Melitastitches4fun's Blog


What’s the Point and Magifest!
January 27, 2023, 11:07 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needlepoint Shops, What's the Point

Top billing should be Magifest but this is a needlepoint blog! We drove out Tuesday to avoid snow/rain on Wednesday and break up the 7.5 hour drive to Columbus, OH into 2 legs to be sure we wouldn’t miss any of Bill’s 3-day magic convention (which I attend too-I am his assistant and a mentalist-no not a mental case). What with stops to stretch legs and lunch, we took 9 hours. Wednesday morningĀ  looked like it was going to get bad but I think we drove out of it.

We stayed near enough to the hotel where we’d stayed in 2010 for my first ANG Seminar (Bill was with me then too) that we knew to go to the North Market. Great spot.

These Magicians are night owls! Thursday’s events started at 5:00 pm and ended at 11 pm. That gave us time during the day so we could shop a little. And, I dropped Bill at Half Price Books and I went to What’s the Point and joined 6 ladies for a Stitch-in for about 2 hours! Karen was advising them on painted canvases. Some had less experience than others and Karen watched over them all. Very nice store. I picked up a notions bag and a small clear bag maybe to hold some magic that we’ll be getting at the dealer tables. I enjoyed dropping in and chatting with them.

Except for the hours, this is quite a bit like a needlepoint seminar. There are tables set up to sit and share their passion between lectures. People congregate in the bar and lobby. This event has been going on for years! Lots of first timers and they support the youth with special events. There must be over 750 people here. Two performers said 1,000 but I think that’s an exaggeration.



Golf Eyeglass Case

I started Bill’s golf eyeglass case at Christmas in Williamsburg. The Mini Block Golf design comes from Hinzelt kit. I created the B and I to stitch BILL on the opposite side of GOLF. It came with 4 charms that I attached with invisible thread. By the time the weekend was over, I had stitched the letters on both sides and started the background. I couldn’t stitch on the case exclusively or else Bill would have wondered what I’d done for 4 days – he does pay attention!!

Each half used almost a whole skein of Vineyard Silk Merino for the background. So, unbeknownst to Bill, he ran into Rittenhouse Needlepoint for another skein of thread so I could stitch the basketweave background of the second half. It took a couple of late nights but I finished stitching Bill’s golf eyeglass case before Christmas.

I did have to “finish” it after Christmas by adding a lining. And, the challenge was that his sunglasses are so much bigger than his eyeglasses that his eyeglasses will fall out easily. So, I stitched 2 magnets in place along the upper edge (one each side and then covered the inside with ultrasuede).



Snowflake Ornament

Michael’s usually has cute ornaments and this one caught my eye. It sat on my kitchen counter waiting for inspiration.

I had picked these designs up at Christmas in Williamsburg. Yesterday, I saw the ornament and remembered there were snowflakes in one of the four designs.

So, I selected the closest in size to my space and tent stitched the design, added some felt, and finished this ornament!



Stitched and Finished Colorful Forest

In the last post, you probably couldn’t see the partial sky I stitched using Silk Lame Petite SP02 White in the Colorful Forest (SS050) by Stitch Style Needlepoint. So, I ripped it out and restitched using a heavier overdyed sparkly light blue/white by ThreadworX (91015). Then, the snow fell into place.

I found this lovely piece of fabric for finishing this ornament (& hopefully others) at the Needleworkers Delight tables. They have an amazing collection of grounds of all kinds. I’m not sure anyone would stitch on this because it has so much pattern on it but it is perfect for my needs.

The fabric was fused to Skirtex (for stability) and the edge glued with Aileen’s glue. I folded back the edges of the canvas – no glue.

I placed 2 layers of felt behind the trees to fill in the space created. Another piece of fusible web went between the Skirtex and felt which only helped keep the 2 sides together as I sewed the cord into place using invisible thread.

A few final thoughts. A round shape is easier to finish than a heart. Additional stiffness from a piece or 2 of magazine board and additional layer(s) of felt would be good. If you puff up the front, then I suspect that you have to make the back slightly smaller so it isn’t bigger than the front because of the lift drawing it in and up. A piece stitched and finished in 10 days is a record! The overall ease of doing this one has encouraged me to tackle the rest of the ornaments. The rest? Yes, I have 4 Christmas ones and a seashell. ‘Tis the season and still early enough in December to accomplish this and enjoy them this year.



