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Part I of II
German embroidery and cross stitch designer, Martina Weber, introduced her first Mystery Project last summer. Basically an "online class," the mystery factor added a suspenseful element of fun to the mix. Mystery II, a more challenging design, began on Jan. 1. 2002. Several of Mystery II's participants have submitted their "work-in progress" and share their impressions. They are: Linda Busalacchi, Debbie Lowry, Helga Rodgers, Kathy Filosi, Karen Jenni, Wendy Bouzid, Ghislaine Buret, Helene Gautier, Mariann Mäder (Maeder). Martina states, "This is a wonderful project - and all the participants seem to have much joy in working it - partially because of my design and partially because of the sensual silks from Caron! I have already "converted" some die-hard cotton lovers." Mystery II is executed primarily with Caron Waterlilies.
What about this project attracted you and why did you decide to participate?
Kathy: A lady I met at a CATS festival who showed me what she had stitched on Mystery I back in October '01. I immediately fell in love with the design as well as the idea of stitching something that would start out as a mystery and unfold before my eyes each month. I immediately joined Mystery I and knew from then on that I would be hooked and have to stitch all of Martina's Mysteries.
Debbie: I came across photos of the Mystery 1 on the Caron website and couldn't wait for Mystery 2 to begin. I like that the project is stitched mostly with Caron Waterlilies silk fibers. I enjoy the anticipation of the next installment and being able to share the stitching experience with so many others from all over the world.
Karen: I chose this project because I had stitched Martina's Mystery I and knew her Mystery II would be a lot of fun and another beautiful project.
Helga: I read an announcement on a
BB along with an enthusiastic endorsement of a Mystery 1 stitcher.
While waiting for Mystery 2 to start (and fondling my silks on
a daily basis), I also joined Mystery 1 that was in its final
months by then. And that was when I got introduced to working
with Waterlilies and started dreaming about having a stash of
Helene: The first fact is the surprise to discover every month a part of the chart. And the second is that I saw the MI [Mystery Project 1] of Catherine and I loved it. (Catherine is a friend in the French group of the Mystery project enthusiasts)
Linda: I participated in Mystery I and the idea of stitching something that we had no idea of the design was very intriguing. It was wonderful and thus when Martina suggested Mystery II, I could not wait.
Wendy: First of all, I wanted to stitch it because Martina designed it. Also, I just loved the color range that she picked. Overall, I think it was the colors that were the deciding factor!
Mariann: The look of Martina's designs for one thing. The silks, of course, and the group, which is a very nice group of people. Not knowing where we're being taken in the design, the surprise every month to open the file with the new bit of chart.
Was Martina Weber, the designer, or the threads used in the design, a factor in doing the project?
Kathy: Sadly, I had not heard of Martina before this project. She is a wonder and I hope that soon all stitchers will be familiar with her designs. Also, I had never stitched with anything except DMC before this project. I am in love with the silks and will slowly have to add all the colors to my stash!
Debbie: Yes. Martina Weber is a very talented designer with fresh, new ideas that I find very appealing. I really enjoy the detail and the background that she provides about her choices of threads and embellishments for her designs. This adds to the pleasure of stitching her designs.
Karen: Yes to both. I think Martina has a wonderful sense of color and I think the Caron silks are beautiful.
Helga: Both, and I was intrigued by doing a whole project in silks. Martina has such a wide range of designs; she is not narrowed down to a specific theme. There is only one common thread (excuse the pun): she uses exquisite materials.
Ghislaine: Yes, both; I really enjoy embroidering with variegated threads.
Helene: I apologize but I did not know
Martina Weber before this project. But I knew
Linda: Yes, the Designer was a major
factor in doing this again. Martina's designs are wonderful and
she needs to be a household name in our Stitcher's World. I had
done some stitching with Caron threads and loved using them,
so the chance to use them totally on one project, was wonderful.
Mariann: Yes, definitely both are equally "responsible!"
Have you participated in anything like this before? (A project that you had not a clue as to what the finished design would look like?)
Kathy: This is the first time I have participated
in a project like this. I think it is a really fabulous idea
because, just like reading a mystery novel, each thread color
and stitch that evolves on the fabric is a small clue as to what
the finished piece is all about. I can't tell you how exciting
it is to finish the allotted section for the month and see how
it flows with
Debbie: I started stitching a project once before that was an actual murder mystery, but lost interest very quickly.
Karen: This is my second Mystery Project and my third with Martina.
Helga: Yes, Martina's Mystery 1.
Helene: No, it is the first time.
Linda: I participated in Mystery I when the idea of not knowing the design was very intriguing.
Wendy: Just before starting Mystery II, I finished an 18-month mystery sampler by Kay Montclare. It is a huge reproduction of a Spanish sampler dating from the early 1700's. It was done in pastel silks. It was great fun to watch the sampler unfold every month!
Mariann: I participated in Martina's first Mystery.
