Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fabric for pillow finishing

In its almost 40-year-history, Needle Nicely has used two pillow finishers.  One was in Hickory, NC. The most recent was in St Louis.  But, horror of horrors, all of the St Louis finishers (under one business name) decided to retire.  They did give me several months warning so I could scrutinize the work of available finishers.  I made my selection 2 1/2 months ago. Finishers and shops have different ways to deal with what fabric will be used in the finishing.  Some always provide the fabric; others offer only velveteens.  In North Carolina, I would drive to the finisher and select fabrics from her inventory or NN would provide special fabrics.  In dealing with a finisher so far removed from us in Mo, Trubey and I decided to provide all fabrics other than velveteens.  Velveteens are difficult to find in Florida and are primarily used for Christmas stockings.  In Florida, customers rarely want velveteen as the backing of a pillow unless it will be used "up North".  Another reason for providing the fabric, and perhaps the most important, is to control the color match.  Trubey and I both have a good eye for color, much better than the average.  I'd rather take the responsibility for the color match, rather than rely on someone else.  As a result, over the years I would go to fabric stores and purchase yardage of various colors.  I would cut a 3"x 6" piece of the fabric to keep at Needle Nicely and send the remainder of the fabric to St Louis.  NN's customers would select fabric from our pieces and we would clip 2 small samples--one for our work order and one to be attached to the needlepoint.  The system worked marvelously for years.  UNTIL they retired and had to ship the unused fabric back to NN.  And we had to scramble to find space for it.

The fabric takes up 5 bookcases in NN's back room.  Now when we send needlepoint to the finisher, we select the fabric, clip a small sample to attach to the work order, and fold the needlepoint around the fabric for shipment to the finisher.  Here are our bookcases of fabric:


Due to the configuration of the NN backroom, I couldn't get back far enough to photograph the bottom shelves which contain the greens (we use a lot of greens).  To make space for all of the returns from St Louis, I donated the equivalent of 2/3 of one of these bookcases of fabrics that were too patterned, but were attractive.  A painful experience because one of my weaknesses is fabric!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another star for the star garland

For the royal blue star for the star garland, I have selected the Hungarian ground stitch.  I am using 4-ply of splendor; though I think it would stitch quickly and thicker if I had used 6-ply since it is an upright stitch.  In fact, I'm going to swap out the #12 Balger I had planned to use for #16 Balger.  Definitely don't want my filling thread to be skimpy.  You can see the T I penciled on the canvas to keep myself oriented concerning the top of the canvas.  It should be easy with a star shape, but it's amazing how canvases can get turned.  The round dot is my rare earth magnet that collects everything metallic within yards of the area.
I also wanted to share a photograph of the display case Needle Nicely has for the scissors we have for sale.  I just love different scissors and have quite a personal collection.  I still have some of the confiscated scissors from the TSA, though the ones left in stock are the plain Jane (no offense, Jane Wood!) ones that are made in Pakistan and similar locales.  Who knew just about every country makes scissors?  I prefer those made in Germany.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ho hum, boring project

I'm discovering why my silent night canvas wasn't finished last year--it's boring.  Definitely couldn't compare with the golf shots this weekend at the Masters.  I still have silent night in stitching position, but I also decided to work on another patterned star canvas for the eventual star garland.  More in the future.

This canvas bag by Lee's Needle Arts looks to be perfect for carrying a laptop or several hand-held devices.  The zippers were really attractive features that caught Macy's fancy.  We have stuffed paper in it to make it more attractive on display.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Silent night redo, 2

I'm determined to finish some WIP that have been lurking around the shop and house.  I was shocked just now to see that I started stitching this canvas in January, 2014.  Wow!  I really buried it deep, not just physically, but also mentally!

