January/February is at the printer

The January/February issue is currently being printed. It will drop in the mail on the 6th of January so be on the look out.

We are very proud of this next issue. There are five projects featured. Two are painted canvas designs and three are charted designs.

You will also find a very moving article about Netty Vanderpol a needlepoint artist and Holocaust survivor who “bears witness” to her experience in a Nazi concentration camp through the art of needlepoint.

The needlepoint world is blessed with many amazing people who go the extra yard to help others. Nancy Cucci and her ANG chapter help to raise awareness about heart disease through selling their needlepoint designs for fundraising. Dr. Rita Galloway and Debbie Rowley help women to rebuild their lives after addiction and mental health issues have torn them apart. Debbie and Rita provide jobs and training creating needlepoint accessories.

You will find all of our regular articles in the Jan/Feb issue except one. I am very sad to announce that Ann Blalock, aka The Stitching Fool, will no longer be with us. Her final note of farewell stated that it was time to pursue other opportunities.

“As they say in the business world, I am leaving to pursue other opportunities.

And, while I’ll never totally abandon canvas, I find that my interests are evolving, too. I have fallen into the 17th century and can’t seem to climb out–so I’m exploring different techniques and materials. Now I’m figuring out the mysteries of diagonal Montenegrin and detached buttonhole in the round, while working with Silk Purl and Gilt Silke Twist. I suppose I should do this while the baby boomer eyes will allow me to work on 45 count linen and the baby boomer eyes and hands can deal with new techniques!

Meanwhile, the Stitching Fool is not vanishing completely. I have several speaking engagements lined up for the next year, and there is a blog in my future. Meanwhile, I can be contacted at guildstitcher@aol.com.

It’s been truly a pleasure–and will be again–just in a different venue.”— Ann Blalock

I will miss working with Ann. I could count on her for advice and honest answers. I know that she will do well in her new format. Please make sure to check out her new blog.

With the January/February issue out I can take a few days to enjoy the holidays before I jump into production of the March/April issue. I wish all of you a very happy holiday. Be sure to take sometime for yourself and stitch.


December 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

The Nov/Dec issue is at the printer

I feel such relief getting the Nov/Dec issue of the magazine off to the printer. It is our biggest issue yet with a whopping 56 pages. I oversold the advertising by just a bit so I added an eight page signature to balance the editorial/advertising content. There are six projects in this issue. I feel that it is a strong issue and there should be something to appeal to everyone.

Last month we had Terry Dryden at the studio to pilot her Mediterranean Squares piece. If you haven’t seen it you need to go to her website for a look see. It is one of those pieces that you can’t put down and then when you finish it you are sad because it was so much fun to stitch. Terry will be teaching it at the ANG Seminar in Columbus, OH in 2010. I know that class is going to fill up fast so by all means do sign up during premier registration.

Terry is a real trooper when it comes to dealing with class distractions and disruptions. We had four dogs in the class. My three standard poodles and then Katrina the min pin who belongs to Laura the circulation director. Yep, we have one of the few classrooms where it isn’t unusual to hear dogs snoring while the teacher is trying to explain how to use a new thread.

I love having classes here. We usually have two or three a year. The exposure to different teacher’s stitch guides really helps me work on the presentation of the stitch guides that we publish in the magazine. Plus it’s just fun to have many of my friends over for a fun learning experience.

Now that this issue is out the door maybe I can get a little more time to stitch on my piece before I hit the heavy production time for the Jan/Feb issue.Dryden 1Dryden2Dryden3

October 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

The long lost publisher is back

Sorry to be uncommunicative for awhile. I got caught up in needlepoint trade shows and seminars but I’m happy to report that I’m back in the office and have no travel plans looming for awhile.

As I said when I started this blog, I want to use the blog to address some of the day to day issues that come up at Needlepoint Now. I hope the following will answer questions that were brought up today by a few of our loyal readers.

