Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Christmas Diamond Ornaments - 10/25/16

October 25, 2016--Finished stitching the first of three ornaments.  Love how easy it is to stitch on perforated paper.  Here's a picture and now to stitch the next two designs.

Christmas Diamonds Ornament One Completed
September 20, 2016--I found the instructions for these Christmas Diamond ornaments by Kurdy Biggs of Threedles in the November/December 2015 issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine and knew I would have to stitch them.  There are five examples using three different patterns, two of which were stitched on perforated paper.  Never having worked with perforated paper, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give it a try.   I found some off-white 14 count paper and decided dark blue thread would look good, so below is my progress to date on ornament number one.  Still have additional beads to stitch (ran out and had to order more), but am very pleased with the look so far.

The instructions in the magazine lacks details about the threads used for all three of the different patterns and Kurby Biggs was very helpful in getting me the information I needed.  The problem was one of space--there wasn't enough room for the instructions and the full thread list when the article was published.   If you decide to stitch these ornaments, Kurby is very helpful in supplying any additional information you may need.

The project photo can be found on the left page of this blog called In Process Projects.

Christmas Diamonds Ornament One

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thread Organization Updated 10-22-16

October 22, 2016--Well, that didn't work.  Six months ago I organized my stash of threads by brand rather than by color.  A lot of work--3 days in fact.  No go for me.

Recently I agreed to participate in a pilot stitch program that requires the use of your own threads.  So now I wanted to stash dive to see what color I might use and found myself tearing my hair out trying to locate all threads of one color.  Aaarrrgggg!  Soooo, the only thing to do was to reorganize the threads by color and do it better than before.   After a day of threads all over the floor of my craft room, I now have bags of thread sorted by color using the Joen Wolfrom system.  For my new project, I was able to find the threads that, to me, would be perfect.  And it only took five minutes.

Another reason to keep threads by color rather than brand--it's so much easier to put them away after a project is completed.  To keep brands together, I had to search for where that brand was located.  It wasn't bad for brands with lots of threads, e.g., Splendor, DMC Perle 5, etc., but the lesser used brands with fewer threads in my stash were impossible to immediately get my hands on.  And I have a lot of those various brands with just a few threads.  When looking for colors, those lesser brands were overlooked.  Not anymore.  Yay!

And as for knowing what threads I have for what brands--I can still get that information by using my HanDBase Thread Inventory database.   All is well now.

April 9, 2016--For quite a few years I've lived with my thread stash organized by color.  For example, all the red threads were in a clear plastic bag together, all the blues in another, no matter what the brand.   I had about 10 or so bags of different colors.  Not a bad way to organize threads, but a royal pain when looking for a particular brand name.

So, after reading on various blogs how many have organized their threads by brand name, I decided to do the same.  However, I did not purchase the beautiful plastic bins and organizers that have been proudly displayed in photos.  Instead, I've placed all threads of one brand on a "ring" in color order (not number, at least not yet).  So all my RG/Splendor threads are now together on one ring, my DMC Perle 5's are on another, etc. I'm using inexpensive rings instead of plastic organizer boxes because I don't know if I'm going to like this new setup.

I'll give it a year.   If it works, great.  If not, all the threads will go back to my color "filing" system which is certainly easier to use when putting threads away after a project is completed.

The picture below is a white plastic rolling 3 drawer system I've been using to house my threads. Now the top drawer has all cottons, the middle drawer contains silks, silk blends and wool, the bottom drawer has novelty threads.  (Kreiniks are in another location, along with DMC floss.)

Whew, what a job.  It took 3 days to organize about 1500 different threads.  I suspect I'll tweek this system over the next year by placing the large brands in numerical order rather than by color, and place all the miscellaneous little brands by color only because at this time I haven't a clue how I'll find them again, never mind add to them.

