Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Merrrrrry Christmas

In approximately 1979,  Needle Nicely in its infinite corporate brilliance (and while still in the mountains of North Carolina), decided to open a shop in the next town, Boone, for the winter.  Hindsight says this was a boner idea.  However, in our enthusiasm to publicize the moment, Trubey conceived the following design for cross-stitch.  It appeared in our newspaper ads encouraging customers to flock to our satellite location.  It looked great on red or green aida.  Then we transferred the design to 10mesh needlepoint canvas and stitched it entirely in Paternayan persian wool utilizing the basketweave stitch.  Fast forward to 2013 and I am resurrecting it.  Identical design, different fibers and adding pattern stitches to produce a new and improved finish.  TaDah!

It is amazing how quickly a 10mesh canvas is stitched.  The background is stitched in the diagonal mosaic using Trio (silk 'n ivory for 10mesh).  I'm doing two rows of slanted gobelin outside the border so the border will show when the pillow is made.

The green border is a tent stitch (for the single stitch) and a slanted gobelin over 2 for the "notches".  The fiber used is metallic ribbon floss.  The small snowflake has a central body of a Scotch stitch.  The larger snowflake has 2x2 areas where I utilized the Smyrna cross.  The fiber used in the snowflakes is also metallic ribbon floss.

NOTE:  I had prepped the introduction to this blog entry several days ago.  Tonight I just clicked on Publish, not remembering that I had altered the publication date.  Ooops! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Little mermaid, 5

Well, my mermaid is ready for the hairdresser!  I finished stitching the sand in the diagonal mosaic.  Her flesh is stitched in basketweave/tent stitch.  Her cuff bracelet and armlet (?) are in the slanted gobelin in Balger gold metallic.  Her hairbow matches her bra.  I forgot to bring home some odds and ends of fibers--like the white metallic for her pearls and the colors for her eyes.  Oops!

I've started practicing on her hair.  Time will tell about those bullions. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little mermaid, 4

I just love the way her tail looks in person.  All those smyrna crosses add such texture.  Of course, they also take longer to execute than many other stitches (says Miss Instant Gratification).  I have started stitching the sand in diagonal mosaic.

My reading in the summer is usually nonfiction, heavy on biography and memoirs (such as a biography of Iphigene Sulzburger whose family owns the New York Times).  However, Monday I picked up my paperback copy of Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien.  It won the Newbery Award in children's literature and is just delightful.  I reread it every couple of years because it gives me such warm fuzzy feelings.  It has subtle messages (and some not so subtle) about cooperation among different groups,  joining forces against a common adversary, stereotyping, and so much more.  Who would have thought I'd be proud of a rat or a mouse?  If you've never read it, I highly recommend it to you. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Little mermaid, 3

I've been working on the tail smyrna crosses, alternating stitching them with the blue background basketweave.  This weekend my goal is to look on-line for instructions for the bullion stitch for all that hair.  Years ago I tried doing them and failed abysmally.  Since then I have resorted to fake bullion stitches.  We'll see if I have improved with age and patience. 

Yesterday Lynn packed the rugs into the plastic storage bins.  I have made color print-outs of each one and we have marked the bins so on the off chance someone wants to buy one, we know which bin holds it.  This organizational plan allowed us to discover that I had omitted one rug from the sale listings.  It got added as #70 last night.  I guess Lynn doesn't pack them as tightly as I used to--they still occupy 6 bins and over 20 have been sold since the rug sale began this year. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Little mermaid, 2

 People often ask my about my stitching strategy.  I don't like coming up in a hole that has yarn, so I try to move from the upper right hand corner down and across the canvas.  On the mermaid's tail "fluke", I first did the green outline.  It was then easy to fit the slanted gobelin stitches in.  I know some people do the dark colors first, or the light colors first.  I just do them as I come to them.  You can also see that I have started doing the Smyrna cross  since the tail seems to be painted for them. 
And in an update to my mother dove.  I checked and the incubation period for doves is about 14 days.  Sure enough, Monday morning I looked out the window to discover the chick on the ground underneath the pygmy palm.  I assume it fell out of the nest.  You can see that the mother is sitting on it--perhaps to protect it from predators?  For a while, the chick was uncovered.  The chick is the whitish fluff under the front of the dove's breast.  Tuesday there was no sign of the chick, so I'm hoping it is safe.  It was nice to see that papa also took a turn sitting (he's larger and darker). 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Little mermaid

Last year Alice Peterson had a new canvas by Gayla featuring a mermaid.
When I received the canvas (it also comes as a doorstop), I realized that the central mermaid motif would look good as a pillow insert or attached to a tote bag or...the possibilities are endless.  So I ordered her painted all by herself.
I've started on the background, partly because I like to do the background first since it bores me; but also because I want to have the background stitched before I start on those tendrils of hair. 

We've had several customers send us canvases to finish stitching.  There are 4 Christmas stockings, a dog collar and a petitpoint angel the customer purchased from us in 1987.  What a treat to see the handwritten stitch instructions and recognize the handwriting.  Add to those the 3 tote bags that I have to attach pockets to and a pillow that needs its twisted cord reattached and the 2 key fobs I blocked and glued Thursday--definitely not many goof-off opportunities!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I love Vero, Done!

