My Heart Travels with my Family – from the Traveling Needle

My Heart Travels with My Family


I find that the holidays are always a time of reflection and sentimentality… if I close my eyes I can smell the inky pages of the Sears Roebucks’ catalog – as it was within the pages of this thick book that I found all of my Christmas hopes and dreams.  Page 453 contained that bike I had to have, page 207 the sweater I could not live without, 16 the new Singer sewing machine and 32 the rock tumbler that I would use to start my very own polished rock collection!  My 9-year-old life springs into my memory along with the smells, decorations, conversations, activities – ahhhh, it’s these wonderful shared memories that lay the foundation for my husband and I with our girls.

This year our eldest came home from college for Thanksgiving break and my oh my heart was SO full hearing she and her sister laugh and scheme about how they were going to trick dad into going out for ice cream or when they thought it was the right time to begin decorating the tree.  Sitting quietly smiling, listening and addressing Christmas card envelopes I found myself overwhelmed with love for my family – so I just stopped what I was doing and started knitting.  My heart was so full that I wanted each of them to have a small piece of it.  I knit each of them a heart and decided to create necklaces so they could carry a little me with them when they need it the most.

With some 100% cotton yarn I knit the heart, I back the heart in a rough cut of 100% wool and affixed the wool to the back of the heart my stitching beads into the front of the heart with beading thread (you can really use any type of thread you want that fits into the bead and blends with the color of the yarn/wool.

Next I took some silk and ivory, some vineyard silk and some Entice, in colors that I liked, and wrapped them around some raw cording.  I slipped the ends of the cording between the knit heart and the wool and stitched it into place and Viola!  My girls had a little piece of me to take back to college or to high school with them!

This is a perfect and very easy project for just about anyone just to tell them that they are loved.  I am going to do bookmarks with a heart for my book club and a couple more necklaces for the grandmas.  My yarn and needles will get to travel the world as I send them to out to all of my closest and loved friends.  Give it a try and spread some love this holiday season.  Shoot me a message if you have any questions!

Please let me know where the needle takes you!

Much love, The Traveling Needle





You will need:   cotton or worsted weight yarn and a set of double point needles (DPN)

Depending on the size of the heart and the weight of the yarn you choose you can use size 3-6 needles.  I knot the heart in the pictures above with  size 3 DPN

K 3 sts. Turn
K1, M1, K1, M1, K1. Turn
K 5 sts. Turn

K1, M1, K3, M1, K1. Turn K7 sts. Turn
Break yarn.

Slide all these stitches to the end of the needle. Repeat from * Don’t break yarn the second time.

You should now have both tops of the heart on one needle. Making sure both pieces are ridge side up, knit across. Turn K 3 more rows. Turn
K1, ssk, K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1. Turn

K across. Turn
Repeat the last two rows until 2 sts remain. Bind off. Darn in ends, coaxing the heart into shape.

To make a larger heart, add more increase rows to each top piece.
To make a taller heart, add more plain rows between each decrease row.


Stitches – K through O! from the Traveling Needle

Stitches K-O


As I craft this blog post cozy smells of Thanksgiving break are filling the air in my house…both of my daughters are home for the holiday break and I have put them in charge of the traditional pumpkin pie as well as the scrumptious fudge pie.  Hearing their laughter, chatter and the resounding clanging of the pans truly fills this mamas heart!!


OK, back to stitching!  We left off with stitches F-J, and those were some fun stitches right??  How many of you have tried them and which ones did you like the best?  I’d love to hear from you!  You can shoot me a message on The Traveling Needle Facebook page or thru the blog site



The Kathy Stitch:  This is a beautiful stitch for samples or just an isolated placement within a pattern.  For example I used the Kathy stitch within a small frame above a mantle on a Christmas stocking to act as a “piece of art”.


When you stitch this, please keep in mind that the Kathy is not equal on all sides.  Exercise caution when stitching.

To create, make the straight, centerlines in a color.  The slanted V’s should be stitched in another color or thread, and the French knot in the center is made in another. Sometimes I like to place a bead in the center instead of a French knot Take care when counting-it can be a bit tricky.




