First Cruise – 2009 

Back in mid 2008 my friend Grace Murdoch signed up for a “Take Time to Cruise” event with designer Jeanette Douglas (more about her later).  Grace’s husband Abe was not interested in joining her on this trip and the adventurous soul that Grace is, signed up solo anyhow.  She then thought, “maybe Jennie might want to come”. 

Imagine having a wonderful friend take you under their wing and help you understand the cruising experience since I had NEVER taken a cruise myself.  Remember opportunities may be few and far between so don’t pass up such an offer!  You will be very happy you did, just like I was.

For that 2009 cruise we did the Western Caribbean leaving from Fort Lauderdale.  The dates were January 17 – 24, 2009 on the newest Princess ship “The Ruby”.  Our stops included Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), Cozumel (Mexico), Princess Cays (Bahamas), and Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale (Florida).

We met approximately 50 stitchers from all over North America.  Jeanette Douglas is a VERY popular sampler designer and it was evident from chatting with fellow stitchers who talked about the designs they had already completed from JDD (Jeanette Douglas Designs).

When the ship was sailing, we had classes with Jeanette.   People who know me also know I will often change the design somewhat to make it my own.  I finished my piece and made it into a photo album cover.  I then selected photos taken during the cruise and made the album a memory item to help recall the fun Grace and I had during our adventure.

I love to garden as well and one of our tours on this trip was a shore excursion in Ocho Rios to Annandale Great House and the Coyaba River Gardens.  It was beautiful to see the lust and unique flora of Jamaica as well as some unique needleworked pieces at the Annandale Great House.  In Cozumel, Mexico we went on the Coba Mayan Ruins tour.  We had a great tour guide and I even scaled the 42 metre high Mayan ruin.  Grace was a speck beyond when I made it to the top while Grace sat in the shade under the grove of tall trees.  We chose NOT to take a tour in the Grand Cayman.  While Grace worked on her sampler piece, I explored the vast ship and took some great shots of the latest addition to the Princess line of cruise ships.

click the kink below for the photos.

Photos include:
·      Jeanette and Grace during social evening
·      Jeanette and Jennie during social evening
·      Photo of the Ruby Princess ship
·      Grace and Jennie on shore waiting to board tour bus
·      Coba Mayan Ruin – looking up its 42 metres
·      Coba Mayan Ruin – looking down its 42 metres (Grace is a small speck)
·      Jennie on top of Coba Mayan Ruin
·      Jeanette’s original “Take Time to Cruise” Design
·      Jennie’s version of  “Take Time to Cruise” Design

Stay tuned for further information as I continue to tell you about my stitching cruise adventures.  Jennie Wolter
It is difficult to believe that  summers nearly over.  I hope you've done better than I with your "things to try" list.

I did spend several days beading in  the sun.  I wanted to try bead encrustation, a beading technique Adele Sciortino taught at Sackville.  Have a look at her website:

Inspired by Joyce's blog post, I've been working away at my ATC's.  The fronts are almost completed.  I'll save the hand-finishing for a car trip, and the rest will wait for a winter's day at the sewing machine.

I attended a fibre fest with a friend, and the felting I saw there inspired me to come home and play.  I experimented with Nuno felting and wet felting, and was quite impressed by my finished pieces.  (Wet felting is a good way to get clean hands after too much gardening).

Reading about needlework is a favourite occupation of mine, and I really enjoyed the article Festival of Broken Needles in #71 of Inspirations.  Visit and then which has a virtual tribute to needles.  Stitchinfingers is a fabulous site; I loved the variety of work displayed there.

Those who like to read, check out for the book Letters to Jennifer from Maudie and Oliver, by EAC member Sharon Grey from Winnipeg.  It's about cats, cancer, and humour, and includes more than the occasional reference to Sharon's passion for blackwork. Well done, Sharon.

While thinking about Australia, look at this photo of Audrey Masselink that appeared in the Koala Conventions newsletter.  Way to go, Audrey.  Looks like you had a great time.

Finally, for a real heart-breaker of a site, sent to me by Marg Whittleton (Quinte Guild).  The reason for keeping the bits and pieces of fabric that foundling babies were wearing (or wrapped in) was to identify the child if the parents returned to claim him or her. Watch the slide show at  Click on "The Online Exhibition" towards the bottom left of the screen.

Enjoy the final days of summer.


As I sat to write this blog, I realized that I have not picked up a needle since early June.  I have had company, travelled to a family reunion, engaged in the yearly weed battle in the garden and waded through the EAC renewals, but I have not done any stitching.  I decided that needed to change so I went upstairs to find the last project I was working on, a birth sampler for my great great nephew.   I came back down 3 hours later without the sampler.   Along with the missing sampler is a tablecloth which I have submitted in our Guild UFO challenge.  I am not sure of my exact starting time on the tablecloth, but I believe it was around 25 years ago.  I think the tablecloth just does not want to be finished…it wants to set UFO history and has taken my birth sampler hostage.  Should I ever get close to its hiding place it will throw the sampler out to me as a distraction.   (I am easily distracted)  I kitted up another birth sampler.  I have 5 to do, so figure I will just start on another one and when the first one shows up, I will be ahead of the game. 

