About My Classes at the
Creative Arts and Textiles Show in 2003

This file has information on my approach to teaching and a detailed discussion of each of my classes.

Then follows this year's CATS dates and a short piece on what it's like to attend a stitch festival.

I try very hard to make my classes a part of your wonderful memories of these festivals and hope you'll join me this year!

My Class Philosophy

My goal is for you to leave my class confident in the techniques so you can finish the project at home.

I'm willing to give you extra help outside of class and will provide you with information on how to contact me after the festival is over, should you have questions (or want to brag - - this I encourage! In fact, if you'll send me a photo - - or better yet show me in person - - one of my designs completely finished, I have a special gift for you).

I want you to have a great time in my class! Stitching is fun!!

Lefties: I have separate instructions/illustrations for you for tricky stitches and will demonstrate the stitches left-handedly for you.

This is my seventh year teaching at festivals! In 1997 and 1998, I taught at the Spirit of Cross Stitch. In 1999 and 2000, I taught for Heart of Cross Stitch. In 2001 and 2002, I taught at CATS and will be doing the same in 2003. I have a ball in my classes and hope my students do, too.

My Teaching Schedule for 2003

Houston, TX: April 25-27
Riverside, CA: August 14-16
Hershey, PA: September 18-20
Des Moines, IA: October 3-5

My Classes for 2003

I will be teaching 7 classes in 2003 and am scheduled on all days of the festival. Surely we can get together!

I also will be participating in the Stitcher's Rally. I have a special patch designed for you, so do sign up for this fun event. (I am pretty sure they're going to serve chocolate again this year....)

Class descriptions in the Show Book are limited in space, and, if you know me, you know that a few lines of type is hardly enough to cover any topic! I decided to put more information here on my home page for those who would like greater detail than is available in the Show Book.

I have written a description of each class, information about class time and length, project size, kit contents, and so on.

There is a graphic of the class project to accompany each description. These graphics load independently of the text, so you are not captive to a graphic if all you want is the words. These load almost instantaneously for me with a 14.4 modem.

Use your browser's "back" button to take you to the top of the following class list.

All times are morning/afternoon, except where noted as evening.

All classes include special surprises.

All classes except charting software include a generous assortment of fabrics, threads, and other stitching goodies. Charting software has a generous kit, too, of course, just a different kind! And surprises in all classes. Surprises are a must!

Hands-On Encyclopedia of Cross Stitch, #154
all levels
dates and Times:
notebook/techniques class with a Christmas ornament project

Encyclopedia of Finishing Techniques, #153
all levels
dates and Times:
notebook/techniques class with wee sampler project

Better Basics, #152
all levels
dates and Times:
techniques class with bonus chart and threads for American flag needlebook and scissors fob

Treasury of Threads, #155
all levels
dates and Times:
a sizable stash of threads to add to your present stash and how to use them
bonus charts for an American flag-motif scissors fob and needlebook

Choosing Charting Software That's Right for You, #156
all levels
dates and Times:
lecture class with extensive, illustrated handout, plus demo disks; bring your questions and project ideas which need charting solutions and questions about publishing and marketing you own designs or starting your own needlework business

Trunk Show of Fabrics, #157
all levels
dates and Times:
bonus charts for a set of stitcher's tools: old sampler motifs

Great Gadgets, #158
all levels
dates and Times:
plethora of stitching gadgets along with detailed handout
and bonus charts & threads to make a set of chocolate-themed stitcher's tools

Hands-On Encyclopedia of Cross Stitch


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 7th year for this class.

General Summary:

This class is a hands-on survey different techniques and materials in counted-thread embroidery. Some of the topics included are: gadgets and tools; survey of threads (cotton, rayon, metallic, silk, pearl cotton, space-dyed); survey of fabrics (evenweave, Aida, silk gauze, perforated paper, knitted stockinette, waste canvas); techniques with threads (stripping, finding the grain, starting and stopping, storing threads, avoiding and getting rid of knots, working with space-dyeds, etc.); techniques with fabrics (edge preparation, getting rid of wrinkles, figuring cut size, etc.), which needle for which use, tips and hints (away waste knot, railroading, laying tool, mounting fabric, blended needles, avoiding ridges, etc.); basics of blackwork, duplicate stitch, Bargello, couching, string art stitches, Celtic knot work, bead application, silk ribbon embroidery, silk gauze, stitching over one, waste canvas; twisted cord and tassels; washing, ironing, blocking, stain removal; resolving kit materials problems; stitching for competitions; finishing techniques and quick/inexpensive framing suggestions; preventing stitchers' ailments; how to find out-of-print charts; alternative skin tones, etc. There is a large section of the notebook about copyright and needlework. The encyclopedia also has an extensive material on the business of needlework: writing for needlework magazines; designing for needlework magazines; designer support programs; stitching on commission, and on and on and on!

