Saturday, July 26, 2014

Group decisions, not really a good use of resources

Most needlepoint shops have sales staffs of varying levels of expertise.  One assumes that the greatest level of expertise is possessed by the owner (though this is not always the case).  I try to stress to my employees that it is not necessary for everyone working in the shop at the moment to be a part of the decision-marking process with a customer.  Yes, one employee should be completely engaged.  But no decision is so earth-shaking that everyone on the face of the earth (or on the payroll of Needle Nicely) needs to offer an opinion.  That's why you'll often see me ducking into the backroom while my employees offer their opinions.

I never resent waiting on a customer.  In fact, I rather enjoy the interaction (and I should or I shouldn't be in business).  However, if I have an employee in the shop, that usually means I should be doing something administrative while she waits on customers.  That's why I am paying her.  Administrative means writing up finishing to be shipped to the various finisher, entering canvases into the inventory so they can then be hemmed and put on display, paying bills (perish the thought!), ordering fibers, calling designers to place special orders, etc., etc.  Or, as happened one recent Thursday, calling the US post office package tracing line to be sure that an insured package wasn't lost.  Thank goodness it wasn't and I heard yesterday that it has been picked up at the local post office.  I insure finished items for at least $300. so they must be signed for and can't just be dropped on the doorstep.  This can cause a problem since so many people work.  They often don't recognize the notices that the post office delivers with their mail to indicate where the package is being held for pick up.

On another topic, the splendor rack is functional again.  I received the replacement stand from Rainbow Gallery about lunchtime on Thursday.  I made a quick call to Stuart and  he stopped by around 3 pm to orchestrate the final assembly of the rack.  Then Lynn spent Friday morning rehanging the splendor inventory on the hooks.  Whew!  It looks gorgeous and turns like a dream.

This is the finished pillow of the scallop needlepoint from Trish that I blog-stitched earlier this year.  The backing fabric just happened to be a perfect match for the golden tan silk 'n ivory that I had used for the shell and border.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mary bag pocketbook

One May over 30 years ago I went to the needlework market at the airport Hilton in Atlanta with instructions from Trubey to order 3 purse canvases from Betty Turner of Elizabeth Turner Needlepoint.  She had a purse called the "Gerry" bag.  Its original size was larger than a Pierre Deux bag, though shaped similarly.  The three names I was to order were:  Trubey, Zoella, and Mary.  I immediately stitched the Mary version so we had it for a shop model--and still have it today. It was stitched entirely in Paternayan persian yarn. The colors selected seemed appropriate for 1980 in the North Carolina mountains, though today in Florida looking at it I think the colors are drab.  I suppose it's what I now think of as a "city" bag--that you carry when you travel from Florida to New York or London.  The only time it did any traveling was to accompany me on the QEII when Trubey's parents took us to London.  It's more the size of a carry-on than a pocketbook.

 Trubey and I stitched the Zoella purse to give her mother as a gift.  I don't know what happened to the Trubey canvas.  I'll have to remember to ask Trubey if she ever stitched it.



 This is the Needle Nicely shop model for the more current, smaller version of the bag.  We added a shoulder strap to add to the purse's versatility.  It was stitched in medici yarn for the background and DMC perle coton for the letters. 





 Here's a painted canvas.  We paint each one to order, so some might include the butterflies shown here or other items of significance to the eventual owner.  I always counsel the stitcher to do the long piece first.  If you do the two end pieces first,  you think the long piece is never ending and sometimes people have not finished it.  Sometimes you just have to out-smart yourself!!


















This is the same style purse canvas with Trubey's tassels.  Usually it is stitched with a navy or black background to make the tassel colors really popl

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Broken fiber rack and some frogging

 Here's my leaning tower of Splendor, braced against a canvas rack.  If you look closely, you can see the signs that I have taped to the "turning handles" on the side of each section of the rack.  I asked people to not turn the rack.  Since the shop is small, anytime someone approached it I went into full attention and ran to personally turn the rack.  Sort of a lurch and hold and then tilt toward the solid canvas rack.  I was waiting until business really hit the summer doldrums this week when my two able assistants, Stuart and Lynn, were available for the repair.  On Thursday morning Lynn removed the 360 shades of Splendor to drawers in some excess DMC cabinets Needle Nicely owns.  (Some others of which have been sold to Erin of NeedlepointLand in Stuart this summer.)  Friday, Stuart appeared and we proceeded to open the "cage" and remove it so we could get to the center pole and its base.  I thought that the problem was a broken "doughnut" that held the pole in the base, but that was not the case.  In case you're a sadist, I last dealt with this rack when it broke in May of 2012.  Enjoy!






This is the 4-piece cage folded in half and stored in a front area of Needle Nicely.
It will reside there until a new part arrives from California.




