Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, iii

I finished the sand and then tackled the color question of the lighter legs.  I did decide my yellow was too wimpy and selected a more golden shade.  It's stitched and actually is the shade of the painted legs.  I'll use the same shade for the beaks and top knots when I get to them.

I started the sky using 2 strands of pale aqua mixed with 2 strands of white Splendor.  I'm doing the Byzantine Scotch stitch, one of my favorite stitches for a reasonably large area.  I just love the smoothness of it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Finishing, the bane of a needlepoint shop owner's existence

Yesterday I had a customer come in to pick up 2 needlepoint cuff bracelets I had had finished for her.  I thought she was going to pass out when I told her how much the finishing cost was.  Let me explain my finishing position.  After over 30 years in this business, I try to always inform customers about the various expenses involved in their contemplated project.  You want to stitch a belt?  How do you envision its being finished?  This style costs this much, that method costs that much.  I have learned it is always better to have this conversation at the beginning of the stitching process rather than the end. I'd rather lose the initial sale then have a painful confrontation when the finished project is offered for finishing or when I present the gorgeous finished product.   I empathized with the customer today, but I also know that I tried to alert her to the finishing cost.  That doesn't  make the experience any less painful.

As a customer, always ask the finishing cost.  ALWAYS.  If it's a pillow, an eyeglass case, a pocketbook, a Christmas ornament--always ask how much the finishing will cost BEFORE you buy the canvas.  And definitely ask when you hand something over to be finished.  Needlepoint is an expensive pastime.  No one knows this better than the owner of a needlepoint shop.  He/she won't be offended if you reject the project as costing too much.  It's something we've all seen and heard before.

I pride myself on having wonderful finishers.  I utilize over 20 finishers, depending on the project.  Customers should always ask to see finished samples.  For instance, I prefer the way my finisher does framed pillows.  She uses a tiny cord on the inside edge of the frame, against the needlepoint.  Then, she uses a larger cording on the outer edge of the pillow.  It produces a marvelous "crisp-edged" product.  Of course I'm sure she would eliminate these touches if you asked, but I like them. 

You must also understand that needlepoint finishers are even more independent than needlepoint artists, and that is saying something.  Both groups are noteworthy for avoiding projects that are out-of-the-ordinary.  Sometimes my customers implore me to call and complain about slow delivery.  I usually reply "would you knock yourself out for someone who constantly complains or someone who compliments the quality of your work?"  I prefer the carrot to the stick. 

Most of the country won't be worrying about it for at least another two months, so why did my husband and I have our flu shots Monday?  Because, as my "shooter" told me, we have to have them before the snow birds come down bringing all their germs.  At first glance, that sounds rather offensive.  But, upon contemplation, you have to recognize the scientific validity.  Anyone who has caught a cold from a 5-year-old in preschool knows  they bring germs home.  So do snowbirds bring germs South with them.  I have an employee who refuses to have a flu shot.  As she says, she never gets the flu.  She also has a terrible memory, because every year about December 20 through January 15, she has some sort of cold/flu and is miserable--and we all are aware of this.  Each year I try to cajole her into having a flu shot, but she always refuses, because "she never gets the flu".  I also never get the flu, but I get my flu shot religiously.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, ii

I've been continuing with the nobuko for the sand.  The sand area is so broken up that I haven't been worrying about making the stitching areas line up with each other.  Rather, I've just started the nobuko in each area independently of other sand areas.  What a relief! 

I keep looking at the shade of yellow I selected for the lighter of the two legs of each pelican.  I think it may be too bland.  I've brought home several other shades to try before I do any "frogging". 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pelicans everywhere

 I originally intended to stitch this exclusive design from Trubey in July of 2012.  Somehow other canvases managed to push the pelicans onto the back burner.  I had started the canvas at the top right, but I was stitching the entire background in the sand color.  Then I rethought that.  After some frogging, I selected a line just even with the row of canvas where the turquoise pelican's beak meets the pink pelican's body.  If you look closely at the partially stitched canvas, you can detect an enlarged canvas hole that shows me where to stitch. the sand. 

