Willing Hands Needlework Design

"She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands"
Proverbs 31:13

Welcome to my blog! I created this blog to keep you updated on my teaching schedule, designs, new designs, kit availability,
works in progress and other stitching related activities. From time to time I'll also be adding extra info about goings-on in my life.

To see my current teaching schedule, teaching pieces and retired designs, click on "older posts" at the bottom of each page.

Thank you for visiting!

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Designs

Happy 2014, stitching friends!

I spent the first few weeks of the year recuperating from a herniated disc which was pinching a sciatic nerve.  Happily, I'm pretty much back to normal now and, as soon as I was able to sit for extended periods of time again, I began work on two new designs.

Last December I had the pleasure of teaching at Just Cross Stitch Magazine's Christmas in Williamsburg Needle Arts Festival.  It was great fun and I got into serious trouble in the boutique as well as in some of the shops in Historic Williamsburg.  One treasure was a gorgeous piece of framed Japanese Embroidery which I found in a consignment shop for $20!  But I digress.

I've been invited back to teach again this year and one of the requirements is that the class pieces must be new and never published or taught before.  Fortunately, I had some ideas rattling around in the back of my head so I wasn't completely panicked.

Just Cross Stitch has now posted photos of these designs on their website and I am now free to post them on my blog.  You can check out this year's seminar by going to http://www.just-crossstitch.com/seminar/index.php.  There is a link to the registration forms there as well.

Both of these designs will be available for workshops starting in 2015. 

The above design is a Mexican stitcher's purse.  Its full name is "Maria Katarin's Stitching Reticule".  It is named for our adopted daughter, Caitie, who is part Mexican.  The various motifs and techniques used in this purse were inspired by an 1844 sampler from Pachuca, Mexico which is in my collection.

When folded closed, the reticule measures 4 x 8 inches.  It is stitched on light mocha Belfast linen using Gloriana silk flosses and is lined in olive silk Dupioni.  Inside there are 3 small pockets for
holding your small needlework tools including two of the smalls in this design - a scissor fob and a thread winder.  The reticule also includes a 5 inch stitched ruler.

Stitches include: Aztec, eyelet, diagonal pattern darning, pulled four sided, long arm cross, diagonal satin, Mexican klosters, satin, rice, upright cross, cross over one and cross over two.

This little box with its pull-out drawer is called "Can't See the Forest" and was inspired by what I see when I look out of my windows at the woods surrounding our farm.  Three sides of the box and the lid are adorned with various stylized trees which are interspersed with animals - a fawn, a fox, a raccoon, an owl, a squirrel, a skunk, a tiger swallowtail butterfly, and a Cardinal.  The bottom of the box is bordered in a vine and leaf black work pattern with space in the middle for initials and a date.  The top of the box is padded so that it can be used as a pin cushion and a scissor fob is included for you to tuck into the drawer.  The box measures 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2.

The box is stitched on light olive Belfast linen using Gloriana silk fosses and olive silk Dupioni fabric is used to line the box and construct the drawer.  A faceted crystal bead is used as the drawer pull.  Stitches include: tent, diagonal satin, eyelet variation, double running, queen, half cross, long arm cross, Smyrna cross, cross over one and cross over two.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Edinburgh Designs

No, I promise that I did not drop off the face of the earth.  I've just been super busy with travel, classes, surgery and designing.

Last fall I taught in England for the Sampler Guild of the UK.  It was a lovely long weekend in a very quaint town at a centuries old hotel with a thatched roof.  The ladies who attended were tremendous fun and wonderful stitchers.

When the weekend was over, my sister flew in to join me and we spent 10 days touring London and Edinburgh.  A day spent at Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace inspired two new designs.  The first ( above ) is the Edinburgh Etui which was inspired by a piece of china, some needlework tools and some embroidery by Mary Queen of Scots in the palace and by embroidered regimental flags, carved woodwork and military uniform decorations in the castle.

The box has two compartments - one in the top section with the swags and tassels and the other and larger one in the bottom section with the crown and branches.  The branches are adorned with Tudor roses, thistles and shamrocks, all of which are worked in surface embroidery.  However, the kit will also contain charts to work those motifs in counted thread for students who aren't comfortable with surface work.  The box is lined with a green/aqua two way silk Dupioni and the lid has a turned wooden thistle finial as its handle. 

