Monday, December 29, 2014

Framing--Undressed and Exposed Updated 12/29/14

December 29, 2014—Continuing with my quest to find the perfect framer, I must now talk about Michael’s Arts & Crafts framing. 

A few months ago I took two finished needlepoint pieces to my local Michael’s in Rehoboth Beach, DE for framing, using a discount coupon.  They have this wonderful tool called Michaels Custom Frame Visualizer which I am very excited about since I have a hard time imagining what the finished framing will look like.

So with coupon in hand, I met with an employee who had been working in Michael’s framing department for a few years and told me he “stitched” canvases to a mounting board instead of using glue.  I liked the sound of that.  He seemed to understand what it was that I wanted, so I then chose mats and frames using their Visualizer tool.  Really had lots of fun with that.  Once a decision was made, they were easily able to calculate the cost and, with the discount coupon, the price was about half what I would normally have paid at a regular frame shop.   They were even able to print a copy of what my framed piece would look like along with a detail cost calculation.  So far, so good.

Then I picked up my two items.  To my horror, both were crooked inside the matting and some of the unstitched canvas showed.  Also, one of my pieces was badly buckled.  Spoke with the same gentleman who I met earlier and he assured me there was no problem in redoing the mats and frames at no extra cost.  OK, I let him have at it.  Then, weeks later, I had to keep calling to find out when they would be ready for pickup.  It took almost a month for them to “remount, remat and reframe” my pieces.   When they were finally ready though, they were perfect!  

So yes, they can frame needlepoint, but patience is required and they need to learn.

Below are pictures of what they did.

Two of my ANG co-chapter members also tried Michael’s framing and both had similar problems, requiring their pieces to be redone.  We did learn a few additional things to take into consideration.  The first is probably why Michael’s frames are so inexpensive—many are very shallow and anything requiring a thick mounting board and multiple mats will stick out and cause a “bump” in the back under the dust cover.   Now, when choosing frames, I will look for those that have more depth on the inside. 

Another lesson is that they will not cut canvas to fit inside the frame, but instead, will fold it over the mounting board.   Not a good idea.  If you want the canvas to lie flat between the matting and mounting board, you will have to cut the canvas yourself to fit the frame—not the end of the world; just something you need to know in advance.

I would love to hear from others who have used Michael’s framing and what has been learned in the process.

Back of Mounting Board showing Stitching Threads taped for security

Picture of Canvas Stitched to Mounting Board

October 22, 2014--Have opened the back of another project--this time done by my new framer in Salisbury, MD who told me they use stainless steel pins.  Below is a pictorial of what they've done.   I must give them credit, though, for the fine job they did in stretching this piece over the mounting board.  It was a large pulled thread project, and even though stitched while on stretcher bars, once I removed the canvas from the bars, it began to "shrivel up".  Now it's nice and flat and you can see the stitches perfectly.

Note:  This project was a pilot stitch program and I'm unable to blog about it until much later this year--stay tuned--it's a beauty.

Back of piece.  Canvas was first pinned to a board, then tape applied to cover the pins.  Additional tape is used to secure the canvas to the back of the board.  More tape then applied to the edges and attached to the matting.  Lots of tape for sure!

Closeup of all the taping 

Side view of taping

Here you can see the pins used for mounting and how the last layer of tape secures everything to the mat.

September 23, 2014--Sometime ago I did some research on how to best mount and frame needlepoint and blogged about it here

Since that time, I've wanted to take a peak at some of my framed pieces to see what was actually done, knowing I'll have to pay to have the item reframed and the paper dust backing replaced.

So I'm starting with a piece framed at an Alexandria, VA shop in January, 2010, where I was told the needlepoint was mounted on foam board using stainless steel pins.  First I removed the paper dust backing, then took out the little "points" used to hold everything inside the frame.  Then out came the "whole shebang" which looked to be all glued together as one--the canvas glued to the mounting board and the mat glued to the canvas.   OMG!!   This was a nasty surprise.  Upon further inspection and a little careful pulling apart of the layers, I could see the canvas was stapled onto the mounting board, so no glue was on the back, but glue was used on the front canvas edge to attach the mat.   Even though I no longer live in Virginia, I'm going to give that frame shop a call to get an explanation about this.

