About Vicky

Needlepoint, morning noon and evening! what could be better than this? I work on the computer in the daylight hours editing stitch guides and drawing stitches that you will see in the next Needlepoint Now for your stitching pleasure! In between this, there is time for taking pictures of my stitching adventures, Facebook and writing stitch guides for canvas that I am stitching for Needle Deeva, Maggie, Ruth Schmuff and others. Mostly needlepoint you ask? well we will talk about my cats Sylvester and AlleyCat, better known as "the brat". Of course I can't forget Felix who was the love of my life for over 14 years. He broke my heart as he departed for the Rainbow Bridge last year. Oh did I mention baseball?

Tartan Plaid and the Scottish Highland Tour!

At our morning tea and coffee break, we were treated to a great surprise! Meredith had the MacGregor plaid counted out, so that we could needlepoint it. Our initial was painted for us and I know that I was very anxious to start. It was intended to keep us occupied on our bus rides, but then again there was so much scenery to see!

Here was mine! We had a choice of Kreinik 1/16” ribbon or Frye Werks and I picked the latter. Have you ever stitched plaid? It’s quite fun, especially once you start the other direction and you watch it develop.

Here is mine and of course this was after a week or so of stitching on the bus! Mine is finished now and I will share a picture with you later.

After lunch we were off to the National Museum of Scotland. First we were honored to view some embroidered masterpieces privately. Those that they shared with us were amazing! And you will have to take my word for it as we were not allowed to take pictures, only Phillipa and Meredith did. The clothes that you see here are part of the “Wild and Majestic” exhibit in the museum, where we could take pictures.

Notice this woman’s dress and the small amount of plaid that adorns it? Supposedly it was frowned upon for woman to wear full tartan!

The sleeves were created to be very tight and not sure that they moved their arms much!

Beautiful! And I could’ve stayed their forever listening to the curator. But all too soon it was time to leave.

On the way back we would pass by the Elephant House, which has established itself as one of the best tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh. Made famous as the place of inspiration to J.K. Rowling while writing most of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

I did a little Scotch shopping after this. I was looking for some single malts that you can’t get in the states. I didn’t buy any here as the decision making as tough. Later in the trip I would though!

The day after this, we would leave Edinburgh and enjoy some fabulous new adventures. Stay tuned!

For those of you who have been reading my blog over the years, remember that I always shared a picture of my cats…even though the last few years it’s just been AlleyCat and I. She would always sit on my lap as I stitched and this would be the last time that we would do that. Very sad to say that AlleyCat joined her brothers Felix & Sylvester as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I am all alone now with no felines and it’s tough, very tough. I will always grieve her loss, but sooner than not, we will change that as I have too much love in my ❤️ heart.

Stitching in Scotland!

I don’t think I showed you the lovely goodie bag that was waiting for us when we started class! Our project, which I was in Phillipa’s crewel class of The Dunollie feathers with the wonderful wool from Renaissance dyeing. Not 1, but 2 pairs of scissors, our name tag, a note book, pencil, a project bag, a few extras and a canvas bag from The Crewel Work Company…and

My favorite! This beautiful thistle pin that adorned a piece of tartan wool. I immediately pinned it on my jacket and wore it all over Scotland!

After class, our first excursion out was a private preview of an auction that was to be taking place the following day at Lyon & Turnbull. I really did like all of these Wemyss porcelain pigs!

I loved the cats of course! And this was really the best picture I could get. We would monitor the auctions the next morning in class, with some winning bids being placed by our stitchers and some not.

This was the grand item that had all of our attention! Fruit Garden by May Morris circa 1890. This will be auctioned off on October 23 with an estimate of £10-15,000.

Meredith and I were admiring the work that went into this. Phillipa commented that it looked like the work of 2 stitchers! And they used stem, darning, satin, herringbone, buttonhole, pistil, twisted chain, split and Bayeaux stitches… the latter which I never heard of!

Soon we would head back to the hotel for a little wine time and some dinner. Tomorrow’s another stitching day and we would get our bespoke tartan that we would needlepoint. Very excited!

