Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Woodlawn Roadtrip 2017
March 12, 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

The weather wasn’t as warm as we’d have liked it but my husband & I were limited on weekends we could get to Woodlawn this year. Bill & I headed out Friday just after the snow ended (roads were fine). We took a break at a restaurant/bar my husband wanted to visit in the Washington, DC area & then made it to Old Town Alexandria in time for dinner at one of our favorites places.

Since it was colder, we didn’t walk as much around Old Town on Saturday. Instead we headed over to Woodlawn in the late morning. Attendance looked good but there were fewer pieces (463) than in some past years. I didn’t count them – you get a listing and a booklet. Tickets went up to $15 this year but they made several wonderful changes. The biggest improvement is that you can get up close to the pieces within each room. There are no ropes stopping you from walking around. And, they are offering several “events”: (also mentioned in the entry form). Since I hadn’t thought to look on the website & didn’t enter anything this year, I didn’t have the opportunity do attend/participate in them. But, I will definitely look at these next year. I would like to walk around the exhibit with a retired ANG judge to hear what issues they deal with. But, that only happens on Wednesdays. This is the 2nd year that some pieces are for sale (at the request of the stitcher & priced by the stitcher with a commission applied).

Winners of ribbons are listed on the website now too: . And, that brings me to my review of select pieces. And, I will comment mostly in order by entry number (in parens). And, if the entrant is a designer that I know has his/her first & last name on the web or is listed as an award winner on Woodlawn’s website, I’ll cite both; otherwise, I cite full first name and last name initial letter only.

Catherine Jordan got ribbons for each of her 3 pieces (1-3) including a Director’s Award for her Sharing Secrets book cover. They are in the ‘jewelry’ room which we almost missed had it not been for Bill asking where are Catherine Jordan’s pieces!

That room had a pair of unique original designs (embroidery/crewel) by Catherine Hicks (14 and 15) of Hillary Clinton as a young girl which was quite flattering and one of Donald Trump that was not flattering. Look under his protruding hair and see what is stitched on his forehead! These 2 each which won 2nd place ribbons are for sale at $1257 and $1600, respectively.

Kirdy Biggs got ribbons for her 3 geometric pieces (18-20).

Linda Cole (26) deserved her First Place award for the reversible sampler!! Amazing.

Caroline Hayes (119) not only deserved her First Place award for the map of The Real Counties of Britain but also the Eleanor Custis Lewis Award, Best in Show and a Judge’s Choice award. If my husband has his way, it’ll also get the People’s Choice award. Interesting that my husband & I were most impressed with similar pieces this year. Each of 86 counties have a different blackwork pattern identified in the margin and is stitched in the actual location within the map. We both loved it.

I love seeing pieces I’ve stitched. This year I found Amy G (160) submitted Diane Hermann’s Walking the Water’s Edge.

Two different people, Anne W (182) and William K (275), stitched the same eagle in cross stitch. Interesting to see them framed differently.

The finishing on the cross-stitched golfer by Sherri B (186) was perfect! The mat was artificial turf and the frame had raised band of rounded areas like golf balls.

Donna LaBranche (221-224) got ribbons for all 4 pieces including a Second Place award for her adaptation of a Needle Pointer’s magazine cover that featured the ANG name badge (September 2013) and the Pope-Leighey Award, Outstanding Miniature for a 40-count miniature piece (in the sampler room on a table).

I had to vote for S Ayles, Jr , a senior, who stitched a 4 foot by 8 foot wall hanging of a geometric/floral design done in all basketweave on 18-count (228). Great colors & we both agreed we don’t understand how you work on a piece that big. What an effort!! I ended up voting for this one. This was a close second for Bill’s vote.

One of the first pieces we saw that wowed us was an original design of a dog by Susan MacRae (8). It won a First Place award and the Woodlawn Award, Outstanding Original Design. It was just the face but what an incredible face. The eye and nose were so realistic that it looked like a picture.

