Newsletter #219
sent via email on 4/14/08
Disclaimer: Please remember that items mentioned in our newsletter archives may no longer be available, or their prices may have changed.


We have seen resurgence in the area of stamped embroidery – you know; the stamped dishtowels with which many of us received our first taste of hand embroidery! I remember my first project was a stamped embroidery towel and I think it was of a dog. I wonder where that ever ended up. My mom taught me to embroider and she still hand embroiders dozens of dish towels a year. My Grandma Selma was the first one to put a crochet hook in my hand and guide me through the chain stitch and single crochet. My first project ended up looking like a brown canoe. We used strips of her old brown cotton stockings and I didn’t catch on to increasing at the corners very well! That was the beginning for me of a lifetime of working with my hands to create something of beauty. This week’s featured stitcher began with cross stitch, but now enjoys the stamped embroidery more.

imageTeresa Tyler, of Bluffton South Carolina shares her stitching story. “I began cross stitching over 20 years ago (self taught). Now for embroidery, I played with it but got very serious with it in the last 10 years or so. The first thing I cross stitched was a little picture with my name on it and the first thing I embroidered was a small pillowcase.

imageI have tried cross stitching, hand embroidery and needle point but my favorite is hand, stamped embroidery. Some days I honestly sit for 10 to 12 hours and stitch. Besides needlework, I love to read American Romances and I love to do pen paling. I use to have my own cleaning business but now I am a stay at home wife.

I am always willing to try something new. When I give away a piece of my handwork, the response is often, ‘How did you do that?’ Or ‘How do you stitch so tiny and neat?’ I enjoy a lot of different designers and do not have a favorite one in particular. I love my oval hoops!! I also love all my little sewing notions I have collected.”

Teresa likes to use DMC threads and Charles Craft fabric for her counted thread work and for her stamped embroidery she uses both the pre-stamped pillow cases or she stamps them herself. Teresa explains, “I don’t cross stitch large pieces, usually small and easy. I have several small pictures but most of the cross stitching I have given away through the years. I mostly do hand embroidery. My advice is to make time for stitching. Don’t let things keep you from your stitching. Every woman needs time for herself so sit and stitch even if it’s for 20 minutes.”

image“Needlework is my ‘Best Friend’. It’s been a comfort to me many a day when life seemed unbearable. It’s gotten me through some very rough times in my life. I love it more and more each time I pick up my needle and stitch. It’s brought me such joy and fulfillment that I can’t describe it in words. I am so thankful my mother took the time to teach me the beautiful art of needlework.”

Thank you for sharing, Teresa. I’m sure there are hundreds of people who will read this and remember when they used the Aunt Martha’s iron-on patterns for embroidery. We carry the Aunt Martha’s iron-on transfers now so if you want a little bit of nostalgia click here. We have five categories of patterns for you to choose from, and they come as an assortment.

I had one more letter from a reader regarding teaching a left-hander to stitch.

Dear Roz: I am a "left-hander", and can tell you horror stories about the troubles of being left-handed.

I took a smocking class a few years ago when I lived in Mississippi. The instructor asked, at the beginning of the class, how many of you are left-handed? I was the only one who raised her hand, out of 12 ladies. She said all you have to do is stand directly in front of me. She sat on a chair, all the ladies gathered around behind and beside, but I stood directly in front. That solved the problem. It was like looking at a left-handed person stitch.

Now, I teach Hardanger, cross stitch and knitting. I sit facing the class. I limit my classes to 5 people because most people are right-handed and it would be too awkward for any more to be in front of me. Any left-handers would stand in back. Problem solved and in such an easy way. Diana Bachelder, Winter Haven, Florida.

