Saturday, April 30, 2016

A dribble of new canvases

You can tell that the season is crawling to an end when you see car carriers heading north (with the cars of residents who prefer to fly, rather than drive, back home; but want their car when they arrive or soon after).  The traffic on A-1-A is also down to small spurts of cars, except near St Ed's school in the morning and afternoon.  My husband has allowed as how (that's a Southernism that I put in his mouth!) he might not need to go to Publix at 7:30 or 8:00 am for a few months.  However, I suspect that old habits die hard, and he will continue in his early bird -trips to the supermarket; though never to early-birds at restaurants.

This season-ending is also evident in the paucity of new canvases Needle Nicely is receiving.  In summer, I try to only restock fibers or make special orders in order to manage my cash flow since I know my income will be reduced.

I'm sorry to report that late this afternoon the Vero Beach High School's women's lacrosse team failed to win its 11th consecutive state championship.  They lost in overtime.  Still, I speak for everyone in town in saying that we are extremely proud of their performance today, and in their past years' 10 consecutive state championships.  Apropos of that, here is an Associated Talents mini-stocking.  This is part of a series of sport mini-stockings.

Associated Talents has another series of canvases, this one is in the Christmas category.  They have "Be Merry" (my favorite), "Be Jolly", and now this "Joy".  All of these canvases positively scream for pattern stitches.  I have come up with the stitches for the first two and I see that selection also applies to this design.  I am trying to resist stitching one of these for a shop model.
This  past winter I sold 4 alphabet hangings to grandmothers to do for their grandchildren.  I perhaps helped this decision-making by having hung the individual canvases on a canvas rack end-cap that catches people's eye as they are leaving the shop.  So, this is the latest resident of the end-cap (I figure if supermarkets can use that sales method, so can a needlepoint shop!).  It's an Alice Peterson design.  She has quite a selection of alphabet and number canvases.
 The state bird of Virginia and North Carolina (and several other states) is the cardinal; so after all my years in North Carolina, I have a soft-spot for canvases featuring them.  This is a small 18-mesh design by Zecca.
And, of course, with Florida's University mascot being an alligator, and there being an abundance of alligators where you do and do not expect them, I buy almost every alligator canvas I see.  This beauty is from CBK and is obviously waiting for her screen test as she reclines on her casting couch!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How many WIPs do you have?

Anna of in a recent blog entry inquired into people's stitching strategy--whether they worked on only one piece until finished, alternated pieces, kept track of expenditures, etc.  Everyone has a different approach to their stitching.

As a shopowner, I basically do NO personal stitching.  It is either for a shop model or contract stitching for a customer.  I try to work on two projects: one at home and another at the shop.  I started this approach when I was forgetting my current stitching project at home when I was at the shop; and vice versa.  Simple solution, have 2 projects; one at each location.  No longer an excuse for stitching inactivity.  However, over the years I have discovered a tendency when it comes to class offerings that I lose interest in stitching them once someone can recognize their appeal.  So, I have a multitude (love that word!) of canvases that are semi-finished.  Notice I don't say half-finished---because many of them aren't.  At least on many of them I have stapled a bag to the back of the project with the fibers that were used.  Admittedly, I am not always so prudent.

Last summer I tried  to finish several projects that I had started in previous years.  On May 6, 2015, I discussed them.  I have almost finished the Clara Wells purse, but took a shop break and stitched a bunny from Associated Talents.  After I finished that, I continued stitching on the Associated Talents monogram canvas (I did, then passed it on to Macy for her to do for her shop stitching).  Of course, I am eyeing other projects. Right now I have interrupted my shop stitching of the spool angel to do some counted needlepoint for a customer.  It's a wedding sampler and there's a tree on it that has been a problem for the customer.  I guesstimate that it will take me the next two days to complete.  I didn't photograph it because she has already stitched the names of the bride and groom.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Basket-type purses

One of the projects that I am working on during lulls in the day at Needle Nicely is a narrow, belt-like canvas of the letter M taken from Janis Smith's  Alphabetrics (or Alphagraphics--I confuse the two books).  It is to be a shop model to slip into the opening on one of these basket-type purses.

Janis Smith's books are wonderful sources of ways to arrange letters of the alphabet.  I highly recommend them if you can locate copies (they are long out-of-print).

And now to the star of the show--the basket-type purses.  This style comes in 3 sizes:
I have several other styles in stock that have a looser weave and would need an inner fabric lining.  One of the styles doesn't have the opening, but rather a bow on one side.  Barbara Bergsten(, on her website, features one of these where you put a small design on the side without the bow.

There is also a smaller, more elegant, version.  I am showing the one with a lid.  It also comes with an open top.  Notice that the ribbon opening is narrower than the other bags.
It's deceptive, since the bow looks the same size. However, it has been folded almost double to go through the openings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Noel, VIII

I turned out to be correct that my first stitching on the ribbon on "Noel" would not line up with my later stitching.  Here is a photo that shows that I have clipped the long stitches in the mosaic to aid me in removing the stitches.  Since it is Very Velvet, it looks really smudgy.  I hope you get the idea. I have entered 3 photographs and I will come back after I publish this blog to look at them and decide which ones to delete.  I haven't figured out a way to view how photographs look after publishing while writing the blog.  So please bear with me.  And don't be surprised when there is only one photograph.

