Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Open House 2013

I have three more hours to post my last blog of 2013.  I'm sitting at my Dad's house with my husband, our kids and my Dad watching some New Year's Eve specials and snacking on gifted Christmas cookies (like so much this Christmas, I did not feel like baking), shrimp, and sipping warm German Spiced wine.  It's not the wild family celebration of past years, but this feels just right.

The Christmas season for me always starts with the shop's Christmas Open House on the first Saturday of December.  The shop was decorated with cross-stitched Christmas ornaments, stockings, and framed Santas.  There were nibblies, specials, gifts for all, and lots of Christmas cheer.  To view all the Open House photos Click here.
This year's Open House was very much like those of previous years, with one exception.  My mom was very much in my heart this day, and sharing the day with many friends made it easier.
My mother always loved the festivities and cherished each and every one of our dedicated stitchers.

For those of you who were unable to drop by the shop and partake in the festivities, I would like to extend my Christmas gift to all of you.  Every year I design a Christmas Ornament, which is kitted and then gifted at the Open House.  And as it happens this year's was another Reindeer.
Click here for the chart.  Enjoy!!
And enjoy the remainder of this Festive Season.

Hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas, surrounded by the love of family and friends.

And wishing you all peace, hope, love and good health for every day of the coming new year.

Gitta's gang appreciates your business and we hope to serve you again in 2014.  Without you the shop would not be here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A wish of Christmas!

Wishing you all the gifts of peace, hope and love for this festive season and for every day of the coming new year.

This year has been especially hard for me, and it is the love of family and friends that gets me through the days.

Have a Merry Christmas and I will post some photos from Gitta's Christmas Open House as well as my annual Christmas gift to all of you before New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Where has the time gone

Much has happened since I returned home from Germany, and as I sit here writing this email I am struggling to remember it all.

Two weeks ago Carolyn MItchell was in the shop teaching her "Allure" workshop.

The ladies had a great time and plans are already underway for next year.  Carolyn is designing something new just for us.  One  idea her and the ladies were contemplating is a frame weight with pockets for all our favourite tools.  Sounds great to me, I may even join that workshop.  See you next year ...
I have also been busy decorating the shop and preparing for our annual Christmas Open House.   As I do every year, I design a free pattern that is then kitted and gifted
to the first 100 stitchers that visit Gitta's that day.  I thought I was well prepared this year by having designed my reindeer already in the spring.   This one, however,  along with two from previous years were then published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine, when they invited me to be one of the featured designers in their first ornament issue.  I was both honoured and excited to be able to partake, but this then meant I needed to design another reindeer for our Christmas Open House.  I believe my mission has been successful.  I'm sure you will love "Reindeer Elegance" as much as I do.

 This year's Christmas Open House is on December 7th,
 ( as every year the Open House is held on the first Saturday of December).  

To collect the Holly Reindeer, you will need to purchase A Needle Pulling Thread magazine, but the  latest, "Reindeer Elegance", will be unveiled at the Open House.  See you in less than 2 weeks.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Returning Home

This past week, I, along with my Dad and sister,  fulfilled one of my Mom's last wishes.  She wanted a portion of her ashes to return to her native Germany, so she could be reunited with her parents.  Her own mother's death devastated her, and today the two are together again.

My Grandparent's family plot is in the "Waldfriedhof" (Forest Cemetery) in our home town of Wuerzburg.   Most of the family was present as we remembered my Mom, and shared in her love of family.

She was always torn between her love for her family back home and her family here in Canada.  She now rests both here and there; she will forever be with all of us, in our hearts for eternity.

While in Wuerzburg, my Dad took my sister & I on an excursion through town.  He showed us where he had his first apartment, where my Mother worked,  and where they first met.  "Tanzcafe Ludwig" is still there, it just moved up to the second floor in the building behind us.  Today it is a trendy nightclub.

It was an absolutely wonderful day.  Although my Mom was not with us, I would like to think that she was.