I had a great time looking through my craft floor for the missing projects.  As soon as I start up the stairs to what I call “Kathy’s World” a smile comes over my face.  Normally once I hit the last stair I have no idea what I was even going up for in the first place, I just know I am happy to be there.  It is overwhelming and kind of frightening how many projects are hanging around waiting to be tackled.  I enjoyed reprioritizing the projects I want to work on and rediscovering ones I forgot I even had.  I started to look through magazines but feared I would never make it back downstairs if I got to involved so put them back in their holder, in numeric order of course.   I am working on my theory of the wonders of modern medicine.  I figure with all the advances they are making in medicine, they will extend our life expectancy to 200 years and I want to be ready with projects to keep myself busy.  It could happen!
My husband just shakes his head and says he hopes he dies before me so he does not have to deal with my stash.  He has said that if I should happen to go first, he is just going to call my friends from Guild and tell them to go up and take everything they want.  It worries me that if they find that out they may run over me in the parking lot some evening.  Oops, guess the cat is out of the bag on that one. 

It is all the fault of my company that I am unable to find anything upstairs.  With the coming of company, one must clean up.  We had three sets of company.  They all went upstairs once, commented on how organized everything was and came back down.  I believe ‘organized’ is their code word for ‘you have a whole lot of stuff here’.  It is my code word for ‘everything is in a place, but it is not necessarily in the place I am looking for it’. 

I have now spent a couple evenings stitching on the new birth sampler.  Somehow I feel more relaxed, more in tune with the world.  There is something very satisfying about watching the picture progress.  I know I will have to once again search for my wayward projects, but my husband suggests I do it on a rainy day when I can spend the whole day up there.  He understands.  He has his man-cave in the garage which has the same power over him.

Kathy Taylor

I am sure you have many friends, but I find my “stitching” friends are the BEST! 

I have known Grace Murdoch for at least 10 years, maybe longer.  We meet many years ago when she joined the Calgary Guild of Needle and Fibre Arts (CGNFA).  She is such a delightful individual and friend.  In addition it is also wonderful that she lives just down the street from me, so we are able to do and go to many things together.

Whenever we attend stitching functions outside of Calgary like the EAC Seminar and Olds Fibre Potpourri, we naturally travel and room together.  Each time we spend together makes us appreciate each other even more and our friendship continues to grow.  We get along splendidly, always enjoy each other’s company, and we help look out for each other during our travels.  Grace is my promoter and enabler and you will learn more as this blog continues.

Stay tuned for further information as I continue to tell you about my stitching cruise adventures.  Jennie Wolter

With our “National Stitch Day in Public” fast approaching (September 27th) I would like to reflect on the impact of seeing someone stitching had on me. It was May 1990 and I was going to a fitness class at a local community centre. This centre had an attendant who handed out towels to attendees. While waiting for people to arrive she was stitching with wool on a painted canvas. At the time, I had no idea of exactly what kind of stitching she was doing but I made a mental note to visit a craft shop. While vacationing in Florida, I did find a large craft store with a wall of cross stitch kits and no painted canvases. I purchased a small kit and gave it a try. The kit came complete with a needle, floss, Aida cloth and simple instructions. This was the beginning of my journey into needlework and bliss.
As mentioned by Sue Thomas, EAC will again be exhibiting at the Creativ Festival. The Fall Creativ Festival will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West in the South Building on Friday October 21(10-8), Saturday October 22nd (10-6) and Sunday October 23rd (10-5). If you have never had the opportunity to attend this show now is your chance. Volunteers helping in our booth get free admission to the show and an opportunity to stitch and socialize with people keenly interested in needlework. It’s a wonderful show and if you are interested in volunteering please contact me at and let me know the date and time you prefer.
When I was a kid, if you were ever waiting for a haircut, a doctor’s appointment or a bus, women would be happily knitting or stitching to while away the time. Now people are using Blackberries and IPods. We need to show our love of stitching beyond our favourite stitching chair.
I usually keep a stitching project that is simple, fun and easy on the eyes in my carryall bag. I’ve been asked why bother? My logic is that you never know when you could get stuck in an elevator.
I am looking forward to meeting many of you at the Creativ Festival in the fall.
Lisa Carlin Communications Director

I'll admit that I wasn't totally thrilled with the idea of Artist Trading Cards (ATC's)when I first heard about them. It would be like seeing my first cooked mussel before I tasted it!!. I wondered what all the fuss was about. But then I tasted!! Oh, never to be the same again.

There's something addictive about making ATC's. It's sometimes a problem to get the first idea but once that comes there's the urge to do two or three more, similar, yet different. I don't concern myself much with the finishing and backing until I have a bunch to tackle at once.

My current technique is to work on a nice-sized piece of background, enough to do 8-12 cards. I might do some strip-piecing; or layer all sorts of semi-transparent fabric pieces with threads and ribbons on a piece of felt, top it with net and machine free-stitch over it. Once that part is done I usually draw on the card outlines, using a piece of matboard with a hole cut to the proper size. That way I can position any interesting variations wherever they look best on a card. Then I usually zigzag over a piece of dark Pearl Cotton around the edge of the cards to frame them up. The cutting-out part usually waits till I'm finished with the embellishing.

The next part is the most creative and I have to be in the right mood and the right chair to embellish the cards. This is where it works well to have lots of stash - threads, charms, ribbon, beads, whatever! I find it also works well to deal with a series of similar cards at once. That way the ideas for one of them contribute to the next one.

Finishing off the cards is very non-creative - ironing on a backing and adding your information to each card. I like to use fusible web as a glue between the back and front.

I've often heard the question- What do you do with them?? Well, I give them away. Sometimes I trade them, as in the EAC Exchange in the Spring, or our local Confederation Centre Library Swap this month (August). But the most fun is to slip one into a card to a friend, or hand one to someone for no special reason. I also love browsing my collection from the Swaps, but I do so love the idea of having these mini works-of-art on hand for just the right moment!

Joyce Gill

Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
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About EAC

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

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