Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Variations for the "Laura" purse from ETC

The flamingos canvas I am currently blog-stitching was originally designed by Trubey to be made into a "Laura"-style purse by Elizabeth Turner Collection.  In addition to the flamingos, Trubey has done several other designs for this style pocketbook, including this one that I stitched in silk 'n ivory and had finished for a shop model.

These are the two sides of a tropical foliage design Trubey did for the purse.

This is one of the canvases in the Elizabeth Turner Collection for this style purse.  They also have this design for shoes so one can have an "ensemble".

This is another ETC canvas with the designs on each side being complementary, but different.  Such fun colors to stitch!

And finally, this "skin" design which is the same on both sides.  But enough variety in the pattern to not be boring.

All of these designs are done on 18-mesh canvas.  I think 13-mesh might be too bulky to nicely form the shape of the pocketbook. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Flamingos everywhere

I had such fun stitching The Five Stylish Ladies with their bright colors that I decided to look around for a similarly colored canvas.  I found this one that Trubey designed for Needle Nicely several years ago.

This was originally one of a pair of canvases to be two sides of a purse.  The purse style from Elizabeth Turner calls for the top edge to be about 3/8" narrower than the bottom edge.  If you look closely at the photograph you can see the slant.  I have straightened the edges (the line won't show through my stitching).  I haven't decided what I'll eventually do with the finished product--I learned with the ladies that I may change my mind!

I'm using some of the Splendor leftovers from the ladies and adding additional ones as needed.  I'll be using 4-plies throughout. 

I started with the background, stitching the "sky" area in 2-plies of offwhite mixed with 2-plies of a pale aqua.
When blending strands of different colors, you must take a strand of one color, a strand of the next color, another strand of the original color and then the last strand.  If you put 2 by 2 they will always bond together and not be as blended as you want.  The stitch I selected is my new all-time favorite, the Diagonal Triple Parisian.  It's a really versatile stitch.

I started the background on the far right of the canvas even though I want to concentrate on stitching the flamingos on the left.  That way I've established the pattern all the way across the top and can stitch the background in different areas as I want. 

I decided that each flamingo will be stitched in only two main colors, even though Trubey added a 3rd color to the wings.  That shading really doesn't add anything to the design so I eliminated it for ease in stitching. 

The eyes will be done in a Smyrna cross; the beaks in Alternating slanted gobelin.

The body of the purple flamingo is done in the Mosaic stitch and the wing in a Cashmere variation.  I wanted to make this flamingo's "cheek" just one cashmere stitch  rather than oddments of compensation. 

After much trial and error (that is, stitching, picking out, stitching, picking out...), I decided that the legs will all be basketweave. 

Next week, Miss Pinky gets her turn while I also start on the sand area.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anniversary seashell tote IV

I'm delighted that I'm ahead of my time-table for the stitching on the seashell tote.  

I've finished all the stitching in Paternayan.  The water in the seafoam is stitched in one strand of white yarn and one strand of the pale aqua "water".  It doesn't show up that differently, but I suppose that's because there isn't a vast area of color.

This is a better view of an area of the seafoam.

I'm really pleased with how smooth this stitching is.  Usually when you hold the canvas in your hand and stitch two stitches this color and three stitches that color, the stitching is quite "knobby".  Amazingly, these areas are almost as smooth as the large areas of basketweave.  My finisher will be pleased (I hope). 

Now, I get to stitch what I think of as the fun parts of the canvas.  On to the design.  I'll report again in another 2 or 3 weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Penelope's turn

Helen, my most experienced and valued employee, has been very productive this late Spring  to stitch stockings for 2 of her 4 granddaughters.  I showed Lucia's stocking previously (May 11, 2011 blog entry).  Now,  Helen has finished the stitching on Penelope's stocking. 

This is one of Rebecca Wood's designs and it demonstrates her whimsical humor.  How wonderful to see the bear under the fabric (stitched in mosaic) to take the photograph of Santa and his friends.  I chuckle when I look at it.  Helen has used marvelous stitches to emphasize the design elements. 

