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).
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!!
Filed under: Cross Stitch Retreat
My travel buddy Linda & I headed out Thursday for Harrisburg , PA to join 145 people (including at least one male) for a 3-day event.
They handed out a nice bag full of goodies (not all the free designs are pictured).
There were about 9 vendors including 2 designers (Sue Hillis and Jean Farish) selling a nice variety of stuff. The amazing store, Needleworker’s Delight, brought a variety of fabrics in wonderful colors. They relocated since we were there. Apparently, it’s a better space for retail shopping (181 US Highway 1 South in Metuchen, NJ).
I managed to find a cute design from Sue Hillis without much difficulty and fabric from Needleworker’s Delight I’ll need for it. There are needles I never saw before. And, that’s linen lacing thread for finishing that won’t stretch like cotton. The laying tool is more substantial than the trolley needle and has a pretty celtic design.
I didn’t get a picture when all the tables were full because some people took classes.
Linda and I shopped, sat & really enjoyed stitching with our new friends Stephanie (standing right) and Patty (standing left). I enjoyed seeing all the different projects people were stitching and the various tools everyone was using.
Linda and I did get a chance to visit Debra at Half Moon Hand Werks. She is the orgainizer of the February event formerly called Festival of the Guilds (http://www.fibreworksresource.com). Linda got beautiful fabric for sewing. I found some threads and tools.
I forget that I ordered the larger pair of scissors at seminar from Michele Roberts. So, when the package arrived, I had a double surprise! The extra tiny pair and the beaded fob! Beautiful.
I see the word “ICE” on them. Thanks to google, I see that means Ice Tempered (not a brand name). Stainless steel is regular steel with chromium added to make the steel more rust resistant, thus “stainless” steel. The disadvantage of the high content of chromium in stainless steel is that the cutting edges dull quicker. To overcome this, the steel is subjected to very low temperatures (frozen or “ice tempered”), to optimize the steel structure for hardness.
I am reading Wicked by Gregor Maguire. And, I find a reference to trapunto! While I haven’t done any, I do know the term.
According to wiki, Trapunto is Italian for “to quilt,” ans a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.
Glinda approached slowly, either through age or shyness, or because her ridiculous gown weighed so much that it was hard for her to get up enough steam to stride. She looked like a huge Glindaberry bush, was all the Witch could think; under that skirt there must be a bustle the size of the dome of Saint Florix. There were sequins and furbelows and a sort of History of Oz, it seemed, stitched in trapunto in six or seven ovoid panels all around the skirting.
I had to look up furbelows. I found out that means a pleated or gathered piece of material like a ruffle.
This example of trapunto (brown puffy areas) is from Sandy Arthur’s Gated Secrets, an ANG Correspondence Course.
Over the past couple of years, I have thought more about the scissors I use – there are good and bad ones. AND, there are the right ones for the job. There are plenty of varieties to choose from.
I love the large Fiskars Amplify Razoredge Fabric Shears (8″) scissors with the protective sheath. They are great for cutting canvases because the grip is comfortable, placing less strain on my hand & they are so sharp. Thanks to Marilyn for mentioning how good these are.
Below are other Fiskars: The larger one is the Amplify Razoredge Fabric Shears (6″) (protective sheath not shown), Folding Scissors (4″), and Thread Snip (4.5″). The Thread Snip is awkward to hold & use. I can’t get it close to the canvas because of the orange piece along the bottom. And, they don’t cut threads. Seriously, they are awful – in fact, I am tossing them away now. Normally, I donate stuff I don’t want but since these don’t cut, what’s the point. The other 2 work well. Thanks to an Amazon for the great deals.
Because the end curves up at the tip of these Gingher scissors, I feel more comfortable cutting threads close to the back of a piece. It too came with a fitted sheath made of a soft leather (not shown). They are sharp and I am reserving them for use with threads – never metallics. Thanks to Fireside Stitchery for keeping these near the checkout for me to find.
However, the tip is still kind of big on the Gingher for when I have to rip threads out. I mentioned that to Linda & the next thing you know this fold-in/retractable blade seam ripper (from Hoechstmass) shows up (bottom of the photo with a rectangular handle). Unfortunately, I have found out 3 times that it works really well. As with anything sharp, you just have to be careful not to nick nearby stitched areas or the canvas. Thanks again Linda!
I didn’t know until researching seams rippers for this blog entry but I already had one – the brown handle item is one that I have must have gotten from someone’s stash. It looks just like the Nifty Notions Surgical Seam Ripper (plastic cover not shown).
The Keepsake Thread Cutter Pendent is beautiful and has multiple openings with blades which actually work well. And, A.C. Moore has the combination flexible threader (great for really small eyes in needles) and single opener blade cutter. I’m not sure but I think I am thanking Patrick or Lori! I am sure Patrick gave me the beaded scissors fob.