Almost Stitching Time, part 2!

So all that trouble I had a few days ago? Well all of a sudden it was just fine! Go figure! And I even rebooted. As I started saying we started our day with the tartan.

Malcolm MacGregor, the clan chief gave us a most interesting look into the history of Scotland, as he sported his clan tartan.

He was joined by his beautiful wife Fiona as she was dressed in the same tartan.

Center stage is Laura Turnbull, Phillipa’s daughter and they are the ones who put these amazing tours together! Malcom and Fiona MacGregor show the amount of fabric that goes into a kilt…9 yards to be exact. That’s where the saying “the whole 9 yards” come from as that’s how much yardage is in a kilt!

Another beautiful picture of Malcolm and Fiona.

Shortly thereafter we would adjourn to our stitching rooms.

Meredith recreated The Dunollie Rose on this lovely fabric which we would embroider with filament silk and English Gold.

Phillipa would teach crewelwork Dunollie Feathers on a linen twill with a luscious blue yarn dyed for this piece by Renaissance dyers. It felt great in your hands!

During lunch I hiked (in the rain I must add!) to the ticket office of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to try and get a ticket for tonight’s performance. The line was way too long and I would be too late back to class, and I wouldn’t do that. So another time! It’s a good excuse to come back, wouldn’t you say? But I did see another piper. I really think it was the same gentleman, just in a different kilt!

Most days of our trip may take 2 days on the blog…so stay tuned!

Almost Stitching Time!

It’s too hot to be stitching, sitting under my hot lamp, so I thought that I would blog instead!

We would start our first official day on the Scottish Highlands Tour embracing this beautiful MacGregor clan tartan/plaid. This jacket and vest dates back a few hundred years and the work on it was amazing! We found out later from the chief that he stores this under his bed in a plastic bag! OMG, shudder the thought!

Malcolm, who is chief of the MacGregor clan, gave us an amazing presentation loaded with lots of Scottish history and… now we’ve hit a glitch or should I say I have.

There are many more pictures to add, but I can’t get them to load! I either need to go to the Apple store and find out what’s changed with my WordPress or I need to go back to my laptop! I can’t win tonight. Too hot to stitch and then I discovered a mistake in a piece that I just finished stitching. It was the MacGregor plaid that Meredith charted out for us to stitch our very own “bespoke” piece of plaid with our initial. The MacGregor plaid is what you see in this jacket. If you do Facebook, you can see it there. AlleyCat is not feeling herself and I am lost without her sitting next to me. She is 13 and I’m really worried about her. We will go back to the vets tomorrow as next step is an ultrasound to rule out a few other things. Luckily she didn’t feel under the weather while I was gone.

So it’ll be a few days till I can get back and finish off our first day of the Scottish Highlands Tour with The Crewel Work Company.

The Romance of Scotland!

I recently embarked on a most amazing trip to Scotland with The Crewel Work Company. You will notice theirs being first on my blogs that I follow, so watch for their updates too! They will share pictures of the beautiful embroideries, lace and more of what we saw from private collections and archives, while I will go in other directions. This trip would be the perfect mix of stitching, sightseeing, shopping, wining and dining, with breathtaking sceneries and so much more.

So why the romance of Scotland? Well why not? And have you ever watched Outlander? I rest my case!

I was here after a very uneventful flight! The Scottish people are very gracious and friendly and I was really here. I was pinching myself.

I was to take a cab to my hotel where I would catch up with Meredith a bit later. As soon as I checked in, I had to go out and explore!

The streets were packed as we were in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival and the performances of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

My first bagpiper! Very exciting!

I think everyone was watching and listening to the bagpipes, as I continued walking on the Royal Mile, passed by the Witchery, a fabulous restaurant. It was not meant for me to see for myself how good the food was on this trip, but another time!

I did catch up with Meredith, my sistah! as she took me to a few special locations. This was in the neighborhood where J. K. Rowling would start penning Harry Potter.

I loved the colorful buildings and all the people watching. Meredith and I did lots of walking and Edinburgh is very hilly! When I say very, I mean very!

