Wednesday, October 31, 2012

climbing the walls

Anne of The Cape Stitcher requested photos of the walls of canvases put up by my wonderful assistant, Emma.  This is the wall to the right as you enter Needle Nicely.  You can see the fiber racks, first silk 'n ivory, next splendor, and then sparkle rays and watercolors.  We have white rolling racks that hold the canvases in categories (the turquoise dividers mark the subjects).  You can see part of the shelf that runs around the top of three of the shop's walls (the 4th wall is the plate glass windows).  We put that up there to display shop models. 

 This is the left side of the room.  The basket with belt canvases is under the long shell piece on a bench.

 This is the back left side of the room.  First you see the case where we have painted a Christmas tree and have Christmas ornament models.  The ornaments on the shelf above the display case are Needle Nicely's limited edition ornaments.  Next you see DMC cabinets with class models on display and Melissa Shirley canvases above them.  Then come the Christmas ornament canvases.  I have displayed some of the Princess and Me canvases on the wall beside one piece of a Susan Roberts tree skirt.  And on the back wall is a Santa hanging that is a limited edition.

This is the far left side of the right-hand wall.  It's hard to find an elegant way to display those huge tote bags for Pischke Pockets.

These 3 photos are close-ups of the right-hand wall.

These canvases are on the left immediately inside the door.  They are what people see when they are getting ready to leave--I like to have really striking canvases on this part of the wall.
Tomorrow is November 1 and the beginning of NaBloPoMo.  I plan to do a blog entry everyday in its honor.  Hope you can stop by.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frosty the snowman, part II

Yesterday I did something I have never done.  I watched someone else climb a ladder and hang canvases on the walls of Needle Nicely.  I have always insisted on being the climber, partly because of liability issues and also because many of my employees have been less mobile than I am.  But this year is one of changes.  I have hired a 5'11" high school student to do the climbing.  I had preselected canvases and tentatively decided what would go where so that things would move smoothly.  An hour and 20 minutes later, the walls looked wonderful.  And she'll be back next month so we can do it again. 

This snowman's body is stitched in the Jacquard stitch.  His umbrella is done in the mosaic stitch using silk lame braid.

Here we have the body stitched in the Byzantine #3 variation from Stitches to Go.

This little guy's body is stitched in the Bargello Line Pattern #1 from Stitches to Go.

And I'll show and discuss that last 3 snowman on the pillow in another week or so.  Tonight I've promised myself that I'd put some study time in on my new I-phone 4S.  I realized today at the opera that I wasn't sure how to turn it off.  Talk about pitiful!  So  please send me positive thoughts about wrestling with technology.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Standing nutcracker, 6

I don't care what political party you support, you have to be fed up with all of the political ads on television.  Or maybe because Florida is a "battleground" state we are getting more than our share.  Seems like 2 years since this thing began.  I'd consider changing my vote if they would say they would do no ads and give all that money to the homeless and hungry.  Show a little compassion rather than vitriol.  Sigh!

I've made great progress on Gunther in the past few days, primarily because I worked on his hair.  It's done in the long/short split stitch with black angora and I made myself stop dithering and get it done.  I must mention that when stitching with angora you shouldn't use too long a strand.  I'm the queen of long strands and I had one just part into two pieces.  Then I moved on to his mustache.  I debated doing a padded stitch, but I'm a French knotter par excellence and I couldn't resist the angora with a double twist.  

I lightened this photo to try to let you see the texture of the long/short in Gunther's hair.  It looks real.  I am considering bunka brushing it to make it a smidge fuzzier, but will think about it a little longer.  

I finished Gunther's teeth, using slanted gobelin and changing its direction on the bottom half of "the mouth".

Just had a scare--my screen disappeared and a message appeared that I was trying to log in from somewhere else.  Perhaps my out-of-body experience for the day?  Thank goodness I hadn't lost my post.

I started his sash in the Diagonal Triple Parisian.  It looks so smooth and satiny.  Just the right effect, not to mention it's another fast stitch.    I'm hoping that this next week will see me completing enough to move the canvas to the bottom of Gunther's body.   Time will tell.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Standing nutcracker, 5

My nutcracker is now called Gunther.  He is originally from the Black Forest area of Germany.  He doesn't have a distinctive accent though my make-believe doesn't run to having long conversations with inanimate objects.  

I've made good progress--Gunther now has a face.  His flesh tones are stitched in the mosaic.  His eyebrows are the slanted gobelin, with the right one slanting to the right and the left one slanting to the left.  I tried to show a close-up photograph of his eyebrows but the stitch details didn't show up through the fuzziness of the black angora I used for the stitching. 

His eyes, cheeks and nose are done in the basketweave.  I'm a little concerned with how dark the tip of his nose is (makes him look like a tippler), but there isn't another suitable shade in silk 'n ivory.  I hope it grows on me.  His mouth area is also stitched in tent, this time the continental.  His teeth are slanted gobelin. 

If you look closely, you can see that I have stitched the outside area on the left to the top of his shoulder and on the right almost to his epaulet.  I try to stitch a strand on either side each time I pick this up to stitch.  That way, I hope to have it all done by the time I have finished his boots. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Frosty, the snowman

Well, I just typed a paragraph, touched a wrong key and the paragraph disappeared.  Humph!  I managed to send the 1st Needle Nicely Newsletter on Sunday.  If you would like to be put on the mailing list, send me your email address (mine is nnicely @ the spaces) or include it in the comments.  Eventually I will figure out how to put a link here on the blog that will connect to the newsletter archives.  Another technological mountain to climb! 

