Monthly Archives: November 2008

It was not the…

…world’s best week here in the north country–at least for this particular northerner.  But it had it bright spots like a surprise visit from a dear friend, a good prognosis for another friend and even some stitching time.  It just goes to show that silver lining thing is NOT a myth! And if you’re in need of a silver lining or just a morning smile, take yourself to Liv ‘n Laf to read about the adventures of Ms. Gabby- a mischievous, somewhat naughty and very lucky kitty. This is a blog well worth reading on a daily basis, but today that smile was a special  treasure–thank you Gabby’s mommy for sharing!

Since I am heading for work shortly I will share what I’ve been working on this week. Remember that post a few weeks back about picking up some canvaswork again? Well, I dug in my closet (which bears remarkable similarities to Mr. McGee’s (Fibber) of some fame) and found another one of my Kimonos by Jinice. These come as a line drawn canvas.  Work starts by picking a colorway in Caron Watercolours then selecting all the other fibers based on that color.  The fibers are totally fun, a lot of Rainbow Gallery, some Medici Wool (shows this canvas is far from new), some ribbon floss and a couple of glitzy metallics.  This was one of my first classes in needlepoint and it has been in the closet lo these many intervening years. I decided it’s high time it got done. I do find myself pulling out already worked sections because my skills have improved, but I still love the colors and the stitching.  I have finished one of these kimonos which now graces my mom’s house, and have two others in the stash pile.  It’s a good thing I like them 🙂

Here is my progress through yesterday morning:

Full body

Full body

And a couple of detail shots:

Detail 1

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 2

I think the part I enjoy the most about these pieces is watching the colors come together. The one that’s finished uses ‘Flame’ Watercolours and is done in reds. If anyone is interested in seeing a photo, I believe there is one on my webshots albums. I will also post one here next week when I am out east for T-Day!  I do  plan to take this canvas with me on vacation so stay tuned for updates.

I also got a lot done (3 movies and one football game’s worth) on my Colinette Meadow afghan. This last repeat is taking FOREVER, but I am soooo close! I will post a photo when I’m done. That way I have something to work towards.

Lastly, another segment of ‘Recommended Reading‘:  I was at the knitting shop last weekend with aforementioned visiting friend. She held me down on the floor and twisted my arm until I was forced to buy Nicky Epstein’s new book ‘Knitting on Top of the World’ This book is eye candy pure and simple, but the photos and instructions are so good, I might yet venture one of her master knitter patterns even though I can lay no claim to that lofty title. I also need to keep working on a ‘slightly’ altered body to wear some of her beautiful creations…either that or one of my nieces is going to be a VERY lucky young lady. The text is clear and informative, the photos are glorious and this is definitely one for any knitter’s library. I am really glad I was ‘forced’ into this purchase! 🙂

For me it is off to work, so in the words of the immortal Jim Reeves–‘may your troubles all be small ones and your fortune ten times ten, may the Good Lord bless and keep you, ’til we meet again! (Actually, he’s the one who recorded it, I”m not sure who wrote it, but the sentiment is beautiful.

Have a wonderful and stitch-filled day!




My First ‘Recommended Reading’ Post…

…in a long, long time.  And it’s not because I lack material or a love for the written word.  One of the great regrets of my life is I can’t stitch and read at the same time. I do the next best thing…stitch and listen to books on CD…but it’s not the same. I love the feel of a book in my hand and the thrill when I discover one that is so compellingly written I can’t put it down. And when such a book involves needlework, well…it is worth a post to suggest it to this stitching community.

The Tenth Gift’ by Jane Johnson is a fabulous read, so much so in fact, I even grudged the time I spent watching football yesterday (GASP!).  As it was, I finished its 385 pages in slightly more than a day and now find myself at a loss…because there’s not a sequel or even another novel by this author on the horizon.

‘The Tenth Gift‘ follows two women who’s lives are joined across time by a small 17th century book of embroidery designs.  The commonalities between Julia and Catherine are striking and their stories  compelling. The writing is powerful and woven through the pages of ‘The Tenth Gift‘  run magnificent descriptions of life, love, tragedy, struggle and strength in two different centuries.

If I were to borrow from Heather’s Jiff Note approach I would summarize:  Romance, Pirates, a Ghost(?), Needlework! A MUST READ. 🙂 (thank you, Heather!)


Blessings, Julie


…a quick note.  I have updated my library listings again.  This seems to be one of those never-ending projects. 🙂

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

More later,



October Recap and…

…November Goals:

October 2008:

1.  Finish knitting portion of Colinette Meadow Afghan-I managed 3 rows 😦

2. Start Artist’s Way curriculum and work on it!- I started this curriculum, I thinks it’s great but I am putting it aside for the moment until I get the next phase of my Master Needleartist underway.

3. Finish next phase of ANG Master Needleartist.YES and passed!

4. Finish one clump of pine needles, one clump of bamboo, one plum blossom on JE

5. Update Library Listingstill have more to do, but the goal was to work on it and I did.

6.  Blog at least 10 times–get back into the swing of daily posts-I did better, but not quite 10 times.


November 2008:

1. Finish Colinete Meadow Afghan-knitting.

2.  Blog 3 times a week minimum.

3. Finalize color selection for MNA project and share it with program chair.

4. Read 2 books on adapting art and write report as required by MNA.

5. Finish one clump of bamboo, upper area of bamboo trunk, and the rest of upper pine branch in JE

6. Put in 5 hours each on A Quilter’s Garden, Kingsland Ancestral Wedding Sampler and needlepoint piece of choice. (probably Kimono).

