Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where Do I Begin?

The past 10 days have been crazy!  I've been traveling...first to LaCrosse, WI; then I was in New York City for a few days, and this weekend I was in Indiana!  I'm finally back home and I think I will stay put here now for a few weeks!

So much to tell you about...let's start at the beginning!  On Friday, October 19, some stitching friends and I traveled to LaCrosse, WI.  We stopped at a few quilt shops along the way (no pictures) and finally arrived in LaCrosse late afternoon.  There is a delightful needlework shop in LaCrosse called Crosse Stitchery and Main Street Framing.  I think I must have been sleeping on the job because I failed to take a picture of the shop (neither inside or outside!)  It's a cute shop in downtown LaCrosse - there were several neat finished needlework pieces and many framed models on display to admire.  We spent a good bit of time checking out every nook and cranny and even the clearance bins downstairs.  Once we each made our purchases we headed to our hotel - The Stoney Creek Inn in Onalaska, WI (great hotel if you ever have a reason to be in LaCrosse, WI!)

Why were we in Onalaska?  To take classes with Ellen Chester of course!  The Crosse Stitchery and the local EGA chapter (Coulee Country Chapter) hosted two classes.  Saturday's class was Ellen's Fruit of the Vine Huswife and Sunday's class was The Lady's Worke Box.  You can see pictures of both of these projects on Ellen's website:  With My Needle.

It was a delight to finally meet Ellen; she is a fabulous teacher.  She brought some of her models with her - what a feast for the eyes!

Many of the class participants also brought some of Ellen's projects that they had stitched over the years.  You can see many of them on Ellen's blog:  With My Needle Blog.

I really enjoyed Saturday's class.  Ellen provided some background information on the project; where she drew her inspiration from and how the Fruit of the Vine Huswife came to be.  We also got a history lesson on hornbooks which was really interesting!  We then spent much of the day working on the needleroll that accompanies the Huswife.  Ellen's stitching diagrams are great and make it really easy to stitch the various stitches that are used in the needleroll!  At the end of the day, Ellen walked us through the finishing instructions.  The instructions that accompany the pattern are very detailed; I think I will have no trouble once I finish my stitching.

On Sunday, we took The Lady's Worke Box with Ellen.  This is her newest teaching project.  Another delightful day of stitching and learning from her.  This time we worked on the needlebook that will accompany the box.  Many different stitches used, but very easy to follow diagrams in the instructions.  After reviewing the finishing instructions we finished our day with a slide show that Ellen had brought with pictures of various different Needle Worke boxes from the 1800's.  Some were very simple in design, others very ornate - it was very interesting to see so many different boxes!

I can't say enough good things about this particular weekend.  Crosse Stitchery and the local EGA chapter did a wonderful job of organizing this weekend.  The accommodations were good, the lunches both days were delicious, the local stitchers were very friendly!  We had a great time meeting and spending these two days with all of them.

As for Ellen, if you ever have the opportunity to take a class with her - DO IT!  She's very knowledgeable and is so excited to share her love of needlework with all.

Looking forward to stitching both of these projects and will share pictures with you as I work on them!


Laurie in Iowa said...

Ellen is a fabulous teacher. Glad you enjoyed your time in LaCrosse/Onalaska.

Margaret said...

Oh lucky you!!!! I so want to take a class with Ellen, but every time I have the chance it doesn't work out. :(

Faye said...

I would love to meet Ellen one day.... I sure look like it was fun!

Barb said...

Glad you had such a good time. I follow Ellen's blog. She seems like she would be a great teacher!

Marilyn said...

It looks like a great time!
Great project also.

Chris said...

Wow! You have been on the go. I can't wait to see your progress on your class pieces. You are so lucky to have the chance to take these classes.

Ellen said...


It was SO nice to meet you in person! Thank you for the very kind things you said about the classes! You have truly warmed my heart. Thank you!