Saturday, April 30, 2011

5 stylish ladies III

This week I've been working on Mimi, the grey-haired lady on the lower-right-hand side of the canvas.

I tried to do the Kalem stitch for her beret, but the stitch details didn't show up at all in the black splendor.  So I picked it out, muttering, and stitched the Alternating Slanted Gobelin.  Then I started doing the "feather" design in the Chain Stitch.  I wanted to stitch Gigi's neck first so the Chain stitch could lay over the basketweave stitches--it's a pain to do basketweave without piercing an overhanging stitch so do the basketweave first.  I had to follow that dictum for Mimi's sweater/jacket.  I used  the Half Scotch Variation, doing the Mosaic and Continental before doing the corners in the Half Scotch Stitch. 

I did a variation of the Linen-fold Modified stitch for Mimi's blouse.  I used 6 ply of splendor for the black stitches since they are horizontal and laying in the "gutter" between the threads. 

The crystal braid in basketweave I did for one lens of her sunglasses doesn't show up as dramatically in the photograph as it does in real life.  It really looks like those mirror lenses in person. 

The grey hair I did in Long/Short Split Stitch.  I like the way it looks (sort of reminds me of my mare's nest hair!), but someone thought it was too messy.  Just a bad hair day for Mimi, I guess.

I'm looking forward to catching my breath with Fifi--since she's in the middle she covers a smaller area.  Maybe that will permit me to go back and put in some of the elements I have skipped on Mimi and Gigi.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Purse a la Klimt

This is the front and back of a purse I received last week from one of my purse finishers.  It belongs to Jeannette, a customer of mine from Kentucky.  Notice that she used lots of beads to accent blossoms and areas (like the white beads sprinkled on the light blue background).  This is a picture of the canvas before it was stitched.

The gussets shown below determine how thick the purse will turn out when finished. 

Joanie Sherman of The Studio Midwest designed this canvas and others that finish similarly.  Another take on the design is this round version that makes a round purse with an ultrasuede gusset and magnetic snap closure.
Memory thread would be perfect for achieving these swirls and circles.  There are so many possibilities for stitches.  What fun to let my mind wander!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

5 stylish ladies II

I've spent my free time at the shop this past week stitching frantically on the lady in the upper right-hand corner of the canvas.  (My nightly stitching is a tote bag that I'll tell you more about when I make enough progress to make a discussion worthwhile.)  All stitching is using 4-plies of Splendor

The only stitching I did on the face was the outline.  I lightened the tone of the outline somewhat.  All of the features are going to be basketweave, so I feel I can save them until the end--that's how I am rationalizing that I didn't get to them.  The hair I did in the Encroaching Gobelin.

The collar is the Mosaic in a brighter shade of green than was painted.   Her jacket is done in the Diagonal Triple Parisian. 

For her beret, I stitched the background in basketweave and added dots in a variation of the Raised Maltese Cross.  The ribbons (or feathers?) were stitched in the Diagonal Mosaic.  Notice that I moved some of the dark purple motifs to make them fit the stitch pattern.  Fortunately I used enough plies of Splendor that there wasn't a shadow of the purple that I covered up with the white. 

Also, if you look closely you'll see that I stitched the background areas to the bottom left of her (Gigi) head  in the basketweave.  I decided that life was too short to try to count the Byzantine Scotch stitch in those tiny areas.

I think I'd accomplish more stitching if I didn't spend so much time admiring what I've stitched!

Next I'm going to work on Mimi, the grey-haired lady on the bottom right.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I say tomayto; you say tomahto

Last year Trubey added some old-fashioned  Christmas ornaments to her wholesale line.  She designed them to be slightly larger than regular ornaments and intended for them to be hung on mantlepieces or on decorative swags.  However, when I saw the designs, I immediately thought "evening purse".  Here are the various colors available in the ornament canvas. (of course, I stitched the red one without taking a picture first!)