Class Project:

There is no major project because this is a techniques class, but there is a chart for making a Christmas tree ornament from some of the supplies in the kit, as well as charts for a Berlin work rose, a sampler basket of flowers, etc. And you'll also have stitched lots of samples to keep on hand for reference, as well as the rest of the kit contents for further experimentation.

In Class:

We can't cover all of these in 3 3/4 hours, so I've chosen for class time those topics most in demand: stitching with different threads and different grounds; basics of blackwork and Bargello, how to stitch a Celtic knot without going nuts, couching, bead application, silk ribbon embroidery, silk gauze and stitching over one; conquering the knot, including basic knot technique (you will leave being able to make a Colonial knot, which is a great substitute for a French knot); working with blending filament; blended needles; railroading; using a laying tool; making twisted cord and tassels, and more, I hope, depending on how time runs. Other stitches taught: Waffle, Leviathan, Satin, Rice (for ornament).


Encyclopedia of Finishing Techniques


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 6th year for this class.

General Summary:

You will learn a number of finishing techniques. Some of the techniques in the encyclopedia are hemstitching, nun's stitch edge, rolled hem, fringe, and other edges; how to cover foamcore with fabric, including how to make mitered and simple-fold corners and lace needlework; chain stitch joining; twisted cords; regular tassels, Maltese tassels, and "fake" surface tassels; Hedebo buttonhole loops; needle-crocheted cord; bead fringe, bead joining; ruffles, ribbon ruching; working with fancy-selvaged Aida and linen banding; finishing pillows, afghans, bellpulls, stocking, banners, needlerolls, "origami" ornaments/pincushions; constructing and stuffing standing pieces; making bias-covered welting; covering a sphere with fabric; setting a pincushion in a shell or other "small;" threading ribbon through rings; lining a basket with fabric; washing, blocking, ironing; float mounting; techniques for finishing more UFOs; and more.

Class Project:

There really isn't one since this is also a techniques notebook, but you'll stitch a tiny Rhodes heart sampler, finish the edge, and mount it on the foamcore you've covered in class. You'll also have lots of "samples" to use as references when you get home.

***Please, please bring a thimble!*** You'll regret it if you don't. Make your fingers happy and bring a thimble! A cheap plastic one is fine if you don't stitch with one. Or borrow one from a friend. Please bring a thimble. (Have I stressed this enough?!)

In Class:

Obviously, we can't cover all of these in just under 4 hours, either, so I've pulled out the techniques that most people want to learn, such as doing a nun's stitch edge, float mounting a sampler, lacing needlework and making corners, hemstitching, rolled ("scarf") hem, chain joining, twisted cord, tassels, and Hedebo and needle-crocheted cord. Other stitches taught: Rhodes heart stitch, Smyrna cross stitch (for the sampler).


Better Basics


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 2nd year for this class.

I don't know about you, but I am a self-taught cross-stitcher. As a result, I did a lot of things that I later found out I could have done differently and produced better results. Things like how to strip and recombine thread strands. How to make floss and pearl cotton less prone to knots. How to get knots out of the thread (rather than yank 'em tight to make the knot smaller so I could muscle them through the fabric holes - - or cutting them off). I didn't know how to open a ball of pearl cotton and wasted a lot of it by just cutting across the "belt" to free an end. Metallic threads? Space-dyed threads? Huh? I didn't know pea-squat about which needle was best to use for which purpose. I didn't even know there were different sizes of needles! And I threaded my needle by "poke and pray." I guessed how large to cut my fabric for a project, though I was able to figure out the finished size of the image if I were given the count of the fabric. I didn't know the best way to mount fabric in a hoop, of course. As you can see, I was pretty clueless. You aren't in such bad shape, but this class is designed to give you all the little tips you may have missed along the way. This is the also perfect class to tuck into your shedule before you hit the merchandise mall or if you need to rest your feet for a tad before attacking the mall again! As always, I've prepared a meaty handout full of much more information than we'll cover in class.

