Ann Sandles 1846 Update...

After another week of stitching here is an update of the Ann Sandles sampler, photo courtesy of model stitcher Suzanne. Suzanne lives in Ohio and myself in Iowa, so it is with digital photos and email that I watch the progression of the Ann Sandles sampler being reproduced...isn't technology fabulous? As you can see, Suzanne has now made her way to the larger-then-life border. Young Ann didn't mess around with small dainty borders, she loved them big! Everything in this sampler is big, relatively speaking, to the size of the overall sampler. Not much spacing between motifs on this piece. For some reason I don't picture Ann as a dainty 13 year old...

The larger then normal border was another feature of this antique sampler that grabbed and wowed me...I liked it's uniqueness. There are some leaf placement errors made by young Anne (age 13), throughout the border. In keeping true to the original sampler, the pattern will be charted with these errors as well.

The windows are waiting for their cute little white panes and there is outline stitching in red around the blue letters that will be stitched yet, before the piece is done. This outline stitching in the red really makes the letters pop.

Wait until you see the top portion of this sampler...this is where you'll find Adam & Eve, some birds, apple trees, frolicking puppies and other star-shaped motifs...and of course, a serpant hiding within the apple tree.

This is the final sneak peek, the next showing will be of the finished piece...stay tuned!

With thy Needle & Thread,



Oh dear...

no, oh bunny!

I'm hoping that isn't the Easter bunny in the Eagles Nest...take a look!

Me thinks I see a bunny wabbit in it's nest.... (Look up towards the top of the nest...is that a cotton tail?) Click here to see!
Do you suppose they know their due date is just a couple of days away? Perhaps the reason for the bunny....
Sorry, gotta run...lots & lots to do today,



Baby's Real Soon!

Our pair of Iowa eagle's, featured on the web cam for the Raptor Resource Project, egg hatching due date is expected at some point between Wednesday and Friday of this week. If interested tune in here. It is also there where you may make a donation towards this project. We are seeing the eagle make a come-back here in Iowa, after spending many years on the endangered list. The eagles were featured in today's Des Moines Register. Photos are courtesy of the Des Moines Register. The article states the camera has almost four million page visits a day from over 130 countries the past month. The article also states the web cam will be turned off in July, about the time the fledgings leave the nest.The job of a Raptor Resource Project volunteer often requires them to scale great heights to reach the eagles nests. Here, a volunteer rests in the nest...gives you some idea how big that nest really is!

Also...take note of how each eagle prefers the eggs in their nest. One observer noted that the male prefers the eggs to be in a row and the female prefers them in a triangle (I may have that turned around). This rolling of the eggs keeps the embryo from sticking to the shell.

Let's hope for warmer weather this week for these little ones as they make their way into the world. Friday we awoke to a slushy/snowy mix here in NW Iowa. These conditions made for tricky travel on Friday. Road conditions were blamed for an accident that claimed the life of a local woman, a mother of 6 young children. One can only imagine, such a tragedy for this young family...our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Have a good week everyone,



NEW cross stitch club!

"Birds of a Feather" Mystery Sampler Club

is coming to your local needlework shops

this summer!

Here is how it works...

The Birds of a Feather sampler is a 21st century sampler, with a 19th century flair, designed by Brenda Gervais/With thy Needle & Thread. The stitch count of the finished piece is 173 wide X 190.

Finished sampler size:

15/30 count - 11 1/2" wide X 12 5/8" high

18/35 count - 9 1/2" wide X 10 1/2" high

20/40 count - 8 5/8" x 9 1/2" high

This information and the little blurry photo snippet above is it, that's all we're revealing...the rest is a mystery! The sampler pattern will be revealed in 3 parts to the club member over the months of May, June & July. The 1st pattern supplied to the member will detail the border, the 2nd and 3rd patterns will consist of the alphabet and the "fun" main focal motif of the sampler. Each month more of the sampler pattern will be revealed to it's members...can you feel the anticipation already?? It should be a fun summer club, many shops are hosting stitch-ins, stitching camps & events to coincide with the Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler Club...join the fun! Visit your local needlework shop for more information on joining the club. For shop owners interested in being a part of this stitching event, contact Norden Crafts at (800) 323-1252 - mail@nordencrafts.com (contact info for shop owners only please, thank you)

With thy Needle & Thread, Brenda


My two Anns...

