Keeping it fresh

I think the problem with inconsistencies in keeping up with my blog is that I don’t always have something profound to say. After all, I don’t want to waste your time! But it sets up a dilemma for me to come up with something interesting, however small, to blog about on a regular basis.

So today I’ll share a brief video link on my YouTube channel, about starting and stopping threads. I have been somewhat surprised by the reaction to this little video, which I have been showing in my classes. I recently taught a 3 day class with some quite complicated stitches, and what the students were most impressed by was how to do a pin stitch. Sigh.

Therefore, let’s review pin stitches and other ways to start a thread. I demonstrate an away knot, a loop start and a pin stitch in the video.

I prefer an in-the-path waste knot when I use one. That is, I place the knot on top of the canvas and position it so that I will stitch over the tail, securing the thread, and I can clip off the knot when I come to it. Some people prefer an away waste knot, one that is completely out of the stitching area, and weave in the ends when there is enough on the back of the canvas. This involves clipping the knot, rethreading the end into a needle, and weaving it under the carry threads on the back. Either one is fine and a matter of personal preference.

A loop start is useful when you have an even number of strands in your needle. This makes for a very neat back. Catch your loop over a single thread, not the first stitch you are making, to keep it very tight and compact. For instance, if I were doing a satin stitch over 4 canvas threads, I would make my loop over 1 canvas thread, then cover it with the first satin stitch. This keeps the loop nice and tight, and completely covered by the stitching.

My current favorite way to start a stitch is a pin stitch. The pin stitch can be over 1 canvas thread, or in the shape of an “L” or “T”. Which ever you choose, I take 3 tiny stitches to make sure the thread is very secure. A pin stitch must be placed where the pattern stitches will cover it. This can be tricky, so plan carefully!

I’ll discuss ending stitches next time.

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On the road this year

For those who follow me on Facebook, you’re aware of my computer woes. My computer took a hard crash – completely and utterly dead with no hope of revival – while in the midst of a presentation while I was teaching. I’m set up on a temporary computer while we see about getting mine fixed. And I thought I’d update a bit as to my teaching engagements this year.

First up is teaching Angles at Sandy’s Cross Stitch on the Go in Hendersonville, NC, April 18-20. No ghosts allowed, but never fear, I’m teaching Angles again.

Next up is Angles at Needle Orts in Altamonte Springs, FL, May 19-20. I don’t know about ghosts for this one, but if you’ll contact Debbie at the shop I’m sure she’ll be happy to discuss with you.

(A note of explanation: a ghost is a stitcher who pays all associated fees for the class but does not attend in person. The kit and instructions are mailed after the class.)

And then, Angles again at Mid-Eastern Region Seminar in Syracuse, NY, June 1-3. No ghosts for this class since it’s a seminar.

Time for something new, Adagio! I’ll be teaching Adagio July 7-8 for San Diego ANG. Ghosts will be permitted for this class; contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the class organizer. I can’t put up a picture because of the whole computer crash/on a temporary computer/can’t access my files thing, but I did post of picture on my Facebook page.

July 11-14 I’ll be teaching for the 14th Annual Needle Arts Mystery Retreat in Riverside, CA. Of course, I can’t show a picture of what I’m working on, but I’m so pleased with the way my design is turning out! The project is revealed at the opening reception for the first night. We have allowed ghosts, so visit the website, for more info and to register. Wonderful time with great stitchers and some of my best teaching buddies, Linda Reinmiller, Patricia Hartman and Mary Knapp.

Then it’s on to American Needlepoint Guild National Seminar, Washington DC, August 22-27. I’ll be teaching two new classes, Cornered and Gilded Cabochons. Sorry I can’t put a picture up here, but you can go to the website,, to see pictures and find out how to register. Hope to see you there! Annual seminar is always so much fun, and it’s so much more than taking classes.

There may be more classes later in the year, discussing with a couple of groups about adding dates, and I’ll put up that info when the details are ironed out. And next year is starting to fill up, with Canvas A Needlepoint Adventure in January, EGA South Central Region and Tennessee Valley Region in June, Needle Arts Mystery Retreat in July, ANG National in August, and who knows what else!