Speaking of dogs, Bill had a wonderful conversation with Lee Hanley, daughter of Hope Hanley. I totally missed that connection as I was studying the needlepoint in the geometric room upstairs while he talked with her. Bill found out that the piece she was demonstrating that day was a piece Hope had designed by the Royal School of Needlepoint in England. It has about 2 dozen dogs of different breeds in alphabetic order (like a sampler of dogs) on a large (4 foot by 4 foot) canvas. Bill found out from Lee that her mother traveled so much that she never had time to finish it. Lee hopes one day someone will finish it and donate to the dog museum in  St. Louis Missouri. The other demonstration on the first floor was by a teacher of Japanese Embroidery, Karen Bouton. A draft would blow a single strand of the silk away – it’s so fine. And, she explained that they twist strands together to get certain effects. Beautiful work. Every day they  have different demonstrations going on both floors. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase a technique.

Both Cathryn C (230) and Linda M (238) stitched Tony Minieri’s The Wright Friends – a lovely piece & one I’d still like to do.

Congrats to Sue Chadwick (236) for getting Second Place award for Jennifer Riefenberg’s Color Play.

And, Rosie L (237 and 241) had a great geometric piece with tons of shifts in color as it progressed outward. And, her puffins were adorable!

Linda M stitched Karen Garinger’s Thank You Jean and placed it in a mother of pearl frame (239). Stunning!

Barbara Levy (307) did a lovely Gordian Knot designed by Rachel Atkinson and got a Third Place award.

Rozelle Hirschfelt got awards for bother pieces (315 and 316) – the goldwork piece with red Or Nue in the flower was stunning!

Norma Hiller (319) stitched another piece I’d like to do – maybe someday I’ll take the leap & stitch Liz Morrow’s Leaping Stag from May 2014 Needle Pointers magazine (or for sale on her website (lizartneedlepoint under the Counted Needlepoint tab). Norma also stitched a piece (320) for a First Place award of a piece I’ve seen but can’t remember the name or designer (greens and purples). I have been told it’s Serengeti by Terry Dryden.

Cleo Robbins did a lovely Christmas stocking (324) and a large silk ribbon embroidery piece that won a Second Place award. Cleo has been to our Main Line Chapter & taught us a few basic stitches with ribbons. Glad we learned from her. Congrats to Cleo!

And, our own Patrick B had an adorable Gingerbread House (328). It’s a wonderful 3-dimensional piece with candy all over it. Great use of ’embellishment trim’ by Sundance Designs. Bill spotted his piece first. It’s in the Holiday room upstairs.

Theresa Baird got a First Place award for her original design celebrating locations of Cincinnati, OH (331). It’s a wonderful tribute to her home town.

A First Place award and Judge’s Choice award went to Kate Costello for a beautiful necklace (336). What was so unique about it was the offset silver/grey flower (on the right as displayed) with a different effect on each side of the flower. On the left were beads woven into the threads and only the threads on the right side.

I’ve got to get back to Sister’s by Nancy Cucci after seeing Dorothy B’s (373) piece. We were in the pilot class together last year.

Chandra Jonkman took 11 years to complete a quilt (about the size of a queen size bed) with 142 stitched bible verses and numerous hearts (386). Her daughter stitched a few heart motifs. And, the quilting was done by a third person consisted of concentric hearts.

Tara R stitched the front of a house adorned with 3-D wreaths (414). The window treatment was interesting. It looked like a fine gauze was placed over the window making it look like a sheer drape.

Two pieces of lovely jewelry were done by Dana C (415 and 416). I see Dana will be demonstrating beading downstairs on Mar 30. Nice!! I met Dana at Nancy Cucci’s Sisters pilot class in Rehoboth last year.

The 7 dwarfs and Snow White done by Shirley B were adorable and at $240 would be fantastic to decorate a child’s room (417-424).

I couldn’t find both of Margaret O’s pieces (434 and 435) but the one I did find had a deer under a tree on an interesting stand display.

Once again Nelly’s Needlers did a fantastic job! I picked up the wooden thread minder with numbered holes to help organize threads as you stitch. And, the ginger cookies were delicious! Thanks to all the contributors and volunteers for a wonderful exhibit.




2016 in Review
January 4, 2017, 9:13 am
Filed under: General comments

I went back to FOCUS as my stitching mantra in 2016 which has worked well as a guiding principle since 2014. I don’t have to focus on the same piece every day until it is done. Rather, I look at focusing on finishing a particular section when I sit to stitch. That way I am accomplishing exactly what I want to do on a given day.

So, what did I accomplish in 2016? A lot!! It was a fantastic year and I enjoyed the company of many stitchers.