The "smalls" are, left to right, a folding needle purse with bead and loop closure, a scissor fob on a tasseled cord, a crown thimble box and a pin pillow with beaded edges and beaded cord.  The back of the pin pillow is embroidered in a tartan plaid and embellished with a silver thistle charm.

The finial and charm are included in the kit.  This design will be available as a two day workshop in 2014.

The second design is the Edinburgh Reticule pictured below.

This design was done especially for Just CrossStitch Magazine's Christmas in Williamsburg seminar 2013.  The reticule shape was inspired by a tiny purse at Holyroodhouse Palace.  Its intertwining branches on the front are home to a Tudor rose, thistles and shamrocks, all worked in counted thread.  The back side ( see below ) has motifs taken from woodwork in the Castle and adapted into blackwork patterns.  The purse is lined in green silk Dupioni, the edges are embellished with beads and the closure is made from Hedebo buttonhole loops and a tasseled cord.

The "smalls" are a needle book and scissor fob.  The needle book has wool felt pages and a silk ribbon spine and the scissor fob slides on a tasseled cord.

Hope that you like them!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Revised Workshop List

This is an updated list of my current teaching pieces, including kit prices and teaching times...

                                                  Elizabethan Casket Etui, $150, two days

                                                      Tall Year Square, $175, two days

                                                   Gathering for Winter, $140, one day

                                                       Toy Chest Etui, $175, two days                                                  


                                                            Helix Etui, $140, one day

This One's for Betty, $150, one day
Edinburgh Etui, $175, two days, available 2014
                                                Edinburgh Reticule, $125, one day
                                          Mexican Stitcher's Reticule, $125, one day
                                          Can't See the Forest, $100, one day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gathering for Winter Etui


Here's my latest design, completed just last week and debuted at a Toy Chest Etui class in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This etui was inspired by the turned wooden acorn which is attached to the closure cord of the box.  The acorn was made by Mike and Maggie Fraser of Sylvan Treasures and one will be included in each kit, as they have graciously agreed to make them for me.  Mike is always on the prowl for exotic woods and the acorns will be available in a variety of colors.  I'll also be carrying extras so that students can purchase them to make scissor fobs, etc.

The etui box and all of the 'smalls' are stitched with acorn motifs in a wide variety of stitches.  Some of them are based on traditional motifs found in antique samplers and some of them are my own creations.  There is a squirrel stitched on the bottom of the box as well as some more acorns and spaces for intitials and a date.  The 'smalls' are: a pin cushion, a needle book, a scissor sheath and a scissor fob. 

The box and the smalls are lined with a copper colored silk Dupioni which is a very close match to the reddish color used in the stitching.  The flosses and the ribbon are Gloriana ( of course! ) and are colors which I've never used before.  Most of them are new colors to the Gloriana line, created in the last 2 years.  The kit will also include an enameled charm from Susan Clarke Originals to be attached at the stitcher's discretion.

The pilot class is already scheduled for this summer and the design will be available for workshops beginning in 2013.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Teaching Schedule 2014 and onward


January 18-22, 2015 - Callaway Gardens School of Needlework, Pine Mountain, GA - Edinburgh Etui, Edinburgh Reticule, Elizabethan Casket Etui

February 20-22, 2015 - Northwest Sampler Guild, Seattle, WA - Gathering for Winter, Lecture, Edinburgh Reticule

March 7, 2015, Independent Group, Leesburg, VA - Gathering for Winter

March 21-22, 2015 - House of Stitches, LaPorte, IN - Can't See the Forest

March 28, 2015 - Inspired Needle, Lemont, IL - Gathering for Winter

April 10-12, 2015 - Sampler Guild of the UK, Wroxton, England - Edinburgh Etui, This One's for Betty, Can't See the Forest

May 1-3, 2015 - Carolina Sampler Guild, Charlotte, NC - Edinburgh Etui, Edinburgh Reticule

May 7-9, 2015 - Dogwood Chapter EGA, Athens, GA - Elizabethan Casket Etui, Lecture

May 12, 2015 - Low Country EGA, Hilton Head, SC - Can't See the Forest

May 16, 2015 - Virginia Guild of Needlewomen, Richmond, VA - Can't See the Forest

