Thursday, March 31, 2011

St. Basil's Class

 Carole Lake went home today after teaching St. Basil's for six days (three days per session). It was really a fantastic class. In addition to the beautiful design, Carole talked about how to give a sense of perspective to canvases with buildings. Needless to say, those same tips can be applied to other subjects. Carole is very comfortable with encouraging her students to deviate from her stitch guide and her own stitched canvas. So during class, student often picked slightly different threads for the domes and other areas, too. It was fun to watch as the participants chose different threads. In addition, on the beautiful yellow dome, some stitchers chose to go with a less random stitch. But Carole pushed everyone to go beyond their comfort range. It will be interesting to see how the finished canvases differ from each other. I selected the canvas because you can actually see the needlepoint design coming to life. If you get a chance to take a class with Carole, do it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tallis Bags

Susan Roberts has a wonderful selection of Tallis Bags. I've selected these three on the right because they represent the range of tallis bag subjects. The top one is just one of the many tallis bags based on stained glass windows. The middle one is a tallis bag for the sports enthusiast. The third one is based on the tribes.

We have had many of these tallis bags finished and they are quite stunning. Of course, there are many other themes including Jerusalem.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baby Signs

Customers are often looking for baby signs. The trunk show has at least three cute ones. Gretchen's favorite was "You wake it, you take it." For those who adore bunnies or teddy bears, there are also appropriate signs for them.

These needlepoint canvases can be stitched and finished quickly so they do make a great baby gift.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Stand-up Eggs

Susan Roberts also has this five-sided eggs. When they are finished, these eggs can standup and make a table decoration. I love the ducklinbs but the flower ones are also very pretty and come in many different patterns.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Needlepoint Easter Eggs from Susan Roberts

We are enjoying the Susan Roberts Trunk Show. Right now while the St. Basil's class is going on, the participants are enjoying the canvases. This trunk show has something for everyone.

I like stitching items that are seasonally relevant; realistically, I know they won't be ready until the next year. But I am inspired by spring colors in the spring.

These three Easter eggs are charming. Because I have three children, I like finding something that is similar but different. I could stitch an egg for each one. And I would have great fun picking the fuzzy threads for each bunny. The top egg is the most realistic so I wouldn't be tempted to glitz it up. Instead, I would use Alpaca for the bunny. I would use a stranded silk for the sky so it would recede more. Think either wisper of petite peluche for the sky.

On the second egg, I would use some of the new candy colors from Kreinik for the glitz. I would use petite peluche for the bunny but petite very velvet for its ears.

On the third egg, I would repeat the blue from the water and the green from the grass from the first egg. I want the white areas to frame the bunny vignette. What would you do?
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Friday, March 25, 2011

St. Basil's Classes Start Today

I feel like a kid waiting for Santa. It's 5:00 am and I can't sleep. The kits are ready, Carole Lake has arrived and is in her hotel room ... After almost a year of planning, our St. Basil's classes start today. In order to do the class in three days, we limited enrollment to 10 students in each section. And then we had enough interest for two sections!

When it snowed this past week, I was worried that Carole would have trouble getting in. But in fact, not only did she have no trouble, her flight arrived 30 minutes early and her luggage was there when she got to baggage. This class has pre-work. I've completed 8 of the 9 steps so I'm in good shape since I'm in the second section.

On Wednesday, Susan Roberts trunk show arrived just in time for the class participants to see it. This show has incredible range -- there's a canvas for everyone. There are great Christmas ornaments incuding Nutcrackers that range in size from 6" to 36". Susan Roberts also has wonderful tallis bags. I love the vibrant colors in the stained glass ones.

When I think of Susan Roberts, I always think of her beautiful needlepoint canvases based on quilt patterns. They come in three different sizes - 6" squares, 10" squares and 12" squares. These canvases are lovely. We've taken pictures and I will be featuring the canvases on the blog for the next several weeks.
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Tooth Fairy Pillow

We often have new mothers or grandmothers coming in to look for a canvas for a new baby. Of course, we have favorites such as the canvases based on Good Night Moon. But we are also always looking for new canvases.

We particularly like tooth fairy pillows because they grow up with the child. A tooth fairy pillow can be in a baby's room but as the child grows up, it gains an important function. In this Mermaid tooth fairy pillow, there is a separate shell piece that is stitched and then attached to the pillow (top picture).The tooth (and later the money) are put in this shell pocket.

The shell can be handled several different ways. It can be stitched and attached by the finisher. It can also be appliqued on. If you were willing to change the shape of the area, you could use a weaving stitch to make a shell that stands is only attached to the canvas on three sides.

Needless to say, there are many different themes of tooth pillows. Think about one for the next baby gift.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A good Beginner Project

This delightful canvas is from Elizabeth Turner. I just think it's cute and regrettably, it's true for me. So I might as well celebrate.But it's also a good project for the newer stitcher.  There's the opportunity to use some stitches but it's a fairly simple design.  The hardest part might be the curvy letters.

The border could easily be done in a Scotch Stitch, perhaps alternating the direction of the Scotches or alternating Scotch with a Tent Stitch. I think the crowns might have to be beaded. And I would do the white background in Nobuko or a skipped tent.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Downward Facing Dog

This Maggie canvas is prominently displayed in our shop. It has been a great hit with our customers whether or not they are yoga enthusiasts. I envision the background as a laid thread. I would also use impressions or High Cotton for the blue pants since they both have great jean colored blues.

I love whimsical canvases and planning on how to stitch them. Right now, I seem to be immersed in serious canvases since I am doing Tony Minieri's "Patterns of the Orient" and his "Footsteps of the Pharoahs." And this week, Carole Lake comes to teach her St. Basil's. We're ready for the class although I personally still have to do my pre-work.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patchwork of Peace Sampler

Originally, Danielle's mother started this project. The painted canvas was done based on the "Patchwork of Peace" needlepoint book. The book has recommended stitches for all the squares that form the flag. In stitching the canvas, you utilize varous reds, whites and blues. (The canvas also comes in pink as a breast cancer sampler.)

