Saturday, February 28, 2015

A multitude of alligators, 2

I added the Byzantine #2 from Stitches to Go to the mix for the paler green alligators in this canvas by Linda Pietz.  I think that makes the skin look pebbly and alligator-y.
 Macy, the Needle Nicely "new broom" even though she originally worked for us 20 years ago, is involved in dog field trials, agility, and obedience.  I ordered several of these Barbara Russell belt designs for Macy to show some of her friends.  And incidentally, regular customers of Needle Nicely are liking them.  This first is Barbara's golden retriever belt.

 This is Barbara's springer spaniel belt.

 This is half of the King Charles spaniel belt, a favorite of Marcia who is awaiting the conception of her new puppy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two finished ornaments, some bargello, and more new canvases

I just received these finished ornaments.  The first is a mini-stocking from Pippin Studio.
The other is this  carved oval monogram. It's so pretty in person.  The Needle Nicely studio did the calligraphy.
In shop stitching, I've been working with Dottie on several class projects that she is trying to finish up from various national classes and clubs in which she has participated.  As I've said before, these are a learning experience for both of us--it was with Dottie that I learned how to felt on canvas and today I did part of a raised leaf stitch in ribbon to demonstrate to her how easy it really was.  I'm happy to say she was convinced!

 I'm also setting up  a chair seat for a customer.  She wants me to establish the borders of the design for her to follow in completing the pattern.  I see several more hours of bargello in my future.  (This is an adaptation of a bargello pattern seen in the November/December 2014 Needlepoint Now magazine).
Today's new canvases are designs by Ewe and Eye and Maggie Co.  Bless Gail and Maggie for combining their shipments so I only had one shipping charge.  Such small favors add to the bottom line!  These bird houses are from Ewe and Eye.
This barnyard animal tableau is quite appealing.  I've been trying to mentally come up with different stitches to indicate the coats/feathers of the various creatures.
 This geometric from Maggie is also available in other colorways.  The intricacy of the elements appeals to me.
 And we must have some humor from Maggie Co.
I must acknowledge the passing of Adele Colt, a former employee of Needle Nicely.  My heart is sad, though I know she was suffering and is now at peace with her beloved husband.  I'm selfish enough to miss our conversations.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A multitude of alligators

I'm almost finished the background of this alligator canvas by Linda Pietz.  I have yet to decide what stitches I will use for their bodies.  It's almost to the point where I will be forced to do something!!

There's been a tad bit of whining this week--like Florida is supposed to guarantee balmy breezes year-round.  I look on cold snaps as a chance for Mother Nature to do a little pest control.  Marcia convinced me that I should put a cloth on the rosemary bush in front to protect it against the expected 30 degree temperature.  I have no ugly fabric, and sure enough someone took it.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to convince Earthlink to let me have wi-fi at the shop (my original account is at my home).  I've gone through the phone tree system twice, only to dead-end at an option where if I leave my number they will call me.  NOT.  So I switched my answers and finally reached a human being, Michael, but he wouldn't talk to me because he was a different department.  He switched me to another dead-end where I left my number again.  Trying once again, I reached Michael.  Now what are the odds of that?  I told him, he obviously was the only human working for the company.  He insisted that wasn't the case, but once again no one has contacted me.  My last try resulted in my speaking to a gentleman in India.  After several misunderstood sentences, I hung up on him.  I'm thinking of sending a snail mail letter to the company, begging for mercy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More stitched Jean Hilton designs

