Melitastitches4fun's Blog


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.



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.



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.



Rainbow Ribbons, Bands 1 and 2

My ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter is stitching Rainbow Ribbons by Kam Wenzloff published in Nov/Dec 2019 issue of Needlepoint Now.

I am stitching another and last pillow for the guest bedroom. So, I have more purple threads again. This is Lavender (51) from Color Complements and DMC #5 Perle 550.

Many of us are changing the dimensions of the stitched area and we discussed enlarging the piece at our last meeting. The piece is designed to be 163 threads wide by 160 threads high. The designer suggests stitching some of each band until you get to Band 7 because there are 40 giant rice stitches from top to bottom eliminating the need to count to 160 threads and potential counting errors. You can compensate any band to any length. However, Bands 8 and 11 are also important widths to consider when deciding the length. Band 8 is stitched as a repeating unit of 20 threads and Band 11 over 10 threads. Band 12 is also over 4 threads like Band 7. Only Band 2 is over an odd number of 3 threads. So, if you want to lengthen the piece, doing so in 20 thread increments (a little over an inch on 18 count) will eliminate compensation for Bands 7, 8, 11, and 12. Then, only Band 2 gets compensated. So, I basted in increments of 10 because I want to stitch complete columns moving left to right going down 11″.

We’re going to do 2 bands each month. And, I am ready for Monday’s October 12th Zoom meeting.

Speaking of Zoom, our Starbucks location closed permanently anyway. Another casualty of 2020. Trying to look on the positive side of it, we have Zoom and plenty of time to look for another place. I don’t believe that we will be meeting face to face at least until the spring. Between coronavirus and the weather, I have to hope by spring things will be better!



Color Complements Threads for ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter Projects

September starts another year for our ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter. We will start out with 2 new counted projects. Twelve of us are stitching Rainbow Ribbons by Kam Wenzloff from Needlepoint Now Nov/Dec 2019 issue. And, six of us are stitching the ANG 2020 Stitch of the Month (SOTM) with three of us switching from Watercolours to Color Complements.

Most the threads got distributed to folks over lunch outdoors at Nudy’s. Everyone is very excited about getting started.

Only 2 people selected the same color as the stitched model. The rest are a wonderful array of color. Not everyone is doing the 9 x 9 design size. There are a variety of sizes including two people who are doubling the width or length.



Technique Issue: Stitching into stitches and catching fiber
November 26, 2019, 11:46 am
Filed under: General comments, Technique Issues, Threads

In reading over suggested materials from the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas bibliography, I have found a couple of interesting issues and will post about some of them. I’d love to get your input on these.

In Needlepoint and Beyond: 27 Lessons in Advanced Canvas Work by Edith Anderson Feisner, she says to always work into the stitches that have been previously done. That makes sense. It’s also been described as working from a clean hole into a dirty hole. That’s not always possible but an excellent tenet to follow.

Before I proceed, let me say she is using size 10 or 12 mesh interlock canvas and Colbert Persian wool in her examples. So, perhaps her next statement that I have some question about is not applicable to all fibers.

She says to catch just a tiny bit of the fiber as you work the stitch to lock the stitches together but do not split the fiber. Her reasoning is that, “This will prevent friction between stitching from building up and destroying the fibers.”

Do you think her finished pieces are being used as rugs or something being handled a lot? Because when would there be friction after you stitched and framed something?

I have always tried to keep the holes more “clean” by specifically avoiding catching the fiber from the previous stitch. I thought that was preferred. And, so, perhaps “it depends” on what you are stitching and for what purpose. In straight stitches like bargello, it might decrease the chance of seeing the bits of canvas on either side of the threads (sometimes referred to as teeth or dandruff). And, bargello patterns are often pillows or purses which would get wear.

Have you ever heard anyone recommend catching the fiber while stitching? And, if so, when, what fiber, and why.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments.



Osterville Needlepoint Shop in Cape Cod
October 8, 2019, 5:46 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needlepoint Shops, Osterville Needlepoint Shop, Threads

The Osterville Needlepoint Shop in Mashpee, MA in Cape Cod has a great selection of threads and canvases. And, a wonderful staff. I don’t recall seeing Treenway Silk Cords and Ribbons. Love the color combinations.

