Monthly Archives: November 2012

Kwanzaa Canvas?


Here’s a needlepoint canvas that I picked up from Dream House Ventures while at the 2012 Destination Dallas show.

The standing figure caught my eye, partly because it’s so mysterious…. not only because I don’t know the artist who did it, but also because it evokes various images and associations.

For one thing, the marbled background makes it look like an ancient drawing.

The powerful-looking silhouette could be an African or maybe even Pre-Columbian woman, but I have to confess that her shoulders and arms made me think of an upside down candelabra, or the headboard of an old brass bed!

The pattern in middle part of  her chic wraparound garment reminded me of the wall in our yard up north that my husband once hand-built out of Connecticut fieldstone.

Finally, the motif on the bottom part of her outfit could almost be snowflakes falling down in front of a mountain range during Christmas.

That’s the beauty of this piece–I’ll bet everyone has their own interpretation of what’s going on in that dress.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.


Christmas 2012 Gallery


I have a confession to make:  I am a designer groupie, so to speak.  That is to say, I am one of those people who go through phases with a particular designer.  Painted Pony and Kathy Schenkel are among my perennial favorites, but I’ve also mooned over other designers, whose work I’ll show you later.

One of the ornaments in my Christmas 2012 Gallery is a memento to my favorite cat, Noëlle.  She was my Christmas present to me, in 1995, when I worked at the Animal Medical Center, in New York City.

Anyway, I’ve put two of my favorite ornaments together in this Gallery (see Image 2) — the cabins, and the bear in the woods. By the way, I added the bell embellishment and the blue moon button, after I stitched these pieces, which is something you might want to consider, if you want to jazz up your needlepoint with bling that you find here and there in your travels across Needlepoint Land.

Of course, I had to have a dog and some cats ornaments!  You might notice that the cat (Image 6, to the left of the Noel ornament) holding the tulips was stitched in wool and perle cotton. Over time, the ornaments I’ve stitched have included more and more sparkly metallics.  There are many great shiny threads available now–you can get matte shines or ultra high gloss threads.  Glimmery threads are so well-suited for holiday ornaments. Some ornaments I’ve stitched are completely done in metallics, as shown in the small, colorful owl in Image 16.

Do you like angel ornaments?  They’re a lot of fun to stitch, and you can go wild with the patterns you decide to use.

The first Painted Pony angel I ever saw (the one on the right, in Image 15) was the New York City angel, which I came across at  Annie & Company in New York. I am not an especially big angel person, but I like these a lot, especially the various scenes painted in those flowing thingies they’re wearing, not to mention, of course, their fabulous charms.

Well, those are some of the highlights I thought I would point out in this Gallery.  Check back later for more Christmas goodies and present ideas.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

The Snowman Who Came In From the Cold


And now for a blast from the past!

So I started this Renaissance Designs canvas when I still lived up north, and kind of dropped him like a cold snowball when I moved to Florida. I really love patchwork, and there are many stitches in this snow dude, including, most especially, his cap.   Some interesting stitches worth noting:  the brim’s dimensional effect is created by cutting up pieces of cotton makeup remover, and then satin stitching the Pure and Simple thread over the cotton padding.  If memory serves me, an actual pipe cleaner is required to construct the nose (which I haven’t yet done), but that’s another story entirely.  And those sparkly stars are Fyre Werks Hologram thread, from Rainbow Gallery.

I did the bulk of the stitching in about a couple of weeks, then moved on to something else and kind of forgot about him. Mr. Patchwork is a quite the looker,  as you can see from his portrait in the Renaissance Designs catalog (top left pic), so I really must get back to work on him soon–just have to find that darn stitch guide.  The piece is on 14 mesh canvas, which, then, seemed huge, now, not so much.  Age is cruel!

I really must dig out his stitch guide, so that I can put this piece back on the to-do transom.  I know it’s around somewhere!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Every stitch tells a story


I want to show you some Christmas ornaments that I was given to finish.  Aren’t they beautiful?!

I really love Christmas ornaments, and think of them as short little stories.

Sometimes  a customer discovers a particular designer, and just has to collect every ornament this designer has ever done.  (I’ve done this myself on more than one occasion.)

Or maybe buys an ornament as a gift for a special person, or to commemorate an important occasion.

Now some ornaments are deceptively simple to stitch.

Others have a lot going on in that little space that makes up the stitching area of a traditional-sized ornament.

Either way, often the stitching tells a story — particularly if a customer chooses some new stitches,  or experiments with some fancy new type of thread.

Usually I don’t have to guess what stories might be behind the ornaments I send out to have finished:  my customers will give me the full scoop!

By the way, the ones you see here are gifts for relatives and friends.

Aren’t they lucky?


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Claire’s Stocking


Okay.  Time to put up some Christmas posts!

First off, here’s an impressively large stocking that a customer recently gave me to have finished.  I think she did a beautiful job, particularly considering that this stocking was stitched on 18m canvas.

Note the perky Santa who looks like he really doesn’t want to go back out in the cold snow, the princess standing in front of her brightly colored boxed gifts, the cute teddy bear, and other interesting details.

By the way, we picked the rich, cream-colored, ultra-suede fabric backing together.  You can glimpse it on the piping.  One thing to keep in mind about fabric for a stocking:  always use upholstery grade material.

Some of you sharp-eyed stitchers might notice a slight wrinkle in the top left corner.  This sometimes happens in transit, depending on how the finisher packs an order.   All’s well, though, that ends well, and we sorted it all out.

Next, I’ll put up a few extra pieces that other customers gave me to finish for Christmas, and maybe top off my seasonal extravaganza with some items from my collection.

So keep an eye out for upcoming holiday goodies, and don’t forget: a beautifully stitched Christmas stocking always makes it that more special!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.