"No American woman, let her speak all the tongues, and play on all the instruments invented,
can be said to be educated, if she is not a good needle-woman."
-Catharine Maria Sedgwick

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart in Hand History

Happy Presidents Day! I thought since we are celebrating a part of our country's history -- our Presidents -- I would take this opportunity to blog a bit about Heart in Hand Needleart's history.

I learned to cross stitch at an early age. My grandmother, Ferrill Shay, who was known to her grandchildren as Ben-Ben, taught me to cross stitch in elementary school. Ben-Ben lived in southern Illinois and I was raised in southern Ohio so we didn't see each other but once or twice a year. But when we did, she always had a project going. This was in the 1960s and 1970s so cross stitching was stamped on pillowcases and quilts. That was Ben-Ben's specialty.

Once I was in high school I was more involved in theater and music so there wasn't much time for cross stitching. But when I finished college and started my first "real" job, I had free time and so I began cross stitching again.

In 1985, I was working in television news in Cincinnati. Randy and I had been married for 3 years. I gave birth to a beautiful red-headed baby boy on Labor Day. Matthew died within 15 minutes of his birth. The death of our firstborn devastated our lives. I turned to my needlework for comfort. I stitched dozens of Christmas ornaments that fall to give away to friends and family. I don't know what I would have done without my needlework. It truly was my therapy. Many of you understand this because you have written me over the years and told me your story. You have shared with me how stitching has brought you through illness and sorrow. I truly am honored and humbled each time a stitcher shares his or her story with me. What a touch point this commonality gives us.

I started creating some of my own designs eventually and entered a "design a heart" contest sponsored by a needlework magazine. Winning the contest gave me the confidence to design even more and eventually, after being encouraged by others in the industry, I published my first designs in 1994. And here we are 17 years later and I am still stitching and designing.

Needlework buoyed me from grief when I needed it. Losing Matthew helped me realize what was important in my life. My daughters Elise and Allison are everything to me. With my heart in hand, I have raised them alongside Randy. Running my own business allowed me to work from home to be near the girls as they were growing up. Heart in Hand Needleart has allowed me to live my life and my work with my heart in hand.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 2011

I love designing hearts. I guess that's one of the reasons why my company is named Heart in Hand Needleart. There are a lot of new heart designs to share this month. I've had many calls from people wanting to order the 2011 Collector's Heart kit. This is the 13th Collector's Heart kit published by Heart in Hand. Several are no longer available but many are still in stock so don't hesitate to ask your favorite needlework shop to order some of the older kits for you. We'll be happy to send them out. Isn't it time you dedicated a corner somewhere in your house to hearts?

This year's heart has the word "Smitten" on it. What do you think of when you see the word "smitten?" The time you were infatuated with the curly-headed boy who sat in front of you in elementary school? How spellbound you were when your first child was placed in your arms? The bewitched feeling your husband gave you when he slipped your sparkling engagement ring on your finger? Smitten. Stitch this for someone you love this year. Someone who leaves you, well, smitten.

What Makes it Love? is a design fit for all year, not just February. Lots of colorful hearts, sweet treats, cupid's arrow, hugs and kisses leave us yearning for happily ever after. Red, pink, and purple threads along with several sizes of colorful round buttons makes a playful but strong statement about LOVE!

If you are looking for a quick but heartfelt design to commemorate a wedding or anniversary, I Do just might fill the bill. The design gives you a spot to insert the date of the wedding you are celebrating. You could change the color of the heart to better match the decor of the couple's home or the wedding colors. Feel free to personalize I Do in a way that will create a real treasure for the couple.

Love Triplet is the latest in our series of Triplet leaflets. I am so enjoying stitching these designs. Because they are so bright and colorful, they lift my spirits when the skies are grey and the news from around the world is troubling. Don't we just want something bright to cheer us all up and remind us of our many blessings? That's what the Triplet designs do for me. Love Triplet contains three designs: Crush, True Love, and Be Mine.