Goodbye Mr. Padre;( R.I.P.


I shed a tear or two today along with the entire city of San Diego and the baseball world as Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn entered A Hall of Fame greater than Cooperstown. Gone at the age of 54. WTF, 54? that is all to soon to leave us Tony.

I know this has nothin’ to do at all with needlepoint, and that’s why I call this “Mostly Needlepoint.” If you have been following my blog at all, you know that I am a diehard baseball fan and especially of my home team, The San Diego Padres…even though I swear I am switching alleginace every time that have a lousy season, like this year AGAIN!

I reignited my deep love for baseball watching Tony Gwynn, starting around 1996. That was the year that we did the improbable and swept them Dodgers in the last 3 games of the season to move onto the playoffs… and I have had season tickets every year since. Well excpet for this year as my travel schedule and work schedule just gets in the way of   attending the games, but I don’t miss not a one on TV or the radio.

I remember going to opening day every year with my BFF, Ms. Payne and she would say “I  just love watching Tony Gwynn play!” as did I. His smile, his infectious laugh, his hitting prowess of nailing that 5.5 hole, his love for the game, his love for the city of San Diego and I could go on and on. He owned Maddog Maddux, has accumulated records and stats that will never be broken in our lifetimes…and was such a good person. Never heard a bad word about Tony, never ever.

My best memory of Tony would be the 1998 World Series when he hit that home run off of Boomer Wells in Yankee Stadium…I really thought we were going to win that game. And oh yes, who could forget his pursuit of 3000 hits?

A tweet from earlier this morning.

U can’t live on what u’ve done yesterday. U have to go out and prove yourself again today.” #Tony Gwynn RIP Tony Gwynn. You will be missed more than you know.

I am sure that you are talking hitting right now with Ted Williams…


While We’re Talking About Threads!

I thought I would share some more of the new threads from market. This is the Silken Straw by Alchemy along with some of their other threads. It is a knitting yarn (silk) that they are now skeining in smaller amounts for needlepoint.

I remember that is how I discovered Planet Earth years back, when they made smaller skeins of their knitting yarn that had either beads or sequins worked into. You couldn’t stitch with that, but it I believe that it would be great couched. I never did get a chance to use that thread before they decided that it wasn’t selling to the needlepoint world.

Alchemy was awarded the TNNA award for best multi-booth presentation. It was a great and really caught my attention!

Have you used Silken Straw yet? I have and I love it! You stitch with it as is and it is great for houses, roofs…well how about a broom? as you stitch with it, the ends open a bit and makes it easier to strand. I think that I counted about 10 strands… and not wanting to miss experimenting with something, I stitched with it that way and it yields a totally different color! I have the colors out on my stitching table as I want to try and use it in a few of the pieces that I am working on.

They have another thread called Sparky, that has a metallic blend and that too soon will be  packaged for needlepoint!

Rainbow Gallery never disappoints with more colors of Silk Lamé Braid! Love this thread!

PaintersThreads by Tentakulum. These are hand painted threads from Germany and named after famous painters such as van Gogh, Monet and so forth. Beautiful silks, ribbons, gimps and so much more!

This is their overdyed silks or should I say overpainted?

I think that I have one more group of threads and a few more canvases yet. Maybe I will finish up sometime before for the Dallas show! Only kidding…

It was a busy day of stitching yesterday… so much going on on tv and not that I am a sports fanatic or anything, but there was The US Open and I am sorry its not the same anymore without Tiger. Now wether you liked him or not, its true! Then there World Cup Soccer, a basketball playoff game and of course baseball. All great stitching tv.

AlleyCat is making sure that I sit and stitch!

and until next time…keep on stitching


Do you Know what Day it Is?

“Today is National Lobster Day! Did you know that lobster was once considered peasant food? In the 1800s, lobsters were incredibly plentiful and New Englanders could simply walk down the beach and capture them during low tide. Many servants lived off of lobster during this time period. In fact, one Massachusetts community had to pass a law that limited how often you could serve lobster to your servants. It was a modest three times a week!”

How about celebrating Father’s Day today by taking Dad out for lobster?

I remember when I was growing up and especially on Fridays, we would go to our A&P market…and am I dating myself now? and we would select a lobster from the tank for our meatless dinner.

I love lobster and there is nothing like a Maine lobster! … and my next summertime trip to the East Coast, enjoying a lobster roll is on my must to do list.