The Leaf Stitch:  My favorite use for this stitch is on birds but it can also be used for foliage, rolling hills, backgrounds and of course leaves!


To stitch, start with the tip of the leaf and work your way down.  Stitch on both sides of the leaf as you travel to the lower portion of the leaf.  You may need to use your fingernail to move the lower portion of the leaf as you stitch a new tip.

Careful counting will create a lovely pattern on your canvas.  Try using an over dyed thread for an interesting effect.




I could not find a stitch that started with an “M” so I decided that for this letter we would talk about good canvas Maintenance while stitching. Keep in mind this blog is for the ultra beginner as well as the advanced stitcher, so some of this tips will be well known and for others revelations!  Good canvas maintenance starts with taping the edges of your canvas prior to stitching.  Most needlepoint shops will tape for you; ask them if they don’t automatically do it.  The taping keeps the canvas from fraying and the edges breaking down.  I ALWAYS stitch on a frame!  This keeps the canvas from being folded or the threads being pulled too tight, framing makes for an even finish.  I use both the frames that require the canvas to be tacked onto the wood frame as well as a roll frame, for my larger pieces. Either type of frame is good whatever suits your preference.  Lastly, many of us stitch in groups at a local needlepoint shop or with friends at a recreation center.  If you stitch away from home be sure to transport your framed canvas in a clean bag.  I place my canvas in a pillow case or kitchen trash bag and then in a large tote bag so that it stays clean and free from dust and my potentially spilled coffee!!



The Norwich (aka Waffle) Stitch:  This stitch is best used in a block or as an isolated stitch.  I have seen the Norwich used for buildings, foliage or fields.


Follow the numbers by coming up at 1 and back down at 2.  You will come back up at 2 and down at 4.  Continue to do so until you have come out at 27.  Before you place your needle at 28, weave the needle under the 21-22 bars.  This will give your stitch a continuous woven look.



The Oriental Stitch:  This is a beautiful stitch, especially when done in two colors for clothes, foliage and backgrounds.



Start with the red stitches first.  Once this is laid out, all you will need to do is fill in with the black stitches. Oriental is great when created in one or two colors.

I can tell you that I am excited about using the oriental stitch in white and blue glisten for some backgrounds on a Christmas stocking I’m working on!  But first I need to go do some pie testing!!

Happy and safe travels to all of you that will be traveling over this Thanksgiving holiday!  Don’t forget to take your needles, thread, yarn, and canvases’ and please let the traveling needle know what you’ve found along the way – we will be sure to do the same!!










Follow the numbers by coming up at 1 and back down at 2.  You will come back up at 2 and down at 4.  Continue to do so until you have come out at 27.  Before you place your needle at 28, weave the needle under the 21-22 bars.  This will give your stitch a continuous woven look.



The Oriental Stitch:  This is a beautiful stitch, especially when done in two colors for clothes, foliage and backgrounds.



Start with the red stitches first.  Once this is laid out, all you will need to do is fill in with the black stitches.


Oriental is great when created in one or two colors.


I can tell you that I am excited about using the oriental stitch in white and blue glisten for some backgrounds on a Christmas stocking I’m working on!  But first I need to go do some pie testing!!


Happy and safe travels to all of you that will be traveling over this Thanksgiving holiday!  Don’t forget to take your needles, thread, yarn, and canvases’ and please let the traveling needle know what you’ve found along the way – we will be sure to do the same!!








Stitches F – J! from the Traveling Needle

What a busy week it has been!  I’ve been continuously delighted, time and time again, by the many talented artisans that The Traveling Needle has found in South Carolina!  Stay tuned on the blog for creations by Sari Kandel and phenomenal canvas painter and teacher and as well words of great wisdom and advice regarding needlepoint fibers from Geri Rihn.  How blessed are we to stumble upon these amazing talents?  In the meantime (while I am writing up their blogs) lets dine back into the wonderful world of needlepoint stitches.  We have covered A-E in a previous blog, now let’s tackle F-J.  I searched high and low for a stitch that starts with an “I” and could not find one….if any of you know of one please message me and I will put it in!  Until then here are some of my favorite stitches F-J with two from J, to cover the lack of an “I” stitch…



The Flat Pattern:  This pattern is fantastic for buildings, walkways, clothes and large background areas.