Even after I said I had too many projects to purchase anything, I was invited to join the ladies to sit and stitch. Had it not been for my husband waiting in the car, I would have joined them. Two nice big tables, plenty of light, and such pleasant women. Another time! Good place for classes. And, lots more threads not seen in this photo.



Watercolor Poppies Stitch & Zip
July 21, 2019, 7:31 am
Filed under: General comments, Other People's Pieces, Stitch N' Zip, Threads

Having a small, easy piece to stitch and carry with me is great for trips. And, Stitch & Zip pieces fulfill both requirements. I found this eyeglass case in a corner of a gift store called Wonderful Things in Great Barrington, MA in May 2018. The only needlepoint in the store was a few of these. So, I had to pick it up! It’s called Watercolor Poppies.

I found a few threads appropriate for 14 count canvas in my stash including Vineyard Merino a violet M-1042 Dark Earth, 2 greens M-1065 Martini and M-1067 Foliage and 2 roses Silk & Ivory 161 Lida Rose, 162 Rosie O’Grady.

But, I still needed lots of colors so I found more Silk & Ivory in August 2018 while stopping at Point of It All (before ANG Seminar) including yellow 241 Maize, 2 shades of orange 213 Banana and 215 Clementine, 2 shades of pink 185 Cosmopolitan and 119 Grenadine, a red 199 Tamale, and 3 blues 198 ahoy, 36 Admiral Blue, and 69 Forgot-Me-Not.

Apparently, Silk & Ivory pills more depending on which end is threaded! If you thread Silk & Ivory one way, it pills. If you thread it the other way, it doesn’t. So, if you find which end splays more, you should always thread that end into the needle’s eye. I didn’t find any pilling issues but these are small areas and the canvas is 14 count. Good tip!

I found this tip in an earlier blog posting and it’s worth repeating: In order to get the top edge to angle like the rest, turn the canvas upside down and stitch left to right with the needle moving straight up, the thread ends up angled correctly (like basketweave).

I was surprised to see how the colors in the photo of the stitched example differ from the canvas colors.

I stitched more closely to the canvas colors.



Budapest Ornament Using Color Complements
May 28, 2019, 10:12 am
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2018, Budapest Ornament, General comments, Threads

Lorraine of Colour Complements gave everyone at ANG Seminar in 2018 a sample of her lovely hand dyed threads. I got a dyed green/gold DMC #5 Perle Cotton (my favorite fall colors). In the package was also DMC #5 Perle 500 solid green and Anchor Floss 392 solid beige grey. I’d already been getting her newsletter and love seeing her combinations of colors in all the threads she dyes. So, I was very happy to see it in person.

I came across her package of threads recently and just after seeing a stitch pattern in Painted Canvas Embellishment: An Idea Book by Carole Lake and Michael Boren called Budapest Stitch. The sample of the hand dyed thread was only 5.47 yards. So, I stitched the over 3 straight stitches until I ran low on thread and made a symmetrical shape (4 units × 4 units of the Budapest Stitch to form an inner square). Each unit looks like a mini 4-way star bargello pattern. The 5.47 yards got used up faster than what I expected. I wanted something bigger. So, I made an outer square with the solid green perle cotton which turned out to be a nice contrast.

At that point, I was still considering a round (4″) ornament or a square (3 & 1/2″) coaster. But, adding compensation stitches of the Budapest Stitch seemed perfect for a circle.

That left small areas for the Hungarian Stitch with just enough of the hand dyed thread to fill in 4 Hungarian Stitches on each corner creating some movement of color towards the edge. For the rest, I used 4 strands of the beige grey floss.

For the squares, I went to Sandra Arthur’s Shapes of Needlepoint, Series I for 4 x 4 square stitches. That size would allow some canvas to show thereby framing the fill-in stitches. I selected stitches that would allow me to use the solid green perle cotton and 2 strands of the beige grey floss. These three patterns seemed to be enough variety for a small ornament: Leviathan Stitch, V Stitch, and Padded Scotch Stitch.

Thanks Lorraine for the threads! This ornament was a lot of fun from a design point of view too. And, it’ll be fun to watch out for other stitch patterns that would work up with just a few threads.