Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Reminiscing..

Remember this?

I think I referred to it as my "Bottomless Basket of Smalls".  My goal in 2012 was to overcome this basket.  Alas, it proved to be a bit too much for me.  I did complete a handful of projects from the basket, but honestly, I stopped keeping track of them separately (it was just too embarrassing!)

Today I've been working through my stash and I cleaned through that basket.  Some items will be stitched in 2013, some have been set aside for a later time.

I have two items that I would like to offer up to any interested stitcher that will give them a good home and actually stitch them!  Both are from Shepherd's Bush, and it includes the complete kit:  linen, fibers, ribbon, and any embellishments (if applicable).

Stitcher's Roll and Happy Day Roll

If you want them, leave your name on this post.  I will draw a name late tomorrow night (Sunday) so that I can mail it off to you on Monday.

Reflecting on 2012

The other night I got home from work kind of late.  It was too early to go to bed and too late to stitch or start any other kind of project.  I read my blog.  Yep, I started in January 2012 and read the entire year.  It was great fun looking back on all that I had done this past year.

One of the things I enjoy most is meeting designers; hearing about how they got started in the business, getting to know more about them and where they get their inspiration from, and learning more about their designs and their tricks and techniques to creating beautiful needlework.  This year I had the opportunity to meet and learn from four wonderful designers.

Last April, at the Stitchville retreat, I had the honor of meeting Thea Dueck. We stitched and finished this beautiful Victorian Pedestal Pincushion.  The project looked daunting at first, but in the end, it wasn't so bad!.After all, I completed it!

In August, I attended the Needlework Guild of MN retreat for the first time ever.  There I had the opportunity to take a class from Jackie DuPlessis. What a talented and creative designer she is!  I thought the project was going to kill me, but instead it helped me overcome my fear of stitching over one.  The project was the Briar Rose Etui.

October was a very busy month.  On a short weekend trip to Indiana I made an excursion to House of Stitches in LaPorte and met up with Ruth Ann Russell.  We visited for a long time talking about her designs and her current project (which I look forward to stitching when the pattern is released next year!)  I am the self-proclaimed president of Ruth Ann's fan club; in 2012 I enjoyed stitching two of her designs, "I Sigh Not for Beauty" and "Heavenly Paradise."

And last but certainly not least, it was a great pleasure to meet Ellen Chester in October.  Such a delightful lady.  She shared with us her knowledge of hornbooks and sewing boxes and we learned a variety of different stitches all used in her class projects, "Fruit of the Vine Sampler Huswif" and "A Lady's Worke Box" - I haven't had time to work on these projects but will be pulling them out again soon now that the holiday's are almost behind us.

2012 was a very good year....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Festivities are Over

We enjoyed a nice, low-key Christmas celebration this year.  My mom and my brother and his family joined us for dinner on Tuesday.  We took some pictures by the Christmas tree while we were waiting for our guests to arrive.

Three generations:  my daughter, my mom, and me!

My brother, Steve is always silly and my nephew, Nick, is following in his shoes.

After dinner, the girls all posed for a picture with their new scarves...

Nick didn't get a new scarf (lol!) but he wanted to be in the picture too!

After gift opening, we enjoyed dessert.  My sister-in-law always makes an assortment of delicious cookies and my mom made poppyseed bread and nut bread along with some bars.

It was a fabulous day and I'm grateful for my family and most especially, my mom!

Hope you all had wonderful Christmas celebrations too.

I've decided to spend tonight starting to clean through my stash and get some projects ready for my annual New Year's Eve weekend stitching marathon!  Anyone else going to do some serious stitching this weekend?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The snow is gently falling outside...the perfect start to Christmas Eve day.  I need to go into work for about four hours and then will be home the rest of the day and tomorrow.  We are hosting the Christmas dinner for my family tomorrow afternoon.

From my family to yours, best wishes for a very, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Remember this Photo?

I posted this photo a week or so ago (this post) you remember it?  My mom was over to have dinner with us yesterday and asked me to take a photo of the finished doily.  I have to share it with you!

Isn't it beautiful?

Sunday, December 16, 2012


One of the benefits of blogging is that I have met a number of quite wonderful people over the years.  One of my dearest friends is Wendy Jo, blogging at Wen to Stitch.  We've had the good fortune of meeting up a couple of times over the years and we really enjoy each other's company each time we meet!

I received a delightful birthday package from Wendy Jo yesterday.  Much care and thought went into the preparation of this gift; it will always remind me of the friendship we share.

Cute notepad, some tea bags (Cinnamon Stick, a flavor I haven't tried), a pincushion, and a cute little fob.  Here's a close-up of the fob:

Cute, cute, cute.  So nice of Wendy Jo to think of me! Thanks dear friend.

The cleaning, cooking, preparing for Christmas continues...hope you are all enjoying a nice weekend.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

One of My Favorite Things...

Hello!  I disappeared for a few days; sorry about that.  It was a busy week at work.  I'm glad to be home today - catching up the laundry, picking up the house, cooking a little bit, and getting ready for Christmas.

Since I don't have any stitching to share, I thought I'd show you one of my favorite recent purchases.  Two weekends ago I went to a handmade boutique in White Bear Lake and fell in love with this tree made from recycled materials.

Note the rusty old funnel on the bottom, a dowel (perhaps from an old chair?), the star carved out of old wood, and the buttons.  Don't you just love the buttons?

