Sweet readers

About a month ago I got an email from a reader asking if I was, or had been, ill with Covid 19. Then, last week I got two more emails asking about me and my family and Covid 19. They were concerned that I hadn’t written a post for a very long time and were checking to see if I was OK. Isn’t it lovely that people whom we know only online can be so concerned for our health and well being?

The answer to those questions is…yes and no. Yes, we are all fine and no, no one has been infected with Covid 19 in my family. We are truly blessed (and very careful!).

The reason I haven’t been writing any articles for the blog is simple – I haven’t been very creative lately. Although I did produce a crewelwork piece for the National Academy of Needlework Teacher Certification Course I’m doing, that was really the only thing that I’ve designed, stitched and finished since Covid 19 began. Afraid that I was losing my creative juices, I explained to my mentors in the NAN teachers program that I just couldn’t get anything going. They all replied that they were in the same place creatively. Whew! I felt a LOT better!

Here’s is the darling little needlebook I did for my course way back in the autumn of 2020. It’s called “Acorn Hill Needlebook” because our family home was given the name “Acorn Hill” by my mother. Our home is on a hill, we have tons of oak trees which means, in the fall, the hill is covered with acorns!


One thing that has kept my needle moving and my mind calm during the last months is stitching reproduction samplers. I finished this stunning sampler by Amy Mitten called “Tour van Holland” that I began in my first sampler class almost two years ago. It was a joy to stitch and I learned so much! Amy does beautiful reproduction and original samplers as well as embroidery projects that are historically based. Her work is wonderful! You can see it here.

In September my older daughter had a new baby, Harriet, and I made a quilt for her. My husband and I worked on it together and it was really fun for both of us! There are now three little granddaughters to love and spoil – if only I could see them! That has been the WORST thing about Covid 19!

For the first time I’m participating in a stitch-a-long on Facebook embroidering the Ann Morison sampler. At the same time, I’m working on Sarah Spencer’s reproduction sampler. Both of these come from Hands Across the Sea Samplers. Nicola reproduces historic samplers and they are so lovely. Nicola’s charts are exceptional, easy to follow and she includes the history of the girl and the time in which she lived, which I just love!

Ann Morison stitch-a-long progress

Sarah Spencer progress

Truthfully, it is nothing short of amazing that I’m embroidering counted samplers! Me! who couldn’t count her way out of a wet paper bag a few years ago, is finally becoming competent!

Just before Christmas I made a stocking for my granddaughter, Adeline, with this darling fabric and a cross stitched band. It was a quick project that turned out beautifully!

The last thing I want to share is the crewelwork piece I’ve been struggling with and am now finally happy with: The Prince’s Thistle. The first article about this project is here if you want to read about the inspiration behind the design.

I reworked the leaves multiple times, each time becoming less happy with how they looked. Finally, I found a lattice pattern I liked and, once the leaves were finished, I was able to start stitching. I’m really happy with the center, which is all padded satin stitch. The diamond shapes get thicker (more padding) towards the bottom of the oval and the result is really lovely. I’m now getting ready to work on the flower and look forward to showing you my progress in future posts!

Thank you to the readers who inquired about my health and well being – you inspired me to sit down and write a post!

I’ve missed you…

This morning I had my official “Survivorship Appointment” with my cancer navigator. It’s official – I’m a survivor! I’m cancer free and feeling great! Thank you to everyone who sent email, wrote comments and sent cards through the postal service – I’ve saved every one and read them repeatedly during my treatment and it helped enormously!

During the last few months, as sometimes things were happening faster than I could absorb, I found that picking up a needle and thread and stitching provided me with the perfect way to process the strong emotions that overwhelmed me.

Here in Iowa, we’ve had snow, more snow, even more snow, and then a blizzard followed by more snow. It’s just beautiful, especially on the trees in our woods that I look at from my studio windows. The piece below is for my City and Guilds course and was inspired by all the snow on the trees. I was fascinated by how snow covered parts of the branch and left other parts completely bare.

The branch is made from sharply creased linen. In the deep creases I couched twisted wool to highlight the crevices that were snow free. On the top is couched silk and wool threads to mimic the deep snow on the top of the branch.

I find is very peaceful to create stitched pieces that reflect the nature that surrounds me. It helps me feel grounded in my place and connected to the community in which I live, for which I am so grateful.

So what’s coming up on The Unbroken Thread? More pieces for my City and Guilds course. Work on a crewelwork piece entitled “The Queen’s Pomegranate”. Learning to stitch a sampler in a workshop with Amy Mitten in Madison Wisconsin later this month. A visit to the “Through the Needle’s Eye” exhibition in Morris, Minnesota this coming weekend. Hopefully finishing the Trevelyon’s Pocket class. More contemplative embroidering, taking time to create what my heart calls me to do, planning projects to teach so I can share the joy stitching brings to me every single day.

Oh!…And enjoying the snow!

Talking about embroidery on Fiber Talk!

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Gary and Christine for a wonderful podcast called Fiber Talk. It’s specifically for fiber artists and interviews have been with artists in all areas of fiber art; canvas work, finishing, embroidery, textile manipulation and more. It’s great to listen to when embroidering! You can listen directly from the web site,   subscribe through iTunes  listen on Floss Tube or on other apps specific to your phone or tablet.

Both Gary and Christine are fiber artists in their own right and have different interests from mine, so we had a lot to chat about. The afternoon they called I found a quiet place with a cup of tea to settle down and have a good long chat about embroidery.

We talked about studying at the Royal School of Needlework, embroidery in Europe, my new studio, upcoming classes I’m planning and loads more. The hour flew by, talking to two people who have the same passion for thread I do!

Fiber Talk is produced 2 times a week so there are lots of past interviews to listen to. The world of fiber art is huge and there are so many talented people from whom we can learn.

If you listen, I’d love to know what you think and find out if there are things you would like to hear more about! Hope you enjoy listening in as we talk fiber!