If you're in the greater-DC metro area or within a one- to two-hour drive away and haven't been to this year's Needlework Exhibition, you have a few more days to see it, Tuesday being the last day. I've been there twice now and have yet to actually get to walk around and savor the vast array of needlework on display. The variety of styles and techniques is wonderful and inspiring. It makes one want to venture beyond one's comfort zone, something the remedial stitcher never thinks twice about. I always find the show inspirational and challenging, and it seems most stitchers who attend do as well. I hope to get over there tomorrow, my day off, to go as a visitor, not as a participant, the only way I can hope to take a leisurely walk around. I haven't even seen all the pieces Scarlet Thread submitted for its customers yet, some of them prize-winners!
Yesterday was a fun day in the shop. Two women arrived within moments of each other, both of whom had been to Woodlawn earlier this month and picked up the Scarlet Thread flyer. They immediately started chatting and oohing and aahing about the models hanging in the gallery. I thought they must have known each other for ages from the way they were talking. But no, they'd just met. They were both so inspired by the canvaswork on exhibit at Woodlawn, something I am also consumed by these days. They wandered around together for a while, then diverged, occasionally calling each other to come look at something. One browsed for an hour or so, bought a bunch of patterns, threads, and a scroll-frame and departed with a promise to return when she had more time. The other proceeded to comb through everything in the shop. Methodically. Spending at least two hours, but I think more like three.
While she was poring over a stack of patterns she was considering at the worktable, in walked one of the area's premiere, award-winnning canvasworkers, who had just been to Woodlawn. He had also been in the shop just the day before. I said something like, "What are you doing here?" "I thought I might buy some stuff. That okay with you?" he retorted. I wandered back to see what he was up to. It seems his visit to Woodlawn had compelled him to come up with a new piece, perhaps to submit to next year's show. Like so many stitchers this past year, he hadn't been able to stitch as much as he'd liked and hadn't had a piece that he wanted to show. Overnight, he'd come up with a design concept and some ideas for colors. Let me tell you, I can't wait to see his progress on this piece. The color pallette is to die for, not to mention the rich variety of texture he's going to achieve with the different fibers he selected. I can say no more.
I took the opportunity to introduce the two of them when the woman started asking about changing the colorway of a canvaswork pattern she was considering. Yes, I could have answered her questions, but I love to watch and listen as two people who share nothing but a common interest in needlework launch into an animated discussion of color, texture, and design. This kind of spontaneous sharing is what makes a day in the shop successful. Well, that and a few sales, of course. I learn so much just by starting a dialogue, then sitting back and seeing where two or more stitchers will take it.