Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some Fun Purchases

I forgot to share with you some of the purchases I made last weekend at the Scandinavian Festival; I was reminded of this when I put them away today (cleaning off the dining room table for Easter!)

First up, there were two nice ladies at the festival who were selling linens. The linens had been acquired during their travels and some were cross stitched, there was some cutwork, even some hardanger. Lots of beautiful linens. This small doily caught my eye, It's just cross stitch, but the design and the colors remind me of Hungary or maybe the Czech Republic.

I had to bring this bentwood tray home too. It has a handle and is currently holding some wooden eggs and paper carrots on the dining room table. I think it might make a nice display for some needlework smalls after Easter! Click on the picture to better see the detail on the handle.

This bowl caught my eye the first morning when I arrived at the festival. I liked the detail on the side of the bowl and the colors suited my liking. My first piece of rosemaling!

And just when I thought I had finished shopping I came across this little pincushion with rosemaling! I think it was made for me! I was so excited to find it. Love it!

Need to head to church in a little bit as I am singing in the choir at our Easter Vigil service. We're staying home tomorrow and will enjoy the traditional ham, cheesy potatoes, fruit salad, and green beans. We picked up our pies at Baker's Square this afternoon!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Trip to California

Last weekend I flew out to Los Angeles to attend the Scandinavian Festival at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. I had never attended this festival - wow - what a great event! Lots of entertainment, activities, and good food. I was actually invited to come and help demonstrate hardanger for anyone who was interested in learning more about this Norwegian form of embroidery!

Here are some of the sights at the festival. These first five pictures are from the opening day parade to kick off the festival. Note the colorful folk costumes.

After the parade around the festival grounds there was an opening ceremony and the national anthems were sung for the U.S. and each of the Scandinavian countries.

There was a large tent in the middle of the grounds; this is where several different demonstrations were located, including bobbin lace, knitting, spinning, weaving, rosemaling, wood carving, and bunad making. Oh, and hardanger too!

Here's one of the lace displays (sorry for the reflection):

And here's a woman making lace (note the spool of lace at the
top of her board!):

And some weaving:

And spinning:

Here's a collection of Rosemaling pieces:

These last two pictures are from the bunad or folk costume making demonstration; note the beautiful embroidery on the collar and the cuffs of this blouse:

The only sad thing -- I didn't take a picture of my hardanger display! But I enjoyed meeting with many people who were interested in how a piece of hardanger is created. I had taken a number of finished pieces with me, but also had several doilies that were in various stages of completion. A couple of people even tried their hand at trying to stitch some kloster blocks!

Here's one more fun photo of the musicians and others leading the May Pole procession. It was a fun weekend!

Spring Morning in Minnesota

Winter is being very persistent this year!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stitchville's Spring Fling - Part III

It's the last day of our stitching retreat. We spent a good bit of time on Sunday morning stitching and learning more about Jeanette Douglas. She shared with us that it all began with the Canadian Journey series. You can see a photo of the samplers side by side in the picture that was on the screen.

Jeanette shared with us photos of her family and also showed us pictures of other samplers that she has designed for retreats and guild meetings. It was really interesting to see how she could take a basic design and change it to create something unique for the group that she was teaching. A lot of research goes into her designs; she takes time to learn about the area that she is visting and then incorporates things that represent that area into her designs.

There were also some interesting pictures of antique samplers and needleworks accessories - Jeanette is a wealth of needlework information!

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. We ended our weekend with a delicious brunch and then bid farewell to old and new friends.

My hat goes off to the ladies from Stitchville, Deb, Kenny Jean, and Deb (the owner), as well as Jeanette Douglas. They all worked hard to make this weekend really special.

And the weekend just wouldn't have been the same without my stitching buds. My "tablemates" - Joyce, me, Lavonne, Joan, and Chris:

And my special stitching friend, Judy:

Hope we call can do it again next year!

I'm off to another stitching extravaganza of sorts. My cousin is the chair for the Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks, CA this weekend. I am going to help demonstrate Hardanger. I have never been to the festival; it looks like it will be a lot of fun! Will let you know how things went next week! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stitchville's Spring Fling - Part II

Day two of the retreat starts with a delicious breakfast! Why didn't I take pictures of the food? Next year...

On Saturday morning we received the kits for our project. Jeanette had designed a sampler just for this retreat. The theme of the sampler was very appropriate for our Minnesota retreat - Three Pines.

Here's a picture of Jeanette telling us about the sampler:

And a picture of the completed sampler:

I love the northwoods look! Of course the moose, the bear, the loon (our Minnesota state bird), the pine trees, the pine cones, and the log cabin are all very fitting!

Let the stitching begin! Those of you who stitch Jeanette's designs know that she likes to include lots of specialty stitches. Those three pinecones in the top left of the sampler are done in queen stitches; that's where we started; let's just say we had to do quite a lot of queen stitches to create those pine cones! But learning how to do the queen stitch Jeanette's way was worth the price of admission!

Jeanette said that she was having so much fun designing this piece that she couldn't stop with just the sampler. She also designed a set of needlework smalls that coordinated with the northwoods theme. Check out these little pretties:

Blogger is misbehaving! Sorry, used a flash on that one, they are a little washed out, but you get the idea!

We stitched and stitched and then we ate, and then we stitched and stitched, and then we ate more!