This canvas from Lee's Needle Arts shows 9 snowmen.  It is so delightful and was such fun to stitch.  The background was stitched in the mosaic in silk 'n ivory.  All of the hats are stitched in the encroaching gobelin using silk'n ivory.  Also, all of the heads are stitched in the mosaic using white Fyrewerks and the noses are all done in the satin stitch with orange sparkle rays.  The first Snowman on the left wears a scarf stitched in the cross stitch using fuzzy stuff.  It was too tough to fit a patterned stitch into the way the scarf was originally painted, so I made the scarf a solid color.  The body is the patio cashmere, again using the white fyrewerks.

Photograph #3: This little fella's body is stitched in Byzantine #2 from Stitches to Go by Howren & Robertson, a wonderful stitch book.  The scarf is done in the cross stitch using fuzzy stuff.

I have re-typed that last paragraph multiple times.  Blogger does not want it to be beside the photograph so I added the clarifier that it is the 3rd photograph.  There's more than one way to skin a cat or outsmart a recalcitrant Blogger.

The snowman in the bottom photograph has the nobuko stitch for his body and smyrna crosses in silk lame braid.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Standing nutcracker, 4

Today was definitely a non-needlepoint day.  First thing I stopped at the post office to mail several packages, one to my main belt finisher and the others to customers.  Then I went to Verizon where I bit the bullet and purchased an I-phone 4S.  I'm going to a class tomorrow morning to learn about it.  I was surprised that it didn't come with a manual, but then I wasn't a star pupil at deciphering my flip-phone's manual.  My afternoon was spent at the movie theater where I saw Donizetti's L'elisir d'Amore from the Metropolitan Opera's HD transmission.  It was full of beautiful music and marvelous acting.  Great way to spend a few hours.

I stitched the hat brim in the nobuko stitch using three green shades of silk 'n ivory.  It was easy to maintain the pattern with the color changes.

 I couldn't wait any longer to stitch the "emerald".  It's done in the slanted gobelin over 2 threads.  It looks very real in person.  I used one of Kreinik's new lacquer metallics.  I added another couple of strands to the plume's long-short split stitch.  To me, while effective, long-short is like a fine wine--a little goes a long way!

I usually make myself work a canvas from the top right-hand corner to the bottom.  However, after I did the two-tone metallic braid on the hat, I didn't want to keep track of the partial strands of metallic so I skipped down on the canvas and started one of the epaulets.  It was so satisfying that I couldn't stop before I finished!  It is alternating rows of slanted gobelin vatican metallic divided by gold 3270 single rows.  The blue stones are blue Kreinik lacquer done in the Scotch stitch. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Palm frond slides, reshaped IV

I'm whipped!  I spent today looking at photographs of needlepoint canvases and deciding which ones to order for delivery February 1, 2013, in time for the "season".  This gives the artists some lead time in which to accomplish the painting of the canvases.  And also gives me time to worry about whether I have over- or under-ordered.  

In addition to being a top-notch needlepoint sales rep, Rondo is my font of knowledge concerning all things electronic--especially i-phones and i-pads.  He has done such a good job of utilizing both in the daily routines of order taking and placing.  Also, we got to catch up on the whereabouts of longtime friends--Ron has been my sales rep in Florida since the very early spring of 1982.  We've witnessed a lot of business ups and downs in that time.  

On the stitching front, I'm making progress on my palm fronds canvas.  After staring at the water for weeks, inspiration finally struck.  I settled on Byzantine #2 from Stitches to Go and am happy with the way it looks in the small space available. 

I also completed the diagonal mosaic on the palm fronds.  While I like the way the finished fronds look, I must confess that I would recommend that most stitches stick to the basketweave.  It proved quite challenging trying to maintain the rhythm of the diagonal mosaic.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What a pretty bow! Finished.

This central bow motif is stitched primarily in the satin stitch.  The direction of the stitch is usually determined by what will produce the shortest length of stitch.  That will prevent its snagging after the pillow is finished.

The actual center is a ridged spider web. 
The pillow was finished as a knife-edge with a double ruffle with inner cording out of off-white moire.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Palm frond slides, reshaped III

I'm making progress in several areas of my professional and stitching lives.  This morning I had a long-distance conference with a representative of Constant Contact, a bulk email company.  The Needle Nicely Newsletter now has a basic template and a logo header.  I finally feel like I'm getting a grip on the process.  He gave me my homework assignment of what I should try to accomplish before our next conference this coming Wednesday.  

I turned the canvas upside down to stitch the woven (or t-) stitch for the sand.  It is infinitely easier to start stitching any pattern in a straight line, rather than the jagged shore line as shown here.

It has been a challenge to do the diagonal mosaic in the palm fronds.  Sometimes continental stitch is the only option.  You can see that I also did the basketweave for the sky that shows between the palm fronds.  Life is definitely too short for me to try to continue the byzantine mosaic through those breaks in pattern.  Not that I think anyone could discern the pattern if I had tried!