Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Needle Storage
July 1, 2017, 1:51 pm
Filed under: General comments, Needles

I got through my needle stash and found, along with many needles of unknown brands, that I have mostly John James, EdMar, and Bohin. I  also know that I can stitch every project with a fresh needle for the next 50 projects!

Now, they are stored in the EdMar tubes of which I had extra when I combined like needles with like. And, crewel (pointed) needles have their own tubes too. Howerver, without enough tubes, I used wool felt or plastic holders. Marilyn O shared with me that wool felt should be used for storing needles, and not the craft felt. The wool wicks any moisture away from the needle, while the craft felt will tend to hold moisture and the needles will rust. The ultrasuede I was going to use would be ok (I tested it by wetting the fabric and leaving a needle in it and no rust formed) but I had enough of the felt and containers.

I had the help of Michele Roberts’ article from NeedlePointers July 2007, “Let’s Get to the Point”, to help tell what size a needle was by length. And, it reviewed the styles of needles and how to pick the right size for the project. I read lots of back issues with timeless articles of Needle Pointers magazines recently. I wish I could keep all the back issues but space is limited. I’m so happy the magazine is available digitally now as well. I can always refer back.

All the needles are organized by style and size in a floss organizer. I’ll use all of these eventually but thanks to Ginny, my favorite needle is from EdMar. They slide so smoothly through the canvas. What’s your favorite?

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Drawers Filled
June 21, 2017, 2:02 pm
Filed under: General comments, Organization

There are 18 drawers from IKEA with solid color thteads and 6 Like-It drawers from The Container Store on top with various overdyed threads for a total of 24. I still had to have a drawer for EdMar threads for Brazilian Embroidery and threads for 13/14 count canvas in the basement. And, more than likely, the white drawer is too full. So, I am contemplating what to do.

I put 2 hanging magazine holders on the left with velcro to hold thread cards.

Let’s hope this works for awhile. I did find a thread I needed for a project!

Drawers



Threads & Tote for Tools
June 2, 2017, 10:54 am
Filed under: General comments, Organization

I had a great day yesterday with Linda. We looked through the threads I had & found a variety of threads that I must have inherited from others stash. The most interesting was some Belding Corticelli twisted silk on old wooden spools. Since Linda sews she had heard about the threads & knew that it is a strong thread used for making buttonholes. Mary Corbet wrote a great article on the history of the thread. What I have was produced in the U.S. between 1925 and 1932. You can still find some on eBay. I will hold on to this for finishing when I bind edges. I received an interesting note based on experience from a reader: “Be very careful if you use them. The wooden spools leach acids into the silk and not only weaken them but change the colors as well.” So, I think I’ll get rid of them – why take a chance.

Belding Corticelli

Linda is also an amazing sewer and she made this wonderful Catch All Caddy for my retirement. It is just what I needed for my stitching tools and fits perfectly in the living room coffee table. I love the colors and pockets. Inside are cute Stitch Happy items and a cute golf piece that I can stitch for Bill. There is also a bag of spool stockings for contolling threads. What a fantastic, practical gift!

Catch All Caddy

We spent a good amount of time walking around The Container Store and found drawes, drawer dividers, and a couple of bins. Great store. We even had time to organize some of the drawers.

Thanks to Linda for her valuable input, suggestions, and especially the caddy.

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Cabinets Complete
May 31, 2017, 5:01 pm
Filed under: General comments, Organization

All cabinets are done! No major glitches. Didn’t use the feet because I gained just enough space for 2 drawers that will fit on top of each cabinet. Heading to The Container Store tomorrow.

I’ve been sorting threads into color families for several hours on a daily basis and may be not even half done. I didn’t expect it to take this long. Within each major color like red or blue, there are so many color families (10 & more).

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New Thread Drawers
May 26, 2017, 3:29 pm
Filed under: General comments, Organization

In about an hour & a half, I put the IKEA Helmer drawer unit together without swearing or bleeding! Not many screws (only for the feet and handles). Mostly, I just bent metal. Seems very sturdy too. Another day, I will put the other two together. That will give me 18 drawers for my threads.

Each drawer maximizes the available inside space compared to other units I looked at. And, there is a handle instead of an opening which could let dust in. Also, there are small gaps on each side where the drawers were bent allowing the threads to breath.  I am putting the 3 cabinets side by side under a counter. But, if I need to expand, they could stack. I would just have to find somewhere else to put them. The overall dimensions are width 11″, depth 16&3/4, height 27″ (with 1″ casters); inside, each drawer measures 9″, 15″, and 3&1/4″. I should be able to use inside dividers or maybe a tray to help keep things neat. That will probably depend on what threads I have in my stash now.