  • Stitched 3 bargello designs from “A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That” by Linda Damiani (but I need to put them in something).
  • Made a Temari Ball with Mindy at a Rittenhouse Needlepoint class was hung up for Christmas.
  • I picked up 8 pieces from the framer (Jim the owner of Repenning Fine Arts in Audubon,  NJ). I have another one there now.
  • Visited needlework exhibits in Woodlawn VA, Rehoboth Museum DE, and at the ANG NOLA Seminar. I was thrilled to win my first blue ribbon at ANG in the original design category for “Festive Fireworks”!
  • Visited several out of state needlepoint stores including Beyond Knits & Needles in Caldwell NJ, Edwardian Needle in Fairfield NJ, Scrim Discovery in Ocean City NJ, Stitch by Stitch in Cape May NJ, Annie & Company in NYC, Rita’s Needlepoint in NYC, and Needlepoint America in Kennebunk.
  • Enjoyed a 2-day pilot class of “Sisters” with Nancy Cucci in Rehoboth Beach Delaware (not finished yet).
  • Stitched and hoop-framed “Grandma’s Heart” which is being enjoyed by Rose’s granddaughter.
  • Stitched and framed 2 baby announcements: Norah and another to be posted shortly.
  • Struggled but completed a “beginner” tubular/circular peyote beaded needle case.
  • Stitched and donated Mello Joy Coffee design for ANG’s auction at NOLA seminar.
  • Enjoyed my class at ANG Seminar, Provence Pottery Shop, with Lois Kershner and have just returned to working on it.
  • Learned Rozashi (Patterns in Blue and Green – also not finished) with Margaret Kinsey at ANG Seminar. Margaret was very pleased to see I finished her “3 Leaves” goldwork class from last year’s seminar.
  • Sat with about 120 stitchers of various sorts at Susan Hoekstra’s NJ NeedleFest, a 1-day event in Pluckemin NJ, and shopped a dozen vendors including Trish Vine Designs and Karen from Nimble Needle NJ. There were about a dozen of us working on Susan’s 2016 SOTM design “Feuilles d’ananas” & we got a group photo published in Needle Pointers!! Hopefully, most will return for a follow-up photo in April 2017.
  • Sat with about 145 cross stitchers at a 3-day retreat in Harrisburg , PA and shopped 9 designers/vendors including Sue Hillis, Jean Farish, and Needleworker’s Delight.
  • Stitched “Poinsettia Ornament” an ornament designed by DebBee’s Designs and got it finished by Nimble Needle in NJ.
  • Mounted the mystery project, ANG Keystone Garden Patch, all by myself on a Rosewood box as a gift for Janice who loves it!
  • Buff got my ornament from Kick Back & Stitch series by Terry Gifford at the ANG Main Line Christmas exchange – she said it is lovely (although she wanted the green/red one I stole from her)!
  • Surprised Bill with Canvas Connection Golf Bag which was finished at Nimble Needle in NJ).
  • Stitched Patti Mann’s November Mums which is getting finished at Fireside Stitchery as a stand up piece.
  • Created a Christmas tree for the wall to hang some hand-crafted ornaments on.
  • Lastly, this year’s ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) is “Feuilles d’ananas”, by Susan Hoekstra (aka Pineapple Leaves) is all stitched and will be going to Nimble Needle in NJ to be made into a pillow to sit next to her Berlin Cardinal pillow.

And, I have lots of fun planned for 2017 including Blue Bonnet in Feb for 2 classes with Toni Gerdes (2 days each for “Bronze Purse” left photo and “Fire & Ice” center photo), Nashville Needleworks in April for a class with Laura Taylor (3 days for “Embracing Horses” from Laurel Burch by Danji Designs right photo), and at Anaheim ANG Seminar with Cynthia Thomas for 1-day class “Creating Diagrams and Stitch Guides using Microsoft Office” and 4-day “Canvas Embellishment” class with a painted canvas of my choice (either JP Bird of Paradise & Bamboo or JP Orange Orchid & Bamboo).


