Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Travels with Mary Agnes and Trubey

The first trip I took with Trubey was to a TNNA market in New York City.  I was there to help Mary Duckworth, a designer from Northern Virginia,  in her booth.  Peggy Rente from the Naughty Needle in Miami Shores was also traveling with us.  We stayed in a suite at the Al-Rae hotel in the Germantown section of New York.  It was a great small hotel that offered personalized service and not long after our visit went condo.

My duties working for Mary were essentially to be a go-fer.  The first day I was sent to the deli across from the hotel (who knows what its name was, but it was a famous one--I don't even remember the name of the hotel where the show was held!).  Anyway, I was sent to pick up lunch for several of us.  At that time in my life I didn't really consider myself Southern--until this experience.  By the time I told the man behind the counter what condiments I wanted on the sandwich, I already had the sandwich.  Oops!  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I don't think that would have helped.  You had to specify black when you ordered, otherwise New York coffee came with cream.  Oops!  By the time I reached the end of the line at the cashier, I had no idea what I had or had ordered.  With a look of disgust, he charged me the max!

I still remember heading back to the show floor, going up on the escalator.  At the top, George Reagan (a yarn rep from Reynolds Yarn) spotted me.  He asked if I were okay, since I was white as a sheet.  When I told him where I had been, he remarked that they should never have sent me there, being a nice Southern girl!!  They didn't let me go again, not out of kindness, but because I screwed up the orders!  Black coffee drinkers definitely don't like coffee with cream!

The last afternoon of a show has always been slow, so Mary gave me the afternoon off.  Outside the hotel was a bus stop where I was told to take a bus that went all the way to the Cloisters.  I sat behind the driver, after making sure that's where the bus went.  It was wonderful riding through Manhattan looking at everyone.  I spent several hours on my own admiring, among other things, the unicorn tapestries before Trubey and Peggy arrived.

One evening we had dinner with Pru diVenzo, the original owner of Tapestry Tent and her darling husband Tito at Giambelli's about 40th street (there were two Giambelli's owned by branches of the same family--I don't know if they are still open).  It was a delicious meal followed by zabigione prepared at the table.  One other memory is that the bus boy was quite taken with the senorita (me).  I was embarrassed as everyone at the table enjoyed his antics, offering me bread and anything to gain my attention.

I've been wracking my brains, trying to remember what year this was.  It was the late 1970s since we opened the Vero Beach store in October, 1981.  The late 70s would make me in my mid to late 30s.  As the guys at Craigs Grocery in Blowing Rock would say--"a fine figure of a woman".

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 2

Well, periodically Blogger slaps you just to remind you who's in charge.  I had just completed this entry when it disappeared.  Ugh!  
This week I have put the stocking on a frame.  I've discovered a new favorite stitch--slanted gobelin over 2 threads accompanied by a single row of continental.  I've used it for the background as well as  for one of the stockings, the houses, and the candles.  Diagonal mosaic is the stitch of choice for the stars, both on the miniature trees and the stars in the flower pots.  I've used French knots for the ornaments on the miniature trees.  Another of the stockings is done in checkerboard Scotch stitch.  The stitching is done in impressions, DMC perle 5 and Balger metallic #12.   

On another topic, Needle Nicely has several hundred canvases on sale on the shelf in the shop's front window.  During the entire month of September, they will be on sale, Buy one get the second of lesser value for half price.  This sale does not apply to the $5 sale basket.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Needlepoint portrait

Years ago (about 45 or so), there was a company in California who made charts from photographs.  This was in the late 70s into the 80s.  Needle Nicely sent many photographs for customers; and I, also, did many needlepoints from their designs.  I did a German Shepherd for my then best friend; another item was a photograph of Trubey as an infant with her mother which I stitched and gave to her mother one year.  Another was done from the etching design of the logo of my brother's then lodge in the Southwestern mountains of North Carolina.  But, as far as I am concerned, the piece de resistance was the needlepoint portrait of me at 25 (my graduate degree photo from Appalachian).
The chart maker had a computer program that keyed 8 DMC floss colors or 8 DMC tapestry yarn colors.  I have the gold-leaf oval frame for this--I must take it to my framer.  In the upper right-hand corner, I have cut off where I have started a background stitch.  I'm going to ignore all that and have Donna put it into the oval frame without the background stitched. Maybe with some gold metallic placed behind so it shimmers through the unstitched areas.

