Category Archives: 2008 Finishes

I am back from…

…the wild and wooley east coast.  While we had a wonderful visit with family at my brother’s home in Washington, DC, I am glad to be home.  We had good weather, something for which I am thankful, since Thanksgiving week can be problematic.  But apart from traffic and some snow in the mountains, the drive wasn’t bad, even towing a trailer behind my Taurus (a small six cylinder engine).  I am doubly grateful the weather held through our time there, because DH drove back to Minnesota by himself while I visited friends up near Philadelphia.  (At his suggestion!)  But we are both home safely…with just a few weeks before Christmas. We are busy, well and looking forward to another time with family.

I didn’t stitch or knit much while on vacation, but I do have a finish to report. I completed the ‘Edgar’ scarf…knitted with Noro Silk Garden yarn.  I will post a photo soon, I promise. I am just too tired tonight. I have started a second one with another Noro yarn…and…you guessed it, these are both gifts. 🙂

I also want to include a little bit of ‘recommended reading’.  Monica Ferris’ newest book, Thai Die, is out. I’ve already read it twice.  This is, I believe the 12th installment of the Betsy Devonshire needlework series. It’s fun and very quick to read. Enjoy!

Well, I am off to bed right now. I hope this finds each of you well, happy and at peace.




Where, oh where…

…did July, August and September go? At least from a stitching standpoint…well, it was pretty much a bust.  But in those ninety days I had a wonderful visit with my mom here in Minnesota, Dan and I moved into a new home (new to us), celebrated 25 years married and went on an adventure weekend together, I designed, wrote and brought up a new website for the store, I unpacked aforementioned new house…well mostly unpacked, don’t look too closely :-), I hosted two stitching get togethers and in the process discovered the best margarita in town, I went to two knitting gatherings at the local store (fun, fun, fun!), had a very dear friend visiting for a few days, went to Needlework Guild retreat and had a great class with Kay Stanis, went to the State Fair, found a new church and started Bible study. So…all in all it was eventful three months if not terribly stitchy.

I think the thing I find most disappointing is my failure to update here more than I have, something I now intend to remedy with a…gasp…stitching related post.  I plan to start updating my hours stitched again, I will set goals for October and generally get back down to business.

In accordance with that goal I have been stitching a bit in the last couple weeks…well, stitching and knitting.  So without further ado, let me post progress photos on a couple of pieces:

First of all, I started knitting a dishcloth.  Yes, I know I can buy them for a dollar or so on sale, but this such a pretty cotton yarn and it’s a great way for me to try some pattern stitches to augment my novice skills.  I am about 2/3rds of the way through this project.  I will be keeping this one because it does have one fairly big mistake, but my hope is to make several for gifts to give along with a pretty hand-made soaps.  That idea was NOT original with me…thank you, Janet. 🙂

Ravelry dish cloth

Ravelry dish cloth

I put the scissors on the cloth to give a sense of scale and also to show off my BEE-UUU-TIFF-FULLL new scissor fob and point protector.  What can I say…a moment of weakness at the Guild retreat market.

Since I started with knitting, I will continue with knitting.  I am still working on my Meadow Afghan by Collinette.  I have finished the second repeat and am on to the third, which is the last full repeat of the pattern.  I plan to have this done in October apart from the fringing. Are you laughing??????? I wish the photos could more accurately convey the colors and textures of the yarns. They are fabulous.  I want to do another one of these someday in a different colorway and using the mitered block pattern. These kits are an investment, but they are beautiful.

Meadow afghan

Meadow afghan

…and a close up:

Close up of Meadown afghan

Close up of Meadown afghan

Now, please don’t think I’ve deserted my first needlework love…stitching.  I’ve been plugging away on ‘A Quilter’s Garden‘ by Emie Bishop.  I finished the kloster block outline and have begun the cross stitching.  I have substituted purples for the pinks of the orginal.  Here’s my most recent in progress photo:

In progress garden

In progress garden

I know it’s awfully light, but it is hard to get a good photograph of a tone-on-tone piece.  The fabric is Belfast platinum.  I love the piece and I really want to do her Christmas version of this as one of my next hardanger projects. I hope it won’t languish as long as this one did.

