Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Scallop shell 2

I decided that I liked the look of the outer row of camel-colored slanted gobelin and want it to show on the finished pillow.  Therefore, I am adding another border of red that will become the seam and also be under the cording so most of my camel border will show.  In case you wonder why I selected red for the outer border, I just happened to have part of a skein left from "Chomp"--and it's visually more attractive than another border of camel (though it will only show until the pillow is assembled).

At the shop I'm doing French knots for trim on Santa's suit on two Christmas stockings we are finishing the stitching on for a customer.  Santa's beard is the long/short split stitch.  I'm also doing some tutoring of Dotty on projects that she has from various classes she has taken in the past year.  Tomorrow we're going to discuss ruching silk ribbon and then attaching it to the canvas.

I also set up the new sewing machine for hemming canvases.  Our previous one froze up.  We took it to be repaired, he fixed it (I could see the stitches on the fabric scrap he left in the presser foot).  I plugged it in, turned it on--and it froze again.  He fixed it again, free of charge.  Marcia stitched with it for about 20 minutes before it froze again.  Out of here!  Then I foolishly walked into Sears and bought the most basic machine they had in stock.  I'm not even sure it is suitable for a child.  The best part of it was a sewing kit that was a freebie.  Both of these machines are going to be donated to a local thrift shop (it has a repairman!).  I went on-line to Sears' website and managed to buy the equivalent of our frozen machine.  Three weeks of frustration and $120 of wasted money.  Sigh!  I remind myself "it's only money".  The only good thing about not having a working machine was that I could procrastinate about finishing a canvas into a pocket for one of the Pischke Pocket-type tote bags.  I have promised myself that come Monday morning I'll be a good girl and work on it.  I'll post photos when I finish. 

NOTE:  I came back after half an hour and noticed that the scallop photograph hadn't published.  So I have added it (again!). 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

more key fobs

It has been a frustrating day--Earthlink's DSL has been down all day.  Of course, you can't talk with a real person about anything.  They did suggest (that awful recorded voice) that it might help to unplug everything.  That worked for about 10 minutes a few hours ago and I just tried it again.  I have the feeling I'm on borrowed time.  Don't the powers that be realize that I no longer have Olympic curling to distract me and I need my Double Down Casino fix? 

Elizabeth Turner Collection now has leather self-finishing key fobs.  I received my January order yesterday along with the complimentary rack.  I took them out of the plastic so you could see the designs without the flash reflection.  There are two shapes from which to choose.

This is the Madonna canvas from a new Alice Peterson creche set.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Scallop shell...and more

I've had this canvas from Trish set aside to stitch for a shop model for too many years and decided last week that this was its opportunity for stardom.  It's 10mesh and I feel the need right now to do a mainly tent stitch canvas.

 I'm changing the colors.  I'm using silk 'n ivory, doubled in the needle, for the tan and navy and a doubled strand of silk lame braid for the red.  The red border and the outside margin is the slanted gobelin.  The remainder of the canvas will be tent stitch (basketweave where possible).  I've noticed some reluctance among my customers to attempting the pattern stitches I have done on canvases I have blog-stitched.  I'm not into intimidation, but rather comfort, so this canvas is for a nice non-threatening stitch.

 Over the weekend I noticed a squirrel hanging onto the stucco wall of the house while he snacked on one of my roses.  I was shocked to see a delicate pink petal in his paws while he was eating.  I didn't realize squirrels ate foliage, though do admit that last fall I spotted one eating a palm frond.  There are no acorns in our neighborhood, so I guess they have to improvise!

 Here he has just decided to go for a morsel at the base of the blossom--too aggressive and the rose falls to the ground.

Here he is trying to decide whether to go down to finish his meal.
He decided against it.  But the blossom was gone the next morning so someone couldn't resist.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Oriole ministocking, finished

I finished the Oriole ministocking this week by doing the chain stitch for the leaf stems.  

 Melissa Shirley has a small creche which she paints either on congress cloth or 18mesh.  A Needle Nicely customer purchased the congress cloth set about 8 years ago.  Recently she decided that she couldn't see the mesh and gave it to me to stitch for the Festival of Trees that our local Children's Theater sponsors every November.  I have stitched the navy background of two of the figures, Mary and Joseph.  I'm stitching these at the shop because the light is so good there.  I plan to have Macy stitch the figures at the shop in between waiting on customers.  The faces will be done either by myself or Helen (our most artistic stitcher). 