All too soon we would head back to the hotel to ready for dinner. We went to a charming place that was located nearby and upstairs with great food and wine. Phillipa Turnbull, the organizer of the Lady Anne’s Needlework tours along with her daughter Laura and her very charming Scottish husband Richard made it a most enjoyable evening.

I had the feeling that night that this was going to be a very special trip and it did not disappoint! So follow me along as I recreate our trip through The Scottish Highlands & Island Tour over the next month or two. Too much to rush it!

A Bit of a Hint!

Does this help? I’m leaving on a jet plane tomorrow as I head east and meet up with Meredith Willett, Phillipa Turnbull and 17 other anxious stitchers on A Crewelwork Company Tour.

Scotland Highland and Island Tour which begins in Edinburgh and will eventually end there too. So excited! And I’m about 95% packed and ready to go!

I’m going to blog about it, but depending on how the iPad and technology behave, it may not be till I get back. My crack webmaster is updating the blog role, so you will have immediate connection to Phillipa’s Blog and also trying to figure out why, depending on what device you read the blog on, that some pictures post sideways?!

Leave you with AlleyCat and I stitching!

Okay, Just Where does the Time Go to anyway?

Seriously, where does it go? I noticed the other day that it’s been 2 months at the very least since my last blog. Karen at the new and even more fabulous M’s Canvashouse in Lexington, Kentucky reminded me when I was there that it’s been awhile. And that was over a month ago!

Really the first chance you have you should run, not walk to the new and improved M’s Canvashouse and take a class with the Divine Ms. M! You know she is pretty amazing and you will have such a good time and learn a lot too! I’m not sure what is more amazing, Meredith or the new shop?!

This is the canvas that I selected “Vespers” artwork by Dominic Bourbeau for Tapestry Fair. We really worked out the entire canvas and have all my stitches to finish it! I am thrilled with everything that we selected! Sad thing is I have not been able to work on it as I have been doing some time sensitive stitching for a long distance customer. But that is now finished!

Then Meredith came to a sold out class at the Needle Nook of La Jolla. I kicked off her birthday week with the delicious gateau Aileen from Michelle Coulon Bakery in La Jolla.

Knowing Meredith’s love for bumblebees, I couldn’t resist buying some of these lemon tarts! She really wanted to take some home with her, but I didn’t think the meringue would hold up! These came from another great bakery “Sugar & Scribe.”

orchid and passport

And just why is my passport out? Well stay tuned as I head out on a world wind trip… which I will blog about. It may not be though till I get back, depending on internet connections.

It’s always tough leaving her behind, but Rose her “cat nanny” thinks AlleyCat is very sweet (she has you fooled!) and she is well taken care of.

Ode to Woad Deuxieme Partie

Last I left you, I was talking about the woad dying that we were doing last year on our trip to France! I did promise you pictures in case you were curious (or not as the case maybe.) So here they are. My piece is the very long one with the cut work, which I am absolutely thrilled with it! Also in the picture on the right hand side, the small square is mine and that’s not so special. But if I were to do it again, I know exactly what to look for to dye.

So why deuxieme partie? Although part in English and in French sometimes have the same meaning, “part” is not the right word for saying part two…according to Google. Correct way to say it would be “partie deux”or even better would be “deuxieme partie.” I do need a punctuation mark over one of the e’s, but don’t know how to do that on the iPad.

Well that was last year and this years trip is already a memory as I got back Wednesday morning around 1am pacific time. My travel day started at 3am Provence time when we needed to get up so we could be on the road by 4:30am. I’ll let you do the math and remember there’s a 9 hour difference. I had delays, late flights, missed connections because of it and on and on. I should be happy that I did get home as AlleyCat was waiting for her very late snack as originally I should’ve be home by 6pm. Plus I needed to go into work for payroll and on top of that we were starting with a new company…OMG!

So the last two mornings I’ve been wide, did I say WIDE awake at 2am. I tried both nights to stay up to regular bd time, but it didn’t happen! Yesterday I just lounged in bed till the time to get up for work, and then realized I really needed to stay home for the day. Which I did which made for a very happy kitty! This morning I’m doing laundry and unpacking and doing a little blog.