June 5-7, 2015 - Salty Yarns, Ocean City, MD - This One's for Betty, Can't See the Forest, Finishing day

June 13-14, 2015 - Independent group, Elgin, IL - Edinburgh Etui   For more info or to register for class please contact Kathy Matthews at  KLMatthews510@aol.com

June 25-28, 2015 - EGA TVR Seminar, Olive Branch, MS - Toy Chest Etui

July 24-25, 2015 - Cross Stitch Treasures, Alma, AR - Toy Chest Etui

August 12-15, 2015 - Needlework Guild of Minnesota, Buffalo, MN - Edinburgh Etui, Edinburgh Reticule, Helix Etui

August 22-23, 2015 - Kindred Spirits Sampler Guild, Farmington, MI - Elizabethan Casket Etui

August 26-29, 2015, Swan Sampler Stitchers, Salt Lake City, Utah - Pioneer Girl
s Sampler Book, Elizabethan Casket Etui

September 25-27, 2015 - Southern Maine Chapter EGA, Yarmouth, ME  - Edinburgh Etui, Edinburgh Reticule

October 9-11, 2015, Elegant Stitch, Modesto, CA - Can't See the Forest, Pioneer Girl's Sampler Book

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Wrap-up

It's New Year's Eve and we're getting ready to honor our Southern roots by feasting on black eyed peas and greens, to bring prosperity in the coming year.  But first I wanted to post a few more photos...

The first is a stumpwork panel I stitched on for the Northwest Sampler Guild.  The guild has taken on the extremely ambitious project of reproducing Martha Edlin's casket ( in the V&A's permanent collection along with several other pieces of Martha's exquisite needlework ) in actual size.  I volunteered to work on this panel and stitched on it, off and on, for two years.  It isn't complete because the missing flower motifs are worked in detached buttonhole stitch on wire and that is one stitch I've never come close to mastering.  It was a very humbling experience trying to reproduce Martha's work - she was 11 years old when she made this casket!  The theme of her casket is "The Seven Virtues" and this panel illustrates Justice and Temperance.  The whole project is being coordinated by my soul sister, Marianne Adler, who also came up with the wonderful idea for the Jack in the Box in my Toy Chest Etui.

Martha Edlin reproduction panel

I've made another finial pin cushion, this one especially for the above mentioned Marianne.  It was a Christmas gift and I held off posting photos so that she wouldn't see it here before opening it on Christmas morning.  The colors are much more bold than my first finial and they were inspired by Marianne's blue and yellow kitchen and the red pillows in her living room.  The stitching is actually a line drawing of the design painted on the finial.  When I used to make Ukrainian eggs I always worked out a design on graph paper first, using colored pencils to choose the palette.  If the design on the finial was unwrapped and laid flat, it would look like the line drawing stitched on the pin cushion.

Happy, healthy, prosperous and blessed 2012, everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oops, I did it again!

After swearing twice before that I was done adding toys to my Toy Chest Etui, I've gone back on my word again.  But I REALLY mean it this time - this is the LAST new toy!  ( If I add any more we'll each have to stitch a second chest - the original is full! )

As a child I loved water color paint boxes and as an adult I still paint in my very rare spare time, except that now I use oils.  For some time now it has bothered me that the Toy Chest Etui didn't have a paint box, even though it does have a basket of colored pencils.  I just had to rectify that, so here it is.  Hope that you like it!

Paint Box, closed

Paint Box, open

The paint box holds a needle threader which is embellished with a painter's palette enameled charm fob.  The needle threader fits into a pocket inside the lid of the paint box, and the opening of the pocket is the sawtooth motif just to the right of my initials and the date in the photo above.  The bottom of the paint box is made from the same plaid silk Dupioni which lines the other Toy Chest pieces and there are pockets in both the top and bottom of the box, on the reverse side, for holding packets of needles.  I planned the size of the design to hold a packet of Bohin tapestry needles and a packet will be included in the kit in size #26, along with the needle threader and the charm.

I've ordered all of the supplies to make kits, but the needle threaders are currently back-ordered until "early next year" whenever that happens to be.  I'm hoping to have kits available by the end of February and the price will be $35.  Any guild or chapter which has hosted a Toy Chest Etui class in the past or has one coming up can contact me about making a group order.