Helen used Turkey work for the small creatures to the left of the stocking toe.  She used encroaching gobelin on the posterior of the photographer bear.  The Scotch stitch forms the basis of the picnic tablecloth.  Everywhere you look there are delightful details.

Please notice that Helen altered the shape of the stocking so that it would conform to the shapes of the other 3 stockings that she has stitched previously for the members of this family. 

We'll trim the Turkey work after the stocking comes back from the finisher.  That way we can control the length of the fibers and the overall impression.  And a Merry Christmas to Penelope!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here, fishy, fishy!

Thank goodness I finished "the ladies" last week, because since Friday my stitching moments have been minimal.  I woke up Friday morning with, of all things, an earache.  The last one I remember was the double one I experienced when I was a doctoral student in Madison, Wisconsin, centuries ago.  Only 5-year-olds have earaches, she says crankily.  And naturally my doctor doesn't answer his office phone on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and before noon on Monday.  No fool he.  I feel fortunate that I managed to see him at 4:15 Monday afternoon to start treatment with eardrops (that always manage to slither down your cheek no matter how long you have kept that ear level) and a Z-pack of antibiotics.  Two and a half days later, I can carry on a civil conversation.  All weekend (through Tuesday says truth in advertising) I reclined on my satin cushion snoozing and reading with nary a needlepoint stitch in sight.  AS ALWAYS, JULIA, a collection of letters from Julia Child to Avis DeVoto that encompass among other things, the testing of the recipes for MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING has been my reading companion.  It has been a wonderful window into the development of a lasting friendship, but also provides commentary on the political happenings of that period of time in American history with McCarthy and his reign of terror. 

But this is a needlepoint blog.  Reading blogs this past week reminded me of how tried and true designs are still relevant and are themes that repeat with success.   The Studio Midwest with Joanie Sherman does a series of relatively inexpensive needlepoint kits of various fish species and a similar variety of birds.  Today we're talking about the fish, but the blog that triggered my memory related to clip-on bird canvases (Ridgewood, NJ?).

The kits include Paternayan Persian yarn with a hand-painted canvas (notice the fin to be stitched and then attached).These can be finished as Christmas ornaments  or finished and then attached to a wreath as we have done in our shop model.  These are a few of our stitched models:

Well, I couldn't get any of them to go where I wanted them to go to produce an artistic arrangement, but I'm glad the wreath managed to not be by itself.  The foundation for this display is an inexpensive wreath that I found at Crafts 'n Stuff, a chain.  It does actually look quite realistic and provides a perfect setting for the fish "ornaments".  We used a few decorative stitches like the mosaic and the Scotch, but nothing too large, primarily because of the size of the fish.  On another day I'll show you the birds that Joanie has done. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Stylish Ladies VIII, c'est fini!

The most enjoyable stitches in a canvas are the first 10 and the last 10.  The first ten are filled with anticipation of the joys to come; and the last ten are taken almost with relief that the task is finished.  That's how I feel about the stylish ladies.  I'm glad I allowed myself two weeks to finish stitching "the ladies"--it took almost all that time to actually finish the job.  I took a photograph of the back of the canvas, because unstitched areas show up better from the back. 

When viewed from this side, you can see that there's more work to be done than was apparent from the front.  Also, I realized that I had some more "frogging" to do.  The eyebrows were all painted black.  Now, how realistic is that?  So I picked out the eyebrows I had already done of Fifi so I could make them more natural/realistic. 

I made the eyebrow color for each lady coordinate with her hair color.  I also changed the eye colors.  Fifi was painted with  medium-blue eyes.  To me, red heads have green eyes.  The blues I selected for Mimi and Claudette were different shades of periwinkle and I gave Gigi a paler shade of green than that I gave Fifi.

Other areas I stitched were the tassel on Giselle's beret, which I did in the long/short split stitch; the buttons on Mimi's blouse, where I repeated the Raised Maltese Cross; and I finished the chain stitched "star fish" design on Mimi's beret. 

