Finished UFO – Catherine Jordan class

Last week I was suffering from creative dry spell…it usually hits when I am overwhelmed, just finished a project or am putting off something. I was/am suffering from all the above.


  • I have enough projects to complete or start to last several lifetimes (but I add to my stash, never know when you will need that one thing you do not have.)
  • I have so many things I need to finish…remember my desk
  • And then there are the pieces I need to stitch…deadlines
  • And the ideas that are floating around in my head and in my idea notebook

Finished a project, but more about that later

Putting off: Not that I’m putting off I just spent the last couple weeks taking pictures of projects I have not shared and I am still deciding how to present

BUT while going through my stash for something to do I found a UFO that fit 4 0f the five suggestions for wetting my stitching fingers…

  1. 1. Spend some time with your stash. That’s where I found this UFO
  2. Finish a UFO. Need I say more…it’s a UFO
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn. This project is right up that alley
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish. Okay, I am procrastinating on this one.
  5. Just keep active. That’s what I’m doing.

So I decided to work on my Contemporary Forrest Necklaces by Catherine Jordan. I have always loved this piece and when it was offered online several years ago (2014 I think) I enrolled. I don’t know whether I got overwhelmed by the class or it was a time constraint issue but I only  got as far as painting the canvas/felt and cutting it out. I think I may have even tried putting some tree trunks in because one of the felts  has marks that look like I may have taken a needle through it.


Anyway I had kept all the instructions and even the online comments and some of the pictures so I thought I’d give it a try. First, I re-read the instructions and all the online comments and then I picked one of the sets (I have five sets to stitch)



I started the tree trunks; they are wrapped thread technique using DMC Floss. Pretty simple but I still took them out once because I did not like them and when I re-stitched the trunks could not tell much difference so I thought maybe I was being overly critical of myself or maybe just trying to put off the next step.

Side A

Side B

I decided to go with my tree trunks and see where I ended up. The tree leaves were a challenge. Not the method, I understood that. Where to place them, where to attach them and how many was the challenge.

I decided to follow Catherine Jordan’s instructions to the letter and so the first tree on each side of the canvas is stitched according to her directions; Buttonhole stitch using more DMC Floss. By the time I got to Side B,  I may have gotten carried away doing the red one but by then I had done the first set of trees and was feeling both confident and overwhelmed at the same time.

Instructions for leaves

First tree


Side A with Leaves

Let me give you insight into my thought process… When I revisited this UFO I had decided I could make several sets of these to represent the seasons…In my mind I would just whip them out one after another. In reality, the trunks for one canvas took me the better part of two days and the leaves for one tree another half day. By the time I had finished the one felt with leaves, I knew that four sets of canvas was not going to happen. This was supposed to be a fun project to get my creative juices flowing and while it was doing just that, I did not want it to turn into a project that I felt compelled to complete all four seasons.

So on the Side B felts, that could also be used as the front,  I stitched the leaves with an autumn color pallet.


I joined all the canvas together and placed them in the frame, and fluffed the leaves. Now I have two completed projects: Side A and Side B. I love the piece and now have my very own. I also think I want to bead a chain to use with this, but for now a simple gold chain will work…Just goes to show you, once the creative genes get to flowing…one thing leads to another.


Both sides


I have saved the felts, threads and instructions for another day and maybe I will revisit or find something new to try with the felt…never know.

This project also gave me another blog post…my thoughts on written instructions. So over the week-end I am going to put my thoughts together and write a quick post on this for the beginning of next week.  Until then…

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.



Creative Dry Spells

I think I can safely say I have suffered from “Creative Dry Spells” in all forms of my artistic endeavors. It is like being in a depressed mood; you know it will pass but it does not make it any the less painful. They are not fun, nor can you talk yourself out of them; the best thing to do is ignore them for a day or two and then try to work thru them or just do something else like cleaning (ugh) or cooking. Cleaning should convince you to be creative real quick and cooking can be creative also yummy if you bake or make desserts.

I read somewhere (probably another blog but I forgot to write down whose blog) some ways to get the creative juices flowing again. I have adapted them to needleart thoughts:

  1. Spend some time with your stash
  2. Finish a UFO or several
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish:
  • Designers/teachers have deadline
  • Finishing deadlines
  • Work under pressure
  1. Just keep active.

Sometimes any of these are easier said than done depending on how “dry” you are feeling.

