Saturday, January 30, 2016

Noel, II

Before I show today's progress in stitching Noel, I want to remind everyone that I pulled the metallic fibers for stitching the ornaments from Needle Nicely's bag of leftover metallics from years of stitching models.  This is particularly noticeable in the dark blue I used this week in stitching the first blue ornament.  The metallic I used is actually much darker than what I would suggest to a customer, but I had an almost full spool of it.  So I restrained my instinctive move to a more medium blue.  The real disadvantage in using it for a project like this is that its darkness makes it difficult to discern the outlines of the stitch I used.  But life goes on!

The blue ornament is stitched in two shades of Balger metallic using the Diagonal Scotch stitch.  What a pain to try to match up.  I was thinking as I stitched it that the world wouldn't know if it wasn't actually precise, so don't beat yourself up about it.  Sometimes people worry too much about aligning the individual stitches in a larger stitch.  You may know it isn't exact, but will the average person be able to detect it?  I think not.  It isn't that I'm promoting sloppy stitching, just not to overthink a situation.

I started stitching the ribbon using Very Velvet and the mosaic stitch.  There again, I knuckled under to noncomformity when I stitched the inside of the far left ornament loop--if I had stuck with the set-up repeat of the mosaic, the stitches inside the loop would have been all tent stitch.  I opted to stick in one mosaic with a few tent stitches.  I think the average eye will be fooled.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New canvases are arriving!

Sunday afternoon I looked out of my kitchen window and spied a tiny bunny rabbit in the front yard.  The temperature was about 48 degrees (cool for here, but of course nothing like up North in the snow storm).  I grabbed my camera and slowly opened the front door.  The hearing of wild animals is so acute that I was afraid that just the sound of the door's opening would spook the rabbit.  I was also afraid to approach too close, so the images are quite small.  The body was so compact with the ears tight against the body, I assume because of the cold.  I really wanted to bring it inside (as if I would be able to catch it!), but I knew the city slicker (my husband) would frown strongly on that.  Still, here's a photo.  Hope you can discern the bunny.

I live in a reasonably new development (13 years old).  It had just started developing wildlife like squirrels and rabbits when the 2004 hurricanes arrived.  Then, before they could return came the 2005 hurricane.  We've had squirrels for several years now (though only this year have I seen them in the shopping center occupied by Needle Nicely).  At last, the bunnies are back!  Some people resent them for eating foliage, but I love to see them at twilight feeding on the grass.

At the shop, I've tried to restrain my ordering for the new season.  Times are changing in the industry and people seem to be looking on the internet and finding canvases they want.  I am fortunate that many of my customers ask me to order for them.  But in general, people are not looking at my canvas inventory, with the exceptions of Christmas stockings, belts, and Christmas ornaments.  That's why I'm trying to limit my ordering, but I'm an old dog and I like to see lots of new canvases when the season arrives.

Here are some of this week's arrivals:

This is one of a series of canvases by Raymond Crawford devoted to weddings.  The others are "Mr. & Mr" and "Mrs and Mrs".  It's a clean, elegant look that is appropriate, no how formal or informal the wedding.

This canvas for graduates is also by Raymond
Crawford.  Just fill in the name of the graduate
and the date of graduation.  Perfect gift!

This is one of the wise men from a new creche by Raymond Crawford.  I can't wait for the camels to arrive, because they are downright funky and look like immense fun to stitch.  I may have to blog stitch one of them.

Next is a clutch purse canvas by Zecca.  Those fish look like such fun to stitch and they will look good with a vast array of background stitches from black to aqua to navy.
This is such a classic design by Zecca of a loon with her eggs.  I love the elegance of the design.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Trubey designed this ornament pillow years ago and for some reason it just didn't appeal to people.  Since Needle Nicely still has several in stock, I decided to add the "Noel" and stitch it all in glitz with pattern stitches.
 I dithered quite a bit about what background stitch I was going to use.  Lately I've been overly enamored of Nobuko and Diagonal Triple Parisian.  So, after some flipping through stitch books, I decided to do the woven stitch using Stardust by silk 'n ivory.  It has just enough sparkle to hold its own against the various colors of Balger metallic that I plan to use for the ornaments.  The canvas is 15 1/2" wide so that top row seems to go on forever!
 I think there are 17 ornaments  that I am going to dole them out to myself, stitching one a blog period.  That's so I won't wind up with gobs background left to stitch when I have no more fun design elements to do.  The first is a pink ornament stitched in the slanted gobelin outlined by diamonds of continental stitch.  Actually, I stitched the red first and then filled in the pink.  Much easier to stitch that way.
I'm still pondering what stitch I'm going to use for the ribbon, so for the next few weeks I will be concentrating on background and an ornament or three.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Have a little heart, 4

Originally, I had intended to stitch a group of four of these heart canvases by Pippin, but after doing the math I realized that the pillow would be disproportionately long.  So I cut back to two canvases.

This is the finish of the 2nd canvas.  I completed the background using the diagonal mosaic.  There had been a small white block behind the heart that I covered up since I felt it was too choppy.  Not to mention that I didn't know what stitch to put there!  The white bubbles I did in a variation of the round Rhodes stitch.

I managed to palm off the background of the Silent Night canvas to Macy for her shop stitching.   I had planned to finish it last summer and didn't.  I have visions of other projects being finished by her speeding fingers.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mary Agnes and Arthur I

Fair Warning: This week's post has nothing to do with stitching.