So this was AlleyCat on top of me for most of the day. A few people commented on Facebook that she was giving me the cold bum, but she was just watching tv with me!

Ode to Woad!

The last quadrant of the Souvenirs de France was the upper left section called “Ode to Woad.” It rather eluded me as first of all I was concerned that if I didn’t count the Rhodes stitches correctly, it would need a lot of restitching. And then the fabulous sequence of stitches that Tony designed, what if I? Well you know all of that self doubt that we all have. Much to my surprise it all fell into place just as he designed it. I was thrilled to say the least!

So you ask what is Woad? Well let me tell you! Woad is a yellow-flowered plant of the cabbage family. Grown as a source of blue dye extracted from the leaves after they have been dried, powdered and fermented.

Before we left for our trip, we were told to bring some piece of fabric, clothing, etc with us to dye. I really didn’t have time to look for anything, but I was reassured that we would find something at one of the brocantes or flea markets that we would attend. I was told that they do like to barter, but this gentleman that had this linen that I wanted, well he was hearing nothing of it. I did pay his 8-10€ and glad that I did!

A very fun day that we had with this lady dying our fabrics as you submerged it a vat of Woad water. When you looked at the fabric in the water, it looked yellow, but the very moment it hit the air, it turned blue. So the longer you left it in the water, or the number of times you placed it in the dye vat, the darker it became. After you got the color that you liked, it was hung on a clothes line to dry. And then laundered. I still have to figure out what to do with my piece, which is a table runner with lots of cut work. I just remembered that I didn’t get that picture for you…next time!

So you wonder what the glass container that’s full of threads in front of my piece? It’s a crystal jar that I bought at a brocante specifically for my orts. I should probably add a few beads to it.

Headed back to the south of France 🇫🇷 soon with Tony Minieri led by Frances Jue for another stitching trip, so it’s time to look for another one!

AlleyCat loves sitting on my lap while I’m sitting here stitching or working on my blog.

Third Time is Really the Charm!

Last time I left you, I was talking about the the 3rd time being the charm with the blog and I’m still saying it, but now with my stitching.

Check out where I was last time with my Souvenirs de France and I’m thrilled about how much I’ve been able to get done! My “sistah” Meredith Willett has always said you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish if you can only stitch an hour or so a night. Sometimes that’s all I have, except for an occasional Sunday when I can stitch most of the day. When you work ( or maybe I should say “when I work 6 days a week”) that with my 1 day off that at times I need to do stuff around the house, laundry, errands or just be lazy, so the stitching suffers.

This piece was designed by Tony Minieri to commemorate our trip to the South of France last year with Frances Jue as our host. We visited a hat factory on our trip, hence the hat and below that is a French ribbon that Tony is so famous for designing. To the left of the ribbon is the crest of the town that we were in and that’s where the 3rd time was really the charm! I struggled with the red area as I couldn’t count, then figured out I really still couldn’t count and then I had a dyelot issue with my Soie d’Alger 935. I still need to tweak a red stitch or two to get the right slant. Last quadrant is fondly titled “ode to woad” which was fabric dyeing that we did in big vats. What a very fun day! Woad is a natural dye that is blue and next time I will need to share with you my table runner.

I will finish up my Souvenirs de France with a beaded Fleur de Lis in the center. It was designed with our initial in the center, but I will do this instead. I will probably need to brick bead it as I need a center thread instead of a center hole.

I had set a self-imposed finish deadline for myself. To the framers before we leave for France again (with Tony & Frances again) in a few short weeks, but I won’t make it to the framers before I leave. We are headed to Provence this time with lots of sightseeing scheduled and a bit of stitching. So looking forward to it!

I treated myself of to a new orchid for Easter. For me it’s sort of like a new canvas as I look for a different coloration that I don’t have, so this fit the bill. Almost all of my orchids are in bloom or sprouting bloom spikes which for me is the first time I’ve had this many blooming! Just thrilled.

AlleyCat is as always right in the middle of everything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!