Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Stories

I have not written a post for my blog in the longest time. My work life has been in a bit of a whirlwind: I've been stitching madly and last October I ran a small sale that turned into a larger sale than I had expected. My stitching plus Mail Jail kept me too busy through the autumn.

Now here it is, time to decorate my website for Christmas.

In the past I wrote two Christmas stories about the power of friendship through our needlework. The first was the story of a woman I knew back in the 1980's, the second a story of two friends and Twelve Santas.

This morning I posted the story of the two friends on my website. I can't believe that it has been five years since I told the story, and now I've brought it back.

To read the story of The Twelve Santas, visit Queendom Website:
The story is on my home page.

Later on in the week I will post the first story called 'Marian's Christmas Box'.
I think it is 7 years since I wrote it.

Now I am writing another Christmas Story and I will post it when we are closer to Christmas.
This story will double as my Christmas card this year.

Happy Holidays to everybody. Remember to take a bit of time to sit, relax and hold your needle in your hand.

Gay Ann

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Summer Has Passed Me By; What Does This Title Have To Do with Needlepoint?

Here we are, still in the heat of summer, but Labor Day has come and gone and soon there will be autumn's nip in the air.

Summer is my least favorite season. I could say it is the summer weather, too hot and too humid, but that's not the worst of it. The worst of summer is the traffic in and around where I live. The roads are crowded and parking in the places I like to park (as in near the post office) is impossible. And worst of all this summer, I got sick.

Yep, this year I spent my summer, or at least most of it, with a wretched disease called shingles. At first I was quiet about it, just suffered all the itching and pain (it was awful).

Then I decided I should make myself a public example in my world of needlepoint and here's why:

I had had the shingles shot. About 50% of people who have the shingles shot get shingles anyway, and I was one of those. But, said my doctor to me, the vaccine would likely help me: my case of shingles would be lighter and most important, the vaccine would likely protect me from the post-shingles nerve damage. My doctor proved right: my case (although thoroughly miserable) was lighter and I did escape post-shingles nerve damage.

So I set about telling my needlepoint friends of a certain age to ask their health providers if a shingles shot would be appropriate and if the answer was yes, march themselves right in for the shot.

And guess what: they did! Many reported to me that they even took their husbands along.
This was great news as it might help people escape a lot of misery.

As I was recovering and people were writing me their shingles tales, I stitched 'Shingles Ornament'.
No, it isn't all full of red rashes and scabs, although I admit for a short while I was tempted to see if I could make Bargello Rashes and round Rhodes-Stitch scabs. Happily that temptation only lasted a minute or two.

Shingles Ornament as I stitched it looks a bit like a ribbon (rosette) you might win in an needlepoint show. It is intended as a 'Badge of Courage' for stitchers who survived shingles or as a 'Badge of Intelligence' for stitchers who got the shingles shot, or a 'Badge of Love and Friendship' for stitchers who helped a friend or loved one through the dreadful experience.

It is small and takes only a couple of hours to make. I made three in three evenings: one for me because I survived, one for my doctor because she helped me and one for DH because he went to CostCo and got the shingles shot.

Where are Shingles Ornaments now? They are being made into ornaments and I will have them at my Autumn Sale. No, Shingles Ornament isn't sale, it's a gift to anybody who writes me her personal shingles story, be it personal survival or helping a friend or marching yourself in to see your health provider.

If you write to me after October 15, I will send you a link to a downloadable file for the pattern.
Worried about forgetting the date? I'll remind you in another post.

So the summer is past, and I survived, slowly my stamina is returning and I've returned gently to work. Yes, I've returned to preparations for a smaller sale in October and I'm stitching again and life is a whole lot better! I'm happy it's unofficially and almost officially Autumn now.

Gay Ann

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tribute to Diane Clements, a Wonderful Needlewoman

Today is my favorite day of the year, the Summer Solstice. Why? It is the longest day of the year and I love all the daylight hours, a great time for stitching.

Today was also Diane Clements' birthday and today I would like to celebrate Diane's needlework.
I have posted a tribute to Diane on my website and if you travel there you will see so many photos of her wonderful needlework. Diane specialized in whitework and Reticella, and she was a master of the difficult technique.

To see Diane's work:

The needlework world lost Diane in May this year and we will greatly miss her and her wonderful way with a needle.

So today I hope you and your needle will join me and my needle as we pay tribute to a wonderful stitcher.

Happy first day of summer.

Gay Ann

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great: last two days of my sale

How did the time go so fast! It seems like my sale just started and here we are, today and tomorrow and the sale is over. It finishes tomorrow evening, May 17.