To work Flat Pattern, stitch each “block” as a unit.  When this is finished, continue on to the next one.This pattern is excellent for large areas and backgrounds.



Ginger Jars:  What a FUN stitch this is.  Don’t be intimidated; looks complex but once you get going it is a fun stitch!  This is great fro foliage and clothing.


To stitch Ginger Jars, start on the left and make a series of upside-down V’s, all the way to the end of the row.  (Dark blue)  Then, when you finish the row, make the next row of upright V’s, traveling back to the left side of the canvas.  Start another row of upside down V’s and continue stitching in this manner until you complete the area.

To finish, make the perpendicular and parallel straight lines. (Light blue and black)

It is best to create Ginger Jars in two different colors or threads.  If you wish for pattern only and no contrast, stitch in only one.



The Herringbone:  A beautiful classic that is perfect for clothes, foliage, birds, buildings and backgrounds.


To work Herringbone, come up in the corner and travel down over 2 intersections on the canvas.  You will go back down under the canvas and come back up next to the previous stitch.  Now, travel up 2 intersections and pass your needle under the canvas.  Repeat this process until you have reach the end of the row.  (Follow the pink row.)

For the second row, you may need to use a second needle or your fingernail to come back up to the topside of the canvas.  Continue doing this until you have reached the bottom of the area in which you want to fill in.  (Yellow rows)

Please note:  You will make the first row on the top of the canvas and work your way down.  Never start in the middle or lower portion of your area.


Sadly I could not uncover and “I” stitch – so for this letter we encourage Individuality and creativity!



Because there was not an “I” stitch we are going to highlight two “J” stitches!  The first…

The John Stitch:  This is a great stitch for clothing, especially if you did it with to colors.  If you choose to stitch with just one color the John looks fantastic in any area.  In one color this is a truly multi-purpose stitch!


Work a standard continental stitch from the top of the canvas to the bottom, within the stitch area.  When you have finished going down the length of your stitching area, work your way back up.  Skip the long stitches as you sew this pattern if you are stitching in two colors.  When the stitch area is finished, fill in the long stitches with another thread or color.

If you wish to make John a bit more subtle and work in any background or area, stitch all in one color and just sew the long stitches into your pattern as you go.


The Jus Stitch:  This is a beautiful multi-layered stitch that looks fantastic when used for rolling hills, borders or certain types of clothing.


To stitch the Jus, begin on the left-hand side of the canvas, making a series of upside-down V’s, all the way to the end of the row.  (blue lines) Then, make the next row of upright V’s, and continue stitching rows in this way until you have filled the area.  Once the area has been filled, you are ready to stitch the straight, perpendicular lines.  (also blue)  The last portion of this stitch is the slashed cross.  (blue/green)

We have to be honest – this week it was hard to pick just one stitch per letter….there are so many.  We found ourselves diving into Stitches to Go by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson over and over to the point that our copy is now dog-eared and highlighted to death!!  The art of needlepoint is so amazing – and we’re just at the very beginning of this journey – and am so thankful that we are on it with all of you!

Lots more going on this week.  Tickets are being secured for the Traveling Needle to head to Belize in January to work with schools and teach them the craft of knitting.  Then in February the Needle will head to New York, dive into the garment district and meet with some fiber specialists boy are we are excited for this trip and to share what we learn there!  In the meantime the Needle will continue traveling around and exploring all of the offerings in South Carolina:  we have shared that Hilton Head has a true treasure of a shop with Needlepoint Junction – next we will head to Charleston and see what the Needle digs up there!

As always, thank you for coming along on the adventures of The Traveling Needle!

PS. You can find her blog at






Needlepoint Stitches A-Z …and seriously THIS is just the beginning!

Needlepoint Stitches A-Z….and seriously THIS is just the beginning!