Have you used Any Caron silk threads (Waterlilies) before? Have you used any other Caron threads before?
Kathy: No, I have only used DMC up to this point. This is my first time using Caron Waterlilies. I truly love to stitch with this silk. I first carefully take it out of the plastic bag I have stored it in. Then I literally stare at it for a while, not really wanting to unravel it because it is just so beautiful to look at. But I must unravel if I want to stitch so I proceed carefully. It's like a ritual. The color changes are so dramatic. They are a perfect compliment to Martina's designs.
Debbie: Yes. I've used Watercolours, Wildflowers,
and Impressions before. I really enjoy stitching with silk fibers.
Caron Waterlilies come in such wonderful colors and the quality
of the silk is very good. The colors, quality, and texture make
stitching a pure pleasure.
Helga: Before Mystery 1, I didn't even
know there was anything else but cotton. Waterlilies was my first
introduction to Caron. I took up stitching six months ago with
only the most basic knowledge, like how to stitch an X. About
what I like about Waterlilies - Don't get me started! First of
all, the feel of it, the way the single fibers look much too
thin and then magically seem to expand for coverage (that was
my first impression). The colors: no abrupt changes, sometimes
unexpected combinations. The way it behaves, hardly any knotting,
it glides through the fabric, the look of the finished Project
Helene: Yes, I used Waterlilies many times
(I have more or less 20 skeins in my stuff). I
Linda: I had used Caron threads very sparingly before, but love them now. Caron threads are so soft and wonderful to use. Some of the other silk threads available tend to be stringy hard like. Can't seem to think of the correct word, but they are not as soft as Caron Threads.
Wendy: I've used Waterlilies countless times! I love the color ranges and the excitement of watching the colors change as you stitch. Sometimes I just let it happen "willy-nilly" and other times, I plan ahead so that a design will be symmetrical. I think I've used just about every thread Caron makes and lots of Watercolours for Hardanger!
Mariann: I have not used Caron threads before. Besides this project, I am working on "Christmas Dinner" by Stardust Designs, which uses several colours of Waterlilies. I really love the feel and the softness of the Waterlilies. They are so easy to work with and the effect is very lovely! I'm sure that if a pattern calls for any of them in the future, I'll use them with the same pleasure as the Waterlilies.
Have you stitched any of Martina's designs before?
Kathy: No, I was not familiar with Martina prior to hearing about Mystery I. Now my wish list has about 9 of Martina's designs on it and they are all screaming to be stitched first. I have chosen "Terra" to begin with and can't wait to get started.
Debbie: This is my first project of Martina's that I am stitching. I am now hooked. I hurried and purchased Mystery 1 and then her beautiful Castle Sampler. I am looking forward to stitching many more of her designs in the future.
Karen: Yes, I stitched Mystery I.
Helga: Yes, I am still working on
Mystery 1. I might start all over because I don't really like
my fabric choice. Live and learn.
Helene: No. But I will stitch MI [Mystery
Project 1] and I have already signed on for MIII.
Linda: I participated in Mystery I.
Wendy: I've stitched all four of her Season bell pulls and I'm just waiting for my fabric to arrive in order to start her Castle Sampler. Also the Element bell pulls are on my wish list!
Mariann: Only the first Mystery. I also have her Castle Sampler waiting.
Kathy: I purchased all of the threads that Martina called for and started laying them out on several different pieces of fabric. The colors are so vibrant that I wanted to make sure my fabric did not compete with them. When I lay them on the Jobelan Star Sapphire that I ultimately chose I was just drawn in by the combination. I am very pleased with my choice.
Debbie: I purchased the required fibers first and had a wonderful adventure matching them with different colors of fabric until I chose 32 count Apple Blossom linen.
Karen: I trusted Martina and used the colors she suggested.
Helga: It was a months-long process.
I had all the threads and slowly narrowed down my fabric choices.
For the last weeks before the Mystery started I was torn between
two colors, I finally sought DH's [Dear Husband's] advice and
went with Blue Satin from Silkweaver.
Helene: If I consider each color separately, I don't like all (some green too bright or hyacinth). But I trust in Martina, and each month since the beginning, I have loved the results.
Linda: I am using Glenshee, hand dyed Moonlite. I decided on this color by laying all of the threads on it and liked what I saw. I have never done a lot of stitching on a colored fabric and thought that this would be fun. I did show it to my stitching group and they are in awe of the way it's turning out and I know I will have a few more to join us on Mystery III.
Wendy: Actually, I'm using the color scheme provided by Martina.
Mariann: Martina informed us what Waterlilies colours were being used for the project and all the stitchers then decided what fabric colour they liked. I use Platinum Cashel linen. I like to lay out the threads on the fabric and see how they look with it.
How did you find out about this Project?
Kathy: I met a gal at the CATS festival in Minneapolis in Oct. '01 who talked about Mystery I and showed me what she had stitched so far. I immediately fell in love with what I saw. She gave me all the information and as soon as I got home I signed up for Mystery I and then I signed up for Mystery II in December.
