Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Froggie night light

"If it doesn't move, needlepoint it" is the credo of the needlepoint shop owner.  In my never-ending search for such items, I discovered. . . .  . night lights.  Our shop model is a design of Amanda Lawford's.

Isn't Froggie delightful as he rides across the night sky--and what fun to stitch!  First, though, before starting to stitch, you must remember that the light shining behind the needlepoint will show every thread ending if it runs behind white or another lighter color.  Bummer!  That rather stifles creativity in stitch selection.

I did the sky in mosaic stitch in silk 'n ivory; the clouds, outlines, and quarter moon in basketweave using fyrewerks.  Then the fun really began.  I went to Calico Corners and found some trims--gymp for the top and sides and beaded gymp for the bottom edge.  Glue gunning is not my favorite, but I think it turned out well (and no fingers singed, for a change).

Isn't he gorgeous, riding across the sky!  The gold gymp on the top and sides complement the gold of the moon and the beads of the bottom trim really accentuate the "starryness".  He was fun to stitch and finish.  Nice.

Monday, March 28, 2011

sandy toes doorknob hanger

While a delightful existence, living on the beach in Florida (and I'm sure beaches everywhere) has its drawbacks.  Among these is the short lifetime of elastic, whether on pantyhose or panties.  It's exasperating to think you have a new pair of pantyhose, only to discover the elastic is gone and they're around your knees!

Another drawback is trying to tactfully remind guests that sand clings to everything and isn't pleasant for flooring.   This sign is one way to get the message across.

This 13-mesh sign is from Winnetka Stitchery.  The sky was stitched  using Blue Lavendar watercolors.  We stitched 5 rows  in basketweave all the way across the canvas; then another 5 rows, and another.  This prevents the color gradation in the watercolors from being too stripey.  If you look closely at the model, you can see the groups of 5.  The remainder of the canvas was stitched using DMC perle cotton. 

Then for a perfect finishing touch, we made the cording out of the same watercolors.  Then, quietly slip it over the doorknob as a silent reminder.  That takes care of sand--next to deal with the tar!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

visit from a designer

I had a surprise visitor today from outside Philadelphia.  Linda Damiani designed the design on the right for a cosmetic case on 18mesh.  The design appeared in the Sept./Oct., 1991,  issue of Needlepoint Plus.  My students prefer stitching on 13mesh, so I adapted the design, repeating some stitches on the right.  The design was stitched in watercolors, a revolutionary "new" fiber in 1991. 

Linda has a shop featuring wonderful artisanal jewelry.  Regrettably her leisure time is now devoted to knitting, rather than needlepoint. It was wonderful to finally meet her. 

To me, what's so remarkable is that this design is 20 years old, yet it is timeless. I think you can be paid no greater accolade!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

custom belt design

Among the many services Needle Nicely offers its customers is canvases designed by our in-house designers.  We also offer a stitching service for those who like the look of needlepoint but don't have the time or skill to do their own needlepoint.  The following photographs show a belt we designed and are stitching for a customer.  His son grew up in Vero Beach, on the beach (Riomar is one area), swimming, snorkeling, and shelling. 

This is the right end of the stitched belt.  We usually put the monogram on the right end so it shows and isn't covered by the belt tongue.  Also, putting it in the middle may cause it to be covered by the pant belt loops--there is usually one in the middle of the back of pants.

Turtles nest on our beaches during the spring--lighting in the beach areas is restricted to allow turtles to go toward the sea, not toward lighted houses, when they hatch.  Seeing the turtles hatch and head for the ocean is a memorable experience. 

Just a note--a snorkeler shouldn't meet a lobster so large.  We had to make it that size to be able to stitch it recognizably as a lobster.  Artistic license! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sally Luedke house doorstop part II

Here are the back and one side (both sides are the same) of the house.  Most of the stitches are repeated (that is, the geranium leaves are all woven picot in water colors, etc.). The flag pole is the long-armed cross stitch in Balger gold metallic.  The yellow flowers are lazy daisy stitch.

