display of over 60 pieces by the Winchester Chapter of EGA who were celebrating their 10-year anniversary. Among pieces displayed by the Winchester Chapter were 3 of Toni Gerdes designs Klimt Kimono (a WIP for me), Autumn 3-Ways (a class I’m taking in October 2022 with the Central Jersey Chapter), and Bronze Purse (I finished stitching it but never did anything with it – I love what this person did with it). The fourth, is Donna’s 32-count miniature tiger stitched on gauze that won 1st Place and the Pope-Leighey Award in 2020 and one of our favorites! Good to see it again.

And, there were a number of pieces by Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis aka Nelly for whom the Nelly’s Needlers were named after. The design for the fireplace screen is available in the gift store and the others are pieces from the 1800’s on perforated paper!

Speaking of Nelly’s Needlers, the folks who run the exhibit, always sell ginger cookies and we got some. I also picked up this bargello purse they called Nelly’s Purse. I love how the design looks open as much as when it’s closed. The finishing is impeccable. I found out the purse was designed by Pat Mazu for her journeyman level Master Teacher Program and named it Flowers on a Trailing Vine. Pat taught it 3 times, once in the Potomac/Washington DC area. No wonder I fell in love with it. Pat’s designs are amazing!

Now, on to the main exhibit. I did ask and was told that they will definitely be placing photos of the pieces in an online exhibit again this year. I don’t have an exact date. So, I am going to limit the photos I show in hopes you support them online. Looking at them online is like seeing the exhibit again but from a different viewpoint. It can be a lot to take in at one time. So, seeing it again online is great. And, their photos will not be taken with glare or sun streaming into the room.

Apparently, the Beach colorway of my Crescent Journey impressed these judges more than the original colorway did in 2019 because this version got a 2nd Place Award. They did not offer critiques but I do believe this colorway is more balanced and allows the crescents to be seen better.

I was one of the four ANG New Jersey Needle Artists (NJNA) to submit the Star of Stitches by Kathy Rees which was an ANG Stitch of the Month for 2020. Linda and I framed ours, Sue made hers into a tray, and Diane made hers into a pillow. Rosie, Sue (Honorable Mention), and Linda all members of the NJNA also sent Celestial Twist. The ANG Main Line Stitchers followed suite this year stitching Celestial Twist too and Heather got hers done quickly enough to enter it as well. Seeing multiple colorways of the same design is fantastic. You’ll be able to see the NJNA pieces on their blog at some point.

Speaking of Heather, Patti Lynn stitched her design called Once in a Blue Moon which was published in the EGA magazine, Needle Arts, in September 2020. And, Patti Lynn also stitched my design Overdyed Spools which I taught at the EGA Mid-Atlantic Regional meeting this past October using an overdyed thread of her choice. I love how Patti Lynn’s turned out. What is the chances the same woman would stitch both our designs and exhibit them in the same year! Very cool.

There were a good number of counted cross-stitch pieces that were stunning. In fact, Bill’s second People’s choice award went to Dimensions Lakeside Village by Elizabeth (readily found on a Google search). And, I love the Starry Night by Erin- several versions are available through a Google search but I think it might be by Artecy Cross Stitch. Both are cross stitch and such detail is achieved.

Speaking of Bill’s People Choice vote, his went to Heather’s Philadelphia Sunrise (Honorable Mention) which she did as Step 4 of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas program. It incorporated 8 bargello patterns (all had to touch but did not have to cover the entire canvas). It is an original design that has not been published and so I will not show it here. It really does capture our city skyline. My People’s Choice vote went to an original work by Beth called Triptych on Blue which is all beads in 3 different yet coordinated designs. Her other original designs were equally as impressive: Fall Leaves (better than the next 2 that won awards in my opinion), Silver Roots (1st Place), and Blue Waterfall (2nd Place and Judge’s Choice Award) which were all beading draped on/around different bottles. Again, I won’t post pictures of original designs – you’ll have to see the exhibit online!

I was interested to see 3 versions of Maharajah’s Elephant by Kathy (left), Patti Lynn (center), and Kathleen (right) because the ear is appliqued onto the main canvas. The applique technique appears to be slightly different than what must be done for Step 5 of the EGA Master Craftsman program that I am working on now. The elephant is a design by Mary Long and was available through EGA (https://egausa.org/courses/maharajahs-elephant/). Again, seeing multiple colorways of a piece is such fun and these were all in the same room making it easy to view in person.

Under the category of Counted Thread: Blackwork, Cheryl submitted 2 pieces from Peppermint Purple’s (Google search finds them easily) 2020 and 2021 Stitch-a-longs (First Place). There are many lovely designs on their website. The only other Blackwork on display was in the Winchester Chapter exhibit of one of a butterfly and another of some flowers. I have only done a very small square of Blackwork. It’s lovely but didn’t seem easy which may be why there aren’t a lot of them on display any given year. It probably would get easier once you get used to it. I’m not sure if the addition of the text is Chery’s idea or was part of the design but it’s cute.

The following award winners are all submitted under a Commercial design heading which means they are available to the public. If anyone knows who the designer is for any of these, please leave a comment. There are lots more in these and other categories.

Under the category of Canvaswork: Multi-stitch (4+) was Sonoma Rose by Joanne (Second Place; left photo). She had to lay long threads and they are perfect.

Under Canvaswork: Traditional (which must mean less than 4 different canvas stitches were employed) was Cheri’s Favorite by Cheri (First Place; center photo). I love the use of all overdyed threads.

Under the category of Embroidery: Goldwork was Kingfisher by Stephanie (First Place; shown in the right photo as a close up without the frame for details). I don’t recall seeing any colored goldwork and the way she applied the gold to appear like feathers is fantastic.

Hopefully, you will enjoy the online exhibit once it is made available because you’ll see lots more great needlework. A few of the special award winners can be found on the Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House Facebook page (keep scrolling down).