Friday, January 28, 2011

coral variations I

Several years ago, Trubey (who is the former owner of Needle Nicely and a wonderful designer) did several canvases for Needle Nicely featuring coral. Initially, I wanted her to do canvases on 10 mesh canvas that could be put together for a rug since we have a lot of interest in rugs. Also, I decided that if Trubey could do several designs on 18 mesh canvas, then I could teach a mini-class. Which she did and which I did. I stitched the two canvases, taught the classes two years in a row, and had absolutely gorgeous pillows made of the canvases. So much so, that someone came in the shop and purchased the finished pillows (one July when I was feeling especially poor since July is dead in Florida). So I have no photograph of the finished pillows. Sigh! No problem. Because of this blog, I will stitch the canvases again. The pillows will be finished just as beautifully, but differently. I'm not sure exactly how, but differently. Stay tuned.

At the same time, Trubey put those 6 coral designs from the rug into a puffet/tuffet-type pillow canvas after an oriental one designed by DJ Designs in California.
Somehow the other side of this canvas has disappeared from my photographs. Ah, the joys of blogdom! I'll include it in the next blog, which will show the rug squares and other coral samples.

Trubey, who also designs wonderful, stitchable shells, at the same time also designed a puffet/tuffet pillow of shells.

But I am digressing--back to the coral designs. To replace the two pillows I sold, as a replacement that is speedy because it is 13 mesh, I have stitched a 7x7 canvas of the fan coral from the original 6 designs.

Using Beryl Silk 'n ivory for the background in the Diagonal Triple Parisian and Splendor in basketweave, continental, and mosaic, I have stitched the fan coral on 13 mesh for a pillow insert. I can't wait to see the finished pillow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

beach tote Christmas ornament

Diane Dwyer of Canvas Connection has a series of beach tote canvases to be made into Christmas ornaments. I decided to do the one with a palm tree for its appropriateness for Florida.

I did the background in my "go-to" stitch, the mosaic, in silk 'n ivory. I did the remaining stitching in Neon Rays Plus. The straps are done in the fern stitch. I had to look in 2 stitch books to find the name of the fern
stitch--I do a stitch from memory and then for this blog have to scramble to find its name!

The fronds and trunk of the palm tree are the long/short split stitch. It is a wonderful stitch for flower petals, animal fur, and Santa's beard. I enjoy introducing the long/short split stitch to people. Too often, they want stitches to be regular. The long/short split stitch soon ends that thinking!!

The bottom of the tote bag is done in the t-stitch (also called the woven stitch), a marvelous stitch to cover territory with texture without needing dense coverage.

My ornament finisher backed the ornament in ecru ultrasuede with an oval bottom and ribbons for the straps. She also attached the two small metal "findings" that came with the canvas.

Friday, January 21, 2011

canvases for votive candles

Today I finished stitching and assembling a votive candle model for the shop.

I recommend doing the stitching with the canvas on a frame to keep everything straight. That is especially important when using pattern stitches. For my birthday candle canvas, I did basketweave or continental using perle cotton and Balger braid #8. The toughest part was trimming the ends of the fibers so no ends were waving outside the stitched area.

Here is the painted canvas and the empty votive glass and battery-operated "flame".

This is the stitched canvas before cutting.

To assemble, you cut the canvas on the lines and using Alene's glue, apply the canvas to the votive glass. Very slippery. The glue is transparent when it dries so don't worry too much about having glue everywhere. It helps to have a rubberband to slip around the canvas to hold it in place until the glue dries (only a couple of minutes--staring at it doesn't make it dry faster). Next you cut the 3 ric-rac pieces for the top and bottom edges and the "back" seam and glue them in place, once again using rubberbands to keep them in place. And a beautiful finished product to sit and admire!!!

Hyla at The Point of It All Designs has over 20 different designs for these, for different holidays throughout the year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What a Croc!!

One of the canvases I brought home from the wholesale cash 'n carry sponsored by the TNNA in St. Charles, MO, was a small "croc" canvas

designed by Kathy Schenkel. While I could envision its being appliqued on a tote bag or finished into a marvelous pillow insert, all I could see was a stand-up Christmas ornament.

Of course, not yet being in the mind-set of "it's for the blog", I started doing the encroaching Gobelin for the flesh--and then remembered that I should take a picture of the unstitched canvas. No way I was unpicking! I used DMC perle 5 in 754 for the flesh.

This is the finished canvas. I enjoyed doing the nobuko stitch for the body of the croc using Neon Rays Plus. I felt the ribbon of Neon Rays Plus was especially effective (I tried to be careful to lay it smoothly). Then, for the strap and sole, I used another shade of NRP in the mosaic stitch. The "airholes" were long stitch in white gold rush 18.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More needlepoint classes

One of the classes I taught in February was based upon a design by Linda Damiani that appeared in the Sept/Oct, 1991, issue of "Needlepoint Plus". She arranged over 20 stitches and combinations of stitches into a design for the front of an ultrasuede cosmetic case. The original design was done on 18mesh canvas. My students prefer stitching on a larger mesh and so I adapted the design to 13mesh by extending the right side and by repeating some of the stitches to complete the upper right of the design.