Both the stitch portrait and the frame were uncovered when Needle Nicely unpacked the storage unit we had kept in Vero for the last 10 years.  Previous to that, they had traveled with us in boxes for years after we closed the Blowing Rock location of Needle Nicely.  I'm proud of how well we have managed to keep them because there are no signs of mildew, a miracle in Southern Florida!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job

As I mentioned Wednesday, earlier that day a customer came in and selected an 18-mesh Rebecca Wood Christmas stocking for Needle Nicely to stitch for her new granddaughter.  It is 210 square inches and I estimate that I will have to stitch at least 35 square inches a week until my finisher's Christmas deadline (I am planning to ask for a special dispensation to be a week or two late, partially because of the time required for shipping to the finisher).
 I've been stitching the basketweave on the tree using impressions.  Here you can see my first progress.  I haven't put the canvas on a frame yet, since stitching in hand is so much faster.  However, I have the frame ready for when I start the pattern stitches.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Silver and Pearls Needlepoint Ornament

Several years ago, I signed up for a cyberclass from Sandy Arthur.  It was a delight to stitch--until I had to stop working on it to stitch a stocking for a customer.  I put it in the back room with the paperwork and fibers resting on top of the framed needlepoint.  This past winter, with all the uproar from trying to find homes for all the items from the Needle Nicely storage unit, somehow the fibers got separated from the other elements.  I've been rooting through boxes trying to find a quart-sized zip lock bag containing the fibers--like looking for a needle in a haystack.  But, surprise, surprise, yesterday while I was checking for some leftover fiber that might help another shop's customer, I stumbled across the fibers.  I'm so happy that I can finish stitching it.  Here's how far I have gotten:
But it will have to stay at that point for a while because today I sold a Christmas stocking for a customer that has to be stitched by October 1.  So I  won't be stitching this ornament or the silent night, because I'm a harlot for money and I'll be stitching that stocking night and day.  I'll be posting my stitching progress on the stocking, so stay tuned.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Grey flannel needlepoint vest circa 1979

Wearable needlepoint is usually confined to belts, cummerbunds, and shoes.  Years ago there was a company that did skirts with needlepoint panels and another that did circle inserts of needlepoint.  The former company also did vests that were sized small, medium, and large with no darting.  The first vest I stitched for myself was a painted design by Trubey (of course!) in the late 1970s.  It was stitched in DMC embroidery floss using the entire 6-ply on 18mesh canvas.  It was darted--the darts were indicated, but I did not needlepoint those areas.  In assembling the vest, I machine sewed the darts, clipping them so the blank canvas would lie flat behind the stitching.

The basis for this was a Vogue pattern.  I can still remember using a tailor's mallet to compress the Pendleton wool flannel fabric around all those curves.  I look at it today and marvel that I was ever that small--those were the days when I was a size 7.  The lining fabric makes me chuckle--Hardy Amies was a British clothing designer for Queen Elizabeth II.  I have never been label-conscious, but this was the only matching gray lining I could find.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Silent Night redo, 3

January 12, 2014 is the blog entry for when I first started stitching this 13-mesh version of a canvas that Trubey originally designed 40 years ago on 10-mesh canvas.  I got bored and put it aside.  Then, on 4/11/15, I resurrected it, only to ignore it again while I worked on other things.  This summer I have been stitching old WIPs and silent night's turn just arrived.  As I've mentioned before, I made the mistake of stitching the entire outer border before starting on the center background.  That way exreme boredom lies, and I have put it down repeatedly.  I am determined now.  This is the progress that I have made thus far.  Think positive thoughts for my being able to persevere long enough to finish this beauty!