Willing Hands Needlework Design

"She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands"
Proverbs 31:13

Welcome to my blog! I created this blog to keep you updated on my teaching schedule, designs, new designs, kit availability,
works in progress and other stitching related activities. From time to time I'll also be adding extra info about goings-on in my life.

To see my current teaching schedule, teaching pieces and retired designs, click on "older posts" at the bottom of each page.

Thank you for visiting!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Big Changes on the Way

First of all, heartfelt thanks to all of you who offered your condolences in the post below.  Some mornings I still find myself looking out the window to see where the horses are, but for the most part my period of grieving is winding down and I’m remembering the good times.

Now for the main news...

After losing the horses my husband and I decided to sell our farm and move south.  We are both a bit too old to start over with new horses and my husband was getting tired of maintaining all of the property.  Without the horses, there wasn’t much point in staying on the farm, so we spent the summer renovating the house and put the farm on the market in September.  No nibbles yet but we are hoping that will change soon.

We decided on the Charleston, SC area because my best friend, my sister, now lives there and we have other very close friends in the area.  Plus it puts us half the distance from my husband’s family in Florida than we are here in Virginia.  And for my husband the best part is knowing that he will probably never have to shovel snow again!

We have been to Charleston a few times to look at homes and have found several that we love.  There is also a massive amount of new home construction there, so much to choose from.  We just need to sell our farm first.  Once we move I will still be designing and teaching, just from a different home base...for a while...

The other big change coming is that I have set a date to retire.  I just enrolled in Medicare and will turn 65 shortly so it seems like a good idea.  As much as I love designing, teaching, meeting all of you and traveling, I would also love time to stitch on all of those kits and charts which are sitting in my stash.  I’d like to get back into gardening and cooking, both of which I enjoy but have neglected these last 15 years.  And then there is the potential for grandchildren to spoil sometime in the future.

I have set the date for New Year’s Eve 2020, so I will continue on for 3 more years.  At this point I am completely booked for 2018 and am booking classes for 2019.  So, if you have any desire for taking one of my classes, time is limited!

Thank you all for your support, enthusiasm and friendship all these years and as I wind down my career!  More to come as things progress....

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Sad Day at Willing Hands

Those of you who have taken my classes over the years, have been my friends and have followed my career, know that I live on a small farm in Virginia and have been blessed with two wonderful Arabian mares.

Yesterday we had to euthanize both of them. 

   I was one of those little girls who got bit by the horse bug at a very early age and never recovered.  I spent my entire childhood and early teens dreaming of having a horse of my own.  Life circumstances interfered and it was not until my family moved to Loudoun County, Virginia 22 years ago that I finally decided to make my life-long dream come true.  My friend Melissa and I spent weeks looking for just the right horse and we found her on a farm in Woodstock, Virginia.  I was leery of the price but Melissa said, "Just write the check.  She's perfect!".  I bought Roszie when I was 47 years old.  We had many years of wonderful trail rides, going at flat-out gallops across the fields of central Virginia.  She was an amazing show horse as well and she earned my daughter numerous ribbons.

Roszie had been retired for several years due to arthritis and other joint issues.  She would have been 29 years old on June 30.

When we first bought our farm we boarded two other horses for a friend.  One was a black Quarter Horse named Raven, who is portrayed on my Toy Chest Etui along with Roszie.  The other was a bay Arabian mare named Mystic.  Their owner decided to take Raven off for dressage training but didn't want to keep Mystic, so she stayed with us, became my husband's horse and lived with us for 11 years.

About 6 weeks ago, Mystic came down with Cushings disease, a very common illness in older horses.   It caused her to founder in both front hooves and she became instantly lame.  She also had developed an insulin imbalance and arthritis in her hooves.  Cushings is incurable and she was not responding to medication for both that and the insulin issues.  Her future looked bleak, she would have required daily medication, she would never have been able to graze freely again, she would have been frequently confined to her stall and, of course, she could never be ridden again.  In other words, she would have had no quality of life.

So, we made the terribly sad but completely necessary decision to relieve them of their pain.

They will always hold a huge part of my heart and I will miss them for the rest of my life.  But I will remember all of the joy they brought me and I fully expect to meet up with them at The Rainbow Bridge one day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A new year, a new design

Happy Spring, everyone!

I've spent the winter designing and stitching and the result is a new workshop piece.  This one is a jump out of the box, color-wise, as the linen is a very pale yellow and the color palette is very Spring-like.  I suppose that, back in February, I was looking out at the bleak winter landscape and wishing for warmth and flowers.

The theme this time around is "swans" - swan eggs, baby swans, adolescent swans, full grown swans.    The title of the design is The Swan's Bower and the original inspiration came from a motif on an 1813 English Sampler which is in my collection.  Another inspiration was a motif on a sampler that I saw in a museum in Timaru, New Zealand last year.

The format for this etui comes from an antique needle book that I bought at Beating Around the Bush in Australia last year.  The original is burgundy colored velvet and is rather worn and ugly, but the construction of it fascinated me and I thought that I could take the format and run with it.  The original was commercially made in England in the early 1900's

My version is much larger and has pockets inside, made from the yellow silk Dupioni lining fabric.  There are 3 "smalls" to tuck into the pocket - a scissor holder and fob and a floss holder.  Also included is a swan beeswax thread waxer and a tiny enameled swan charm.  The center of the inside of the book has an attached needle/pin holder which has a thick piece of yellow wool felt inside to hold the needles/pins.

This design will be available as of January 2018 as a two day workshop.  The kit fee will be $180 and will include all of the supplies needed to complete the design - 32 count linen, silk Dupioni lining, interfacings, comic board, skirtex, Gloriana silk floss in 8 colors, DMC pearl cotton, needles, pins, charm, thread waxer, wool felt, full color charts and thorough instructions.

Once again, Happy Spring!