New directions

It’s been quite a while since I communicated with all of you. The Covid 19 pandemic has meant that, although I am keeping busy stitching, I didn’t feel up to communicating. The longer the uncertainty goes on, the more accustomed I am becoming to the uncertainty. Human beings are adaptable and I’m experiencing that right now. My mood has brightened noticeably in the last week and, even though I’m still not going out, I feel less overwhelmed and lethargic.

So, what’s been going on in my studio? So many different things! I’ll give you a brief overview today and then follow up with more details in upcoming posts.

Firstly, I decided (just before the pandemic started) to enroll in the National Academy of Needlearts Teacher Certification Program. Sadly, the NAN Assembly that was to be held earlier this spring was cancelled because of Covid 19, so I didn’t get to meet everyone face to face. However, we did meet online in a Zoom call (one of the first of many!) so I could get started. So far I love what I’m doing and the course looks wonderful! Even though I’m an experienced teacher, I haven’t had specific needlework teacher training and this program is going to refine and hone my skills. My counselor is the fantastic Marsha Papay Gomola, who also inspired me to take the course after being in one of her amazing classes at the EGA National in St Louis last year.

My first project is for a short, 3 hour class which is a little needlebook using crewel wool and linen. Below is a picture of the piece in progress.


A piece I’d been working on months ago has been finished and is ready to be made into a large pin cushion. Two things about this project have been difficult: taking photos of it that are clear and deciding what to use to fill the pin cushion. The red silk seems to be especially difficult to photograph and all of the photos are less clear than I usually will accept. It’s almost like the red silk glows and messes up the light!

As for filling the pin cushion, naturally I considered using some kind of fill similar to what one would use in a pillow. I’ll be making an inner cotton pin cushion which will go inside the red silk embroidered outer cover. I want there to be some weight to the cushion. I have considered hulls or flax seeds mixed with lavender. Any suggestions would be welcomed! I want whatever it is to be affordable. (I’ll be offering this class somewhere, sometime in the future …)

During the beginning of our shelter in place order, I worked for a long time on this wonderful sampler by Amy Mitten. I find that the concentration required to stitch counted work is the perfect way to distract my mind from everything I would prefer not to think about just now! I love this design, based on Dutch samplers. It’s called Tour van Holland and was my first foray into samplers.

A new direction I’ve taken is to chart samplers that I own. This all came about because a friend in my EGA group wants to stitch one of my samplers in particular. I asked the wonderful Nicola Parkman of Hands Across the Sea Samplers for a charting program recommendation and decided on Macstitch. It didn’t take long to learn how to use it and I find charting samplers completely absorbing!

Here’s the sampler my friend wants to stitch. It was worked by a little girl named Mary Parsons from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, UK. I love the verse! I’ve done loads of research on her and discovered why she’s included both a ship and a maze in her sampler.

Here’s what the charted sampler looks like on my computer screen. It’s such fun to examine the stitches and see what little Mary did here or there!

Naturally the colors on the sampler have faded, so owning the sampler, and being able to peek at the back, is very helpful when choosing a color palette! Here you see the threads in 100.3 silks but I’ll also be listing d’Alger and DMC threads in the chart. Now I just need to stitch up the model!

And lastly, for those of you who hung in there until the end, the news I’m most excited to share with you all is that I’ve been invited to teach at the EGA National Seminar in Chicago in 2021! I’m teaching three different classes and was honored and thrilled to be chosen to be one of this amazing faculty!

Until next time, please stay safe and well!

10 thoughts on “New directions

  1. Kathy ,
    These are beautiful .! I would like to get back to needlepoint again . It’s been so many years since I did any .

  2. Hi Kathy –

    Lovely to see your post today! The course with NAN sounds very exciting, and I’m very impressed with how you are charting Mary Parsons needlework. (I hope you share the secret of the boat and the maze, and how you figured it out.)

    I don’t have any photography advice for the pin cushion, but another option to consider for filling the pin cushion is crushed walnut shells.

    I agree that these past months have felt very strange. I’ve found myself both missing people, and at the same time not wanting to reach out. I’ve been making an effort to keep busy and be productive, but not feeling like I was making any headway. Much of this, of course, was due to the COVID-19 quarantine. This is a tragic, and very scary virus, and I’m one of those at-risk people. I also live alone, and getting a bit tired of my own company. Thankfully, I have the company of two dogs, and they keep me humble and grounded. For me, the other shadowing factor is that I spent most of my time in 2018 and 2019 caring for my mother. When she died in September, I felt great loss. I also felt lost–‘what do I do now?’ You’ve experienced significant events in the past few years; I’m sure you understand.

    I’m sorry you missed the NAN Assembly. Hopefully you’ll be able to attend the next one – and it will be all that sweeter because you will already know them. And if we have a vaccine, you’ll be able to give your friends a hug!

    I love your crewel acorn design. I love the symbolism of the acorn. One of the projects I completed over the winter was a Crewel Work Company kit, The Elizabethan Acorn. Currently, I’m working on another crewel embroidery, also designed by Phillipa, called Running Hare.

    I am not a fast embroideress, and I’m certainly not breaking any speed records, but having a needle in one’s hand always makes life seem better.

    • Hi Katrina,

      You sound like you’re taking care of yourself even though it has been a rough last year or so. I’m glad to hear that! You’re right Having a needle in your hand – I can feel myself relax when I sit down to stitch.

      All the best,


    • Thank you! Translations is:
      “ Twoje pracę są zachwycające, z największą przyjemnością do Ciebie zaglądam. Your work is delightful. I look to you with the greatest pleasure”.

  3. Like you the uncertainty during the first few weeks was what bothered me the most. Although I now feel much calmer I still wonder what the future holds. I have been making short trips to the grocery store and PO(which is where I receive my mail) but otherwise staying at home. I live alone and actually enjoy it so the self-isolation has felt almost normal. The pin cushion design is beautiful and the colors look very good on my monitor. Years ago I put a core of BB’s in a small cushion, surrounded by fiber fill which makes it heavy enough for a frame weight. Recently the trend seems to be crushed walnut shells which are very inexpensive at the pet shop and a 10 lb package is probably more than I will use in my lifetime. Congratulations on being chosen to teach at the EGA seminar.

    • HI JoyceAnne,

      Thank you for taking time to respond and to let me know about walnut shells – that seems to be a good idea from what I hear from many readers.

      All the best,


    • Hi Dima,

      I hope to be teaching it at a workshop/conference in the future. Watch for an announcement in the future here on my blog and on Facebook.

      All the best,


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