Next month I'll take apart another piece that was framed at a local shop I recently found out about who also told me they use stainless steel pins for mounting.   Crossing my fingers.

Back of Framed Piece with Paper Dust Cover in Place
Paper Dust Backing Removed Exposing Mounting Board

"Points" removed from sides of frame 

Layers appear to be glued together

Some of the layers are beginning to separate

Monday, December 8, 2014

Stitches for Effect Classes - Baskets Galore, Christmas Stitches I, Under Construction Updated 12/7/14

December 7, 2014--Just completed the third and final set of Stitches for Effect Classes.  This one was called Christmas Stitches I.

I have taken a total of 16 of these Stitches for Effect classes and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one, learning how to correctly do the various stitches, many of which I still have yet to use in a project.  The additional instructions on how and when to use the stitches was invaluable as was the utilization of a wide variety of threads to stitch the examples.

It is unknown if Suzanne Howren will continue to make these classes available through the Shining Needle Society, but I hope she will.

Below is an example of a stitch that can be used for beards and hair which was fun to do.

Class Christmas Stitches I Example

July 29, 2014--Finished the second of three Stitches for Effects Classes called Under Construction. Enjoyed stitching the samples except for one.  It's called Random Cashmere and the instructions stated to randomly place blocks of cashmere stitches within the sample stitching area.  My problem is with the word "random".  I had to first draw the stitch placements on graph paper before transferring the design onto canvas.  The result is a mishmash of blocks, and it most certainly is random.  Below is a picture of the results (ran out of thread, but you can see how I did).

Random Cashmere
June 3, 2014--Finished one of Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren's stitch classes called Baskets Galore (taken through the Shining Needle Society).  This series will definitely come in handy.  I especially loved the stitch below called Battlement Couching.   Two classes to complete and I'll be ready for another series.  Can't get enough.

Class Baskets of Galore Battlement Couching
January 17, 2014--Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren have done it again.  Their new batch of Stitches for Effect classes are now available at Shining Needle Society (SNS) and I've signed up for all three shown below.  The online lessons begin March 15 and run through May 15, 2014.

Baskets Galore

Christmas Stitches I

Under Construction

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lone Star Heart Updated 12/1/14

December 1, 2014--Finally got around to making something of this wonderful Nancy Cucci project and decided to make it into a simple ornament (no tassel--didn't have enough thread) :-(

This is a continuation of learning how to finish my own needlepoint.  I learn something new each time I do this.  For example, this time I learned to be sure to center the back correctly, to cut a narrower allowance for folding over (don't need more than 1/2 inch), clip into that allowance, but not to close to the edge, etc.

I'm developing a keen appreciation of the work done by professional finishers.

Lone Star Heart Finished Front

Lone Star Heart Finished Back

December, 2011--Finished stitching a project begun at ANG's 2011 Seminar in San Antonio, TX class taught by Nancy Cucci.   Still not sure how to finish it--maybe as a door knob hanger or draw pull.  It's too big to think of as an ornament, but definitely needs a special tassel.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Top of the Hill Updated 11/1/14

November 1, 2014--Made this little project into an ornament and will use it as one of the examples in a class I'm leading at my local ANG chapter on how to finish your own ornaments.   Even though I am very inexperienced at doing this, it didn't come out badly.  A common thread that's repeated in everything I've read about putting your own ornaments together--practice, practice, practice.  After I turn my completed projects into "finished" ornaments (really don't have that many), I may ask fellow chapter members if they would be willing to let me finish their ornaments to get that necessary practice in.  Of course, it would have to be something that's not cherished in case I make a mess of it :-)

PS  Making the tri-colored cording was also a lot of fun.

