Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thoughts on Time at Christmas

Hello Friends,

My goodness the days slip by so quickly!  When your spouse is retired you begin to lose track of the days.  You know that test they give you at the doctors to be sure you don't have memory loss?  It includes the question "Do you know what day it is today?"  Well...I think I might get that one wrong.  The day of the week and the date of the month are a blur, but I do know that it will soon be 2014 and another year will have flown by.  If we could only invent a brake that would slow down time.  Of course if we did that then the world would slow down, gravity would begin to lose it's power and we all would be flung off the planet.  So...I guess I better just be happy with the way things are.  :)

But the issue of time is one that I struggle with daily at this time of year.  Is there enough time to do all the things I have on my list before Christmas?  Decorations, cards, shopping, meal planning, holiday celebrations, visits to friends not able to be home for Christmas and of course choosing gifts for friends and family.  Then as I think about the holidays, a Victorian poem comes to mind.  I am reminded that in the midst of plenty there is a need for charity for those less fortunate and to give according to one's ability.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny then a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny then God Bless You!

There are so many ways to give at this time of year, but sometimes I can over look the simple things that mean more to others than any monetary gift I could give.  The gift of time with those I love and with those less fortunate is something that will be remembered for many years to come. 

I hope that this Christmas many of you will be able to give the gift of your time to those you love as well as to those around you who are less fortunate.  Of course if you have the "penny" then give when you can, but the gift of time is worth a thousand times more than that ha'penny in the old man's hat.

Merry Christmas,


Monday, September 23, 2013

What's Up?

Hello Friends in Stitches,

A lot of posts on how to blog say not to start out by saying how long it's been since you posted as people know how long it's been since you posted.  Hmmm...but somehow it's always a good way to start a post.  However, since I just stated the above, I guess I have already done the deed.  :)

What's up with me

The summer heat here in Arizona has simply encouraged me to do as little as possible and that's what I have been doing.  Reading, stitching, thinking about designing, eating and watching Korean Dramas on T.V. 

That's right!!  :)  Korean Dramas, which are actually comedy and drama mixed together, are great fun to watch.  A lot like our romantic sitcoms.  If you haven't seen should try the drama "You Are Beautiful".   Yep, you do have to read subtitles, but the effort to do that goes away once you have tried a few of these.  I can even stitch now while watching.  I just glance up when they start to speak and the entire speech is up there ready to read.  Sometimes you have to be quick, but that's what the rewind button is for on your remote.  Sometimes you may have to look up a word or two, but that's easy to do.  If you have Netflix streaming you can watch a lot of these dramas.  I have been laughing my way through the week watching these at night.  How did I get started on this....well, my sister started to watch them when her daughter mentioned watching them on Netflix and then she got me hooked.  She adopted two Korean children at birth and they are now 18 & 20 years of age.  Even now Katie is in Seoul Korea helping school age children with their English.  She is accomplished in both Korean and Japanese Languages.   

Now an update on what's happening with Milady's Needle. 

I participated in the Attic Summer School in August and had a wonderful time with several other desert designers who also taught at this seminar.  These included Tanya Brockmeyer from Scarlet House, Linda Danielson from Samplers Remembered, Meagan & Vickie Jennett from Needlework Press, Apryl Southmayd & Bunny Smith from Priscilla's Pocket, and Linda Vinson from Needlemade Designs.  We all had a great time together and the attendees were very excited about all the projects.  We even finished one of the projects from Needlework Press.  I designed a scissors keep which I call Top Hat Scissors Keep.  It was fun designing this and coming up with a unique finish.  I can teach this at other guilds or shops after August of 2014. 

Top Hat Scissors Keep and Fob 
I am beginning to teach a bit more and have one a class scheduled at the Orange Coast Sampler Guild on October 12th.  I am teaching the Garden Delight Pin Cushion and Scissors Fob which was taught at the Attic Seminar last year. 