Trees in Colorful Forest Grew in Just 3 Days at Williamsburg, VA
December 4, 2022, 9:05 pm
Filed under: 2022 Christmas in Williamsburg, Needleworkers Delight

Needleworkers Delight put on a very nice event in Williamsburg. Because the ANG NJ Needle Artists’ table was too full for Buff and I to join, we sat at the next table. There we met some lovely ladies, including Cindy who had been in my EGA MAR Overdyed Spools class last year and her friend Janet. Over the 3 days, a variety of other people joined us which was fun too. Even more people stopped to look at Crescent Journey (I brought the lavender colorway) which I displayed on our table with photos of the other colorways. After explaining it is the ANG Stitch of the Month for 2023, three people were interested enough in joining ANG to stitch it. And, I found the closest local chapters for them.

Despite the time spent in 2 classes, looking at other people’s pieces, chatting, and shopping, I did finish the trees, trunks, and part of the sky of Colorful Forest during the Stitch-in. Although the stitches came in the stitch guide, I didn’t quite follow it completely correctly. Nobody would know except me, Buff, Cindy, and Janet because they were there when I realized what happened. Starting at 10 am without my full cup of coffee caused me to miss that the stitch guide writer, Jenny Barney McAuliffe, started stitching the back trees first instead of from left to right which is how I started. No harm done (2 trees swapped stitches). And, the last stitch on the dark blue tree was supposed to be a double reverse Nobuko but doesn’t reverse here. And, I am fine with that too because that gives both blue trees a vertical effect.

Buff is an excellent travel companion and roommate but has the same delusion as Bill – that I snore!



Silver Classes

I took 2 classes with Michele Arsenault to make silver pieces and forgot to take pictures of my Day 1 class where I made 3 needle minders. So, here will be the photos of my Day 2 pieces before firing and polishing. She takes them home and finishes the process and mails them to us.

Believe it ot not, the “silver clay” is 99.99 silver content. The clay burns off in a kiln leaving the silver particles which bond together.

The clay gets pressed into the molds. Then, you pop it out of the mold. I used a cookie cutter-like piece to cut out the round pair and a different tool to carve around the other. Besides Michele describing the process, the longest part of class is going through her molds to find what you want. She has hundreds of them.

For the first class we worked with 10 grams and second class was 20 grams. So, I made 2 pairs of earrings and poked a hole near the top so that Michele can make them into earrings. The Day 2 class was more in depth than Day 1. And, if I were to take the Day 3 class, I could try making a ring which offers the opportunity to join 2 pieces together. But, I’ll pass. I’m good with what I have now. More pictures once these are returned.



Colorful Forest in Williamsburg, VA

Buff and I won a free registration for Christmas in Williamsburg event sponsored by Needleworkers Delight at 2021 and 2022 New Jersey Needle Fest events, respectively! Buff had deferred hers and now we’re here together.

We drove in rain throughout the morning but it broke around Washington DC. A break for lunch and we are checked in at Kingsmill Resort. Quite a lovely place. Our registration package included a piece of Anne Cloth Fabric with instructions to make 8 cute holiday designs. However, I can use the cloth on my dining room table underneath the centerpiece poinsettia!

During the Stitch-in, I will be working on Colorful Forest (SS050) by Stitch Style Needlepoint. The stitch guide is by Jinny Barney McAuliffe. I picked it up at Greystone Needlepoint earlier this year. It’s a perfect project for a holiday Stitch-in! I kitted it from my stash.

Talk about serendipity. And the instructions and threads fit perfectly in my lovely project bag that Linda made!

I may switch out Trio in favor of Pepper Pot Silk Cream 003 because it is whiter and providing better coverage. I threw that in at the last minute. But, between the lecture on appraising needlepoint, silver classes, and shopping at the boutique, will I get to the white background before I leave on Sunday? What are silver classes? Stay tuned!



Ginkgo Leaves Stitched and Finished

The Lee canvas (design size 8.5″ x 3.75), BR67, Ginkgo Leaves, was easy and fun to stitch. The Gloriana Duchess Silk threads I got from Busy Lizzy were great to work with – so soft. I mixed in some sparkly threads on the edges of the leaves and in the patterns of four leaves.