Here's a little sneaky peeky of the work in progress on the Ann Sandles 1846 sampler, that is currently being reproduced. This piece is now in the hands of my model stitcher, Suzanne. She is making good progress and she fills me in (so to speak) each week with photo updates. I really appreciate these little photo updates...helps calm the nerves a tad as there is lots of time, energy and money invested into a piece...floss colors (the hand-dyed flosses can be sneaky tricky), contrast, etc is critical. I love the colors in this piece and think you will too... lots of warm-tone reds, greens & browns...yummy! Adam and Eve are the focal motifs on this piece. The motifs of this piece are larger then typical...this is what drew me to this sampler. Young Ann didn't leave any linen left un-stitched on her sampler...
Then there is the 2nd Ann...Did you know I collect samplers stitched by Ann's? No not really, you would think though!!! It seems appropriate, with Ann being my middle name...

The Ann Dickinson 1819 that I've been stitching for sometime now....or should I say, a lack of stitching??!! I started her around the holidays. This poor "Ann piece" has been set aside for the moment as I've had other irons in the fire - aka "Mystery Sampler Club". I hope to get back to this sampler in a couple of weeks with an anticipated release date of this pattern pushed back to late summer.

I'm sure Suzanne will beat me done on the other Ann, anticipated release date for the Ann Sandles 1846 sampler is May/June, I'm thinking...

With thy Needle & Thread,



Stitching Suspense...

A "Mystery Sampler Club"
presented by
With thy Needle & Thread,
distributed by Norden Crafts.
A new stitching club like no other!

Coming to your local needlework shop this spring! Keep your eyes and ears open for further details...

A summer of pure stitching suspense awaits it's members.

Until later,



There once was a little coat.
A little green and yellow plaid linen coat.
A coat hand-sewn by my mother.
Not for Miss Teddy,
but rather for me.
I was in kindergarten.
It was Easter.
It was my favorite Easter coat.
I loved the "bally" buttons!
I'm sure there must have been a matching dress...
Many years later,
this little linen coat of mine
is still
my favorite
Easter coat
Miss Teddy's too!
A coat that's a wee tad too big for Miss Teddy,
I keep telling her
she'll grow into
it someday...

Happy Spring,


New Cross Stitch Pattern...
Bunny & Co, in cross stitch, is here and ready to ship!

A couple of posts ago I was contemplating the finish of this piece. Per one of my blogger friends suggestions, I went with purple frills around this pillow. She said, purple reminds her of Easter...Purple IS the color of Easter and I just so happened to have a bouquet of fresh purple tulips for the photo shoot....P.E.R.F.E.C.T!!

If purple isn't your color, there are other color options for the seam tape ribbon finish on this design. Other colors that beautifully match the floss colors in this piece are - Moss, Posie, or Grecian Pink. The Grecian Pink is an exact match to the Baby's Breath linen by Weeks that this piece is worked upon...I think the Grecian Pink would give the pillow an elegant finish, as well.

Bunny & C0. is worked on 30 count linen (Baby's Breath by Weeks Dye Works) over 2 threads using Weeks flosses throughout. When the pillow is completed, sewn & stuffed it measures 8" x 12"...a perfect sized accent pillow. I have a vintage teddy bear that is sitting in a child's chair that is currently holding my pillow...so sweet!

* * * * * * * *

New market release patterns from other designers are still arriving weekly. New patterns from Stacy Nash, Karen Cluba and Primitive Traditions arriving this week.

* * * * * * * * *

Also new, are 6 new shades of the vintage seam tape ribbon. This is the ribbon that we use to add the frills to the edges of our cross stitch designs...it is beautiful! And YES, we do give the detailed instructions, in the cross stitch pattern, for adding the seam tape ribbon frill to the piece.

The six new colors are very reminiscent of faded colors of floss that you find in antique samplers.
New color arrivals are:
Dusty Olive
Iced Lime
Leather Tan
Log Brown
Metal Green
Sea Moss
To view all 56 colors of this seam tape ribbon click here.

It's going to be a beautiful day here, I'm off to open some windows and backdoor so the kitty can enjoy this beautiful morning and then mix up a batch of blueberry muffins for breakfast nibbling...
Have a good weekend everyone,


Put on Your Birthday Hat!!

Here is a picture of our boy.
A picture of him at one of his finer moments...

Today he is our birthday boy.

He is 28 years old.

Can that be?

He is on his way to the sunny beaches of Mexico for vacation.

I'm finding myself worrying about him loosing his passport while there. He's been known to lose an item or two... so, I'm just sayin'...


I've also been finding myself wondering if he still will immediately check out all the little goodies (amenities) in the bathroom, at the hotel, upon arriving. This was standard procedure for this boy of ours each summer vacation. I have pictures as evidence...

The shower hat seemed to be his favorite...

Don't ask me why?

