Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rugs and a wallhanging

I had to interrupt my "bin packing" when the mailman brought the latest sale listing from Melissa Shirley.  She isn't going to be at the Baltimore market (regrettably, neither am I), so is letting everyone know her sale canvases now.  Yum, yum!  So I start looking and make a tentative list.  Just as with dessert, my eyes are bigger than my budget.  So, Tuesday I will trim my wish list, though with a little padding to acknowledge that  I may not get everything I want.  It's just like looking through the Sears, Roebuck catalog when I was young (I'm not saying how many years ago!). 

Let me introduce you to Plum Blossom--isn't she gorgeous?  She's a design from Lee's Needle Art Studio on 18mesh.  That's right, 18mesh.  I'm in love with her.  I look at her and can just imagine what stitches will bring out her beauty.  I didn't measure her canvas, but it is large for 18mesh.  About 2.5 by 4, but she's gorgeous.  I reassure her that if no one buys her, I won't throw her in the severely discounted sale pile, but will stitch her when I retire.  Of course, my retirement looks ever more distant considering the current economic climate.  Not to mention that my house is contemporary-nothing in decor. Isn't she gorgeous?

This is a yummy rug by Stephanie of Danae Designs.  You just want to pluck those strawberries and have a feast!  This is on 12mesh (I think, I looked and guessed but didn't measure).  About 30x48 in size.  Would look wonderful with either a very pale green or very pale pink background. 

This beauty is "ala William Morris" courtesy of Inge Woolley of Creative Needle.  What a marvelous design to go with chintz.  And it's on 10mesh canvas so it will stitch as quick as a wink.  And it's pleasing to look at. 

Perhaps by now you can tell why it takes me so long to pack (or unpack) my rug canvases.  I spend lots of time talking to them and admiring them--and resting my back that doesn't like THAT angle when I bend over to fold or unfold the canvases.  Next week we get to the baby-size canvases (2x3).  Until then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hurricane season

Well, it's that time again.  There have already been 4 named tropical storms and two tropical waves are moving across the Atlantic as we speak.  Whoopee!  At least it looks like a very dry Texas will receive some much needed moisture from Don and he appears to be staying a tropical storm, rather than becoming a hurricane.  This part of the summer is what they call "the Gulf" path of storms where the storms go into the Gulf of Mexico and then either swing back on Florida or go toward Mexico or the Gulf Coast.  In late September and October the storms are definitely Atlantic and aim for Florida from the East or go up the Atlantic Coast.  Believe me, I have learned more than anyone should ever know about hurricanes and their behavior. 

I've already reprogrammed my morning to include a stop at the Weather Channel at 10 before the hour for the Tropical Report.  The announcers openly admit they're sorry they have nothing to report.

When I started this blog last fall, I was unpacking the needlepoint rug canvases from the plastic bins where I store them during hurricane season.  Yesterday I started doing the reverse, packing the rugs away. 

This kimono is a large wall hanging from Lee's Needle Arts.  It's on 13mesh canvas.  The peacock looks lifelike and ready to screech.

This octagonal rug was designed by Rosalie Peters and is distributed by Kate Schofield.  It's on 10mesh canvas and utilizes the color families usually associated with Rosalie's designs.

This rug by DJ Designs is on 10mesh canvas and has two accompanying pillow canvases.  Such a marvelous, flowing design.

I enjoy this opportunity to refresh my memory of the rug canvases I have in stock.  There are more to pack away tomorrow, so I can take more photographs to show you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flamingos Everywhere V

If you look closely, you can see that I back-stitched around the peach flamingo's head where it touched the orange wing of the yellow flamingo.  I used 2-ply of the darker peach Splendor. 

The wing of the blue flamingo is stitched in the Diagonal Scotch stitch.  The cheek was done in a Cashmere stitch.

The smaller flamingos require more thought since many stitches are too large to establish a pattern in the small areas provided by the blue and tiny pink flamingos' necks and bodies.  I think the Knotted stitch fit well on the body of the blue flamingo.  As someone at the shop remarked, it isn't a stitch to do over a large area as it moves slowly.  But it does provide a nice effect.

The remainder of my free time was devoted to more stitching on the sky and sand.  I plan to wrap this up next week, so think positive thoughts about rapid stitching. 

Here's my progress so far:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

fiber coverage

After my last post, S. wondered since the peach flamingo feathers are a result of the flamingos consuming brine shrimp, what could the other colored flamingos be eating?  My guesses are:
            purple--plums (I originally said eggplant, but decided that was a stretch)
            pink--pink grapefruit
Of course some people think flamingos are more pink than peach, so peaches would be the obvious choice for the peach color.  Do you have any suggestions?