The mailbag also included more suggestions from people on how to graciously say “no”, when someone asks you to stitch them a piece of needlework. Thank you for all your emails on this subject and I think I have enough to share on that subject. (I’m graciously telling you we don’t need any more suggestions on this topic ?.) I have 41 in all and will share numbers 31 – 35 this week. The rest will come in future newsletters. The question came from Judith Williams. She wrote me a note and I want to share it with you. “ Hi Roz, I can't thank you enough for putting my dilemma re stitching that large project for my niece that she constantly asked for until I finally gave in-in the newsletter. The responses from the other stitchers have helped me in deciding what I'm going to do-please thank them all-and , yes-honesty is the best policy.


31. "I'd be happy to sit down and teach you how it is done. Just bring the materials over to the house and we will get started."

Shannon, Easton, KS

32. I have read the comments about what to do when someone asks you to do a piece of cross stitch for them and wanted to share a recent experience I had. Though I was not asked to do a piece for someone, I decided to do a Mustang car cross stitch for my Grandson for Christmas. I began working on the piece in October and kept track of the amount of time it took. When I finished it, I had spent a total of 87 hours stitching time; it cost me nearly $100 to have it framed and double matted and he loved it!! I don’t think a non-stitcher has any idea of the cost of time, etc. involved. But as a Grandparent, I would gladly do more projects for those I love. While this doesn’t specifically answer the dilemma of what to say when one asks one to do a piece, it may open a few ideas to understand what is involved.


33. Dear Roz, While reading though the thoughts about doing something for someone else, I thought about my stitching of the Danish picture of the two wrens on the rusted bucket. I spent a year doing that, with only a short break to do a Christmas item. Close to the time I was done, I figured out that there are 30,000 stitches in it. That might be good information for anyone that thinks something can just be made easily. Ann Sorenson

34. Suggestion for not stitching an unwanted piece

I have also like every other stitcher run into the problem of people asking me to stitch for them, and I do not want to stitch that particular item. In particular it is an issue with my In laws. I have stitched some things I have absolutely hated in order to feel acceptance with my in laws. But I decided that they wouldn’t do the same for me so why should I So the last request I got I offered a couple of options….1) They could reimburse me for materials and for my stitching time of their item. 2) I offered them the information to contact Ghost Stitchers via their website ( 3) I also have offered to show them how to learn the skills necessary to complete the piece for themselves.

I think my turning point came when I stitched Christmas Mittens for all of my in laws. When my sister in law got hers she asked what flea market I got them through and it was cute that they personalized them…..I was devastated. I stitched 9 stockings around the time 9-11 happened and it was the only thing that kept me sane and level headed. The only person that I have done a piece for that I didn’t want to was for my grandmother. She wants Lamplight Bridge stitched she had purchased one of the Candamar Designs kits you embellish with stitching. I am still in progress with the project and it will be the last request I take because it is time to stitch for myself.

Dottie H.

35. My story is not what a friend asked me to stitch for her but what I actually stitched. She is not a needle woman and really doesn’t know how much time is required to stitch a piece. That was until we became friends. She has said that she would never ask me to stitch anything because she now knows it takes a lot of time. She knows that I stitch every night and how long it takes to finish a project. We talk on the phone each night and she always asks what I am working on.

She is a HUGH Elvis fan. She collects all things Elvis. Anytime a friend sees something Elvis they get it for her. I found the chart for Elvis in sepia tones and knew that I had to do it for her. I did it in needlepoint instead of cross stitch. When I finished it and gave it to her she opened the package and immediately started crying. She hugged my neck and she was actually trembling. I went with her to pick out the frame and mat and when she picked it up after it was framed. Before it was framed, we counted the stitches in the piece and wrote the number on the edge underneath the mat. Her mechanical engineer husband couldn’t believe there were that many stitches in the piece. She has it hanging over her bed and when she is in bed at night she can see Elvis in a mirror reflection. This piece and one other are the ones I am the most proud of.

The funny thing is that each night when we were on the phone, I was stitching on Elvis, and she would always ask what I was stitching. I always told her flowers. I asked for her forgiveness for telling a little lie but I really wanted it to be a surprise, AND IT MOST DEFINITELY WAS.