One spring I want to try to fulfill one more of my Mother's wishes.  In the last years of her illness, she had wanted to make a pilgrimage to Israel and walk along the "Jesus Trail".  She had wanted to do this herself this past spring, but  was already too weak by then. Hopefully next spring we will be able to take the walk in her place.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Glorious Autumn

My days are generally spent in the shop, but the other day I needed to run down the block to our local pharmacy.  The moment I stepped outside I was overwhelmed with the colour along the street.  It seemed that the trees had turned a glorious yellow over night, or that I had been so busy that I didn't even notice.  The fallen leaves on the side walk only added to the picturesque setting I now found myself in.
I was mesmerized, breathing in the freshness in the air: I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll.
Why travel north for autumn's splendor when all you need to do is come to Port Credit.  This weekend is supposed to be beautiful, come take a stroll along the Waterfront trail, enjoy the views of the lake, and the colourful changes of autumn.  Then drop by Gitta's and see all the wonderful designs Jeannette Douglas has designed to celebrate this colourful season.

                                                                            These two  designs with their lovely reds and oranges make great fall projects.  The "Mini Pumpkin Sampler" (on the right), is the workshop we have scheduled for October 26th.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Designer of the Month: Jeannette Douglas

I first met Jeannette at the Creative Sewing & Needlework Festival in Toronto many many many years ago.  She had come to the Festival to show my mom & myself her first sampler, the Northern Shield sampler.  We both fell in love with it and wanted to see more.  The Northern Shield sampler was her first sampler in her Canadian Journey series.  And what a journey it has been;  over the years Jeannette has been designing non-stop.

As our designer of the month, we have a wonderful representation of Jeannette's older and newer designs; samplers, biscornus, needlecases, pincushions, minis, box tops, and quaker motifs.

We have also scheduled a sampler workshop for Saturday, October 26th. 

 Flo Osborne, Jeannette's model stitcher, will be the instructor.  Flo is an accomplished stitcher and teacher, and she is offering a choice of 2 designs, "Mini Pumpkin Stitches" or "The Stitcher's Needlebook" (shown above).  Both have a wonderful selection of sampler stitches, and silk threads.  Flo will also reveal a quick and easy technique for filling a designated shape with compensating stitches.   The Needlebook, published in 2010 as a workshop, will have an accompanying Sampler to be released in 2014.

Drop by the shop or visit Jeannette's designer page on our website to see all of Jeannette's designs.  Jeannette's in stock patterns and accessory packs purchased this month will receive a 10% discount.

See you in the shop.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Swedish Weaving - Guardian Angel

Christine Allan, Gitta's Designer of the Month, has designed a Guardian Angel as her contribution to our Collaboration Sampler.   The colours we chose for her design are Kreinik's #8 braid 5011 for the metallic,  3849 DMC & 3847 DMC.
As Lugana does not have a float like Huck type fabrics have, you will stitch over 2 fabric threads and then under 2 fabric threads. 

The appeal of swedish (or huck) weaving patterns, aside from being a quick stitch, is that you can simply repeat the pattern to any desired length.  Below I stitched Christine's Guardian Angle on Stockholm 11ct fabric, repeating the pattern 3 times.  Being 10" wide, I plan to finish this into a zippered case.

Here is a look at the Collaboration Sampler thus far.  It's not too late to catch up; purchase a pattern from any of the participating designers thus far, and collect all the designs.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Designer of the Month - Christine Allan

Christine Allan of Fun & Fast Swedish Weaving is our Designer of the Month for September.

Swedish Weaving, also known as Huck Embroidery, is a surface embroidery.  Worked on Monks cloth or Huck fabric, the needle never pierces the fabric.  These fabrics have threads known as floats and the needle is only run under these floats.  

This is a fun and quick technique to embellish towels, table runners, table cloths, pillows, hand bags, place mats, curtains, afghans, and so much more.

