About Me

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I design needlepoint AKA canvaswork or counted needlepoint - it's all done from charts and diagrams!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Award Winner...

This is Kay Craven, one of my students who has taken classes from me for years. She belongs to a women's group in Santa Rosa County, Florida and has won another ribbon! This time she took "Best in Show" for Burst of Stars - this was the Mystery class I taught last year. The photo is scanned from the newspaper but I've also posted a photo of her stitched piece below. I'm so proud of Kay and her work - she's a wonderful stitcher!

Burst of Stars in the "Greens" colorway - this is the piece Kay stitched & had framed.

The way I design a Mystery piece is to start with a shape, draw some lines, choose threads, and start stitching - there's actually a little more to it but these are the basics. I did just this when I designed my first Mystery (later called Symmetry) and discovered that a little pre-planning of the number of threads in each shape would go a long way in warding off a TON of compensation! Once I have it designed and stitched (or at least started), I divide the piece into nine or ten sections and teach or send out the instructions once per month - it's fun for my students to start something and not know what it will eventually look like. I always try to throw some twists & turns & unexpected things into the mix along the way.

This photo shows the threads I used for my original colorway (there are 8 or 9 included in the pattern that diffrerent students stitched - I'll post photos of those another day).

And, here's the piece I stitched...which came to be called "Burst of Stars" - naming the Mystery pieces is always a challenge! Symmetry was the first, Galaxy the second  (it's the piece in my header at the top of this blog), and Burst of Stars is the third. I'm in the early stages of starting my next Mystery and hope to start teaching it in the fall. It's always a big project.

Maybe you'll want to join us in the next Mystery!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Early Designs

Check out the "Deals" on my shop's website on Thursday (March 24th) - here's a bit of a sneak peek... and a way to continue sharing my early designs.
See them at DealOfTheDay but wait until Thursday because they won't be posted until then. Deals are good until the end of March...

This is "Tanzanite" - it was my first smaller design (8x8) with a more limited palette and I loved using the bright colors. It became the first in my "Jewels & Gemstones" collection. 

This is Rose Quartz - the 2nd in my Jewels & Gemstones. After doing Tanzanite with such bright colors, Rose Quartz was soft and soothing.  

I then started an "Edibles Collection" with the same design size as the Jewels - 8x8 finished. It's a nice size - not too big and not too small. I include a recipe in each pattern which is hilarious as I don't cook too much! I do however like to eat so feel qualified to find great recipes to include! In fact, I heard from another shopowner recently she made the Rainforest Brownies from the recipe in Rainforest Crunch and served them when she taught it as a class - what fun!
The first piece I did was Peach Melba (shown in two colorways below).
The photo below is an alternate colorway for Peach Melba - I taught this piece as a class and ended up with several great versions of this design. See the other colorways at http://www.needledelights.com/index.php/photos/3.html (you have to scroll down to see them as the photos at this page are listed alphabetically).
My second Edibles collection  design was Guacamole - YUM! It actually includes two recipes from close friends who are famous for their guacamole. I have personally made these recipes and enjoyed them immensely! 
I then wanted to change up my design size and came up with the Destination series - the design size of the pieces in this Collection is 6x10 which means the canvas on the stretcher bars fits perfected in a mesh bag and is great for traveling, which is one of my great loves. This series allows me to explore or express places I've been or want to go!

My first design was Tropic Seas and was stitched all with Watercolors - I love putting 10 to 12 different Watercolors in one design! One of my customers actually met someone on a cruise who was stitching this piece on the ship - how fun is that?!

Continuing with the Destinations Collection and using all Watercolors, I designed Garden Path where I discovered I really love designing things made up of squares. I did use a solid color of Pearl Cotton for the "borders" - I like to put borders all through my pieces or not use borders at all.... 

Oh My Stars was the first design I could "see in my head" before it was interpreted onto the canvas and is probably very close to being my personal favorite of all my designs. I Love Stars and there's just something I love about doing these little squares 12x12 threads. In fact, I'm working on a version of this design with Hearts in place of stars with brighter colors right now... Oh My Stars is stitched entirely with embroidery floss - the stars are done with Weeks Dye Works and the rest is all DMC & Anchor floss.
Hope you have enjoyed the preview!

Friday, March 18, 2011


I just got this photo of Tahiti framed from Barbi in Arizona. I loved designing and stitching this piece so much and have had tons of positive reaction to it. It's just fun and the type of design I enjoy most - a little of "this and that all over the place"!  It's part of my "Destinations Collection" - designs inspired by places I've been or would like to go! I've never been to Tahiti but will get there someday!

