Saturday, December 31, 2016

Be Merry, 14

I feel very close to the end of Be Merry.  Of course, I try to remind myself that the slowest stitching always occurs on the last 10% of a canvas.  I assume the anticipation of finishing is what makes things move at a snail's pace.
Once I finish this, I need to finish the Noel ornament pillow canvas and then the spool angel ornament.  My stitching eyes always seem to be larger than my stitching time!

In the meantime, I'm trying to think of what items will be next in my stitching rotation.  Hmmm!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Finishes for 2011, 2012, 2013--AND a 60% off sale on Rug Canvases

Feeling more like myself, I took advantage of the 3-day weekend over Christmas to go through previous blog posts to locate photographs of my finished projects for 2011, 2012, 2013.  Somehow, when I updated my computer, the photo files were lost before mid -2014.  Hence, the tedious ritual of going post by post.  When I found a photo of a finished item, I clicked on it and saved it to a jpeg.  Then I could post it on the appropriate year's page.  But it is done now--you might want to check the entries out.  I was amazed at how many ornaments I stitched in, I think, 2012.  Phenomenal!

SALE beginning January 2, 2017.  60% off all rug canvases.  This weekend I will be going through the listings and entering the sale price (60% off).  I've been ignoring my rug inventory, but it is now time to make a concerted effort to sell them.

Years ago, Alice Peterson had Stitch 'n Zip full-size Christmas stockings.  They have now added 5 stockings to their kit line, though without the zipper and backing.  They are 11x18 1/2" on 14-mesh interlock canvas and are kitted in embroidery floss.  I sell many hand-painted Christmas stockings, but have looking for several years for inexpensive kits.  Hooray!

Looking at the individual designs, there are so many opportunities for using pattern-stitches.  Kathy has offered a nice variety of subjects.  Now, to keep adding to them (says Ms Greedy Guts!).

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Some Surprise Canvases for Christmas

After the Dallas market in September, I ordered some canvases from Melissa Shirley.  They were for the shop, not customers.  I totally forgot about them.  It was a pleasant surprise when they appeared Wednesday.  I was just thinking that we needed something new to spark up the place!

This egret is part of Melissa's series of large canvases (18x18 or 20x20--in that ball park).  The center design is also available as an 8x8 on 13m or 5x5 on 18m.
 This Bewitched banner has such detail in the letters, while the background allows for large pattern stitches.
 I like to name images in canvases like this witch bicycling with her familiar.
 What a nice combination of shells, flowers, and fruits.
Titled "Tea by the Sea"; it definitely isn't in Florida, but I find it so restful to look at.
For a future blog entry, I am working on variations of the Nobuko stitch.  Friday, I was just congratulating myself for completing a square of the double Nobuko; when I noticed that a third of the way through, I switched to the alternating double Nobuko.  That is what I was doing on the square below this one.  Brain dead, that's what I am!  I picked it out and managed to restitch it before leaving for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Paternayan yarn color wheels

Monday morning I was pointedly reminded that shops on both sides of the southern Florida peninsula  south of Vero Beach no longer sell Paternayan yarn.  I had a customer drive 1 1/2 hours north to purchase 4 ounces of Paternayan from me.  Over the years, I have clung to Paternayan for several reasons:  1) many of my customers are traditionalists from New England who cling to yarn; 2) I sell many rug canvases.  I cannot in good faith kit them in silk 'n ivory or another fiber; 3) Paternayan's color range is attractive and is easy to adapt to bargello or counted needlepoint available in hard-back needlepoint books.  At the moment I can't think of other reasons, but I'm sure they will come to me at 2 a.m.!

Over the years, there have only been 2 shades of Paternayan that Needle Nicely does not stock.  That is because they are too close to their surrounding shades.  One is in the 480's and the other in the 680s.

Here are the color wheels that we offer to customers to aid them in their selection of colors.

We have many customers who mail us a 2 or 3" piece of yarn for us to match.  If you tell us the mesh and area you are trying to cover, we can determine how much yarn you will need.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas hours and a display idea

EDIT:  It has been pointed out to me that December 26th is a federal holiday (just like January 2nd), so Needle Nicely will NOT be open that day.  So four days next week and four days again the first week in January.  Hope to see you then.

Needle Nicely will be open December 26th through December 30th, 10 to 5 as usual.  We will also be open the next week, January 3rd through January 6th, 10 to 5.  I didn't realize that, I think, obscure law, that makes January 2nd a federal holiday.  Go figure.  As I am still recuperating (and Macy and Marcia are both headed North for 2 weeks to visit family and friends), I can use the extra day off.  I took massive doses of steroids from mid-November to the first week in December and my body is still trying to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.  And my friendly diuretic, with which I have lost 15 pounds of water from my feet and lower legs, persists in giving me a wake-up call every 35 to 45 minutes.  I'm sorry I didn't purchase stock in Charmin!

We've been in this location since the first of November 2005.  There is a back pegboard wall that nothing can penetrate, tape will not adhere.  We've tried almost everything.  This time, I think we have the solution.  We have attached a piece of fabric to the board above the pegboard.  Now we can pin canvases on the fabric.  It only took us 11 years to figure that one out!
That is a Santa from Amanda Lawford that I brought back from the Dallas market.  We'll be adding other canvases to this display--and perhaps will even change them periodically!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Perils of Stitching in Bad Light

As I have previously mentioned, Needle Nicely is stitching three belt canvases for a customer.  I haven't been able to do much stitching at the shop, so I brought one home.  I slowly discovered that the floor lamp beside me wasn't up to the task of lighting my work.  I've never done so many straight up or across stitches in my life!   And, I managed to use my left thumb as a pin cushion.
Thank goodness, a solution was not far away.  It's a bit cumbersome, but I folded the belt with a clothes pin and then clamped my Jansjo lamp onto the bottom left edge.  Works like a dream!  Though it isn't exactly the perfect stitching motion!
On another note--Earthlink email (which Needle Nicely has had for over 25 years in various guises) has been down since about 4pm Monday.  They totally were off-line for hours on Tuesday--no response.  Nada.  I finally reached them Tuesday about 6pm and received a munificent $5 credit for 3 days of no email, though they say it will only be 2 days.  Time will tell.   Amazing how our lives have changed that it is so frustrating to not be able to send and receive email.  Mary to the world--I do not need any more aggravation at this moment in my life!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Be Merry, 13

I stole some time away from my stitching for customers to stitch the "E" on Be Merry and a stripe or two of pattern-stitch on the fringe below.  I also tossed in some blue background.

The "E" is done in the slanted gobelin in red alternating with a single pink continental stitch.  I like the look and it was definitely a quick stitch.

On the health front, I have had reactions to two different antibiotics, so the last 3 weeks have been spent on a steroid high.  Thank goodness, things are looking up.  Though please don't mention diuretics to me in the next millennium!

And I am madly packing and shipping finished Christmas items to customers so they arrive well before the big day.  It's at times like this that I think of all the people who come in and comment "I want to work in a shop like this where I can sit and stitch all day".  Me, too!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Back in the day

Monday I had a visit from Anne Jones from The Black Sheep near Orlando.  She bought the shop from Caro about 10 years ago.  She drove over to pick up the canvas taping machine that Needle Nicely has owned since about 1986 or so.  It has been tucked into one of our many cabinets for lo these many years.  Marcia and I discovered it several weeks ago while looking for something else.

It was nice to spend some time chatting with Anne.  And a nice sidebar is she discovered the empty DMC cabinets.  It was love at first sight and the last 8 boxes disappeared quickly into her car.  I'm doubly glad they are gone--firstly because Anne was so pleased; and secondly because my customers were noticing them after my recent sale.  They were more and more convinced that I am closing.  Not in this lifetime.  Just look at all the inventory!  What was so perfect about Anne's buying the cabinets is that she drove over. The shipping on the boxes is almost as much as I was selling them for ($37.50).

Anne and I spent some time talking about the industry.  I mentioned how 40 years (or more) ago Trubey discovered that other designers were less than helpful about sharing tips about production, paints, sources for supplies.  Barbara Eyre was a notable exception.  Pru di Vincenzo, the original owner of Tapestry Tent, told Trubey and I she wouldn't walk the show floor because people were so quick to make accusations of copying of designs.  Anne told me that Caro had warned her that many shop owners were determinedly not helpful.  I'm proud to say that Needle Nicely has offered advice to 3 shops--Holly from Absolutely Needlepoint in Coconut Grove, Miami; Kathy from Needlepoint Alley in North Palm Beach, and Erin from Needlepoint Land in Stuart.  My feeling is some business decisions can be costly mistakes.  If I can help others avoid them, all the better for the success of their business.  Brick and Mortar Needlework stores now have a private facebook group where we can ask for dyelots of fibers or what company sells something, or just share thoughts, so the ice has thawed.

Anne brought a Christmas present for me, which I thought was so thoughtful.
It looks especially lovely when the lights are shining.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Moment of truth

I was scrolling through my past posts and came across the entry for my decision to upgrade my ticket to Dallas Love Field using Delta frequent flyer points.  It cost me 30,000 points each way.  Frankly, it was a bust.  I thought I would be able to access the First class lounge, but I was quickly told by the baggage checker that that wasn't going to happen.  The only differences from cabin to first class was that I got to board after the babies.  Then I was offered a free alcoholic beverage (at 6 am?) and on the return it was after 9am.  I could keep drinking until the plane landed, but then I would truly need the wheelchair that I had requested for my transit through the airports.  So I won't waste those miles again.

Another downer was I found that our new hotel didn't have a free shuttle service to Love Field.  There goes another $38.40 (including tip which the driver didn't seem to realize that I had paid in advance).

I do think Delta ignored the fact that my suitcase may have weighed more than 50 pounds.  And they marked it as Priority, so it was one of the first 20 suitcases off the airplane.

All things considered, I think the next time I will save my 60,000 miles (30,000 each way) and go somewhere else or donate them to charity.

EDIT:  I mentioned my disappointment in a questionnaire Delta sent me about my entire trip experience.  As a result, they gave me 7500 miles and hinted that perhaps the next trip I could arrange to use the 1st class lounge.  I prefer not to pay real money (like $50), but wouldn't mind it as a perk.  I'll have to think about whether I will spend 60,00 nules for a repeat trip without access to the 1st class lounge.