Well, the uncooperative photographs appear here, though definitely not in the intended locations!

To keep it simple, I stitched the canvas in basketweave using Balger #16 braid in 003 red and 002HL gold.
Using basketweave eliminates the need to compensate around the gold detailing.

I think the result is effective.  I can't wait to see it finished backed in red moire with a shirred gusset and a red and gold metallic shoulder strap.  Yum!  Makes me want to go out dancing!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

5 stylish ladies

Now that the season is winding down, it's time for me to start deciding what I'll stitch during the summer months when the pace in Vero slows down (there are some who quip that it is going from dull to duller--teenagers have been known to refer to it as "Zero" Beach).  Of course, I have several projects that need finishing, such as "Lady Chef".  Their chance will come (I hope!).  And I want to do more playing with the heat-applied crystals.  So much stitching, so little time!

My first project will be a canvas by Lee that I call "5 stylish ladies".  I plan to discuss each lady separately, with additional entries for the background stitches.  I usually start stitching with the background, or whatever is in the upper right-hand corner.  Here, I start the top background using the Byzantine Scotch stitch.  I'm not always going to stay true to the colors that are painted.  I'm using 4-plies of Splendor for most of the stitching.

This canvas was designed as a purse insert, but I intend to use it as an insert in the 10x10 Sudberry tray. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Annual employees' luncheon

Working in a seasonal business can be quite intensive and emotionally draining.  For that reason and as a thank you,  Needle Nicely has always celebrated the end of the "season" by feeding our employees.  In today's economy, it's a luncheon of just the employees.  Before the hurricanes and the poor economy, we used to have dinner in a local restaurant with the husbands included in the party.  Then we down-sized into "everyone bring a dish" at Marcia's (our hostess with the mostest) house with Needle Nicely providing the drinks, entree and dessert.  Now, we've evolved into "doing" lunch for the ladies. 

Yesterday, we closed at 12:15pm and met for lunch at the Ocean Grill, an iconic local restaurant with an ocean view.  The decor is a hodge-podge of items collected from by the original owner, Waldo Sexton,  from such various sources as shipwrecks and architectural features of razed buildings.  There are at least two other properties decorated as eclectively by him in Vero Beach.  It's fascinating to just wander and look at details.  However, during the season the Ocean Grill is too busy for wandering!  Time to eat!

As business has slowed, our labor force has decreased.  The "senior" employee is Helen, originally from Long Island, N.Y.  She's "Monday", but changes hats in the summers to become Thursday or Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday is Marcia, originally from Miami but has always summered in upper Michigan.  Wednesday and Saturday is Adele , originally from Long Island, N.Y.  Adele drives an hour  each way from Port St. Lucie.  The Saturday "volunteer" is Lynn from Oak Park, Il.  Lynn doesn't wait on  customers, but she organizes the fibers to a fair-thee-well. 

The amazing thing is how many interests such different personalities share and what amusing conversations occur when they're together.  And how lucky I am to have them choose to work for me.  I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not a creature was stirring...

This design by Lizzie Kate and now distributed by Patti Mann was really fun to stitch. It's a 13-mesh canvas.

I started stitching the background first using the basketweave stitch in 666 Paternayan yarn.  I get bored doing background and have to get a headstart on it.  Then I bribe myself with pieces of the design--but I must stitch more background to be able to do a part of the design.  Like getting a piece of candy after dusting the living room. 

I especially recommend doing the background before trying to stitch lettering.  That enables you to jump from letter to letter cleanly.  If you do the lettering and then the background, your background stitching will pull fibers to the front from where you have jumped from letter to letter.  Not a pretty sight.

The design was stitched using metallic ribbon floss.  The blue of the star hat was done in diagonal mosaic and the stripes were slanted gobelin, alternating the direction of the slant.  The star is basketweave.

The tree was again stitched in diagonal mosaic.  The star and base were both done in basketweave.

