Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pretty posies and the ditherer

Wow!  This is my 200th post.  I don't know about you, but I'm very impressed with my stick-to-itiveness (is that really a word?).  I'm grateful for the wonderfully perceptive people who have chosen to follow my blog and a bit disappointed that none of my employees can be bothered to look at it.  Obviously I'm not very interesting to those who know and love me.  EDIT:  Now blogger tells me I have 2 more to go before 200.  I used to be so good with math.  So a little premature celebration can't hurt.

I've been dawdling on putting the rugs in the plastic bins.  I'm on bin #3, three more to go.   The combination of bending, folding and dust gets to me.  I remind myself that it's inexpensive exercise and might help my waistline.  Who would think that dust gathers in needlepoint canvases en masse?

The progress on the pretty posies canvas has been slow because of doubt about my stitch selection for the blossoms.  I decided to do turkey work with ribbon floss.  
Usually I don't trim any of the turkey work I've stitched until the item is finish/finished so the loose ends don't get in the finishers way and the final finished form can affect the length of the trimmed stitches.  I was having so many second thoughts that I took the canvas off the frame and trimmed the first blossom to get the feel for how it will eventually look.  A customer, Alice, suggested beveling the edges so the individual blossoms form domes.  I think sounds good and will aim for that with the finished product.  Turkey work is one of the slower stitches, but I think can be quite effective.

This shows a slightly closer view of blossom #1.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wake-up call from Tropical Storm Debby

As regular readers of blogger know, every hurricane season I pack away my rug canvases.  Summer is our quiet time and people are usually interested in smaller/less costly projects at this time of year.  My regular practice is to wait until the end of July, but this year the storms have gotten a jump start and we are already at #4.  The "experts" said this was going to be a minor season with 12 total storms and 4 major hurricanes.  Things don't seem to be working out that way.  Several people today noticed the plastic bin and were concerned about why I was packing.  Not to worry, I signed another 3-year lease this spring, so no moving or closing in my future (she says with fingers crossed, since the last move was prompted by a hurricane's damage).  
Naturally I left my notes about the dimensions of the rugs at the shop.  I'll edit tomorrow night with that information.  All of today's canvases are on 10mesh.

This design is from Princely Designs

 This exotic animal/bird canvas from Jean Smith is quite versatile.  It could be in a den or in a child's room.  And a name could be painted in the center to break up all that background.

Rosalie Peters designed this round angel tree-skirt.

This floral repeat design is from Lee's Needle Arts.

Over the years, we have sold more of this design than any other.  It is really gorgeous!


This round rug by Jean Smith has flowers from what I think of as "cooler climes", especially the jack-in-the-pulpits. 

Stephanie of Danae Designs is the designer of this square beauty.

This is one of Lee's Needle Arts' more traditional
Asian designs. 

And I'll be packing more rugs away tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow--I do try to pace myself and allow a reward of some stitching in between the stooping  and folding.  Not to mention standing on a footstool to take the photographs!  I'm not as agile as I once was.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 limited edition ornament

Every summer Needle Nicely issues a limited edition Christmas ornament kit.  The cylindrical ornament by Ruth Schmuff that I stitched several weeks ago gave me this year's idea.  I had Trubey design a cylindrical snowflake ornament.  Since many of my customers don't like exposed canvas, I'm stitching the background in basketweave using a medium green Medici yarn from the shop's stash.  While I sold most of the small skeins of medici on ebay, I kept the hanks.  I like the khaki medici for belt backgrounds and I still have some of that tucked away for customers.
Trubey painted the snowflakes in a pale lavendar that I could cover with whatever color I wanted.  I decided to use the new Kreinik  holographic metallic 002L. 
As I've mentioned before, I prefer to do the background first of a design like this (or a saying) so that then I can hopscotch around doing the design.  I don't have to worry about pulling my gold through when I'm stitching my green by doing my gold last.  Of course, after I started with my green, I realized my home light isn't good enough for me to see the pale lavendar.  I've been taking the canvas to the shop to stitch the gold.
One thing I've noticed about the gold holographic--it ravels quite a bit.  I wait until about an inch and a half have unraveled and then I tie a knot in the loose strands.  A tight knot barely pops when you pull it through the canvas.  That keeps it from raveling (unraveling--makes me think of George Carlin's flammable/inflammable bit).  You could also use clear nail polish or Fray-check.

This has provided a nice change of pace.  As you can see, I've been stitching it "in my hand".  That makes it go much faster, but also causes it to be slightly askew.  

