Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review - 12/31/17

December 31, 2017-- Happy New Year!  With all the traveling we've done this year, I still managed to complete a few projects shown below.  Click on the caption of each photo for more details.  
2018 promises to be as much fun if not more than 2017 with lots of new projects.  On the agenda are trips to Southern California, Oregon State, Arizona State, ANG Seminar in Washington, DC, a class in February in Maryland (Toni Gerdes' Fire & Ice ), a stitching retreat to Winterthur in Wilmington, Delaware in March, another stitching retreat in Ocean City, MD.   Lots to keep me excited and engaged in this wonderful passion.

Rozashi Baby Iris

Rozashi Imari Sampler

Trimming the Tree Ornament

ANG Distance Learning Correspondence Course Chair Name Tag

Holiday Gift Blue Ornament

Holiday Light Copper Ornament

Holiday Brass Bell Ornament

Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Ornament

Holiday Gift Copper Ornament

Nutcracker Santa

Faberge's Jeweled Spiral Coil Egg

Star in the Meadow Stocking

American Beauty Rose

SOTM 2016 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rehoboth Beach, DE Needlework Exhibit - 12/30/17

December 30, 2017--News:  the Needlework Exhibit in Rehoboth Beach, DE will be held in September/October of 2018.
The museum's director recently wrote....."As many of you know, the Historical Society, which operates the museum, has been raising money to complete construction on the second floor. We have finally raised enough money to begin construction and we will do so beginning January 2, 2018. Construction will continue through at least the end of April, 2018. This means that the Needlework exhibit will not be held at its regular time in 2018. We will hold the exhibit in September and October of next year. This would mean drop-off dates of mid-to-late August, and opening the weekend of either Labor Day or the week after, and a pick-up the last weekend of October. One benefit of this time frame is that it moves the exhibit farther away from the Woodlawn exhibit, and gives the exhibit the chance to be seen by more visitors."
This is good news for those who participate in both exhibits (Woodlawn and Rehoboth Beach) and about the museum's 2nd floor construction. Actual exhibit dates will be published once they are known.
Rehoboth Beach, DE Museum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rozashi Baby Iris - 12/7/17

December 7, 2017--This little Rozashi Study called Baby Iris by Margaret Kinsey was a CyberPointers class in 2013.  I ordered the kit, then put it aside, not comfortable with the style and method.   Well, that problem ended after completing the recent Rozashi Imari Study class, a recent CyberPointers offering.  I was able to stitch this up in a few days and really like the technique using all vertical stitches on a Japanese canvas called "ro".

The next step is to block the piece by spreading a thin layer of Yamato nori stitcking paste (a type of glue) all over the stitches in the back, then while still damp after an hour, hold an iron above the canvas and steam the devil out of it until it is dried, then do it all over again.  At least that's how I interpret the instructions.  Once that's done, I'll make a little egg shaped ornament out of it and hang it on a drawer knob in my dressing closet.

I found some rozashi projects in the 2005, 2006 and 2009 NeedlePointers Magazine, so will have to find a source for "ro" canvas and work on those.

Rozashi Baby Iris Completed Closeup

Rozashi Baby Iris Completed

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Study in Rozashi--A Petite Imari Sampler - Updated 12/3/17

December 3, 2017--Finished lessons 3, 4 and 5, completing all the stitching.  These sections are called Kaku (upper left), Tortoise Variation (upper middle) and a pattern with no name (lower right).  Margaret advised us to be frugal with the use of the kitted threads since we could run out if mistakes were constantly made.  Well, I took that advise to heart and was careful to place the stitches correctly.  In the end there was plenty of thread left.  Of course, there were mistakes that had to be ripped out, but fortunately, they were small ones. 

Rozashi consists of vertical stitches over horizontal threads and I found this type of work to go very quickly.  Will now look for similar projects using this method.

This will make a lovely framed picture for my in-home office.

Rozashi Imari Sampler Completed Closeup

Rozashi Imari Sampler Completed
November 29, 2017--Lesson 2 for sections called Tortoise and Daiya is now done.  More challenges with all the compensation that's needed.  Still enjoying this project.  Working on such a small canvas, however, does require good magnification.  Glad for my mageyes.  It's also a good thing that this is worked "in the well" so to speak (canvas is attached in back of the wood holder).  I'm stitching right to the edge of the wood and it's easy to end threads on the back because there's nothing in my way.

Rozashi Imari Study Lesson 2 Tortoise and Daiya Closeup

Rozashi Imari Study Lesson 2 Tortoise and Daiya

November 27, 2017--Lesson 1, section called Diamond Flower, is done.  This was a bigger challenge than expected.  Margaret Kinsey instructed us to stitch in a diagonal direction when working the light peach area.  Because of all the compensation stitches, I found that hard to manage, so I stitched along the horizontal line.  I don't think it changed the appearance that much.

Love the shine of the silk threads.

Rozashi Imari Sampler through Lesson 1 Diamond Flower Closeup

Rozashi Imari Sampler through Lesson 1 Diamond Flower

November 12, 2017--Last June I signed up to take this class through ANG's online chapter called CyberPointers.  The lessons were held during the chapter's November meeting and I'm loving it.  I'm still working on Lesson 1, but can see how beautiful this little sampler is going to be.

The working surface is very different from the mono canvases to which we're accustomed.  Rozashi stitching is done on starched silk gauze material called a "ro".  There are 3 horizontal threads, called "dan" that are woven very close together and are considered as one thread for stitching.  This causes an elongated vertical stitch.  A very pretty effect.  The "ro" is glued to a thin wood frame and all stitching is done "in hand"--no floor or table stands needed, at least not for a project this small.  And the twisted silk threads are scrumptious.  They reflect so much light.