Garden Delight Pin Cushion
and Scissors Fob
I think I am going to enjoy teaching and hope to do more of it in the future.  I just have to design more projects that call for interesting finishing.  I also can teach advanced sampler stitches, but there doesn't seem to be much call for that out there right now.  A lot of sampler guilds have many members who are advanced in their stitching skills.  Guilds and shops seem to either want interesting finishing techniques or needlework designers who have a very large following.  If you have a guild or know of a shop who might be interested in having Milady's Needle come and teach please let them know of your interest in one of these projects.
Last of all, I want to thank all of you who take the time to comment on my blog.  I always read the comments, but I don't always respond to each comment.  I really appreciate your feedback and love to hear your experiences stitching my designs.  It was great to hear of your interest in the M. Woods sampler.  It has been very popular and I enjoy seeing how different she looks when you change the colors or the fabric.  It's amazing how different the end result looks just by making these simple changes. 
Until Next Time,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

M. Woods Has Arrived!!

Hello Stitching Friends,

With an appropriate drum roll I am announcing the publication of the reproduction of M. Woods! 

This sampler has been chosen as Sampler of the Month at the Attic Needleworks in Mesa, Arizona.   You will want to check our her latest Newsletter to see what she is offering as part of her sampler of the month feature.    It is exciting to be chosen for this honor as Jean really is a great support for those of us who are designers in this area.  She gets excited about all our work and passes on this excitement to those of us who are able to visit her shop.  See her newsletter here.

M. Woods is being packaged up and will ship out to shops on our automatic this week.  Distributors will receive the patterns later this month.  Be sure to contact your local shop owner and let them know you would like a copy of this beautiful sampler. 

I am so proud of this reproduction.  I really worked hard to bring you a chart which would make it easy for you to stitch a sampler that is not as symmetrical as it looks.  The original sampler is done on an uneven weave linen with a count of 56 threads by 66 threads per inch.  Yes she is small!  Because of the uneven weave the reproduction is larger and more square than the original.


The reproduction is stitched on 40 Count Vintage Examplar from Lakeside Linens using AVAS 100/3 Silk and one color of Luminescence from Gloriana Silks.  The colors of silk are taken from the back side of the sampler.  Despite the problems I had with color matching I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this piece. 

The closest you could get to the original size is to use the new 50 count fabric that Jean is offering through her shop from Lakeside Linens.  If you decide to work the sampler on this count you will need to stitch all of the sampler in cross stitch and tent stitch.  There are Eyelets on this piece, but each leg is done over one thread, so you won't want to mess with trying to do eyelets on 50 count.  With care in stitching, I was able to do the Eyelets over one and yes you can see them.  I include a diagram of one of the letters in the pattern so you can see how I stitched the Eyelets to keep the hole clear of any thread.

I hope you will enjoy stitching this sampler as much as I have enjoyed watching the sampler come alive again on linen.  Please let me know what you decide to stitch your sampler on.  I am interested to see what choices others make when working on a new sampler.

Till Next Time....Keep Your Needles Busy!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nashville Needlework Market & M. Woods 1759 Sampler

Hello Friends,

I am back from the Needlework Market and finally recovering from all the flurry of activity that accompanies preparing and going to markets.  It was a wonderful market with a lot of wonderful new works from all the designers that we love to love.  I am sure that many of you have been to your local needlework stores market day or night and have enjoyed seeing some of those new designs.  It was great to see old friends and all the great shop owners that attend these events.  That's the best part...putting faces to names and renewing relationships with shop owners that have continued to carry Milady's Needle Designs.

