Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rockin' Robins

This is the time of year when the Brazilian pepper berries are ripening and coincidentally the robins are migrating North.  A novice might think that was just a happenstance.  But not if you live on the barrier island in Vero Beach.  When the two circumstances encounter each other, you have--drunk robins.  The berries are ripe and ferment in the warm sun, the robins arrive and are starving and spy those red beauties.  Voila, a strong cocktail that produces robins flopping around everywhere.  As a resident, you learn to recognize the symptoms and plan your driving for maximum avoidance of the birds who are rolling in the roads and on the verges.  Not a pretty sight!  But in Vero Beach we have learned that, just as in the North robins are the harbingers of spring, so drunken robins are the sign that spring is just around the corner.  Welcome, drunk robins!

This arrived from the pillow finisher on Monday and it is gorgeous!  The fabric exactly matches the paler green in the palm fronds and I really like the double insert idea. 
I've been making good progress on Gunther.  There was a big golf tournament in Arizona that I spent Saturday and Sunday watching and stitching.  I realized Sunday afternoon why I was happy to be so sedentary--I had caught the 3-day crud!  Went to the shop on Monday and sat at the stitching table.  Macy and I cautioned everyone that I had a massive cold and not to approach me--Macy would assist them.  Every one of them ignored us and insisted on showing me their canvas, color selection, fiber selection.  After that experience, I decided to stay home in bed on Tuesday.  I don't want to be the Typhoid Mary of mid-coastal  Florida! Today was better, but my voice was still a little husky. 

That horn took forever to stitch in the basketweave, but I think that was the appropriate stitch.  I liked that paler gold for his epaulets but I'm not so enamored with it as the paler color in the horn.  But I will learn to live with it (i.e., I ain't taking it out!).  I did the blue area in the criss-cross Hungarian with silk lame braid.  And then added the French knot in Kreinik's balger metallic.  And my guess was right--I couldn't do the topmost French knots because the spaces are hidden under the stretcher bar.  So I didn't end off that strand and I'll finish it when everything else is done.

Went this morning for a bone density test.  Have to laugh remembering my last test when my gp talked with me about the results.  I quote:  On paper, you really look good (with a sound of surprise in his voice).  Then, because my bones are really good, I mentioned that it was probably due to my having grown up on a diary farm and drinking lots of raw milk as a child.  He quietly commented that perhaps heredity had also made a contribution.  Oh, really?  

EDIT:  When I went to stitch on Gunther tonight after posting tonight's blog entry, I realized that the blue fiber used in the criss-cross Hungarian is silk 'n ivory, not silk lame braid.  Totally different look, I think.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hearts, V

This shows the progress I have made on the hearts project.  This is now my shop stitching, but I haven't had much time to devote to it because of "the season".  However, if you look closely you can see another cause of my lack of progress. I had started the slanted gobelin in white outside the row of hearts, but I stalled because I thought something was lacking.  I started stitching the black behind the hearts, thinking that would help.  It did, but only in that it caused me to rip the white out.  I am in the process of replacing it with the slanted gobelin in the black silk lame braid.  I like it better.
I also plan to add another outer border or two, but that will be for another week (or month).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

And even more new canvases

It really is like Christmas morning when packages come from needlepoint designers.  This week I have received shipments from JP, Associated Talents, Quail Run, the Point of It All, and Mindy.  

This gorgeous floral is from the Point of It All.  It's so reminiscent of  William Morris. 

This colorful alphabet by Laurel Burch is distributed by Danji Designs.

Juli Poitras of JP Designs does wonderful cuddly bunnies. 

And what candy lover doesn't drool when looking atthis door stop canvas from The Point of It All?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Standing nutcracker, 16

During the 2010 winter olympics I became addicted to the sport of curling.  Now you understand that I live in Florida year-round and I have always had ice-cold feet, so one might wonder why I enjoy watching a sport where people walk around on ice in shoes, not boots or mukluks.  It's like watching a pool game with angles and strategy.  Well, today was the first day in forever that there were curling matches on television.
Hooray!  Except that the women's match was at 10am and I had to leave for my opera at 11:40.  I didn't tape the end of the match because the men were playing at 4pm and I planned to be home about 4:30 to watch it and I knew the announcers would tell me who won the women's match before I would have time to watch the end.  Which they did.  However, my husband watched the end, except it wasn't the end because it ran over and they left the match to go to a college basketball game.  Obviously there isn't a curling lobby in the US, though the announcers did mention that membership in curling clubs was up 45% in the past 10 years.  I guess that means from nothing to next to nothing.  Anyway, I'll be there.  And I'm so interested that I barely get any stitching done while I'm watching.  

Today's opera was Rigoletto.  There's been much debating about this production.  The purists are incensed that the director (from Broadway of all places) decided that Las Vegas in the 1960s with Sinatra and his Rat Pack would be an appropriate setting rather than the 1600s in Italy.  Many people turned in their tickets.  I think it worked.  Of course, the voices were superb and the acting was also wonderful and the sets really conveyed the essence of the story.  I enjoyed it.  Can't wait to hear the second guessers now.