First, I'll start with two Jean Hilton designs that I actually finished stitching.  The first is Eterna, a booklet under Carol Costello's name, but definitely a Jean Hilton design.  It is a delightful design to stitch because of its symmetry.  Everything is based on twelve.  The openings are 12 by 12 threads and the Rhodes stitches are 12 stitches by 12 stitches.  Of course, if you're not a good counter, it is a nightmare.  I had a student who couldn't see when her areas were 11 by 13.  Her canvas I took home and did some remedial stitching on.  I just couldn't bear the thought of how askew the design would be if I didn't (and I also didn't want to frustrate my student by making her continually take things out).
Kreinik gave away sheets of a Jean Hilton design, Reunion, that promoted some new colors of Balger 1/16 ribbon.  I have always regretted stitching the colors that Jean suggested--not many decors that would suit these colors!!
Gleneagle is a booklet that was published.  I understand Jean taught classes at ANG chapters and she called these her chapter squares.  The book contains twelve squares with a border separating them.  I found this canvas that I started, completing the border.  If you look closely, you'll be able to see in the upper right hand block an image of the stitches I had started, but just removed.  I'll have this on sale in the shop, price not yet determined, but with frame.
I taught this as a class of 4 squares (since a Florida season isn't long enough to teach all 12 squares).
Here is my almost completed sample.
Two weeks ago, one of my original students for this class came into Needle Nicely.  Over the years she has done two pieces of 4 squares each and is now finishing her third with the last 4 squares.  What an accomplishment (and I won't tell how many years she spread the project over!).

Rainbow Gallery has 4 free  charts of Jean Hilton Christmas ornaments.  I have stitched these as ornaments in Christmas colors, but I also stitched the following:
And the last pattern is one from Carol Costello, I think Patchouli.  I was smart enough to attach a ziplock bag with the fibers to the back of the frame so I could finish it some day.
You can see that I started each stitch so my students would know how to place their stitches.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

An old project and more new canvases

Over the past 30-odd years, I have taught many projects to students.  These have ranged from commercial charted designs to my own geometric designs to some of Trubey's smaller painted canvases.  Now the often painful truth--many of these canvases that I have started have never been finished.  I have stacked them up atop the back-up Paternayan yarn shelves in Needle Nicely's backroom.  In a carry-over of the clearing out enthusiasm from the storage unit, Macy and I attacked the class projects.  A few had the fibers necessary for completion attached.  Those were retained. Others without instructions or fibers were tossed (one designed by David McCaskill on blue 18mesh was coveted by an observing friend--I don't know what she will do with it without fibers or instructions, but enjoy!).  I had completed the outlines of a Carol Costello Christmas ribbon pillow.  There were no fibers, but the instruction book--I think no longer available--remained.  I actually sold that to a current student yesterday afternoon for a fabulous $15.  Glad it's gone!!  I also have a completed outline of Jean Hilton's Gleneagles.  I taught a class of 4 of the squares (almost finished, just a tiny portion remaining on one square which I plan to finish).  I'll be putting the outline, still on stretcher bars, out for sale this week, without the booklet.  I'll have a photo on Wednesday's blog.

I feel I should explain why so many of the projects are unfinished.  As we all know, we only have so many hours in which we can stitch.  If you're in a needlepoint shop, your stitching has to be split between stitching projected classes and shop models.  When a class project reaches the point where customers can tell what it is and whether they want to do it, it's time to move to the next project.  If a class is taught several times than that allows for more of it to be completed.

NOTE:  I personally love Jean Hilton's designs and stitches.  I get irked when other designers don't credit their use of her stitches.  Anyway, over the years I have stitched, and taught, a high percentage of Jean's designs.  Love them.  (I should do another blog showing those I have completed, Note to self).

This design was to be a bolster pillow by Catherine Coleman.  I  started it in a TNNA market class, which is laughable since you have to really concentrate in good light (I remember the classroom conditions were jammed and dim).  After resurrecting this, I can't decide whether to finish this as is as a pillow or folded as a purse.  I'm leaning toward the purse.  NOTE:  There was to be some velvet squares inside the diamonds.  Too bad!
Among the new canvases that have arrived this week are the following mini-stockings from Kathy Schenkel.