The lobster boil canvas is by Melissa Shirley Designs. I know at one time she had designed to Lobster Ballet Kitchen, which was a multi group canvas selection…but I don’t think it was that popular as I never see it around.

This canvas by Katie Molineux of Shorebird Designs. Katie, I miss having you at market and hope we will see you again sometime soon!

I had a nice partial day off yesterday as I was visiting and chatting away. I am down to 1 1/2 stitch guides left for the magazine and so much stitching! I really can’t share too much stitching with you for now since I am working on my proposals for the Dallas and January trade shows and few others. Trust me, there is lots of stitching and plenty of reverse stitching too as I am to find that purr~fect stitch!


My stitching assistant AlleyCat is hard at work.

and until next time…keep on stitching


How Could I Miss This?

Not only was yesterday Friday the 13th… but it was a full moon! See my nose has been buried in the Mac as I pound away on the keyboard. But how could I have missed this?

Not only was it a full moon, but it was a full moon on Friday the 13th and…

it is known as a strawberry moon? see you never know what you are going to find out when you stop by!

It is known as the strawberry moon because of all the harvesting of berries in June. Now you know I just had to find a needlepoint canvas full of strawberries…

and this beautiful basket with strawberries by Melissa Shirley Designs came to mind. There are allot of examples out there of berries in needlework and do you remember the strawberry pincushions your Mom always had in her sewing basket?

This amazing fruit that is the centerpiece of strawberry shortcake, salads, dipped in chocolate and have you ever had them drizzled with balsamic glaze? Heaven! (BTW I just saw this glaze in Trader Joe’s yesterday…used to be you always needed to make it.)

Now I am goofing off this morning. Breakfast at The Cottage, a little retail therapy and a leisurely walk around La Jolla… and just maybe awhole lotta stitching going on this weekend too!

I really tried to find a picture of the cats sleeping in a strawberry box. I found them snoozing in peach boxes, blueberry boxes, lettuce boxes, well just every kind of box, but not strawberries!

Instead AlleyCat is here sunning herself. I am always amazed how they find just that little bit of sun!

and until next time…keep on stitching


What…is there no Stitching Going On?

No, no stitching…well I take that back. I did a little reverse stitching the other night. Why you ask is there no stitching going on?  I have been trying to get a handle on my magazine work. Soon! Soon! but we have new threads to talk about.

Is Pepper Pot not your most favorite thread? well it’s one of mine and on the right canvas, it’s the most purr~fect thread! For me it’s like comfort food.

Well Planet Earth has been busy as they have introduced 6 new colors! 176 Stratosphere, 177 Scuba, 178 Peacock, 170 Bluegrass, 180 Periwinkle and 181 Cornflower. Great colors just in time for summer stitching! You know these skeins are deceiving… ya think that they are short and small and not nearly enough thread, but you know what? they are the same as a skein of Vineyard Silk at 30 yards.

Planet Earth has a new wool color called Smoke to complete the grey family.

Furr-Fuzz-Funn, which is a new thread… already has added a few more colors! Canyon Sunset and Ginger which would be great colors for stitching Morris the Cat.

There are 3 new greens in Planet Earth 6-ply silk 1213 Jasmine, 1214 Shamrock and 1214 Flash along with an overdye V1143 Mud. ooh and a new Opal color 058 Shrub. I am stitching lots of Halloween and it might be just what I need.

Last but not least is the new silk ribbon with fray less edging. 3 widths in 25 colors and packaged on 5 yard cards. The widths are 4mm, 7mm and 10mm…now I like that as the 10mm as it just smaller than the 13 which at times can be too wide. All of the ribbons are hand painted with tonal shading. Launching at Destination Dallas in September, but I will try it out before that!

Thank you to Tracy for my goodie bag… and I need to take the pictures of the rest of the threads for you.

and a new book! great color photographs and I since there is little to no stitching going on, I haven’t used it!

AlleyCat picked up right where well Sylvester left off last week. This is the refernce material that I use to look up threads for the magazine when I am working on stitch guides. Make sure that they are still being made, the correct color name, company name and so on. Of all the places that you could sit in this house, why there? Just to prove who’s boss?

Even Mooch and Earl are getting into the game!

and until next time…keep on stitching


I’m Baaaaacccck…….

and AlleyCat wasted no time in being herself… as Mooch does, she schnubbed her dinner, but last week that one was your favorite?! She chewed on one of my plants while I was gone, made a few messes for me and ran out the door twice! What’s a mother to do?