Class Project:

The kit contains a bonus chart for a patriotic needlecase and scissors fob. Fly the flag in your needlework basket! Threads are included, too.

In Class:

We'll learn how to make prettier stitches, how to stitch more quickly and finish more projects, how to start and end tails, how to select/tame/store threads and fabric, how to put on beads, how to use/store metallic threads, etc.


Treasury of Threads


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 3rd year for this class.

I thought it would be fun to look at some of the infinity of threads (well, ok, not infinite, but certainly beyond the ability of one stitcher to amass!). Look, feel, stitch with (sniff?, hear?) the wide variety available for us to add to our stashes (and empty our checkbooks or singe our plastic). As we all know, one can never have too much stash! Come on in, and I'll add to yours! As we say on RCTN, this will be a great Stash Enhancement eXperience! (I leave you to discern the abbreviation.)

There's no project, per se, but I'll include a bonus chart for a blackwork design taken from the famous Jane Bostocke sampler (1598). This would make up well as a Christmas ornament, pincushion, needlebook, and so on.

Class Project:

I include a chart for a raspberry motif from the Jane Bostocke sampler. This is cute made up as a Christmas ornament. Or, use it for a bookmark, etc. Work it in Holbein (instructions included, of course!) or backstitch.

In Class:

We'll stitch with each thread, and I'll talk about its special features, where it might best be used (and where it probably won't work too well), what types of stitches might be done with it, etc. We'll stop to mop up drool after each thread.

Stitches Taught:

We'll do Cross Stitch, Satin Stitch, Smyrna Cross, and some other easier fancy stitches so you can see how each thread works up.


Choosing Charting Software That's Right for You


Graphic. 19K.

General Summary:

This is the 7th year for this class.

The purpose is to let you know what kinds of things charting software can do and what kinds of things it can't do (yet!). It is geared to the stitcher and approaches the stitcher's charting needs from a stitcher's point of view, not a programmer's. There is a wide variety of software out there, and it can be intimidating to survey it all, compare and contrast, and then reach a decision as to which one will do the tasks you want. I've done the footwork for you. All you do is put the programs through their paces and then decide. Since software is not returnable, it's doubly challenging to make a good decision! Bring your ideas, and we'll talk about how to solve them with charting software.

In Class:

Three programs will be reviewed extensively and many others more briefly noted. Information and specifics will be presented in the same format so you can compare "apples to apples" instead of "apples to lawnmowers."

The handout will include many pictures ("screen shots") of what the programs look like in use, with tips and tricks on how to solve or avoid problems. Again, you can compare the programs directly. Demo disks and other goodies will be included in the class kits.

I also include a hands-on "test drive" which covers all basic functions of charting software (making and erasing all stitches, moving and copying portions, flipping horizontally and vertically and rotating portions, changing color and symbol palette, changing "fabric" size and color, and so on). This protocol may be used to evaluate any program you are considering, not just the ones given most attention in class.

A new program which diagrams stitches for export to a word-processing or desktop publishing program will be discussed, as well as other options if you need to draw stitches. There are some other alternatives to drawing stitch diagrams, and we'll discuss those, too.

Image conversion is also treated, including what steps to take to make the conversion easier, better-looking (especially skin tones and backgrounds), and more fun to actually stitch.

I also discuss the business of needlework. Many of you are thinking about/in the midst of starting your own needlework/design business. Topics include how to make charts to sell, marketing, and so on. Bring your questions for this segment of class. If you have some designs we can all see, that is helpful.

The handout also includes information on other things you can get your computer to do to help you with your needlework.

Class Project:



Trunk Show of Fabrics


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 2nd year for this class.

When one has a lot of thread, one naturally must have a lot of fabric! This makes sense! In this class we'll open the lid of a fantasy trunkful of fabric! Learn about the diversity that awaits your needle. What fibers are woven into fabric? Which are blended in one fabric? What does count mean? How does warp and weft impact your stitching? What's with all the different fancy names, and what name goes with what kind of fabric? Is it possible to stitch on something crawl-y like a t-shirt or sweatshirt? We'll also talk about how to figure out how large to cut the fabric for a given project and when it might be practical to cut the fabric smaller. The type of fabric, as well as the type of stitches, impacts which needle to select. Which fabrics and threads are a good match -- and which aren't!. Choice of threads is also influenced by choice of fabric. And then there are other concerns such as how to get creases out of fabric; how to avoid creases in the first place; how to store fabric to minimize wrinkles; converting designs to different fabrics; and more.

