Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Monthly Zentangle Class
February 12, 2020, 3:43 pm
Filed under: General comments, Zentangle

Since our weather has been so cooperative here in Philly, I have gone out at night to a church in Chestnut Hill for Mindy Shapiro’s 2-hour class in January and February. She is a certified Zentangle teacher that I took a class from back in November.

Last month, we did a round piece (4.5″ diameter) which was a Klimt-inspired design. I’m very excited about an ANG Cyberpointers Workshop for Klimt Kimono by Toni Gerdes which starts May 1, 2020.

This month, we did the same heart-shaped design on 4 small 2″ squares to form a mosaic for Valentine’s Day.

My Micron pens, pencils, and tortillion tools grew enough to warrant a case which lots of room to hold more.

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Christmas in January Brings a Beautiful Project Bag for my Blanton’s Bottle
January 4, 2020, 12:27 pm
Filed under: General comments

Getting together to celebrate the holidays with Linda in January is nice because the hustle and bustle of the season is winding down. You’ve got to see Little Women (my husband enjoyed it too). And, dinner and drinks is always a good time.

Linda is an excellent needlepointer and quilter! She tried out a new design for a project bag for my Christmas gift. It is excellently crafted. Such beautiful fabrics inside and out. Love the colors. Two pockets on the outside (one on each side), 3 open pockets inside on one side and a zippered pocket on the other side. And, there is a matching thread bag, a must for any project bag. I’m very happy that Linda moved back to Philly and joined my ANG Main Line chapter. I always enjoy her company.

As Linda and Bill enjoyed Maker’s Mark bourbon before dinner, I was reminded that I had not posted the Blanton’s (my favorite bourbon) canvas that I got at Rittenhouse Needlepoint before Christmas.

So, I will place the Blanton’s canvas in my new project bag! A perfect fit and I will make this my monthly Stitch-in project.

Does anyone know if there is a stitch guide for this canvas? Does anyone have any threads or stitches to suggest?

2019 in Review and A Preview
January 2, 2020, 11:27 am
Filed under: General comments

Thanks to the 6,900 visitors to my blog last year. It’s been a great year of needlepoint and am looking forward to my annual review. Stitching on each project is so focused that I enjoy reminiscing about the year’s accomplishments. I also like to consider what will excite me going into 2020. In fact, I got so involved yesterday with my new class that I forgot to finish and post this! For Lesson 1 of Making Stitches Work For You”, a 4-month design ANG Cyberworkshop class with Carolyn Mitchell, we get to make stitch samplers on paper or for me more practice on my computer. I came up with this yesterday 4.5″. I’ll make more another time. Before I stitch, I want to get around 25 bands covering 12″.

Practice Design 15 bands 82 threads

One of the most exciting and challenging projects of 2019 was writing up instructions for Crescent Journey. It is a 43-page booklet with 56 diagrams that I worked on as I stitched the design again in a “Beach” colorway. Linda completed stitching a “Neutral” colorway as she proofed those instructions. She provided great input. Now, there are 9 people from my ANG Main Line Chapter who decided to stitch Crescent Journey. Several are choosing their own colorways but “Neutral” was the most popular with 4 choosing that one. It’s divided into 12 parts. So, we are stitching it as a year long project.

My 12″ square geometric piece (largest and most complicated design to date) was begun after 2018’s ANG Seminar 3-day design class with Kathy Rees and got an Honorable Mention award in the non-professional original design category at Seminar in 2019.

Several of my Hearts for Hospice were published in Needle Pointers (January/February 2019 and July/August/September 2019 issues). It’s been great fun making the diagrams and seeing them published is fantastic! I learned how to diagram in Excel from Cynthia Thomas at Seminar in 2017 in just one day! It has taken time to get better with it (just as with most things) but I love doing it.

I tutored a woman who wanted to learn to stitch partly as therapy to recover from an illness and regain her hand dexterity. Since she couldn’t drive, I went to her house several times. I was glad to help and she kept getting better as she continued.

