Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hearts mistake

Am I prescient or what?  When I looked at my blog later Saturday night, I noticed in the photograph that there were 5 stitches between the two hearts on the top border.  GRRR.  Thank goodness when I stitched Saturday night I worked on the interior hearts.  I have since frogged the area and restitched that part of the  border.  It's just a lesson to not let yourself get too cocky about what a wonderful mathematician/stitcher you are--things do happen to stymie the process.  On the plus side (says Suzie Sunshine), I caught it early and it was simple to fix.  Onward and upward! 

If you look closely you can even see where I enlarged a hole so I would know the center of the row.  Nothing like ignoring your own signals.  

 Now to show some more new canvases.  These ladies are distributed by Maggie Co.  As a note, I will be having a Maggie Co trunk show in March--the 16th through the 31st. 

And one of Maggie's "what are they thinking?" canvases showing the thoughts of a dog.
I couldn't resist this whimsical winter canvas from Ewe and Eye.  Makes me think that new whiter than white metallic from Balger would be perfect--I think the number is 5760 (or close).  And I always thought 032 was white!
And this is a smaller version of Gunther, my 30" nutcracker stitching project.  This series of canvases is 18"
and Susan Roberts who designed them also has a 9" series.
Macy (my new employee) confessed today that she had checked out the blog and now was in on the secret that many more boxes were headed our way.  Ah, well!  We had a good chuckle about it.
And we sold another rug yesterday--the dragon from Anne Cram.  The customer selected the colors and now I have to calculate the amount of each color she will require.  I have to do that first thing in the morning while my brain is fresh.  That makes 9 rug canvases and one 2-sided Mrs. Santa sold, only two million left (just a slight exaggeration).
And Dotty came in this afternoon to get her neck hug.  She's going home tomorrow so our stitching afternoons have ended.  Perhaps she'll be back in the spring to tackle another 2 of her projects.  I hope so--we've known and liked each other so long, it's a comfortable relationship.  Now I'll have lonely thoughts at 3pm in the afternoon. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hearts, IV

 This is part of the set-up that I resorted to this week to determine the placement of Rhodes Heart stitches for the border of the Princess and Me Hearts canvas I am stitching.  I hate to pick out and knew if I started stitching the border without a pretty good plan, lots of "frogging" would be in my future.  Each of the squares is 10x9 stitches.  I calculated the total number of stitches each way in my border and then moved the squares around to arrive at that number.  My husband thought I was being a little space-y, but my system appears to be working (notice the superstition there since I haven't completed that top row all the way across!).
I also started stitching the partial heart at the top of the canvas with Byzantine #2 (from Stitches to Go).
I'm going to take this canvas to the shop so I can show it off for prospective students to see.  It won't reappear until late spring, hopefully in a more complete condition.  Monday I'll bring Gunther home.  His stitching has slowed to a crawl because of the increase in business due to the "season".  Believe me, I'm not complaining.  So many of Needle Nicely's customers come back year after year, and now due to "Blogger" I am seeing new faces.  This time of year is a constant "old home week".  Such fun to catch up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Like I really need more inventory!

It's that time of year when new canvases start pouring into Needle Nicely.  It's like Christmas or birthday every day.  Even the UPS driver gets excited and my mailman delights in playing the "who sent the package from...." just to try and stump me.
First we have our shop pin-up, Miss Marsh from Cooper Oaks.
 There are lots of turtles that nest on Vero's beaches.  This belt from Cooper Oaks is a great depiction of turtles.
And we see lots of sun-worshippers in Vero (thank goodness!).  This design from Pippin just calls for stitching.

And this canvas from Ruth Schmuff could be the motto of some of our customers.
This by Pippin makes me want to sail away, leaving my cares behind me.  And another by Pippin adds some necessary spice to my life.
Can't wait to see what's coming tomorrow. 

This afternoon Emma, my canvas hanging teenager, came by to help out with the walls.  While I had her attention, I got her to show me several features of my iphone.  It didn't take her any time to handle the sources of my confusion.  Nice to know someone so capable.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hearts, III

 The center heart is the Byzantine Mosaic stitch.  I've been busily trying to stitch more of the checkboard background so I don't have it facing me when I have finished the fun of the hearts.
I've started the 4th heart using the Milanese stitch and started on the first border in the slanted gobelin. 

On the wonderful news front, I placed my first yarn order with the company that bought out Paternayan.  Projected delivery is mid-February.  Only about 30 colors so far, but it is definitely a start.  Of course, the price is going to be higher, but I think that was a foregone conclusion. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Standing nutcracker, 13

 By the time I got to Gunther's belt I had finally decided what stitch to use--the Victorian step stitch.  The fiber of choice was Silk lame braid for 18mesh  which I use on both 18 and 13mesh.  However, it was too skimpy for an upright stitch so I doubled it.  The looseness of the fiber allows the doubling to not be obvious and it allowed me to start stitching without going back to the shop for another fiber. 