 I decided to stitch the body of the dolphin and the lighter green of the "green" in the diagonal mosaic.  I like the texture it adds.  I also did the palm tree trunks in the chain stitch to make them look nice and "barky".  

 When I first finished stitching, I noticed that the shading on my grapefruits was too dark and noticeable.  See this photograph.
 So I picked out the dark shading and put in the lighter pink from the dolphin.  I think it looks much more natural.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Small townitis....

In her comment on my post 11/21/2012 about an elderly (cough, cough--I'm 70, when do I reach elderly?) gentleman thinking my car was his, Anna of the Stitch Bitch blog said, of course lock your car.  I have spent my life in small towns.  I rarely lock my car.  When I go to the bank on Monday mornings, I lock my car because I always have the business checkbook in it from the weekend. That's it for the car locking.

North East, Maryland, is just about as small as you can get, in more ways than one.  I was quite happy to leave to go to college.  Where I chose Boone, North Carolina, probably smaller except for the college (Appalachian) which in 1960 was about 2300 students.  We knew everyone, that's the good and bad news.  You couldn't escape the horrible professors or those among the students who were obnoxious.  Believe me, I tried.  

I was a senior high school librarian in Newark, Delaware.  It had the University of Delaware, but was mainly a suburb for DuPont employees.  I walked to school because I had no car, but the town was small enough I could do that without qualifying for a marathon.  Some of my students offered to steal a car piece by piece because they felt bad that I didn't have one.  May I say that I insisted they drop that plan of action.  My principal hated me already, I didn't need to contribute to grand theft auto!
Next I moved to a senior high school in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in the NC foothills.  I had to hitch a ride with an English teacher who lived 2 blocks away.  Sometimes I overslept and dressed in the passenger seat of her car on the way to school, riding behind the school buses with the kids trying to see what we were doing in the car behind them.  Those were the days of panty hose in all their glory.  Awkward to get in and out of in the front seat of a car (perhaps it's TMI to mention getting out of!  I was young and foolish.)
Back to Boone for a master's degree in library science, but more importantly the purchase of my first car and learning how to drive between Boone and Blowing Rock and Boone and Linville.  The agony of a summer afternoon with the windows rolled down  (before power windows), with the sun going down in the mountains and smoking a cigarette and worrying about can I take a hand off the wheel to roll up the window while still holding on to my cigarette? But it was a v-8, I think 389, and boy, when you stepped on the gas, it motored!
And young men always thought I was a pigeon at stop lights--silly boys!

I stayed in Boone for 4 years that time, working as a cataloger in the University Library after I completed my MA.  I left there for the largest community where I have ever lived--Madison, WI, and the University of Wisconsin Library School.  In the 1970s Madison was about 120,000 but it was a small town none-the-less.
What a marvelous community, though I still have nightmares about the library school.  

After 3 years in Madison I thankfully was offered a teaching job back at Appalachian.  Though my joy was short-lived since I had been exposed to many revolutionary teaching ideas that didn't translate.  Still, I was back in my small town where I knew so many people.  We won't mention the horror of the produce guy at Winn-Dixie who recoiled when I inquired if the grapes were picked by La Raza.  Say what?  They're good grapes, Mary.

When I started working at Needle Nicely in Blowing Rock, I parked my classic 67 mustang behind the building.  I didn't leave the keys in it, but many people in town did in their cars.  My mechanic picked it up one day to work on it and at lunch someone asked me who was driving my car?  Best insurance you can have is a small town with lots of interested friends.  My New Yorker husband thinks they are nosy, I think they are interested. 

I've transitioned from Blowing Rock to Vero Beach, Fl.  Trust me, in the summer it is a very small town.  Even in the winter "season", the same people come back.  And I am waiting on the children and grandchildren of my original customers here (starting in 1981).

I like familiarity.  For years Trubey and I vacationed on the same small island in the Bahamas--Great Exuma.
We went twice a year and bone fished.  It was marvelous to get off the plane in Georgetown and hear George, our taxi driver, calling hello from the side of the airfield.  The Carolina Girls were back.

When I go to Europe I do the same.  I go to the same hotels in Paris and Florence and London.  When I went to New York and rented an apartment for 10 days, I loved riding the buses and subways watching people.  The same in San Francisco--the cable cars were an addiction.  I had to laugh when I took a San Francisco bus to the Legion of Honor (I think) with an art museum.  On the way back I asked the bus driver to tell me when to get off for the Aquarium.  He laughed--get off at that number street.  Sorry, I'm a small town girl and I know you may lie to me about street numbers--you're a city slicker!  I guess I'd lock my car in those cities.  But still not in Vero Beach. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I love Vero, 6

 I find myself falling back on basketweave for many of the design elements in this canvas.  The images are really too small for most pattern stitches.  I have also fallen in love with the slanted gobelin for the lettering and the red elements of the sailboat and golf green. 
I'm hopeful that with the extra day off tomorrow and then my 3-day weekend I'll manage to finish this up.  I'm mentally ready for my next project!