I got Third Place overall and a First Place for Stitch category in Needle Me’s needlepoint contest. By accepting the store gift certificate prize, I have, in the eyes of ANG, become a “professional”. This is the official ANG position:

  • Winning prize money at a county fair is a gift for his/her achievement and excellence in his/her needlework. A professional makes money by teaching, judging, working for a designer to make stitched samples of her designs, or stitching a design for a client/a commission. The gift certificate from the shop falls under the same as prize money from the county fair.

So, after 10 years (2010-2019) of entering pieces into the ANG Seminar exhibit as a non-professional, I will start submitting pieces in 2020 with the professionals. I better step up my game!

And, to do that, I have begun the Canvas Master Craftsman Program through EGA. There are 6 steps. Step 1 was to show proficiency in 10 stitches using a provided design and in a monochromatic color scheme with only 5 values. I stitched three fish in yellows and passed with distinction. A good start indeed.

All the “new” pieces (first 5 listed) begun in 2018 were completed in 2019! That’s really amazing to find out. And, I got even more done too. One is from the “been sitting around for a few years” pile. The rest were started and completed in 2019. One of the reasons more projects were not started was because I was running out of bars! I decided enough was enough and wanted to finish what I had already started.

  • Golden Friends by Toni Gerdes which is a counted design provided to members of the ANG Golden Needle Society. I got tons of compliments on it at the ANG Seminar this year. I carry my travel needlepoint supplies in there. So, I use it for
  • Lotus Kimono, a painted canvas by Lee which is part of an ongoing project at my ANG Main Line Chapter to see how different stitch guides are written. I’m selecting my own stitches and threads. Watch for this in an upcoming issue of Needle Pointers.
  • Winter Scene Sleigh, a painted canvas by Alice Peterson which is also part of the ANG Main Line stitch guide project.
  • Patchwork of Peace, a counted design of the United States flag by Mary Clark Donegan, consists of 247 different blocks of reds, whites/ecru, and blues. I am using supplements by Connie Camp but on Congress Cloth and am using my own threads.
  • A poppies Stitch & Zip eyeglass case.
  • Sisters, a Nancy Cucci piece from a 2016 pilot class, is the only really old project completed.
  • Crescent Journey in a “Beach” colorway.
  • Tahitian Treat, my 12″ geometric design.
  • A Dusting of Snow, a Gail Stafford 2-day class with my ANG Keystone Garden Chapter.
  • A leaf, using Access Commodities’ Silk Luster Leaf Exercise Kit
  • Marion Scoular’s Star Sapphire Four-way Florentine Box Insert from Needlepoint Now July/August 1999 – a project from my ANG Keystone chapter
  • Hearts for Hospice – I stitched 5 hearts.
  • Two of the Christmas Diamonds ornaments by Kurdy Biggs from the Needlepoint Now November/December 2015 issue.
  • A couple of small ornaments I designed using a single stitch pattern.
  • Love Paws for a graduation gift.
  • A needlepoint contest at Needle Me using a line drawn canvas with 5 geometric shapes.
  • Edward Scissorfish Scissors Holder with Cleo from Busy Lizzy leading several of us from my EGA Brandywine chapter (not stitched on canvas).
  • EGA three fish for Step 1 of the Canvas Master Craftsman Program.
  • And, a piece that I can’t divulge details at this time.

Not everything I began was finished. Here’s what I started in 2019 (adding to the list of uncompleted projects):

  • A Toast to Tiffany, my ANG Seminar 2019 class with Kay Stanis.
  • Barbara’s Patchwork, a monthly ANG Stitch of the Month from 1999, that my ANG Main Line chapter decided to stitch this year.
  • Another geometric using 21 stitches for Step 2 of the Canvas Master Craftsman Program.

Of course, I obtained some projects (either painted canvases or instructions for counted designs) that went into my stash. I have not nor will I keep track of that! But, I did not seek out projects or canvases when I visited needlepoint store this year. I tried to get threads for some of projects that I hope to begin after finishing up what has been started. Speaking of needlepoint stores visited this year . . .

