For 40 years the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) has been educating its members about needlepoint, now ANG would like to educate others as well.
ANG’s celebration of needlepoint and samplers is a three- year event, coinciding with the annual Seminars in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Coast to coast for the
coming three years, you are invited to join“A JOURNEY WITH NEEDLEART – From the Past to the Future.”

Friday, April 13, 2012

Do you have these tools?

These needlework tools were photographed by me in a display case at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I could only admire them; none were taken away in my luggage. Too bad, they are beauties!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Postponement Clarification

“A JOURNEY WITH NEEDLEART – From the past to the future” is an event planned by the ANG Development Committee to be held in addition to the regular ANG Seminar. In no way  is the postponement of the "Journey" affecting the fantastic plans for Seminar 2012 in Philadelphia or 2013 in California. When Seminar 2014 is held in Chicago, the "Journey" will be there, too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


“A JOURNEY WITH NEEDLEART – From the past to the future”

After much thought and discussion the ANG Development Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone the August exhibit and auction planned for Philadelphia until 2014 during the ANG Seminar in Chicago.
The “Journey” will continue to be planned and supported through the efforts of many. This is merely a wise detour on this “Journey”; this allows sufficient time to produce fantastic results. The work of the many volunteers who have been planning for months is not wasted. The foundation has been laid and will be maintained to allow the event to be truly spectacular at Seminar 2014.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Forerunner of Today's Purse

The French word, châtelaine, referred to the keeper of the keys to the castle in the Middle Ages. The guard who was responsible for the keys wore the châtelaine at his waist or pocket. In 17th century England men and women wore this decorative ornament on which to hang small household items. Attached to a pocket or waist, they had chains with a swivel hook at the end of each to hang tools which might be needed to perform daily duties. Keys, writing paper, pill bottles, writing implements, scissors, eyeglasses, or a watch are just a few of the items that might be found on a châtelaine.

As pockets became a part of daily attire and coin purses became more common, the châtelaine was repurposed. The châtelaine became more commonly used for sewing equipment, smelling boxes, and watches. The popularity of the châtelaine dwindled at the end of the 19th century as dresses with no waistline or pockets became increasingly more popular.

More recently stitchers have made their own châtelaines on which to hang their scissors, thimbles, needles, and other stitching implements.

To see truly historical châtelaines one needs to visit a fine museum. The pictured châtelaine in this blog is a personal photograph that I took at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do you have one of these?

A few years ago I saw this in a display case in a museum, but I knew that I would never own one myself.

Do you have one?

Monday, March 12, 2012

More Thread Talk by Kathy

Kathy Holman continues her thoughts on use of threads, especially those novelty threads.

Now consider that you want to use the wonderful new thread in a diagonal stitch on 18 count, what do you do? Any thread that is too large to tent stitch on any given canvas size, can be used in a diagonal stitch by doubling the size of the stitch.  Yes, this will distort the canvas under the stitch, but will look fine on the top of the canvas.  Do we really care what happens below the stitching as long as it looks fabulous on the top? Of course not, it’s the finished product that counts.  We adjust to create the look that we want.
Now, let’s look at the threads similar to the six strand embroidery floss.  This encompasses any thread that can be separated into its component parts.  One has to experiment with these threads, every stitcher has their own tension, and the number of strands needed to work a stitch will vary  with each person.  Generally we can say that:

On 14 count, 6-8 strands will be needed

On 28 count, 3-4 strands will be needed

On 24 count, 2 strands will be needed

On 30 count, 2 strands will be needed

On 40 count, 1 strand will be needed

The relationships are now:

If a thread works tent stitch on 24 count, it will take twice the amount to tent stitch in 18 count.

If a thread works tent stitch on 18 count, it will take twice the amount of thread to tent stitch on 14 count.

Always use a needle that is a bit bigger than the hole in the canvas.  Canvas sizing will wear out your thread, so let the needle take the stress.  #20 tapestry needles are easy to thread, and they keep your thread in good condition throughout the entire length.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Novelty Threads by Kathy Holman

Today, we are delighted to have our first guest contributor, Kathy Holman. Kathy, as many of you know, is an accomplished needlework designer and teacher. Kathy is sharing some of her thoughts about threads, ground fabric, and stitches.

Want to stitch with a novelty thread?

There are many times when one has found a particular thread that is the perfect color and/or texture for an element in a design, but it seems to be the wrong size, or it is a knitting yarn that has no reference for needlepoint. There are some standards that can be applied to tell how to use the wonderful thread. The standards that are generally used and readily available are:

Pearl cotton #3

Pearl cotton #5

Pearl cotton #8 and #12

Six strand embroidery cotton (commonly referred to as floss)

We usually have canvas sizes of 14 threads per inch, 18 threads per inch, 24 threads per inch (congress cloth), and then there are evenweave linens and other fabrics for counted thread work, as well as 30 and 40 count silk gauze.

Pearl cotton #3 will tent stitch on 14 count canvas.

Pearl cotton #5 will tent stitch on 18 count canvas.

Pearl cotton #8 and #12 will tent stitch on 24 count canvas.

Looking at new threads, one can compare them to these standards to find out where to start. Let’s say that the project you are working on is on 18 count canvas, and the wonderful thread is the size of pearl #3. We now have these relationships to consider:

If a thread will tent stitch on 14 count, it will do an upright stitch on 18 count.

If a thread will tent stitch on 18 count, it will do an upright stitch on 24 count.

If a thread will tent stitch on 24 count, it will also tent stitch on 30 count, or work upright on 40 count.

To be continued..........

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oldest Sampler???

As often as we hear about the Jane Bostocke antique sampler, we might wonder about earlier examples of sampler needlework.

Are you aware of the Peruvian sampler that is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York? This sampler is dated to the 2nd century BCE. This sampler shares designs of unusual animals, geometric art, and other figures worked in an array of directions with cotton on camelid ground. Camelid is the family of animals that includes alpaca and llamas. These animals and their fur are found easily in Peru. This sampler measures approximately 28.5" x 42". This wonderul historical needlework is from the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection (bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979).

To see this photo of this sampler, go the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

English 16th Century Sampler

The pictured sampler is indeed a work of art. During the sixteenth century samplers were often a record of the life and times of that period. Few examples of these samplers exist. Jane Bostocke's sampler of 1598 includes the embroidered date. This is the earliest known sampler to include a date. The date commemorates the birth of a child. The needlework is of a very high quality, and Jane may have been hired for her needlework abilty.

An amazing visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England would allow the visitors to hold this and other historical needlework in their own hands. The needlework is encased in a wooden tray with a glass covering. This means that the sampler can be viewed with time and the closeness that a stitcher would want to fully appreciate this work of so many years ago.

The beams of light flashing across this sampler were the results of my inexperienced photography. I took this picture with the simplest of cameras a few years ago.

During the three years of "A Journey with Needleart-From the past to the the future" we will not feature needlework from the 16th century. Examining a historical sampler with all the fine details and threads of long ago can help each stitcher and lover of needlework appreciate the work of that period and those of our time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recognize this Sampler?

Do you recognize this beautiful piece of needle art and history?
Do you know the country where this piece can be found?
Do you know the museum that gives this special sampler a great home?
Answers in the next post..........stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sounds and Tastes of Philadelphia

If you find yourself humming a good tune when you think of Philadelphia, perhaps one of the following that mentions Philly would be a good choice:

  • Boyz to Men Motown Philly
  • Will Smith Summertime
  • Survivor Eye of the Tiger
  • Bruce Springsteen Streets of Philadelphia
  • Elton John Philadelphia Freedom
  • Martha Reeves Dancing in the Streets
  • Lifehouse Midnight In Philadelphia
  • Hall and Oates Fall in Philadelphia
  • James Taylor Sailing To Philadelphia
  • Flatt And Scruggs Philadelphia Lawyer
  • Neil Young Philadelphia
  • Mark Knopfler Sailing to Philadelphia

Who wants to view samplers, travel, read, or sing about Philadelphia on an empty stomach??? No one! If you wish to taste the best food that Philly has, then you must go to the Dining Guide to see the summary list of the 359 Downtown Philadelphia restaurants. Look over the amazing list of delicious possiblities, and you will add another good reason to be in Philadelphia in August.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Philadelphia Authors

You most probably have read about Philadelphia’s part in the history of the US, but you might not be aware of the many authors who have brought a touch of Philadelphia to their writing. These are merely a few of those authors:

  • Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard's Almanack. He was an important figure in American letters. Not only was he the editor and publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette, but he also wrote essays, articles, pamphlets, satires, and speeches throughout his life.
  • Edgar Allen Poe. Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. Although he was born in Boston to a Virginian family and lived in cities throughout the East Coast, Poe wrote many of his most memorable works in Philadelphia, including "Tell Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." His influence on American short stories is immeasurable.
  • James A. Michener. Chesapeake. Although dismissed by literary luminary Ernest Hemingway as "that gifted Philadelphia writer," James Michener never used eastern Pennsylvania as a backdrop to one of his epic bio-geographies. The closest he came was in this novelistic history of one of Philly's favorite summer playgrounds.
  • Lisa Scottoline. Everywhere that Mary Went. Native Philadelphia mystery writer Lisa Scottoline, after earning a B.A. in English at the University of Pennsylvania, went on to practice law and later write many legal mysteries. Scottoline continues to live and work in Philadelphia. Furthermore, she uses Philadelphia as the backdrop for most of her books. If you have read any of her books, the street names will bring back memories of legal thrills.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Philadelphia Attractions

As a visitor to Philadelphia, you will want to take a cursory trip on the official website of Philadelphia, . The city is a bustling, thriving location beckoning to one and all. If you wish to hear your Philly information, tune in on hotels, restaurants, and Philadelphia happenings from KYW Newsradio reporters to HearPhilly!, an online radio station - a first-of-its-kind endeavor produced in partnership with CBS Radio station KYW Newsradio. Up-to-the-minute segments are updated regularly with trip-planning tips and inside scoops on what to do and where to go .

Stepping into the main attractions of Philadelphia puts you in touch with the history of our country, names that you have read about, and a movie that is unforgettable. Below is a short list of ten of the top attractions:
  1. Franklin Square
  2. Philadelphia Museum of Art
  3. Valley Forge National Historic Park
  4. The Liberty Bell Center
  5. National Constitution Center
  6. Longwood Gardens
  7. Independence Hall
  8. The Franklin Institute
  9. The Barnes Foundation
  10. The Rocky Statue

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A "Journey" in Philadelphia

Whether you think of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as “Philly”, “City of Brotherly Love”, home of the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, or some other nickname, think of Philadelphia as the 2012 home of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) Seminar and “A JOURNEY WITH NEEDLEART – From the past to the future” ( .

August 2012 will be a special time in Philadelphia. From August 3-31 ANG and the Philadelphia Art Alliance (PAA) will work together to bring needlepoint from the past, present, and future to gallery visitors. At the PAA gallery, 251 South 18th Street, you will be enthralled by a wonderful display of historic samplers, contemporary samplers, and originals for auction.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Triskaidekaphobia, Not I!

Although this posting is on Friday the thirteenth, fear not! When our Journey with Needle Art is held in Philadelphia in August 2012, there will be no Friday or Tuesday the thirteenth.

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of 13, a number commonly associated with bad luck in Western culture. While fear of the number 13 can be traced back to medieval times, the word triskaidekaphobia itself is of recent vintage.

Fear of the number 13 also leads to fear of Friday the thirteenth (a fear recently dubbed paraskevidekatriaphobia), despite the fact that Friday turns out to be the most common weekday on which the 13th of a month can occur in the Gregorian calendar. This superstion dates back to Chaucer's early writing about misfortune falling on that unlucky Friday.

Growing up in Miami, I blithely went about life aware of some people's fear of Friday the thirteenth. Many of my professional years were spent in little Habana, a section of Miami where many Cubans and other Hispanics populated. I was a bit surprised one day, when the school secretary told me to ten cuidado (be careful) of mal Martes (bad Tuesday). What is bad Tuesday? If it wasn't difficult enough to worry about Friday the thirteenth, now I was supposed to worry about Tuesday the thirteenth.

In cultures of Spain, Greece, and the countries of Latin America on Tuesday,13 is considered an unlucky day. There is a Spanish saying regarding this date, which reads in 13 and Tuesday, neither get married nor you embark, considering that both, a wedding or a trip, ended badly when started on Tuesday and 13.

May today and each day bring you good luck and wonderful stitching. We are expecting nothing but wonderful times and fun experiences in Philadelphia during the August 3 - 31 Journey with Needle Art. No Tuesdays or Fridays the thirteenth will spoil our Journey!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Journey

“A JOURNEY WITH NEEDLE ART - From the past to the future” will bring the spotlight to our art, skills, and place in history for all to see. Your job is to tell your friends, plan to attend, and get to work on designing your own sampler for the 2014 competition.

2012 – Philadelphia
  • Historic samplers, contemporary samplers, and originals for auction
  • Exhibition

2013 – Anaheim

  • Exhibition

2014 – Chicago

  • Sampler Competition
  • Exhibition