Sometimes spending some “me time” with a cuppa and your favorite needlework books and/or magazines can help. I love my books and looking through them may give you an idea of something to stitch, a technique to try or maybe you will just relax and look at the pictures.

Sometimes no matter what you do nothing speaks to you; then it may be time for some artistic needlework enhancement. In other words, a trip to your local needlework shopS (sometimes it takes more than one). Going to your favorite places is good for two reasons:

  1. It may spark your creative juices with something as simple as a new thread for that project you saw in your stash. You may find a new canvas that speaks to you and if all else fails…
  2. You are at least spending time with other creative people and this is good. They may remind you of a canvas you have at home that you were really dying to stitch just a few weeks ago. They may show you a new technique they are working on, a new stitch, a new thread, or maybe just give you a smile that will brighten your day.

And if you are lucky enough to have more than one shop in your area you have that many more chances to get those creative juices flowing…whatever it takes to spark those fingers. And if you are really lucky, maybe you can sit and visit with others. You don’t have to be stitching something, you can just visit. I visit a group(s) and not everyone is stitching needlepoint, some are knitting, some are stash enhancing, and others have just come by to visit.

And we learn from each other and the more diverse and wide our circle of creative friends is the more we learn…there are no limits to creative thoughts. Attending guild meetings, having stitch-ins, maybe just going for a cuppa and stitching there. Just think for a minute about threading a needle; you know people who:

  1. Thread a needle with the end going immediately through the eye of the needle
  2. Bend the thread over the needle and then thread that bend through the eye of the needle.
  3. Pinch the thread tightly between their thumb and index finger and saw the eye of the needle onto the thread
  4. Wet the end of the thread and place thread through eye of needle … or
  5. Use a needle threader.

None of these are wrong, None is better than another…it is what works for you. But if some needle artist is having trouble threading a needle just being around other needle artists may give her the idea she needs to thread her needle. I know that is pretty simplistic but you get the idea.

If you don’t want to tempt you credit card, watch a love flick, visit an art gallery, visit a park, just take a walk. Anything will do to keep you from sitting and brooding about the “dry spell”.

I have two artist friends that seem to ward off  dry spells by drawing every day; they have notebooks of their works. I am not that disciplined and that’s probably why they make a living at their art and my art just keeps my sanity.

One of my friends tries to go out and about every day to see inspiration. He will draw and paint in his notebook people and places around him. Recently at an art fair, I ask him if I could see his journal and he shared it with me. He was in a mall at an art fair, yet found the time to capture the other artists around him. Each entry has the day and date of the week (he told me it was like his day planner). Not only was there an image of his fellow artists but a small drawing of the type of art they were showing. WOW! I spent several minutes looking through his diary and it was such a privilege; I felt like he not only trusted me very much. He had let me see into his soul; it really was a special moment. I did not read his thoughts but just looking at the pictures he had drawn. I left his booth maybe not inspired but feeling sooooo uplifted.

My other artist friend is a former art professor and he lives close to his former university. You can visit him anytime he is in town and he will listen to you and then in his own magical way give you some thoughts to ponder. He never gives you “his answer” because then you would not be working through your problem. Once a week, when he is in town, he holds “tea time”; an open date to just visit with others of like mind, have tea and discuss whatever comes up, such an enlightening way to give so much insight into so many things. It is no wonder all he asks is for you to RSVP your attendance; these events are attended by friends, former students and students who have heard about him through their professors. And even though it may be a crowded place on occasion, you always come away feeling inspired and more than that hopeful, optimistic.

So, I think I will be off to look at my stash and maybe it will trigger something.  I hope you are not having a creative dry spell but if you are, join me by going through your stash and let’s see what happens.  I really hope you can just go stitch and have fun.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.


Creative week but no photos

Okay, there is one photo here but only because I just took it…I really need to remember to use my camera more. I have missed several photo opportunities to use here and all I can say is I was so enthralled with the art and people I forgot. It has been a fun and inspiring week for me.

Several weeks ago a good friend of mine and not a needleworker told me about a fiber show she thought I would like; she’d heard about it on the news. Since we were having lunch in mid-town we decided to venture downtown to see this show.  Once we got to the main library we found out the show didn’t start until the next week…oh well we had time to look around the library and it is a beautiful place; and again no pictures, too busy gawking.