Anne had asked about the difference between Serendipity and Diagonal mosaic.  To demonstrate, I stitched Serendipity in Paternayan on 10 mesh canvas.  It looks a little rough because I didn't groom my stitches, but I hope you get the idea of the stitch. 

As I said, it's composed of two elements.  The first is slanted right over 2, over 1, over 2; the second is slanted left over 1, over 2, over 1; continuing alternately on a diagonal line. 

Yesterday I had a phone call from a woman who had run short on Paternayan Persian yarn and didn't know how much she needed to complete her project.  While talking to her, I realized that many people don't know how to calculate fiber coverage. 

The simplest rule of thumb is that for basketweave, 1 yard does 1/2 square inch.  Less fiber is needed for pattern stitches.  For bargello patterns, 1 yard does 1 square inch because of the longer stitches.  At Needle Nicely, I have some different mesh canvas squares where I have stitched a strand (of Paternayan Persian=33") or 1 measured yard of various other fibers as a visual demonstration of the area covered.  These serve as aids in deciding how many yards or strands are needed for the flower petals, leaves, faces, etc., comprising a canvas's design. In other instances, straight mathematical charts can be a great help.
        Coverage for Paternayan Persian (33" strand):
                 10mesh canvas            1.40 strands per square inch
                 12mesh canvas            1.25 strands per square inch
                 13mesh canvas            1.15 strands per square inch
                 18mesh canvas              .80 strands per square inch
       Coverage for perle 3 (15 yards) 7.5 square inches
       Coverage for perle 5 (27 yards) 13.5 square inches
       Coverage for Silk 'n ivory (28 yards) 15 square inches
       Coverage for Impressions (36 yards) 18mesh, 1-ply 18 square inches
                                                                              2-ply 9 square inches
                                                                13mesh, 2-ply roughly 9 square inches
                                                                              3-ply roughly 12 square inches
       Coverage for Splendor (12 ply, 8 yards) 18 mesh, 4-ply 12 square inches
                                                                     13 mesh, 6-ply 8 square inches
All of these figures are for basketweave.  Pattern stitches require less fiber. 

Another quick way to estimate fiber coverage is, quite literally, the rule of thumb.  One thumb pad equals one strand of Persian (or by extension yard of any fiber).  Look at your thumb pad--most women's thumbs are about 1" by 1/2", thus 1/2 square inch of area. 

I hope this is helpful enabling you to make an estimate of the amount of fibers required for stitching a project without over- or under-buying.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flamingos Everywhere IV

I seemed to make more progress this week.  Of course, it could also be because the flamingos on the right of the design are smaller than those on the left and thus stitch up quicker. 

I did the body in peach Splendor in the Serendipity stitch.  I love the look, but it can be tedious.  Compensation is challenging and not to be attempted when your mind is fatigued or distracted. 

The Jacquard I used for the wing almost stitched itself.  The cheek was done in the mosaic. 

In looking at the photograph, the head doesn't stand out very much from the orange wing of the yellow flamingo.  I think I'll use one or two ply of the darker peach to backstitch the outline of the head.  No way am I taking out all of that peach!

I also had time to complete the nobuko and kalem stitches on the yellow flamingo.  I then worked on the sky.  I don't want to finish all of the flamingos and have hours of background to do--Booorrring.

You'll notice that I fell back on basketweave in 2 areas .  The first where the neck of the pink flamingo meets the wing and the other, the area between the pink and green flamingo at the sand line. 

Next comes the blue flamingo and some catch-up stitching on the sand and sky.  I'm already thinking about my next blog-stitching project.  Sad, but true, that we really jump into a project, think about it, consider options, and rethink options.  But once we have it figured out...on to the next project.  At least, mentally.

Edit note:  Anne asked about the Serendipity stitch in her comment.  I'm sorry it doesn't show up well  in the photograph here (or in the photograph for 5 stylish ladies).  The stitch is composed of 2 elements:  the first slanted to the right, over 2, over 1, over 2; the second slanted to the left, over 1, over 2, over 1.  It continues down the diagonal.  It does look interesting "in person".  (Blogger wouldn't let me enter a comment, so I used its "edit" feature.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anniversary seashell tote, V

At last, the fun of doing design.  While I would be the first to admit that areas of basketweaved background can be immensely soothing, I am also the first to agitate for something pretty to stitch to break the monotony and keep my interest.  First, I stitched all of the seaweed. 