I'm thinking he probably doesn't do this silliness anymore...

yes, he has probably outgrown this.

I probably don't need to worry about this anymore, right?

Soooooo Matthew, put on your birthday hat...

(even if it's a shower hat)

and know we are thinking of you today.


We Love You,

Mom & Dad


My yesterday...

I have little daily rituals, routines or what ever one wants to call them. One being, I stop at a local gas station across the street from Country Stitches, and pick up a cup of coffee to sip as I'm invoicing orders each morning. Yep, gas station coffee... no Starbucks in my town!
Yesterday, as I thumbing through change in the bottom of my purse to locate 85 cents, the store clerk say $1.06...my response, "oh that's just coffee"...thinking, she's thinking, I have cappuccino...she says our coffee prices went up. Wowser... I thought, and now I'm scrounging for a green back and change!
So....the price of oil keeps going up, but is there some news about coffee beans that I'm missing out on?

So... I pay the buck six and am on my merry way to work...thinking the whole time, jeeper socks, that's over a 20% price increase!! The coffee is good... don't get me wrong and I enjoyed every drop of it!

Then my day gets better, worse, however you want to look at it... I received word from our Valdani distributor that floss prices are going up 40 cents per ball April 2nd. Okay... now I'm wired with caffeine from my expensive cup of coffee, and stressing over another major price increase. Two in one day is almost more then I could handle... When this happens, all kit pricing in our printed patterns is wrong and needs to be re figured and pattern editing needs to happen, all prices on our website are no longer correct and need to be changed (that is, if we follow suit and increase pricing)...this in itself is a major major undertaking. With that being said, it might just be easier to take the loss...

Wishing for a better "news type of day" today & I will remember a line my big sister sent me that goes like this...

"Worry is a waste of the imagination"

And really... in the whole scheme of things, with all the trajedy and loss in Japan, it is all trivial and shame on me for stressing over something such as small as this...there are much bigger problems in this world!

Happy Saint Patty's Day,



Did any of you see the eagle bring up a furry creature for the other to eat last evening...it was somewhat out of the viewing but you could see the fur a flying...This morning the male arrived with a large stick in his mouth to add to the nest...housekeeping. Also, a couple evenings ago I spotted a coyote run across the screen near dusk time. A few minutes later you could hear the coyotes howling...neat sights and sounds of nature. For those of you who missed the link, here it is:



Decisions, decisions...

Look what arrived in the mail today from my model stitcher, April!!! Doesn't she do a lovely job of stitching...the backside of the piece looks as wonderful as the front! THANK YOU APRIL!

Now it's my turn to put the finishing touches onto the Bunny & Co. piece. I'm thinking seam tape frill perhaps...maybe finished into an accent pillow as it is large enough for this...

Hmmm....shall the frill be contrasting green or rose, or a matching pink vintage seam tape...or should I go out on a limb with purple??

Suggestions are welcome!!

Release date of cross stitch chart, BUNNY & CO. is March 21st.

With thy Needle & Thread,


Our country's bird...you must see this!

Since I've kind of been stuck on bird topics the past few posts, I thought I'd share with you all an amazing web-cam of a pair of nesting eagles here in Iowa. These eagles have been followed since 2002 and until only recently the taping of these magnificent birds has now been made public via the Internet for all of us to view. The exact location of this pair is not given, to protect their safety.

There are three eggs in the nest. The eggs were laid in late February with babies due in early April. Watch as the eagle carefully turns the eggs and then adjusts and tidies up the nest. I'm noticing steam from the breath of momma eagle this morning...It must be a big task keeping those eggs warm this time of year, when it still gets below freezing here at night.

Here is the link, enjoy!
Remember this is a 24-7 web cam in the Central Time zone in the USA. If it is night time here, the viewing will be darker and you may even catch the momma sleeping. This is an audio as well as video web-cam....so turn up your speakers to hear the eagles occasional shrill as she communicates with the Mr....I think she is really telling him to get home with dinner!! You'll also hear sparrows tweeting, blue jays squawking and cardinals singing their courting songs in the background...it's like listening to one of those natures Cd's to bring upon relaxation!
Enjoy this "bird's eye view" of this amazing pair of eagles on their journey from egg laying, to eggs hatched, to caring and providing for hungry little bird mouths, to fledglings leaving the nest....these are amazing birds! The males wing span measures 90"...they are much larger then what the bird appears in the viewing. This particular nest is 80 feet from the ground, is 5' x 6' in size and weighs 1.5 tons....wow!
Be for warned though...you are going to see a fish, a bunny or squirrel or two that have succumbed to the powerful claws of this mighty bird before the fledglings leave the nest. This is what they depend on for food.
Have a good day,


The whole bird/wind turbine issue...

