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Sew Much to Blog about...
           
Ahh... Friendship! If true friendships are all about sharing common interests, aspirations and goals, then friendships acquired through a passion for needlework must be high on everyone's list!  If stitching and lovely needlework were all we share, we'd already be very fortunate. But many of us don't only share our love of stitching with each other. We also share that essence of great friendships; a genuine love for each other and for each other's well being. I've experienced that love in so many different ways over the years... and I know you have too! 

In my life, many great friendships have been formed while in the pursuit of the creative needlework muse. My stitching friends always elicit genuine encouragement that they are empowered towards better lives and I just marvel at the miracle of this unconditional love that stitchers all over the world have for each other! 

It's no accident that you'll find many references to love, friendship and stitching in my work. (eg. pic at left is Heart to Heart)  You will see the emphasis on Friendship in so many of my designs and hearts and words of friendship and love are sprinkled liberally throughout all of them! :)

I really am so grateful for all the wonderful stitching friends in my life, and I'm not the only one who feels that needlework has brought me together with such good friends.  Right here at home, my employees have become such good friends! Lisa began to work the Victoria Sampler with me 11 years ago, and has been an amazing friend and supporter. Cathy has been a good friend for at least 15 years before she came to work for me, and our relationship has strengthened as we work and now even design together. Brenda is new at VS, but already we're found the beginnings of our shared friendship in needlework! We all treat each other well, and enjoy our shared goals, laughter and the love of stitching. 

Throughout the years, there have been many such relationships because of this lovely needlework world. Gabor, or the G-Force, as my husband calls him, has become a great friend over the years we've worked together in VS. Debbie and Yvonne, with whom I worked at Fancyworks and who also worked with me at VS are still in touch. Then there were Dorothy and Wendy, who both have taught our Cyberclasses. Dorothy has stopped teaching, but Wendy has been teaching our Cyberclasses for the past 9 years! She lives in England, but our communication has been direct, clear and empathetic throughout our years of working together in friendship.   

But the special bonus are the special friendships I still have with shopowners, magazine editors and writers, retreat organizers, and many many stitchers.. both near and far. There is contact through several wonderful online Groups, and all the ladies who have come to Victoria for my VSRetreats!  I can't begin to count the hundreds of emails and posts I exchange with so many of you every month. You all have made my life richer and more blessed. I thank goodness for the internet, and for this passion we all share for needle and thread!  We can connect on such a very deep and meaningful level and for this I'm truly thankful. 

Following is a special story to illustrate what I mean by riendship in needlework, nominated by Ann McDonald, from the Needlework Shop "Knowledge and Needles" in Brighton Ontario.  
- Thea :)    

Stitcher of the Week... Adriana Valks! 

Adriana Valks has been stitching forever and enjoys working exclusively on 28 count evenweave fabric. She will be 92 years old this month! She does not shy away from sparkles and beads and embellishments, but that is not the reason for the nomination..as you hear her story, I am sure you will see why she is such an inspiration and model for all of the ladies in Ann's Thursday stitching group, and now for all of you!

Ann met Adriana about 5 or 6 years ago when she was started a little stitching group for my shop  "Knowledge and Needles". Kathy, one of Ann's customers, brought Adriana to the group, which numbered around 5 at the time. They happily stitched one night a week around Ann's dining-room table and they gradually heard Adriana's and Kathy's stories.

The two women had met over 30 years earlier at St Margaret's Hospital in Toronto where both their husbands were undergoing treatment for cancer. Adriana's husband, in his 60s at the time, became a cancer survivor and went on to live a productive life for many more years. Kathy's husband, in his 20s was not so fortunate. Kathy became a widow in her early twenties and her two toddlers were fatherless. Adriana and her husband became good friends with Kathy and her children and eventually Kathy and Adriana's daughter Beatrice became best friends. As a matter of fact, a few years later Beatrice introduced Kathy to Leo whom Kathy married and with whom she last year celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.  

Neither Kathy nor Beatrice stitched at the time and they relied on Adriana to provide them with beautiful stitched angels and fairies for their walls! Finally Adriana put her foot down, well more aptly, her needle down, and offered to teach them to stitch for themselves. Kathy took her up on the offer and has been stitching now for many years. Beatrice only joined the stitching community a few years ago when she saw how much fun her mother and best friend were having, as they went to the stitching group at Ann's once a week, producing beautiful pieces of art.