Drawers containing, from top to bottom:  Cottons, Silks, Novelties

Miscellaneous Cotton Threads on "Rings"  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Downton Abbey Lady Mary Geometric - 10/17/2016

October 17, 2016--The Lady Mary geometric, third of the Downton Abbey designs by Gay Ann Rogers, is now complete.  I've also attached a photo of a card designed by Annette Navarro and sold through Gay Ann Rogers on her website.    Now off to the framer.

Downton Abbey Lady Mary Geometric Completed

Lady Mary Card
October 4, 2016--I am now stitching the last of the three Downton Abbey Geometric designs by Gay Ann Rogers.  More information can be found here.  This one is called Lady Mary and the colors are sumptuous.  The other two , Countess of Grantham and Lady Edith, are done and can be seen by clicking on their project names.  So far, most of the outlining is finished and the upcoming filling stitches will add depth and dimension.  Next posting will be of completed piece.  A view of the project photo can be found by clicking on the In Process Projects under the Page heading on the right.

Downton Abbey Lady Mary as of 10-05-2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

SOTM 2016 - Updated 9/15/16

September 15, 2016--Finished stitching blocks 8 and 9.  Started block 8 in August, but ran out of thread and time before seminar, so now that I've been back for almost two weeks, had some time to work on this project.  The last color seems to jump from medium blue to a very pale blue, but I believe it's because the prior color has a darker blue laid on top of the lighter one.  The next two months should make the colors look different again.

SOTM 2016 August and September Section 7 and 8 Completed

July 7, 2016--Block 7 for July is done.  The corner units stitch up quickly and they are all the same size except for the ones on the last row.  It looks so much better in person.

SOTM 2016 July Section 7 Completed
June 21, 2016--June's Section 6 is stitched.  It took longer than it should have because I ran out of thread.  Got it in time to finish up in June.

Moving into the pale blues now.  Like how it's developing.

SOTM 2016 June Section 6 Completed
May 4, 2016--Section 5 for May is done.  It's interesting how different the colors are when placed next to others.  For example, the dark color used in this latest grouping is the same thread used in the very center, but it appears a bit bluer.  Also, the light blue color in this section appears darker than the one used last month, but it is in fact a bit lighter.  Must be that they're different threads and reflect light differently.

SOTM 2016 May Section 5 Completed
April 18, 2016--Section 4 for April is done.  Was able to do most of the stitching while attending the 6th Annual NJ Needle Festival last weekend.

SOTM 2016 April Section 4 Completed

March 7, 2016--Completed the stitching for March, Section 3.  A quick and easy section.  The photo was taken late in the afternoon with the sun low in the sky.  Makes a difference in how the blues appear.

SOTM 2016 March Section 3 Completed

February 6, 2016--Section 2 for February is done.  The two blues seem to be fighting each other right now, but I suspect that as more sections are completed, they'll meld together nicely.

SOTM 2016 February Section 2 Stitched
January 30, 2016--January's Block 1 is stitched.  I made some changes to the Amedeus stitch because I used perle thread instead of multiple strands of thread.

SOTM 2016 January Block 1
Below is a photo of what the Amadeus stitch looked like before I added a long thread down the middle to hide the "open area".   The two arms on the right and left side have a long stitch down the middle to cover the open area while the upper arm does not.  I also diverted from Susan's instructions by stitching the right side first, then the left.  I found it difficult to work left, right, left, right--could not see the holes in the middle.  Also, did not want to "pierce" the perle thread like you can do with stranded.  I'm pleased with the result.   Can't wait to start February's Block 2.

PS  The light threads you can barely see on the canvas are basting lines.

Block 1 with and without long center stitch
January 23, 2016--A few days ago some members of the ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter and I drove up to Fireside Stitchery in Pennsylvania to purchase the necessary threads to stitch this year's ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) project.  This beautiful design by Susan Hoekstra, called Feuilles d'Ananas (Pineapple Leaves), is a study in values requiring 11 different threads from dark to light.  What fun we had comparing our color choices to Susan's dark golds/topaz to light straw colors (see project photo below).    I love blues, so naturally migrated to those colors and below is a picture of my thread selections.