Atlhough it is a large project, it results in a wonderful sampler that can be referred to when looking for stitches. Danielle has followed the stitch diagrams and is making significant progress. If you have a large stash, this might be the project for you.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

New Horizon

I have been following a discussion on the ANG Online concerning backgrounds. Jan Sprague, a very accomplished stitcher, asked for suggestions for her background. I was intrigued by the request and went to her blog to see the finished piece. Needless to say, I had to scroll back to read all the discussion on this wonderful design. Jan took the piece to the Canvas Embellishment Class at an ANG seminar. The class was taught by Meredith Willett, Suzanne Howren, Beth Robertson and Tony Minieri. They had suggested a bargello stitch for the sky but Jan decided it was too heavy.

What I love about her discussion is her willingness to use the stitch guide as a guide; she was able to use it as a jumping off point. Ultimately she decided to do a four continental in a single strand of silk. It was a very successful choice because the sky recedes. IFor those of you who enjoy stitching painted canvases, I recommend reading her blogs on this piece!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lauren and Two Projects

Lauren has selected several canvases to do this year. The "live laugh love" canvas was rearranged according to her preference and she is planning on using different stitches on the various striped areas.

She is stitching the stocking for her friend. We were able to have the canvas repainted with a purple background. (Her friend's original stocking was damaged. It had snowflakes on it. Lauren searched through our various catalogues and on line for a canvas with snowflakes. We found this one but with a red background.)

Lauren is a relatively new stitcher but very committed to doing the stocking well. She will be joining us at stitch and chat while she learns some new stitches.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

An Artist Who Expressed Her Art in Fabric

I religiously read certain sections of the NY Times.  On Wednesdays, I always read the Food section, on Thursdays the Home Section, and on Fridays, the Weekends Arts section.  This Friday, there was an article on an exhibit on artist Sonia Delaunay's work.  I was very intrigued.  As an artist, she worked in many mediums include fabric designs.  She was known for her abstract designs.  In fabric, many of her designs were geometric but done in various colorways.  As a needlepointer, I am intrigued by designs done in different colorways.

The exhibit on her work is at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.  You can also read the article in the NY Times.

Spring Kids Kits

I'm always looking for unique items to fill my kids's Easter baskets. Of course, now that their much older, I sometimes use a coffee club card. One year, I was so sick of pink bunnies that I bought stuffed animals that were beavers. They were so much fun and a big change from years of bunnies.

This year, we were able to get some kids needlepoint kits that are on #13 mesh -- they are really meant for the "tweens" and older kids. The colors are springlike and come with the wool. There's a really great Easter basket plus flowers and blue birds. The kits are a great way to introduce kids to needlepoint. (And they do fill up the basket.)

These kits are also great for trips.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Bunny Ornament

This delighful bunny came back from the finisher recently. So many of our customers have been working on their Easter decorations. Nancy brought in three finished carrots this week. We can get the carrots and small hanging eggs finished if we have them by March 24. So if you are almost finished, don't give up!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Step Dancer

I happen to love this Irish Step Dancer. Although I didn't take Irish step dancing lessons as a kid, we did march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. At the end of the parade, we would go home to a corned beef dinner. Years later when my grandparents moved into Manhattan, we actually all went back to their house. My grandmother had cooked the corned beef all day. We would all be wearing some sort of green to celebrate the day.

So if you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you could have it finished with an easel back. Obviously, all holidays call for something needlepointed.

(Actually, the hair is so great on this sample, it would be worth it just to have the stitch guide!)
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stitched with Love

This lovely tallis bag was stitched by our customer for her grandson. We were also able to embroider a message to the grandson on the inside of the tallis bag from his grandparents. The personalized embroidery adds a very nice touch to this already wonderful needlepoint gift.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Older Stitchers

In a needlepoint store, we are always excited when we see younger stitchers. We want the art to continue to the next generation! But recently, I was struck by the fabulous work done by some of our older stitchers. The Rockefeller Stocking was done by Bertha who is in her 90's. Yes, it is on #18 mesh. She has done an absolutely wonderful job and is almost finished with the stocking. It has taken her less than a year -- and she had her hip operated on in the meantime.

Ed is also an older stitcher. He does beautiful geometrics. He was kind enough to let us take his picture with his most recent canvas.

These people continue to get enormous pleasure from stitching. And we get to see their great work.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Needlepoint Designs with Color Choices

I do love classes where the project is done in different colors. Currently, I am doing Tony Minieri's Patterns of the Orient canvas. Today, it was so interesting to see how the different colorways change what takes prominence in the piece. For those of you who love red, the reds in colorway Gold 7 are just stunning!

I missed posting Peggy's and Nancy's canvases in my recent blog on the Coat Ladies . First, Peggy eliminated the tree on the left (you can see it in the canvas below.). Her colors are wonderful but the four central figures defintely demand your attention. I like the texture of ther trees -- and love the most forward one.

In a recent blog, Jane of Chilly Hollow  was discussing how to get definition when stitching with black ( Nancy has been challenged with maintaining stitch definition in the black areas. In the green lady (now painted black), she has combined black thread with different textures. This picture doesn't show the new results but it's coming outv very well.   There are different shades of  black and white; in addition, there are black and white threads of different weights, textures, shine etc. 

Of course, when changing colors on a needlepoint canvas, it's very important that you stay true to the color values. We often take a black and white xerox to help us identify the similar values. Another trick is to place the colors close together and squint. If the colors merge, they are of similar values.
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