Sunday, November 27, 2016

Teaching classes that I offer to groups of students

This past year or two has brought changes to all us but one of the changes that I have made is that I am not traveling and teaching as much. I am not proposing for seminars and the only teaching that I am doing is when a group contacts me and I will go teach for them. It really is much more relaxed and I am having fun working on some past projects and designing new ones. I have been able to design some custom pieces for groups that I visit.
Because of all of the above and the expense, I decided to close down my web site. I have never been really good at keeping it up anyway. I kept the original domain names so that I could use them if I wanted to but for now I will be putting things on the blog. I do want to start some cyber classes but that is still in my imagination and the future. Contact me at if you are interested and I will send you the details and prices.
Also design samplers and needle work boxes and smalls. If you want a piece just for your group we can talk about it. Perhaps the best way to see some of the thing that I have done is just to google my name and look on images.
I mostly teach blackwork and pulled thread but there are a number of other pieces that I have taught also. Most of the things that I teach are scheduled for two day classes. For blackwork, I use silk on linen with touches of gold thread. Usually they are black on white but a couple do have color.
The pulled thread is usually cotton thread on linen.

This first one called Basket of Gold is a four day class but it could be done in three days.

Cherry Blossom


Floral Explosion



Dyeing for Blackwork
In this one you dye your own silk threads and fabric in class so it can be almost any color.

Pulled Thread

Belle Fleur


Lady Jane's Lace Sampler

Lucy's Pocket

Moon Flower Bag

If you have questions let me know. I love to design and teach so please contact me so I can come and visit you.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Owls, teaching and a yarnbowl

Last week I traveled to Minnesota to teach. It was at the retreat for the   Needlework Guild of Minnesota. They hold it at a retreat center that works really well but does give you a lot of exercise. The center is a long series of buildings and the sleeping rooms, teaching rooms and cafeteria can be quite a distance from each other. The view and the students make it worth wile however. I have been working on the pieces for this retreat for quite some time and kept adding owl things.
Here is photo of the retreat center.

There were 23 students in the Feather Your Nest class.. It was a big class and we started with random long and short stitches which was certainly outside of the comfort zone of most the women in the class since most of them do counted work. They really did a great job as we worked together to stitch the feathers of the owl in the tree. Most of them finished the brown feathers and have only to put in the light colored feathers around the eyes.
Here is the owl that we worked on.

This is the whole set.

The other class was a pulled thread class called Ivory and since it was small with only 6 students we were able to have lots of stitching time in class.

I did a couple of small pieces that I sold to the members and now have to figure a way to teach them at home.
This owl is from the set but it was a big hit. I borrowed the idea from Pintrest for the owl and so many people loved it that I made some patterns just for the owl.
Zen Owl is a mix-up of zentangles and blackwork that created this fun stitched piece.

I love celadon porcelain and have been wanting yarn bowl so when they came together I could not resist. A yarn bowl lets you put a ball of yarn in  the bowl so that it stays put and doesn't roll across the floor as you knit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Just a darling litte garden

I have been busily working on the Hidden Magnolia Sampler. I had finished stitching this darling little garden that I changed because I wanted my garden to grow different flowers than those that were charted. I also added the fountain and changed the urn and the fence and a few other things.
I thought that I would then put it away and work on one of my other unfinished pieces or even (gasp)design something new to stitch, but the large bunch of silk thread was just setting there and not available for other things so....... here I am working on other parts so that I can finish and put the threads away so that they are ready for the next project.

I did finish one small piece. I had charted an antique alphabet for Feather Your Nest and thought that I would stitch one of the letters. We were cleaning out the fabric scraps at work and I found one that I really liked so I grabbed the Elizabethan Green silk and stitch the letter C on it and finished it with a piece of panne velvet and turned it into a frame weight. It felt good to accomplish something even if it was not very big.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Isobel Lyon 1621

As I have been working on (actually thinking about) the Cabinet of Curiosities Casket, I have stitched most of the pieces that Tricia designed for the class and have added some of my own.
I stitched Mistress L to roll up and place in the casket. I designed and stitched Kathrin Boswell as inspiration. Although Kathrin is a real person, she has a story that I wrote about her.  I added to it by designing and stitching a whitework sampler from the years before she was born and decided that it needed to be worked by her actual Grandmother, Isobel. So with a little poetic license I named her  Isobel Lyon since some of the family is descended from King William the Lyon king of Scotland.
It really stretched my skills to both design and stitch the Reticilla section of the sampler. I used a size 80 cordonnet thread for the weaving, wrapping  and buttonhole bars.  I don't have it framed yet but do have it mounted on the blue-green silk background. I still have a few more ideas for pieces for the Casket but am closer to my final design.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Classes this fall - Ivory and Feather Your Nest

As most of you readers know, I design and teach needlework. I love to see just how the designs come alive with needle and thread.
In August of 2016 - this year, (I know how the years speed ahead ever faster all of the time,) I will be teaching two fun classes.  I have slowed down my schedule so the classes that I teach are very special. Here is the link to the Retreat website.