Top of the Hill Finished as an Ornament (Front)

Top of the Hill Finished as an Ornament (Back)

May, 2013--This is a class I led at our May Seashore Chapter meeting.  This lovely project consisting of mostly Jean Hilton stitches comes from ANG Needlepointers Magazine, March, 2010.  Much of the class was spent demystifying Double Fan Doubled and the Waffle Stitch.   Think it'll make a cute ornament, book cover, or something similarly sized.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Woven Ribbons and Lace Pillow Updated 9/14/14

September 14, 2014--Done!   Just finished stitching the last ribbon, number 9 (vertical ribbon on the far right).  Next--will talk with my upholsterer to see which type of pillow should be made--knife edge or box?

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 9

September 8, 2014--Finished stitching Ribbon 7 and have only one more to go.  The last ribbon, number 9, is a lacy type of pattern using multiple colors, so will probably take some time to complete.   This really is a fun project.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 7
September 3, 2014--Counting down--two more ribbons to stitch.  Below is a picture of my progress to date.  Ribbon G and all horizontal ribbons are done.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon G

August 24, 2014--Ribbon F done.  Three more to go!

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon F

August 20, 2014--Only 4 more ribbons to stitch.  Below is a picture of the most recent completion--ribbon 4.  

Most of the background of this project is stitched with Paternayan yarn, color #500.  I ran out of this color and, after making a few calls, was unable to find more.  I began to panic (just a little) and then remembered I still have some Paternayan threads purchased over 30 years ago, lovingly stored for all these years.  After digging through this stash, I found a color very, very close to what I was using and, after stitching 3 small squares, am pleased that the color variance is hardly noticeable.  Can you find the color difference?

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 4

August 7, 2014--Stitched two more ribbons--B and C.   That's going to be it for awhile--lots of life to live over the next few weeks.  Looking forward to completing this project--only 5 more ribbons to go.  

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon C

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon B

August 2, 2014--Ribbon 2 done.  Seems to be stitching up a lot faster now that the lacy ribbons are done.  I also like working on the background where possible--the basketweave stitching is relaxing.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 2

July 28, 2014--Ribbon 8 is complete.   Have stitched a total of 10 ribbons so far, over half done with 8 left to go.  

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 8
July 21, 2014--Ribbon 1 finished.  This project is coming along nicely.

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon 1

July 15, 2014--Another ribbon done--Ribbon D.  Should have stitched this ribbon before completing Ribbon 6.  May have to fix this later.  Now that all the ribbons with extended sides are stitched, can work on any ribbon that strikes my fancy, or work them in rows, or columns, or.......

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon D

July 13, 2014--The photograph below shows Ribbon 6 is now done.  I also stitched in a few of the background blocks to see how I liked the color.  Looks good to me.  Next up--Ribbon D.  

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon 6
July 4, 2014--Happy Independence Day!!!  

Delaware's Seashore Chapter led this class in May, so I pulled it out of the WIP pile a few days ago and completed Ribbon H.  Next up--Ribbon 6.

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon H
December 8, 2013--I'm putting this project away until the Delaware's Seashore Chapter has its class in April, 2014.  I started it early so that my sister could see what it was all about while visiting her in Dallas, TX before Thanksgiving.   I've completed 5 ribbons and learned the hard way that I should have done the ribbons in the following order:  (vertical ribbons are numbered 1 through 9, horizontal ribbons are lettered A through I) A, E, I, 3 then 5. Instead, I stitched E, 3 and 5 before beginning A and I.  I had to rip out portions of ribbons 3 and 5 to make room for the extended edges of ribbons A and I.

The next ribbons will be D, H then 6.  I should be able to stitch the rest of the ribbons, 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, B, C, F and G in any order I please since their edges don't overlap other ribbons (I think).   Below is a picture of my progress to date:

November 21, 2013--Have completed two more ribbons, 3 and 5.  Only 15 more to go.

Ribbon 3
Ribbon 3 Closeup

Ribbon 5

November 17, 2013--The first of 18 ribbons is done. This is Ribbon E. Because its edge extends into other ribbons, it and some others must be done first. 