These blade cutters work well on a plane especially for floss weight threads. I’ve also pre-cut thicker threads before flying to avoid needing scissors at all. More than likely, my next scissors will be blunt-tip scissors for the New Orleans seminar to see if they pass airport security. Or, I’ll check the bag with the pointed scissors. Seminar is a little over a month away!!
Foldable scissors are good for tucking into my purse (smaller than Fiskars) but aren’t really as comfortable to use or as sharp (maybe I need a new pair – they look a little bit beat up don’t they – I threw an even worse pair away). Thanks again A.C. Moore.
I found 2 Tamsco scissors (on the far left & right) and the one in the middle is Tool Tron. I doubt I used any of these & I don’t recall how I got them! But, they appear to be high-quality. One of them was probably for the scissors sheath that I designed for my ANG Main Line chapter using stitches diagrammed in 17th/18th century samplers (https://melitastitches4fun.wordpress.com/category/ang-main-line-stitchers-chapter/scissors-sheath-band-sampler/).
The heart-shaped scissors (below on the right) from Red Hots Scissors by Kelmscott Designs were a perfect touch for my 2nd scissors sheath design that won 2nd place in origin design in 2012 (https://melitastitches4fun.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/ang-40s-philly-scissors-sheath-winner-of-ang-2nd-place-ribbon/) and was placed on the cover of NeedlePointers (https://melitastitches4fun.wordpress.com/category/melitas-designs/ang-40-scissors-sheath/). Many thanks to 123stitch.com where I found the scissors – they are still for sale there!
At the closing dinner, we were all given the bird scissors (on the left) which cut well (using these for my metallics) & the sheath reminds me of the wonderful 40th Anniversary ANG Seminar in Philadelphia in 2012! I’ve seen these called stork, pelican, or crane scissors – not sure which bird is correct. Nothing identifies the manufacturer. Thanks ANG!
Filed under: General comments
This past weekend, Linda & I headed to New York City to celebrate Linda’s birthday! We stopped at Annie & Company in their new (moved about 2 years ago) location. They are all on the first floor now with knitting supplies on the right & needlepoint on the left (I forget to ask permission to take a picture). But, I found several things including a couple of things that will be gifts (eventually) that I won’t show here. I got the bookmark for me! Linda found a few things on her shopping list.
And, this is such a great idea. It would look great framed.
It was such a lovely day, we walked to Rita’s Needlepoint where I found Patti Mann’s Nov Mums (9110).
There’s the birthday girl (standing on the right) inside Rita’s! Since we also got an earlier train than we expected, we had time to go to the garment district where Linda got some fabulous fabric to make into shirts. We stopped in 2 stores – amazing variety of fabrics!
Today is her birthday and we are going to Fireside Stitchery! Happy Birthday Linda!!
While vacationing in Maine this past week, I wanted a small project to travel with and something not too difficult. And, Forest Glen, a design from Kick Back & Stitch by Terry Gifford was perfect.
I used Santa Fe Sage canvas (6) instead of the Victorian Green canvas (11) – samples are from a package with 25 colors that I bought from Fireside Stitchery. I do prefer to work on a lighter canvas.
And, I used the same white Kreinik (032), DMC #5 (502), and DMC Floss (369, 368, 320) as suggested. But, I couldn’t find Leah’s Overdyed Perle 12 (243). So, I picked up Wildflowers Jade (066) which I figured out looks darker than the lighter green/white Leah’s overdyed thread from the picture. And, I didn’t find the DMC Perle #8 (320).
So, I was in Maine needing threads for a project. Luckily, Mary Jo Cole, owner of Needlepoint America in Kennebunk was open & suggested a yellow Kreinik which she generously gave me from her stash. She has tons of hand-painted canvases including lobster belts and other Maine memorabilia. She also carries a unique line of canvases, mid 1800s floral designs of William Morris that look timeless. I have reached a level of stash that must decrease before I buy more & resisted all urges!
And, these lovely musical crib hanging ornaments. These were tough to pass on but I can always order one online!
I decided to use the yellow Kreinik just in the 4 corners of each eyelet to add some sparkle. And, I used the light yellow portion of Needle Necessities Pearl 8 overdyed (866) that I found at Grace Robinson & Company in Freeport. Good thing I am not a knitter! They have tons of beautiful yarns. Some painted canvases and threads (in drawers behind a counter). I told Meghan what I was looking for and the one she found came the closest but I decided to avoid the rust and green in the overdyed thread and just use the light yellow for 8 prongs of the eyelet. And, I filled in the remaining 12 prongs with the lightest and medium colors of the green DMC Floss. Now, the yellow Kreinik actually looks like it is yellow-green. That left me to use the more interesting overdyed Wildflowers on the outer border in place of the solid medium green DMC Perle #8.