Thanks everyone! Now for more advice on hiding the dark crossing threads on the back of your needlework project. I thank everyone who wrote about this dilemma, and I do not need any further help on this topic. I have 29 suggestions in all and will continue to share them until the end in future newsletters.

11. If you are going to skip from place to place, instead of ending off and restarting, then you should put a layer of interfacing against the cloth BEFORE you take the first stitch. The iron-on variety usually works well.

However, the best solution is to be patient, and simply end off and restart.


12. I've learned from some wonderful Australian teachers to use 2 layers of fabric when embroidering so when it's necessary to drag thread from one area to another, it won't show. I've even used a layer of heirloom batting under silk ribbon embroidery pieces, which helps pad the stitching in addition to avoiding the shadow showing through. The under-layer does not have to be the same fabric - a plain piece of muslin or cotton will do.

Beverly Clement, South Carolina

13. Roz –My framers (family-owned frame shop - may they live forever, because I won’t take my pieces anywhere else!!) turned me on to this one – if the piece is to be stretched, stretch it onto a piece of board that *isn’t* white. I took them a piece with lots of backstitched words. They laid it on a white mat board but when I commented on the threads showing through, they laid it on a piece of off-white mat board. Immediately those threads in back just disappeared! Worked like a charm! The backing board doesn’t have to be the same color as the threads, or even close (these words were stitched in black on an off-white fabric), but somehow this does the trick!

Kelly Jackson, Edmond, OK

14. To keep threads from showing through to the front, place a piece of featherweight sew in interfacing on the back of the fabric before stitching the letters or background spots. Then do the stitching and the threads don't show on the front. I have even used this when doing beads. I stitch the main design then add the interfacing and stitch the beads carrying my thread from one spot to the next.

Thanks for your newsletters, they make Mondays so much more enjoyable.

Vicki S. Madison, WI

15. I have just finished two of your "Babies Bring The Gift of Love" Hardanger embroidery projects for twin grandsons born in April of '06, and which they will receive for their 2nd birthday. In regards to keeping my stitching from showing through in the center where the title and baby's name go, I did each letter separately, leaving a tail of 3/4 to 1" beginning and ending at the same place. After all the letters were done, I went back and cut these tails as close to the stitching as possible, then stuck the needle in some glue and applied just enough to keep the ends from raveling and/or possibly coming undone. To me the sight of threads traveling from one letter or number to another is bothersome, and I realize my solution is time consuming, but I think the results are worth it.

Kathy Potts


Have you ordered your “Stitcher’s Choice Cookbook” yet? I have had some wonderful comments from some of you who have tried some of the recipes and enjoyed them. Some of the letters have mentioned the “comfort food recipes”, the “easy to make” dishes, and “my husband really loved that one”! With Mother’s Day coming up, many have said this is the perfect gift for that as well as birthday’s or house-warming. If you still haven’t ordered yours, here is the information you will need.

This week’s recipe comes from the cookbook. Jessica, one of staff who works in shipping and kit making, and many other areas at Nordic Needle, included this recipe that is quick to put together in the slow cooker (crockpot) and just perfect for a picnic or potluck dish.

Fabulous 4 Bean Hotdish

  • 1 can lima beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pork and beans
  • 1 lb. hamburger cooked
  • one-half pound bacon, cut and fried
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • one-half cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • one-half tsp. pepper
  • three-fourths cup brown sugar
  • one-fourth cup vinegar
  • one-half cup molasses

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 2-4 hours, until completely heated and flavors blended.


Product PhotoNEW products arrive every day. We just received some new Blackwork designs that are stunning. This one is entitled, Flowers. Designer Banu Demirel says, "The number of strands used gives different effects with Blackwork designs. You can use two or more for a thick, rich look. These bolder lines will enable you a 3D look when combined with one stranded lines. I would highly recommend to experiment with variegated or overdyed floss as well as adding color to designs with solids according to your taste." On 28 count fabric, the design size is 6.1" x 6.1". 1 skein of floss is required when 1 strand is used over 2.
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This is just one of 14 new Blackwork designs by Banu Demirel, available from Nordic Needle.

