Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Garland of Christmas Lights, EGA Friends of Fiber, & Fiber Art Now

I couldn’t find a ball of DMC #8 Pearl cotton in a particular color locally. So, I ordered it from Herrschners in mid October. I was surfing the website and found a garland of Christmas lights on plastic canvas. So I ordered the kit as well. I couldn’t get just one ball of DMC #8 Pearl, right?!? I had Bill put the kit away and today I opened it having forgotten all about it! I have a string of wooden light bulbs. These will be cute too.

Since I am not ready to be a full member of EGA’s Fiber Forum, I signed up for EGA’s Friends of Fiber Forum ($10/year) https://egausa.org/fiber-forum/. It’ll be a great start to see what goes on with the group.

I also got a year (4 issues) of Fiber Art Now (https://www.fiberartnow.net/). The website has tons of things to explore once you subscribe including their digital archive.

Quite a diverse selection! From plastic 7 count canvas to fiber arts.



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.



ANG Central Jersey Chapter (CJC) Visit for Saturday Meeting

Since the CJC-sponsored Autumn 3-Ways class with Toni Gerdes was cancelled due to Toni’s plane cancellation last month, I visited the chapter at their November meeting to pick up the kit. Since class had already been postponed a year due to covid, it will be on 2 or 3 Zoom sessions for questions. Toni’s directions are good and we’ll be getting lecture notes too. It would have been nice to have a 2-day in person class but this will work out fine.

Toni’s kit has a line drawn canvas, 2 needle felting needles, foam, felt, lovely fall colored threads, teeny tiny beads (Delica Suze 15). I don’t recall ever using Sparkle! Braid or Soy Luster and know I haven’t used Painters Threads. I love trying out new threads. Oh boy, Fusible Web is included! I hope my iron survives this. We had over a dozen different fabrics to choose from. All were lovely but I selected the original used in Toni’s design. Considering this design has been out at least since 2014 (copyright date), it’s amazing that she still has swatches of the original fabric. I love the needleminder she included which is the same as the design! So cool.

The chapter will be stitching Festive Fireworks from the July 2017 issue of Needle Pointers magazine (https://melitastitches4fun.com/?s=Festive&submit=Search) in June/July 2023. So, I took my framed piece to show them. At least one person discussed changing the colors to a Mardi Gras theme. Sounds intriguing.

I also took the 5 colorways of Crescent Journey, the 2023 ANG Stitch of the Month. The materials list and guidance for selecting threads will have to wait until January (probably the 3rd due to the holiday). They and I will be visiting ANG PA’s Keystone Garden in December and NJNA in January. Thanks so much to Linda, Lisa, and Kristen for allowing me to hold onto their stitched pieces for a local tour! They were a big hit and I discussed the lessons learned about looking at values as much as colors. The Neutral seemed to be the most popular. Beach at Night got alot of discussion because it looks so lacy but stitching on black was a concern.

While many of the CJC members worked on their month’s project, I basketweaved the background of Ginkgo Leaves, a Lee canvas. I will probably stitch on this again at my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in on Saturday.



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”?



Floral Fantasy Turns Into A Beaded Nightmare
July 22, 2022, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Floral Fantasy, Other People's Pieces

Well, nightmare is too strong. However, pulling out beads you stitch through twice is not easy.

I was trying to get full coverage with the beads. But the 8/0 seed beads were too big for clusters of 5 even on 14 count. And, it looked messy.

So, in the May/June 2021 issue of Needle Pointers, Marilyn Owen had written an excellent article on various beading techniques in needlepoint. I thought I would try beaded basketweave with the same 8/0 beads (still on 14 count). But, as Marilyn said, that stitch is only good in small areas because it gets quite cramped. So, once that happened, out they came – again and I switched to 11/0 seed beads. Finally, it wasn’t too cramped. For a self-proclaimed non-expert, Marilyn was spot on.