The red of the pompom hat was done in the mosaic stitch.  The blue and white checkerboard was done in alternating Scotch stitch.  The crown and tassel were done in basketweave.

The red and white pyramid was done in slanted gobelin with the holly done in basketweave.

The green of the heart hat was stitched in diagonal mosaic.  The heart, star, and band were stitched in basketweave.

I had the canvas made into a framed, ruffled pillow.  I like using a tiny cording between the needlepoint and the fabric frame and a larger cording between the fabric and the ruffle.  It makes a crisper finished look.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gators, gators everywhere--where's Captain Hook?

Of course, the University of Florida mascot is the Gator, so everyone in Florida is familiar with the reptile.  However, golfers in Florida are also familiar with the reptile as almost every course has at least one resident "gator".  In fact, the spring seems to be mating season, so there are warnings in the newspapers to be vigilant because alligators move deceptively swiftly and are on the roam.  Thank goodness the housing development where I live doesn't have any alligators in the water retention ponds.  At a future date, I'll tell you about the ducks--fair warning!

Anyway, Hyla Hurley at The Point of It All wholesale needlepoint has a beginner canvas of an alligator.  It's on 10 mesh and is a snap to stitch.  (She also has a larger version that can be made up as a standing stuff or doorstop.) 

Because this is on 10 mesh, I stitched it in Balger #16 (though you could use Trio). Notice the #16 covered on 10 mesh even though I usually use it on 13 mesh.  I was careful to keep my stitches slightly looser than usual.  I did the dark spots as Smyrna crosses to add some bumpy texture.  Then I drew an outline around the canvas and did the background in a pale aqua Paternayan yarn in the diagonal mosaic stitch so it could be finished as a "carve" Christmas ornament. 

In January, Kathy Schenkel added a tiny alligator to her needlepoint line.  He's darling, partly because he is so petite. 

I stitched this one totally in DMC perle 5.  Again, I drew an outline so it could be finished as a "carve" Christmas ornament.  I'll be sending it to the finisher this week--can't wait to see the finished product!

Now, I need to think of names for the little guys since they're now members of the Needle Nicely family.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, Delight! Finished ornaments

Today was so wonderful--a box arrived from my ornament finisher.  Several were for customers, but the majority were things that I have shown on this blog.  Most attractive is the angel from Susan Roberts. 

The Very Velvet really shows up and just calls to me to stroke it.  There are so many pieces comprising the angel that the cost of finishing is higher than the usual ornament, but I think her distinctive look is worth the expense.

Next out of the box was the lime green mini-stocking with the heat-applied crystals.  Marcia (one of my employees) was disappointed that I hadn't alternated rows of colors to "break things up", so at her suggestion, I had the finisher use pink trim and backing.

The tree and wreath I had finished as "carves"--hard shapes with gymp around the edges and velvet on the back.  I'm especially pleased with the hole in the wreath.

The lavender croc I had finished as a "standing stuff"--so it can either hang on the tree or be placed as part of a scene.  The first thing I notice when I look at it is the encroaching gobelin I used for the flesh.  It's one of  designer Kathy Schenkel's favorite stitches so I thought it appropriate that I use it. 

Looking at these finished ornaments, I am reminded that I have several more shapes that I want to stitch using the heat-applied crystals.  But I can't resist a feeling of self-satisfaction at how attractively these ornaments turned out.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Found! Magnetic needlecases

Life can be frustrating.  I spent lots of time trolling the web, trying to locate magnetic needlecases.  Nothing showed up.  I really felt like I was looking for a needle, not a needlecase, in a haystack.  Then I remembered a chance remark by one of the people who had asked me about the cases.  After two telephone calls to helpful people, I had located and ordered the cases.  Hooray!

Here are the variety of designs available--but I just noticed that my personal favorite, the silver checkerboard, isn't in the photograph.  I guess I had already put it in my purse to take home!  Here's a photograph of the inside of the case:

So now I'm off to find another mountain to climb or problem to solve.  Life is good.