I have a couple painted canvas pieces I want to get back to (Sharon G Vases and Swirling Flowers) and a couple of more that I’ll start in 2017. So, after the February classes, I plan on “FOCUS”ing on painted canvases to learn more about selecting stitches for particular areas. This year, Deb at HalfMoon Handwerks, offered to provide a word to serve as a guidepost & it is “serenity”. So, I will see what happens when I combine that with”focus”. Will focusing on stitch guides be calming? I am sure it will be educational. Looking forward to finding out. I will have to find serenity in continued postponement of other canvas projects that are in progress – some have been waiting for me since as far back as 2011:

  • Stitches in Sterling (Oct 2011)
  • Tar River Trail (Aug 2012)
  • Color Inspirations, attempt 2 (Jun 2015)
  • Sisters (May 2016)
  • Zapotec Rug (May 2016)
  • Rozashi – Patterns in Blue and Green (Aug 2016)

I have one original design almost ready to stitch. And, we won’t go into other projects that I’ve got in the house and would love to do – serenity NOW!!

Hope you have a fantastic year! And, thanks for reading my blog especially if you made it this far!!




Cross Stitch Retreat, 2016
October 30, 2016, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Cross Stitch Retreat

My travel buddy Linda & I headed out Thursday for Harrisburg , PA to join 145 people (including at least one male) for a 3-day event.

They handed out a nice bag full of goodies (not all the free designs are pictured).


There were about 9 vendors including 2 designers (Sue Hillis and Jean Farish) selling a nice variety of stuff. The amazing store, Needleworker’s Delight, brought a variety of fabrics in wonderful colors. They relocated since we were there.  Apparently, it’s a better space for retail shopping (181 US Highway 1 South in Metuchen, NJ).


I managed to find a cute design from Sue Hillis without much difficulty and fabric from Needleworker’s Delight I’ll need for it. There are needles I never  saw before. And, that’s linen lacing thread for finishing that won’t stretch like cotton. The laying tool is more substantial than the trolley needle and has a pretty celtic design.


I didn’t get a picture when all the tables were full because some people took classes.


Linda and I shopped, sat & really enjoyed stitching with our new friends Stephanie (standing right) and Patty (standing left). I enjoyed seeing all the different projects people were stitching and the various tools everyone was using.


Linda and I did get a chance to visit Debra at Half Moon Hand Werks. She is the orgainizer of the February event formerly called Festival of the Guilds ( Linda got beautiful fabric for sewing. I found some threads and tools.



More Scissors
October 9, 2016, 12:39 pm
Filed under: General comments, Scissors

I forget that I ordered the larger pair of scissors at seminar from Michele Roberts. So, when the package arrived, I had a double surprise!  The extra tiny pair and the beaded fob!  Beautiful.

I see  the word “ICE” on them. Thanks to google, I see that means Ice Tempered (not a brand name). Stainless steel is regular steel with chromium added to make the steel more rust resistant, thus “stainless” steel. The disadvantage of the high content of chromium in stainless steel is that the cutting edges dull quicker. To overcome this, the steel is subjected to very low temperatures (frozen or “ice tempered”), to optimize the steel structure for hardness.


October 6, 2016, 2:12 pm
Filed under: General comments, Other People's Pieces

I am reading Wicked by Gregor Maguire. And, I find a reference to trapunto! While I haven’t done any, I do know the term.

According to wiki, Trapunto is Italian for “to quilt,” ans a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.

Glinda approached slowly, either through age or shyness, or because her ridiculous gown weighed so much that it was hard for her to get up enough steam to stride. She looked like a huge Glindaberry bush, was all the Witch could think; under that skirt there must be a bustle the size of the dome of Saint Florix. There were sequins and furbelows and a sort of History of Oz, it seemed, stitched in trapunto in six or seven ovoid panels all around the skirting.

I had to look up furbelows. I found out that means a pleated or gathered piece of material like a ruffle.

This example of trapunto (brown puffy areas) is from Sandy Arthur’s Gated Secrets,  an ANG Correspondence Course.


July 11, 2016, 4:29 pm
Filed under: General comments, Scissors

Over the past couple of years, I have thought more about the scissors I use – there are good and bad ones. AND, there are the right ones for the job. There are plenty of varieties to choose from.

I love the large Fiskars Amplify Razoredge Fabric Shears (8″) scissors with the protective sheath. They are great for cutting canvases because the grip is comfortable, placing less strain on my hand & they are so sharp. Thanks to Marilyn for mentioning how good these are.