I was first introduced to this needleart form in Germany during the 2nd grade.  So if an 8 year old can manage, you can as well.  Meeting Christine and purchasing some of her designs at the NeedleWorkers MarketPlace had re-introduced me to Swedish Weaving, and that year as some of you may recall I completed 4 table runners in a matter of days.  You can see and read about these in my December 21st, 2010 post.
Christine's passion has always revolved around textiles, and these have grown to include designing Swedish weaving patterns.   Christine self publishes her designs and is also a regular contributor to A Needle Pulling Thread magazine.  The next issue of a ANPT magazine will feature several of her new ornament designs.  

Christine's contribution to the Designer of the Month Collaboration sampler is an Angel.

Here Christine has repeated this design 5 times  and inserted it into a card.  For the ornament she has repeated it 3 times.   You can do so much more with a quick and simple design.

For those unable to drop by the shop please visit www.gittas.com

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Toronto Sampler

While having breakfast this morning I was flipping through some of my regular tv channels, and one thing caught my eye on "Property Virgins".  I love home renovation shows, but I only watch this program when nothing better is on, and such was the case this morning.

On "Property Virgins" a couple, ready to purchase their first home, is shown 3 houses/condos.  From these they are then assisted in the purchase of their preferred property.  In this morning's episode, as the couple was viewing the 3rd house I spied a bell pull hanging on the entrance wall.  It was Jeannette Douglas' Toronto Sampler.  How awesome is that?

What made it even more thrilling for me is that chances are pretty good that the sampler may have been purchased at Gitta's.  The stitcher may even have taken the workshop at Gitta's.   We have had Jeannette Douglas teaching twice at the shop, once for the Toronto Sampler and once for the Mississauga Sampler.  She will also be our Designer of the Month this October.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Designer of the Month - Maria Gollek

This month's designer is Maria Gollek of Marnic Designs.  Maria's first original designs were her Mother & Child series, designing mothers with their children from many countries. Each pair reflects images that identify their heritage, my favourite being her Inuit Mother & Child.

Many of the models Maria has brought to Gitta's to be displayed for August are from her Welcome Series, the newest in this collection being her Loon Welcome.  With so many to choose from you can hang a "stitched welcome" for every holiday, season, and occasion.

Whether dropping by the shop or purchasing one of Maria's designs through Gitta's website don't forget to ask for Maria's free design for the Designer Collaboration Sampler.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'll miss you mom

This past June, my mom lost her battle with cancer.

I feel lost without her, and found going back to the shop extremely difficult.  As long as I can remember, my mom & I have shared a love of stitching, and Gitta's was our shared expression of this love.
She was my best friend and there will never be a day that she won't be on my mind.
I have many wonderful memories that I hold dear to my heart, and this one is one of my favourite photos of the 2 of us.  It was taken in 1978 during a family outing on the 30,000 Island boat tour in Parry Sound, Ontario.

I love you mom, and miss you every day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Designer of the Month - Jo Gatenby

This month, our Designer of the Month is Jo Gatenby of X's & Oh's.  Jo has a broad range of talents, she designs and charts her own original cross stitch and hardanger patterns, she turns other artists' artwork into cross stitch designs, she teaches, and publishes other cross stitch designers.

Jo arrived in the shop this past Friday.  She brought one of her newest designs, Banbury Cross by artist Frances Tyrrell, with her.  She had only just picked it up from her framer that afternoon.  It is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING !!!

On Saturday, Jo was in the shop all day.  We had many regulars and a few new stitchers in the shop to meet and chat with her.   Her table toppers were a definite hit, I love the one with the Bunnies in the Pumpkin field.  I think the bunnies would also look great on a banding, which can then be attached to a towel or wrapped around a basket.

That evening we went out for a "home cooked" meal at my kids' favourite family style restaurant.  It was a great way to end a wonderful day.