This is the photograph that appeared in the "Needlepoint Plus".

To honor copyrights, Needle Nicely purchased sufficient copies of the magazine when I originally taught this class so that each of my students has her own copy of the instructions. After this offering, I will have to limit my future students to 3 since that is how many copies of the magazine I have remaining.

The fourth and final class I offered consisted of a choice of one of 4 ornaments designed by Jean Hilton for Rainbow Gallery. Jean Hilton is my favorite needlepoint designer. She died several years ago, but her stitches and designs are timeless. Too many designers today utilize her stitches without crediting Jean's creativity.

I stitched these three samples years ago on a vacation in the Bahamas.There is a 4th design that I need to stitch so I have the complete set.  I can also visualize what a statement these would make stitched together in one pillow insert or framed piece. Hmmm--maybe that's what I need to do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

wreath ornament with crystals

I had such fun doing the Christmas tree ornament with heat-applied crystals that I decided to stitch a Christmas wreath ornament.  Using a different shade of silk lame braid for 18m, I did the criss-cross Hungarian over the entire surface of the wreath.  The natural flow of the stitch leaves openings which are perfect for French knots, cross stitches, or heat-applied crystals.  I had originally planned to do a combination of French knots and crystals, but the French knots just didn't look right in either a contrasting color or the same shade of green. 

From this photograph it's difficult to discern whether the sparkles are crystals or beads.  I applied crystals to every other row and left a hole between crystals in a row.  That does not show in the photograph, but does show in person. 

The wreath and the tree were both such fun to stitch that I decided to produce kits so others can have the same fun.  I've started the stitches on each and included enough of the silk lame braid to complete the project.

Friday, January 7, 2011

needlepoint classes

With the slowing economy, people examine needlepoint classes with extra scrutiny.  Is this worth more than the actual canvas?  Do I want to spend 8 hours (or 4 hours or 16 hours) with a group of strangers?  What will I get from this experience?  Needle Nicely tries to answer these questions with the classes we offer.  This year our offerings have diminished, primarily because I want people to concentrate on the few classes I am offering.

Even though Needle Nicely is on the space coast of Florida, we (I think of the shop as we, because  while I am the owner, the shop also encompasses my employees who represent me) are in middle America.  Our customers in the "season" are from the mid-West and from New England.   

A project I started last summer (2009) is the first class I am offering this year.  It is a geometric doorstop stitched in silk 'n ivory in two color families.  I conceived this class last year when I visited the Historic Museum on Nantucket and saw a blue and white geometric doorstop.  It spoke to me.  Florida coast towns have lots of ocean breezes and the inhabitants need lots of doorstops to stop the slams.  I can foresee designing several companions to this "mango" doorstop.  I saw the central motif last summer while cruising the web on needlepoint sites.  What a marvelous focal point. 

My next class is a companion to one I taught several years ago, Aran Sampler I. (See right)

My first TNNA market (long before TNNA) was a New York market in the mid-70's where I encountered Ella Projansky, author of Sculptured Needlepoint Stitchery.  She was a wonderful picture of middle-European (Polish?) ancestry with marvelous apple cheeks and a crown of braids and very approachable.  Thank goodness her designs were as delightful.  I have now developed a 2nd pillow as a companion to Aran Sampler I, of course, Aran Sampler II.  This pillow-sized piece is done in Medici. 

Later this weekend I will discuss the other classes I will be teaching.  And I have been working on a wreath design to accompany my tree with crystals ornament. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

hot glue sparkles

Ruth Schmuff on her blog http://www.notyourgrandmother'  December 1, 2010, featured a hot glue gun and crystal beads that she had previously used on November 26 to attach crystals to a fairy needlepoint.  Well, I'm not crazy about sewing beads on canvas (beads can and do go everywhere in the room or perhaps the universe whenever I come near).  Being ever hopeful, I went to Michael's and purchased a "cordless crystal & study head-setting tool" and a package of 300 "iron-on crystals".

With the addition of 3 AA batteries and some tweezers, I was ready to start applying crystals. 
But on what?

My first thought was as ornaments on a Christmas tree.  On 18mesh canvas I did a pyramid of leaf stitches in 18mesh silk lame braid.  Then I placed

my crystals randomly by color on the spaces where the sides of the leaf stitches meet.  Ruth said she picked her crystals up with her tool--not being so steady of hand, I placed my crystals where I wanted them and then applied the tip of the heat-setting tool.  Be careful to keep the tool on the crystal and not on the fiber.  If you look closely you can see some spots where I singed the fiber. 

I also added 6 crystals at the top to form a star.  Now I'll add a row or two of continental stitch to smooth the edges and the tree ornament will be ready for the finisher.  I'll post a photo when I receive it back from the finisher.  (NOTE:  and I managed to not burn myself!!)