The chimney is the diagonal Scotch.  The trellis was done in a watercolors in shade of brown to look like weathered wood.  The bush as the base of the flag pole is the woven or t-stitch in watercolors.

This was fun to stitch, especially  to see the personality of the house change from Northern clapboard to Florida stucco.  It would have been just as easy to do the cashmere stitch in rust to give the appearance of a brick exterior.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Melissa Shirley trunk show III

My trunk show of Melissa Shirley's canvases ends Saturday.  Today I spent time looking at the remaining canvases and trying to decide on my favorites. The top one (swallow-tailed something--I think hummingbird, but just looked in google and I can't pin it down) is such a design delight.  Its simplicity is part of its appeal.

The second canvas is one I already have in my inventory, not only because it is such a Florida design, but also because we have a blue heron who spends time around our backyard retention pond (yes, I own waterfront property in Florida--that's a joke, by the way, since retention ponds reduce the possibility of flooding and are usually nowhere near the real water).  What a wealth of detail to keep a stitcher's interest.  And I assume that Melissa will soon be doing separate designs of the vases/urns in the lower corners.  Can't wait to see and buy those designs.

Saturday morning I'll be taking these canvases down so they can be arranged in numerical order Saturday afternoon while I go to the Metropolitan Opera's HD transmission of Lucia di Lammermour (that spelling is suspect).  Then Saturday night and Sunday I will "spring" into action to check things off and pack them for Monday shipment back to Melissa.  Another successful trunk show completed. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sally Luedke house doorstop part I

I taught this doorstop as a class at the January TNNA trade show several years ago. 

To make the building appear to be stucco, I did the mosaic stitch in two shades of Silk 'n Ivory (alternating a mosaic of one color, then a mosaic of the other color).  The picket fence is stitched in slanted gobelin.  The windows are stitched in basketweave using Water 'n Ice.  The cross-pieces of the windows
 are the chain stitch in Silk 'n Ivory. 

The door panels alternate slanted gobelin and basketweave in Silk 'n Ivory.  The door knob is a large French knot in Balger gold metallic.  The planters are stitched in the t-stitch or woven stitch.  The topiaries are ridged web stitches in Watercolors.  The window boxes are done in basketweave with the geraniums stitched in French knots using Silk 'n Ivory.  The leaves are Watercolors stitched in the woven picot. (These really impress people and are much easier to do than they look.) 

For the roof, I did an adaptation of the Palace Pattern substituting basketweave in Silk 'n Ivory to emphasize the long, slanted stitches done in Watercolors. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

more heat-applied crystals

Today I finished the third in my series of pattern-stitch ornaments utilizing heat-applied crystals.  This ornament is in the shape of a mini-stocking.

This is the shape of the ministocking drawn on 18 mesh canvas.
The top line should be straight, not slanted like it shows in the
illustration.  I did the leaf stitch (8 threads tall by 6 wide) over the
body of this stocking.

I did 8 leaf stitches across the top of the stocking.  Notice there are several threads not stitched on each side of the stocking.  I didn't want the top row to include a compensating stitch.  The 2nd row has one, but it is one half of the leaf stitch, not 1/3 or some other fraction.  Much easier to do. 

And this is the stocking with the crystals applied and ready for the finisher.  I used all white (or "rhinestone") crystals for more of a silvery effect.  I think I'll have the cording made of silver metallic to complete the look. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

needlepoint connections

I had a pleasant surprise today when someone I hadn't seen in over 15 years walked into the shop.  It was Forsythe Daniels from Birmingham, Alabama, appearing in Vero Beach for a cameo.  While I hadn't seen Forsythe in years and, I'm sorry to say, didn't recognize her; I did recognize her voice because we have talked often through the years.  And she carried a shell needlepoint purse that Trubey had designed that looked so today! 

It reminded me of what a unifier needlepoint has been for me--the people I have met through the shop, through wholesale markets, through stitching in airports and public places. like doctor's offices.   Many of these people become only voices over the telephone or emails on the computer.  I recognize their voices on the telephone and the cadence of their writing in emails.  They have become my world and community. 