This was the only day that Jo was able to be in the shop during her Designer Month, but no worries.  Her models will be on display all month, and I will be teaching a beginner hardanger workshop, "Basic Hardanger", on June 22nd using one of her designs.

 And let's not forget her FREE contribution to our Designer of the Month Sampler.   We stitched her Hummingbird into the top left corner square of the sampler, and it looks great.  Drop by and collect each designer's FREE pattern every month.  Unable to drop into the shop, no problem!!  For all web/phone orders of one of the designer's patterns, we will include these patterns.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A stitching and working weekend

The summer officially began for me this past weekend.  Not only was the weather fabulous, it was also our first weekend back up at my parents' cottage.  Although there is always work involved in  re-opening the cottage for the summer, I did find time to relax by the lake and stitch.

 And one of us was even gutsy enough to brave the still FREEZING lake (only 5 weeks ago it was still frozen in spots)

It was a very successful weekend.  My parents were pleased with all the work we accomplished and I completed the next designer square on the Designer of the Month Collaboration Sampler.  It's adorable, but I'll make you wait until next month to see it.

I also started a new needlepoint project.
I always have at least one needlepoint project on the go.   These are great for stitching in the car, because the canvas is a 10 or 11 count (easy on the eyes on bumpy roads), and the wool is a single ply.  I generally choose a painted canvas, but I was so taken with this pattern by Iryna Varabei, our "Designer of the Month"  for this month, I couldn't wait to get started.

Iryna has also stitched hers in the continental stitch (pattern available in the Spring 2012 ANPT magazine), but with DMC floss on a 24 count canvas. She then finished hers into a small rug, great for a doll house or mouse pad.  Obviously just by the difference in the canvas count, mine will be larger and I will finish mine into a needlepoint pillow.  While converting the cotton into wool, I also changed two of the colours: I changed her corals into golds.  Once finished this will look great in my family room, and with all the driving we will be doing this summer it shouldn't take too long.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mohter's Day

A little gift to all the mothers.

A stitching friend had found a rather interesting red napkin with a rose pattern on it printed in white x's.  With my interest in monochromatic design she naturally thought of me.  Although the napkain was square the pattern was not; so I tweaked it a little  to square it off. 
I think this pattern would look awesome in a variegated red silk thread.  
One that comes to mind is SNC 074 "In the Burgundy" by The Thread Gatherer.
Stitched in the continental stitch on Gitta's 40ct silk gauze
 it would even fit into a 1.5" pendant.

Enjoy your day!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Stitch Night with Iryna Varabei

Iryna joined us Wednesday night for Stitch Night.  She introduced us to a stitching technique, Nizanka, from her home country of Belarus.  We followed a bookmark pattern she designed and one of us even managed to complete it.  I really enjoy such work, as it is a quick way to dress up almost anything.
                                                                             To finish the bookmark, all that remains is a 3 sided hem stitch and then to trim the fabric and fringe the ends.

If anyone was unable to drop by for Stitch Night, but would still like to see Iryna  and her unique designs, she will be in the shop this Saturday (May 11) for the afternoon.  She will also teach another Nizanka pattern on Saturday May 25th.  Click here for more information regarding the workshop.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Designer of the Month - Iryna Varabei

This month's designer is Iryna Varabei.  Born in Belarus Iryna immigrated to Canada in 1999 and is now sharing her very distinct design style with Canadian stitchers.     Her designs are reflective of her Belarusan traditions with ornamental motifs and Belarusan images.  She transforms traditional patterns into modern designs enriched with a diversity of stitching techniques such as cross stitch, canvas work, Open work, Needlepoint, Nizanka (a Belarusan Wicker Stitch), and String art.
She has had many of her designs published in A Needlepulling Thread Magazine, and also self publishes under "Spirit of Belarus".


For  stitch night on Wednesday May the 8th, Iryna will introduce us to one of her Belarusan techniques, Nizanka.  It is a reversible stitch; a great ornamental stitch for table runners, table cloths, pillows, sheers, and much more.  During stitch night we will make a Nizanka bookmark, shown on the left.  The kit charge for this bookmark, including 18ct linen, wool, and instructions is $15.00.  Please RSVP if you are planning on partaking.