The next week, when the show opened; we ventured down again and oh my way is worth it. Jason Pollen is having a celebration of his 30 years in Kansas City with a 2 part show: Unfurled ( . You can read all about Jason Pollard here:

14-10-24 Jason Pollen BookI felt immediately drawn to this art work, it spoke to me and I could have spent hours just sitting in the area looking at the works. Every time I looked at a piece of this artwork I saw something I had not seen before. I was fortunate enough to pick up one of the books on the exhibit and although I did not read it at the time I have read it until some of the pages have become loose. I then returned to the exhibit, book in hand and spent several hours just looking. I want to return again and look some more and maybe this time I’ll remember to take pictures.

This week I also attended a lecture Jason Pollen gave at the library (It was the first World Series game between the Royals and the Giants too, but that’s another story.)  I was torn between the Royals game and the lecture but knew if I did not go I would regret it. So off I went…and it was so much more than I expected. The first time I saw the exhibit I had written in the guest book that I would like to just sit and watch him create. I still feel the same and even more so after meeting him and listening to his lecture.. I came home and on the internet found several articles from others who have taken classes from him and now I know that I want to do this too. I am going to make another trip to the first part of this exhibit and I am definitely not missing the second part of this show.  I also have the opportunity to visit his studio next month. I am a happy person; hope I can remember to use my camera.

Then later this week I receive an email asking if I still taught Temari and would I be interested in getting together so I could share my Temari knowledge. The email was from another Sue, visiting her family all the way from Australia and so I figured it was the least I could do. My Temari knowledge is limited, I am not Barbara Suess ( and I have no desire to really teach anymore…BUT I feel that we must share our knowledge no matter how limited with others, otherwise the art of the needle or for that matter any art will be lost. So I wrote back that I would be happy to share my limited knowledge and resources and when would it be convenient to meet. Yesterday Sue came by to spend some time with me. I had gathered all my Temari information together so that she could see what she was most interested in. I shared with her my limited knowledge, let her take pictures of anything she wanted (you would have thought that would have jogged my memory to take some too, but no it didn’t.) I gave her a couple different needles that I use making my Temari,  an extra copy  of a beginning Temari book written in Japanese and even let her pick a Temari to take home with her.

I shared with her that I do not use anything but a Kleenex as the core for my Temari and I am going to try making muslin strips of fabric to try also. I used to use 3 styrafoam peanuts in a plastic bad but seceded that was not environmentally friendly and I was also not sure how the plastic would react over time with the yarn used to make the ball. I even promised to email her the instructions I have written for a class I did teach years ago.

It was a fun visit. Sue is a fabric dyer and so she has promised when she gets home to dye some threads for me using Australian natural dyes; I can hardly wait.  First Sue is off to Canada for a dying class and then when she gets home she will dye my threads. Will share when it comes.

So even though I have no stitching to share and no pictures (I am going to get better at this) I have had a very creative week. I am inspired to do some drawing and also designing needlework. I But right now I need to get back to some unfinished business I have waiting on my desk.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! (I will stitch during the baseball game tonight and every night until the Boys in Blue win the World Series…Go Royals!) ttfn…sue

How are you creative?

I was reading blogs I bookmark this week-end and Jackie at Dog Daisy Chain  posted an intriguing statement. “As I work on struggling to regain my creativity and meet deadlines, I envy those who are able to sit and hand sew.”

Do those that are paid for designing needlepoint struggle more with creativity than those of us that just stitch because it is cheaper than a shrink? Do deadline stifle creativity or enhance creativity? Does stitching other designers work or painted canvases stifle our own creativity?

Jackie went on to say that even if she doesn’t like a technique or piece she learns a lesson or technique that she “…promised myself I would return to. Other lessons were learned. Stored up for future use. You learn something with every piece you make.”

I agree, you learn from every piece you stitch. Whether it is a new thread or stitch you are going to love or hate; an idea or technique that helps with that “ah ha” moment for another project that has been waiting for that moment of enlightenment; or just something that does not work no matter how hard or long you try to make it work. I think we can learn from each other in a class, just stitching together, at a guild meeting or online. We are a social group and we learn by association. We offer our ideas and observations but the bottom line is whatever we chose to stitch and how we stitch it is our choice alone. There are no “stitch police” that are going to tell us we can’t do something.

What would needlepoint be like if we were all still stitching the continental stitch using silk or wool? We’ve come a long way and the future is unlimited by our own creativity. So next time you don’t feel very inspired or creative, just remember that someone out there may be inspired by your work.

And most of all remember… learning is being creative.