Class Project:

There isn't a project in this class, but I'll include bonus charts for a set of needlework tools (theme: old-fashioned sampler motifs) with threads.

In Class:

We'll fondle a wide assortment of fabrics (30 of them!!), stitching on each type with a variety of threads, so you can see whether various combinations play nicely with one another.


Great Gadgets


Graphic. 19K.

This is the 2nd year for this class.

I have been wanting to do a class on gadgets for five years, and this year is the year! This one's going to be great fun! Since you now have a huge stash of fabric and threads and you've expanded your collection of charts, the only thing left for Poor You is to increase - - or start - - your collection of stitching gadgets. There are all manner of gadgets. Those for poking, snipping, ripping, storing, twisting, flattening, finding, sticking, sipping, nibbling, and so many more!

Class Project:

No project, but there's a bonus chart (and threads) for a stitcher's tool set. The theme is chocolate!

In Class:

We'll work with each gadget so you leave class knowing what each magical tool will do for you. You'll have a variety of fabric and thread with which to experiment.


Drop me an e-mail at marbeth@marthabeth.com if you have further questions now.

If you haven't seen me in a while, I have had a major haircut and look kind of different, but I'll still be in my trademark red and purple (as an old woman I have this prerogative, you see), and therefore I'm still pretty easy to spot in a crowd.

**Important note!**

As I mentioned earlier, if you have taken one of my classes and have -completed- the stitched project, please find me at the festival and show it to me (or a photo)! I have a special gift for you because you are not contributing to UFO pollution, which, as you know, is a serious problem!! (You don't have to take another class with me to get the gift. Just find me.)

If you will be looking me up, I'd appreciate a heads-up (well, a head count, really!) so I'll have enough gifts on hand.

General Information about the Festivals

Class Levels

Classes are designated as different levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced; all levels). A beginner ought not to register for an advanced class, but someone who's been stitching a couple of months probably could do an intermediate class. Most teachers will give extra help to those who need it. Our purpose, as teachers, is to induce our students to love stitching!

Other Events

In addition to classes, there are several meal events (progressive samplers, and so on), a stitcher's lounge that's open around the clock, many free lectures and inexpensive "make-it-and-take-it" classes, and a merchandise mall full of the glory of a monster stash.


To help ensure you get your first choices in classes, I think it's worth the extra expense to send your class registration FedEx or UPS or some other guaranteed-date-and-time delivery service. CATS is also accepting faxed registrations. (Each day, registration requests are processed in this order: FedEx/UPS, fax, mail. Some classes fill the first day, so don't dawdle with your registration if you have "must get" classes!

Festival Dates for This Year

Charleston: March 20-22
Houston: April 25-27 - I'm teaching at this one.
Santa Clara (San Jose), CA: May 16-18
Riverside (CA): August 14-16 - I'm teaching at this one.
Hershey (PA): September 18-20 - I'm teaching at this one, too.
Des Moines (IA): September 5-7 - This is my last (and the show's last) festival for 2003.

More information is available in the catalog concerning travel hints, hotels, nearby attractions, and so on.

Stitching Festival (Consumer Arts & Teaching Show)
2233 Knollpoint, NE
Ada, MI 49301

Phone: 616-447-0009
Fax: 616-363-5930

Web site: http://www.stitchingfestival.com

What It's Like to Attend a Needlework Festival

A needlework festival has to be every stitcher's fantasy:

Can such a fantasy come to life?

Yes, indeedy!

Now, you gents may not care a hoot about a long soak in the bathtub, but you -will- get the clicker all to yourself with no complaints, and you can leave your socks anywhere you please with no raised eyebrows. Best of all, though, is that nobody thinks it's unusual that you chose needlework as a pastime. In fact, we female stitchers wish there were -more- of you guys! Got any friends as cool as you?

I have a very detailed file elsewhere on my home page of other pointers and information about my experiences as a student at a stitch festival, if you'd like to read more about what it's like to go to one.

I look forward to seeing you in class! We're going to have a ball!

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