Okay there has been absolutely no stitching going on here! none, nada, zippo… but I had a wonderful time with the family. My niece lives northeast of me, about a 6 hour drive in a part of California I hardly ever venture into or recognize. Very flat valley, no mountains, no hills, no palm trees and hot! hot! hot!

We started off our week with the high school graduation of my great niece Gina. Here she is with her little sister Isabella (Bella) after the ceremonies were over.

The next day was my niece’s retirement ceremony after 20 years in the Navy.

yes my niece is vertically challenged…but trust me, she does not let that get in her way as she logged a very storied career in the Navy. Here the Navy thanks her parents and her daughters for their sacrifices too. Miranda you did good and I am so proud of you, more than I can ever put into words.

a very emotional day for all of us! and the tears kept flowing even when I got back to the hotel and got the news that a dear friend of mine had to say goodbye to her husband.

I love this picture of you two! Dan lost his valiant but brief battle with cancer early Friday morning. A picture perfect marriage and relationship that was made in heaven… one that would hope that if you found the love of your life, it would be just like this. My heart breaks for you Cassandra;(

And you know her whether or not you realize it! Cassie is the founder and owner of Sundance Designs…you know home of so many great needlepoint canvases and Sundance beads! I am here for you Cassie, anytime…really anytime. My only regret is that he passed through my life all too briefly.

I was working on a stitch guide for the magazine yesterday that uses probably 2 dozen colors of Sundance beads and everytime I typed the word of Sundance, I thought of you Cassie.

Okay onto the needlepoint stuff…lots of that coming. More stuff from market and I have new threads, a new book and a new canvas for myself. What was I thinking?

but I guess before I start to think about stitching, you need to move Sylvester!

and until next time…keep on stitching


I Can’t Believe it’s June Already!

and neither can Mooch! can you believe that this year is almost 1/2 over already?

and in a few days I will be headed up to Northern California to celebrate the retirement of my niece, my Navy niece after 20 years…

This was from…was it 4 years ago Miranda? when she came back from a 7 month deployment on the USS Nimitz. I was there to meet her and an experience I will soon not forget!

Her sister was lucky enough to participate on a Tiger Cruise. Where a friend or a family member meets the ship 2-3 days before it docks into it’s final port and continues with them until they get to their destination. It was very popular!

Getting off the ship…where we were waiting for what seemed like hours!

Her mother (my sister) surprised her as she didn’t know that her Mom was going to be there too!

So she hangs up her blues and ventures into civilian life. We will be there to celebrate with her.

So the cats and I will say… see you later! and it should be at least a week before we’re back. I still have more new stuff from market, new threads and books and more that I have gotten after market. So lots to talk about when I get back!

and until next time…keep on stitching


Threads! Threads! and more Threads!

Okay last we left off I was running out the door for breakfast at The Cottage and some thread shopping. Breakfast was wonderful as always and they always seem to indulge me! A quick looksee at the orchids in Adelaide’s and then off to Warwick’s where I got Mariano Rivera’s new book…in case you don’t know he recently retired from baseball and the Yankees. A true legend and, well I guess I fell off the subject at hand here!

I bought the Kreinik size #4 in 003 Red to try the cross part of the stitch in the dotted Swiss. I have Accentuate in color 40 for a backup plan. If I were to use the Accentuate I would use 2 strands as just a single one would never show up. Do you struggle with this thread? well most of the time you do need to use 2 strands, so just take a really long length of thread, double it over in your needle, knot it and stitch away!

Okay since I don’t have time to work on this now, I will give you all my thoughts and ideas so you can stitch away!

The burgandy breast plate…hmm lets see. As I worked the basketweave on the coat and studied what I would do there I keep thinking Or Nué, which could be challenging because of the way it’s painted. If you were to do that I would use the Kreinik #12 002HL as the gold using a single length of that…or if you had already bought the #8 you can use that also, but use 2 lengths of that for each line. You can find many videos and online instructions for Or Nué. The burgandy Needlepoint Inc. Silk would be the couching thread. What I would do when ready to stitch a canvas thread where it is painted gold, I would skip that stitch with the silk and the pattern would develop that way. Or you could basketweave it in the 2 colors…or you could basketweave it totally with the burgandy silk and then couch the gold on top of it. I don’t think that I would bead it as it would bring the breast plate too forward.