I am going to arrange by color and decided to follow the DMC floss color chart. I sent more time rearranging the flosses than putting the cabinet together. But, I can see color families now which will help me with figuring out color combinations. My stitching buddy, Linda, has graciously agreed to help me sort through all my other threads! Isn’t she wonderful!

Before and after . . .

Helmer before

Helmer drawer unit



Woodlawn Roadtrip 2017
March 12, 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: General comments, Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

The weather wasn’t as warm as we’d have liked it but my husband & I were limited on weekends we could get to Woodlawn this year. Bill & I headed out Friday just after the snow ended (roads were fine). We took a break at a restaurant/bar my husband wanted to visit in the Washington, DC area & then made it to Old Town Alexandria in time for dinner at one of our favorites places.

Since it was colder, we didn’t walk as much around Old Town on Saturday. Instead we headed over to Woodlawn in the late morning. Attendance looked good but there were fewer pieces (463) than in some past years. I didn’t count them – you get a listing and a booklet. Tickets went up to $15 this year but they made several wonderful changes. The biggest improvement is that you can get up close to the pieces within each room. There are no ropes stopping you from walking around. And, they are offering several “events”: http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/needleworkevents/ (also mentioned in the entry form). Since I hadn’t thought to look on the website & didn’t enter anything this year, I didn’t have the opportunity do attend/participate in them. But, I will definitely look at these next year. I would like to walk around the exhibit with a retired ANG judge to hear what issues they deal with. But, that only happens on Wednesdays. This is the 2nd year that some pieces are for sale (at the request of the stitcher & priced by the stitcher with a commission applied).

Winners of ribbons are listed on the website now too: http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/annualneedleworkshow/ . And, that brings me to my review of select pieces. And, I will comment mostly in order by entry number (in parens). And, if the entrant is a designer that I know has his/her first & last name on the web or is listed as an award winner on Woodlawn’s website, I’ll cite both; otherwise, I cite full first name and last name initial letter only.

Catherine Jordan got ribbons for each of her 3 pieces (1-3) including a Director’s Award for her Sharing Secrets book cover. They are in the ‘jewelry’ room which we almost missed had it not been for Bill asking where are Catherine Jordan’s pieces!

That room had a pair of unique original designs (embroidery/crewel) by Catherine Hicks (14 and 15) of Hillary Clinton as a young girl which was quite flattering and one of Donald Trump that was not flattering. Look under his protruding hair and see what is stitched on his forehead! These 2 each which won 2nd place ribbons are for sale at $1257 and $1600, respectively.

Kirdy Biggs got ribbons for her 3 geometric pieces (18-20).

Linda Cole (26) deserved her First Place award for the reversible sampler!! Amazing.

Caroline Hayes (119) not only deserved her First Place award for the map of The Real Counties of Britain but also the Eleanor Custis Lewis Award, Best in Show and a Judge’s Choice award. If my husband has his way, it’ll also get the People’s Choice award. Interesting that my husband & I were most impressed with similar pieces this year. Each of 86 counties have a different blackwork pattern identified in the margin and is stitched in the actual location within the map. We both loved it.

I love seeing pieces I’ve stitched. This year I found Amy G (160) submitted Diane Hermann’s Walking the Water’s Edge.

Two different people, Anne W (182) and William K (275), stitched the same eagle in cross stitch. Interesting to see them framed differently.

The finishing on the cross-stitched golfer by Sherri B (186) was perfect! The mat was artificial turf and the frame had raised band of rounded areas like golf balls.

Donna LaBranche (221-224) got ribbons for all 4 pieces including a Second Place award for her adaptation of a Needle Pointer’s magazine cover that featured the ANG name badge (September 2013) and the Pope-Leighey Award, Outstanding Miniature for a 40-count miniature piece (in the sampler room on a table).

I had to vote for S Ayles, Jr , a senior, who stitched a 4 foot by 8 foot wall hanging of a geometric/floral design done in all basketweave on 18-count (228). Great colors & we both agreed we don’t understand how you work on a piece that big. What an effort!! I ended up voting for this one. This was a close second for Bill’s vote.

One of the first pieces we saw that wowed us was an original design of a dog by Susan MacRae (8). It won a First Place award and the Woodlawn Award, Outstanding Original Design. It was just the face but what an incredible face. The eye and nose were so realistic that it looked like a picture.

