Thursday, May 4, 2017

Getting to Know Your Needle Worker and Fancy Works Retreat


Getting to Know Your Needle Worker

3. Do you have any children? Grandchildren? 

I have three children boy, girl, boy) who have all been launched into the adult world.  Raising them was a wonderful time in my life but interacting with them as adults is absolutely delightful. It is so much fun to find you have interests in common and to have conversations about books, politics, current events, travel, sports, and most fun of all child rearing. The oldest is already discussing retirement planning and his dad and I are not yet retired.  They are accomplished adults who have each taken unique paths into adulthood. 

The oldest has always been in love with technology.  We bought him his first computer before he was five and by fourteen he was building networks in his room and learning all he could about Macs. He is a wonderful self motivated learner. Because of that college was not his cup of tea when he was 18. Now in his mid 30's having built a career in IT he is pursuing his undergraduate degree online while working and raising his two sons with his wonderful wife. 

The middle child is our artist with a type A personality. From the time she could hold a crayon she has communicated in pictures. She would often leave her dad and I pictures expressing her discontent or joy  at that time. True to form she pursued music as well as art and we have had the joy of listening to her beautiful voice as well as hanging her art in our home. She minored in English and received a BFA in Art. Her real passion and what she she received her MFA in is animation. She is a Disney fan and did two internships at Disney during her college years. While she has made and participated in a few short animated films she has a practical streak and works for a health insurance company. She is now a mother of a wonderful  little boy, nicked name by my husband as The Little One. 

So do we have Grandchildren ? Yes three wonderful grandsons aged 16, 10 and 1. 

So what about child number three you might ask?  We call him our California child because he is so laid back. He is the kind, gentle, and an advocate for the underdog child. He is a renaissance man in that he was a heavy weight wrestler, a member of the chess team, and a member of the competition chorus( a baritone I believe)  in high school.  He longed to be a big brother and became one for one of his friend's younger siblings when she went off to college since he attended college close to home. He too is a techie but unlike his brother his  focus is on the software side if technology.  While he has a significant other they are taking their time about marriage as they are in their mid twenties. 

My three children are blessed with talent, intelligence, and wonderful partners in life. 

Now the question that does not get asked directly is am I married? The answer is a resounding yes. I have been blessed to have married my perfect match. We have been married for 33 years and have weathered a few bad times and enjoyed the many good ones we have been blessed with together. 


4. Do you have any pets? 

At this time we do not have any pets. Over the course of our marriage we have had a salt and pepper miniature schnauzer named Chivas and when he passed away at 15 we went to the animal shelter and adopted a wonderful kitten who we named Nala. Nala left us a little over a year ago at the age of 18. 
While my husband and I loved having the pets in our life we are in the phase of our life where it's nice to just pick up and go without having to plan for children and pets. So for now we have decided no more pets. 


Fancy Works Retreat

What is a retreat all about?  One dictionary definition is " the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion. ... a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy" .  While I have been to religious retreats that fit this definition precisely  a stitching retreat is slightly different. I agree that I withdrew from my normal everyday life and I did go to a place that was secluded and safe. However, a stitching retreat is about sharing and stitching with other stitchers.  At the end of March the Fancy Works Needlework shop in Indiana hosted a retreat for about 60 stitchers at the Canyon Inn in McCormick State Park in Spencer, Indiana.  We stitched, talked, took finishing classes from the Twisted Stitcher, Vonna, and had the opportunity to shop at Fancy Works with a gift certificate that was included in our registration. The retreat was an overwhelming success. We were treated royally with gifts appearing at our stitching spot multiple times a day. Most meals were included and the Inn prepared wonderful food. The best part is that by the last day I was relaxed  and felt so much better than when I arrived. After all isn't that the purpose of a retreat ? To allow you time and space to relax, reflect and rejuvenate? I think so and I look forward to attending again next year. If you are interested in considering this retreat the web site with all the information is located at https://www.fancyworksretreat.com/


Below I are a few pictures I took. 
Arriving at the Airport
The McCormick Inn 

My very comfortable bed.