The September/October issue went into the mail on September 8th. It started hitting the West Coast mailboxes on the 11th. I have received many phone calls from the East Coast asking us why they haven’t received their magazines yet. It seems the West Coast people have been very vocal about the fact that they get their copies first now that they are mailed from Oregon. I want to assure everyone that all of the magazines are dropped in the mail on the same day. Shop copies and subscription copies go out at the same time so we only have to pay the mail house one set up fee. The only exception is the “early send” copy that is sent from the office to advertisers and content contributors. If you are an advertiser or have written an article for the magazine I send you a copy as soon as I get them from the printer. I was at the ANG seminar when they arrived this time but I believe they were mailed out on the 1st. I don’t mind the phone calls asking where your magazines are. In fact all of us who work on the magazine are flattered that it means so much to our readers.

Another issue that has bothered a few of our counted thread readers is the fact that I am covering painted canvas and painted canvas designers now. When I made the decision to cover painted canvas I added eight pages to the magazine. My goal is to introduce a different designer in each issue. A stitch guide is offered for one of their designs. I realize that many needlepointers do not like to work on painted canvas but they can still learn about interesting fibers and stitches that work well for different kinds of effects that may be used on their own projects. We are still covering counted work as much as we did before. Nothing has been taken away from the issue to make room for the coverage on the painted canvas world.

Personally, I like to work on both painted canvas and counted designs. I usually have about four primary projects going at a time. Currently I am working on Debbie Forney’s “Paisley Passion Purse”, Terry Dryden’s “Safari”, a Kelly Clark canvas for a pair of mules, the Mindy canvas for the Stirling purse that was featured in the September/October issue. Something for every mood!

September 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm 7 comments

July/August is on the way

JA09 CoverThe July/August issue of Needlepoint Now is all printed and at the mail house. It is expected to drop into the mail on Monday, July 6th. It is mailed “periodical rate” which means that it is up to your postal carrier to decided which day he can deliver it. If you do not receive your copy by August 3rd (for domestic deliveries), please call the office and we will replace your copy.

June 30, 2009 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

On my way to TNNA

I’m on my way to Columbus, OH this week for the summer TNNA show. I’m looking forward to seeing many of my subscribers and advertisers. Plus I get to take two classes. One from Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren and one from June McKnight.

I have three goals for the show. One: Get more shops to carry the magazine. Two: Get more shops to advertise in the magazine. And three: Find content for the magazine. Piece of cake! It shouldn’t be so hard when you are at the biggest market for needlepoint in the world. My buddy Joanne Colandrea is coming to help me in the booth. She will be my official “Booth Bimbo”. She has a great smile and she knows everyone. We have a lot of fun together mostly because we give each other a lot to laugh at. Not that we are great comedians mind you. We just get really stupid when we get together and laugh at everything.

The July/August issue is almost done. I’ll put the finishing touches on it when I return to the studio on Wednesday. I’m excited about this issue because we are introducing a new layout design. It is like having an opening at an art gallery. “I hope they like me!”.

June 10, 2009 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

This week at Needlepoint Now

Ahhh Mondays! I usually spend most of my Monday figuring out what I have to accomplish the rest of the week. This week I have ad composition to do, work on the new layout of the magazine, set up the photo studio so we can do our own photography, start getting my act together for the TNNA trade show, and get all of my editorial content to my Assistant Editor, Ann Blalock. I hate to admit this but these were also my goals for last week. I work long days but so much is going on with the magazine right now that it isn’t hard to be derailed by little projects that crop up on a daily basis. The good news is that the new web site is up and working and we have streamlined many of the systems we use to track subscribers, advertisers and shops. The work is at times overwhelming but always very rewarding.

I’m excited about the July/August issue. The stories are coming in and they are great. I was worried when I took over the magazine that I would have a hard time finding people to contribute content. That has not been the case. Designers and writers have been very generous with their work. The quality of the designs and writing is amazing. I can’t wait to share it all with the subscribers.

I want to encourage needlepoint enthusiasts to submit designs and articles to Needlepoint Now. What am I looking for? I’m looking for new designs that have not been published. You do not need to have the directions all nicely laid out. Wonder Jean the Charting Queen will build all of the charts and we can assist in the written instructions for projects. I am always on the lookout for interesting stories about stitchers or pieces of needlepoint as well as projects. What can I offer you? Mostly the opportunity to be published but I also trade with ad space.

