Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis the Season

Christmas is one of the most wonderful and hectic times of the year.  Every year we push ourselves to make Christmas magical for our family and friends.  Loving this time of year, and wanting to make everyones Christmas perfect, I find it hard to say no to any stitcher bringing in their stitched pieces for finishing.  This year I received a record number of pillows, Christmas stockings, ornaments, bell pulls and a box top to finish for Christmas.    One of the bell pulls I finished is the one shown on the left in the photo.  The one on the right is our shop model.   We had stitched our model 1 over 1 on a 28ct linen banding.  We stitched it over one, so all 13 flowers could be included without the bell pull being too long.  If all 13 designs would have been stitched over 2 the bell pull would be over 8 feet long; too long for most homes.                                                                            I was so taken with the bell pull, stitched 2 over 2, that I just had to share it with all of you.  It arrived in the shop just a few days after I had told another stitcher that she didn't have to stitch all of the flowers for her bell pull to look just as beautiful.  These designs are all in Gitta's leaflet G-236, it includes all 13 provincial and territorial flowers.  The leaflet was named Wild Flowers, as many of these flowers are also State flowers.
Tonight I am just 3 stockings away from having everything done;  I have been sewing steady since the Christmas Open House.  With all of these finishing  projects I have had very little time to decorate at home.  But when I came home on Saturday I had a wonderful surprise.  My kids had decorated the kitchen bay window  with my Christmas village, and my husband strung Christmas lights on our apple tree in the backyard. 

 What a wonderfull Christmas gift.  
I love sitting at the table and looking at my lighted village window. 
Isn't Christmas magical.  Wishing you all some magic over the holiday.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Open House

From right to left are Margaret, Gitta, Ietje, Mary, Monika, and myself.
Gitta's annual Christmas Open House is an "all hands on deck" kind of event.  It is the busiest Saturday of the year at the shop, with stitchers both locally and further away dropping in for some Christmas cheer, goodies, and shop specials.  The Open House is our opportunity to say "Thank you" to all our customers.

In preparation for the Open House, the shop is decorated, with a touch of Christmas throughout the store.  In the shop window, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and the Christmas tree is decorated with stitched ornaments of Christmas' past.

The front counter is decorated with ornaments of Christmas present.  Every year there are great ornaments to be found in magazines, the Mill Hill collection, which we stitch them on fabric rather than perforated paper, and there aren't many that we can resist.   We stitch as many as we can, with Mary stitching the most, and I then try to finish them into ornaments in time for the open house.
At the back of the shop was our goody table with lots of munchies.  Back by popular demand from last year's favourites were my dad's hummus, and my sister's guacamole.  There was also a selection of "can't resist" crackers, a spinach dip and Christmas squares and cookies.
To make this year's Christmas even more special I designed my own Christmas ornament.   We then prepared  kits that included the fabric, threads and charm.  The kit, a few other Christmas Freebee charts, and a chocolate completed our Christmas gift to everyone that came to the Open House.   As not everyone was able to drop by for whatever reason, I would still like to make this chart available to all of you.  Click here for a small Christmas gift from one stitcher to another.  Merry Christmas.

At the Open House we also revealed a  Christams themed 15 sided Biscornu.  This biscornu is designed by a local designer, Sam Calderone of Snow Dragon Designs.  She will release it in April 2012, by making it her gift to all those retreaters attending  Gitta's Getaway.

Many more photos were taken to remember the day, and if you would like to view the entire album here is the link to my facebook page.  Enjoy!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preparing for Gitta's Christmas Open House

I spent the weekend finishing Christmas ornaments for our Christmas Open House this coming Saturday, December 3rd.  Every year at the Christmas Open House we take the opportunity to thank you, our customers - without you the shop would not be here. 

As a special thank you this year, I designed a flying reindeer.  Mary was kind enough to stitch it for me as I was busy putting together the thank you packages for the Open House.  Ietje was so taken with the design that she also stitched him in her favourite colour - red.

Every year the shop is decorated for Christmas, goodies are baked, a thank you gift is prepared for our visitors, and shop discounts are marked.  My sister even visited this year for a few days to help deocorate the shop.  She did a fabulous job on the shop window, and she'll be back in time to help for the Open House.  