I started stitching the sand in Splendor using the nobuko stitch.  I decided life was too short to compensate stitches on those skinny legs, so I'm doing the basketweave for all legs.
 I placed a huge order yesterday with Saco River, the company now producing Paternayan yarn.  This was part of the general restocking ordering I am doing to get Needle Nicely ready for the mini-season next month when people start coming back to Vero from the summer away.  At the beginning of the summer I managed to sell my stock of Waverly to a shop "up North".  While Waverly stitches beautifully, I don't like the lack of color clarity and am grateful that Saco River seems to be a reliable producer of persian yarn with the "old" Paternayan colors.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rug sale now 50% off

After much mental dithering about when I would mark the rug canvases down again, I finally bit the bullet this week.  The majority of them  are now 50% off with some masters being 60% off. 

In my continuing battle against procrastination ( a severe problem afflicting moi), I managed to complete the attachment of a shell needlepoint canvas to a tote bag.  I also now have a multiplicity of puncture wounds on my hands from the sharp needles utilized in this accomplishment.  Ouch!  The canvas is by Associated Talents (I think).  I have one more tote to have a canvas affixed.  Hurray!

 In this photograph, it looks higher on the right.  In person it isn't.  I worry about things like that.  In fact, I started to attach the canvas to the other side, but the tote manufacturer had put the handles on so they weren't level with each other.  Thank goodness it penetrated my brain that I could use the other side!

 These are the latest 12 colors of silk lame braid for 18mesh that Rainbow Gallery has released.  I love the fiber, but hope there aren't too many more as I'm running out of rack space.  In fact, Rainbow Tweed is now 1/2 price because it hasn't been that great a seller and it got bumped.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Frosty the snowman, only smaller Finished

As a carryover benefit of my stopping procrastinating about some hand stitching for customers last week, I dug out of hiding my stand-up version of Frosty the snowman.  He is an excerpt from the Snowman pillow designed by Lee's Needle Arts that I special-ordered last year.  In November, I had a customer who wanted help with needle felting.  I thought his scarf would be a good place to try this, so I unpicked what I had stitched.  I had started the scarf in the chain stitch using fuzzy stuff.
 Here he is all done.  I added French knots, wrapped twice, in Balger metallic for his eyes and mouth and satin stitch using sparkle rays for his carrot nose.  The scarf I did in alternating slanted gobelin, again using fuzzy stuff.
 Here is a close-up of the scarf so you can see the scarf in more detail.
 And in a further rush of diligence, I completed Ho, ho, ho from Associated Talents with the exception of the peppermint candies.  I am waiting for supplies to arrive so I can try an idea I think will work.  We'll see. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Procrastination is a terrible disease

I've been procrastinating about some hand stitching I need to do for Needle Nicely customers.  This week I made myself finally work on the first of 3 pockets I need to back and attach to large tote bags.  This was a Pischke Pocket kit. What a satisfying feeling to admire a finished product!  I feel so virtuous for finishing something I should have done last month.  
 After an afternoon of watching tennis and stitching, I am happy to say that I finished Merrrrrry Christmas on 13mesh.  I just wish Stan the Man Wawrinka had been as successful.
This shop model arrived yesterday in a box of Needle Nicely finishing.  I love the brown fabric I selected as backing.  It matches the color of the sand perfectly. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Merrrrrry Christmas 13mesh II

Talk about a boring project!  I guess I've been whining about it because my husband remarked last night "Aren't you finished that yet?"  He never seems to notice what I'm stitching, so I was surprised.  But I also felt the same way.
My plan is to finish this by Saturday so I can resume stitching on the Ho Ho Ho canvas I took with me to Saint Charles.  Nothing like a little incentive to keep my stitching fingers moving.