I'm even learning to count up to three in Japanese.  Ichi is one, ni is two and san is three.  This count is important as all stitches are done over ichi, ni or san dan.    Margaret Kinsey's instruction booklet is wonderful and the added lessons through CyberPointers are very helpful.

Here's what I've done so far.

Rozashi Imari Sampler through 11/12/17

Closeup of the "dan" row of a "ro" canvas

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Frankie - Updated 11/26/17

November 26, 2017--My sister sent me this picture of Frankie in its new frame.  Love the texture of the frame and filet.  She says it looks perfect in her living room.  Me---so happy she likes it.

Frankie Framed

Frankie Frame and Filet Closeup

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Floral Ribbons - 11/7/17

November 7, 2017--Just completed the stitching of a Delaware's Seashore Chapter project led by Pat vdA taken from the March 2009 issue of NeedlePointers Magazine.  It's a pretty Laura Perrin design and I love needlepointed ribbons.

However, the canvas is too dark for the blue threads used, so it's not easy to see where one ribbon ends and another begins.  I'll just make this a quick hang-up piece and display it in my "throne room".  LOL.

Floral Ribbons Completed

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Will There Be Enough Thread? - 10/26/17

October 26, 2017--This has happened or will happen to all run out of thread and cannot find the exact dye lot.  Do you rip out the old color or try to camouflage the new.

In Elizabeth's Between The Threads Newsletter for Needlepoint Now News, she wrote about a wonderful hint from Brian Shaw, a needlepointer and manager of the Needlepointer Shop in Washington State.  He says....

"...if you are not sure how much thread is needed for a project, cut the skein or card of thread in half. Put one half aside. Using the other half to stitch, it will be easy to judge when you are halfway done with the project if you will have enough left to finish. If you see that you will need more, order right away and blend the half you had set aside with the new thread, so it won’t be obvious if the dye lots are different."

What a great idea this is, especially for projects requiring large amounts of one color, e.g., a background where a dye lot change would be highly visible.  Thanks Elizabeth and Brian.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Trimming The Tree Ornament - 12/3/17

December 3, 2017--Finished this project into an ornament in time for the ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter annual Holiday Luncheon and Ornament Exchange tomorrow.  I stitched two--one for the exchange and one for my tree.  Here they are....

Trimming the Tree Ornament Finished

October 10, 2017--Completed the stitching of this ornament and for picture taking purposes, placed the cut-out oval on top of the canvas to confirm I've got the right shape.  Looks good.  Now to turn it into an ornament with beautiful cording around the edge.  

PS  The black edge along the oval top is caused by shadow, not a pencil.

Trimming the Tree Ornament Completed

September 26, 2017--I've shied away from finishing ornaments into oval shapes--didn't know how to draw a perfect oval template.  Well, no more.  I'm nearly finished stitching the "Trimming The Tree" ornament by Eula C. Malson published in the September, 2003 issue of Needle Pointers, and before I decide to fill in the background with something like the "T" stitch, I needed to pencil in the oval shape on the canvas.  Here's what I did.

I used Microsoft Word's shapes to draw an oval, then used an old bit of software called "Cool Ruler" to make it the length and width I needed to fit my ornament.

Cool Ruler used to measure how far to pull down the oval to the length desired

Cool Ruler used to measure how wide to pull the oval for the width desired

Once the oval shape was set, I used Word's shapes to draw straight horizontal and vertical lines through the middle and printed it out on standard 8.5" x 11" paper.  Then I placed my stitched ornament on top of the template, using the lines to help locate the exact center of top, bottom and sides, then drew my oval.

Lines on Template Visible Through Canvas for Centering
Here's a picture of my ornament with a perfectly shaped oval.  The top has more space than the bottom because a star will be stitched on top of the boxes after I fill in the background.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Name Tag for ANG Checkerspot Chapter - 10/6/17

October 6, 2017--I recently joined the ANG Checkerspot Chapter located in Silver Spring, MD.  They are a delightful group of stitchers located within a day's ride round-trip of where I live in Delaware.  Not long ago they changed their name from Executive Branch to Checkerspot which is Maryland's state insect and attached is a picture of a glorious specimen.  Love the butterfly colors they incorporated into their name tag.

ANG Checkerspot Chapter Name Tag

Checkerspot Butterfly, Maryland's State Insect

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Needlepointed Black Velvet - 9/24/17

September 24, 2017--Below is a needlepointed picture of Pam and Ray's (our friends) horse, Black Velvet (or Blackie for short).  It's all done in tent stitch and I just had to share it here.  The use of thread to "paint" the horse and background is so fine that it looks as if it were done with delicate brush strokes, not with needle and thread.

Needlepointed Picture in Tent Stitch

Close Up of Stitching

Signature on Back of Needlepointed Picture
The stitcher, a Bulgarian woman who was the mother of our friends' friend began working on this piece in 2005 using the original photograph from which the below painting was made.  Unfortunately the stitcher's name is forgotten and cannot be deciphered from the signature on the back of the piece (our friends believe the first line says "with respect").

Painting of Blackie Front View

Painting of Blackie Side View
In 2000, Blackie was commissioned to be painted from a photograph by an artist who lived in Soprin, Hungary. At the time, our friends lived in Vienna, Austria.

The needlepointed picture was given to them by their friends, Glennis and her boyfriend, as a Christmas gift in 2007 (2 years after the stitching was begun) while they were stationed in Frankfort, Germany.   Both the painting and needlepointed piece now hang in their study where they can be quietly enjoyed.