I hope Michael's or Joanne's has a good coupon in tomorrow's paper--I need to buy 50 tassels for these kits and one tassel for Ruth's ornament.  I forgot all about them when the last coupons came out (Duh!). 

Edit:  Had to come back to correct the spelling of Ruth Schmuff's last name.  Glad I caught it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pretty posies, second phase

I've completed all of the basketweave "sky" and the noboku grass and even managed to do all of the chain stitch stems.  Now to start stitching on the blossoms. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Snowflower tassel, finished

Well, I got my wish this week--this was a real "quickie" project.  It's satisfying to have those once in a while to keep stitching morale high!  The top and bottom borders were the same, using Very Velvet (for a thicker look than the usual Petite version) in an alternating Scotch stitch, neon rays in a stepped upright gobelin, and a 2-fiber double-repeat herringbone using fyrewerks and coronet braid.

Monday I'll go to Joanne's or Michaels to try to find a small metallic tassel.  Then I can send this to my ornament finisher to be made into a cylindrical ornament.  It really looks pretty in person and that very velvet is lush to look at and to rub. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Snowflower tassel, the beginning

Last week I was scrounging around looking for a "quickie" project.  I rediscovered this free chart that Ruth Schmuff designed for Rainbow Gallery.  I had tucked it away "in a safe place" to stitch one day.  Needle Nicely doesn't stock all of the fibers Ruth called for so I substituted ones that I do have in stock.  This chart is available from your local needlework shop for free, thanks to John at Rainbow Gallery.

I usually attach my canvas to the "back" of the stretcher bars rather than the "front" so that my stitching is protected, but also so it is easier to end off threads (without bumping into the wood pieces).

 I wanted to show that after I started the first motif in the center of my canvas, I stopped and counted to find  the centers of the other motifs which I then marked by enlarging the canvas hole.  If you look closely (or enlarge the photograph) you can see the pin holes.  I find it much easier to count unstitched canvas rather than partially stitched canvas. 

These Jessica flowers were stitched using Petite sparkle rays for 5 of them and Crystal Braid for four. Between now and Saturday I'll be stitching the border that goes on the top and bottom of this central design.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A slightly tardy finish for "If the shoe fits..."

I have been determined that my next blog post was going to show the finished "If the shoe fits..." canvas.  So, the Belmont happened--and I was glued to the television screen, not stitching. I didn't cash, by the way.  And Rafa went for his 7th French Open title Sunday and again this morning, and I was watching every point, my stitching ignored on my lap.  But this afternoon I persevered, and here it is in all its glory.  The colors look much richer in person.  It will be a gorgeous pillow with the trims I have selected.  I can't wait to see it finish/finished.  Hooray!  
This was fun to stitch, but it seemed to go on forever.  My next home project is going to be a shorty.  You'll see next week.
I have also been reading a young adult fantasy series by Kristin Cashore:  Greyling; Fire; and Bitterblue.  It is a delight and I'm already regretting speeding through the two and a half I have finished.  Come on, Kristin, write another one quickly!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New pillow models

I received a box of pillows from one of my finishers today.  I was particularly excited since 4 of the pillows are shop models.  

First we have the flamingo canvases repurposed into pillows rather than slide shoes.

I talked about finishing the two canvases on my blog entry of 3/17/12.  

Then, the two 18m coral canvases that I teach in a one-day class:
 Their final blog entries were on 12/21/11 and 9/21/11.

I have them placed so I can admire them while stitching or waiting on customers. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pretty posies

EDIT:  In checking this blog entry after I posted it I noticed that, like several recent entries, several words have been blue lined by some mysterious entity.  Do not click on them as they weren't highlighted by me.  Sorry for the mystery.  I hope its source will be revealed someday. 

I've had this canvas from Stitch-its in stock for several years.  I wanted to stitch it, but it kept getting bumped by other things,  Having to stitch for this blog has upped my production and gotten this canvas its month "in the spotlight". 

I don't like to stitch backgrounds (boring, but necessary), so I make myself start working on them first. I reward myself for diligence by letting myself start other design elements.  The canvas is 18mesh.  Here, I'm working on the sky background for the blossoms in light blue Splendor; while also doing the Nobuko stitch on the grass background behind the stems using a medium green Splendor.  I like to do elements like these that will recede into the background first because it is easier to do pattern stitches that might encroach on their borders later, rather than trying to do the design and then fitting the background under the encroaching stitches.  Less work for mother, so to speak. 

It's been quiet in this shop this week, so I spent each morning hanging Splendor on the repaired rack and the afternoon stitching.  I feel quite virtuous that the rack has been completely restocked and now I can admire its splendor (I couldn't resist that one) while I sit stitching.