Category Archives: Finito

No Pets on the Beach


As you may have noticed, I’ve kind of been OD-ing on pics of the beach lately. Well, now I’m in traction from walking 20 miles in the dunes over the last two days.

So we might as well transition back to needlepoint pics, but before going there I have to tell you one of my pet peeves is when people ignore a large No Pets sign that’s displayed kind of PROMINENTLY on the beach I go to most often.

No Pets Allowed

Why do people do this.?  Oh I know.  They’re special.  Not just their pets.  Them. Personally.  Special. The nesting birds hate this.  It is very disruptive. But people bring Fluffy along all the same, and it’s always when the wildlife official has a day off.

Moving on from the zone of bad vibes, this Cat in the Basket is a little cross stitch I did a while back. It was a breeze to stitch and took maybe an hour. I think I was attracted to it because of the very cool mat that came with the whole deal-e-o.

Cat in a Basket

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Primitive Country Scene

Needlepoint Design by Shay Pendray

Design by Shay Pendray

Primitive Country Scene is a canvas my mother and I stitched together in the late 70s.  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

The design is early Shay Pendray, before the famous needlepoint author, designer, and TV host moved on to much more elaborate metal and Japanese embroidery.

This was pretty straightforward to stitch.

It came kitted, and Betty and I worked off Shay’s stitch guide, the first page of which you see below.

Country Scene Stitch Guide

Country Scene Stitch Guide

Note all the open work on this canvas — fairly novel at the time.

I enjoyed stitching this canvas — it had tweeding, couching, and made use of various fibers, such as Anchor Marlitt, French silk, and flower threads — many of which were new, at least to me…  a time when all sorts of different textured threads were introduced.

The framed picture you see up top is the one I stitched.    Too bad I don’t also have Betty’s to show you!

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

X marks the spot

Voodoo Doll

Voodoo Doll

I saw this canvas on an auction website, and I guess it, uh, put a spell on me.  Just one of those, ‘I’ve got to have it’ needlepoint moments.

After all, what can possibly make a better pincushion than a voodoo doll?

Voodo Doll Finish (Back)

Voodo Doll Finish (Back)

It was originally purchased someplace in Louisiana.

I haven’t seen a canvas like this anywhere, which ought to tell you something, and I know all the gris gris places.

Stitching the thing, I didn’t use any of the Paternayan wool or even the rooster claw it was kitted with, but instead stitched it in bright neon metallics.

I love the backing of the my voodoo doll, with its shaded gris swirls.

Now, if you go to Wiki (where I downloaded the background pic), there is an interesting history about voodoo in New Orleans and the Queen of Voodoo, Marie Laveau.  Holy graveyard!

Elvis is probably real lonely tonight.

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Happy Hauntings!!!


It is a dark and stormy night here in south Florida, where meteorologists have dubbed this latest tropical storm, “Frankenstorm.” Anyway, Halloween has always been a favorite of mine and so in the spirit of this holiday season, here are some spooktacular needlepoints that I’ve stitched.

This is a little Halloween ornament with two ghosts, three Jack O’Lanterns and two black cats.  Pardon the cheesy backdrop, but, due to the freakish storm, outside photography was too harrowing to even contemplate. The cats were done in Petite Very Velvet. While it is fiendishly hard to see, most of the ornament is tricked up in metallic threads, which always makes things a little more fun.  The finisher put a little bat embellishment on the top, and a creepy spider is attached to the long hanger.

The backing material — I just love it when finishers go batty with my projects.

Sometimes I just let a finisher have carte blanche when putting together a needlepoint job.  All the decisions in finishing this ghoulish trick or treater were left solely in my finisher’s hands.  I really liked how Casper here was devilishly placed on a custom-crafted stand, with two little gold  balls to create a floating, ghostly effect.

Aren’t the backing and twist just perfect?

And finally… there’s this little witch in a big hat. Her smiling little face isn’t scary one bit, but that wand looks like it could be trouble!

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed this little gallery of ghoulish delights.  Well…  off I go to do some more stitching.   Meanwhile, I’m keeping my needles crossed that the Evil Storm won’t ruin this Halloween.  As my grandmother used to tell me, on stormy nights like this one, life sometimes can seem to be nothing but one big cone of uncertainty.  Okay, bad joke.  Tooddle-do!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Swimming with the Fishes


Artist Unknown

I stitched this canvas on the island of Manhattan during a really cold winter, as I was waiting to vacation in Anguilla, or someplace on the islands.  It’s a cross-stitch design that makes a great gift idea for your favorite scuba or snorkeling fanatic.  It might even look funky on the wall in a dentist’s waiting room, instead of the usual bubbling tank with Japanese gold-fish.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Et Dieu Se Reposa


Carolyn Ambuter

I had this sampler Tableau du Moyen Âge drawn for me, back in the early 80s, from a design I saw in a Carolyn Ambuter needlepoint book.  As you can tell from the tilted basket, the framer’s skills left something to be desired in the blocking department, but it was still selected to be part of an exhibit in a local art show.


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Mary Antrim, Mary Antrim


Stitched by Erin

So I was browsing through the Gothamist to keep up with recent news in the Big Apple and came upon this.

$1.07 million for a canvas by a schoolgirl.  Okay, so she stitched it as a sampler two centuries ago, but still.

A thousand large, as they say in Jersey.

Frankly, I was blown away.  Forget the canvas.  Just think of all those lovely zeroes.

And what impressed me, most of all, was that Nice Man dealer priming the pump with all this business about how it stands out as a unique folk art statement.


It totally does.

Got me thinking, though.

Why, I’ve got a piece right here:   It’s charmingly folkoric, it’s old (I think it may be one of my pieces from the turn of the century), it’s watermarked, and it’s available!

But only for that special sap, I mean person, who feels he or she must grossly overpay for an embroidered canvas that almost anyone who reads this blog can stitch in under a week.

And the beauty of it all is that you can have it at the reduced price of only $100,000 + shipping.

Offer only good till Sunday.

Additional stitcher prep charges may apply…

And the best part is, if it’s gone by the time you call, don’t worry:  there’s tons more in my dusty attic where that came from.

Think I’ll call that dealer fellow now, pronto.

ps.  Demi Lune sold separately, if I can find one quick at the flea market, er, the local On Consignment outfit.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.