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Are you all experiencing spring fever as much as I am? Oh my goodness, I am itching to plant flowers and get outside for more than just dashing from my car to the building or vice versa. I enjoy the winter season because it means more time to stitch, but I am a huge advocate of stitching outside, and that's just not possible right now where I live.

I did have the wonderful opportunity to attend the National Needle Arts trade show last month in Nashville, Tenn. Even though it is the seventh time I've attended, I never cease to be amazed and awed at the new releases from companies and designers each year. It's always a pleasure to meet designers and catch up from year to year. We communicate so much via phone and email these days, but there is nothing like a face-to-face conversation. It was encouraging to see such enthusiasm about our favorite craft as well!

In our quest to cover and learn more about specialty stitches, this newsletter will focus on the Smyrna cross stitch. This simple stitch, which is really two cross stitches layered atop one another, can be used interchangeably with cross stitch or as an embellishment to add texture and dimension to a project. We'll look at how to make them, share some helpful tips, and suggest how to add them to a project. So, grab that trusty piece of doodle cloth, a favorite floss color and needle, and let's take a look at the Smyrna cross stitch.