The main stitching room


Fancy Works Needlework Shop

The Product of the Flat Fold  Class




The reading and game room of the Inn
The product of the ornament finishing class.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Get to Know your Needle Worker

A New Start

Many of my fellow stitchers from Facebook have taken to creating Flosstube videos on You Tube to share their stitching journey. After considerable thought I have decided to continue with my written blog rather than create videos. While the written word may not be  as engaging to most, it is a more comfortable medium for me.  2016 and the beginning of 2017 have been challenging so I invested  very little time  in sharing  my stitching activities through this blog. So I thought I would  begin again.

What better way to start than to write responses to the "Get to Know your Needle Worker" tag.  I thought I would cover a couple of questions in each post and perhaps writing about other stitching experiences as well.

Getting to Know Your Needle Worker

1. Where do you live?

I live in a small suburban town in upstate New York on a quiet tree lined street which is part of a fairly typical American housing subdivision. Our house is a center entrance two story colonial with a beautiful  1/4 acre back yard.  I have lived in this community for 37 years. I  met and married my dear husband here; raised a family, built two careers and now enjoy the pleasure of grandchildren. And while I often pine for warmer weather I feel bound to this place in a way that makes it hard to leave.

2. What do you do for a living?

I am currently a university professor and have been one for 19 years. My primary responsibility is teaching computing subjects in the networking, systems administration, and security sub-disciplines. I also have the responsibility to develop curriculum, mentor graduate students, and currently I serve as program coordinator for the degree program I teach in which is Computing and Information Technology.  It is my second career and is a rich and engaging one. I love working with the students. While we are there to engage them intellectually in the classroom our responsibility extends beyond that to helping them transform from children into adults,

 What Project Am I Really Excited About? 

I currently have 23 WIPs so I have lots to be excited about. But the one I am most excited about is something I am stitching for my daughter for Mother's Day. I will not share it here and now in case she should happen to read my blog even though I believe she is much too busy to chasing TLO ( The Little One) to read blogs anymore. The next project I am excited about is one I started at a retreat I attended at the end of March. I will share my wonderful experiences at retreat and my new project start in my next post. 

To quote Danielle (Stitcherista) I wish all of you Happy Stitching and Happy Stashing


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What is 10 A Day?

2nd Day of Christmas and  Space beside it for the 3rd Day


Starting on January 1, 2017 I started a Facebook SAL called 10 a Day. The objective was to select a new design or a WIP that we could finish in a year if we stitched 10 stitches every day. I decided to pick two WIPs  I have avoided stitching. The first is a miniature needlepoint rug the other is  Teresa Wentzler's 2nd day of Christmas. Since I am doing the 12 Days of Christmas on one piece of fabric and the 3rd day is right next to the 2nd day I decided to start the the 3rd Day of Christmas a a third 10 a day project. It is amazing how much progress can be made with just 10 stitches a day. Below I will show you my starting point for the year and how far I have come in two months.
Miniature Oriental Rug


At the end of two months here is my progress on these three projects. 





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Monday, March 6, 2017

My First Finishes of 2017

I am starting out 2017 with 26 WIPs which are a mix of needlepoint and cross stitch projects.

  • Nine  are needlepoint projects and the seventeen are cross stitch projects. 
  • Two of the cross stitch projects are multi-part projects but I am counting each of them as one project.  
  • The first multi-part project is Teresa Wentzler's Six Byzantine Ornaments 
    • 1 out of 6 completed at the start of 2017 
  • The second multi-part project is a  Bag Tag for each of the 50 States  
    • 8 out of 50 completed at the start of 2017
  •  Each month I will post my stitching goals for the month in the sidebar. 
 On January 29th. I finished the Vermont Bag Tag.


