Victoriana St. Nicholas

This time of year always seems to be a whirlwind. Our ballet season ends tomorrow and then I am off to a summer in Santa Fe playing for the opera. I am hoping to complete many stitching projects during my time there when I am not focusing on Salome and learning all of the repertoire for next season’s opera and ballet here in Houston.

If any stitchers who will be in Santa Fe this summer are reading this, contact me at the opera. I really enjoy stitching together and would love to join you.

I am almost finished stitching St. Nicholas from my Victoriana series. I have the miter, face and beard to go. It will be a hanging ornament, probably with a gold tassel at the bottom. Of the 12 original designs for that series, Big Ben, the Coldstream Guard and the Camel Carousel seem to be the front runners. I’ve been busy designing some new canvases for Victoriana that I hope you will enjoy.

Wishing you all a happy summer of stitching! Joan

Spring Cleaning

I know the Yankees and Tigers were playing in snow last night in Detroit, but it is full spring here in Houston. Our variegated peppermint peach tree (below) was spectacular a few weeks ago and all the amaryllises and roses are in full bloom today.

Peach tree 2 Spring 2015Today I am holding the annual “sorting” of the threads. With at least half a dozen projects going at once, I don’t always keep up with putting away left over fiber. Sorting by color works best for me.

You can see the trio of Melissa Shirley dragonflies in the background. They are just on the verge of being finished and I have had a great time stitching them.

dragonfliesJPGIt is hard to see the doorstop way in the back, so I will show a close up. I love it. It is a Susan Roberts design on 13 ct. If there is a lion involved, I am in. Carolyn Baird suggested the interesting bargello-type blue background. It fits him perfectly, and makes him seem a part of Renaissance Italy, which is the part of the world where I fell in love with lions, statue-wise that is.

Whatever latitude you live in, I wish you a happy spring when it arrives, and as always, happy stitching! Joan


Imari Dragon Fan

Dear fellow stitchers,

Isn’t it wonderful to finish a project? At long last the Imari Dragon Fan Ornament that is the companion piece to the Imari Love Birds is complete. I beaded a handle and will have it finished as a hanging ornament, with a long gold tassel on the bottom.

imari dragon fanI was indecisive about the gold outline around the dragon, couldn’t decide whether to bead it or couch a thread.

My friend Peggy suggested Coronet Braid. I always have a lot of gold on hand, and chose the bright gold 162B. I think it looks great.


I believe the canvas in the fiori line at Dream House Ventures has gold behind the dragon, rather than white, which is a variation I made for myself. I will look forward to hanging it on my tree next year, or maybe it will be a daily companion as the Imari Love Bird paperweight is.

Happy stitching!



Imari Birds Paperweight

Imari Birds Paperweight

Beads for Byzantine St. Nicholas

I have been having a fun correspondence with a stitcher in Kansas who is completing the Byzantine St. Nicholas. It turns out we are both musicians and both like to stitch like crazy.


He contacted me because he was having trouble finding the beads for the crozier mentioned in the stitch guide. I was able to send him what he needed from my stash and I am happy to do the same for anyone else having a similar need.

Just contact me and I will be happy to send along the Delica Silver Gold Luster seen above.

Have a wonderful day, Joan

It’s Love Time

I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. When they were little, they played a terrific game — out of the blue they would all yell, “It’s love time!”, converge from different parts of the house, run and pounce on me until we were all in a tangle and kiss me and hug me with tremendous exuberance.

Hence, this canvas. The time approaches twelve… perhaps it is Valentine’s Eve.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I love Christmas cacti. They adorn my kitchen window sills. This fuchsia beauty in its Portmeirion pot was given to me by my Secret Santa during The Nutcracker some years ago and gets bigger every year.

This year it proudly displays some of my hearts and they are all wishing you a very happy Valentine’s  day.

Happy stitching! Joan

Farm Animal Pull Toy

I had fun stitching the pull toy in my new Victoriana line, one of 6 toys in the collection. I will finish it as an ornament with gold trim, but it could also be an inset in a Christmas cracker. It measures approx. 6 1/4 ” by 3″ on 18 count canvas.

I filled my needle with Burmilana and Wisper to French knot the sheep. He is really fat! The rooster has Ribbon Floss Shimmer Blend for feathers and tail, and the horse’s white and gray coat and mane is stitched with Vineyard Silk.

The gold border at the top, a common element on all the Victoriana canvases, is long stitches of Kreinik 1/16″ ribbons. It is reminiscent of the scallop decoration on Victoria and Albert’s wedding cake.

Happy stitching ! Joan


Last weekend was a busy one with travel to sunny Phoenix for the annual TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) trade show. Over six hundred booths of needlepoint, yarn, accessories, fibers, spinning, publications, etc., filled the Convention Center.

I had a wonderful time meeting the “brick & mortar” shop owners and stitchers from all over the country who are interested in my canvases, and was excited to debut my new Victoriana line.

A special highlight was reconnecting with my cousin Laura from Minnesota. She keeps busy helping run 3 Kittens Needlearts in Mendota Heights.

                                                       Cousins! Joan & Laura

Victoriana (seen on the center panel above) is a collection of 12 Christmas ornaments – similar to toys that would have graced a Victorian era tree, or inspired by the era of Victoria and Albert. The gold garland trim at the top of each ornament is reminiscent of their wedding cake, which weighed 300 pounds.

The toys are: Jumping Jack, Puss in Boots, Camel Carousel, St.Nicholas, Farm Animal Pull Toy, and Reign Train (The Reign Train displays the years of Victoria’s reign – 64 years.The present Queen Elizabeth has reigned for 63.)

Ornaments inspired by Victoria and Albert are: Victorian Gingerbread House, Big Ben, Dicken’s Christmas Pudding, Cuckoo Clock, China Teapot & Cup, and the Coldstream Guard.

I have only stitched one ornament so far, the pull toy, and look forward to showing it to you in a later post. I always have fun reading history and look forward to sharing stories about the ideas behind the other ornaments.

It is always a real treat to see Snookie McInnis from From Start To Finish in Potomac, MD. If you make an appointment to visit her shop you will be treated like royalty!

Happy New Year, and as always, happy stitching!