Debbie: A friend sent me the link to the Caron Gallery so I could see Mystery 1.
Karen: I discovered Martina through an Internet Bulletin Board.
Helga: On a BB [Bulletin Board].
Helene: I had a look on the picture trail
of Catherine, a French lady stitching MI. [Mystery Project 1].
Catherine is a friend from a group of French stitchers involved
in the Mystery projects.
Linda: I participated in Mystery I. I learned of Mystery I originally on the Cross Stitch BB and have been hooked since then.
Wendy: I learned about it from Martina's web site. I was showing my sister the Chatelaine web site and hinting about what she could get me for Christmas. While browsing, I noticed the information about Mystery II and looked at the wonderful thread selection and signed up immediately!
Mariann: I was informed about it by a friend who sent me an e-mail, before the first Mystery started. Once in there, of course, I moved on to the second one.
Note: an article some "fans" wrote and posted to an official Bulletin Board triggered an enthusiastic response to Martina's Mystery II. Once their pictures of the project were displayed, 15 new participants signed up for it.
What are you enjoying most about doing this project?
Kathy: I love the anticipation. When you receive the chart you get an idea of what it will look like but it is still not a clear picture until it is stitched because of the color variations in the silks. It is also so wonderful to meet other stitchers who are doing this project because it's great to know that there are others out there who are as addicted to stitching as I am! There is a kinship between stitchers and Martina has really brought joy to so many of us through her designs. I am lucky to know seven other ladies in my area who are also stitching the Mystery so we are able to see each other's progress in person each month. There are lots of ooohh's and aaahh's going on and the chatter is non-stop! This is just a great way to stitch and Martina is a wonderful, generous, caring designer who truly does this from her heart.
Debbie: I really enjoy viewing the progress of the other stitchers and being able to interact with them throughout the project. I also appreciate how Martina is so involved with the group and is very willing to answer all our questions no matter how many times we ask! I really enjoy the anticipation of receiving the next installment. It's great fun to try and guess what will be coming next.
Karen: I enjoy the contact with other stitchers and the suspense before the design emerges. I am constantly surprised by Martina, both with the design and how she uses colors. She puts colors together that I would never dream of, and they always look beautiful. My husband rarely if ever comments on what I'm stitching. Now he looks at Mystery II and says "wow!" His most recent comment was that he liked it when I used "skinny thread." He is referring to one strand of silk versus my customary two strands of floss.
Helga: I enjoy the contact I have with other stitchers in Mystery II and the suspense and surprise as the design emerges. We have an exceptionally nice and international group of ladies and I have learned so much from them. Any questions are immediately answered, may it be general stitching advice or pattern related. Martina always replies as soon as she can, but even she has to sleep sometimes. Most questions are answered within ten minutes. A fun part of the Mystery is guessing what will be next and seeing how different people interpret the pattern. After Mystery 1, we suggested names for the pattern and Martina chose from our suggestions!
Ghislaine: As I said before, the suspense and the surprise as the design emerges and more especially, that I've never been disappointed by the chart. I've found it gorgeous especially the special stitches.
Helene: I enjoy the suspense every month. I am so excited to stitch the first stitches and to read all the mails every day, is a very good exercise for me, too, even if I don't write often.
Linda: I got involved because of Mystery I. I have made many new friends from this group and it is very enjoyable. It is sometimes very difficult to find friends who understand your desire to sit and stitch for hours on end. Most people think we must be crazy to sit and do this fine work. Martina's designs are wonderful and I currently have her "Knotgarden" started and will be collecting the rest of them. I also enjoy the suspense of not knowing what is coming in the next installment.
Wendy: The absolute beauty of Martina's design. And the thrill and frustration in having to wait for each installment! Also, this group of stitchers is so warm, loving and supportive. I am enjoying myself immensely.
Mariann: It's a lot of fun to stitch. Sharing it with the other stitchers is certainly very nice too, and seeing the nice little differences in the projects. While we're stitching the same design, fabric colours and threads do let it look a bit different. It's very nice to see them. Chatting with the others is another factor. Martina has a lot of nice specialty stitches in it; to learn more stitches is part of it and comes with working on it, which is another bit of the fun.
Mystery III is scheduled to begin June 1, 2002. It will span 6 months, will employ Waterlilies silks and will be a matching piece to Mystery I. Mystery IV will then begin in January of 2003.
Stay tuned for Part II of Mystery II, scheduled for June, to see how stitchers are coming along with their projects. Also, Martina will elaborate on her own ideas about the Mystery Series.
For more information on Martina and Mystery Project I,
For additional information on Martina's designs and the Mystery projects, go to the links below:
Martina Weber "Chatelaine"
NEW : "The Chatelaine WEBSHOP"-- a stitching
adventure + " THE CHATELAINE CASTLE SAMPLER " kit see:
***** Starting in JUNE 02, 2002 Mystery III *****
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