And lastly…at least for today…is a small experimental piece I did one morning just to keep my hand in on some freestyle surface embroidery skills.  I’ve been drawn more and more to stitching pieces that are not on a counted ground and am starting Japanese Embroidery lessons a week from today. (Yes, I’m excited and a bit nervous!) so this was just a practice piece I worked on a small square of organdy.  As the title says, it’s comprised of shadow work and stem stitches.  I actually like the way it turned out and am toying with doing a small album of designs in different stitches.  The pattern is from the Waverly Honor book.

shadow work and stem stitch

shadow work and stem stitch

I also got one piece back from my framer.  This is Western Skies by Laura Perin (alternate colorway) I love how it turned out!

So…as promised a stitchy post.  My projects for the weekend are to start recording my stitching hours again and also to set goals for October, especially since Christmas and year end are coming up.

In addition, as I look to Julie’s near term needlework future, I still want to work on some Christmas Ornaments (just got my new JCS Ornie Issue-:-))) and I need to get cracking on the next phase of my ANG Master Needle Artist submission.  I need to get materials pulled together preparatory to doing my paper and developing a design for a needlework piece appropriate to my chosen era.  Apart from those things, I have a little shopping to do so I have all the materials I need to bring to my Japanese Embroidery class which is Friday through the following Monday of next week. Also, in October, I plan to work my way through the Artist’s Way curriculum by Julia Cameron. I have the workbook and have started reading the book which has some really interesting notions about creativity and how to put it to work in your life.  So far, I’d say it’s a worthwhile read.

And, less fun but also very important, I work on Saturday (and both Dan and I are so very grateful for the continued blessing of employment we both enjoy) and, of course, I hope to cheer my Vikings on to victory on Sunday after church.

So…that’s my world for today.

I’m hoping that this post finds everyone who reads it happy, healthy and in stitches.



…It doesn’t take monumental feats to make the world a better place.  It can be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in a grocery line. –Barbara Johnson

Finish #3 for 2008 and…

…a post with some photos. Wow….go me. 🙂

Right now I seem to be in a knitting mode. It’s easy to see, I can do it when I have a non-migraine type of headache and there’s a LOT more in the way of immediate gratification. It’s not that I’m sour on needlework, it’s more…a mood.

Given all this it seems appropriate to announce my first knitting finish of the year. A scarf/shawl. No, there’s no fancy name, no fancy pattern, just k3, p3 all the way across until you have a scarf/shawl the width you want…then keep doing it until you have the length you want. It was the perfect project to get these fingers back into shape.

The first picture is the entire scarf/shawl (boy, this is one cumbersome, not-fancy name!):

Scarf-photo one

The second is a close up of the thing that started it all back last summer. Have you ever found a must-have shawl pin…and woe is you…it’s bought and paid for but then you find you have no shawl to pin it on? Bingo. You’re feeling my pain. I had to do something. I mean…it’s just not appropriate for a crafty woman to go buy a shawl. HORRORS!

Therefore, this is my solution. One handmade scarf/shawl  for my ‘couldn’t pass up‘ pin. Yarn:  $50, shawl pin: $38, satisfaction of making it my ownself:  Priceless! In retrospect, I’m sure this is all Paula’s fault!!! (See…she was with me on this particular shopping trip and had to have this gorgeous ball of yarn. Fine.  Well, except the yarn came in a non-pull skein, so it had to be wound. No problem, the shop owner was wonderful and had a swift and ball winder. In theory I shouldn’t even have had time to shop, but aforementioned ball of yarn was tangled…didn’t come of the swift like a nice ball of yarn should…and the rest, as they say, is history. )  So…enjoy your view of my ‘return to knitting catalyst’. 🙂

Enameled/sterling shawl pin

Now…just for the record,I love my pin, I’m pretty tickled with how the scarf/shawl came out…so I’m not going to be too hard on my beloved sister-in-law. After all, we did manage to have a LOT of fun in an hour or so of shopping AND I now have something that will keep my shoulders warm and my neck at the height of fashion. Ah…life is good.

The yarn is a NORO 100% wool. I think the colors are pretty spectacular. I used four balls and the shawl/scarf measures about 15×70. There are a few boo-boos, but my hands picked up the rhythm pretty quickly. I also want to say a thank you to two other sisters in stitches…Marsha and Sue…for giving me a refresher course. Given the many hours of pleasure knitting has given me, I’m really glad to be back.