Those of us in the guild who are stitching this year-long project plan on meeting once a month at each other's home to help with any challenges we may have.   Looking forward to stitching the first block this month.

ANG SOTM 2016 Designed by Susan Koekstra

See my Page (on right) called SOTM 2016 Thread List for more details.
SOTM 2016 Thread Selection

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Frankie - Updated 9/11/2016

September 11, 2016--Frankie is DONE!  And I love it.  And I wish I could keep it.

This is a gift for my sister which will be given to her when visiting next month in her new Florida home.  Can't wait to see how it will look on her walls.

Frankie Completed
August 20, 2016--Working on Lesson 7 consisting of the background stitches.  There are three parts to this lesson:  Bokhara Couching Pattern for the narrow horizontal and vertical bands, Burden Stitch for the wide vertical bands and lastly the outer border area.  The first of the three parts is done and here's a picture.

Frankie through Lesson 7.33
August 12, 2016--Lesson 6 is completed.  This lesson covered the Walnetos with Jessicas and Eight Point Stars.  Love those stars--they are quick to stitch and the results are beautiful.  The color difference in the stars is due to the fact that in one, the gold is stitched first, while in the other it is stitched last.

The last lesson covers the background or filling stitches, and the braided border.  There's a lot to do here, but now this is a good TV watching project.

Frankie through Lesson 6
August 9, 2016--Lesson 5 covering the Double Fans Doubled and Chilly Hollow stitches is done.  Only four more "diamonds" to fill in, then all that's left are the background stitches.  Rounding the bend to the finish.

Frankie Through Lesson 5
July 24, 2016--Back from traveling in New England and Canada and have finished Lesson 4.   This lesson covered stitches for the Diagonal Padded Waffle and Mini Double Fans (these remind me of pinwheels).  The colors are blending nicely.

Frankie Through Lesson 4
July 11, 2016--Lesson 3 is now complete.  This lesson included the filling for the Diamond Jessicas (which I had already stitched before wrapping up Lesson 2), the Amadeus Stitch on the upper and lower bands and the Wheat Sheafs along the outer edges.  Now on to the really fun stuff--those highly engineered Jean Hilton stitches.

Frankie Through Lesson 3
July 5, 2016--Happily stitching along and have finished Lessons 1 and 2, and half of Lesson 3 (out of a total of 7 lessons).

The instructions call for stitching each of the Diamond Jessicas (DJs) before doing the Waffle Stitches and Circular Jessicas that fit inside the DJs.  I changed this by stitching the Waffle Stitches and Circular Jessicas BEFORE stitching the Diamond Jessicas.  This made it a lot easier for me to properly execute the last stitches that go behind the first section.  So here's my progress todate:

Through Lesson 1 - Plaited Stitch Columns

Through Lessons 2 and Half of 3 - Diamond Jessicas
Filled with Waffle Stitches and Circular Jessicas
June 29, 2016--Three years ago I signed up to stitch Frankie, a project by Michael Boren and Carole Lake of StitchPlay Designs (project photo below).  It was being offered through Shining Needle Society and I was very excited to find it available as an online class.  I had planned to stitch this as a gift for my sister whose home has a bit of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Frank Lloyd Wright styling. When I visited her that year in 2013, she even helped me to choose threads to go with her decor.

Move forward to 2016 and I've finally begun working on this piece.  The instruction manual along with all the online class materials have a 1.5" width and are quite heavy.  Just reading the pre-work portion of the instructions took some time to wade through.  Well all that's behind me now and below is a picture of the pre-work completed.  It looks a little wonky, so imagine vertical bars with stitching to cover all the traveling threads and bar tacks.

There's a reason for starting this project now--I'm visiting my sister in October to see her new home in Florida (she moved from Dallas, TX) and would like to have this project finished by the end of the visit so I can leave it with her for framing.  I plan on getting at least 75% of it done before I leave.  It's a 19 hour train ride from Delaware to Florida, so should be able to get more stitching done while traveling.