7. Do one Christmas ornament

8  Stitch Pine Mountain Christmas pillow.

Isn’t it good to have goals? 🙂



I am…

…among the very fortunate needleworkers of the world.  Why? Well, in addition to having the time and the resources to pursue an avocation as well as vocation, I also have the great blessing of belonging to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota.  This is a local guild, not affiliated with any national organization and, along with fostering friendship between stitchers, places a strong value on education.

In the decade or so that I’ve belonged, we’ve had teachers such as Jane Nicholas, Barbara Mayo Grass, Kay Stanis, Diane Fitzgerald, Tony Minieri, Merry Cox, Catherine Theron, Shay Pendray and many others. All of these individuals are stars in their field, most are fabulous teachers and all of them have come to Minnesota at the request of a local Guild to share their knowledge and their art.

My Guild dues are $30 a year. All I can say is…what a bargain! For that small amount, I can attend any number of meetings, I have the chance to take classes from the likes of those teachers mentioned in the preceding paragraph, I have learned so much about needlework history and technique, and, most precious, I have made lifetime friends. Monthly I have the opportunity to participate in small groups focusing on disciplines as diverse as beading, counted thread, smocking and even push traditional boundaries with experimental stitching. All of this…without traveling more than across town. I am grateful!

Why mention this? Well, for those of you who do needlework and are local to the Minneapolis area, check out the link on the sidebar for the Guild and consider joining. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Even if you live elsewhere, we have many members who are outside the metro area and even outside the state. They maintain a membership for the Guild Newsletter, the opportunity to attend our annual retreat in August (held in a small town west of here and always fabulous!) and the chance to participate in different classes and programs. If you are too far away for this to be feasible, my message is this…don’t stitch in a vacuum. Find your local chapter of the ANG or the EGA (both fine organizations with myriad educational opportunities) or if no local chapter is available become a member-at large and check out the online and distance learning opportunities.  Even something as simple as seeking out local groups of stitchers or gathering friends and forming a group of your own is an amazing networking opportunity. Put on a pot of soup, invite the gang over and give yourself the gift of a day filled with needle art and needle artists.

I have learned more from my stitching sisters (and, I will add, been talked into MORE stash) than I can say.  It is through these special ladies that I finally found the courage to enroll in Japanese Embroidery, to teach needlework and even to take the plunge with the Master Needle Artist program.

I love needlework. It creates beauty, it represents a gift of time unusual in this world and the people I know who practice the art are the best. It can be a solitary pursuit and I value that…the quiet, the introspection, the time to still my spirit and pray in rhythm with my needle.  But it is important to find a place to be encouraged and to encourage others. The Needlework Guild of Minnesota is one such place for me. What is yours?

Blessings on this cloudy Wednesday,


If you live in the United States…

…today is election day. Please exercise your right…the gift…to vote.  It is easy to become jaded watching commercials that spew hatred (mostly unrelated to the issues at hand), reading articles and even blogs that make fun of an individual’s personal characteristics without listening to the message and perhaps even wondering if this system, cumbersome as it is, could ever work. But…for over 230 years, it has worked. And it has worked because people care. It has worked because, instead of attacking their leaders, they have supported them in deed and (for those who believe in its power) in prayer and where disagreement was necessary, it was couched in terms of the issues, not the individual. It has worked because ‘we’ supplanted ‘me’.

Whomever we vote in today has an enormous responsibility.  My message…my plea to everyone is to consider what it is you can do to help this man, to help our congress, to be a conduit for positive change. This nation and this world has enough of hatred, of violence and of apathy. To those of you who share my faith, join me in committing this day, the candidates and our new president to God-since both candidates claim His Sovereignty in their lives.

Off soapbox. 🙂

Just a quick note, since I am off to go vote, I PASSED my submission for the Master Needleartist Program and have been invited to commence work on the next phase. 🙂 More on that and a new link coming soon.

Have a truly blessed day!


Boy, do I feel like…

…I’m revisiting my college days. Finishing papers in the wee, dark hours of the morning.  But I did finish  the next step of my ANG Master Needle Artist program, which required me to do an open book test, covering different areas of art, stitching and color theory, some charting and submission of my needlework samples.

And the good news is I made it. I sent in the whole thing just before my deadline. Could I have done more? Yes. The topic was so big and there were so many areas that could have been related better to needlework.   But I am pretty happy with what went out…my only major regret was not adding more photos, but I was trying to keep the size of the file manageable.

One thing I will share, in case anyone out there is thinking of pursuing this designation:  The woman who chairs this program is terrific.  I have had to put submissions off several times because of things like heart surgery, deaths in the family…all the parts of life that seem to interfere with avocational activities.  However, she has been supportive, has truly tried to keep my application open and I really appreciate her encouragement.

So…now I wait and hope that I will be invited to continue!  Hope with me, won’t you?

I think I need to go to bed now.


Julie (who will be holding her breath until she gets a response. :-))