Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark
August 9, 2022, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark

While in Tucson, we wandered into a bookstore and I found a book on Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark. It looks like needlepoint doesn’t it!

Examples of this craft in the book were found almost exclusively in Emmet County, Michigan. The Native population of Ottawa created these pieces. Birchbark contains an alcohol making it antiseptic and resistant to microorganisms. The containers were therefore used for storage of food or other perishables. But, most of the examples show pieces used for decoration.

Layer in the week I found an example of the craft. That’s an inner lining on the upper left corner – not sure what is the purpose of the liner.

ANG 2022 Seminar and Blue Hills, Day 2 with Dawn Donnelly
August 5, 2022, 7:39 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2022, Blue Hills with Dawn Donnelly

Day 2 of my third class with Dawn Donnelly started with Dawn demonstrating the Butterfly Chain stitch. That’s the green stone stitches tied together. I took photos of the steps as I stitched it because I kept missing it from her diagrams.

The stem stitch went in underneath just fine. However, once I got past the third row of Oriental stitch, it got tough because the area got so thin. But, I figured it out on graph paper. I didn’t fill in any of the Gobelin stitches yet.

Dawn talked us through straight stitch areas to allow more time on other areas. The Mosaic Checkerboard is tricky only because it is a small area. The green is Huck’s Weaving which is easy enough.

I’m not looking forward to making a fake bullion with DMC Pearl #5 because you need at least 72″ length of thread to cover from side to side without breaking!

Various French Knots, eyelets, and blue Rhodes stitches (begun in the bottom area) should not be a problem. I hope my notes on paper and beads are clear when I get home.

I’ll have to finish this asap once I get home so that I remember what to do! Once I get in my comfy chair with my lap stand (which I forgot to bring), I should be able to finish this relatively quickly. It’s on 14 count canvas and really fun once you get the rhythm of an area. During a 2-day class, you have to move on just when you are enjoying the area. That’s just what happens in a class setting.

Seminar 2022 is over now. What a week! Lots of people telling me that they are looking forward to stitching Crescent Journey – very happy!

ANG Seminar and Blue Hills with Dawn Donnelly
August 4, 2022, 9:47 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2022, Blue Hills with Dawn Donnelly

My third class, also 2 days, is Blue Hills with Dawn Donnelly. It is another type of applique of a different sort – applying paper to a canvas. This is also referred to as Mixed Media. Dawn makes her own paper. We didn’t have to do that but she explained the process and has a Zoom lecture on that topic which I was fortunate enough to be an invited guest earlier this year. She gave an abbreviated talk about the process today.

Her advertised description of class is: The hills in Michigan may not be big or blue, but they are beautiful.  We are surrounded by water and a wide range of terrain.  Blue Hills is my attempt at bringing that beauty to life.  After a short lecture on handmade paper, the student will spend time exploring the paper by painting, wetting, tearing and cutting it into shapes.  It will be attached to the canvas and surrounded with stitches including Corset, French Knots, Branscombe Edge, Criss Cross Hungarian, Butterfly Chain, Oriental, Rhodes and a fake Bullion.

We cut and ripped paper in the am and then painted some of the pieces.

In the afternoon, we started attaching one of the pieces. We also did 2 of the toughest stitches, Corset (top stitch) and Branscombe Edge 2nd from the top stitch). Corset comes up under stitches and Branscombe Edge builds 3 buttonhole stitches next to each other. Dawn said that we could make the backstitches over 2 or 3 canvas threads. I did over 2 and they got crunched together.

This is over 3 canvas threads so you can see the difference. I kind of like mine better because it is not as uniform.

Day 1 progress. I will be finishing the 4th band tonight so that the paper is completely attached.

Photographing Needlepoint with Jennifer Reifenberg

We got some great tips on photographing needlepoint from Jennifer Reifenberg. I have been getting photos on cloudy but bright days but need to get a white board to help get rid of shadows. Also, I need to get a white and black matte background fabric depending on what I’m photographing.

Photo taken a few years ago.

Today’s photo during class.

So, I can already see an improvement in my photos.

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 ( 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.

ANG 2022 Seminar and Mesa Triangle with Kathy Rees, Day 2
August 1, 2022, 12:30 am
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2022, Mesa Triangle with Kathy Rees

All went well again today! We stitched more in the morning.

In the afternoon, we got our fabric.

I selected a darker triangular piece because the background is going to be light. We learned how we would attach the batik fabric applique (it is being “previewed” in the photo – it is not attached yet). The applique looks big but is the same size as hers. I didn’t get much stitching done in the afternoon but that’s OK.

ANG 2023 Stitch of the Month
August 1, 2022, 12:17 am
Filed under: ANG Stitch of the Month, 2023

I’ve been busting to share that Crescent Journey is going to be the 2023 Stitch of the Month! The five colorways were revealed today at the exhibit for the ANG 50th Anniversary Seminar.

Starting in January 2023, instructions will be released monthly. I also explain how selecting colors needs to consider value. You can see that influence in the various colorways because different features appear more evident than in others.

ANG 2022 Seminar and the President’s Award for A Spring Sampler
July 31, 2022, 11:47 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2022, President's Award

What a wonderful surprise it was to hear A Spring Sampler got the final award of the night – The President’s Award from Janice G!

It didn’t get any ribbon from the judges but it was my first year in the professional category for original designs. Janice said that not only was it a pretty design but my Artist Statement explained how this is a result of my dedication to learning from 10 different ANG teachers who have offered design classes over the years including Making Stitches Work For You, taught by Carolyn Mitchell who challenged us to make our own band sampler.

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.

ANG 2022 Seminar and Mesa Triangle with Kathy Rees, Day 1
July 30, 2022, 10:47 pm
Filed under: ANG Seminar 2022, Mesa Triangle - Kathy Rees

My first class at the 50th Anniversary of ANG is Mesa Triangle with Kathy Rees. I decided to make 2022 the year of the applique (my EGA Step 5 post will be coming soon).

Her advertised description: “An abstract geometric, Mesa Triangle features a triangle of batik fabric appliqued to the canvas. A variety of stitches, including couching over laid cording, are used to produce movement within the design.  Compensation and placement of stitched areas will be discussed and the student will be encouraged to adapt the piece to reflect their personal interpretation.” The piece is 3.5″ x 12″ design size.

Day 1 went well despite me forgetting my lap stand. I am managing by resting it between my lap and the table.

I stayed pace with the class. Some are ahead of me, some behind, and at least one person decided to place things where they fall upon her first count (not following the diagrams accuratly at least twice from what i heard). Kathy reminded her that consistency will be important. At least 3 of the 6 people on my side of the room had to rip out something once or twice – ok – 3 times! Only one mistake irrated me because of how far I had gotten. But, it was rectified quickly enough.

Progress from the morning and afternoon 3-hour sessions. The overdyed floss is Mesa Sunset. Beautiful! No stitching in the evening. Giving my eyes a break!