On February 19th I finish Charmeleon (a Pokemon Character) ornament 

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So far this year I have started 3 new projects so I have 28 WIPs since the bag tag is part of a multi-part project. 

I will discuss my three new starts in my next post. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

My First Finish for 2016

The WIP I decided to work on first this year is a bell pull I designed for a class I taught on specialty stitches. However, I had only stitched the first band and decided to complete it so I could post the picture for those who took my class.  Here is  the completed piece. Now I just need to make a bell pull out of it.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year

I always feel like the brand new year brings a fresh start in many ways. New years day is a great day to be peaceful and reflect about the year we have completed as well as  how and what we want to change for the new year we are beginning. For my stitching I plan to

  • improve my stitching technique
  • learn new  stitches
  • finish stitching at least half my WIPs 
  • end the year with no more WIPs than I started the year with
  • learn how to do professional quality finishing
  • stitch projects from my stash  (except for the ANG class I already committed to) 
  • buy additional supplies only if needed to stitch projects in my stash
  • stitch everyday because it brings me great joy and peace 


I celebrated the new year by spending the first day of the year watching movies on Netflix and stitching. I focused my stitching on two projects: First I worked on stitching a Bell Pull Sampler I designed to commemorate a Cross Stitch Retreat where I taught a class on specialty stitches. The sampler incorporates all the stitches I taught and was given to the students so they could practice the stitches and create their own needlework piece to commemorate the retreat.


I also wanted to have a new start for the year. In December I was introduced to a  designer I had not heard of before, Amy Mitten. She designs a variety or reproduction samplers and her own line of hand dyed silk threads in authentic colors. The design I ordered as a Christmas present to myself is called "With the Same MO #2".  To celebrate the beginning of the new year I put in the first row of stitches.   

The sampler will look like this when it is done: 

May  2016 bring resolutions to any outstanding issues you have in you life as well as peace of mind, health, well being, joy, laughter, love, and anything else your heart desires. 



Friday, December 4, 2015

WIPocalypse ~ November ~

Here I am on December 4th just getting around to reporting on November.  The question for this month is:  Which designer has inspired you to stitch the greatest number of designs and why do you think that is? 

Since I do both cross stitch and needlepoint I will list two designers one for each major style of needle work I love to do. For cross stitch the designer that has influence me the most and taught me the most about the specialty stitches and techniques used in cross stitch is Teresa Wentzler. You can see pictures of all her designs by starting on this web page: http://www.twdesignworks.com/Designs/index.html.  I have stitched at least a dozen of her designs and have four large ones on my WIP list. They are challenging butabsolutely stunning when completed.  I started stitching with one of designs called "Stretch" (one of her free designs) and went from there.

Needlepoint is a little more difficult to pick one designer but I would have to say Laura Perin's designs  really engaged me in needlepoint even though I didn't start with her designs. I like gemetric patterns the best and I loved many of her designs especially the ones that mimic quilt patterns. From that start I have branched out to other designers such as Nancy's Needle and Gay An Rodgers but have also learned to work with to painted canvas. Below you will see two examples of needlepoint both os which are charted designs.

Our fall in upstate NY was lovely and all the fall leaves inspired me to start a new piece on November 1st and I finished it on November 27th. The design was from the November/December issue of  Needlepoint Now Magazine and it is called Winter Scenery. While quite beautiful I used fall colors instead of the original blue colorway and call it Fall Leaves.  All threads were #5 DMC Perle Cotton. The design calls for # 8 but I wanted more coverage.


Additionally I also completed a design created for EGA and ANG members by Mary Waldsmith called Elegant Holiday Tree. All three sections use the same #12 Kreink metallic but each section uses a different off white thread. The bottom section uses Caron WaterColours, the middle section uses RG's  Neon Rays, and the top section called for Caron Impressions but I used Pepperpot Silk instead. 
It was a wonderful month of stitching but now it is time to focus on more Christmas stitching. 
See you next month and everyone have a wonderful holiday season.
 Here is an example of a Laura Perin Design.