I mentioned in my original blog entry that the inner border was mispainted--the Kreinik Balger 16 I am using for the saw-tooth border seems to be covering well, and the silk 'n ivory for the background should disguise the miscount when finished.  Of course, I pulled the fibers a year ago and just realized that I need another skein of background.  Fortunately, I discovered this before I had started stitching the interior.  I took the two skeins back to the skeins and traded for three of another dyelot.  Being frugal, I did stitch the areas of the design surrounded by silver where the dyelot change won't be noticeable.

 You can see here the areas I stitched with the "old" dyelot.  Now to work on the new dyelot!
Of course, I just realized that I stitched those areas in basketweave.  I will be using nobuko for the background.  When the pillow is finished, I doubt anyone will notice my basketweaved areas.

Canvases are still arriving from the January market.  I usually request that designers not ship me canvases after April 1, since Needle Nicely's season starts declining the end of March and comes to a screeching halt the end of April.  Sad since May (and October) is such a beautiful month--people seldom stick around to enjoy it.  But I definitely don't want to have extra inventory to look at all summer when I'm the only person to admire it.

These are some of Kathy Schenkel's mini-stockings with inserts.




This was an eventful week for visitors to Needle Nicely.  Wednesday afternoon  we had Karen, who was in the area for business.  She had heard about us in 2001.  She called and had Trubey paint a rug for her.  It was ready for shipment when 9/11 happened.  Karen had worked in the twin towers and that infamous morning got on the wrong train so she arrived at work after the planes had hit.  Such a bittersweet moment to finally meet her.

The five Louisiana sisters were here yesterday.  They started coming to Needle Nicely over 20 years ago when they accompanied their mama to visit their sister in Melbourne (just north of Vero).  It is always enjoyable to see those beautiful big eyes in all their glory!

Edit:  I forgot to mention that the Jeopardy adult try-outs are this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I'll be there--join me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Monogram pillows, II

Progress has been slow on the tent stitch monogram pillow.  Macy thinks the hound's tooth background looks like frogs, so she attached a glitzy frog magnet to the canvas.   Anything to make things more interesting!
I like the way the colors I selected are working out.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A multitude of alligators, finished

This has been an interesting week.  First I went to my gp because I was finally ready to acknowledge that I had the galloping crud.  Come to find out about 25% of Vero also has it or is recovering.  As my doctor told me, I was just late to the dance (or too stubborn to admit I was that sick!  I kept insisting it was just spring pollen.  Right.)

Next, after a consultation with Macy, I selected just the right shade of red-orange-rust silk lame braid for my alligator canvas and put it in my tote to take home for stitching.  That night, while I was bouncing off the wall from the effects of a cortisone shot and settling in for a stitching marathon since I obviously wasn't going to go to sleep, I couldn't find the fiber.  All the others, but not that bittersweet.  Tuesday at the shop I looked high and low; finally selecting what I thought was another card of the same color. It wasn't and I didn't stitch with the replacement.  Thursday night I was checking on something in Monday's daily receipts and there the card innocently reposed!  Hooray!  I quickly did a slanted gobelin with it and completed the canvas.
In looking at the finished product, I wonder if that pale yellow should have been a very pale chartreuse, but I'm happy with how it looks in person.  Sometimes a photograph emphasizes something out of proportion.

To complete my week, I got a call from UPS about noon on Friday asking why I had called Monday and put a "will call" on Needle Nicely's packages.  Say what?  Apparently someone had and they were holding two packages.  It was too late for Friday delivery, but I'll get them Monday.  Don't know whether someone was being malicious or whether the UPS employee flagged the wrong account.  I also don't know whether or not I should be concerned.  Hmmmm.

The postal service was still delivering so I received a small shipment from Pippin Studio.  These are 3 from Jennifer's dozens series of designs.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A multitude of alligators, 5

 I decided to do the round Rhodes stitch for the "spots" on the alligator.  To remember which spots had the dots, I stitched while looking at my last blog post.  The freckles are navy smyrna crosses.  The irises are alternating slanted gobelin, and the yellow of the eyes is slanted gobelin to fit the space.

I received a shipment of Painted Pony's angel ornaments.  The following are a sampling of what arrived.