Monthly Archives: December 2012

Içi, and there


On the last day of a rather eventful year, I was almost tempted to portentously reflect on the Meaning of It All.

But instead, I decided to think about needlepoint, and maybe come up with something clever to say that’s related to stitching.

I couldn’t think of anything, though, so I bagged that, and started to read The Atlantic online at random in order to sound sophisticated and worldly at the fireworks display tonight.

pin animation

Still from M. Lemieux’s Here and the Great Elsewhere

Then, lo and behold, the miracle of the Internet kicked in, and I came across a brief mention  of Michèle Lemieux’s short, The Big Elsewhere and the Small Here (my on-the-nose translation of Le Grand Ailleurs et le Petit Ici).

It’s an animated film that was literally hand-made, using a very old and labor-intensive technology I had never even heard of before.

So I had to watch the trailer, of course, and was suitably intrigued:  imagine that:  an animated film created out of needles (sorta) and pins and shadows!

You can check out it out here.

It’s basically a whimsically philosophical tale about being trapped in a room (the here part), but escaping to discover all kinds of wondrous stuff outside (the there bit).  The promo copy describes it as a four-part meditation on space and time.

In fact, the film apparently doesn’t make use of linear narrative, just reverie — the sort of dreamy, creative trance induced by, say, needlepoint stitching.  If you’re into that sort of thing, just imagine a needlepoint canvas whose design keeps changing, on the fly, sort of like Rorscharch’s face mask in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.

Lots of other stuff out there on Lemieux’s film, and pin screen animation, too, so let your fingers do the Googling, if you want to find out more.

You might want to start right here on WordPress.

And have a happy 2013.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.




Chihuly Chandelier

It was too beautiful to pass up taking a snap of this Chihuly Chandelier during my travels over Christmas week.


It would fit right in my foyer, if I had 30 foot ceilings!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

My New Year’s Resolutions


Another year will soon have whizzed by.

wayne roberts smoker

Wayne Roberts

So…. I guess it must be time to list the top 10 things I must/not do in 2013.

Here goes:

1.  I will not obsessively check the number of visitors on my blog every chance I get.

2.  I will not send hate mail to WordPress bemoaning the lack of unique visitor statistics for my blog.  It doesn’t help to know that, ummm, 2 people visit every day, but not know if they are always the same ones!

3.  I will not send hate mail to WordPress for not letting me put ads on my blog or doing any e-commerce.  (At least those are supposed to be the rules…. which are ignored by those whom I shall not name!)

4.  I will not hate WordPress for never putting me on the Featured Blog section, even though I have worked my ass off for nearly a year doing this crap, only to watch other bloggers (with pricier cameras or more interesting travel pics!) get all the glory.

Read the rest of this entry

Cat on a Mat


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Wish I could get to see Scarlett Johansson ‘s latest Broadway foray, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Tennessee Williams' Cat PosterI did catch her two years ago, as Catherine, in Arthur Miller’s “View From the Bridge.”  Total snoozefest.  She’s in previews with Cat now; the show officially opens on Jan 17.

I’m no theater critic, but I don’t think anyone, not Ashley Judd, not Jessica Lange, not Kathleen Turner, not even Florida’s own Elizabeth Ashley, could top Elizabeth Taylor in this role.  Liz only played Maggie in the movies, of course, but still.

Well, at least I have my needlepoint Cat on a Mat to console me, since it’s likely I’ll be missing Scarlett in this one.

Tennessee Williams Key West House

Photo by Dale McDonald

I took some snaps of Tennessee’s old conch house in Key West on Duncan St. a few years back.  Whoever bought it had it restored.  The photo on the left was taken in the late 60s, and shows its original state.  Before the tropical foliage spread out and the snazzy carport was added.

Despite all these changes, I still was able to imagine Tennessee on the front porch, drink in hand no doubt.  He died a horrible death in New York, but his good plays will probably be performed forever.

I guess it’s okay the place was fixed up.

Sometimes, I suppose even a house must depend on the kindness of strangers.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Knot One, Stitch Too


I enjoy reading other needlepoint blogs.

Like most stitchers, I do it to keep up with needlepoint trends, or simply just to admire the beautiful work done by other needlepoint stitchers.  There are loads of super-talented stitchers out there!

French Stitch

Illo by Wiki

Yesterday, I was admiring a beautiful Maggie canvas, where the trees were done in French Knots with Bouclé thread.  I found this in a recent post  in Ruth Schmuff’s blog.

They reminded me of three ornaments, where I also used French Knots.  (I hung the trio on a guitar, to give you a sense of scale.)

French Knots, which come from the world of embroidery, are good for all kinds of effects: curly hair, a field of flowers, smoke from a chimney, or holiday garlands. It’s an effective stitch for creating dimension in a stitched canvas.

I use a variety of threads for French Knots:  metallics, overdyes, perle cotton and wool.  So, in that field of flowers, one or several different colored overdyed threads might create a realistic-looking garden.

One more thing:  I usually wrap the thread around two times.  If I want to create a denser looking knot, I can try three.  So in that field of flowers, I might vary between the two and three wraps.

That’s it on what I want to say about this stitch.

There are many other places on the net that discuss or show in great detail how to stitch the French Knot, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.

Just let your fingers do the googling!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Lucky Dog!


Dog Collar

Here’s another lovely Christmas present.

It’s a needlepoint collar that a thoughtful customer designed and stitched for her dog, Bentley.  I love it.  And as you can see, the finishing came out very nicely, too.

Major dog licks, tail wagging and kisses coming up!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

2013 Wish List


With the end of the year coming up, I thought I’d ask all you needlepoint fans to tell me what you’d what type of content you liked best on my blog during 2012.  There’s also room to add suggestions.

I’m calling it the Report Card, which I thought was a snappy, original title.

Your answers will drive what you are likely to see on my blog in 2013.  So, for example, if you find the nature tours tedious and boring, tell me about it, and poof, you won’t see them any more.  If you like to see finished more than unfinished stuff, let me know.  And if you want to see totally new stuff, like original Hi Def videos of a cartoon needle character dancing on top of canvases, well, I’ll think about it.   Seriously.

The Report Card’s up on the sidebar.  It only takes a few seconds to complete, so no excuses.

All feedback and comments are most appreciated!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.