Many of my friends know how I just love to travel, they also know that I LOVE to dive into any new craft, project, idea, challenge… especially one that I’ve picked up on my travels!  Ask my mom, she has seen me try my hand at everything from rock tumbling and jewelry making to opening a handbag company to fabric dying to photography and painting!  With this in mind you can understand why my friends amazed that I’ve become addicted to one thing…Needlepoint.  Needlepoint has completely captured me because working on a needlepoint canvas is like combining all of the above mentioned passions into one!  Between picking out the perfect canvas image, mentally debating over each fiber and then painstakingly selecting individual stitches, the options are absolutely endless – and I mean endless!!!  Endless, addictive fun!


Right now I am working on four different canvases (yes I said four….and I know I am not the only one!).  The exciting part about each of these projects is that I get to keep running back to my Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito as well as the various stitch applications I have on my computer and pick stitches!  It’s so fun to create a sky using Nobuko, dog fur using interlocking gobelin and a collar with vertical brick.  This process inspired me to write a blog (my version of a love song to needlepoint and its creators) about my favorite stitches.  So, I’ve picked out some of my favorite stitches from A-Z and I will share a group of them with you in each blog post.  Keep in mind this is list is no where close to complete!  Iwould be writing for years to cover each and every fabulous stitch!  Todays blog post is just a start!  In this post we will cover stitches A-E.  I hope you have as much fun reading this – and better yet trying these stitches as I have.




Alicia Lace Stitch – this is primarily used for clothes, backgrounds & animals, small or large areas

Start by making diagonal lines on the canvas by making backstitches.  Each row should be worked from the top of the canvas towards the bottom.  After the area is complete, work the fill-in rows like the first but this time the stitches should slant in the opposite direction.




Barred Beetle Stitch – best for foliage and backgrounds.  Be careful to use this stitch for a framed piece, as the top stitches will snag.  Give thought to the color of the contrasting stitch as well as the other colors in your piece.


Lay the horizontal stitches first.  (Red lines)  When this is finished, insert the three blue, upright stitches.  You may wish to stitch the middle first and then the outer two.  This will let the threads lay flat on the canvas.

For extra interest, try using a contrasting thread for the bar.  A different thread such as metallic braid, Sparkle Rays, Neon Rays or Ultra Suede will create incredible contrast.



Cross Tied Gobelin Stitch – best used in stripes, fields and borders.  This stitch can be done with one color or two.  Using two will give the stitch more pop and contrast.


The crosses add a dimensional effect, leading the eye horizontally.  Two colors help to show the stitches.  If you do not want the white canvas to show, first paint the area to match the thread.

To create, first work the long parallel lines (green) and then insert the crosses. (blue)



The Diamond Eye Stitch – best used for isolated stars in the sky, flowers or pinwheels.

As an isolated stitch, Diamond Eye can be used as flowers – either representing real flowers or a floral pattern on the canvas.


To create Diamond Eye, start at the number one position on the graph.  You will make your first corner of the eye as 1-A, 1-B and 1-D.  Travel to number 2 and create 2-A, 2-C and 2-D.  Your next group will be at the 3 position and after working in the same manner as the other three corners your diamond eye is complete!



The Emily Stitch – (in honor of my mom) – mostly used for clothes or rolling hills.


Emily is worked by stitching the large crosses first.  (blue crosses)  When you have finished this, insert the long and short oblique and horizontal stitches together as you travel down the row.

Black dots on the graph can be French knots or beads – I have done it with beads in a contrasting color and it turns out looking spectacular!

The journey has just begun – think of this as just packing your bags for a global adventure…. So many more stitches to come.  Next time we will look at some of our most beloved stitches starting with letters F-J.  Visit for more blog posts, tips, tricks and exciting news regarding the world of needle arts.  Until then keep your needle close and your mind ready for a new stitching adventure!






Winter projects got you feeling Weighed Down? Well, that’s good!

Winter Projects got you feeling Weighed Down? Well, that’s Good! – written by Beth Huth


Any needle pointer I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet will openly and at times without any prompt share with me the perfect and most efficient way to labor over and complete their individual needle point masterpieces.  Some share that they sit in a chair and work off their lap, some even demonstrate where on their bodies they place the edge of the canvas frame – so it’s somewhat suspended in the air for easier stitching (you can picture it), some demand that good stitching can only be done using a standing frame, some declare that they never use a frame, some will only work at a well lit and very clean table and some just roll their canvas up and work on it wherever and whenever it strikes their fancy!  I’ve learned, in a very short amount a time that the techniques, positions and placements are vast – that there is NO right way or wrong way to stitch – it’s very personal.  The truth is that we all learn from one another and no matter the process, stitching is therapeutic, the method is genuinely miraculous and always ultimately emerges as a unique and beautiful piece of art. 