For anyone who is interested, I have the stitch guide for these ladies for sale at
Hope you enjoyed watching my stitching as much as I did doing the stitching.  Now to force myself to part with the ladies and send them to the finisher. I should have a photograph of the finished Kate Spade-style tote by August.   AND, what will I stitch next?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Re Anniversary seashell tote III

I've tried more than a dozen times at several different times today to enter a comment to my blog entry of this morning to respond to Anne's comment concerning fiber and stitch of my future work on this tote.  Blogger refused to enter my comment.  Talk about a frustrating experience!    There's more than one way to skin a cat, and I decided to try to make a new blog entry.  Voila!

Actually, Anne, I've promised myself that the background of this will be stitched entirely in basketweave stitch using Paternayan yarn.  The shells will be stitched in perle in basketweave/continental stitch.  I like the durability of both fibers combined with the stitch since this will be a large tote bag costing hundreds of dollars to finish in leather.  It has provided a nice respite from the variety of stitches and fibers I've been using on the 5 stylish ladies canvas.  I've been stitching it "in my hand", rather than using a frame.  Much faster stitching.

Blogger has its quirks and I hope that others don't have the difficulty I had in trying to enter my comment.  Mary Agnes

Anniversary seashell tote III

Hooray!  Only another 2 hours of sand stitching to go!! 

Today I'm taking the canvas to the shop so I can select the colors for the "foam" forming on the edges of the water/sand.  I estimate that stitching will take me about 10 days and then-n-n it will be the fun part of stitching the shells.  I really can't wait.  Although with blogger today, I must.  Blogger is in slow-down mode.  Click a button, go put on the water for tea, come back, type something, click to preview, go pour tea water, come back, look at at a snail's pace.  But finally, I'm done and can post the blog and then go drink my tea.  Good morning!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Julie Mar wildflowers

I played hookey today so that I could watch the women's semifinals of the French Open Tennis.  It was wonderful groaning about Maria Sharapova's double-faults and subsequent loss while I stitched on my seashell tote.  But I must confess that I did little stitching while Francesca Schiavone was playing  in the second match.  I love to watch her!  She is so wonderfully feisty and stereotypically Italian (one of my favorite countries to visit).  Her joie-de-vivre (I think!) is so infectious!  I can't wait until Saturday to watch her play and, I hope, win.  Her little hops and skips of joy are marvelous to behold.  May she have more of them!!

However, my playing hookey today almost guarantees that I won't finish stitching my "5 stylish ladies" by Saturday night.  Although, as another side note, instead of spending the afternoon at the shop being diligent, I stayed home and wrote the stitch guide for the ladies.  Thank goodness I printed a copy of my instructions, because the program refused to save my information.  GRRRR!  Many unmentionable words. 

All is not lost, I am a fast typist and now that I have composed the stitch guide I will enter it on the "shop" computer which I know will save it and it will be preserved for posterity.  Hooray!

Blah, blah, blah.  So what about the blog?  This weekend's entry will be:  a gorgeous sweet pea design from Julie Mar Designs.  I stitched this canvas several years ago using DMC perle cotton for the design and Paternayan yarn for the background.

It's a wonderful pillow insert by Julie Mar Designs and was fun to stitch.  After I had stitched it, I found a wonderful plaid taffeta fabric that looked great with it, but couldn't find a gymp that looked good.  The next month I happened to be in Manhattan with my husband's goddaughter  and as we were wandering toward Chinatown we passed a shop (tiny, tiny, as only in large cities there can be) that was selling trims.  I went in and found the perfect yellow gymp for the trim on this pillow:

The tassel trim I found locally at a Calico Corners.  I've been to New York 3 times in my life and the last time I found this gymp.  Go figure. 

Another variation on this canvas is a larger one that Julie did

I love to look at my finished model.  It is so fresh and crisp looking.  Hope you enjoy it also.  (And please watch Saturday morning and root for the Italian marvel, Francesca Sciavone, in the French Open!)