The face would again be basketweave in 1 or 2 strands of a silk or a DMC floss that is in your stash. I like DMC floss 761 and/or 948. Do you keep a little stash of face colors in your threads? This thinking if you stitched this very light, you wouldn’t need to buy the 3-4 colors that it is painted. Not only that it is so challenging to keep changing threads in such a small area. The eyes I would use Kreinik or even Neon Rays and never beads as you wouldn’t want beady little eyes!

His beard I would stitch in long and short using Burmilana 3601, 3516 and 3881 which is white and 2 light grays. I would start with packed outline along the edges to achieve that curve and then shade to the white, using either 1 or 2 strands.

I have these beads selected to bead his crozier…yes I did change the gold beads from what I originally thought. This is a Sundance #14 bead 471 that is a brighter gold and I like it much better! The red bead is a #15 Miyuki bead 1464 color that was used in a Kelly Clark crazy quilt.

The staff should be stitched with some dimensional stitch or by padding it. If you wanted something basic, you could lay down some padding and then stitch over in a satin stitch using Kreinik 002HL…okay you are already using #12 so you could use that.

Another option for the staff would be to work a Van Dyke stitch. Or if you could find some heavy braid in a shop and use that…the possibilities are endless! Or if you give me a few weeks I will teach you how to do repoussé which will create a very real looking staff.

If you wish to do the latter, I wouldn’t stitch his mittens right now as the one that holds the staff will need to come over it. If you just want to get this finished NOW, I would stitch the mittens using the silks form the coat. There is no red Burmilana that works well with the silk. You will need a little white and I would work those too in long and short, trying to achieve the slant as it’s painted.

You are all waiting for the background and yes I stitch that LAST or almost last! Santa at the moment seems to be floating in the air, so you need to ground him or give him something to stand on.

Using Water N’ Ice WT1 this is what I would stitch for the ground. Totally random, make some bigger, some smaller. Bring it up to about where the red starts on his coat.

Yes I know I have said 2 very bad words…randow and long and short! It’s really not that bad at all and I am not a random person at all, trust me!

This is what I used here and loved the result…so if it works why fix it?

The snowflake is a bit smaller than what I used on the panda as the canvas is smaller, so I scaled it down. Add as many or as few as you would like using Kreinik #8 in 032 Pearl. You can add a white bead in the center of the snowflake.

Almost but not least is the holly in his hand. The stems are just a tent stitch…you know sometimes less is more?! The holly leaves I am thinking basketweave French knots, where rows of basketweave are alternated with rows of French knots. Nestle some beads in for the berries. I have not selected a green color for this yet.

The Turkey work with a punch needle, which I will do a demo for you later this month. Originally I had thought Burmilana, but I think that we will all go crazy rethreading the punch needle. So how about Impressions 1130. I think that we will still need 2 skeins as 2 should be worked at the same time. If you already have the Burmilana, well we just make that work!

Here’s a punch needle that was found at a big box store, or try your local craft store too!

Whew I think that I am all talked out…right Sylvester?

and until next time…keep on stitching



What I Learned on the Way to Pull Threads!

and what was that you asked? well I have these containers and yes they are from the Container Store of where I do need to make a stop one of these days.

I have 2 filled and am working on a 3rd one. I reorganized the Kreinik a few weeks ago… well I sorta had no choice as somebody and we won’t mention any names now will we Sylvester? (ooh maybe that’s why he was hiding under the bed!) knocked a box over, so I really straightened them out and organized them the same way that you would find them in a shop.

I started with silver which is 001 and includes the silvers 001HL, 001V, 001L in all the sizes and so on. I continued with the gold which is 002 et al, 003 reds, 005 blacks…well I guess that you get the idea!

These boxes along with boxes of beads, Rainbow Gallery threads and all of my working threads live in a little closet that I assume is supposed to be my pantry. Well I don’t cook, so what would I need a pantry for? They are an easy reach when I am stitching away and I need to find a thread. Hopefully I don’t have to move a cat when I need to get up!

So you wonder where this story is going? well keep reading!

Remember my good intentions of stitching for myself an hour a day? well that has turned into an hour every week, maybe every 2 weeks if I am a good girl!

I know that many of you are anxiously awaiting the progress of Leigh’s Holly Hills Santa and trust me I feel the pressure, so I did work on this last weekend. I continued to stitch Santa’s coat in basketweave using 3 strands of Needlepoint Inc. Silk 501 in the Chinese Red Range. I think that if I had my choice to do it over I would have used 4 strands, but it’s not coming out! If you have a hard time finding that silk Splendor S911 is a great choice too.