I can't help but ask myself, "How often do I see a bird run into a tree, a house or a tall building?" Not too often. They do a pretty darn good job about maneuvering around obstacles when they fly....

How often to a see a neighborhood cat kill a bird? All too often.

This is always a topic of discussion to those that oppose wind energy....bird's flying into them.

In regards to the bird-mortality argument: The vast majority of research shows that wind turbines kill relatively few birds, at least compared with other man-made structures. The statistics are shocking, if you consider just how many people are crying out against wind power for the birds' sake:

Man-made structure/technology
Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)

Feral and domestic cats
Hundreds of millions [source: AWEA]

Power lines
130 million -- 174 million [source: AWEA]

Windows (residential and commercial)
100 million -- 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]

70 million [source: AWEA]

60 million -- 80 million [source: AWEA]

Lighted communication towers
40 million -- 50 million [source: AWEA]

Wind turbines
10,000 -- 40,000 [source: ABC]

Interesting facts...
Now, don't get me wrong. Bird's are important to me, I am an avid bird-watcher and you don't want to know what I spend a month on bird seed...
Birds are important to our eco-system, but wind energy is too!
Have a good week,


Feeling good about where I live...

When many of you think of Iowa you probably think of farming, large fields of corn and beans, and pigs roaming around. You are right, except our pigs for the most part do not roam around freely. LOL!!
Did you know there is a new form of farming going on in Iowa? It is wind farming. Our state sits along a ridge called, the Buffalo Ridge. This ridge runs through Iowa and Minnesota. Areas along this ridge experience more wind then other areas. Yes, it is windy here...most days! Our farmers are now contracting small plots of their land to wind turbine companies and wind turbines are being built. Our windy weather turnes these huge turbine blades, which in turn create energy, the energy is captured and then turned into energy. The farmer still plants fields of corn and beans around the windmills. Iowa is a front runner in wind energy.
From the below photo it is hard to imagine how big these windmills really are. When a wind farm is going up, the roadways will be filled with semi's bring parts to the construction sight. One blade extends the length of a normal semi-trailer, yes one blade at a time is moved into the sights.

I've spent most of my weekend, as probably many of you have, glued to CNN & FOX watching the catastrophic happenings in Japan, with cross stitch in my lap. It is incomprehensible for those of us who sit and watch this, in the comforts of our homes, enjoying all things we take for granted. Life, safety, electricity, clean running water, phone service, ample supply of food and the list goes on. Our hearts go out to the Japanese people and their country.

I've learned a thing or two over the past two days about nuclear energy. I will be the first to admit that physics and chemistry were never my strong suits in school. I really didn't even know what nuclear energy was, or was made from, yes call me stupid!! I even now know that a melt-down is something much bigger and much more serious then a little one throwing a fit. This disaster has piqued my interest in nuclear energy, even doing Google searches on the very topic. We have over 100 nuclear power plants in this country in 31 states. I learned we have one in my state...I didn't know this, call me stupid again!! The readings I found also says there is a big push for more plants to be built in the states, enabling us to be less dependant on foreign oil. My concern is, is it safe? Did we learn enough from Three Mile Island event??

As I sit afar and watch this, a little part of me is scared of the global affect something such as this could have. A total nuclear melt-down sounds scary to me. The fall out can be moved by weather with mention of it possibly reaching the California coast...this IS scary!

I'm liking the sights & sounds of whirring windmills that dot our local countryside more & more. There is comfort in knowing that they pose no risk of causing a catastrophic event.
Most important, they are clean, safe, renewable, and wind is free!

Have a good week,



Look who's here!

We enjoyed our warmest day, so far, yesterday...60 plus degrees! LOOK, robins are everywhere! Auwww...my favorite moment of each spring...spotting the first robin! This flock had one thing on their mind...EAT! So fun watching them tilt their little head sideways as they listen for a critter in which to lunch upon...Although, I can't imagine there are too many critters out yet...it is probably slim pickin's...
With the warm weather our lake begins to open up...

attracting all sorts of water fowl. A sign that spring is drawing near.

It also brings out some ice-fishers...
Sorry about the bad picture (click on photo to enlarge...it does help), but I was a few hundred yards away and this is the best my 270 mm zoom could do. Darnit...really could use one of those $2000.00 zooms for moments such as these. Do you see those four dark blobs with white spots?? These are bald eagles out for a Saturday of ice fishing. I'm hoping for a closer picture of these guys before the ice totally goes out.