2016-06-09 09.20.48

Below are other Fiskars: The larger one is the Amplify Razoredge Fabric Shears (6″) (protective sheath not shown), Folding Scissors (4″), and Thread Snip (4.5″). The Thread Snip is awkward to hold & use. I can’t get it close to the canvas because of the orange piece along the bottom. And, they don’t cut threads. Seriously, they are awful – in fact, I am tossing them away now. Normally, I donate stuff I don’t want but since these don’t cut, what’s the point. The other 2 work well. Thanks to an Amazon for the great deals.


Because the end curves up at the tip of these Gingher scissors, I feel more comfortable cutting threads close to the back of a piece. It too came with a fitted sheath made of a soft leather (not shown). They are sharp and I am reserving them for use with threads – never metallics. Thanks to Fireside Stitchery for keeping these near the checkout for me to find.

Gingher scissors


However, the tip is still kind of big on the Gingher for when I have to rip threads out. I mentioned that to Linda & the next thing you know this fold-in/retractable blade seam ripper (from Hoechstmass) shows up (bottom of the photo with a rectangular handle). Unfortunately, I have found out 3 times that it works really well. As with anything sharp, you just have to be careful not to nick nearby stitched areas or the canvas. Thanks again Linda!

I didn’t know until researching seams rippers for this blog entry but I already had one – the brown handle item is one that I have must have gotten from someone’s stash. It looks just like the Nifty Notions Surgical Seam Ripper (plastic cover not shown).

The Keepsake Thread Cutter Pendent is beautiful and has multiple openings with blades which actually work well. And, A.C. Moore has the combination flexible threader (great for really small eyes in needles) and single opener blade cutter. I’m not sure but I think I am thanking Patrick or Lori! I am sure Patrick gave me the beaded scissors fob.

These blade cutters work well on a plane especially for floss weight threads. I’ve also pre-cut thicker threads before flying to avoid needing scissors at all. More than likely, my next scissors will be blunt-tip scissors for the New Orleans seminar to see if they pass airport security. Or, I’ll check the bag with the pointed scissors. Seminar is a little over a month away!!

Thread cutters Seam rippers

Foldable scissors are good for tucking into my purse (smaller than Fiskars) but aren’t really as comfortable to use or as sharp (maybe I need a new pair – they look a little bit beat up don’t they – I threw an even worse pair away). Thanks again A.C. Moore.

Folded scissors

I found 2 Tamsco scissors (on the far left & right) and the one in the middle is Tool Tron. I doubt I used any of these & I don’t recall how I got them! But, they appear to be high-quality. One of them was probably for the scissors sheath that I designed for my ANG Main Line chapter using stitches diagrammed in 17th/18th century samplers (

Misc scissors

The heart-shaped scissors (below on the right) from Red Hots Scissors by Kelmscott Designs were a perfect touch for my 2nd scissors sheath design that won 2nd place in origin design in 2012 ( and was placed on the cover of NeedlePointers ( Many thanks to where I found the scissors – they are still for sale there!

At the closing dinner, we were all given the  bird scissors (on the left) which cut well (using these for my metallics) & the sheath reminds me of the wonderful 40th Anniversary ANG Seminar in Philadelphia in 2012! I’ve seen these called stork, pelican, or crane scissors – not sure which bird is correct. Nothing identifies the manufacturer. Thanks ANG!

ANG scissors






NYC Road Trip
June 29, 2016, 5:22 am
Filed under: General comments

This past weekend, Linda & I headed to New York City to celebrate Linda’s birthday!  We stopped at Annie & Company in their new (moved about 2 years ago) location.  They are all on the first floor now with knitting supplies on the right & needlepoint on the left (I forget to ask permission to take a picture). But, I found several things including a couple of things that will be gifts (eventually) that I won’t show here. I got the bookmark for me! Linda found a few things on her shopping list.


And, this is such a great idea. It would look great framed.

Northern Pine Design, Stained Glass Window #1


It was such a lovely day,  we walked to Rita’s Needlepoint where I found Patti Mann’s Nov Mums (9110).

Patti Mann Nov Mums 9110

There’s the birthday girl (standing on the right) inside Rita’s! Since we also got an earlier train than we expected, we had time to go to the garment district where Linda got some fabulous fabric to make into shirts. We stopped in 2 stores – amazing variety of fabrics!


Today is her birthday and we are going to Fireside Stitchery!  Happy Birthday Linda!!