Melitastitches4fun's Blog


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).



Star of Stitches, Framed and Arrived at Woodlawn

The Star of Stitches by Kathy Rees was an ANG Stitch of the Month for 2020 and the ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter followed ANG’s New Jersey Needle Artists (NJNA) chapter stitching it a year later. We gained some good insights by seeing how they made out. Main Line enjoys selecting their own colorways as much as NJNA.

I have been hitching a ride to Woodlawn with NJNA for a couple of years now. And, since Zoom offered the opportunity to join them, I am now a member of that chapter too. I finished and framed Star of Stitches in time to accompany theirs into the 2022 Woodlawn exhibit. They have been scattered throughout the exhibit as a scavenger hunt opportunity for kids attending the exhibit.

The frame came from Jim at Reppening Fine Arts in Audubon, NJ. He had just brought it out of the back room for the first time in a year. It was sitting on the work table and was the fastest selection of a frame ever!

I’m also sending Crescent Journey in the beach colorway. In 2019, I had sent the original colorway which didn’t get a ribbon although it did get a favorable critique with constructive comments that I hope this colorway addresses. Jim framed this too.

Thanks again to Linda M (from NJNA) and her husband for taking all the pieces from NJNA for the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibit. They drove down in rain but the sun greeted them today for check-in. It’s wonderful that Woodlawn has made submission and check-in electronic. You upload a photo and print 2 forms per piece. Nothing needs to be attached to the piece now. It’s faster for all as well. I got an email as soon as Linda checked mine in.



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.