I will leave it open until Monday afternoon so that people have time to mail checks to me,

Catherine is part of a Stitchalong Class at Shining Needle Society and entrance to the class is included with the kit. You just have to write to Kate Gaunt (

Before she vanishes, I hope you will make a trip to Queendom Website to visit Catherine.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Diane Clements, Needlewoman Extraordinaire

Yesterday marked such a sad day in the needlework world, for we lost the enormously talented and charming Diane Clements.

Diane had to be one of the most exacting and wonderful stitchers I've known and how much our needlework world will miss her. It simply won't be the same without her.

Diane's birthday was on my favorite day of the year, the Summer Solstice and I would like to use that day this year to celebrate her life and the wonderful contributions she made to our world.

I will be back as the magic of the Summer Solstice grows closer, but for now I wanted to mark her loss. It is so sad, but as her friend Merle wrote today, she is in a better place now.

Gay Ann

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Witching Hour: My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great arrives tonight

Yes, as close to midnight as MacSoph and I can stay up, my portrait of Catherine the Great arrives on Queendom Website:

While we wait for Catherine's arrival, we are having a party in my classrooms at Shining Needle Society. If you would like to come and eat e-blini and caviar and have an e-glass of champagne,  bring your stitching and come!

If you don't belong to Shining Needle Society, contact Kate. Membership and entry to my classroom is free.

See you tonight, I hope.
Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Writing about My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great

For some time now on my website, I have been writing lessons for beginners, intermediates and advancing students of needlepoint. The beginners' lessons and the intermediates have been more or less predictable sorts of lessons, particularly for beginners.

Then I arrived at the lessons for advancing students. There's so much I could write but I chose to write about the decisions I've made for stitching my needlepoint portraits. In some ways these lessons are so basic in that they refer to very basic stitches. That's too true, but what I do with those basic stitches has taken a bit more thought and the lessons aren't quite so basic. It's been an interesting exercise.

Now I am almost to the end of the series for the time being. I have the penultimate lesson called, of all things, 'Advanced Continental Stitch. I posted it this morning, it will stay up for tomorrow and then I will post my last lesson for now, called 'Painterly Needlepoint'. It is for me my most interesting lesson because it explains how I arrived at the way I decided to do portraits.

If you would like to read the lessons, here's a quick reference:

After 'Painterly Needlepoint' it will be time to close down lessons and start preparing Queendom Website for the arrival of my portrait of Catherine the Great. In doing so I've enlisted the help of my husband and he's been writing short articles on Catherine the Great. If you follow along you will find a new one every other morning once my lessons end.

In addition, I've been writing my own snippets called 'Factoids about My Catherine'. Essentially they tell some tales about my stitching Catherine, how large she is, how many pearls she has, and in a few days I will start posting photos and descriptions of the kit contents.

Catherine will arrive on Saturday morning, May 2. Actually she will arrive as close to midnight on May 1 as MacSoph and I can stay awake.

I hope you will join us for the festivities celebrating the arrival of this piece which has been my most industrious undertaking in the last 5 to 6 years.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gay Ann Rogers Needlepoint on Facebook

Well, I took the plunge and I joined Facebook.

I have both a profile page and a business page. My business page is all about my needlepoint and its inspirations and here's the URL:

I began it by posting my Elizabethan projects. I began with Echoes of Elizabeth and Echoes Sewing Case and this afternoon I posted my most popular ever heart, Heart of Elizabeth. I have some projects to post in the next few days that I've not shown often and some inspirations, trivia, and well, whatever strikes me as useful or amusing.

As the month goes on and the time becomes closer to the arrival of my portrait of Catherine the Great on Queendom Website, I will transition to the Romanovs and in particular some clothes and of course large jewels. What would the Romanovs be without very large jewels!

At first I couldn't see why I would keep up this blog plus my website, plus Facebook pages; it seemed at first that it would all be redundant. I had a few days to find my sea legs where it was all quiet and I could find out a bit about Facebook. I think it is different, it is certainly very different visually, and in some ways more casual.

Then this morning someone learned about my Facebook page and I had a flurry of visits and likes and offers to Friend.

Early on (I mean, how early is that considering my pages are about a week old), I decided to keep my profile page for tech stuff, so I haven't replied to the friend offers. There's no needlepoint on my profile page and I thought for now I would keep the two separate.

So far it is great fun -- and a very different experience from my website. We'll see how it goes, a new adventure.

I'm very new at all this but I will find my way, and if you have any suggestions for me, please let me know:

Gay Ann

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Campaign of Support for Au Ver a Soie

Please please join us!

Let’s give support to Au Ver a Soie by ‘Liking’ them on their Facebook page.
And if you would like to leave a note of support, all the better!
Let’s tell them how much we value their silks!