Because I don’t want to get so out of practice again, as soon as I finished Project #1, I started on Project #2. It’s an afghan kit I’ve had for a long time. It’s one of the beautiful Colinette afghans with 8 different-hand dyed yarns. I am knitting the simplest of all the patterns they give called Sideways Strips, in the Meadow colorway. Here’s my first photo:

Meadow Afghan

This photo really doesn’t do justice to the different colors and textures, but I think it’s going to be gorgeous. And…just to go on record: Mohair yarn is NOT my favorite. 🙂

Lest you think I’ve forgotten my first needlework love, rest assured I have also been stitching. I finished my Advent Sampler Rotation and this is where I’m leaving Adam and Eve until next time:

Advent Sampler by Mary Beale-end of Rotation 1

Please excuse the wonky photo…I’m still getting used to a new camera. But you can see I got a lot of the greens at the bottom finished, Adam now has hair and I’ve started the lettering.  I’m hoping to finish Adam and Eve by the end of the next rotation and be ready to move onto Noah. But for now it’s back to the Ancestral Wedding Sampler by Kingsland.

Now, before I close, I have one more thank you to say and I’m going to do it in this VERY public forum. Everyone who reads My Needle in Hand is familiar with the ladies I lovingly refer to as my ‘stitching sisters’. Theresa, Paula (who is my sister-in-law as well as a stitching sister), Susan and Janet. (We also have a junior member-Ms. Maddie, who is Paula’s daughter and my niece as well as a long-distance member, Darcy, who is my sister-in-law on the other side of the family and a knitter).

Anyway, I digress. Susan, innocently enough, invited the sisterhood over for dinner and stitching last Saturday. And…lo and behold, everyone but Darcy (who lives in Virgina and was missed!) was there. It was wonderful. A simple afternoon and evening of stitching, chatting and eating. What could be better? That’s when I found out the sisterhood could easily be drafted by any covert organization in the world. These wonderful ladies had turned dinner into a suprise birthday party for me, complete with a wonderful meal, cake, presents and even an age-appropriate (I’m going to be fifty in a week) magic wand.  It was a wonderful evening and ladies, since I know most of you read this blog, THANK YOU for making me feel so special. You are all blessings in my life!

I’m sorry I can’t share photos…but I didn’t have a camera. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s a  good thing. 🙂

Well…that’s about it for now. I have updated my pages for goals, stitching hours and my wish list. I will post another stitchy update later in the week. For right now, I’m off to do a little stitching on my Laura Perin Color Cubes. (Have I mentioned I LOVE Laura Perin designs?)

May your days continue to be warm, sunny and frogless!



My Second Finish of the Year

‘Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live –Jackie Windspear’

One of my goals for this year is to get 11 Christmas ornaments stitched. I have my start. 🙂 I finished my January ornament one day late. The over one was NOT going well last night, so I decided it was okay to leave it one more day, so I could finish it in the daylight. I’m glad I did. Frogging over one is NO fun!

This ornament is from 2004 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. It is ‘I Saw Three Ships’ by Jane Timmers of Fancy Work.

I Saw Three Ships

It is done on 32 ct Star Sapphire Jobelan with the recommended DMC cotton floss. This is the photo taken without the flash–blurry, but the color is better.


This is the photo taken with the flash. Sigh…will I ever get the hang of needlework photography?

I have several ornaments in this shape by the same designer. I plan to finish them all and frame them together.

Hope everyone has a wonderfully stitchy weekend planned. I do…and even some knitting whilst watching the game on Sunday.



Can you believe it’s already the end of January?

I can’t. It seems the days just fly by right now. It’s been a very cold month here, so I’ve spent a lot of time indoors and even better, some time stitching.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned a gathering of the sisterhood here at the house. I wanted to share a photo of that wonderful day with women I cherish: (Clockwise from back: Janet, your’s truely, Maddie Julie, Susan, Paula’s chair, Theresa)
Stitching at table

and, just so she doesn’t feel left out (which it appears she didn’t:-)): Dear Paula and Maddie…both lights in my life:

Paula and Maddie-Love the outfits!

And, lest I forget…my first finish of the year, which was started on the day we had our gathering. May I present ‘Family’ by Pine Mountain:


I know it looks a little crooked and frankly, it is because the Tula fabric is sewn in crooked. 😦 There are two full threads of difference between one side and the other and the top and the bottom…made it difficult to center.) But apart from that, I do love the pattern. I personalized it with our initials (Dan and mine), the year we were married and this year (our 25th!).

And last, but not least, I wanted to share my progress on the Kingsland Ancestral Wedding Sampler (through Band 4). This is through the first rotation.


Of course my photo didn’t capture the wonderful richness of the colors, but it’s been a fun stitch. The space you see between the lines of cross stitch will be a personalized account of a very special wedding. I am in the process of charting that now.

I’ve got to fly, in that I’m due into work shortly. Hope your day holds lots of happy stitching time.