Today is May 11th and effective today the Post Office has had another 2¢ rate increase. The magazine has not had a price increase since it started in 1999. As much as I don’t like to do it, I have to increase the subscription price of the magazine. A single issue will go up from $6 to $7. A one year domestic subscription will go from $32 to $38. Jay, the husband and CFO, informed me that this was about a 18.75% increase and the Post Office has increased their prices by 37.5% since 1999. Paper prices have also sky rocketed. Price increases are a tough decision to make as a new owner. I truly don’t know how Joyce avoided raising the subscription price for eleven years.

Now that I’ve broken that bad news I must get back to work. I must focus! I must produce a quality magazine that the subscribers will love…


May 11, 2009 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to Needlepoint Now’s blog. We are excited to have the opportunity to communicate with our needlepoint community on a regular basis. My intent is to keep up an informal communication of what is going on here in Elmira, Oregon the new home of Needlepoint Now.

As Many of you know Needlepoint Now was moved from Virginia to Oregon in January. Joyce, the magazine’s founder, decided that it was time to retire, move on and take a much deserved break. She wanted to spend more time on the the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her family. The Outer Banks is an area that has meant a lot to both Joyce and myself. I grew up there and that is where I met my best friend and husband twenty-nine years ago. Nags Head, NC as well as a southern upbringing, needlepoint, beading and knitting where a few of the interests that Joyce and I share. Our mutual love of needlepoint and people are what bonded us to each other. I am very happy to be carrying on her legacy of publishing Needlepoint Now.

Joyce and I started talking and planning the future of the magazine about seven years ago. We were brought together by Roberta Montgomery, a long-time contributor to Needlepoint Now. Roberta often had teachers from all over the United States come to her home in Tacoma, WA to teach to her local chapter of EGA. I had come to know Roberta and was flattered to be included in the classes. Tacoma is about a four and a half hour drive from my home but the classes were always well worth the drive. Roberta had been after me to come for a Joyce Lukomski class. Although I had never met Joyce I knew who she was. I wanted to meet this woman who was living my dream of running a needlepoint magazine but was having a hard time scheduling in the class. Roberta got down right insistent with me that I needed to take this class and she wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. It didn’t take me long to figure out what Roberta had up her sleeve and the rest is history.

The Gingham Dog & The Calico Cat that were on the March/April cover are two of Roberta’s early designs although not the first of her pieces to be showcased in the magazine. Many of our long time subscribers may remember Roberta’s Witch Hazel that appeared in the September/October 1999 issue. I am very lucky to have such good friends like Roberta who look after me and guide me down the path I’m suppose to travel. It was fitting that Roberta’s pieces would be on the cover of Joyce’s last issue and my first issue of Needlepoint Now.

The May/June issue is being mailed out today and I hope everyone likes the direction I am going with the magazine. It is a bit scary to be walking in Joyce’s footsteps. She has given so much to the art of needlepoint. I hate to think where needlepoint would be today without her knowledge and talent that she so generously shared. I know that I will be compared with Joyce but hope the readers will like me for who I am and not hold it against me for not being a clone of Joyce.

The first thing that you will notice about the magazine is that there is a painted canvas designer on the cover. I have been stitching for over forty years and as much as I love to stitch counted designs, I’m a sucker for a beautifully painted canvas design. I met Kelly Clark at a trade show and fell in love with her and her designs. It has been a dream working with her and I can’t thank her enough for making my first cover such a knock out. Even if you don’t like painted canvas, Kelly’s stitch guide is full of wonderful fibers and techniques that you may want to try on your own pieces.

When I look around at the needlepoint trade shows I see aisles that are filled with painted canvas designers, thread distributors, companies who manufacture all those cute little gadgets that we all have to have, tote bag companies, you name it and I get very excited about all the possibilities for articles to present to you. I take the title of the magazine very seriously. It is Needlepoint Now and therefore I hope to bring to you what is new and exciting in the ever changing world of needlepoint.

May 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm 2 comments

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