I've also been plugging away at the basketweave for his "hands" and the outline of his horn.  And did I mention the ever-widening expanse of background?  

This afternoon Dotty and I finally felted a cloud on the Thanksgiving parade canvas she is stitching using a combination of stitches from Amy's and the Bristly Thistle.  The felting looks good, but Dotty plans to put some glue on the back to make sure it stays put since her canvas is going to be a pillow and not framed.  Whew! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hearts II

I was stitching blithely along, in a zone, when all of a sudden I realized that because I intend to add borders to the outside of this design, I needed to change the bottom row of Scotch stitches.  Border pattern stitches are usually divisible by 2 or 3--that odd 1 row was going to throw everything off.
If you look closely at the middle of the bottom, you'll see one white Scotch stitch sticking out like a sore thumb.  I have already done the white and black "ones" so I will just go back and overstitch them.  I'm glad I thought of this now. 

The middle heart is being stitched in the diagonal Hungarian ground.  Again this week I'll take this to the shop to fill in more of the black Scotch stitches.

I've been quietly concerned about my shop employees.  Helen who has worked for me for over 22 years retired this summer--in fact, I've known her longer than I have my husband!  Then, Adele who has worked for NN for 3 years decided she needed to move North to be closer to family.  She's had several health scares in the last 2 years.  So it was Marcia and myself against the needlepoint world.  I didn't want to advertise because people see an ad and come out of the woodwork, not realizing what sort of shop this is.  My  husband has kept telling me, "someone will come in".  And dang if he wasn't right.  Macy, who worked for us 23 years ago and left to work in banking so she could have benefits, is back in the area and is going to work 2 or 3 days a week.  Looks like I have good karma!

Of course, as they say, a new broom and all that.  She attacked my box collection this week and I had a trunkful of broken down boxes to take home for recycling and a bag of peanuts (or as a friend of mine says, ghost poop) to drop off today at one of the local pack 'n ships.  I haven't told Macy that new boxes are due to arrive en masse the end of this month as the new canvases start arriving.  That will be our little secret.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ah, youthful romance...

Two months ago my sister mentioned that someone had contacted her on and inquired about contact information for me.  Years ago our oldest brother was approached by a woman who wanted to contact our 2nd brother.  Senior blithely revealed the contact information.  Come to find out #2 had been successfully avoiding her for years and then big brother had outed him.  Massive disagreement.  So, all of us (at least the original 7) know that before revealing contact information, ask the significant sibling.
The inquiry was from the "boy" I had dated during college and my first year teaching in Newark, DE.  That was 48 years ago.  I have no idea why we stopped dating.  I know I moved South to North Carolina, once again, but my only reaction when I think of him is "Smiles".  Obviously, there was nothing traumatic in our parting.  At the time I thought I wanted to marry him.  How did I move from that to looking back and smiling about our relationship?  One of life's mysteries.
Anyway, I told her to tell him how to contact me (though I think if he googled my maiden name, he would find me--I must try that and see).  And the next week I got a request to "friend" him on Facebook.  So I did.  I mentioned this to my husband, the gruff New Yorker.  He said, so-o-o? He knows the way to quash a discussion!  And doesn't seem to think I'm planning to dash off in search of young romance (could I dash?  A moot point!). 

48 years....what is almost as unbelievable is that I was a college instructor at Appalachian State University in 1973-74 in the whoknows what the politically correct name of the department was--it went from library science to media studies to mumble, mumble.  That was 38 years ago.  I came back from my doctoral studies (hash tag pledge hell week) at UW-Madison.  I really enjoyed the people I encountered at Wisconsin.  The power structure, not so much.  Sigh!  I bailed when ASU called and asked me to return to teach media studies for elementary teachers and various courses in the library science majors program.   But I had more education than my master's degree professor and could have legitimately bumped her for our similar course strengths.  Talk about a palace uprising.  I was young and naive and still an adoring student.  Off with my head.  Unemployed, I found a temporary job as a general college advisor.  Of course, I recommended that the students avoid all of the tough grading professors.  Excuse me--I'm an advocate of the student, not the professor.  Not exactly a view supported by the university administration.  My point was do you want to stroke professors' egos or help students to navigate the system.  I voted for the students and once again was unemployed.  Surprise, surprise.  I then moved into the needlepoint business.

Why I mention this sad scenario is that I am now 70 and at 70.5 I must begin withdrawing a statistically determined amount from my IRAs.  Except that they are in 2 places and that complicates everything.  In an attempt to make this easier,  I have asked TIAA-CREF to transfer my holdings to my Florida IRA.  Except they are now asking for my dates of employment and date of termination.  Say what?  It was 37 years ago.  I am known for my memory, but trust me, it ain't that good. I could probably have guessed the year, but the month and day?  And give me a break--it's my SSN and I'm signing the request.  The gods of bureaucracy should just offer it up.  But no, we must all go through this painful dance. And, while the TIAA-CREF minions have transferred the funds that I contributed AFTER I was a professor, they are dawdling about letting go of the original contribution.  And who knew that it would grow so much over the years?  Obviously a good argument for contributing early to a retirement fund.