I have been concentrating my efforts on stitching the ribbons.  Along the way, I started stitching one of the uglier ornaments (in my opinion)--the yellow and orange combination.  I have tried and tried to discern what pattern the orange stitches form to no avail.  So, basketweave in petite sparkle rays it was.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

spool ornaments, 2 1/4

This past week, Needle Nicely had a sale celebrating its 35th year in Vero Beach.  It was such a success that my shop stitching time was tiny.  I only managed to locate the perle for stitching the angel's face from the shop "stash".  I did start her face using the diagonal mosaic in DMC perle #5.
 If you look closely near her chin line, you will see the end of my waste thread--I didn't knot it, so I can't call it a waste knot.

Vero Beach's population  dropped drastically March 31 when the majority of renters left town (most rentals are from Jan 1 through March 31).  The next batch of renters left yesterday, renting from Jan 15 through April 15.  If you've ever been anywhere near I-95 on either of those dates, you know it is the worst place in the world to be.  On March 31 and April 1, it is almost bumper-to-bumper traffic out of Florida, through Georgia, and then places North.  If I were a March 31 renter, I would take a motel room for two days before I started the drive North.  Much easier on the blood pressure!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Noel, VII

Life is interfering with my stitching on Noel.  The week before last, there was the Miami Open tennis tournament.  I love to watch the shots, especially those of Gael Monfils.  Then there was the Masters, with Jordan Spieth adding excitement with almost every shot.  Regrettably, at times it was too much excitement; but it is also always nice to watch someone win their first major, knowing what a change it is going to bring to their lives.  Then there was Ken Burns' documentary about Jackie Robinson.  Jackie is especially important to Vero Beach, since the Dodgers did their spring training here for so many years.  So much for the excuses.  I actually tried to stitch during one of the tennis matches, only to discover that I had stitched for 1/2 hour using the wrong shade of very velvet.  Taking out is  always a real pain, but very velvet is especially difficult.

This is a photograph of my progress thus far.
First, I finished stitching the Noel.  Then I started concentrating on the ribbons.  When I started stitching this canvas, I started in the upper right-hand corner as I usually do.  Then I realized it would be easier to stitch if I turned the canvas upside down.  That why you see an isolated area of ribbon to the far right.  Now I'm wondering if the mosaic will line up when it gets there.  I seem to be pondering that question a lot on this canvas.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

35th year in vero beach--a sale!!

My  blog of  3/26/16 was to prepare everyone:   Needle Nicely is having a sale celebrating 35 years in Vero Beach (October 1, 1981). We will be having a week-long sale of 35% off during the week of April 11-15, 2016;  and another a week in November of 2016 (exact dates to be announced later)  to acknowledge our longevity in Vero Beach.  Items already on sale will be an additional 10% off.  That includes our inventory of rugs which have been consistently 30% off--during the sale weeks they will be 40% off.  You can see the sale rugs in two separate lists to the right of this blog entry:  Sales rugs 1-33 and 34 to end. These sale prices apply to all in-stock inventory and are also available to mail-order customers.  Our contact information is 772 567 6688;

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One design--two utilizations

Years ago, Trubey designed a picture frame that is suggestive of William Morris' flowing designs.  I stitched it first and had it finished as a picture frame.  Here it is with a photograph of myself and my husband, Arthur.  The photograph was taken the week before our wedding because I assumed (and rightly, as it turns out) that I would never again get him in front of a photographer.  Arthur's look is deceptive, since he is telling me that he is going to kill the photographer if he doesn't speed up the process!  I had to photograph this at an angle to prevent the glare produced by light on glass.
  The frame was stitched in DMC perle cotton and was finished with a perle twist on the exterior edge and with an easel stand.  Today I have my finisher also add a perle twist to the inner edge.  It gives a better finished look.

Too often we forget that canvases designed for frames can also have monograms added to them before finishing them as pillows, trays; or, in this case, a soft manufactured box with shirred moire sides.  I'm not a finisher, but I think there are cardboard pieces forming the sides and top and bottom to provide stability.  The perle cording on the edges provide an elegant finished look.

The marvel of needlepoint is that this "box" is over 20 years old, yet it looks like new.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spool ornaments, 2

I have finished the stripes on the main body of the angel spool canvas.  I also completed the bottom border using Kreinik metallic in the slanted gobelin stitch.  The top border was also stitched in the slanted gobelin, but fitting into the half-diamond shape.

On another topic, I always put my canvases in the "gutter" of the frame as opposed to putting it on top of the frame.  I do this for several reasons:  1) it protects your stitching (especially pattern-stitches) if you are traveling with your needlepoint 2) it allows you to begin and end your threads without hitting the wood of the frame.  This is what it looks like: