Saturday, March 31, 2012

If the shoe fits...

I'm not usually a fan of Halloween canvases, but this one appeals to me.  Perhaps it's because of the shoe collection residing in my closet.  This canvas is by Treglown Designs on 13mesh canvas and is stitch-painted so it's a dream to stitch.  As is my wont, I started in the upper right doing the basketweave using slime green silk 'n ivory.  I plan to keep working from the top right, but also plan in the next week to jump down to the bottom right-hand section so I can do background and then get started on the "dots" or bubbles. 

But I had to reward myself by stitching the first shoe.  It was such fun to do the alternating Scotch stitch using silk lame braid 18.  Even though it's intended for 18mesh, it covers well on 13.  Then using the new L metallics from Kreinik, I stitched the stars.  If you look closely, you can see where I added a French knot to the center of the star to fill the blank area.  I looked on the Kreinik website but couldn't find what they call the L series of metallics.  I think of them as lacquer because they are so shiny.  I don't like the black one, though.  It has a greenish tint rather than a black shine.  Kreinik has also added some new golds--here I'm using 3270 which has a red tinge.  I also especially like the 3280 which is more irridescent. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Swimming with the fishes

First, I want to show a few of the Strictly Christmas stockings I received today.  

These angels are, well, angelic-looking and offer lots of opportunities to use different stitches with different fibers.  

This is a great "adult" stocking,  Not everyone wants Santa on the mantle.  However, for those who do, I have these two examples.

As usual, blogger refuses to put them side-by-side, but you get the idea.  Karen really does a superb job on conveying the spirit of Christmas in her designs.

My new stitching project is another great idea that didn't succeed commercially.  Trubey designed these fish for a 2-sided tote on 13-mesh canvas.  The cost of finishing purses is a huge factor in the success or failure of canvases expressly designed as purses.  However, my fish will look just as good as a pillow, says Mary Agnes optimistically.
This is the canvas as painted and below, you can see the progress I have made this week.  I'm stitching the canvas in a combination of silk 'n ivory and DMC perle cotton.  The background is done in the Giant diagonal mosaic.  The fish are all going to be done in the same stitches, with continental for the fins, basketweave for the "faces" and satin stitch for the scales.  I'm still pondering what stitch I will use for the seaweed.  Maybe I'll have decided by next Wednesday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Poinciana tree, phase 3

Before I show you the updates on my poinciana tree canvas, I want to show photographs of some late arriving Christmas stocking canvases.  The first two photographs are designs by Ziggy of Walker St Designs.

There are so many stitch possibilities for this combination of geometric shapes.  Add some metallics and it could turn from simple to quite sophisticated, and fun to stitch.
This stocking comes with stitch and fiber suggestions.

I'm trying to figure out the new blogger.  It certainly makes it difficult to arrange photographs and descriptions
in a reasonably artistic way.  I think that last jog to the left doesn't add anything.  Hmm.  I feel like I'm playing a game of keep the blog writer guessing!

This is a canvas from Alice Peterson.  It's hard to find something for an a more mature recipient (I originally said older, but a friend was just told by her doctor that some things just happen when "you're older".  She was not amused.)  And I hit the computer's internal mouse and managed to scramble my description and eliminate my photograph.  So I'll insert it again.

Another canvas from Alice Peterson is this beauty:

And for those golfing aficianados, this colorful entry from, I think, Associated Talents.  I need to check on that because the designer code said Melissa Shirley.  Since I'm the date entry operator, how could I have made a mistake?  And may those who are thinking of opening a shop, please note that among my many duties are:  data entry operator, mail clerk, complaint department (both in and out), and more I'll list in another post.

And now to show the photograph that will answer Anne's question of several blog entries ago concerning the poinciana tree trunk. I stitched it in the chain stitch using watercolors from Caron.  I like to do the chain stitch after all of the surrounding stitches so it can lay over the other stitches.  That way no canvas peeks through.

You can see by looking at this photograph that I haven't done the branches up in the tree canopy.  I'm waiting to fit them in around the completed French knots.  In the next photograph, you can see where I am inserting some red-orange French knots.  I had originally selected red-orange as one of the original colors for the blossoms and then I didn't notice it when I started stitching.  So I have started squeezing it in between already completed French knots.

And I wanted to show a closeup of the satin stitch used in the green plant on the right side.  I need to remember to ask Trubey what its name is--it reminds me of a larger version of a succulent plant that is a houseplant, but I can't remember the name. 

Everyday I try to stitch 15 or 20 minutes--French knots often seem unending.  I goofed with this canvas since I'm usually much better about stitching a slow feature a little along while I'm doing other features, but before I finish everything else.  Sigh!  I will show the finished product, someday soon, I hope. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Positive moments

Earlier this evening, I posted a blog entry that contained a lot of frustration--with customers, with life's realities, with life in general.  Thank goodness I thought better of it after 5 minutes (or so) and came back and deleted the entry.  That is not to say that next week or next month, I won't make a post with the same grievances.  But I will do it with a different tone and attitude.  Not poor me or cruel world, but this is the way it is.  We'll see how well I do with the rewrite.

Instead, I want to emphasize my positives.  Yesterday, I had as a customer a young man who is about 8 years old (I don't want to insult him).  He's a member of a greater needlepoint family, aunts and cousins.  Several of his cousins and one aunt were with him selecting needlepoint.  He selected his canvas and had definite opinions about the color selection to stitch it.  He met me at the door this morning when I arrived to open Needle Nicely.  He needed several colors that were ignored yesterday.  And throughout both processes, he was so wonderfully polite and interested. How great is that!

My mailman came in today with another quiz about the shipper of the box of canvases he was delivering.  It's the new home of Treglown Designs in New Mexico (I am blanking now, but I think Rio Robles).  How marvelous to live somewhere that the mailman deals with you as a person and not just an entity where he must drop mail. 

My stitching is evolving slowly.  I've been finishing a Pischke Pocket for a customer at the shop all the while I'm stitching the black background of a customer's Christmas stocking.  All while trying to finish the poinciana tree's French knots.  I hope within the next week I'll have a photograph of the finished poinciana tree.  Please cross your fingers with me.  And I have already started the next project.  Photograph within the next week, I promise.

Repeat after me, life is good, things are looking better, we will survive and be better.  No more downers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Flamingo sandals, finished (in my mind)!

It finally occurred to me that the mosaic stitch was a slooooow way to go for background.  So when I managed to complete the background on the first sandal panel, I rethought things and decided to do the second panel's background in my new go-to stitch, Diagonal Triple Parisian.  Yes!  It went like a dream, with only a few areas where I fudged and did continental.  

Then on to do some clean-up stitching.  I finished the French knots on the criss-cross Hungarian on both panels in no time.  Now to tackle the Hungarian Ground on the 2nd panel.  The first was a snap since it was a solid wing, but this remaining area had another flamingo in front and it was hard to establish the pattern.  I'm only slightly dense and persistent and finally it sank in that if I have trouble figuring out how to establish a stitch, what do I think my students will be able to do?  So, frogging commenced while thinking about an alternative.  Finally, I decided to do the giant diagonal mosaic (over 3, over 2, over 3, over 2, etc.).  And it is working!!  I didn't get it totally finished, but tonight it will become a done deal.  Now all I have to do is select the fabric and/or trims for the pillows.  I'll show the final product when they return from the finisher in a few months.  It's a good feeling to have a project finished--mainly because I'm already thinking about what I'm going to stitch next!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sorrow, dismay....Duke lost!

For anyone who has ever lived in the state of North Carolina, it has to be a really devastating moment when the last buzzer sounded tonight and Duke (wonderful, magnificent Duke) lost to Lehigh.  Congratulations to Lehigh and may they go far in the NCAA tournament, but my heart is bleeding Duke-blue.  And Coach K just gave a classy post-game interview saying that Lehigh played a better game and deserved to win. 

How well I can remember making  Trubey accompany me to Bobby's (a bar/restaurant in Vero Beach) when NC State made it to the 1983 finals of the NCAA.  Jim Valvano was the coach and they were playing Houston, the phi-slamma-jamma team.  We got to Bobby's about 6 so we would have prime seats at the bar, ate dinner at the bar, and then waited for the game (I think at 9pm).  I insisted that we wear NC State's red, not realizing that Houston's colors were also red and white.  So the bar was full of red.  There were very few women.  I think Trubey and I were the only NC State fans.  Talk about getting a razzing!!  But the miracle is that we were still coherent at the end of the evening.  It's amazing how powerful adrenaline can be!  And we won.  I still bump into men who were there that night watching the game, and they always comment about how no one believed NC State would win--but Trubey and me.  A really nice memory. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Poinciana tree, phase 2

I did the ground cover along the river bank in the woven stitch using 1-ply watercolors.  Then a repeat of the encroaching gobelin (sometimes called the interlocking gobelin, I have discovered).  Again using 1-ply of watercolors.  The large plant in the right hand corner I did in Satin stitch using 2-ply watercolors. 

I just remembered to tell you that I originally stitched this as shown using Needle Necessities overdyed floss for the encroaching gobelin (and also for the water from the last post).  I sold so little NN the years we stocked it that after it was discontinued, I dumped it on ebay and haven't added the Threadworx fibers.  My sale area also contains my stock of overdyed impressions and wterlilies.  I love them but none of my customers seem to feel the love.  Better to devote that space and inventory money to things that my customers do like and buy.     