Speaking of dogs, Bill had a wonderful conversation with Lee Hanley, daughter of Hope Hanley. I totally missed that connection as I was studying the needlepoint in the geometric room upstairs while he talked with her. Bill found out that the piece she was demonstrating that day was a piece Hope had designed by the Royal School of Needlepoint in England. It has about 2 dozen dogs of different breeds in alphabetic order (like a sampler of dogs) on a large (4 foot by 4 foot) canvas. Bill found out from Lee that her mother traveled so much that she never had time to finish it. Lee hopes one day someone will finish it and donate to the dog museum in  St. Louis Missouri. The other demonstration on the first floor was by a teacher of Japanese Embroidery, Karen Bouton. A draft would blow a single strand of the silk away – it’s so fine. And, she explained that they twist strands together to get certain effects. Beautiful work. Every day they  have different demonstrations going on both floors. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase a technique.

Both Cathryn C (230) and Linda M (238) stitched Tony Minieri’s The Wright Friends – a lovely piece & one I’d still like to do.

Congrats to Sue Chadwick (236) for getting Second Place award for Jennifer Riefenberg’s Color Play.

And, Rosie L (237 and 241) had a great geometric piece with tons of shifts in color as it progressed outward. And, her puffins were adorable!

Linda M stitched Karen Garinger’s Thank You Jean and placed it in a mother of pearl frame (239). Stunning!

Barbara Levy (307) did a lovely Gordian Knot designed by Rachel Atkinson and got a Third Place award.

Rozelle Hirschfelt got awards for bother pieces (315 and 316) – the goldwork piece with red Or Nue in the flower was stunning!

Norma Hiller (319) stitched another piece I’d like to do – maybe someday I’ll take the leap & stitch Liz Morrow’s Leaping Stag from May 2014 Needle Pointers magazine (or for sale on her website (lizartneedlepoint under the Counted Needlepoint tab). Norma also stitched a piece (320) for a First Place award of a piece I’ve seen but can’t remember the name or designer (greens and purples). I have been told it’s Serengeti by Terry Dryden.

Cleo Robbins did a lovely Christmas stocking (324) and a large silk ribbon embroidery piece that won a Second Place award. Cleo has been to our Main Line Chapter & taught us a few basic stitches with ribbons. Glad we learned from her. Congrats to Cleo!

And, our own Patrick B had an adorable Gingerbread House (328). It’s a wonderful 3-dimensional piece with candy all over it. Great use of ’embellishment trim’ by Sundance Designs. Bill spotted his piece first. It’s in the Holiday room upstairs.

Theresa Baird got a First Place award for her original design celebrating locations of Cincinnati, OH (331). It’s a wonderful tribute to her home town.

A First Place award and Judge’s Choice award went to Kate Costello for a beautiful necklace (336). What was so unique about it was the offset silver/grey flower (on the right as displayed) with a different effect on each side of the flower. On the left were beads woven into the threads and only the threads on the right side.

I’ve got to get back to Sister’s by Nancy Cucci after seeing Dorothy B’s (373) piece. We were in the pilot class together last year.

Chandra Jonkman took 11 years to complete a quilt (about the size of a queen size bed) with 142 stitched bible verses and numerous hearts (386). Her daughter stitched a few heart motifs. And, the quilting was done by a third person consisted of concentric hearts.

Tara R stitched the front of a house adorned with 3-D wreaths (414). The window treatment was interesting. It looked like a fine gauze was placed over the window making it look like a sheer drape.

Two pieces of lovely jewelry were done by Dana C (415 and 416). I see Dana will be demonstrating beading downstairs on Mar 30. Nice!! I met Dana at Nancy Cucci’s Sisters pilot class in Rehoboth last year.

The 7 dwarfs and Snow White done by Shirley B were adorable and at $240 would be fantastic to decorate a child’s room (417-424).

I couldn’t find both of Margaret O’s pieces (434 and 435) but the one I did find had a deer under a tree on an interesting stand display.

Once again Nelly’s Needlers did a fantastic job! I picked up the wooden thread minder with numbered holes to help organize threads as you stitch. And, the ginger cookies were delicious! Thanks to all the contributors and volunteers for a wonderful exhibit.

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2016 in Review
January 4, 2017, 9:13 am
Filed under: General comments

I went back to FOCUS as my stitching mantra in 2016 which has worked well as a guiding principle since 2014. I don’t have to focus on the same piece every day until it is done. Rather, I look at focusing on finishing a particular section when I sit to stitch. That way I am accomplishing exactly what I want to do on a given day.

So, what did I accomplish in 2016? A lot!! It was a fantastic year and I enjoyed the company of many stitchers.