I would like to invite all of you to join us this Saturday 
December 3rd, to celebrate the Holiday Season 
with shop specials, goodies and lots of Christmas Cheer.

Friday, November 18, 2011


During the NeedleWorkers MarketPlace, this past April,  Carolyn Mitchell and I discussed the possibility of her teaching a workshop at Gitta's.
Carolyn is a canvaswork and hardanger designer.  Her original designs are filled with a creative use of various fibres and layered stitches.  And "Mystique" is no exception.  It is an absolutely stunning design.

 This was a 2 two day workshop held this past weekend in our class room at the shop.
Carolyn teaches at guilds and shops both in Canada and the US, as well as mentoring new designer.
In the photo above she demonstrated the Twisted Bow stitch.
She is a wonderful and well respected designer and instructor.
The ladies had a great time and accomplished a lot in 2 days.  This was the last "live" Mystique workshop for a number of years, as ANG, the American Needlepoint Guild,  has reserved the rights to this design for their Cyber Class line-up. But for now the "Mystique" model and some of Carolyn's designs are on display at Gitta's. So if you are able to visit the shop, drop by and see for yourself. 
 I would like to thank Carolyn for a wonderful weekend - for sharing her knowledge and love of Needlework.

Don't forget that December 3rd is Gitta's Christmas Open House.  
Drop by for some Christmas Cheer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

On All-Hallow's Eve
the dreaded awake
Their solitary purpose
to make your knees quake

Witches soar across starry skies
Where the moon shines with grim intent.
to light the way for the luckless few
who'll see All Hallow's dark portent

Black as the night
with silent feet
This is one Hallow creature
You'll not want to meet

To cross his path on Hallow's Night
Could spell the last you'll ever know
For you'll be caught within the sight
of feline eyes yellow aglow

So if you see a shadowed form 
streak across your wondering path
turn around and retrace your steps
Lest you see All Hallow's Wrath
Author: Sarah Ellison


This black cat pattern I had designed for a Make-it & Take-it class in Lancaster, PA last fall.   I stitched it in the continental stitch with 6 strands of floss on 14 count mono canvas.  I then finished it into a cell phone pouch.  
While the kids are out enjoying their night of Trick or Treating, click here for a little treat for you. 

I headed home early to put some Halloween into my front door.
What an awesome night, filled with screams and treats. Many brave little superheros, dragons and princesses dared pass my skeleton crew to collect their treats. I had a blast from all the screams and shrieks from the kids that came to our door and were startled by my singing & dancing Pirate motion detector, spooky noise making Scream mask, eerie noise making door mat, and spiders. There were also quite a number of little kids that wouldn't approach the door without mummy.  But the promise of a sugary treat always won out over fear. I had a blast.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blast from the past.

This past week I visit my oldest and dearest friend at her new home.  My housewarming gift to her was one she had requested, a biscornu.  Ever since she spied the bowl of biscornu's at Gitta's Getaway this past April, she just had to have one.   Not being a cross stitcher herself, I stitched one for her in her favourite colour - purple.
To my surprise I was not the only one bearing a gift.  While packing for her move she had come across a photo she had taken of me at Gitta's, the original shop.
She had taken this photo in 1995.  What fascinates me with this photo, besides my polka-dotted top, is the size of our fabric corner, just 2 shelving units, and the collection of specialty fibres just to the right of the fabric shelves.  Today our selection of linens, evenweaves, aidas, and canvases have their own "room" (about 1/3 of the shop),  and our selection of specialty fibres has expanded greatly to the entire fibre collections from numerous silk and cotton floss dyers.
The floor space of the old shop was only about 1/4 of what we have today.  In 1995 we would have been in this shop 9 years and already bursting at the seams.  It was the following year that we moved just 10 shops down the road, to our current location.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Out Numbered

Petit Point model
The newest design in our Inuit series is Out Numbered.  Being a petit pointer at heart, we stitched our model in petit point, using the continental (tent) stitch on silk gauze.  While visiting with David's family on the Canada Day long weekend, my mother-in-law had cross stitched these cute little playful Huskies and gave it to her granddaughter for her birthday.  David & I loved it, so once we were home I arranged to have it cross stitched for the shop.  The friend that stitched it, loved the design's title as much as the design.  She wanted me to chart the title "Out Numbered" so she could stitch it as part of the finished piece.  While we were away on holiday in Alaska she finished the stitching and my mother framed it.  They wanted it done as a surprise on our return home.  It looks fantastic, David was pleased with the finished piece, and here it is!
Cross stitched model
As the charted wording is not part of the original chart pack, Click here for this additional chart of  "Out Numbered".  I will also add it to the Gitta's website as a free companion chart to G-139.  Enjoy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering Alaska