One of the classes is Ivory, which is a pulled thread piece that uses shades of white and tan to stitch a Japanese flower ball. The companion piece is called Ebony and is done in blackwork. They use the same design but the contrast between the black and white is so interesting. When both of them have been exhibited together, it usually takes a while before people realize that the designs are identical.


The other class is Feather Your Nest Box and Smalls. This one was created specifically for the retreat and full of fun Minnesota touches. The box has an owl on the top and stitched pockets on the inside. The smalls include a cute owl emery, a blackwork mouse pincushion, a flame stitch scissors sheath and lots of others. I hope that it is as fun for the students to stitch as it was for me to design. Although it is not a traditional sampler it functions the same way with lots of samples of different stitches and techniques.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Isobel's bands from Italy and Japanese Embroidery

 Sometime when I am working on a piece, it goes more slowly than I want it to. I am enjoying the process of stitching and need to be patient with the rate of growth. This is one of two bands of Reticella that I am doing. For some reason Reticella has never been my favorite embroidery technique. My friend Diane Clements was a master of Reticella and she talked me into doing Reticella several times and now I am so glad that I did. Using 17th century patterns to design my own bands has been fun but a real challenge. I have also used some techniques from books that I bought in Italy. It is growing and I am pleased with the way that it is looking. It will look so much better when I can take off the paper pattern and finish off all of the stray threads.
I have been working my way through the steps of Japanese Embroidery very slowly. I work on it an hour a day when I can. The braid changes from purple to green and finally to orange and will end up with gold thread embroidered on top of the silk. I have been busy putting in the base threads for the cloud areas of the fan and the pine trees. The orange threads are twisted and ready to stitch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Isobel Lyon reticella band

I just finished this band on my Isobel Lyon sampler. Reticella is not my favorite form of needlework but I bought some fun books in Italy when I went to Burano  to the lace museum. I used  a couple of the reticella techniques in this band.  I like that way that it turned out and it certainly gave me plenty of repeats so that I could practice and get better.
I am really having fun working on creating my version of a 17th century whitework band sampler.

I have discovered that this white on white embroidery attracts almost like a magnet every stray red or dark colored fiber floating in the room . I learned to keep a pair of very fine tweezers handy to pluck off those pesky little colored fibers as they got stitched into the work.

I am about three-quarters of the way finished but have a couple of really open reticella areas at the bottom that are going to be a challenge.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Life and Embroidery

Many of my ancestors are from Scotland. We can seem to be a rather stern, taciturn clan with the sound of bagpipes in our mind and the lilt of the language in our ears.
Much of what shapes our lives is inherited from our ancestors through genetics but more so by the family traditions and ways of looking at things that we absorb in our families. My Father was a most modest man who had great talent in many areas. He oil painted, carved birds, and created jewelry among other things. He and my Mother are the reason that I am open to trying new things and the attitude that I can create what I can imagine. The things of this world will one day turn to dust but what he gave me will be part of me forever. In December he left us, quietly and without much fuss just like he wanted but the hole in my life is giant. My parents are so much a part of me and I have been so lucky to have both of them so long that although I can no longer see him, he is not gone forever and I shall see him again. He painted this wonderful desert scene and among all of his painting it is the one that hangs where I see it as I stitch.

My Mother's father was from Scotland and she has always loved thistle. I stitched this piece for her to give to her at Christmas. It is stitched with wool thread with just a touch of metallic gold.
 From my Father's Scottish side of the family comes the name of a new piece that I am working on. It is a 17th century whitework band sampler named Isobel Lyon. Isobel is in my father's direct line from Burntisland, Fife. This band is a technique sometimes called Lacis. It is form of lace in which many of the threads are cut out and the remaining threads form the base for weaving and dove's eyes. Isobel is the Grandmother of Kathrin, so it fits in the narrative of the story of Katherin's kist, the embroidered casket.
 I have added a small but fun piece to my needlework tools. This rosewood thimble with its pewter bee is just for decoration but looks great on the shelf with the other more useful tools.