Now I’d like to weigh in with my own unprompted stitching observation… Regardless of where or when or even how your artistry takes place one common thread amongst all of us fabulous crafters is a frame weight.  A frame weight can be used on the lap, tabletop, standing frame or even a bar top!  And a beautiful frame weight is, of course, even better!

So my curious reader, I hear you asking….what exactly is a frame weight?  Where can I find one?  Does it have to be a certain size or weight?  All great questions – and today is your lucky day because we have the answers! 

A frame weight is typically a square or rectangular sandbag that helps stabilize the canvas and keep it stationary while it is being worked on.  For those that like to work with their canvas on a frame and at a table, a frame weight placed on the far corner of the canvas frame frees both of the stitchers hands and therefore aides in quicker more even stitching.  Before I used a frame weight I would find myself hunched over the tabletop with one hand or even elbow on the canvas while the other hand managed the needle and thread…not ideal! 

Basic frame weights can be purchased at most needlepoint or crafting stores.  I have seen them in various sizes such as 7.5” x 2.75” rectangles or 3.25” x 3.25” squares, both approx 2 lbs each.  These basic weights are made out of cotton fabric and filled with sand or fine rock as you want the frame to have the ability to drape over the edge of your frame or canvas to keep it secure.

My question to you is: Why would you want a basic square or rectangular sandbag on your masterpiece?  Why not have a bit of fun, practice your stitches and even throw in some beading and make your own custom frame weight?  You will have a ball with is and it’s something that will travel along with you throughout your needle pointing escapades.  I ‘ve always loved frogs, and since moving to South Carolina and seeing so many of them, I decided to a frog frame weight was the perfect piece for me!  Selecting the threads, beads and stitches was just the beginning of my great frog fun!  Sitting down to create has been a blast and the least weighty project I’ve worked so far this year!

frog 1

                                                         Frog Frame weight & supplies galore!


The time is now to shake off any weight winter project and start to think about your own personal frame weight – I promise, you’ll never regret it!

 frog 2

Frog Frame weight close up!

In January NeedlePoint Junction will release frame weight kits complete with stitch patterns, threads, beads and a hand painted canvas for purchase on-line or in the store.  Some of our shape ideas are a lighthouse, dolphin, shell, fish etc…. (sticking with the beach and island theme around here of course).  If you have any other ideas or want us to help you with a custom and one-of-a-kind work of art, give us a call and we’ll start designing!!

What does the canvas say to you?

I  tell people that have not done needlepoint before that the chosen canvas needs to speak to them in a sense. It should evoke an emotion.  Size – not too small, not too large.  If it doesn’t evoke emotion you will give up on it and shove it to the back of your closet. In addition, it may become more of a labor than of love.  When something is new and we do not see progress we get discouraged. Out of sorts. You spent all the time and money and for what, nothing.  When a canvas speaks to you and time and time you keep going back to it, you know its right in so many ways. Instant gratification is so important when starting something new and its not always realistic.   If you choose a huge canvas that has so much going on your head  is likely to portray that of Linda Blair in the “Exorcist” (you know when her head turns around.).

Needlepoint is relatively new to me. And the first project given to me when I bought the store is in the back of a closet as I write. Eventually after time, I found something that was interesting to me and started to learn how to stitch. Over the past year and a half, I have completed a number of canvases.  I love florals with all the shading. More than that though needlepoint has become relaxing. Once I felt comfortable enough to try new stitches everything just clicked.  It is a joy, a meditation of sorts and I tend to pick things that spark something in me.