Whenever on holiday we always want something to remind us of the great time we had.  Other than a few T-shirts I did not purchase much in Alaska.  At our ports of call there were tons of jewelery stores, many made in China souveniers, and very expensive local artwork.  In Skaguay we visited with the Rushin' Tailor, as she stocks the patterns from our Inuit series.  Although she is primarily a quilt shop, she did have some very nice cross stitch kits.  I only purchased some arctic motifed quilt fabrics, as the cross stitch kits she carried we also carry at Gitta's. Once home I still wanted a stitched piece to remember our holiday.  The chart below I charted this past week from one of the  many photos we took during our 2 weeks in Alaska.
This is a native symbol for the Orca, often seen in native artwork.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Alaskan Holiday

I'm back home already a week and our fabulous Alaskan holiday is now only a memory. .
We boarded the cruise ship in Vancouver on Friday, August 19th and spent 7 days cruising up the Inside passage to Seward, Alaska.  We had 4 ports of call, stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Straights, and Skagway.

The ports had tons of shopping opportunities, but we preferred strolling through the towns and hiking on the trails.

In Ketchikan we strolled along the Creek and viewed the original part of town.  Before heading back to the ship we enjoyed a Lumberjack Show.


 Icy Straight is a small Tlingit community on an island that can only be reached by sea or air.  They operate the longest zip line in North America;  it is 5600 feet long, dropping 1300 feet and reaches a top speed of 60 miles/hour.   How could we resist.

The bus ride up the mountain took 45 minutes, and the ride down took only 90 seconds.  It was foggy that day, so we slipped in and out of the fog to spectacular views.

What an awesome ride !!!!
In Juneau we took a tram up the mountain to hike along the trails.  As well as a gift shop there was a cultural centre with a video and a few local artisans exhibiting some of their works.                         It was a rainy day, but we enjoyed the views and trails.
Skagway was my favourite town, with its  wooden sidewalks and buildings.  After walking through town and visiting with the Rushin' Tailor  David and I hiked for about 2 hours to two lookouts over the town.  The Rushin' Tailor is a quilt shop that sells David's Inuit designs - how cool is that - we just had to say hello.                                                 
On our last full day on the ship we spent the morning by the Hubbard Glacier.  As you can well imagine we took a ton of  photos over the 1 hour approach, and then a ton more over the hour we were there.  We spent the entire time on deck.  Everyone was complaining about the cold;   I was just in awe of its colour and when a fishing boat approached the Glacier, we could appreciation it’s size.
For our final week in Alaska we rented a car and drove from Anchorage up into Denali National Park.  In the morning of each day we joined an organized excursion and then hiked on the many Park trails in the afternoon. 
On the first day we flew in a beaver airplane, seeing Denali from the air, with all it's glory.  The tundra was already changing colour to magnificent reds and golds; even spotting a black bear on the run.  We then landed on one of the larger glaciers and spent some time appreciating the surrounding mountain range and the crisp clean air.

On our second day we ATV'd off road into the Alaskan bush, over a dry glacial creek bed, and stopped at several overlooks providing breathtaking 360°  views .  This was the kid's favourite excursion, splashing through puddles and bouncing along the different trail conditions.

Our final excursion was white water rafting on the glacier-fed Nenana river.  This was my excursion of choice.  While traveling through the canyon we went through several rapids as well as more gently flowing sections.  At the end of the 2 hour run we could even take a dip in the just above freezing river.  We were in dry suites but could still feel the coldness of the water.

Our afternoons were spent either driving or hiking through Denali.  It was along these trails that we managed to see some of the animals in the park. 

A mother moose and her calf.

A busy beaver hauling wood down a 200 foot incline to a lake.  We followed him from the trail to his clearing and then down to his den.  He kept us entertained for over an hour.

