Monday, May 23, 2016


One of our favorite garden plants is an early bloomer called Forget-Me-Nots, and I think it is so appropriate for this post, as you probably thought I have forgotten how to post on my blog! Somehow, the hectic nature of life seems to have interfered with regular posts. But I vow to improve my communication skills.

 My husband and I were fortunate to spend time in Florida this winter, which is always a welcome change from the snow and cold of Michigan. Now we are entering our favorite time of year - Spring and Summer, and we spent the weekend getting out all of the porch furniture from the basement, power washing the front of the house and planting perennials, pots and annuals. We love eating outdoors for a few months, and being able to enjoy the yard with our family. On Mother's Day we hosted a brunch here and  spent part of the afternoon playing croquet. Pictured here are 3 generations of Whitman's : my husband Dick , son Mark, and grandson Wyatt.

The kids love setting up elaborate layouts for the croquet games, which often involve going up and down hills, and sending balls into the woods. We hope they'll never forget what fun we have together and we realize how lucky we are to live near all of the six grandchildren.

In the Spring  you will often find us at any number of baseball games.  Our youngest granddaughter (7) Elli plays on a Little League team and does amazingly well as the only girl on the team.

But then she takes after her older sister Ashton who is the only girl on a JV high school baseball team!  I never learned how to play baseball properly, so I'm very proud of my granddaughters for being part of this sport.  To say we attend lots of games is an understatement, but how lucky we are to be part of their lives.

Since beach season is approaching, don't forget about some JBW designs that would be perfect for this time of year.  Beach Bound has been designed for this pre-finished beach bag, and the Patriotic A,,B, C's is a great one for your 4th of July decor.

Believe it or not, I'm busily designing for Halloween, and before I know it - it will be time to begin Christmas leaflets.  Oh the year is going by much too quickly - so be sure to enjoy every moment - and remember - I haven't forgotten you!
With kind thoughts and happy stitching -

Monday, April 4, 2016


It has been brought to my attention that there is an error in the stitch count for the new design, Floral Alphabet. The numbers have been reversed and should be 148w x 114h. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Friday, March 25, 2016

New Spring Titles

Announcing the New Spring Titles from JBW Designs!

#315 Floral Alphabet - A feminine alphabet which can be beautifully framed or finished as a pillow. Stitched on #32 antique ivory Belfast linen.

#316 French Country Bicycle - This is a new look for a very traditional French theme: flower baskets, lavender, a cafe and a bicycle brimming with charm.

#317 French Country Snowflake - A shop owner in Vermont requested this design, and it was so much fun to stitch that I got carried away and stitched 3 different models. The model pictured was stitched on #32 Belfast Blue Spruce linen with white floss.

#318 French Country Stork - Stitched on #32 French Polka Dot linen from Fabric Flair. This design includes a complete alphabet to personalize the piece with names and dates. The model was finished as a flat hanging piece and it could be stitched in any color combination.

#319 - Ready, Set, Go ABC's - The perfect project for a little boy's room. I've used a variety of Classic Colorworks and Weeks fibers, and have a button kit available which includes all 22 tiny white and black buttons. The model was finished with a Family Tree Frame.

#320 A Visit From the Tooth Fairy - A classic design for small children. A pre-finished pillow has been designed especially for this piece, and I've used JABC buttons for the fairy's wand and the corners of the pillow.

Special Kits
released at the Nashville Market

Ooh La La -  A darling little scissors picket kit. The pocket is on the back and I've used the cutest little pair of Eiffel Tower scissors to complete the theme. The kit includes a piece of #32 linen for the larger design and a piece of #28 linen for the scissors fob which is worked over one. Also included are the print and polka dot fabrics, ribbon, a button, rick rack and complete finishing instructions. Two background options are offered: either little crowns or an alphabet. Just select your favorite!

Pastel Project Bag - A sweet little zippered bag, perfect for carrying one of your favorite new JBW Designs along with your stitching accessories. Two fabric options are available: one in peach and the other in aqua. Each bag has a #32 linen insert and requires no finishing. A complete monogram chart is included with each kit. This would be a lovely gift for Mother's Day, a wedding shower - or something just for yourself!

Find the New Spring Titles from JBW Designs at a needlework retailer near you!

