….are made for two things, napping and needlework. (Did you catch the alliteration? :-)) Okay, so that might be a pie in the sky sentiment, given that most of us work to support our habits and things like house payments and buying groceries. But it is my strong contention that we all make time for things that are truly important to us. This past weekend, I had the privilege of getting together with some of my stitching sisters and one stitching brother. The projects we were working on varied and included an almost finished counted cross stitch piece, a charted needlepoint piece that will be used by my friend to teach a class next month, a beaded bracelet (which she left wearing by the end of our time together) and my knitted lace scarf. Isn’t it amazing how many different disciplines involve a needle and fiber?
One of the reasons I love needlework is the people who do it. By and large, they are group who care passionately about beauty, about others, and about the future of handwork in an world that increasing devalues time spend on such pursuits. The love of needlework bridges separations of age, politics, and religion and it is only in the context of such groups where I have witnessed political discussions that don’t devolve into name calling. Instead, needle fly and people listen…I mean really listen.
I also love the fact that these groups are wonderful! sources of information (and, of course enabling) about what’s new in the needlework arena. Whether it’s stitching bling, classes or new designs, someone always introduces new tidbits that inform and enrich my needlework world. At one our last retreats, needleminders were the topic of most of the enabling. Before long, IPads and smart phones were in play and most of us ended up learning about new sources for these lovely—and useful—objects. Most of us also padded our collection of these magnetic lovelies.
How do you get into a stitching group? It’s easy—invite your stitching friends over for an afternoon. You don’t have to live in a castle to do this, your house doesn’t need to be pristine (in fact, that’s the exception rather than the rule), and you don’t need to prepare food fit for a king. In my experience, as long as everyone has a place to sit and has sufficient light, the gathering will be a wonderful success. I have never had anyone mention the outsized dust bunnies that dwell beneath my sofa or my lack of creativity when I put out nuts and M & M’s for snacks. Instead we all just enjoy the time spent with our needlework and with each other.
So—try it. Go out on a limb and send that email. You may find it is the start of a wonderful tradition.
…I like to hang out. I have already shared with you my favorite blogs (see below). In addition to those few I have many others that I love to visit. A good way to broaden your stitchy blog reading is to look at the sidebars of the blogs I’ve listed. Here other blogs with similar subject matter are listed. By clicking on those links, you can start your own group of favorites. I use Google, I have folders for embroidery, quilting, knitting and sewing and I save the URL’s of the blogs I like in their respective folders.
In addition to blogs, there are two very important websites that needleworkers everywhere should have bookmarked: First is the Embroiderer’s Guild of America. Membership in this organization (national, but local and cyberstitcher’s groups are also available) gets you a wonderful magazine called Needle Arts, access to both group and individual correspondence courses, merchandise, master craftsman programs and so much more. (No—I am not being paid anything from any of the groups I discuss here—I just really believe in them.) The cost of membership is small when compared to the educational and networking opportunities this organization offers.
Second is the American Needlepoint Guild. This organization operates in much the same way as the EGA discussed in the preceding paragraph. You can sign up as a national member and also—as an option—join a local group or, if there is no local group nearby, as a cyberstitcher. Needlepointers is their quarterly magazine and it is filled with needlework eye candy, projects to work on and educational opportunities. ANG also offers correspondence courses and many other projects to help all of us learn new techniques.
Both organizations have a wonderful National Seminar. It is my goal to get to at least one before I go home to stitch in my Heavenly mansion. These seminars offer courses ranging from 1/2 day to 4 days with well-known national teachers. Even if you are not able to attend, the seminar brochure photos are enough to inspire all of us to keep plying our needles.
Check out the links to the two organizations. Enjoy! If you have questions for me, feel free to post them in the comments.
…here in Minnesota. The air is crisp, the sun is shining and the sky is that amazing blue that is so pure it almost hurts your eyes to look at it. We are finally getting some fall color and even here in the city the vibrant yellows and reds make one forget that the jungle we live in is concrete rather than organic.
I know it’s been forever since my last post—the summer went far too quickly and I don’t really have any pictures of my work worth posting. That doesn’t mean I haven’t stitched. I have been working on knitted lace scarf, trying to improve my technique. That means that there are errors in the scarf, but it also means I can see the incremental improvements in my knitting. I will snap a photo of both sides of the scarf when it is done so you can see where I started and where I ended up. I have many other knitting projects to start—some of them intended to be Christmas gifts—so I need to be disciplined and knit a bit each day.