On our last day, as we were heading out of the park, there were several cars pulled over along the side of the road - a good indicator that an animal is in sight.  We pulled over and were able to see this black bear.  He was walking along a creek bed and then crossed the road right in front of our car.

We had an absolutely memorable holiday.  If you would like to see more photos of our Alaskan experience click here for photos of the first week on the Cruise Ship.  Click here to see photos from our second week in Denali National Park.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stash Treasures

Not having much time to start something new this summer, I have been searching through my stash.  I noticed something very interesting; I have so many UFO's that only need a few days to a few weeks to complete them.  Why they were thrown into the closet for years, some for 10 or more, I will never know.

The first UFO I had decided to complete was a Rainbow Gallery design, "Hungarian Silk Garden".  I had planned to run this as a beginner canvaswork workshop many years ago;  to share some stitching tips on the specialty stitches and working with the various fibres.  It took me only about 7 hours to finish the final border.  Now all I have left to do is attach the beads.  I promise it won't take years.

The next piece I rescued was Lavender & Lace's "Morning Song".  This pattern was released in 1995 and I know I started it after Christopher, my son was born, so it must have found it's way into my UFO bin about 15 years ago.  It's about time I finish it. 

I am stitching it the continental stitch (petit point) using 3 strands of floss on a 23ct silk gauze.  Petit point is my first love, and this was my third Lavender & Lace pattern in petit point.  I had stitched "Sweet Dreams" after the birth of my daughter, and the "Guardian Angel" (minus the wings) for the birth of my son.

I wanted them both to have a Mother & Baby picture that I stitched for them in celebration of their birth. And this piece was going to be mine.

Over the past two weekends, while at my parent's cottage, I managed to stitch on it a bit every day, and this is how much I've completed.  Except for the backstitching on the faces and hands, the mother, baby and little girl are finished.  I also added about 6 yards of thread to the confetti style background.

Next week David, the kids and myself are heading to Alaska for a family vacation, and this piece will be too intricate for me to take with me.  I'm planning on taking something less complicated with fewer colours, and something not so hard on the eyes such as cross stitch or needlepoint.  I have quite a number of these in my UFO bin (or should I say bins).  So I won't be going without something to stitch, but I'll have to see if I find some time.

If I don't manage to post a blog next week, I will try to post some photos of our trip on my facebook page, Kathrin Ellison.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stitch & Pitch 2011

This past Wednesday I,  along with hundreds of other stitchers and knitters,  attended the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners baseball game at the Toronto Sky Dome (now known as the Rogers Centre).

"Stitch & Pitch" is an annual event for Stitchers and Knitters.  The tickets were only $20 for the 200 level.  We all received a goody bag upon entering, and there were some wonderful prizes as well.

I met up with Darlene, Andy and Eileen before the game to grab a quick bite to eat.  Eileen was camera shy, so she volunteered to take the photo.

We all stitched even though the seating was a little tight, the temperatures were at scorcher levels, and the game was quite exciting, with 5 home runs (one of the balls even ended up in our level just a few seats to the right of us).
 During the bottom of the second inning, the Jays loaded that bases and the mariners headed to the pitcher's mound to decide what to do next.  Needless to say they had 4 runs that inning.  The Blue Jays were on fire that night, winning the game 11 to 6.

"Ace", the Blue Jays mascot also visited us to bring attention to the "Stitch & Pitch" event.  The "Go Jays Go" banner behind him was knitted.  How amazing is that.

We all had a fabulous time.  Can't wait 'til next years!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Write a Review

We are adding a new feature to our website, www.gittas.comto give our stitchers a voice and make the website more informative,      "Write a Review"

Have you ever wanted to post a comment about a pattern you've been working on?  Good or Bad, it's all good!!  Well here is your chance to advise, excite and even warn your fellow stitchers !!!!

We invite you to write a review on any kit or pattern posted on our website.  Your comments can include your impressions of the presentation; ease or difficulty of following the chart/instructions and how you overcame & compensated; any changes you made to the original pattern; your impressions of the finished piece; and so on.

It's very easy,  just write down your thoughts and email these with a photo of your stitched piece to our webmaster.  The photo is optional, but if your piece is different from the original, we'd love to see it. 

My first review is on " Garden Fair" by the Courtney Collection.
(I first blogged about this pattern on May 27th).