Iryna will also be in the shop on May 11th, for a "Meet the Designer" day, and she will also hold a more formal Workshop on May 25th.   Shown on the right is Iryna's contribution to our Designer Collaboration Sampler now available in the shop.  In her Nizanka style, this motif is called  "Berahinia", the Guardian Lady.  Along with the runic symbols, on either side of her, she provides protection and well-being for you, your home, and your soul.
Here is a sneak peak at the sampler as it is progressing.  Carolyn Mitchell's is in the top middle, Brenda Franklin's is the beaded rose bud on the left (we still have bead kits available for $3.95), Iryna Varabei's "Berahinia" is the top right, and the bottom right is Maria Golleck, of Marnic Designs.  Maria will be our "Designer of the Month" for July.  

So, drop by the shop, see Iryna's designs up close 
and try your hand at a new technique.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Designer of the Month Collaboration Sampler

Here is the Designer Collaboration Sampler with the first 3 FREE Designer patterns.  Carolyn Mitchell's is in the top centre square, Brenda Franklin's, our current Designer of the Month, is the beaded Rosebud in the left column, and Iryna Varabei, next Month's Designer is in the right column.

Not knowing how the designs will look, we are just scattering them around the sampler.  Feel free to position them where ever you wish, and create your own unique sampler.

Brenda will be in the shop for her final "Meet the Designer" day, on Saturday April 27th.  So, if you have not been able to drop by the shop, this will be your last opportunity to chat with Brenda, watch or partake in some of her Demos, and see her models on display.  There are also a few remaining bead packs still available for purchase at $3.95 for her Rosebud design.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Stitch Night with Brenda Franklin

This past Wednesday for stitch night Brenda Franklin was at the shop teaching all of us (me included) her "Altered Chain".  I had been wanting to do this since I first saw it in her suite (booth) at the NeedleWorkers MarketPlace 2 years ago.

I didn't get too far with mine, mainly because I changed my bead colour half way through the lesson.  But I am so pleased with my second choice.

Care had to be taken when starting, as the chain might twist, but once you get going it was easy.
Brenda then also showed us how to end the chain by attaching the finding with a figure 8 finishing technique, and how to add extra beading thread in case you run out.

By having attached the beads to a simple aluminum chain, the chain becomes strong enough to use as a purse handle and eyeglass chain.  I personally wanted to learn this technique so I could make a low cost, but gorgeous nametag lanyard.  I once ruined a top by pinning my nametag to it;  the pin had left a hole that didn't close up once the pin was removed.

Another big hit was Brenda's beaded rose bud pattern,  her  contribution to the Designer Collaboration Sampler.  Brenda has used delica beads, although she has also listed their matching DMC thread colours.  She has made several kits, so there is no need to buy full bead vials.  The pattern is free, but the bead kit is $3.95.  The bead kit also includes beading thread and a quick instruction.

Brenda will be in the shop again on April 20th for her workshop "Demented Cross Stitch", during which she will show you how much fun you can have by breaking all the rules.  Her design for the workshop is adorable, and she plans to break 10 rules.  Personally I can only think of 2 cross stitch rules, so if nothing else the workshop will be quite educating.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Designer of the Month - Brenda Franklin

For the Month of April, Brenda Franklin is our " Designer of the Month".  Brenda designs for cross stitch, needlepoint, and petit point.  She custom designs pet photos and has a large selection of many different breeds in varying design sizes.  

Brenda also has a variety of other designs, and her Sea Turtle is my favourite.
So drop by to see her stitched models and meet Brenda.
Brenda will be in the shop most Saturdays.  She will hold a variety of demos, revealing her many talents. 

For more information when Brenda will be in the shop visit our Events and Workshop pages.