As I get my chores done today, my heart is heavy for all of those affected by the school shooting in Connecticut.  Wishing them healing and peace after such a senseless tragedy.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Tatting Master

Oops.  I missed a day.  I wanted to post this yesterday morning, but I was running late.  Our group that meets at Stitchville on the second Saturday of every month, met yesterday and it was a "supersized" day.  We normally wrap up around 12:30pm.  Most of us stayed until 4pm.  What fun we had.

On Friday night after work I went to my mom's to pick her up.  We were headed down to Stillwater to see the Valley Chamber Chorale perform their Christmas concert.  It was an excellent concert -the music performed were pieces from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries.  It was a delightful evening with my mom.

When I arrived at her house, here is how I found her:

She was sitting in her chair, tatting away on a doily:

Of course, we couldn't leave until she was at a place where she could stop.

She might not have an award or certificate, but she is a master of tatting!  Or as my brother would say, she is the "Mad Tatter".

Here in Minnesota we have been blasted with a good old fashioned winter storm.  My husband is out shoveling now for the third time today...the snow seems to have tapered off.

Pictures are kind of dark as it is getting late here.  Hope you are enjoying a warm and cozy evening and perhaps a little bit of stitching...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Friday Flashback

I've been kind of on a "posting roll" and don't want to break the pattern!  My creativity is somewhat lacking this morning though and this is the best I can come up with.

This was a project I started a couple of years ago and finally finished it this year (I was avoiding the over one stitching).  I'm looking forward to hanging this one on the tree!

This is Peace and Joy from The Drawn Thread.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Here's a Christmas Gift Idea

Want to join 40 or 50 or so other stitching fanatics for a weekend of fun?  Do you like delicious, almost gourmet-like food especially when it is cooked for you?  Do you like meeting the designer and learning a new thing or two?  Would you like the opportunity to shop in one of the best stitching shops in the U.S.?  Would you like to experience "Minnesota Nice"? If your answer is YES to all of the above then I have the perfect gift for you...

Stitchville's Annual Spring Fling
April 5 - 7 , 2013
with Linda from Chessie & Me
More information:  HERE

Am I affiliated with the shop?  No, just a happy customer! Do I get a kickback for advertising their retreat?  No, I just think it is one of the best retreats out there.  I've attended every single one of them and it is top-notch. I enjoy meeting other stitchers and would love to have you join us if you are interested!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Film about Hövej Embroidery

Well, if I did this correctly you will be able to link to a video on YouTube.  The film was made in 1975 and tells about Pócza Margit; she was one of the "masters" at creating Hövej embroidery. She lived from 1909 - 1991.  The narration is in Hungarian, but the pictures speak for themselves!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Masterpiece - Finished

This picture was sent to me today by Mrs. Szigethy's daughter.  Remember those lesson's I had while visiting her in Hungary?  Well, this is the doily we were working on - it is now finished!

I remember exactly which hole we were working on; it's on the bottom left.  It's this one:

We also worked on one of the outer holes together.  Isn't the finished piece beautiful?  To give you some idea as to the amount of time involved in completing a doily this size...the smaller, outside holes take about 30 minutes each to complete - there are 44 of them (22 hours).  The larger holes on the inside take about 45 minutes to an hour to complete - there are 10 of them (10 hours).  There is at least 32 hours invested in a piece like this and that doesn't include the time spent preparing the fabric (tracing the design, mounting it on the frame), the other embellishing stitches, or the time spent cutting the excess fabric away from the design once the stitching is complete.  It's truly a work of art and a labor of love!

Congratulations Mrs. Szigethy on a beautiful finish!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Csipke - One Final Look

Csipke is the Hungarian word for "lace".  I refer to the pieces that I have as "embroidery" but in Hungary they call it "lace".  I think it is a little bit of both.  Buttonhole stitches are used to create the holes, satin stitches are used to embellish and the holes are filled with needlelace - this combination of techniques create beautiful works of art!

My interest was in Hövej embroidery or lace, but there are many other types of lace made in Hungary.  You are probably familiar with Kalocsa Lace.  Kalosca lace includes brightly colored flowers which are embroidered by hand.  The surrounding area is then cut out and machine embroidered to create a lacy effect.  Another popular lace in Hungary is called Halas Lace. Halas lace was developed in the small village of Kiskunhalas, located about a hundred miles south of Budapest.  This lace is worked with a needle and thread over a paper pattern. From what I have read, this type of lace is quite rare as there are not very many lacemakers making it today.  Here's a link to an interesting article on the internet if you would like to read about these two types of Hungarian Lace:  Lacemaking in Hungary.

And so we return to Hövej.  I want to share with you some additional photos of this beautiful embroidery; this time from the Csipke Museum in Hövej.

The pieces in this museum have been collected by the village and have been made by a variety of different women.

Sorry for the reflections in the glass!  Of particular interest to me were some of the framed patterns that were displayed.  I'm certain that they were quite old!

Proof that there must have been a pattern book of some kind at one time!

 More beautiful Hövej embroidery:

And the ladies that made it popular:

When I sit down at the end of the day to stitch, it's usually so that I can steal a few minutes of quiet time, to relax and unwind after a busy day.  The pieces that I make are for my own enjoyment, or I give them as gifts to friends and family.  I'm rarely under a time constraint and often work on certain pieces for months on end.

These women rarely stitched for themselves.  They generally had orders to fill for the Handicraft Cooperative which then sold the pieces to the wealthy people in Kapuvar; many of the pieces were sold to the Swiss, and some pieces made their way to the U.S.  The women relied on the income from their embroidery to help support their families.

I'm glad that the village of Hövej has taken steps to preserve this part of their history.  It was encouraging to see that there are women in the village today who want to learn how to do it so that the tradition of making Hövej lace will continue.