Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pelicans everywhere--done, done, done

I stitched the wing of the peach pelican using the patio cashmere stitch.  It's a compact stitch that fits well into a small area.  And the final stitch for this canvas is the serendipity stitch on the pale blue wing.  How appropriate!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, xi

The never-ending pelicans canvas where you can see that I did the criss-cross Hungarian combined with French knots on the green wing; a variation of the mosaic/jacquard on the pink wing to the far left; the mosaic stitch on the pink wing in the center; the diagonal triple Parisian on the periwinkle wing; and the double Hungarian on the lavender wing.  Now to finish the final two wings!

 And getting back to the last Christmas stocking Needle Nicely stitched for a customer--this is the doll's face and hair.  I'm not as artistic as Helen is with stitching faces, but this is definitely an improvement on the painted face!  The hair is the long-short split stitch using 3 colors of DMC floss (1 strand of the darkest, 2 strands of a medium and 3 strands of the lightest color). 

 This photograph shows the same long-short split stitch for the little girl's hair in the same blending combination.  And you can see to the left of the picture, the turkey work pom-pom on Santa's cap.  I usually don't trim this until the stocking is finished, but the grandmother was going to display this on Christmas day. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A sprinkling of canvases

Postage has gotten so expensive that I've started ordering several canvases for the shop when I special order a canvas for a customer.  It helps spread the cost of shipping over more canvases and also has the added benefit of introducing some fresh merchandise at an "off" time of year (Needle Nicely's season is from mid-January through the end of April).

This is a new design from Elizabeth Turner.  When it arrived, I had my shop calligrapher (doesn't that sound fancy?) do a graph of Vero Beach to be stitched in place of the Miami.  In fact, while writing this I have decided to have Meredith of ET do some belts for Needle Nicely that way.
 This is a different candy belt, again from Elizabeth Turner.
 Crabs are always a popular item, especially in these preppy colors.

 This is one of Pippin's "Dozen" canvases, featuring twelve angels.
It has a great combination of patterns on the gowns.

Another of Pippin's "dozen" designs.  Such fun sweaters.

These beach umbrellas are one of Pippin's "fives" canvases.  They look like such  a delight to stitch.

This pair from Associated Talents are small companions to some larger canvases.  Thus you can stitch as much or as little as you want and still have an elegant pillow or two.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Shop stitching

I've been spending my "free" time at the shop doing blocking and hand stitching for projects that my customers want for Christmas presents.  I didn't take a photograph, but last week I blocked the flap of one of Sophia's purses.  The customer planned to hand sew the lining down herself.  Then I blocked, machine lined, and then hand sewed a canvas to two of the Dash and Albert tote bags so the customer could give them to her daughters next week for Christmas.

This is a canvas from Lee's Needle Art. 

 As an added touch, the mother did a canvas with each daughter's monogram so I could applique it to the opposite side of the tote from the pocket canvas.  Of course, it would have been straighter if she had stitched it on a frame, but I think it's a nice addition.

 I don't remember the designer of this frog on a lily pad canvas. 

I'm almost finished the trim on Santa's suit.  I also need to stitch the little girl's hair and the face and hair of her doll (not shown in this photograph).  This is an Alexa design.  The customer will pin the stitched canvas to fabric so it will look like a finished stocking.  Those are lots and lots of French knots!  The pom-pom is going to be turkey work.  I have to have this ready Monday, so off I go to continue stitching.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Treetop angel, finished

Just had to share the gorgeous finishing job that one of Needle Nicely's finishers did on the Dede treetop angel. 

The moire gusset is about 1 1/4 inches wide.   I love the way it was shaped.  Then a twist cording made from DMC perle 5 was handstitched on.