I didn't get married until I was 48 years old so the idea of an immediate honeymoon wasn't of first priority (Arthur and I went to England and Scotland a year later).  My husband-to-be and I traveled from Vero Beach, FL, to Speedwell, VA (in the back of beyond in southwestern Virgina) to be married in my mother's family church called Fleming Church.  My mother's family had a land grant from "the king" and had lived there for a looong time.  My relatives have been buried at Fleming  for well over one hundred years.  The church has burned twice and been rebuilt.  It's a bare-bones church with no electricity and no music.  My mother's family gathers nearby for a reunion the first Sunday in August every year, so I selected the day before for my wedding.  That way, more of them would be there for the ceremony.

My husband-to-be and I drove to Blowing Rock, NC, for an engagement reception at Needle Nicely and the next day traveled to Wytheville, Virginia to obtain our marriage license.  It was rainy and foggy in the mountains.  I was concerned because Arthur was driving.  He complained about the roads, being from Manhattan and not accustomed to mountain roads.  I wasn't that sympathetic since we were on the wonderfully straight road from Jefferson to Mouth of Wilson.  However when we reached Independence, VA, where you make the turn toward Speedwell, Cripple Creek, and Wytheville, I spied the courthouse just to the right of the turn on a small rise.  It was lunchtime when we entered the clerk's office; so the office was open, but the staff were having lunch in an adjacent room where they could see us entering the office.  One of the women came out and started processing our application.  When it was completed, she told us the fee and both Arthur and I reached for the money to pay.  The lady put her hand on Arthur's arm and said "Let her pay, honey".

Arthur and I returned to Florida, only to return in a few weeks for the wedding.  Wythe County at that time was "dry" (I don't know about today).  Arthur and I arrived about 11 am at the motel where we were spending the night after the wedding.  Trubey and her parents joined us for a drink before the ceremony, but in our motel room since the motel really had no bar.  I had brought from Florida glasses and the liquor of choice for the 5 of us since I suspected we wouldn't be able to buy it locally.
When I told everyone it was time for us to leave for the wedding, Arthur protested.  He thought when I pointed out where we would turn to go the church (about 5 miles of country roads) that the church was right there.  Sorry, city slicker!  When we arrived at the church, we were the only ones not there.
We introduced ourselves to Joe Caricco, an itinerant Methodist minister with Fleming in his rota.  I had talked with Joe by telephone when I asked him to perform the ceremony.  He responded that he usually conducted premarital counseling, whereupon (suspecting the reaction of Arthur to that) I told him our ages.  He then quipped that we could perhaps offer him some suggestions!

 I called a local florist and ordered two arrangements for the altar, specifying that they not look funereal in their size!  I was shocked that they would only cost $75 for the two.  The florist responded, "You people from Florida always want to spend to spend too much money on things." She also delivered them to my aunt free-of-charge.

Mine was the first family wedding held at Fleming in years since other more modern churches are now available.  I was pleased that the son of one of my cousins followed my lead and was married there the next summer.  I hope more relatives will follow the new tradition.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Have a little heart, 3

I completed the Byzantine mosaic of the heart.  Then I went back and stitched Smyrna crosses in the black areas.  Well, I stitched them in most of the black areas.  One evening I discovered that I was blithely continuing the mosaic stitches in the black areas.  So some frogging occurred.  Obviously, I'm not perfect!

More of the outer border has been completed.  I also started stitching the diagonal mosaic in the slime green background.

Yesterday a customer came in to have me mark the stitches he had missed in his second Christmas stocking.  He stitched one last year for his first grandchild and then discovered his daughter was expecting twins.  The twins have been born and grandpa is almost finished the stocking for twin #1.
Yesterday he purchased a coordinating stocking for twin #2 who is named after him.

On both of the stockings Web has done, he has come into the shop and asked me to suggest a stitch or stitches for the next area he wants to stitch.  Prior to the stockings, his only stitching had been some basketweaved belts.  Now he's doing pattern stitches.  I use needles to mark missed stitches for customers.  However, in this case, I had to first remove the canvas from the stretcher bars.  That's why Web is wearing the bars.  In his right hand are the two Stitchopoly games that he spied under one of Needle Nicely's benches.  They will be gifts for two of his stitching friends.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Have a little heart, 2

Why is it that no one apologizes when your internet connection goes down?  They help you get back on line after the obligatory wait on hold, but they never explain or apologize for the disruption in service.  My internet service was out from Thursday evening through this afternoon (Saturday).  Several times a recorded voice informed me they were going to hang up--this after I had waiting over ten minutes on hold.  Definitely not good for the blood pressure or my addiction to video poker!

For the red of the heart, I decided to do the Byzantine mosaic stitch, leaving the black spaces for my black French knots.

I decided to do the same Byzantine mosaic for this heart.  However, the 2x2 black areas aren't in a logical pattern so I am making them fit into the Byzantine.  If you look closely, you can see where I am relocating the black areas.  I have started stitching the blocks of color in the border using the slanted gobelin.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Have a little heart

Jennifer Tan of Pippin Studio is known for her designs that show multiples of items, like 5 black dresses and 5 hearts.  These are a series of 4 individual heart canvases that are each 3" x 5 1/2".  At first, I thought about stitching all four and putting them in a framed pillow with fabric between each canvas. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that would be an awkward sized-pillow.  I guesstimate that it would be about 9 1/2" tall by 19" wide.  So, I rejected that plan and am settling on stitching two of the canvases for a finished pillow size of 9 1/2" by 11".

Stitching with silk 'n ivory, I started doing the slanted gobelin for the outer border.  I changed the border color to purple so that it will go better with the other canvas I have selected.  I did the boxes in alternating Scotch stitch.  I'm still studying the red of the heart, trying to think of an appropriate stitch.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sis Boom Bah!! It's finished!

I'm really pleased with the final product.  Of course, I feel fickle because I'm already thinking about what I'm going to stitch next.  FYI the name was stitched in Balger metallic in the mosaic stitch.  The Balger is HL and so it is really difficult to see the texture of the stitch with the extra shine.