On the design front at home...I know that many of you have been waiting patiently for the release of M. Woods 1759 and I worked very hard to get this reproduction complete before the market.  I finally had to give it up when I ran into problems with color matching that just would not resolve.  So, I had to put her on the back burner until I returned from the market and get all the other designs completed and ready for publication.  So I am indeed sorry that I wasn't able to get this complete for the Nashville Market, but I am plugging away on it now and hope to have it ready by May.  I almost have that color problem fixed and I am just waiting for some new colors of Tudor Silk from Gloriana Threads to see if there is a better match there.  In the end, you will all probably be fine with whatever I choose and I know it's going to be lovely.  I will announce the publication of the design here first and hope you will stay tuned for that announcement.  Please be patient for her late arrival.  Here is a picture of the entire antique so that you can see how lovely this sampler is going to be.  This picture shows the more muted colors that result from age and dirt.  Poor Margaret has some damage to her right lower corner too, but she is beautiful just the same.  The reproduction will be with the brilliant colors on the back, but I will try to give you some suggestions for the colors that will give you a more muted look.


As for the new market they are pictured below.  I hope you like the new designs.  If you don't have a local needlework store that carries these design, email me and I will get you directed to some shops that carry my designs.                                                       
Friendship Keepsake Box

Ann Blockley's Pin Cushion & Scissors Keep

 Ann Blockley's Pin Keeps
Ann Blockley's Needles & Pins

1817 Needle Book

Well, back to work here on M. Woods.  Maybe I can give you an update on my progress in a couple of weeks.
Until Next Time...Keep Those Needles Busy,

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Nashville Market is around the corner.

Hello Friends,

Wow!!!  Time just flew by in January without a minute to spare.  :)  This is always a very busy time of year and it only makes things worse when I get sick for a couple of weeks.  Boy, I have really had a time of it in terms of illnesses.  I just got over the last one and round two hit me in January. 

Feeling much better now and working hard to get models done for the Nashville Market which is the first weekend in March.  There will be at least three new patterns available at market.  The first new pattern available will be the reproduction sampler that I have already showed you a sneak peak of in a couple of past posts here on my blog.  One of the other new patterns will feature Ann Smith Blockley's Needlework Accessories, which includes pin cushions and needle books based on the motifs on Ann's sampler.  I let myself play with variegated silks and I think you will like the result.  And the other new pattern will be one I designed for the top of a rectangular embossed paper mache box which you can no longer find at craft stores.  Never fear, though, I have plenty of those boxes for awhile and they will be available at your local needlework store after the market. 

A sneak peak at one of the variations of Ann's needlework accessories is below.

On another note...Back when I started stitching reproductions in the 1998, there were quite a few stitchers who had very definite ideas about reproduction samplers.  There were fewer designers reproducing samplers and the purists liked to have the reproduction be as close as possible in size and coloring of the original.  Thus many people reproducing samplers at the time would find the fabric size that was close, use silks as close as possible to the type that might have been used and would always look at the back of the sampler for color choices.  This means that the sampler colors would often be very bright.  In addition the sampler was reproduced exactly so that mistakes were left in.  Currently, some of the newer designers reproducing samplers are doing whatever they like.  They change motifs to be symmetrical when they are not.  They don't leave in mistakes, but try to correct them when they can.  They don't chart from the colors on the back, but instead choose the colors they like better.  They often use variegated threads rather than silks which are probably closer to the original sampler.  I personally  have always thought of these designs as adaptations rather than reproductions.  Reproduction means to make something as exactly like the original as possible.
Don't get me wrong...I love some of the new things that designers are doing with old samplers!!  I have several of these patterns in my personal stash.  I even love to see what stitchers change in my designs that are reproductions.  I like the old look on the front too.  But when I reproduce a sampler, I strive to create a design as close as possible to the original.  Then you as the stitcher can reproduce it exactly or change whatever you like and make it your own.  Sometimes it's necessary to make a few changes in the counting between motifs as often those little girls would miss a thread or two.  :)  You could go nuts trying to follow a chart that attempts to show over one, over two or over three threads between motifs and I would go nuts charting it!!! 
Anyway, I am wondering what all of you think about this issue.  Do you like the pattern to be a true reproduction so you are the one who has the choice to make or not make changes?  I would really be interested in your feedback about this question.
Until Next Time...keep those needles busy.