Ribbon E Closeup

Ribbon E
November 10, 2013--Finished marking the ribbon positions by basting with thread instead of a #4 pencil.   It turned out to be much easier counting with a needle and thread instead of starting and stopping the pencil.  I basted the horizontal lines first, then the vertical.  Once I got the count correct on the first line, the rest was easy to copy.

Lines set up using basting thread
August 30, 2013--Have begun working on the Woven Ribbons and Lace pillow designed by Jane Nichols which the Delaware's Seashore Chapter will have as its April, 2014 class.  This wonderful project can be found in the May/June 1999 Needlepoint Now magazine.  I chose the blue and rust version and all threads have been purchased or pulled from stash and entered into my Threads Database.

Since this is a counted stitch project, the ribbon widths must first be drawn on the 18 count canvas with a #4 pencil.  Have begun laying out the groundwork below.  Will also print out the graphs for each ribbon in such a size that can be easily attached to the canvas with a magnet while stitching.  As you can see, there are 9 vertical ribbons and there will be 9 horizontal ribbons (only 3 are drawn in so far).

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Laying Tools - Which Do You Prefer? 9/13/14

September 13, 2014--There's been a lot of discussion recently on the ANG Yahoo Group List about laying tools and which is preferred.  Many love one called the Best Laying Tool or BLT (a tekabori style in metal) and others love their finger trolleys.  Since I use both types, I thought I'd write about why I use one over the other.  

The long, metal tool I have is called Sharon's Laying Tool and was purchased at the recommendation of David McCaskill when taking his Journey online class.  It is long and ridged for easy gripping, and is perfect for laying multiple strands of thread, be they cotton or silk.   When laying many strands of floss, it sometimes takes a descent amount of pressure to flatten and spread the strands before pulling them through the canvas.  The long, thin tekabori is perfect for this.

When I don't need so much pressure, I prefer to use my finger trolley, especially when working in the right hand corners of canvases attached to stretcher bars using the well method.  It nicely smooths ribbon width threads easily, such as Flair, etc.  And if working on a canvas corner, I can turn my finger in such a way as to work around the stretcher bars.

Below are pictures of both laying tools, one showing how I wear my finger trolley.

Sharon's Laying Tool

Finger Trolley

Finger Trolley as Worn

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Needlepoint Nation Pin 8/23/14

August 23, 2014--Just received my Needlepoint Nation magnet from Needle Little More.

The explanation below about the design of this pin is from their website:

Made exclusively for Needle Little More to celebrate our favorite Facebook page, you do not want to miss having this very meaningful accessory!  
  • The rampant charges, or animals supporting the shield, are frogs standing guard with their crossed needles, to protect you from “frogging” or having to “rip-it.”  
  • Heraldry shields of handworkers often had tapestry spools so everyone knew of their skills. We have updated those to a modern spool and made them red, which symbolizes patience and victory. 
  • The central figure is not a piece of armor, but a Facebook “like” symbol, as we hope you are always getting many “likes” on your posts and comments, and the background is blue, the color of truth and loyalty. 
  • At the bottom you will see the logo, “rem acu tetigisti,” which is Latin for  “you have touched the point with a needle;” apropos for many in the literal sense, but it translates more figuratively into, “you hit the nail on the head,” which we hope is always true of all your advice.
Added it to my ANG chapter name tag.  It looks great with my small, but growing collection of pins, charms and magnets.

Needlepoint Nation Magnet on Name Tag

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pinwheel Christmas Ornaments 8/21/14

August 21, 2014--Finished stitching this CyberPointers July project designed by Pat Mazu.  Really fun and fast to stitch and loved using up some of my stash.  Can't wait to learn how to finish the two ornaments and stocking--lessons coming up at the September meeting.

Thread Choices for the Pinwheel Stocking and Ornaments
 Picture taken from my Threads Inventory blog post

August 5, 2014--ANG's online CyberPointers Chapter offered Pat Mazu's pinwheel ornaments as their July stitching project.  There are three to choose from--a mini stocking, a round ornament and a square ornament.  Pat will instruct us how to finish these ornaments during the September meeting.  I've decided to stitch all three, choosing threads from my stash.