This is a beautiful project and am looking forward to putting color on the canvas.

Frankie Pre-Work Completed
Frankie by Michael Boren and Carole Lake of StitchPlay Designs Project Photo

Monday, September 5, 2016

ANG Seminar 2016 "Parade of Stitches" Itinerary - 9/5/16

September 5, 2016--Attended the 44th American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) Seminar (Parade of Stitches) in New Orleans, LA and had a blast!  I was also very, very busy.  If you look at my itinerary and comments below, I think you'll agree.

Thursday, August 25:

  • 2:00 pm:  Arrived at the Hyatt Regency, New Orleans and checked-in.
  • 3:30 pm: Met other Distance Learning (DL)* members in the Exhibit Hall to display the DL projects for viewing by attendees.  Actually, Barbara E and Kristi H did all the work possible before I got there.  Thank you B and K.
  • 4:00 pm:  Checked in to the seminar.  Received a seminar pin for my name tag, a free Mardi Gras Fleur de Lys ornament designed by Michele Roberts, bead necklaces (of course in green, gold and purple), a beautifully printed informational booklet (which included instructions for The Jester's Mask Ornament by Connie Camp), banquet confirmations, a blue accessories tray with snaps (lays flat when opened),  etc.
Friday, August 26:
  • 8:30 am:  Back at the Exhibit Hall with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to hang and label the DL projects.  Wrapped this up quickly.
  • Free Time All Day--Walked to the French Quarter with DH.  Whew, the weather was, hot, hot, hot!
Saturday, August 27:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 1 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Janet Zickler Casey called "Let the Good Times Roll".  
Sunday, August 28:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 2 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Janet Zickler Casey called "Let the Good Times Roll".  
  • 12:00 pm:  Lunch meeting in the suite of ANG's Vice President of Education, Becky B, to discuss DL project proposals with Kristi H, the DL Coordinator; Melita G, the outgoing Correspondence Course Committee Chair; Sue E, Chapter Project Book Committee; Barbara E, CyberWorkshop Committee; Kathy L, Workshop by Mail Committee; Marilyn O, Stitch-of-the-Month (SOTM) Committee; and myself, the incoming Correspondence Course Committee Chair.
  • 12:00 pm:  Exhibit Hall opened.  Learned I won a Second Place Ribbon for Rose Swirls.  Received a special "exhibitor" pin.
  • 5:45 pm:  Welcome Reception.
  • 6:30 pm:  Welcome Banquet and announcement of Special Ribbon Awards recipients.
Monday, August 29:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 1 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Toni Gerdes called "Bronze Purse". 
  • 11:45 am:  ANG Executive Council Lunch.  Met members of the ANG Board and learned of some exciting plans for the guild's magazine--Needle Pointers
  • 7:00 pm:  Attended the CyberPointers Chapter meeting and met some of the officers and other members.  Was nice to put faces to the names I know.  A nice event and we received a free instruction pamphlet for Pat Mazu's Crescents with Sparkle Ornament.
Tuesday, August 30:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  Day 2 of 2 day Purse Class taught by Toni Gerdes called "Bronze Purse".  I was Class Angel (to assist the teacher as needed, hand out and collect evaluation forms, etc) and received a pin from ANG for this service.  Toni gave me a pair of petite embroidery scissors by Sullivans as a gift for being her Class Angel.  Thank you Toni.
  • 5:30 pm:  Work with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to move exhibits stitched by the seminar teachers for display at the Teachers Showcase event.
  • 6:00 pm:  Attended the Teachers Showcase to meet the teachers and view current and upcoming class projects.  Enjoyed meeting Diane Herrmann, Terry Dryden, Gail Stafford, Joni Stevenson, Cynthia Thomas (a new FB friend), Jennifer Riefenberg, Joan Thomasson.  It was also nice to again see Nancy Cucci, Lynne Wilkinson, Susan Hoekstra.  Also got to personally thank Debbie Rowley of DebBees Designs for the help she gave me on the project she designed called American Beauty Rose; and Kurdy of Threedles for the help she gave me on her Christmas Diamond Ornaments instructions published in the Needlepoint Now Magazine, November/December 2015 issue.
  • 7:00 pm:  Moved the teacher exhibits out of the Teachers Showcase room back to the Exhibit Hall.
Wednesday, August 31:
  • A free day to enjoy my birthday with DH.  Did some shopping, sightseeing, gambling and dining,  A delightful day!
Thursday, September 1:
  • Another free day.  Went on a VIP Tour of New Orleans with DH and Melita G.  We had a very informative and energetic guide who showed us a New Orleans most people know nothing about.  
Friday, September 2:
  • 8:30 am to 4:30 pm:  One day class taught by Michele Roberts called "Theo Faberge's Jeweled Spiral Coil Egg".
  • 12:00 pm:  Work with Melita G, Kristi H and Barbara E to pack up the DL exhibit pieces for mailing back to the designers.
  • 5:45 pm:  Closing Banquet Reception
  • 6:30 pm:  Closing Banquet and announcement of People's Choice and Delegate's Choice award recipients.  DH attended this banquet with me.
  • 9:00 pm:  Pick up my project from the Exhibit Hall to take home (get to keep the beautiful ribbon).
Saturday, September 3:
  • Leave New Orleans and begin the two-day drive home.  Fortunately we drove northeast to Delaware after Hurricane Hermine ran her course up the east coast.  We had clear weather all the way.

