Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Plans for 2015
December 31, 2014, 3:24 pm
Filed under: General comments

It took hours but I went through my stash that has been accumulating in several piles around the house. I found a lot of projects & finishing items (frame, purse, tea tray, eyeglass case, tote bag, ornaments, wood box & lacquered box). The 2 dozen projects included painted canvas with and without stitch guides and charted designs (some kitted). There are 6 projects actually started to some degree & 6 projects that are stitched but not “finished” yet.

So, as I move into 2015, I am going to work on a variety of types of projects including my 2 oldest WIP (Dragonfly-Sharon G-a painted canvas with stitch guide, Stitches in Sterling-Nancy Cucci-a counted canvas with stitch guide, 3 ornament-sized painted canvas pieces from our latest trips to Phoenix & Chicago, a name tag for my ANG chapter, and 2 of my own designs. Hopefully, I do not see more fantastic projects because I’ve got charted designs that I picked up recently that I would like to stitch too. But, I  am optimistic that I’ll get to several of them! Somehow.

The bag on the right goes to the basement to remain WIPs (along with countless charts & kits sitting/waiting in a cabinet) & the two on the left stay upstairs to be worked on in 2015! Another thought about VISION in 2015 will be to reconsider how much of what I have stored in the basement now might or might not be of interest in future years.

Thanks for visiting my blog throughout the year & hope you have a Healthy & Happy New Year!


Disposing of Needles, A Celebration
July 20, 2014, 11:35 am
Filed under: General comments, Needles

I finally went through my needles and am throwing away the old ones of which I had a good number of bad ones. Since I don’t have a “sharps” container, I decided to google disposing of sewing needles. Once site recommended wrapping in a rubber band and placing that bundle into a disposable receptacle such as an empty take out box, makeup compact, or pill bottle. Keeping them contained prevents them from poking out of the garbage bag.

As I do this, in the spirit of Hari Kuyo, a Japanese festival of Broken Needles that has been celebrated for over 400 years, I will ask for improved skills, acknowledge my work over the past years, and thank each for their help and service. Hari means needles and Kuyo means memorial service. Traditionally, they were stuck into tofu and floated down a river annually. The tofu served to soothe the needles after their labor and protect from the points of the needles from doing harm. Read all about it at


Since no sewing takes place on this day, I picked a good day to celebrate my needles because we are heading out to watch Monty Python live (Mostly), a 3-hour Fandango event with our Delaware friends, and dinner. Early birthday present for Bill!

Woodlawn Roadtrip 2014
March 14, 2014, 9:47 pm
Filed under: General comments, Gift Tags, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

Woodland’s 51st Annual Needlework Exhibition featured 500+ pieces which were fantastic (as always). The special exhibit (small but interesting) was “Needlework and the White House: A First Family Tradition”. It touched on the history of the needle arts in the President’s House. There were pieces made by first family members and holiday ornaments displayed that had been in the White House. By the way, this photo ( shows the 1995 White House Christmas Stockings that were on display at the 1996 Exhibit at Woodlawn. But, the stocking I saw was from Barbara Bush’s 1991 Christmas tree decorations (bottom right corner of the brochure).

Woodlawn brochure

A few of the items I noted were the fire screen done President Washington’s granddaughter (Nelly as in Nelly’s Needlers) and great-granddaughter, 3D pieces such as a baseball glove, snail, giraffe, and drum from George Bush’s library, and Grace Coolidge’s samplers.

From there, I entered the room filled with pieces done by Junior stitchers which were fantastic with amazingly vibrant colors. I was most taken with Linda who did an original design (524) of a girl’s head with a fan in black work (all black on white fabric). I like bright colors but it made for a very busy room and maybe why I liked the black/white piece – it allowed my eyes to rest!

There were many samplers again including one by Nancy that included details about the life of a doctor relative of hers (516) – a more modern piece. Look for it in the corner of the room across from and diagonal to the stairs. But, it is low enough to read easily once you find it!

Catherine Jordan had several pieces (always a joy to see her work) including 2 book covers (one that looked like a knot garden), an open-work scene with see through layers of several trees, and 2 zentangle pieces (you can see examples on her website – very interesting).

Doreen’s stump work (533) with flowers and bugs leaping off the canvas were great but her surface embroidery (536) was so unique and delicate that Bill and I voted for it as our People’s Choice Award. She had three levels of cloudy shaped fabric mats to feature the design of a balloon basket containing the silhouette of a man and woman with the Eiffel Tower in background. It was stitched on such a fine piece of gauze that the balloon really appeared to be floating. There were even some beads adorning the basket. Only after the docent shined the light on the piece could you see the gauze more easily.

Becky’s Assisi white roses (33) were stunning done with black stitched outlines and a red background.