My travels took me to:

  • Houston Texas for Needle House, Stitches in Time, Chaparral, and Chandail with Linda and Kristen.
  • Hendersonville, North Carolina for Sandy’s X-Stitch On The Go (with way more to offer than just cross stitch).
  • Rehoboth Beach, DE for a visit to Stitch Stash & the outlets with Buff and Kristen.
  • Bermuda on a cruise with Jean Farish and Diane Hermann (who gave us all a magnet of Walking the Water’s Edge – I’d already taken that class with her). Bill, Buff, Kristen, and Linda were on board too.
  • Rehoboth Beach, DE to lead my Chapter Project Book piece called Overdyed Spools to the ANG Delaware Seashore chapter.
  • Alexandria, VA for the Woodlawn Needlepoint Show.
  • Philadelphia, PA at Rittenhouse Needlepoint for a Bead and Ribbon class with Sandra Arthur.

I made some progress on the painted canvas Vases and my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter has made this a project – so, it will be finished in 2020. But, I didn’t make much progress on these painted canvases: Swirling Leaves, Embracing Horses, JP Bird of Paradise & Bamboo, and JP Orange Orchid & Bamboo. Other projects begun as far back as 2011 include Stitches in Sterling, Tar River Trail, Rozashi – Patterns in Blue and Green, and Fire and Ice will still be there for me. Will I get back to these before beginning new projects? Maybe some but there are already fun projects and events scheduled for 2020 including:

  • Continuing the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas program. Link:
  • “Making Stitches Work For You”, a 4-month design ANG Cyberworkshop class with Carolyn Mitchell beginning January 1.
  • Woodlawn Exhibit in Alexandria, VA in March.
  • New Jersey Needle Fest in May in Summerset, NJ and a Summer Getaway in July in Wayne, PA (both run by Needleworker’s Delight).
  • ANG Seminar in Tuscon in August for another band sampler called Interchange and 21st Century Designer both with Linda Reinmiller.

Thanks for following along with me this past year and I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures over the coming year! Hope you have a healthy, happy New Year.

Christmas 2019 with Gay Ann Rogers and Susan Sturgeon Roberts

I asked Santa for Gay Ann Roger’s series of designs inspired by Downton Abbey including the Countess, Lady Mary, and Lady Edith. Hopefully, she adds a fourth based on the Dowager Countess.

And, I expect to learn a lot from Susan Sturgeon Roberts in her book, Tips & Techniques for Needlepoint. After some cooking, I will settle down with this.

Happy Holidays to all!

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.

Zentangle Class
November 17, 2019, 9:41 am
Filed under: General comments, Zentangle

Mt. Airy Learning Tree offers a great variety of classes throughout the year. I decided to take an Introduction to Zentangle class. I had been exposed to Zentangle by my ANG Keystone Garden chapter and stitched a design I had drawn (which got Honorable Mention in 2018 at Woodlawn). Candice had given us an excellent class but that was a few years ago and decided to give it another go.

Mindy Shapiro, a certified Zentangle teacher, provided a Micron 01 pen, a Micron 08 pen, a short pencil, a smudge stick (Pro Art Stump No. 2), and 4 cards (3.5″ x 3.5″ heavy stock with wavy edges and curved corners from There are no erasers because whatever happens is meant to be.

In just 2 hours, we covered the origins of the art form and got exposed to multiple patterns. The design on the left has Crescent Moon with auras (upper left area), Hollibaugh (pairs of lines passing under others; bottom right), Printemps (circular pattern with auras or dots; bottom left area), and Knights Bridge (grid; upper right area).

The one on the right was done in the last 30 minutes to expose us to a few more patterns including Florz (grid with diamonds at the intersections with shading as I did or it can have an aura inside each white space; upper left area), Printemps with Sparkle (leaves an open area in the circular pattern; bottom center area), and Static (zig zag with shading; upper right area).

Four dots are placed in the corners. Then, connect them. Mindy liked the wavy lines that I used to connect my four corners. The left design has a Z string and the right design a V string. A ‘string’ divides the large area. The smudge stick smooths out the pencil marks to create shading and depth.

It was a fun class. There was 9 of us and no 2 looked alike.

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