Gunther seems to be treading water.  It's the season and some evenings I am worn out and take a nap before cooking dinner (my mother's family is known for "power" naps) so no stitching is accomplished.  And I was so determined to move Gunther on the stretcher bars that I have him just a tad too high.  My criss-cross Hungarian may not get its French knot or whatever in the open stitch until he's back off the stretcher bars.
I've taken this photograph so you can see how I have basted the canvas with my completed section of Gunther.  This is so much more convenient than having all that canvas flapping and also prevents wear-and-tear on the stitching.
I have finished Gunther's green sash and given him a lustrous blue gem.  I've completed the front of his red tunic (save about 6 stitches on the right), and will do the same interlocking gobelin for the dark red that is the inside lining of the tunic's tail.  And I'm proud to say I have accomplished quite a bit of the background on both sides. 

This next week I'm ready to start on his trousers using the stitch Anne Stradal suggested, the Kalem.  Thank you, Anne.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More new arrivals

 I realized as I was cropping this photograph that it would be more useful if I had included a ruler alongside the prefinished dog collars so you could have an idea what sizes they are.  The sizes range from "teensy" to "small". 

 This is a design by Karen of Zecca.  The colors are so vivid. 

This canvas is going the wrong way--it should be up and down.  I don't want anyone to get the idea I'm in charge of blog content!  This is a Laurel Burch design distributed by Danji Designs.

This happy cat designed by Trish Gunning makes me smile. 
This design from Princely  reminds me of the Peaceable Kingdom.  Princely is one of the few companies who still paint with oil.  It brings back such memories when I open a shipment from them.
The odor fades away in a day or two, but it reminds me of my early days in the needlepoint industry before people switched to acrylic paints. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Standing nutcracker, 15

Finally!  Gunther has been moved down on the stretcher bars and what you see is what needs to be stitched.  I'm actually about 65% done since his legs are so much narrower than his head and torso.  I must remember to not stitch too narrow a base for him--don't want him to be unsteady on his feet.  I keep changing the percentage of area stitched between 65 and 70--the background around his legs is the questionable area.

Here he is free from the stretcher bars:
I want you to see his midsection better--this is the area that took me what I thought was forever to stitch.
I'm doing the horn and the gold trim on his waistcoat in basketweave.  I couldn't think of a stitch that would be anything but endless compensation on the diagonal lines.  Then the blue will be in criss-cross Hungarian.  I haven't decided if the French knot filler will be the same blue or a lighter shade.  I'll decide that tomorrow, says Miss Scarlett. 

This is what remains to be stitched, already attached to the stretcher bars.  
You can see my faint pencil line on each side of his boots, but I think I will widen that more.  I have been doing a minimum of 10 stitches of background (or more) and that is what I will do under his feet. 

Tomorrow I'll be flipping through the stitch books since I haven't even thought about what stitches I'll do for his pants and boots.  My stitching slows down when my mind hasn't decided what stitches to do, so I want to make my decisions as soon as possible.  The legs were out of sight, out of mind when they were flapping around unattached to the stretcher bars.  Now they are really in my face, forcing a decision.  Hmmm.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Standing nutcracker, 14

Argghh!  I've been knocking myself out trying to stitch below Gunther's hands so I could move the canvas again on the stretcher bars.  I thought between some golf and the Super Bowl and Downton Abbey, I might accomplish my goal.  It was not to be, even before I took the photograph and discovered that I started stitching the second ribbon on his sash in the wrong green.  That's what comes of pulling fibers out of a bag without taking them all out so you can see the color sequence.  

I did the mosaic stitch for the lighter blue on the edging of his sleeves.  And I managed to complete almost all of the red bottom of his tunic.
The irony is that I was so concerned about getting the "hand" colors correct, that I wouldn't stitch on them late at night.  The colors just looked too similar.  (For those of you who wonder, my DH doesn't like the appearance of most lamps that are beneficial to stitchers.  Most of the time it doesn't make a difference so it's easy for me to acquiesce since he also lives here.)  He makes up for it in other ways.  In fact, this morning I forgot my sandwich and when I pulled into the shop parking lot after stopping at the post office, I thought to myself, that looks like Arthur's car.  When I got closer I started worrying about what had happened that he had come by.  But just a good deed delivery of the forgotten sandwich. 

Today I belatedly decided on my 2013 class schedule.  I'll be teaching classes on items that I have blogged about including Hearts; cuff bracelet; small flamingo canvas; poinciana tree, and the geometric sampler I designed utilizing watercolors. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

More new canvases

 First we have this bright canvas of multi-colored  poppies from Alice Peterson.  I think the lack of shading in the petals just calls for pattern stitches.  This is on my list of possible stitching projects.  Of course, that list is about 5 times what it is humanly possible to accomplish for shop models.  We'll see.

This hibiscus canvas from Treglown Designs reminds me of those prints used for Hawaiian aloha shirts. This is also so Florida.  Of course, I wasn't supposed to order any floral pillows since we already have so many.  Ah, well!  Rules were made to be broken.
 And you can never have enough doorstops when you live on the coast of Florida, especially one with a seashell design. This beauty was designed by Gayla Elliott.

 Many of my customers are grandmothers.  They're always looking for projects to celebrate the birth of a grandchild.  Alice Peterson has always had a selection of these large alphabet hangings (also some for numbers).
This asymmetrical paisley canvas is from Alice Peterson.  It has such a fresh look.

What a vision of a tropical paradise.  This beauty is from Charley Harper distributed by Treglown Designs.  You have to envy those free as a breeze birds.