As for stitching I have been working primarily on my Christmas tree table runner and and napkins. The napkins are done and the runner is getting close. I hope to use it over the holiday season. In my last post, I mentioned the fact that this was my oldest WIP—I started it the year we were married and we just celebrated 32 years. It’s time for it to be done. Again it is a wonderful record of how my stitching has changed and improved over the years (including crossing all my x’s in the same direction). I will also post a photo of that work as soon as it’s finished.
I also had the wonderful privilege of teaching a friend to stitch late this summer. He has proved an apt pupil and has almost finished his first BIG project—in a month’s time. I love seeing that moment when people discover the possibilities in needlework and how that first project is merely a springboard to more discoveries.
Finally, I want to share a wonderful web site for stitchers. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer counted, hardanger or surface embroidery or whether you are a traditionalist or like to experiment with colors and fibers—this page has something for you. The Stitchin’ Fingers site bills itself as a forum for stitchers, fiber artists and textile enthusiasts. You can create your own page, join groups for those with like interests, and enjoy some wonderful stitching eye candy. Best of all you can connect with other stitchers all over the world. Check it out and enjoy.
That’s all I have for today. I’m hoping that each of you had a peaceful summer with plenty of opportunity for joyful stitching.
….to figure out what to start stitching on after such a long hiatus. I do plan to go to Japanese Embroidery class next week (for 2 days) and I hope to finish Phase I, reacquaint myself with Phase II-III and order Phase IV for next fall. I pulled several counted thread on fabric pieces out to work on, my Christmas Table Runner and napkins will be my surface embroidery project and for needlepoint, I am not yet certain, but I think I will put away my Summer Cottage and work on my black Jinice Kimono or perhaps her Nejerbana Flowers canvas. I am close to finishing the flowers canvas as I am down to working on the background, which I’ve changed from cream to black and some finishing work such as sinking couched threads—so perhaps I will pull out both of them and switch to the kimono when I get tired of working on background stitching. Then again there’s the Hapsburg Lace canvas that I enjoying working on so much—created by Tanja Berlin. Hmmmmm—so many good choices. Lastly, I am working a perforated paper piece from the Victorian Motto Shop—a very, very dangerous place for me to go—which says “Always Kiss Me Good Night” and is destined to hang above our bed.
I like having a variety of different projects of varying techniques and skill levels. It means that I can find something to work on when I’m tired, when I don’t have a lot of time, or when I want to stretch the boundaries of my abilities. The last one will probably not happen until have the Bar exam in July. Until then, I am working on project that I can focus on for a few house, then put down to return to studying.
Once I get everything decided on, I will post pictures. In the meanwhile, I decided that I needed a new wool applique project, since I finished my last one and didn’t have another one to start. I found the BEST source for some wonderful kits called Wooly Lady . I ordered:
Inspired by Irises—in my favorite colors of all time
The techniques are blanket stitch applique and some surface embroidery. And I think they are fabulous. Now to decide which I will work on first.
Well, that’s all for tonight. I’m going to head for bed, as I have work to do early in the morning. I hope you all have had a wonderful day filled, at least in part, by stitches.
…and embroidery. This is a beautiful film clip about an embroiderer from Australia. So much of what he talks about resonates so deeply with me.
…passing of fire and not the worship of ashes.”
…sometimes is slow in coming. I just finished a law degree. I am preparing for the Bar exam. Those are both good things—things that I care about very deeply. But for many years now, I have had a longing to teach needlework, to create a place in this wide world where people can come to share their love of stitching, to learn and to share, to somehow find a way to turn this avocation of mine into a vocation. But to do that requires a significant investment beyond what I already have invested in a library and material and, in the future, offers only meager earning potential. We have never had—and don’t currently have— the means for such an investment. I have prayed about MY vision many times. And God’s answer has always been ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ or ‘I have something different in mind for you, daughter.’
I was thinking about this earlier today—perhaps feeling just a tad frustrated—and one of the first things to greet me on Facebook was this reminder:
Now all I can say is….Amen.