Are You Up For A Challenge?

by , on
Feb 26, 2019
The Needlepoint Success Challenge kicks off on March 25th!

Hello there, lovely – and happy Tuesday!

I hope you’re having a fantabulous week. I can’t tell you how great it is to be here with you!

Really – I mean that, from the bottom of my heart! Every day, I jot down three things I’m thankful for in my journal. (It helps start my day off on the right foot.????)

Did you know that you’re always on that list? Yep – wonderful Y-O-U!!!

It’s such an honor (and a privilege!) to be able to share my love of needlepoint with somebody who “gets” my obsession.

If you’re a “gung-ho” stitcher like me, I’ll bet you can relate to…

  • squealing with excitement when you find the perfect canvas to stitch for your best friend’s birthday.
  • being on a first-name basis with your mailman and the UPS guy – or the staff at your local needlework shop, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby.
  • that sinking feeling when you realize the stitch you chose for the purple flower isn’t gonna work after all.
  • carefully frogging hours of stitching (sometimes muttering a few choice expletives that would make your mother cringe ????) – all so you can try again for the perfect outcome.
  • jumping for joy when you finish a project!

That feeling of elation that comes from creating a one-of-a-kind heirloom treasure is pretty powerful, isn’t it?!

And speaking of creating…

Have you seen the brand new Serendipity Needleworks manifesto?

It captures the essence of what Serendipity is all about and I’m super excited to share it with you.

The Serendipity Needleworks manifesto captures the mission and vision for where we're going on this fantabulous adventure!

I’m over-the-moon thrilled to announce something else new, too.  It’s coming your way in March.

Cue the drumroll… ????

It’s my brand new 5-day Needlepoint Success Challenge.

I hope you’ll join me. It’ll help jumpstart your creativity – and get you on the road (or back on track!) to success with your needlepoint hobby.

Whether you’re just starting out, are stuck in a rut, or wanna develop your needlepoint skills, I guarantee you’ll learn something new. It’s gonna be oodles of F-U-N and it won’t take a ton of your time. Pinky promise! ????

What’s the challenge all about?

Great question! For five days in March, you’ll learn tips and tricks that will help you write your very own stitch guide for a painted canvas.

If you’re up for the challenge, tell me in the comments box below. All you have to do is type “I’m IN!” and I’ll give you a ????!

Then, click here to pre-register for the Needlepoint Success Challenge and I’ll see you on the inside!

Until next time, happy stitching.

Stitch with a smile!




PS: The Needlepoint Success Challenge is free, so what are you waiting for?! Click here to pre-register now!

Winter Threadventure Week 3: Icy Lapland

by , on
Jan 23, 2019
Icy frozen waterfall in Lapland, Sweden

Hi there! ????I hope you packed your warmest parka and plenty of snuggly sweaters because we’re headed even deeper into the icy Arctic Circle this week. Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation train to the third stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure

Basketweave and Weird Shapes

by , on
Nov 15, 2018
Florentine Bauble by Kirk and Bradley Designs

Have you ever been stumped by how to work a diagonal tent stitch (a.k.a. basketweave) background around a bunch of weird shapes? Or even how to stitch those irregular shapes in the first place? Well, fret no more! I’m here to help – and I’ll share some tips that you can use on canvases both large and small.

Below is a picture of “Florentine Bauble” by Kirk and Bradley. It’s a really good example of a piece that has oodles of stopping and starting on it.

I’m working it entirely in basketweave so you can see how I tackle the “trouble spots”. Ready to dive in? Terrific!

Let’s get started…

Kirk and Bradley Florentine Bauble in Red/Sage


First, apply that good ole mnemonic device “up the steps and down the poles” when you’re stitching.

And when I say “apply”, I mean really and truly stitch that way.

Every. Single. Time.

You see, when you do that, you can start and stop anywhere on your canvas and, eventually, all your stitches will mesh together seamlessly.

What’s that? You don’t know how to read your canvas?

No worries… I’ll help you!

But, before we go any further (and especially if you’re new to needlepoint), you might want to click here to hop over and read about the different kinds of needlepoint canvas.

Go ahead – I’ll just have a cup of tea while I wait for you… ????

Pour yourself a nice warm cuppa...


Gee – that was quick!

Ready to dive into how to read your needlepoint canvas now?


Needlepoint canvas is a plain weave open grid fabric. You can see how the individual canvas threads weave over and under each other in the picture below.

The blue marks indicate where the horizontal threads are on top of the intersections where the threads meet.

They kinda look like little steps, don’t they?  And that’s where “up the steps” comes from.

The red marks show where the vertical threads are on top of the intersections where the threads crisscross.

And they kinda look like those poles that firemen slide down to get to their firetruck – hence, “down the poles”.

Are you with me so far? Terrific!

Stitch "up the steps" and "down the poles" when working in diagonal tent stitch.


Now, when you stitch “up the steps” and “down the poles” your work will look much nicer for two reasons…


"Apple Sampler" by Birds of a Feather stitched in diagonal tent stitch (a.k.a. basketweave).

First, you’ll get better coverage and your stitches will look more uniform because you’re stitching with the grain of the canvas.

And second, stitching “up the steps” and “down the poles” helps stabilize the canvas intersections so your piece doesn’t get all wonky. (That’s one of the biggest benefits of using basketweave.)

Oh – and I almost forgot this one… when you stitch “up the steps” and “down the poles”, you won’t accidentally stitch two rows in the same direction and end up with a yucky ridge on the front of your work. (Alternating the direction that you stitch each row keeps that from happening.)

So, I guess that’s actually more than two reasons. ????

Alrighty, back to stitching our Florentine Bauble in basketweave…


"Florentine Bauble" by Kirk and Bradley Designs

I’m working my lightest colors first. This is one of those oddball shapes that can really throw you for a loop when you’re working in basketweave. It’s hard to know exactly where to begin, isn’t it?

My best suggestion is to find the longest continuous diagonal row that you can work. Stitch that row first, and then use it as your “jumping off” place for working the rest of the area.

You’ll have to carry your thread across the back in a few places, but as long as you don’t carry it across more than half an inch (or 3 – 4 canvas threads) it’ll be fine.

Next time, we’ll take a peek at working a section of the background in basketweave.

Do you have a canvas that’s giving you fits right now?

Tell me about it in the comments box below.

I have another needle minder that I’d like to gift to someone this month, so every time you leave a note in the comments box, I’ll enter your name in the November drawing. ???? (squeeeee – I just ❤️giving things away!)

And please join us in the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group. That’s where the Serendipity girlfriends gather online and I’d love to have you as part of our Circle of Friends.

If you’re not getting NeedleNotes every week, click here to add your name to the list right away. I don’t want you to miss anything! (And yes – I share some extra special goodies just with my subscribers.????)

Alrighty – that’s all for now.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Stitch with a smile!




PS: Our October winner of the Serendipity Needleworks needle minder is Laraine Croall. Congratulations Laraine – and thank you ALL for sharing your thoughts with me.

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