This blog has served the same purpose.  Tonight I read back through my entries and the comments people have entered.  It didn't take long-- I have only been blogging since around Thanksgiving.  I was struck by the tone of support, acceptance and encouragement  in the comments.  And I was struck by the absence of comments from many of the people who daily read my blog (and others) and never respond.  And I want to know what they think. 

Until I started this blog, I, too, was a "lurker".  I read and never responded, except within myself.  Now I understand the need to reach out and connect with others and share ideas.  And I realize the encouragement that one casual remark can make.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

melissa shirley trunk show II

Life definitely gets in the way when you make plans.  I was so pleased that I managed to check off and price the Melissa Shirley trunk show in two evenings that I fooled myself into believing that I could put the canvases up on the wall the next day.  Silly girl! Thank goodness the canvases came early.

Thursday the shop got slammed and I was running hither and thither to help Marcia keep everyone happy.  Proof that the season is finally here.  Throw those trunk show canvases on the table and in the baskets and hope someone looks through them. 

Friday I come in an hour early because I have an intermediate class from 10 to 12.  I am hoping I can hang a canvas or two, but my students arrive early.  When I emerge into the real world (the shop), I have a customer wanting to know how to put a canvas into a Lee's luggage tag.  I am happy to walk her through it--if I physically do anything, there is a charge (I run a retail store, for heaven's sake).  She is scared, but realizes that it is easier than she feared.  Five minutes later, it's done and she can see doing the next one alone.  Three cheers!

Next for attention is a student from one of last month's classes.  We discuss what she can do with her finished project and I suggest possible stitches to finish things off as an evening purse.  Her project will be gorgeous.  Nice feeling and outcome.

Today, Saturday, I finally succeed in putting canvases on the wall.  They look so gorgeous that someone comes in to buy a skein of perle to finish a project, and on her way out, stops and selects a canvas from the wall.  Yes!!! After she left, I got the ladder back out and put another canvas in the empty space.  Delight.

We have a shop model cuff bracelet designed by Melissa Shirley.

We stitched it in Splendor and Balger metallic using various pattern stitches, including long/short split stitch, Scotch stitch, cross stitch, and satin stitch.  It looks beautiful and yearns to be stroked--it feels sensuously smooth and is gorgeous. 

We  have many canvases for cuffs.  These are a selection:

The elephant is a design from Melissa Shirley.  The next design is from Associated Talents. It is a design that they also do as a belt.  It is gorgeous and versatile.  There are so many possibilities for stitches and fibers.  One of the truely wonderful designs that is so versatile that you can utilize it for any purpose.  And it is so delightful to stitch.  What more can you ask?

Other cuff designs include the following two (the first is from Associated Talents, the second from Melissa Shirley designs)

After years of pillows and belts and rugs, it's a relief to discover things like cuff bracelets. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Melissa Shirley trunk show I

Got the box of canvases for the Melissa Shirley trunk show today.  Hooray!!

However, the public doesn't realize what that box symbolizes.  First, I have to unpack the canvases; check them off the invoice; and then price them.  Then, I carry them to the shop (of course, I had to do everything I mentioned before at home, because this is the season and today I waited on customers--even more hoorays!).  All this while preparing dinner for my Darling Husband.  Tonight it was shish-kebob with rice pilaf.  I love it because it gives me an opportunity to chop and vent my frustrations (take that, Mrs. I don't like that color!).  I chop and assemble the pilaf and kebobs and he grills after he has stapled price tags on the canvases.  Marvelous division of labor. 

The good/bad part of a trunk show like one from Melissa Shirley is that there are so many canvases that it is not humanly possible to check off and price them in one evening--so tomorrow night we will be having chicken on the grill for dinner so I can play a cameo with the vegetables and finish pricing and checking everything off.  Then Thursday I get to climb around the shop and hang the canvases.  If you're in the area, please come in and admire my handiwork and Melissa's artistry.  The show officially starts Saturday--lights, camera, action!!