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poinciana tree class

Well, took my computer in for some attention, but to no avail.  They were slammed, so my small potatoes laptop got bumped.  Monday they should be able to devote some time to its problems.  I'm just reminding myself to be patient

Here's a photo of the cording I made from silk lame braid:
Making your own cording adds a wonderful custom touch to finished items.  It's an easy technique to master.

While I continue with the endless background on my 2nd small flamingo canvas, I thought I'd show another Florida-themed class that I teach.  Trubey designed this about 5 years ago. 
This is 5x7on 18mesh canvas.  I started stitching the sky in Byzantine mosaic stitch in DMC perle 5.  Then I worked on the water, doing the Old Florentine stitch in Needle Necessities overdyed floss.  I've had to switch this fiber to watercolors.  That is also true of the foliage on the right side of the canvas--there I did the encroaching gobelin, again in overdyed floss that I've now changed to watercolors. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whew! It's the season (thank goodness!)

Well, they've (the snow birds) been here since the end of January.  Starting last Thursday, they must have realized they won't be in Vero forever, so they started shopping.  Hooray!  I'm exhausted, but happy.  I'm spreading the happiness as I start to pay for the new canvases I've been receiving.  Plus, I spent this afternoon writing up finishing to mail to finishers.  And just to prove to myself I can still do it (Helen usually does our cording, so well I don't need to supervise), I made cording out of neon rays plus to be used as an edging on a wall hanging.  I only had to undo it once to twist it tighter.  Of course, I forgot to take a photograph.  I'll try to remember to do so before I close the package.  Some other time I'll do an essay about the skill sets that needlepoint shop owners must possess.  Perhaps sooner rather than later because of the recent string on the ANG chat list about what stitchers want in a lns.  Not to mention the essay detailing the desired attributes of a needlepoint shop customer!

My home stitching is almost nonexistent--last night this old lady took a short nap before dinner (our day was that busy).  Thank goodness dinner was spaghetti with home-made (by my dh) sauce that was frozen, my home-made garlic bread (again, frozen), and a fresh salad prepared by my dh.  Marvelous planning on my part!  

So tonight's blog is to showcase some "Oldies, but goodies" in Needle Nicely's inventory.  I love them too much to reduce their prices, which you'll understand when you see them.

First, we have this pieced Christmas tree from TS Designs.  It is one of a limited edition for 1989 (shock!).  At one time we had 4 or 5 of these because we had a stitched model.  We mistakenly thought we had sold them all and donated our model to some charity.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered this canvas hidden away--especially since we'd had inquiries over the years and said we had no more.       

You'll have to excuse Blogger for inserting those photographs before my commentary.  As I have learned, Blogger definitely has control over what happens on these blogs, free though they may be!

This next canvas by Melissa Shirley is of Santa Claus.  I stitched the same design for a customer over 10 years ago.  Then we had it finished as a large stand-up.  I loved the finished product so much that I ordered another canvas thinking I might stitch it for myself someday.  So I won't put it on sale, but I also haven't stitched it.  Other shop models seem to always be clamoring to be stitched and thus take precedence. 
It was so much fun to stitch that trim so it really looked like ermine!

And the final canvas is one by Trubey.  This also is finished as a stand-up.  The design seems to scream, "stitch me with lots of glitz and fancy stitches!" 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A brighter outlook, maybe

Well, maybe things are brighter.  Blogger just informed me that it no longer supports my browser.  That sure doesn't sound good.  I think I need to consult my computer gurus since I don't think my laptop is that old.  I certainly don't want to replace it for another few years.  Of course, this past week I wanted to add a sale page to the blog and managed to insert a caption on the top right.  But blogger wouldn't let me do anything else.  I'd like to take a page from Ridgewood's Needlepoint Shop by listing some sale canvases, but I would like to keep them separate from my regular entries.  Of course, the middle of season is not the time to do something mentally challenging--I should save it for summer when I'll have lots of free time. 

My shop stitching has been for customers.  I finished stitching the dark motifs on the belt for one customer and started the black background on a Christmas stocking for another customer.  I'm doing a variation on the basketweave using black impressions.  The pattern is 3 rows of basketweave, then a row of slanted gobelin over 2 threads, 3 rows of basketweave, keep repeating.  It looks great, but the photograph isn't very clear.  I'll try for another when I have more stitched.
And even better news, Adele and Helen finished stitching on this rug for a customer.  Monday Helen will make the Paternayan cording to go around the finished edge and then I'll ship it to the finisher.  The customer is delighted!  We've been stitching this in the shop since last summer. 
This canvas, designed by Edie & Ginger, was purchased from Needle Nicely about 22 years ago.  The customer feared she wouldn't live to finish it and wanted to see it done, so brought it to us.  As an aside, she had purchased extra of the border yarn so we have an uncut hank to use to make the cording for the edge.  Otherwise, we might have been stymied.  They are still yammering about the sale of Paternayan.  I just wish they'd get on with it.