Even though the site is in French, it is fine to leave a message in English.

Thanks, Kate, for getting this started.
Gay Ann

From Kate:

If you're a Facebook person, you could show support by "liking" A Ver a Soie's Facebook page:

They only have 1559 "likes" at the time of this message, so we clearly need to show some more appreciation. :-)

Just a thought!


The Fire at Au Ver a Soie

Hello everyone - I thought I would jump in and add some information before panic runs amuck.  Au Ver a Soie is wounded but not devastated.  We talked to one of the owners this morning about the extent of the damage and we will learn much more early next week.  She is a member of the Boucher family who run Au Ver a Soie.

One thing I would like to tell you is that Boucher family is devoted to the production of silk. In the past they have suffered much deeper losses and they have rebounded. In fact, the entire Au Ver a Soie factory was mistakenly bombed by the Americans in WWII and the Boucher family totally rebuilt it. Theirs is an ancient family business, they have always taken the long view of it and just like the factory bombing in WWII, they will bring the business back again from this fire .One of the things they learned from their WWII disaster was the importance of distributing the expertise, machinery and stock to ward off single disasters bringing down a company and they have planned wisely over the years.  While the capability at this plant was severely damaged, the company has a network of machines, partners, etc around France and these partners will help the Boucher family weather this.  Their stock was distributed in multiple places too - phew.  So, being in the know a bit, I am confident that we are not in imminent danger of losing Au Ver a Soie, a relief to us all.

The fire will certainly delay some of the new threads for a while and I am sure that some colors may be scarce for a few weeks, but these conditions will only be temporary.  I am not overly concerned about the machinery losses, an example being a new skeining machine that was destroyed, as the skeining operation for threads sold in the U.S. is done at Access Commodities (we prefer a different size/packaging in this market).  So some capability losses won't impact us as they are already shifted to machinery here.  What I am concerned about is time.  In any small business, there isn't an excess of labor and things like this delay new initiatives in favor of getting basic operations back running.  I know that the time I spend shoveling snow represents hours not spent shipping or working on new things.  It will be the same for Au Ver a Soie, with some things delayed a bit. 
I am sure you will hear about the fire but don't fear - it isn't about a total loss of capabilities, it is more about a diversion of valuable time until they make adjustments. The adjustments may take a few weeks or months, but Au Ver a Soie will indeed be up and running again. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whew! My Needlepoint Hearts Sale is Over, so What's Next?

My Hearts Sale finished and I'm mailing packages, a division of my little business I call 'Mail Jail'.

After the first day of the sale I ran out of my Imperial Emeralds Heart kits and had to make more. I'm stalled now in Mail Jail, waiting for Kreinik braid. It will arrive soon enough and I will be able to finish Mail Jail as soon as it does.

So what comes after my Hearts Sale?
Two things:

First, Freedom to spend large chunks of time stitching. I can't wait! My head is full of ideas just waiting to make their way onto canvas.

Second, my portrait of Catherine the Great will arrive on my website on May 2.
This means I have to get busy making kits. I have just a little over 2 months to count beads and label threads, cut canvas and assemble everything.

I know it is still winter, but I am looking forward to spring this year and my two activities ahead.
Yay! I'm through most of the grind and looking forward to the fun parts.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Among My Hearts this February is Imperial Emeralds Heart

It's almost time for my hearts to arrive; they will be here bright and early on Thursday morning, February 12.

Featured in my sale will be the first heart of a series of six called 'Imperial Jeweled Hearts'.
The first one is the most decorated and glittery heart I've ever stitched; it is Imperial Emeralds Heart and I made it to commemorate the over-the-top jewels of the Romanovs.

I can't imagine emeralds the size that Catherine the Great wore!

My emeralds aren't real but they do sparkle! My diamonds aren't real either, but like the emeralds they do sparkle too! My pearls are real in in all sorts of sizes and together with my emeralds and diamonds they are very glittery.

I particularly enjoyed my series of Imperial Jeweled Hearts. Usually my work is more restrained, but restraint was not the order of the day, making a statement was. I hope you will stop by Queendom Website on Thursday morning and see my 'statement jeweled heart'. Perhaps I should have named it Statement Heart.

What about the other five jeweled hearts?

They will arrive sprinkled as surprise treats throughout 2015 in celebration of the arrival of Catherine the Great on Queendom Website. She arrives on her birthday, May 2.

When I started posting about my needlepoint portrait of Catherine the Great, it was months and months away! When I posted on New Year's Day it was 5 months away. Now I am writing again and it is only 2 1/2 months away. I had better get busy because Catherine will be arriving before I know it.

How does time pass so fast!
Gay Ann