So that's it.  Loved being at seminar, but am so very glad to be home.  Just reading through this itinerary probably exhausted you as well, but thanks for hanging in there.

* I am the incoming ANG Correspondence Course Committee Chair.  ANG's job description for this position can be found here.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rose Swirls - Updated 9/4/16

September 4, 2016--I am so pleased to report that this project, Rose Swirls, won a second place ribbon in Category 3 for Independent Projects (Non-Professional) at the 2016 American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) Seminar Exhibit in New Orleans, LA.   I feel this venue is the pinnacle of exhibits with the most stringent judging, and winning ANY ribbon is something to be extremely proud of.

All in all, very happy.

Second Place Ribbon Won at ANG 2016 Seminar
March 18, 2015--Won 2nd Place Ribbon in the Canvaswork-Multi category at Woodlawn's 52 Annual Needlework Exhibition in Alexandria, VA.

November 18, 2014--From January through April of this year, 2014, I participated in an ANG pilot stitch program and am finally able to write about this beautiful project.  It's called Rose Swirls and is designed by Carol Algie Higginbotham.  This is the first time I've done anything as a pilot stitcher online and thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Of course, Carol's written instructions and photographs were wonderful and I had very few comments to make to assist Carol in preparing her final classroom instructions.

BTW, this is now an ANG Correspondence Course and can be found at this link.

Rose Swirls Completed
I only made two changes to Carol's instructions.  The first involves the outlining.  Her instructions called for a stem stitch outline which I changed to couching.  I've not had good luck doing stem stitches--the lines are more zig zag in fashion instead of straight or curved.  So I purchased perle 5 in the same colors as the floss being outlined and couched the perle with one strand of matching floss.  It worked great for me.   The picture below shows the raised, couched outline.

Rose Swirls Raised Couched Outline
The second change was to add a trellis darning pattern to the background.  Her instructions didn't call for anything in the background, but I wanted to place the project in a square frame, so needed to do something with all that blank space.  I really like how it came out.

I learned a number of new things doing this project--ribbon embroidery being one of them.   I loved the petite ribbon roses and also used ribbon to make some of the french knots.  Of course, the feather stitches were done in a random fashion which I'm not a big fan of, but they too came out well.  Many of the white pulled work stitches inside the circle were new to me and again, had a lot of fun working them.

The last picture shows how this piece is framed.

Rose Swirls Framed