Looks like it is snowing, doesn't it? These are snow geese. They too come pay us a visit on our lake each spring as they make their way towards their breeding grounds, the Artic Tundra. These guys are quite noisy, making all sorts of honking sounds. You will notice black ones and white ones. Until recently, the Blue Geese, as the dark birds were called, were considered a different species. They are now recognized as a "morphed" (dark form) of the white Snow Goose. Our lake has three small islands on it. The areas around these little islands is where the water opens up first. In the above photo you can see the island with trees in the background, ice covered lake in the foreground and the dark area is open water. This, the open water, is what these large flocks of water fowl have come for. They are always welcome guests. The pelicans will soon follow...

It can only mean one thing...

Hoping wherever you are, you are enjoying a warm & sunny Saturday!
Have a good weekend,


Valdani floss update...

I just received word that some flosses that have been sold out of at Valdani/Canada since December are now back in stock....we are doing the happy dance, it's been a l-o-n-g wait. Yes, 8122 is finally going to be back in stock!

For those of you who have some of these flosses on back order, we will get them out to you just as quickly as our order arrives. We are expecting our shipment on Friday or Monday. There always seems to be some bad news with the good...Valdani/Canada is still sold out of colors O510, O505 & JP12... No word yet as to when they will be back in stock.

For those who use and love this hand dyed 3 strand floss by Valdani, you may not know that this floss is made in Romania. It is then air lifted to it's headquarters in Canada and eventually finds it's way to our distributor after getting through customs, and then onto us! The whole process just takes time...


Bunny & Co...

My model stitcher, April shared a little peak of what she's been working on, so I thought I'd share it with y'all...
Bunny & Co. in cross stitch, coming soon!!

With thy Needle & Thread,


So Pretty ~ So Delicate...

The color will fade,
the flower wither,
but a virtuous mind will bloom forever...
(verse from an 1816 sampler)

Don't throw away those spent daffodils...lie them on a fancy old plate to dry & enjoy their everlasting beauty!
Think Spring,

It's that time of year...

when one doesn't need to tune into the weather on the TV, radio or weather.com for the local weather...

we just know we are in for snow. It is high school state basketball tournament week here in Iowa and that means snow, guaranteed. While the positive minded folk tends to think...it won't last long. I don't tend to belong with these folk...I am ready for warm, wet & muddy spring-time weather. Then there is the old wives-tale that it snows 6 times on a robin's back...haven't even seen the first robin yet here in NW Iowa...robin's please hurry!



Bunny Tails is Here!!

A woolly appliqued Peter Rabbit with vintage sheet music and cross stitched accents...


a sweet little Spring-time Peep perched upon a pin keep of cheery daffodils, bunny & rippled vintage seam tape trim...


a prim & proper bunny, made from wool, resting in a bed of blue bells... (i said resting, she has NO intentions of a blue bell breakfast)


"Bunny Tails"

Introducing you to a NEW Spring-time-fresh pattern filled with quick & easy to stitch projects. Each project can easily be completed in a day!!

"Bunny Tails" pattern is now available for purchase here.


be sure to check out other NEW patterns from some of our favorite designers...

look for these patterns under the NEW ITEMS category & also check out the PATTERNS BY OTHERS category when visiting us online at www.countrystitchesonline.com


Do you want to hear a little bunny secret?

The kitty of our house has been naughty again...

Guess where our human Mom found me this morning? In the fireplace, lying in ashes. Thank heavens I landed bunny ears up! This means that that "puddy-tat" of ours was tip toeing up on the mantel and thought I was going to be his kitty toy for the night. Thank goodness the fireplace screen kept me safe and out of harms way from those big white paws of his. There for a while I thought I was having a bunny night mare! I heard our human mom tell him this morning, as she was dusting soot from my bottom, that he's very lucky that I've already had my picture taken for some pattern cover that I'm going to be featured on...

Whew, I'd say that that kitty of ours is one lucky kitty...hmmm, what say you?? No kitty treats today!




Saddened by the news...

of the passing of Lisa Roswell of The Primitive Needle pattern designs.

Lisa was on her way to work when her car was swept away in flood waters, due to the raging floods/storms that crossed the mid west section of the country, earlier this week. Her body was found this morning.
While many of us never had the opportunity to personally meet Lisa, we knew her through her work. I loved everything she did, no one did Halloween better then Lisa.! Lisa's sudden passing is a major loss to the needlework industry, we will all miss her dearly. We can find comfort in knowing that the memory of Lisa will live on through her work that hang upon the walls of our homes.

Please keep Lisa and her family in your prayers.

With a heavy heart,