Saturday, October 27, 2007

Deborah Wilson's Classes

We just finished the Gilded Hydrangea class. It was a great class and I learned lots of new techniques. I love the way the hydrangea blossoms are made. And the overdyed ribbon is just beautiful.
Tomorrow, we will be doing Neptune's Sentry. I've already stitched a lot of this piece but I am going to use the two days to try to finish it!.

On Tuesday, we will be stitching the Gilded Butterfly. It's another beautiful piece with beautifully laid threads and gold work. Photographs just don't do these three dimensional pieces justice!

We also got to see Deborah's piece for Cabin Fever which is scheduled for March. Even if you're not taking the class, stop by at lunch time (1pm) Sunday, Monday or Tuesday to see this piece. We also have finished samples of her kits -- they are just stunning.

We probably could squeeze in one or two more for these classes. The last two days have been wonderful!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Books

I've continued to read Janet Perry's Needlepoint Trade Secrets and have enjoyed picking up new tidbits. We now have copies in the store so pick one up when you're there. I've already re-ordered Beth Robertson's and Suzanne Howren's New Techniques in Embellishment and the new Bargello book -- Contemporary Bargello! It seems as if Bargello is coming back. June McKnight is also issuing a new book on Bargello in 2008.

Finally, our copies of A Patchwork Of Peace are on their way. This books is a favorite. The stitches are illustrated with color pictures in addition to the charts. You can really get a sense of the actual stitch.

Barbara Jackson is Coming to Ridgewood Needlepoint

I just got an email from Barbara Jackson with the picture of the class project. It's a very pretty flower completed in short and long stitches so the shading looks perfect!

Barbara will be teaching at Ridgewood Needlepoint on Sunday, November 11th from 2:30 pm -5:30pm. The cost will be $100 which includes her teaching fee, the kit and stretcher bars. I am limiting enrollment to 18 people so sign up quickly. I already have 7 or 8 people enrolled.

It should be a fun and rewarding stitching afternoon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Needlepoint Trade Secrets

I've asked Janet Perry, of Napa Needlepoint and the author of Needlepoint Trade Secrets to join me on the blog today. Janet's book offers lots of good advice on needlepoint including planning your project, taking photos of your work, storing your work etc. But I've asked her to discuss the commom myths of needlepoint.

Busting myths in needlework

There lots of common wisdom going around in needlepoint and, while most of it has some basis in fact, it's good to know when to follow and when you can break the rules.

Here are some common ones:

1. Should I make the length of my thread shorter if I'm working on a smaller mesh?

Needlepoint is hard on threads. The canvas is rough because of the sizing which makes it stiff. Every time the needle and thread go through a hole, that roughness abrades the thread somewhat

So for a given area of canvas, a smaller mesh size will have more holes and therefore wear the thread more.

But in practice this seems to have little effect on the threads. If you choose a good stitching length of about 18" it won't wear too much. even on smaller meshes.

BUT (you knew it was coming) the delicacy of the thread can have an effect on how it will wear. Delicate threads should use shorter stitching lengths. One example of this is Trebizond. I find if my length is only about 12" I have less problem with snagging and my stitching looks smoother.

2. Does color matter in order of stitching?

If you learned to stitch back when everyone used wool, you were told always to stitch light colors before dark colors. But now that you use a wider vaiety of threads you wonder if it matters.

Yes, it does, and for many reasons.

When a thread is fuzzy, like wool, the hairs of the thread inevitably get caught in the other stitches If a bit of white thread gets caught in black, it is hardly noticeable. But if a bit of black thread gets caught in white, you see it and the stitch look dirty at best.

This was, I think the reason for the rule in the first place. But in my experience, you should still follow it even if you are using smooth threads. Do this because the dark thread passing behind the already completed light stitches will be less noticeable. You have the extra layer of stitches to keep the dark thread from showing. If you stitch the dark thread first then stitch the light thread over that passed thread, often a shadow will show on the front (I know, I've done it often.)

3. Should I always use a frame?

Many people swear by using frames for needlepoint. And they really do make your stitching easier, fatser (you can use two hands instead of one), and neater (it's easier to control stitch tension with them).
But do you have to use a frame? Unless you are doing pulled canvas, Laid work, long stitches, or other techniques where a taut canvas is needed, no you don't have to use a frame.

BUT decide before you begin to stitch whether you will use a frame or not. Don't start one way and finish another, the needlepoint won't look good.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Designer Showhouse of New Jersey

There is a designer showcase in Saddle River, New Jersey this month through Novmeber 4th. If you come this week (starting Monday, October 15) through Sunday, October 21, Ridgewood Needlepoint has a table in the boutique area. We will be display some of our finished projects and have a few things for sale. The address is: The Designer Showhouse of New Jersey, 19 Werimus Brook Road, Saddle River, NJ.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Christmas Finishing

One of our finishers has just let us know that she can probably take stockings or pillows through the end of the month! So, if you were behind in your stitching of these items, there is still hope. But you need to hurry.

This week we received lots of Christmas items back. You know -- for the people who get things done in order to make the deadline!

BeauDonna Trunk Show

Did you know that Deborah Wilson, the designer for Beau Geste sold her needlepoint business to her daughter, Donna? The line has been renamed BeauDonna and it arrived this week at the store. The canvases are hung for you to look at. It still has lots of wonderful Christmas items.

A great feature is some fun Christmas designs on #13 canvas. I think they would be great for a beginner.

In addition, there are two lovely leaf designs. Both designs are in a circle so your pillows or framed piece can add a little variety.

And the line still contains those wonderful cars! There is a red Mercedes Benz and a red Porsche. What a great gift for the man or boy in your life!

There are still a few opening for the Deborah Wilson classes. I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques.

Where Does The Time Go?

I just realized that I haven't posted in over a week. I have been checking the recipes on Lots of needlework designers and store owners have submitted recipes for Tink's Halloween Countdown. Not surprisingly, pumpkin seems to be a big feature.

In fact, after reading the recipes, I had to make sure we had pumpkin pie this pie week. Somehow, I ended up buying it instead of making one. I've been focused on completing the The Quilt Line for my National Academy of Needlearts teacher certification. I'm hoping to send it out tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My recipe is on The Armchair Chef

I wanted to check if the recipes were posted on the Armchair chef ( I was delighted to see my recipe for plum torte. It's just a wonderful cake that you need to make quickly since those small italian or hungarian plums aren't around for long.

I also want to try the sugar cookies. The person who posted that recipe talked about class mothers!

I'm hoping someone posts a recipe for caramel apples. I love those too!


Those stitchers who finished their Christmas ornaments early will be getting calls soon. Today we got back one of the first ornaments for 2007. It's a Melissa Shirley cracker and it's just adorable!

We also received an absolutely stunning pillow today. It was just beautiful.