NOTE:  I did contact ASU, my former employer, and talked with a cooperative woman who said she would have to consult the microfiche.  Now, that is a word that really makes you feel old--microfiche.  How long has it been since any of us has seen one?  Anyway, she called back in about 45 minutes to give me the dates of my employment.  So the process is slowly becoming reality.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Well, there have been 3 checks transferred from my TIAA-CREF account to date,  but not surprisingly there is still a small remnant of my original contribution.  It's a great lesson that even the best managed funds seem to arrange things for the maximum amount of administrative fees.  So in my one account I have 4 separate divisions and, thus 4 separate fee entities.   So, now to see if I can pry loose this last small segment of my account.  It has only taken 2 months thusfar.  I'm glad I started this early before my required distribution.  A lesson to us all. 

Rug sale update:  Sold a standing  Mrs. Claus designed  by Trubey and 2 additional rugs.  Yesterday someone was looking through the pile of canvases and I took advantage of the opportunity to count them.  I had 75 yesterday so I started with 81 big and small rug and wall hanging canvases.  So we're now at 73. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hearts class

In 2004 Needle Nicely had a Princess and Me trunk show.  In that show was a canvas intended to be a purse insert (or a box insert--hard to tell from the photo).  I decided I wanted to use it to teach a class so over the next year or so I accumulated 8 copies.  The summer of 2005 I started stitching the prototype, following the stitch instructions that came with the canvas.  Along came Hurricane Wilma and in the uproar following the roof's going off and our subsequent rapid move, I managed to lose the partially stitched canvas.  The other canvases I discovered this past summer in the proverbial "safe place".  So, once again I am stitching it for a class this February.  This time I'm coming up with my own stitches. 
 The background checkerboard is being stitched in alternating Scotch stitch, the white in DMC perle 5 and the black in silk lame braid.  If I were stitching this for myself and not a class, I think I would use white splendor or DMC embroidery floss.  It looks so much smoother but requires careful laying.  Many of my students just want to learn a few stitches and aren't necessarily interested in all the niceties of stitching, like grooming fibers.  I figure my job is to seek their comfort level and teach them stitches.  And let's face it, perle 5 is a lot easier to stitch with! 

I'm stitching the hearts with silk lame braid..  The first one is done in the Nobuko stitch; the second in a combination of basketweave and slanted gobelin.  The trick to doing the latter is to do the basketweave from top to bottom and then do the slanted gobelin back up to the top; repeat. 

This is my nightly home stitching project.  However, I have discovered that it is really difficult to see the black.  So, one day a week I'm taking it to the shop to stitch the black "under the bright lights" of Needle Nicely.  First I do the white Scotch stitches and later add the black, rather than doing the black first. 

NOTE:  This canvas is no longer listed on the Princess and Me price list, but I'm pretty sure they'll fill special orders if you're interested. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Palm frond slides, finished

At last!  I have been wondering why I was so anxious to finish stitching these two canvases.  While looking over entries in this blog, I discovered that I started working on the first canvas while I was returning home from the Baltimore needlepoint market in September.  That's a long time for what I consider 2 small canvases.  Ah, well!  

I'm pleased with the effect of the stitches I selected for the small palm trees.  I did the chain stitch for their trunks.  Then, I drew a mental center line on each  individual frond and did a long stitch outward from that center line.  It's rather intimidating for someone like me who likes regimented stitches, but I think the end result is pleasing.

And I don't know whether the sun is rising or setting, but I couldn't arrive at a stitch I liked for it, so I fell back on that old stand-by basketweave.

Now to decide how to finish these two beauties.

On the rug front, I've been receiving emails and phone calls about some of the canvases.  Several people have been dismayed at the sale price.  Please remember that usually a rug is the equivalent of 6 pillow canvases--that should give a good idea of the retail price.  I have sold six canvases to date.  The sale will continue and in the late spring I will probably discount to 50% off.  And I am working on putting the photographs on a separate page on this blog (see heading on the upper right--I am one posted already and do apologize that live has gotten in the way of entering more.). While I think the needlepoint industry is making a rebound, I have decided that at my age I do not need such a large concentration of rug canvases.  As someone remarked, their combined prices would make a good down payment on a house (and that's in Vero Beach, not Blowing Rock, NC where I used to have a shop).  Enough said.  I will go back through my blog's photographs and mark those canvases that have been sold.  Just as I have indicated the Petei canvases that have been sold.