Needlework classes

One Day Classes

Mayan Lightning

lightning image

Bright and bold, the rich tradition of Guatemalan textile design combines traditional Mayan icons with explosions of color to create stunning woven fabrics.  In this intermediate piece, you will use woven stitches to form a Mayan zigzag pattern symbolizing the energy-giving lightning bolt.  Learning the Herringbone Stitch, Waffle Stitch, Sprat’s Head Stitch and Point de Tresse Stitch, you will have an opportunity to understand how these woven stitches are constructed. We will include variations of these stitches to show the impact of subtle differences in color and composition.

The impact of bright colors on the black background will make you want to do more with this eye-popping combination. We will have helpful tips and suggestions for achieving success with black canvas and rayon floss so that you have confidence in selecting them for other projects.

We will provide guidance in compensating stitches, and in turning or mitering corners in a border design. In the last part of the class, the teacher will give instructions and options for finishing the piece.

Walking the Water’s Edge


Are you dreaming of a vacation? Imagine a leisurely walk along a sunny beach, the waves washing up on the sand to expose a starfish. In this intermediate class, you will learn how to use a Florentine Stitch pattern and shading techniques with floss to create the line of a wave on a beach. Freeform eyelet stitches will mimic the foamy edge of the wave. You will use beads to add some sparkle to the water, and select a color to create a starfish on the shore.

This class is for the intermediate stitcher who wants to learn how to use floss to produce subtle shading, and to experiment with freeform eyelet stitching. We will include instructions on how to add some beads to the foam to give a sunny sparkle to the wave. As a finishing touch, you will learn the Bullion Knot Stitch to place a starfish on the shore.

Separating and laying strands of thread, we will discuss how to use different colors and numbers of strands of floss to create shading in a Florentine Stitch pattern. After practicing a number of stitches from the Eyelet family, we will learn how to create our own eyelet stitches and place them in a freeform pattern. Attaching beads and using the Bullion Knot Stitch to make a starfish will add interest to the piece. A discussion of options for finishing your work will complete the course.

Two Day Classes

Amanda’s Garden


Stop and smell the roses as you stitch this relaxing garden scene. Summer flowering morning glory, coneflower, hibiscus, sunflowers, and lush pink roses entice a young girl to stop and enjoy their fragrance. Using a variety of canvas and surface stitches, you will create this secluded garden and trellis that give structure to the beds of flowers. Surface stitches include Bullion and French knots, spiderweb ribbon roses, blanket stitch in a circle, and lazy daisy. More structured canvas stitches form the path and the underlying green foliage for the flowers.

Color Theory with a Twist

purple leaves colorwebready
green leaves colorwebready

Confidence in the use of color is something that can transform how you approach your needlework. We will begin with basic vocabulary, and how to use a few simple color tools, so that you’ll be confident about choosing threads and fabrics for your needlework projects. Working with threads from a green or a violet color family, you will learn to sort them by hue and value to create a sampler of three leaves. We will use three different diagonal stitches, to make the leaves, and then add a gray scale as a border. An added butterfly or ladybug done in wire stumpwork technique will add a complementary accent to your leaves. Supplementary information on the interesting geometric properties of a Mobius band will surprise and delight you.

If you wish to create a larger version of the sampler leaves in six color families, we will provide information for you to select threads and supplies to create your own version of a stitched color wheel on a Mobius band.

Crewel Calavera

crewel calavera(JR) copy 2

Decorated sugar skulls for the Day of the Dead represent departed souls and honor the return of their spirits. Update your embroidery skills by creating a Calavera (skull) in variations of chain stitch. We will transfer the basic skull design onto your choice of fabric, and then choose from several chain stitch variations to create a unique and colorful icon. Chain stitch variations include Wrapped Chain, Feathered Chain, Broad Chain, Twisted Chain, and Open Chain. Use of metallic threads and beads will add interest to the finished design.

Your Roots are Showing!

roots(JR) copy

A very untypical basket of vegetables rooted to the earth awaits your creative stitching. By employing traditional needlepoint stitches alongside three-dimensional work, you will create stylized vegetables in, and under, their basket. Using wire, padding techniques, stranded floss, and a variety of other interesting threads, you will learn needle weaving, how to attach stumpwork slips, and how to pad and stitch for effect and dimension. We will discuss perspective and placement of individual elements in the design. Trellis patterns in the border and background finish off the design. Stitched on 18-count canvas, this piece will intrigue intermediate students who would like to expand their stitching repertoire.

Exquisite Symmetry

Exquisite Symmetrycover

The repetitive rhythm that symmetry adds to a piece of your needleart can be yours to use with confidence. In this notebook class, the intermediate stitcher or beginning designer will focus on the intriguing design principle of symmetry. By examining examples of band and border patterns, students will learn to identify types of line symmetry. Combining these symmetries in different ways, students will begin to distinguish and create various patterns that repeat in a line or a band.

Examining examples of symmetry in two dimensions will allow students to understand how the same basic symmetries can result in even more patterns, all of which are possible to make on a counted ground. Diaper patterns, the use of color, and considerations of cultural aspects of symmetry in design will enhance students’ understanding of how symmetry can be used in an effective design.

Four Day Classes

Diamond City Lights

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Glittering at sunset, the buildings on the city’s lakefront light up as the sky goes dark. Stitch the diaper patterns of windows in the buildings against the sunset glow of the sky. Create the reflections of the sunset hues in the water, and include a ribbon of traffic lights at the water’s edge. This study in diaper patterns in a split complementary color scheme of blue, red-orange and yellow-orange will include lessons on making and compensating with diaper patterns, establishing proper perspective with stitches, using single strand thread blending to create the shaded sunset sky, and making stitch and thread selections to create reflections in water.

Night Owls

Night Owls copy

Silently perched on a branch in the deep forest, this owl family invites you to glimpse their moonlit home. The curvy trees and darkness of the scene get their inspiration from a French Gobelin tapestry. In this advanced class, you will play with light and dark and near and far to create a forest scene with these three mysterious owls. By using a variety of threads in related color values, you will learn to differentiate foreground and background objects. You will use appliqué of Penelope18/36 canvas to the ground canvas to make the watchful owl that is the focal point of the design. To capture the moonlight, we will work with establishing areas of light and shadow in the design. We will include a variety of traditional canvas stitches as well as those more typically found in surface embroidery.

Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent

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Bringer of wind and rains, patron of learning and the arts, the vibrant Quetzalcoatl is a familiar bird in Guatemala. This feathered serpent and the accompanying Mayan motifs take their inspiration from an antique huipile, the common woman’s blouse woven in Central America. Because these patterns are typically woven, we can readily interpret them with Florentine stitching techniques. The 4-way Bargello motif interprets the Guatemalan universe symbol, with the path of the sun from east to west as it moves through the day. Single stand thread blending creates shading in the curve at the neckline. Learn several colorful Florentine patterns, including how to use Hungarian point to create a background pattern as you stitch this bold design.