Friday, January 29, 2016


While we strive to provide accurate charts and instructions, there are times when errors do slip by. It has been brought to our attention that there is an error in the DMC color number on the chart for Birth Sampler ~ "You Shall See Wonders." The DMC equivalent for the Classic Colorworks Whatley Woodland should be #434. You can find all of our corrections by clicking the Corrections tab at the top of this page. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Finishing Christmas Ornaments

One of my newsletter readers recently made a request which I though might be helpful to many of you who are in the midst of making Christmas ornaments - either as gifts or for your own trees.  I've written a simple set of instructions and will post them here on the blog , and  we will put them on my website:

Many of the ornaments have been finished in a variety of shapes - a heart, circle, tree shape, square, or as a house shaped ornament.  When you first begin, you can use tracing paper to make a paper template of the stitched design.  Allow at least 1/4" - 3/8" beyond the finished design for mounting it onto the mat board.  You will be cutting two pieces of mat board in this shape - one for mounting your design, and the second will be for the backing.  Continue with the finishing steps listed below and please feel free to write if you have other questions.

Mat board
Small piece of batting or a piece of felt (optional)
Cotton fabric for backing
Floss to make cording, or you can use a 1/4" ribbon to finish the edges

Finishing steps:
1. Cut two shapes of the mat board for mounting your design and the backing fabric.
2. Place a small piece of batting or felt onto the mat board and center the stitched design on the top.
Wrap the edges neatly to the back, using fabric glue to secure.
3. Cover the second piece of mat board with the cotton fabric and secure with glue to the back.
4. Put the two covered shapes together - with the wrong sides facing one another.  Slip stitch the edges of the two pieces with small basting stitches or glue together.
5. The edging of the ornament can be finished with either twisted cording, beads or a ruched ribbon.  ( A ribbon which has been gathered and twisted before being attached to the edges.)
6. If you are using cording, allow a long enough piece to add a loop to the top.  And  you will need enough to go around the perimeter of the ornament.  (Kreinik carries a tool to make cording that is a great little device.)
7. The cording can be either glued or stitched onto the edges, ending at the top or base of the ornament.  If you leave a little opening at the top or base - you can sink the ends of the cording into that space to make a neat joining.
8. Use a small ribbon bow to cover the joining area at the top or base of the ornament.
9.  To attach the ruched ribbon to the edges - gather the ribbon and twist it as you sew it to the edges.  You can also tack down the ribbon using just straight pins with a pin at the top.  Space about every 1/2" .  The pins are placed between the two layers of mat board.  It's a beautiful and clever finish and was used on the Christmas Tree VIII ornaments pictured above.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Teaching Future Stitchers

This past weekend our four youngest grandchildren were here for an 'overnight' with Nana and Papa.
Since there are three boys and just one girl, Elli and I  often bake or do other projects while the boys are being ' just silly'.   She asked me if we could 'sew' together , and of course I was delighted.
We were up in my studio so I showed her my latest design and we found her special sewing supplies.  We sat side by side while she continued a previous project and I was available to help her if the fibers slipped off her needle, or if things became a little tangled.

Sometimes we forget how diligent small children can be when they are concentrating on learning to do something they truly enjoy.  She is so proud of her work and I am so pleased that perhaps she will carry on my stitching passion.  We've decided that I will make her little design into a small pillow for her bed.

A few years ago I was interviewed for a blog post about the Affectionately Yours book. The writer
asked what I was doing to help  ensure that future generations would continue to learn to stitch. This question really made me stop and think, as my answer at the time was that I was doing nothing.

So I designed a small booklet called Learning To Cross Stitch, which is a guide to all of the beginning elements of stitching.  Several shops have had some very innovative ideas on how they could promote cross stitching for children.  One shop in PA had a several day event that involved making aprons for American Girl dolls.  One day was just an introduction, followed up with stitching borders, and then stitching the doll's  or little girl's name onto the apron.

The future of cross stitch will depend upon each one of us sharing our passion with others - no matter whether they are six, twenty six or forty six years old.  And we understand how it brings such a sense of peace and calmness to our very busy lives.

Share your suggestions and I will post them in future JBW blogs.  Thank you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Trip to the East Coast

A few weeks ago my husband and I took a vacation to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  I've always wanted to visit the island and we were fortunate to have sunny warm days while we were there.

We stayed with friends on the 'Vineyard' who were great tour guides.  Each day we'd pass homes with picket fences and beautiful gardens which were so charming that I'd have to say "Stop- let's get a picture of this!"  My favorite was a stunning Cape Cod - with  grey cedar shingles, a pitched roof, French doors, windows boxes overflowing with flowers and lovely gardens.  Oh if only I could build one like that!

My other favorite home was in Edgartown - where we could see a collection of cobalt blue glassware mounted in the upper windows of the cottage.  It was just captivating.  We kept trying to figure out how the owner mounted each piece into the display.  Hmm - I wonder if I should think about this for displaying my collection of blue and white ware in my office windows.  But then who would ever see it - since we live at the top of a hill in the woods!?  It would be my own private joy to contemplate every day.
The trip was short but a much needed get-away and we'd highly recommend it as a destination.
But now it's time to concentrate on designing once again  and working on the next collection.
Stay tuned and stay in touch.