And here's my original piece - see how the same design with a little color changes and different framing makes it look so different! Look closely and you'll see she changed the orange to pink! She's famous for doing her "own colors" and always does a great job!

I'm discovering blogland is more fun when I'm in it instead of lurking around! Thanks for stopping by and your encouraging, supportive words!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tuscan Midnight - Alternate Colorways

I love changing up colors so I listed several alternate colorways in my Tuscan Midnight pattern. People are starting to finish stitching it so I thought I'd share their photos with you here. First up is my "Original" colorway - this is how I imagined it in my mind when I was designing it and the colors seemed somewhat "earthy" to me with the addition of blue to represent the sky.

I love putting lots of Watercolours in one design and kind of follow a "recipe" of sorts when I choose colors to go together. It was really fun to come up with the extra colorways because they are all so different from one another and set such different "moods". Here's a photo Mary sent me of the "Hot Bright" version - I went wild when I chose the colors!

Next up is the "Cool Blues" version - always a popular choice because blue and green are so soothing together and yet the darker tones make it all pop. Sorry I can't remember who sent this to me but she filled in the corners - it changes the look of the design and I like what she did - I tried many different versions of corners until I gave up and had the mat cut with the corners cut away. In the end I was happy with the result!

And finally, here's another in the "Original" colors but framed in a different color mat & frame style. It shows you what a difference framing makes. Randi from This World in Stitches sent this photo to me - thanks!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Blogger - 1st Design

So....I'm joining the blogging world to share my love of counted needlepoint, threads, canvas, and all things related to needlework I enjoy so much. To start with, I'm sharing a photo of my first design "Potluck" - the "Bright" version and the original "Muted" version; I think of them as my "personalities"!  I originally designed this to see "if I could" and was so enchanted with the design process I've never looked back.

Here's the story...(yes I was a Brady Bunch kid!). Before I even dreamed of designing needlepoint, I managed my family's needlework shop for a number (more than 10) years and just loved being surrounded by threads, fabrics, canvases, needles, scissors, and all of it. The thing I enjoyed the most was helping people pick out alternate colorways for various projects and class pieces. I was also mentored in "COLOR" by my father who did our custom framing and seemed to be a genius at picking out just the right mat colors to enhance anything he framed. (Who ever knew when we were kids and horrified by some of his clothing choices/colors this would happen?!).  You can read more about the shop's history at www.needledelights.com - this blog is about me and my designs so my shop's cross stitch customers don't have to roll their eyes when I'm telling them about "my new stuff"!

When I found myself the sole owner of the shop, I started teaching more classes and was wanting projects I had a little more control over - in a lot of ways. I started with some simple ornaments that were just circles with one stitch using one overdyed thread and a metallic - people loved them and started calling them my "designs" - I just thought of them as "making a pretty ornament from something very simple". I then started teaching a year long "Mystery Class" once a month and chose about 10 different colorways to entice people to take the class. Along the way I found myself thinking of what I would like to stitch myself. I had a friend who encouraged me by promising to stitch whatever I'd like to experiment with. This was the beginning of "Potluck".

The great love of my personal stitching history was stitching Genny Morrow's Nova. I can still recall the way my heart raced the very first time I saw this pattern circa 1994. I'm not sure what appealed to me but I experienced a "desperate need" to stitch this design. I loved every part of it, from drawing the squares on the canvas to putting in the last stitch. It was a journey of itself and was never replicated with any other project I've stitched. When I finished it the first time (Yes, I've stitched it twice), I emailed Genny Morrow herself (back before everyone was on the internet) and she actually emailed me back with congratulations. I was ecstatic.

Although I had no intentions of ever making a quilt, this project led me to actually becoming a quilter - I was lucky to have great teachers & mentors in a small group of ladies my mother quilted with (she was/is an avid quilter too). There's no surprise that choosing the fabrics and the style, blocks, and method of making the quilt is my favorite part. This great love greatly inspires my designs. I always think, "Who ever knew this accountant who hated geometry was creative?" but there you go...that's my story.

Stay tuned to this blog to see what I've done and what I'm doing - I'm sure I won't post as often as I'd like but will post when I have something to "show or tell" - my favorite part of almost everything in life - sharing great joy, love, and experiences with others. I prefer doing it in person but am excited about embarking on this adventure in Blogland!