Here you can see all of the progress so far.  The sea urchin, starfish and cockle shell on both sides are all stitched. 

The British Open (golf) is this weekend.  I intend to get up early to watch, but since they tee off about 4 a.m., that may be over-optimism on my part!  It's amazing how good a pillow feels that early in the morning.    However, I feel that a "push" is necessary, because my pace seems to have slowed the last 3 weeks.  I am serious about being finished by August 1.

Mentioning watching golf reminds me of how often I have stitched to sporting events.  I can often point to an item in the shop and recall what game or sport I happened to be watching during its stitching.  And of course I have now added "blog stitched" to some things.  Ah, the modern era arrives at Needle Nicely.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flamingos Everywhere III

My progress this week has been slow, partly because of several good deeds I've been performing.  A friend of mine just couldn't "get" the Diagonal Triple Parisian so I offered to stitch that section of her pillow canvas for her.  Naturally it's taking longer than I expected.  A regular customer who is recovering from kidney failure sent in a completed Christmas stocking canvas for me to mark the missed stitches.  (I insert a needle in each missing stitch.)  She had missed more than usual because of just not feeling up to par.  It's interesting how your health, mentally and physically, can be reflected in your stitching. 

For the wing of the green flamingo, I did the Patio Cashmere.  The body of the flamingo is done in the Criss-cross Hungarian; I filled the space with a French knot done in 2 plies each of both of the greens.  I had tried to do them in the lighter green alone, but it blended into the background of the stitch.  The cheek is the Diagonal Cashmere in the darker green.   

I've started the wing of the yellow flamingo in the Kalem stitch; the body is the Nobuko. 

This is a photograph of my total progress:

I'm enjoying the bright colors--the flamingos seem so full of personality!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orchid bench

As I am stitching on the seashell tote canvas as a model for Needle Nicely's 30-year anniversary in Vero Beach, my mind goes back to the winter before Trubey and I came to Vero Beach.  My main stitching project that late winter/spring of 1980-81 was a canvas that would be made into a long, totally upholstered bench.  We had not yet decided to open a Florida shop, so there was no urgency to my stitching. 

Summer came along with the usual increase in business.  The 4th of July weekend we were thinking about the coming seasons and came to the decision to open a shop in Vero Beach sometime the next year (1982), giving us the winter of 1981-82 to make the preparations.  We started mentioning our decision to friends and business connections.  To our surprise in mid-July, we received a phone call from our framer, Royal Palm Frame Shop.  They had been in Boone, NC, and had relocated to Vero Beach several years previously.  They knew of a perfect location for us, but only if we made swift decisions.  Trubey and her father flew of Vero.  That's no small feat, since even today the closest airport "of size" in NC is in Charlotte, 2 hours from Blowing Rock; and the closest airport to Vero is an hour away in Melbourne.  It's almost easier to drive the whole way.

Things moved quickly and we closed Blowing Rock before the October leaf season so we could open Vero.
Trubey got things ready in Vero while I waited in North Carolina for the completion of the orchid bench.  It was too large to ship UPS (size requirements have changed, thank goodness), so I had to drive it down. 

The original canvas was about 28 x 40 and was painted by Trubey on 12-mesh canvas.  The background was stitched in Paternayan in the basketweave with the geometric pattern and orchids stitched in perle coton.
Alternating Scotch stitches formed the motif in the geomtric fretwork.  Naturally Paternayan discontinued this color family soon after this was completed.  The original was finished in a green brocade; it was refinished in green moire after white paint was dripped on the brocade.  Moire isn't very durable, so the final incarnation is velveteen. 

The photographs just do not want to be side-by-side.  We have a basket on small canvases on the bench, so many people do not notice it.  I'll have to move it to a position of honor before October 1.  What a testament to the durability of needlepoint. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Flamingos everywhere II

I'm sorry that the definition of the beak stitches doesn't show up in the photograph, though it is apparent in person (can you say that about birds?). 

I liked the Byzantine Scotch stitch so much as the background of the 5 ladies that I wanted to see if it could be part of a design or relegated to backgrounds only.  I like the way it shows up on Miss Pinky's wing so I think it passes the versatility test.  For the body I selected the Milanese stitch.

The sand has a nice texture worked in the T-stitch (or woven stitch). 

It wasn't as difficult as I expected to fit the background around the legs.  I was afraid I'd have to resort to the basketweave, but I think my counting was accurate. 

I'm busy flipping through various stitch books to find an assortment of "small" stitches for the smaller areas of the flamingos yet to stitch.  See you next week with more progress.