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A useful tool

Did you know I have a DebBee’s Designs YouTube channel? Yes! My very own, so now I can become famous!

My YouTube channel features video stitch demonstrations for several stitches. I’ll be adding more to it as I have videos ready to upload. These are strictly for educational purposes, to help you with some stitches you may have trouble visualizing from a stitch diagram and words.

And, I know a lot of people are doing video stitch demonstrations, but I hope you’ll find mine useful!

Here’s the link:

If the link doesn’t work, just go to YouTube, and search on DebBee’s Designs. I’ll continue to add more videos as I get them ready. If there’s something you’d like to see, just let me know and I’ll see if I can get one ready for you!

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Embracing the new

Recently my husband had to have an emergency pair of glasses made. The only frame that his lenses would fit was a style that was totally different from what he usually wore. And you know what? We both loved the change! It was a style he would never have tried otherwise, but we liked it so much that we ordered his new glasses in a frame style similar to the “emergency” glasses.

So what does that have to do with needlework or DebBee’s Designs? Sometimes we’re forced to try something new, out of our comfort zone, and discover that it’s a good fit. I remember when I first started stitching with other than cotton floss. It was a challenge! I had to learn how to manage the thread, how long a length to stitch with, how to get it to look the way I wanted. And now I’m completely fearless about trying new threads. I haven’t found a thread I haven’t liked! Ditto with new stitches and techniques – I love to take a class in a new technique or learn new stitches. Some I don’t like, some I do, some I love.

How this applies to DebBee’s Designs – we’ll be trying some new things in the next year specifically in regards to our website. We’ve already changed the web hosting, and our site should load faster. We’re going to be trying other new things, which I’ll explain as we have them ready to implement. All of this takes time, and the time has to come from moments that aren’t already devoted to teaching, designing, stitching models, travel, kitting, email – you get the picture!

But we’re embracing the new, and hope we all find that we like it!

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Class time!

Good morning! Today I’ll tell you about a new class being offered through Shining Needle Society and some of my teaching pieces in general.

Ablaze is pictured above. This is a new class, taught only once before at ANG National Seminar. Ablaze is a modified log cabin quilt layout, with a spectacular (if I do say so myself) corner motif. The bands surrounding the corner are laid out in an analogous color scheme from yellow to orange to magenta, with touches of red. Some of the stitches are layered crescents, Maltese interlacing, herringbone square, Jessicas, layered cross stitch, double herringbone, Bargello swirls and of course waffle stitches. There are other stitches as well, laid out in an 8 week course. You can order a complete kit or instructions only. A complete kit is $142 (includes canvas, threads, instruction book, teaching fee and postage) or $79 for instructions only (instruction book, teaching fee and postage).

Don’t like the hot colors? I’m offering two additional color ways, Blue Blazes and Embers.

I don’t have models stitched for the other two color ways, but you can see the threads we’ll be using for them.

One feature of my cyber classes is video stitch demonstrations of the stitches. That’s right, you’ll be able to see me stitching the various stitches, which you can watch as many times as you need to in order to stitch to perfection. I do have a YouTube channel with some other videos, but the video stitch demonstrations for this class aren’t on it – private, as a value added for those taking the class.

To sign up just send me an email,, and I’ll take you through the registration process. We’ll take registrations until March 19, then close the registrations so I can order supplies and get kits together and mailed out. Class will begin May 7 and run through June 30. Don’t worry if you can’t actually stitch the project during that time frame; the files, videos and diagrams will remain available to class members indefinitely.

I’ve been working on teaching projects lately and not designs for release to shops because this time of year is proposal time. I have to get the proposals in to the various venues in order to be considered for the faculty, for 2019! But for the most part proposals are behind us and I’m ready to begin work on other things. I do have more models to stitch for teaching pieces, but my mind is turning to other designs. If only I had more time to stitch!

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