I wanted full coverage and it is covered! I estimate that there is about 800 beads on that one flower. I used the beaded basketweave method which employs a cross-stitch to attach the beads following the grain of the canvas to turn beads causing the vertical canvas thread to raise the beads above the adjacent horizontally placed beads. It did take some time too but I got through it ok.

Once the beads were done, the center diamond waffle got lost. So, I had stitch over it a second time. Much better.

Considering that the first flower required that many beads, I knew that I would not have enough to cover the entire second pink flower. So, I had to go in another direction. The Partial Eyelet with Crosses is from Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts. I used 3 shades of pink Sparkle Rays (SR26, SR58, and SR57) to create shading. I filled in with a Raibow Gallery thread from a 6-thread card, maybe 24 Karats, possibly a discontinued color. I wanted to tie in the pink beads so I put one in each eyelet center.

As I had hoped, one project is done before I leave for Seminar where I will be starting two new ones. It’s a small one at 4″ square. Probably going to frame it. We’ll see.



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.



Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, by Gay Ann Rogers
November 21, 2021, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess, Other People's Pieces

This is the 4th piece of the Downton Abbey series by Gay Ann Rogers. I worked on the overstitching with the darker plum Impressions in the corners of the Scotch stitch variation yesterday at our ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in. Due to Thanksgiving next weekend, we moved it to a week earlier than usual. Robin was a most generous host with a great soup and chicken salad lunch and brownies made by Pat. Last night, I finished the overstitching and filled in the Smyrna stitches. This morning, I finished the overstitching on the long diagonal chains with black Kreinik 1/16 Ribbon. I love it!

Gay Ann Rogers was inspired by this photo of Violet Crawley. Once again, Gay Ann captured the look and feel of the photo in her geometric. According to her website, Gay Ann will be releasing “Dowager in the Evening” at some point but it will be larger and beaded. While I may get it, I have a plan to design two more Downton Abbey pieces based on pictures I have selected. Then, I will frame all six together (or maybe three and three). I’ve had the threads for my first piece for awhile (they were in the dining room mess). After Thanksgiving, I hope to have completed all or most of the design on the computer and start stitching it. Oh boy, that’s a fifth piece calling to me!



Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, More Pulled Work
November 13, 2021, 8:10 pm
Filed under: ANG Main Line Stitchers Chapter, Gay Ann Roger's, Dowager Countess

Last month, I realized that a few sections of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers were going to require extra concentration than can be done at our monthly ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter Stitch-in where chatting can disrupt with counting. We’ll be meeting next weekend which is a week early for our Saturday Stitch-in due to Thanksgiving.

So, I took advantage of this rainy afternoon after the morning Zoom session of ANG New Jersey Needle Artists Stitch-in to do the pulled thread stitch called Faggoting. My husband was grocery shopping and the TV was off. It was easy enough except on my hand. Pulling canvas threads on 18 count monocanvas hurts my hand. Congress Cloth would be easier.

So, rather than overwhelm my hand, I enlarged the holes (rows surrounding the center) as was done for eyelet stitches. I made all the holes larger along the whole row so that I could easily stitch the row without stopping. It worked out well. It gives a lacey effect and looks more and more like the Dowager Countess.

While I had the #8 Pearl cotton Ecru out, I stitched the slanting gobelin area with Smyrnas. With any luck, I will be posting a completed piece next weekend!



Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Corners Done
October 24, 2021, 9:32 am
Filed under: Gay Ann Roger's, Countess of Granrham, Other People's Pieces

Last month, I stitched 2 corners of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham by Gay Ann Rogers. They were less tricky this month but I still could only get the third corner stitched during my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter members Saturday Stitch-in yesterday. Thanks again to Buff for offering her home and lunch.

There was still a lot of baseball left when I finished the fourth corner. So, I kept going and added more to the inner diagonal chains, added a motif to the top and bottom large center ‘stones’. The next part on the outer diagonal chains looked tricky. So, it’ll wait until I have fresh eyes. I’m not sure if any additional areas will be ones I can stitch, count, and chat.