  • Stitched 3 bargello designs from “A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That” by Linda Damiani (but I need to put them in something).
  • Made a Temari Ball with Mindy at a Rittenhouse Needlepoint class was hung up for Christmas.
  • I picked up 8 pieces from the framer (Jim the owner of Repenning Fine Arts in Audubon,  NJ). I have another one there now.
  • Visited needlework exhibits in Woodlawn VA, Rehoboth Museum DE, and at the ANG NOLA Seminar. I was thrilled to win my first blue ribbon at ANG in the original design category for “Festive Fireworks”!
  • Visited several out of state needlepoint stores including Beyond Knits & Needles in Caldwell NJ, Edwardian Needle in Fairfield NJ, Scrim Discovery in Ocean City NJ, Stitch by Stitch in Cape May NJ, Annie & Company in NYC, Rita’s Needlepoint in NYC, and Needlepoint America in Kennebunk.
  • Enjoyed a 2-day pilot class of “Sisters” with Nancy Cucci in Rehoboth Beach Delaware (not finished yet).
  • Stitched and hoop-framed “Grandma’s Heart” which is being enjoyed by Rose’s granddaughter.
  • Stitched and framed 2 baby announcements: Norah and another to be posted shortly.
  • Struggled but completed a “beginner” tubular/circular peyote beaded needle case.
  • Stitched and donated Mello Joy Coffee design for ANG’s auction at NOLA seminar.
  • Enjoyed my class at ANG Seminar, Provence Pottery Shop, with Lois Kershner and have just returned to working on it.
  • Learned Rozashi (Patterns in Blue and Green – also not finished) with Margaret Kinsey at ANG Seminar. Margaret was very pleased to see I finished her “3 Leaves” goldwork class from last year’s seminar.
  • Sat with about 120 stitchers of various sorts at Susan Hoekstra’s NJ NeedleFest, a 1-day event in Pluckemin NJ, and shopped a dozen vendors including Trish Vine Designs and Karen from Nimble Needle NJ. There were about a dozen of us working on Susan’s 2016 SOTM design “Feuilles d’ananas” & we got a group photo published in Needle Pointers!! Hopefully, most will return for a follow-up photo in April 2017.
  • Sat with about 145 cross stitchers at a 3-day retreat in Harrisburg , PA and shopped 9 designers/vendors including Sue Hillis, Jean Farish, and Needleworker’s Delight.
  • Stitched “Poinsettia Ornament” an ornament designed by DebBee’s Designs and got it finished by Nimble Needle in NJ.
  • Mounted the mystery project, ANG Keystone Garden Patch, all by myself on a Rosewood box as a gift for Janice who loves it!
  • Buff got my ornament from Kick Back & Stitch series by Terry Gifford at the ANG Main Line Christmas exchange – she said it is lovely (although she wanted the green/red one I stole from her)!
  • Surprised Bill with Canvas Connection Golf Bag which was finished at Nimble Needle in NJ).
  • Stitched Patti Mann’s November Mums which is getting finished at Fireside Stitchery as a stand up piece.
  • Created a Christmas tree for the wall to hang some hand-crafted ornaments on.
  • Lastly, this year’s ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) is “Feuilles d’ananas”, by Susan Hoekstra (aka Pineapple Leaves) is all stitched and will be going to Nimble Needle in NJ to be made into a pillow to sit next to her Berlin Cardinal pillow.

And, I have lots of fun planned for 2017 including Blue Bonnet in Feb for 2 classes with Toni Gerdes (2 days each for “Bronze Purse” left photo and “Fire & Ice” center photo), Nashville Needleworks in April for a class with Laura Taylor (3 days for “Embracing Horses” from Laurel Burch by Danji Designs right photo), and at Anaheim ANG Seminar with Cynthia Thomas for 1-day class “Creating Diagrams and Stitch Guides using Microsoft Office” and 4-day “Canvas Embellishment” class with a painted canvas of my choice (either JP Bird of Paradise & Bamboo or JP Orange Orchid & Bamboo).

2017-classes

I have a couple painted canvas pieces I want to get back to (Sharon G Vases and Swirling Flowers) and a couple of more that I’ll start in 2017. So, after the February classes, I plan on “FOCUS”ing on painted canvases to learn more about selecting stitches for particular areas. This year, Deb at HalfMoon Handwerks, offered to provide a word to serve as a guidepost & it is “serenity”. So, I will see what happens when I combine that with”focus”. Will focusing on stitch guides be calming? I am sure it will be educational. Looking forward to finding out. I will have to find serenity in continued postponement of other canvas projects that are in progress – some have been waiting for me since as far back as 2011:

  • Stitches in Sterling (Oct 2011)
  • Tar River Trail (Aug 2012)
  • Color Inspirations, attempt 2 (Jun 2015)
  • Sisters (May 2016)
  • Zapotec Rug (May 2016)
  • Rozashi – Patterns in Blue and Green (Aug 2016)

I have one original design almost ready to stitch. And, we won’t go into other projects that I’ve got in the house and would love to do – serenity NOW!!

Hope you have a fantastic year! And, thanks for reading my blog especially if you made it this far!!