Patterns are from a variety of sources including 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.

Patterns in the top row from left to right are from: Desert Island, Vol 1, pg 29; The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #1; Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches, Carl; and Lone Star, pg 50.

Patterns in the bottom row from left to right are from: Lone Star, pg 37; Lone Star, pg 53; Desert Sand, Vol 2, pg 30; and The Needlepoint Book, Byzantine #2.

Basketweave with Pepper Pot Silk, Cream filled in the background.

I found a Vera Bradley bag online that has a lovely interior fabric and good pockets.

The front of the bag had a large enough area to apply the canvas. I cut out the design leaving 9 canvas threads on each edge (1/2″). I cut a piece of ultrasuede allowing a 1″ border on each side. Then I cut the window out to fit the design exactly. The piece of vinyl is about 4 canvas threads larger than the design area and rests on top of the design without being attached in any way. A little Aileens fabric glue attached the ultrasuede to the outer edge of the canvas not covered by the vinyl (waited 2 hours), more glue to attach the ultrasuede to the bag (waited 2 hours), and glue again to place the black trim on the outer edge. Thanks to Jacqui C for the trim suggestion – it really makes a difference although from a distance you probably can’t see black on black. But up close you can. Also thanks to Jacqui for telling me there is such a thing as fabric glue! I was going to use E6000. This was so much easier and faster than ornament finishing!

For those of you super observant people who noticed a piece of wood sticking out from underneath the bag (bottom right corner of photo), the bag came with straps on the bottom. They said it was for a yoga mat but it holds my Elan lap stand! I wouldn’t “travel” with it there but for going back and forth to class this bag will hold the stand, my charger, light, travel supply bag, bottle of water, and perhaps a small project bag.



Fiber on a Whim at Expressions in NeedleArt

Last Saturday I went to Expressions in Needle Art in Canandaigua, NY. Lori has a wonderful collection of threads and yarns for stitchers and knitters. Lots of counted instructions and painted canvases.

First, I got talking with the 5 ladies from Endicott/Endwell, NY who had arrived almost the same time as I did. They were with the EGA B.C. Stitchers chapter. And, they will be stitching my Overdyed Spools in January! That was fun to find out. We exchanged information and I look forward to hearing from them next year.

Then, we got to exploring the store. I found an overdyed cotton thread by Fiber on a Whim. Pretty but I did resist them.

I don’t consider the 2 booklets that I picked up as “Books in My Library” because they are more project oriented. That is especially true for Vienna Hearts by Sue Lentz Needlework (1998/1999). I have a piece of interconnected hearts that I need to redo and write up. These are much larger than mine and I liked the patterns Sue choose.

The other booklet, That’s Not Needlepoint (It’s Inspired Art Created with Your Needle) is by dede Ogden (2011) which are now represented by Fleur de Paris, Inc. It’s not intended to be complete charts or diagrams to finish various painted canvases but to offer suggestions for types of elements found in seascapes. The first canvas discussed is Seahorse Spyglass 18073 and is still available (and so is a stitch guide by Tony Minieri). Other canvases discussed are still available from a variety of sources including Undersea Fish 1373, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Green Fish 18015, Glass Aquarium Tropicals Blue Fish 18034, Undersea Garden 1378, Seahorse Pillow 18056, and Enchanted Mermaid Dream 18050. The Casalgudi stitch is a new one and quite interesting. I’ve read the section several times in the past week to understand it. The center of the Orchid (which I have been putting off because I haven’t found the right stitch) may be why this stitch is calling to me. I’ll give it a try. The Railway Stitch makes a good background stitch. Sue has an interesting Bead Cup Stitch and shows how to expand an overlapping cross stitch to fit fluctuations in the width of seaweed.

The store walls had a bunch of stitched samples. I spotted the Textured Treasures design, From Dusk to Dawn, that we are stitching at ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter. I’m doing a group of three too but it will be a different three designs and in a different colorway than displayed.

In fact, that was the piece I had taken on the road to stitch. The outer boders of straight Gobelin stitches were easy.



Ginkgo Leaves

Ginkgo 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”?