It always impresses me when people display multiples and large pieces. Ann’s 4 black footstools (451 452 453 454) displayed 3 flower designs and a dog. I doubt she shipped them!

Patricia made unique use of decorative white buttons of various sizes and shapes for the flowers which rested atop white cross stitch stems (310). I have a lot of buttons in various colors, sizes, and shapes that is on my list to use in a piece at some point. So, I was quite inspired by Patricia’s simple yet interesting use of the buttons.

Angela’s miniature Bluebird (610) got a First Place ribbon and reminded me of Carol’s (from TN) bird which won the ANG Princess Grace Award because Angela’s was small and done on a fine gauze too. You can see Carol’s in the July 2012 issue of NeedlePointers.

Thanks to Robin, I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite Charlie Parker designs (408), the cardinal sitting in a birdbath, B-r-r-r-r-rdbath.

Carol Ann did Ribbon Fantasy a Carole Lake design (584) which we considered for a chapter project – it has 7 ribbons each of 3 getting successively longer towards the longest center ribbon. Hers had small framed photos dangling from the end of each one.

Carol’s Solar Flare designed by Ro Pace with white in the center and red on the outer portion done on black canvas with tons of Jean Hilton stitches (22) can be seen in the 2013 ANG Awards Gallery (NeedlePointers Jan 2014 issue). In case you want to see the contrast, you can see Nancy’s Solar Flare on a white canvas in the 2010 ANG Awards Gallery (NeedlePointers Jan 2011).

Pat’s flag (321) done in small squares each with different stitches which reminded me of an ANG piece maybe that was passed around as I recall. I sure do wish I had a better memory at times like this!!

My “Crescent River” (didn’t win a ribbon) was in the same upstairs room as Christine’s (ANG’s current CyberWorkshops Committee Chairman) 2 very large pieces (116, 117) which are geometric designs stitched in similar purples which will no doubt make a stunning display in her home. I don’t know why they weren’t hanging together at Woodlawn – they were close but not next to each other. Despite being in the sunniest room in the house, you really didn’t see the reflective nature of my river until the docent shined the light directly on it. As she said, we will have to display it with a light to shine on it at home too. Kurdi did an original design with Jean Hilton stitches in three sections. There was an amazing amount of detail but I couldn’t see it good enough because it was too high on the wall. And, Eleanor submitted her 2013 ANG Stitch of the Month designed by Debbie Stiehler (850), a geometric pattern, using four-way Florentine stitches done in greens and blues. ANG offers tons of projects going back to the late 1990s even to non-members via – there are still several I would like to stitch!

Ruth had a small abstract design done on an orange background of unknown fabric with beads in the bottom left hand corner and rays radiating out to the upper right hand corner – a very modern design that was small but very interesting (324). It probably qualifies as “fiber art”.

Lots of wonderful stuff was in the Christmas room! John, stitched a Santa’s face that was absolutely amazing because of the very small count fabric and the shading that make it look like a photograph (212). The beautiful Christmas stockings on the mantle seem to be getting bigger and bigger each year. And, Joan made 3 standing Saints, each about 18″ tall on pedestals with 4 inch deep to give them stability (418, 419, 420). And, Laura’s train with the engine, five or six boxcars each lined with inside slots for candy canes, and the caboose was amazing (456). I can’t imagine how much that cost to get done by a finisher. But, a highlight for me personally was the piece Bill spotted first done by Pam which is the same piece that I gave to Dottie with the white trees and snowflakes (372) (!

Of interest to me because of our upcoming spring project was Marilyn’s long piece (like a Bell pull but longer and wider) of Chicago’s buildings and in the sky were several logos of the local sports teams.

Lastly, I had to go back to the displays outside the dining room to see the wonderful, very large, 3D butterfly (613) stitched by Lynn (a docent I had met upstairs) who used all silk ribbons. The butterfly must have been raised 2 to 3 inches off the surface – I wish it wasn’t so far back in the room and I can understand they don’t want people touching anything but it is so hard to see that far and get any details. Maybe I will bring binoculars next year!!

I wish I could talk about all the pieces I saw – all are worth talking about – another wonderful show. And, our weather was fantastic last weekend. If you can take the time to go, you’ll love it. We had eaten breakfast and so did not have lunch this year but it must have been good (as usual) because they were packed (as usual).

They have another raffle this year & I picked up some gift tags that were hand stitched by members of Nelly’s Needlers to benefit Woodlawn. It is a great way for a chapter to practice stitches and raise money!

Gift Tags

Basketweave Direction
February 23, 2014, 9:45 pm
Filed under: General comments

Last week, I happened to read through several old ANG NeedlePointer magazines and found an article on basketweave that explained what direction to stitch. This week, I picked up this piece for some easy stitching and realized that I could figure out the proper place to start. The article said, if you are right-handed, work up the horizontal and down on the vertical. And, I can see that clearly on this piece now!