The Thursday stitchers group has grown considerably since it's humble beginnings and now there are anywhere from 10 to 14 stitchers at Ann's on a Thursday afternoon. Below you can see Beatrice, Kathy and Adriana stitching together on the couch. :) Last week, two of the stitchers brought friends along, so they were up to 16! Obviously they have outgrown Ann's dining room table and now stitch in the sun room which holds 10 or 12 comfortably, 16 tightly!

Adriana is our role model and inspiration. We all hope that at 92 we will be as spry and bright and as able to stitch as she is. When not coming out to stitch at the shop, she joins her daughter-in-law (who she also taught how to stitch) at her house once a week for lunch and stitching. Beatrice takes her to church every Sunday, then home for stitching and Sunday dinner.

When Ann stops into Adriana's retirement home to visit, Tim Horton's coffee in hand, she has to make sure she gets there after breakfast, but before Adriana goes to one of the daily programmes offered by the retirement centre, like brain teasers day, or bingo day. Adriana also pretty much single handedly made all the decorations for the Christmas tree they raffled off at the centre two years ago. They presented her with some plastic canvas, white wool and sparkly stuff and told her they needed an angel for the top of the tree...would she make one?...btw, a pattern was not included! Of course, Adriana made one!

As her daughter Beatrice says,"Wow, I'm so impressed! Mom will be thrilled... mind you, she'll be humbled by it all, but I know she loves Ann and will be tickled to hear she's Stitcher of the Week. I have in my home about 30 Cross Stitched pieces that my Mom stitched and gave to me, and my two brothers have received about the same number of her beautiful stitching. I am now an addicted stitcher thanks to her! Mom is very crafty and has a very good eye for colour and style."

I want to thank Ann, Kathy and Beatrice in bringing Adriana's story to you, and wish you all many more years of stitching together in friendship and love. Oh, yes, and of course a very Happy Birthday Adriana! Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd! :) -  van Thea :) 
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SUBMISSIONS  :) If you know a Stitcher, a Guild Member, a Shopowner or a Shop Staff member, who goes out of their way to make needlework more accessible to others, who gives of themselves and their time to enhance and educate.. or who just is a quiet stitching friend to others.. please hit reply to this email, or click here, and Nominate them for "Stitcher of the Week".   Make sure to give me their name, their email address, and the reasons you want to nominate them. :) I can assure you that their info will be treated with respect, and that I will always first write to ask them, before I feature them here, in case they have a reason to remain behind the scenes... :) Many thanks for your submissions..! - Thea   


Look... New Items for our Inventory Summer Sale
- All items below are 25% off this week only

(Scroll down on linked page, to find the product number and catalogue listing of each of the items)

NOW! These lovely designs, Accessory Packs, and matching Cyberclass Registration!
Stitch along with your fellow stitchers in a Cyberclass if you're new to Specialty Stitches. Just buy the Leaflet, the Accessory Pack and sign up for the Cyberclass that goes with it! Then remember to get your extra materials, needles, scissors and linen at your local needlework shop. It's that easy! 

21 Green Earth Leaflet, Acc Pac and Register HERE for the Cyberclass
22 Peaches and Cream Leaflet, Acc Pac, and Register HERE for the Cyberclass
26 Cottage Garden Leaflet, Acc Pac, and Register HERE for the Cyberclass

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Stitch the First Thirteen American Colonies this Summer!
Hearts of America are designed in order of Statehood. The Hearts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island are all 25% off this week!  

HA01 to HA13 - Hearts of America... Each kit has easy instructions to learn a Specialty Stitch as part of the design. Stitch your way through New England!

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Get started on your winter stitching early! This scene of Trust and Contentment radiates with friendship and love. Cathy Jean's cosy Design gives us a warm feeling of friendship. This wonderful Chart really captures that feeling we have when we enjoy a good book by the fire... Stitch this for your best friend!
 
CJVS27 Trust and Contentment Chart and Acc Pac

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Yvonne's beautiful and intricate whitework in her Christmas Roses Design is a perfect way to celebrate Christmas. It's a wonderfully rich and intricate design, so get started early, so you can complete the amazing bands in time to hang on your walls this December..! 
 
YVS03 Christmas Roses Leaflet and Acc Pac

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Order NOW! 
This Summer Sale starts today and ends August 14th.
All sales are final, depending on availability. Don't forget our Cyberclasses start again on September 11th, so register now for all Exclusives so we have time to send you the kit!
 


Love and Stitches to you... from Thea :)

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