Product PhotoSpecial Lena Hardanger Magazine is a beautiful publication. This German publication contains 32 pages of color photos of designs, 24 pages of stitch diagrams and instructions and large fold-out charts. Instructions are in German, but if you know the Hardanger stitches, you will have no trouble working the designs in this book. Patterns are included for tablecloths, curtains, runners, doilies, tablecenters, hangings, purses, ornaments, and pillows. The Burda Hardanger books are no longer being published, but this book is very similar.
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Product PhotoFeline Seasons, by Val’s Stuff is a charming design showing cats in four seasons. Worked on 28 count platinum Lugana (3270-770), design is 13 ¼” x 4”. Seasonal flower buttons add interest and just the right final touch to each cat. Stitch all together in one piece, or separately for smaller projects.
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Product PhotoNow available in two new strengths, MagniClips Magnifiers are clip-on magnifiers for people who need to focus on close-up tasks like needlework, yet they sit low enough so you can look up and see over them easily. These lightweight magnifiers also flip up when hot in use. Originally and still available in +2.00, +3.00 and +4.00 magnification, they are now available in two additional strengths, +1.50 and +3.50!

Product PhotoWith all the bookmarks being stitched, we have some new banding available that would work perfectly for these projects with very little finishing. These 24 count 100% cotton bands are 2.25” wide. With fringed ends, the side edges are already beautifully finished for you! Choose from white or cream.

Product PhotoWhat a lovely and elegant birth sampler, For This Child, is by My Big Toe Designs. The verse reads, “For this child I prayed and the Lord has answered." Stitched on 32 count linen (suggested 3609-224), design is 8" x 12.38". You will need Gentle Arts Sampler Threads ([6] GA001-BLACK RAS, OLD RED P). If this color doesn’t match the décor, choose whatever colors do!
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Product PhotoIf you like floral designs, and detail, and kits that include everything you need for a project, then this is for you! Umilo is the title of this kit. This beautiful flower and vase design is part of the Fujico Collection and is adapted from the watercolor art of Fujico Hashimoto. Stitched on 16 count aida, inside frame size is 8.3" x 11.8". Embroidery threads, fabric, and chart included.
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Product PhotoErica Michaels has a beautiful new design that really appeals to us needle workers. Stitcher’s Blessing. "That I can stitch and be happy while I am stitching is a great blessing." This pattern presents two colorways and slightly different patterns for your choosing. On 32 count linen over two threads the design is 3.5" x 8.5". Chart is coded for Gentle Art threads with DMC alternatives.
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What a whirlwind these past two weeks have been! The Retreat begins this week, the May catalog I create is due at the printers this week, and Anne-Lise has been with us! Each event on its own makes for a full schedule so it’s been a balancing act. Last week I took Wednesday off and Anne-Lise and I drove up to Fosston for the day to visit my parents and Harold’s mom. My mom had a delicious lunch for us and then we had dessert with Harold’s mom at the nursing home. After that we drove up to our farm and checked out the little cabin we have there. Winter hadn’t been too hard on it! It’s more of a rustic hunting shack for Harold and his buddies, but I’ve spent a few nights up there myself. Talk about a peaceful place to escape to. The tranquility and beauty of nature just melt the stress and cares away. Summertime will find us spending more time there on weekends.

We have been so blessed to have Anne-Lise with us and wish her God’s blessings as she returns to school in England and then home to Norway the end of June. We got to visit her and her sister (also a former host-daughter of ours) and parents at their home in Norway last summer and we will never forget it. We will miss her when she leaves tomorrow.

Have a great week. Remember to take the advice of Teresa, who shared her stitching story this week. “My advice is to make time for stitching. Don’t let things keep you from your stitching. Every woman needs time for herself so sit and stitch even if it’s for 20 minutes.”

Thank you for your time.

Photo shows Anne-Lise and Roz at the cabin