Notice how when working basketweave and you need to start a new thread, that you don’t start or end your thread on a diagonal. Why is that? well it will create a ridge in your stitching. End that thread horizontally or vertically and keep on stitching.

okay the basketweave is done and I wanted to stitch the gold filagree in the coat with a Kreinik 002HL. I started with size 8 in French knots and that didn’t look good, so out it came. Tent stitch it was and that really wasn’t giving me good coverage, so I tried a cross stitch and quickly realized I didn’t like it… so out it came. I went to the Kreinik stash and pulled out a size 12 and stitched again and now I like the way it looks. I continued working on the filagree and stitched the burgandy swirls with Needlepoint Inc. Silk 505.

Next is to add the cross stitch to make it the dotted Swiss, using Rainbow Gallery Silk Lamé Braid SP53. Well do you see it? I don’t! I see a little glimmer, a little hint – but not strong enough so I want to try using Kreinik 003 Red in a size 4.

This is the dotted Swiss stitch which it looks like every other row you will cross the 4th stitch with another thread. Thanks to Bobbi who thought that the dotted stitch in the 2nd edition of Jo Christensen’s book was it…close but not quite. Well there’s no reason why you can’t use that!

Back to the Kreinik stash…okay if any of you counted how many spools stand up in 1 section of that box? between 18-20 depending on how many I cram into one and with 12 sections to a box..and I will let you do the math! Now that doesn’t count what lives with my current projects, Halloween Threads or my Christmas Threads. I am outta control!

So mathematically, the percentages of finding a Krienik 003 Red in size #4 should be easy. What do you think? NOT! I didn’t have a one, nor did I have a gold in the right color in size 4 either.

I will end this right here for now as I am headed out for some thread shopping! I will continue this over the next few days as I talk about all the threads and all the ideas that I have and I will just let you stitch away and tell me how it’s working out! As much as I want to stitch on this right now… I just can’t and enjoy it. I will give you the Burmilana colors, the face colors, the snow, the sky and everything. The only color I haven’t thought about is the holly leaves!

I gotta go! I’m late for a very important date! breakfast at The Cottage!

and for now…keep on stitching! Right Sylvester?



So many Canvases! So little Time!


OMG! I never published this morning… my apologies!

So many canvases! so little time! if we could just add more hours in our stitching day as we add new canvases, threads and beads…wouldn’t life be even more grand?

This was a new favorite of mine introduced by Sundance Designs. Isn’t this wonderful? and no I didn’t order this one.

While I am in the Halloween spirit, how about this great stack of pumpkins from JP Needlepoint? I love canvases like this as each pumpkin is like a new canvas on it’s own as they are all so different! If you are not a fan of black canvas, you can get it on white. This is one time that I would work the background as I finish a pumpkin as then you are not overwhelmed with background at the end.

I love these ornament from the collection. Very, very elegant and could be enhanced with lots of Kreinik or crystals and beads to make them even more beautiful!

New additions to the Sew Much Fun line. These girls are so clever with what they design and then stitch! Gotta love ‘em.

New bags from Lee. I really like the green one…now to just find a canvas that fits!

I have really been doing a whole lotta stitching these days and I am sure you are wondering a few things? like why haven’t I shared any of it with you? well some of them are  not shareable at the moment…and let me just give you a little rundown of what’s in the stitching queue at the moment. Three somewhat small canvases for a future class to be-the canvas for my class at Destination Dallas-a project for Raymond for the ANG Seminar in Chicago-and speaking of Raymond, 4 more pieces for the Halloween Train-a fun Halloween canvas for Point of It All Designs-Mrs. Cat for Pepperberry Designs-a canvas for Maggie which I am sorry that I haven’t touched yet! sorry Maggie- and I am waiting for an Annie Lane canvas to arrive any day now….whew I have lost count? how about you?

and then you wonder why I haven’t worked on the Leigh Holly Hills Santa? well I have somewhat and have changed my mind 100 and 1 times…well not really, but close. And this is why I like to stitch the piece as I write the guide as what you envision in your mind as the perfect stitch, it always just doesn’t work out! I will have an update for you this weekend and will share the chart for the dotted swiss. And in all the books out there, I have never found it… except for Google! go figure.

I have to laugh at Sylvester! this is the half-way hiding…so if I can’t see you, does that mean that I am really hiding?

and until next time…keep on stitching