In the back of the classroom there was a table filled with Jeanette Douglas pieces that had been stitched by the retreat attendees. Look at all of these beautiful finishes:

And then we had a Jeanette Douglas trunk show to boot!

Do you recognize that quaker piece in the third photo? It was so gorgeous and it inspired me to finish the stitching on mine after I returned home.

Our day of stitching flew by. Saturday evening we had the opportunity to shop at Stitchville - those of us who live in Minnesota are very lucky to have this shop; it's a needlework lovers paradise. After shopping we went back to our hotel for a little more stitching and then headed to bed. Our retreat is almost over...

Part III tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stitchville's Spring Fling - Part I

Remember the Carly Simon song "Anticipation"? Last week at this time I had that song constantly running through my head. I could hardly wait for Friday; the countdown clock on my blog kept telling me that the time was getting closer and closer, but Friday couldn't come soon enough. And then -- Friday was here!

My BFF's, Joan and Chris, joined me for the weekend extravaganza. We headed over to the other side of town early on Friday so that we could meet up with Judy and Barb (our northern friends) for some lunch and then for shopping at Stitchville. We arrived at the Oak Ridge Conference Center in time to meet and greet other excited stitchers anticipating the start of our weekend retreat. This is a fabulous location with comfortable rooms, delicious meals, and a well-lit, comfortable classroom.

At 3pm the fun began! After checking in for the retreat we claimed our spot for the weekend at one of the tables in the classroom. Check out how pretty the tables were decorated!

Joan, Chris, and I were joined by Lavonne and Joyce (I have two new stitching friends!) It was great fun to again see some of the returning stitchers who were at last year's retreat (the Wisconsin "cheesehead" stitchers - you know who you are!) and to also meet new stitching friends. In all, I think there were about 30 - 35 stitchers at this retreat, many from MN, but others who traveled from ND, WI, IA, VA, FL, GA, ME - hope I didn't miss anyone!

Our guest at this retreat was Jeanette Douglas. What a thrill to have her here with us for this retreat! She is one of the most down-to-earth, genuine, friendly designers I have ever met.

We had a little project to work on Friday night -- Jeanette designed this little Sweet Tulip design just for us. It was small enough that it could be stitched up in a couple of hours. Deb from Stitchville was then ready to frame it up for us in the Olde Colonial frame that had been provided with the kit. Isn't it cute?

Here's the model:

And here's my finish (can you believe that it was finished before I headed to bed on Friday night?)

Here's an entire "patch" of finished tulips!

Well, I have more to share, but I think I am going to savor this for a few more days. Check back tomorrow for Part II!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Long Overdue Post

It's been a busy couple of months with work and other things going on; I just haven't had time to post much. Blogging always takes a back seat to actual stitching (I'm sure you understand!) Consequently, I have a few updates for you.

Let's start with a finish that I had at the end of March. I took a break from the Crazy Challenge and stitched up this BBD Reward of Merit that came out at market. I thoroughly enjoyed every stitch! The fabric is 30ct R&R Irish Creme, the fibers are what the pattern called for. Check out the edging - it's the new "Fudge" colored hand dyed chenille from R&R!

Blackbird Designs - Gathering Basket

30ct R&R Irish Creme, Crescent Colors

Another finish happened just last night! This was another market piece that I started a couple of weeks ago. I had hoped to get it finished in time for last weekend's retreat, but it didn't happen. Those who were there with me know how I toiled over which thread colors to use for the medallions that kind of blend in with the fabric. This design is called Quaker Stitches and it is from Jeanette Douglas Designs. I stitched it on 32 count LL Vintage Sand Dune and purchased the threadpack that was offered by JDD. The thread colors that seem to disappear on the fabric are stitched with Belle Soie Baquette. For about two weeks (and three trips to my LNS) I went back and forth trying alternate colors - BS Vanilla Pudding, BS Scarecrow, BS Her Crown. The Vanilla Pudding stood out too much, the Scarecrow not enough. I had almost settled on Her Crown, a yellowish gold silk (you can see it in the photo below at the top of the design.)

At the retreat this past weekend I had the opportunity to see the finished piece with the original colors and it was gorgeous! Jeanette shared with me that she agonized over that color too, but in the end she stuck with Baguette because it was not uncommon for the Quakers to use a color that was similar to the fabric color. I finished this piece last night and I used Baguette for those final medallions! The picture below is a little dark, but hopefully you can still appreciate how beautiful this piece is! (The colors in the photo above are more accurate!)

Jeanette Douglas Designs - Quaker Stitches

32ct LL Vintage Sand Dune, Assorted Silks

I have been working on other challenge pieces; the next two are going to receive all of my attention for the next couple weeks as I'd like to finish them. Here's my progress on Poppy Maye Russell from Heartstring Samplery. The alphabet is taking a long time to finish!

Here's an updated photo on Happy Hearts Sampler from BOAF. I have my thread situation figured out with this one too, so look for some changes next time I snap a photo of this one! The retreat this past weekend was wonderful! Jeanette Douglas is so genuine - it was fun to meet her. I have pictures and stories to tell; watch for that update tomorrow. I think I have rambled on enough for one day! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Heading out... Stitchville's Spring Fling retreat with Jeanette Douglas. I'll have a full report for you next week! Have a nice weekend!