 These two canvas are Alice Peterson designs:

This brick cover designed by Gayla Elliott is distributed by Alice Peterson.  This fellow isn't what I think of a a chameleon, but I just checked and it is one.  He looks sort of prehistoric.This explanation refused to go above the canvas, of course!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Some new silk lame braid plus new canvases

Before I went to the TNNA market in January, I emailed my Rainbow Gallery sales rep an order that included the new colors of silk lame braid.  That is, I thought I had ordered the new colors.  Come to find out, I had skipped about 18 new colors that came out last summer (I don't order things like that in the summer when business is so slow.  I hunker down and only order necessities.).  Anyway, this omission was immediately obvious when the order came in and we had a gap in the numbers.  Last week I ordered the missing numbers.  They came in yesterday and now I have to rearrange the fiber racks to make space.  I really consolidated the neon rays with about 6 colors to a hook.  Not easy to look for a color, but better than eliminating neon rays entirely.  Here are the new colors:
I need to call John at Rainbow Gallery and beg  for a ceasefire in adding new colors since I am nearing the saturation point on my 4 fiber racks.

These two sweater designs from Stitch-Its are among the new canvases arriving at Needle Nicely.

 Every spring in Vero Beach, people start watching the beaches for turtle egg nests; and then, in late May and June, the hatchlings making their way into the sea.  Because of this I try to have a supply of turtle canvases such as this one from JP Needlepoint.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Someone came in the shop yesterday, looked at my Associated Talents monogram pillow, and commented that we must be busy since I hadn't done much stitching.  Yes, as I've said before, it's the season.  This is looking like a good one--finally!!  I can do shop stitching all I want on those quiet summer days.

Part of my shop stitching time this week was spent painting green over a red background for a customer.  I'm not usually allowed near a paintbrush since I'm so clumsy, but "the studio" was busy with special orders that required real painting talent.  So when push comes to shove, Mary Agnes will try to paint.  The customer was worried that there would be a shadow of the red.  I didn't think that would be a problem since she was going to be stitching with silk 'n ivory, what I think of as a "soft" fiber.  Perle cotton is a "hard" fiber, as is Balger metallic.  Of course, tension is also a factor and whether the stitcher allows the stitching fiber to unwind between stitches.

At the latest TNNA market, a designer remarked to me that she didn't read any blogs because the bloggers did 3 stitches on a canvas, took a picture, and blogged about them.  I guess that one view, but obviously not how I feel or I wouldn't be taking the time to share things I'm stitching, canvases I've purchased for the shop, and needlepoint shop life in general.

In my home stitching, I decided to insert a painted canvas into the stitching of stars for my proposed star garland.  Woman cannot live by counted needlepoint alone, she (at least this one) must have a painted design occasionally.  I selected this medley of alligators, a Linda Pietz design for Treglown designs.

 I usually start a canvas in the upper right-hand corner of the background.  However, in this case, I wanted the background pattern to be established to the left of the major alligator's leg.  I don't know if this stitch has a name, but it is great for backgrounds.  You start at the top doing the rows of basketweave, then you stitch the slanted gobelin upward where you can again stitch the rows of basketweave.

I goofed and selected a dark turquoise for the outlining.  Back to the shop to select either a navy or very dark green.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Two, count 'em, two finishes!

I'm amazed that I have managed two finishes.  Admittedly, they are both Christmas ornaments, but a finish is a finish in my book.  The first is the first star for my planned star garland.  This one I stitched in the Byzantine Scotch stitch using Balger braid 12 and splendor.
 I did the diagonal mosaic stitch in the cuff and toe of this ministocking by Pippin Studio using Balger braid #16.  (The stocking is 13mesh)  The heart was stitched in the Nobuko and the background in the basketweave.  I ignored the Xs and Os that were part of the background design, just covering them up.
 I pulled the canvases Needle Nicely has in stock that were designed and painted by Kathryn Molineux who died 12/26/2014.  As you can see, she was such a gifted artist and will be sorely missed.
I also had a blog entry about some of Katie's designs stitched by one of Needle Nicely's employees. The entry was dated 5/31/2011.  I've spent more time than I want to admit trying to get the link to work for you.  Sorry!