I must come down on the vertical:


Whip Stitch for Edging
February 21, 2014, 10:08 pm
Filed under: General comments

I  do like finishing some pieces on my own in various ways mainly because I do not have much wall space left. And, one of the stitches I use is the whip stitch to finish the edge without blocking. It works good for small pieces to go in such things as ready-made frames, bookends, or box tops – it doesn’t create a thick edge & won’t ravel. As long as I don’t pull threads too taut, the canvas doesn’t get distorted. But, I still haven’t used the stitch often enough that I have it memorized. So, this is my stitched example that I can pull up anytime to refer to it. I have to work it left to right. And, it is better to start and/or end on an edge – not a corner!

Whip stitch

Please VOTE: Mission Main Street Grants Competition
November 7, 2013, 7:14 pm
Filed under: General comments
Hi folks, I would really appreciate everyone’s help for my sister and her husband’s embroidery business. I will let them explain:
Dear Melita,
Thank you for telling me about this contest and I would like to ask for your offered help in obtaining 250 votes so our embroidery business may be considered in this JPMorgan Chase Bank small business competition.
Its main sponsor is Google PLUS these sponsors:
National Federation of Independent Business
National Minority Supplier Development Council
National Veteran Owned Business Association
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
National Urban League
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation
Winning the grant would allow us to embrace the ages-old concept of “PAY-IT-FORWARD” where, in our current early retirement stage of life, the embroidery / embellishment business would obtain a lockable towable trailer.  Taking the equipment to pre-arranged schools for demonstrations would allow us to help teachers inspire young minds by seeing the business in person.  (It is our thought that many school budgets have been cut often and severely for field trips – among other things – so the field trip will go to the school !  Our Hartford business insurance already covers the equipment and liability of such trips.)
First there would be the obvious artistic aspect showing how art / photographs are made into embroidery or placed onto fabric to be used in examples like quilts or tee shirts.  Immediate and tangible, (prearranged with each school) the students would see their own artwork or photography put on a mug or fabric tote bag for them to take home.
The intangible side would be seeing the process.  Seeing an embroidery machine create art on fabric at up to 1500 stitches per minute is very interesting to watch…and how art becomes embroidery involves programming right on our laptop.  It is very similar to CAD programming which is introduced in many high school programs.  Also there is chemistry involved in photochromic technology…Threads or inks that glow in the dark or change color are very engaging!
Running any of the three machines is a factory/production concept.  Plus there are disciplines such as drafting, engineering, machining and maintenance involved in the equipment itself.  Concepts touching upon small and large businesses, entrepreneurial ventures, local / global economies and accounting could be of interest to teachers in such areas.
Our application for the grant also earmarked some funds for completion of our website, some extra thread and inventory items and an apprentice for our local production.  Several part-time sales reps would be added on a commission basis as well.
Just so you know, the legal agreement Photique – and all entrants – had to make with Chase is VERY specific that, if awarded, the funds MUST be utilized as outlined.  No vacations at the beach!!!
Again, 250 votes are needed to be entered in the competition and we at Photique would appreciate your votes VERY MUCH !  Many thanks to any who are willing to vote for us to become an eligible contestant.
To Vote:
1 — Go to
2 — Click on “Vote”
3 — Enter the zip code “13126” for Photique, our business name.
4 — Connect with Facebook.  (It is the only way to vote.)
5 — Click on “Vote Now.”
DEADLINE  for  VOTES:  Friday NOVEMBER 15th.
Thanks again for finding this, Melita!
Anita and Steve

Since this is a photoblog, I am also sharing an apron they made for me for Christmas – I love roses! Don’t they do beautiful work? I would really appreciate your help to get them to the next step in the process. Thanks so much for your time. Melita

Good luck Anita & Steve – love you too, Melita  (going to vote now!)


Needlepoint in Vermont
October 3, 2013, 8:37 pm
Filed under: General comments, Other People's Pieces

I may not have found any needlepoint stores in Vermont but I am finding interesting needlepoint pieces in antique stores (first 3 I have no further info on them) and a sampler (a common pattern from Springfield, VT area for a family record sampler done by a 13-year-old, Martha Harkins) and a quilt at the Bennington Museum. It is a 150 year old quilt done by Jane Stickle with 169 five-inch blocks, each in a different pattern, containing a remarkable total of 5,602 pieces, all surrounded by a unique scalloped border. The quilt is in perfect condition & only on display for a limited time each year.

This trip saved me money & from having more unfinished projects! But, I was very fortunate to see such nice work, especially the quilt.






Quilt close up


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