Taking the speaking to me to another level….while checking in a trunk show two of the ladies that work where checking out Loira Manne’s really fun canvases. There is a series of dog canvases (see below). It is the same three dogs doing different activities. Somehow these dogs came to life even before stitching. Personalities were built about which dog is what and who and why. The conversation was one of humor and delight. It was lighthearted and fun. And to hear them talk was hilarious to say the least. What I am getting at is that each dog has a story. Each one of the canvases spoke to us. It evoked laughter and joy. The canvases are delightful and whimsical.  They told us a story in our own twisted way.  So what does your canvas say to you? I would love to know…






Color, color, color

Everyone sees color differently because it evokes an emotion from us. For me, I love the richness and the ambiguity of what a color make “speak”. Sometimes I take pause in color depending on what the media might be and if there something that intrigues me to take notice.

The yarn below was made for our little store; our little island. It has both subtle and rich hues. To see it hanging while drying is one thing, but to see it knit up is amazing. It looks like the sand and water.

image1 Hilton Head Island – hand dyed by unwind yarn co.

Playing with color on a needlepoint canvas is something I truly love.  The evolution of the canvas comes through with  chosen threads, stitches and different fibers. Color is what I see first.  It is fun to see it come alive when stitching and how different your piece may be from where it started.

harold  Harold before he is stitched.

harold Harold Stitched by Sharon W.

Color is inspiring, it is brilliant and bold, soft and quiet all in one. It makes me smile. It makes me cry, it brings raw emotions at times and reflective moments depending on the day.  But without it, I would be lost. It is a part of my everyday, whether its helping someone find a yarn to do a project in or pulling threads for a canvas. And then there are times when I just sit here and look at all that I am surrounded by. I love color.



Hurricane Irma

What a whirlwind of a week. One moment  we are happy, content – getting into the groove to bring in the fall only to turnaround and have a fear run through us as we prep to leave the island for another Hurricane.

So with the mindset that we are going to be Pummeled we set forth to pack up  houses, prep our store so we can minimize damage if we were to get damage and wait for the word to evacuate. Our minds and eyes were glued to the TV as we watched Hurricane Irma slam into the Caribbean taking its wrath out on the islands and then into Florida.

And we leave only to learn its not going to be as bad as predicted in fact when Irma finally made her way to South Carolina, it was down graded to a Tropical Storm.  However,  we found refuge in Nashville with many other people from Floridians to South Carolinians. And what was an evacuation was now an unexpected vacation.

In tow, we have our dog Southie, kids who were suppose to fly to Hilton Head and the wrong clothes. Why is it we always forget something? The dog has managed to enjoy a snow cone, go to the park several times and play ball. He is happy and content with his people. (that would be us).  We have done some great sightseeing and even stopped by the local Needlepoint Shop.

Nashville Needleworks is a great store if you ever in the area. So many wonderful threads, great canvases and so much more. Connie, who owns it was at Destination Dallas (where we were suppose to have been this past weekend). I am sorry to have missed her.

We would love to see what people have been working on during the storm.

And lastly, we hope those affected by the storm are safe. I know putting life back together after something like Irma is never easy. Please know our hearts are with you.


A Brand New Website.

What a crazy year it has been so far. We have taken on a lot of new initiatives this year with the intention to serve you better whether near or far.

If you have visited our website in the past you are likely to recognize some changes.   It’s all good. On this new site you can explore artists, sign up for classes, clubs etc. And soon you will be able to shop online with us. (Late this Fall we hope.)

We are so happy with our newly designed site and the website development team worked extremely hard to bring us what we wanted and we are forever grateful to them. Granted there will be tweaks along the way but we are thrilled nevertheless of this beautiful new site.

One of the features of this site is this blog. We plan to make it a little more intimate than our newsletter. We will tell stories, share ideas and offer tips for all of the needle arts. We hope that in turn you will share stories with us and maybe show us something different and new that you have picked up along the way.

Another feature is under the “More” section. It is here we will have information about our classes, clubs, trunk shows and exclusives. It will be continuously updated.

We hope you find this site easy to use, inviting and informative.

Thank you for coming on this journey with us.


Best regards,

Michele and the Gang at Needlepoint Junction (NPJ)



(Please also note, that I tend to write from the heart and my writing on a blog is more guttural than in the newsletter. As such my grammar is not always perfect and I do not strive to make it perfect. I just write.)