I'll add white metallic French knots after everything else has been stitched.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oriole ministocking II

First, one of my male stitchers is doing a Christmas stocking for his soon-to-be born first grandchild.  This is by far his biggest project--he's done belts and key fobs.  It is also the first time he is doing pattern stitches.  He started on the background first and gained confidence.  Then he moved on to the Christmas tree.  Now he's working on Santa's suit, but his confidence has taken a hit.  He was to do the mosaic stitch.  I told him that he could turn the canvas upside down to do the return row, but to be sure to keep the stitches lined up.  Well, I'm not sure quite what he did, but it isn't your typical mosaic.  He's stitching in very velvet and the picture is fuzzy.
 Anyway, one row slants to the right and the next to the left.  Actually it is a nice textural effect and I told him to keep doing what he was doing.  He can do the "regular" mosaic somewhere else.

With the Olympics to watch, my stitching has suffered.  I can stitch during the biathlon and the snowboarding, but I want to watch the curlers and the figure skaters.  I did the birds in the encroaching gobelin.  I got so engrossed in one program that after I finished the second bird, I worked on the background for a while and finally realized I had done about a 2x2 section in the encroaching gobelin.  So out it had to come!
EDIT:  I just realized I should mention the birds' eyes.  As the canvas was printed, it was impossible to accomplish the eye with rings of color so I opted to do a smyrna cross.  I like the way it looks and am glad I decided not to agonize over the whole process.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

More about clocks

There are two hand-painted designers who offer various clock designs--Mindy Designs and Zecca.  Most of them come with the buttons and the clock works.  However, there are many other canvases which can be made into clocks.  Macy and I went through Needle Nicely's stock of canvases and produced a wall of possibilities.  I couldn't get a clear view of the wall that permitted all of the canvases in one shot, so I split it up into two photographs.

 I love this cat hiding among the foliage, especially those hostas.  This is from Quail Run.

This classic design ala William Morris is by Amanda Lawford.

 I apologize that I can't remember the designer of this beautifully bright doorstop canvas.  I'll check on Monday--just shows I can no longer trust my legendary memory.

This doorstop is one of JP's designs. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

And new items keep arriving!

Canvases are not the only new items arriving every day--yesterday, Needle Nicely received some new snap trays from Carol Eix.

Vero's beaches are the breeding grounds for many varieties of turtles.  There are special lighting rules on our beaches to aid the turtle hatchlings in heading for the water,  rather than inland.   It's a wonderful sight to watch the eggs hatching and observe the tiny turtles disappearing into the water.

Of course, all tropical areas have a multitude of palm trees from coconut to cabbage and many varieties in-between.  Vero Beach is at the "top of the tropics".

These frogs from CBK are enjoying their retirement.  I don't know whether the water or the drinks look more inviting!

Geckos have such personality!  They are everywhere you look in Vero Beach and are fascinating to observe.  This is also a CBK design.

Raymond Crawford has a delightful series of Christmas ornaments featuring space travel.  With Cape Kennedy just North of us, anything relating to outer space is of interest to our customers.

Robots are a companion to the spaceships.  What young child isn't fascinated by robots?

These blowsy poppies from Julie Mar just seem to invite you to stitch them.  Yum!

The latest issue of Needlepoint Now has an article about the color decisions Danji Designs had to make in reproducing Laurel Burch's canvases.  In her paintings she employs very subtle color gradations that are cost and time prohibitive in translating into painted needlepoint canvases.  I think they succeed in keeping to the spirit of the originals.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A stitching finish and the clock model finished

My shark canvas from Pippin ("chomp") is finished and off to the pillow finisher.  The extra row of light aqua is to be the seam.  Regretably, sharks are too often a fact of life around Florida beaches, .
Last winter, Macy (Needle Nicely's new/former hire) stitched this canvas from Zecca for the shop as her first foray into pattern stitches.  When one of our customers saw it, she went through her deceased mother's button box and found the 6 buttons that are just perfect.  We then took it to our preferred local framer, Royal Palm Frame Shop.  After Donna worked her magic, Macy took it to The Clock Shop in Fort Pierce, where Mel made sure the hands wouldn't snag on the stitching or that the clock wouldn't be going in reverse.
 Macy has gone on in her pattern stitching journey this past summer with the completion of several counted designs.  She's flying solo now!