And the back view of the angel. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Murphy's Law as applied to needlepoint shops

I think everyone knows Murphy's Law which roughly is "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and in the worst possible way at the worst possible time".  In relation to needlepoint shops, its corollarys are:

1.  The minute you have placed a fiber order, someone will walk in wanting 6 ounces of Paternayan or 7
     skeins of DMC perle cotton of colors that you didn't order and that the supplier has told you it is too 
     late to add to your order and of course it doesn't meet their minimum order so you will have to pay a        surcharge to order it.  (Great run-on sentence!)
NOTE:  Trying to get Blogger to indent is a real pain.  I just want everyone to know my pain.

2.  The minute you have closed a box of stitched items to be shipped to a finisher, someone will come in     with a canvas that needs to go to that finisher. 

2A Corollary:  After taping closed a package to a finisher, you will look on the counter and see the     finishing instructions for the enclosed items resting there.  GRRR!     

3.  The day after you have made a rush shipment to a finisher, a customer will come in with another rush item for that finisher.

4.  Of course you haven't paid an invoice from a canvas designer when in walks a customer who just HAS to have a canvas.  You're now behind the 8-ball to pay the invoice and then order the canvas.  Try tap-dancing a little faster while smiling the entire time.  NOT.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, x

Well, finally the stitching on this canvas is down to the wings on the 8 pelicans.  Finally!  My husband who never seems to notice what I'm stitching has become an absolute nudge about when this canvas will be finished.  I finally told him this afternoon that it only seemed like never.

I started stitching the knotted stitch on the pelican to the far left.  It looks too tight and small a stitch considering the other stitches.  I think I'm going to pick it out, though the knotted stitch is even less fun to frog than it is to stitch.  Sigh!

This isn't the clearest picture for which I apologize.  My camera was yammering at me to change the batteries, but I wanted to get the photographs so I could blog.  And who wants a nagging camera, anyway?  The batteries are now being charged for my next great photographic moment!

I did manage to complete the Victorian step stitch on the 3rd pelican from the right.  It's one of my favorite stitch, I think because of the smooth diagonal line of long stitches.  It has such a different look.

On another note, Needle Nicely sold 2 rugs this past week.  One was sold on Small Business Saturday so the purchaser could buy the yarn at 20% off.  The other was a selection by a first-time visitor to Needle Nicely who was on her way to catch a cruise ship in Miami.  I like those detours!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Which would a shopowner prefer to sell?

Dotty, my longtime customer who came to Vero twice last year and now again this year for private assistance with stitching canvases from her various classes throughout the country, asked today what I would rather sell in the shop--canvases, fibers, finishing?

Most shops do finishing as a loss leader.  It is impossible to get a keystone (the usual markup in retail) for finishing.  It's expensive as it is, but if you keystoned no one could afford it.  But shops must provide finishing.  If you don't have a finisher for an item, you can't sell the canvases for that item.  That is the reality of finishing.  Needle Nicely has over 20 finishers for various items.  I really wish I could teach customers how to finish many of the items they stitch.  But my customers would rather be needlepointing than finishing their Christmas ornaments or appliqued items on tote bags or Lee's leather luggage get the idea.  Sigh!  So I, myself, do the finishing of the appliqued items on tote bags and the lining on purse flaps or the lining on stitch 'n zips or the Lee's leather products.  Reluctantly, but I do it, because if I don't, I can't sell the item; or, if I send it to a distant finisher the cost will be exorbitant.

I love to sell the fibers I stock.  However, the inventory of fibers is finite and selling them means re-ordering.  That's great, except you want a large enough order to justify the shipping cost.  I purchase my DMC perle cotton from a vendor who ships free of charge to get an edge over his competitors.  So I try to add to my perle orders things like stretcher bars, scissors, brass tacks, etc., because the shipping is free.

My favorite category of sale is Canvases!  I've already paid for them and I don't need to reorder except when they are for a shop model.  Needle Nicely has a large canvas inventory and I want to scream at customers:  Buy a canvas, buy 2 canvases, please, please, please!  Yes, I have a design studio, but I'd rather sell you a belt from my French laundry basket of over 400 canvases than paint a special design for you.  And, yes, I have over 150 Christmas stocking canvases in stock--could you please like one of them rather than asking me to order one from a catalog?