 This is the culprit.  It's the cap to the hole in the base into which the pole is wedged.  The doughnut fits around the pole and turns, but the pole rests in this "widget".  You can see the left edge where obviously the seal has broken loose.





 And a bottom view of the base, showing the gaping hole where the "widget" used to be attached.





I think you can see the outline of the base and the depression in the center caused by the pole no longer being encased in the "widget".  Of course, I had no idea of this until we disassembled the entire thing.  And I am again reminded of that old saw:  "I wish I worked in a needlepoint shop where I could sit and stitch all day."  Me, too!!


Another thrilling discovery of my week.  Somehow I miscounted on my Serendipity stitch in between these two "bubbles" on my Susan Roberts tree.  The only thing more difficult than stitching the Serendipity stitch on red canvas with a red fiber is picking it out.  Big, big sigh!  And I have no guarantee that it will go back in correctly.  Trust me, the next time I stitch this area will be the last time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Four trees ministocking, finished!

Most of the texture doesn't show up in this photograph, mainly because the glitter of the metallics seems to control the image.  I stitched the star and the central tree in the encroaching gobelin.  The ornaments on the trees in the background were done in smyrna crosses.  The toe is done in nobuko, while the trunk and tree holder are done in the slanted gobelin.  It's satisfying to have such a quick finish!!  And it's already in a box ready for shipment to my ornament finisher.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mr. DeMille...a close-up of the hair, please!

Sasha now has hair!!  After considering the possibilities, I decided to go with curly doll hair from Joanne's and --gasp! Tacky glue.  I was careful to smear the glue on the fabric backing Sasha's head, rather than on the actual stitching. 






I did manage an hour or two of stitching on the Susan Roberts 5" tree.  This is the Serendipity stitch using splendor. 










Just in case you were wondering, yes, I have my next project selected.  In fact, I've pulled the fibers.  The only reason it isn't already stretched on the bars is because I assembled the bars at the shop yesterday and then walked out without them.  Guess that ensures I won't start on it until Tuesday!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

cortisone city and SR tree X

I'm writing this late, late Monday night because I finally broke down and went to the doctor today about my sinus infection/lung crap.  I tried to get an appointment last week but since I work alone in the summer, I couldn't drop everything and go in Thursday afternoon.  Actually, Thursday was about my 4th best business day in at least 4 months so I wasn't about to close the door.  And Wednesday I couldn't get an answer at my doctor's office.  Duh!  I always schedule any medical appointments for early morning, whether they be dentist, eye doctor, or gp.  It's difficult to convey to the schedulers that yes, I'm over 65 but I do have a business that I prefer to see open at 10am.  So, either schedule me on a summer Monday or before 9:30  during the week.  I can deal with that.  Thank goodness, Vero is a small town so I can almost make it to the shop by 10 if I see you at 9:30 (my doctor is usually spot on time).

Anyway, the whole point of this is that today I got the expected diagnosis of sinus infection/lung infection.  Prescription an antibiotic and a bonus because I was wheezing--a shot of cortisone.  Oh, joy.  Over 20 years ago I received a shot of cortisone for my stitcher's elbow and went back to the shop to work.  Macy later said that I was bouncing off the walls and talking in triple speed.  At least today I came home for my last day off on a 4-day weekend.  So, no afternoon nap, almost no stitching, and I'm still at the computer at 12:30am on Tuesday.  Sigh!  At least this should wear off by later in the morning.  My husband wisely retreated to sleep and ignore me.  Good man.   EDIT:  I wound up getting to sleep about 6:15 am for a refreshing hour's sleep.  I was amazed at how well I functioned in the shop on Tuesday.  The downside was that I was too jittery all night to concentrate on stitching so I read an entire memoir by Dame Judi Dench.

On the stitching front, I just finished another section of the Susan Roberts Christmas tree.  I keep counting pieces and think I have only another 1 1/4 pieces to go.  
On the right you see the completed section of criss-cross Hungarian stitched in rachel/flair and Treasure Braid.  The left side is a Hungarian couching stitch done with very velvet for the laid thread, neon rays plus for the tie-down stitches, and Treasure Braid for the ornamental filling stitches. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Four trees ministocking

As a change of pace from the Susan Roberts Christmas tree on red canvas, I selected another of Pippin's ministockings on interlock canvas.  This one has 4 trees on it.




I have to chuckle to myself when I look at this--I just grabbed a green metallic and started stitching the basketweave on the background trees.  Then I looked into the bag of fibers and realized that I had selected the lighter green to stitch the darker trees.  Ah, well!  I'm a needle artist and versatile, so I'll do the darker metallic on the single tree in the foreground.  Anything to keep from frogging!  I'm stitching this entire mini-stocking in Balger metallic.  The top cuff area is done in the Byzantine mosaic.  In person, the pattern barely shows so I'm glad you can see it in the photograph.