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 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, November 2, 2017

Purse "Let The Good Times Roll" - Updated 11/2/17

November 2, 2017--Began stitching the diamonds.  The lower right 2 rows are done.  Not a difficult stitch, but each diamond does take time.  A good project to stitch while watching TV.

Let the Good Times Roll Purse as of 2017-11-02
April 11,2017--Steadily working away on this project.  Finished stitching the outline of the diamond shapes in silver Kreinik, painted in the black diamonds so that white canvas won't peek though the stitches (no stitches done yet), AND, beaded the Fleur de Lis in "brick stitch" pattern.  I'll wait until the end to add the black "tie down" beads on the Fleur de Lis.

Let the Good Times Roll Purse as of 2017-04-11
Beaded Fleur de Lis Side View

April 5, 2017--I started stitching this purse at the ANG 2016 Seminar in New Orleans, LA in a class taught by Janet Zickler Casey called "Let The Good Times Roll.  This is a very large piece which will be made into an envelope clutch with a beaded handle. I spent much of the class time making the handle since my beading experience for items such as this is practically nil.  It came out well and I hope some day to do more in the way of beading bracelets, necklaces, etc.

Janet offered two colorways for this purse--black and white like the one I'm doing; Mardi Gras colors in green, purple and gold.

Here's my progress to date and a picture of the handle.

Purse Let The Good Times Roll at 2017-04-05

Purse Let The Good Times Roll Beaded Handle
Here's the project photo.  This picture shows the red beaded Fleur de Lis positioned on the back of the purse.  Mine will be on the front.

Purse Let The Good Times Roll Project Photo

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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

October 26, 2017--This has happened or will happen to all stitchers.....you 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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

ANG Stitch of the Month 2017 - 9/21/17

September 21, 2017--Almost a year ago I was invited to pilot stitch the ANG Stitch of the Month project designed by Deborah Forney.  Almost forgot that I worked on some of this since time restraints prohibited me from completing all of the steps.  Below is a picture of what I stitched.   It really is a fun project. 

The monthly instructions posted on the ANG website (click here) will entice you to stitch each month's section and look forward to working on the next.  Of course, if you start now, the first nine months of instructions are already available.   Please post pictures of your progress--would love to see your color choices.

ANG Stitch of the Month 2017 Partial


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Back from Seminar - 9/14/17

September 14, 2017--Currently doing lots of stitching, but there's nothing I can write about.  The projects I'm working on are for the 2018 ANG Seminar in Washington, DC.

But what I can write about is the 2017 ANG Seminar in Anaheim, CA I attended from August 24th through September 2nd.  Took two wonderful classes--the first with Cynthia Thomas on how to use Excel to write stitch guides.   A few years ago I wrote a stitch guide for a drawn thread class I gave to Delaware's Seashore Chapter (click here).  I used software that was .jpg based and once the work was saved, could not make changes.  A very cumbersome process.   Using Excel would have been so much easier.  Now I know.

The second class was Coy Koi, a needlepointed purse by Janet Zickler Casey.  Not only did we learn how to work the front and back sections, Janet also showed us how to mount the canvas on the pre-formed "clam shell" style purse form which was included with the class kit.  I can't wait to blog about this one.

Coy Koi Purse by Janet Zickler Casey Project Photo
Will take a break from 2018 Seminar stitching to work on Christmas ornaments soon, so that will be fun to write about.  In the meantime, my cable TV company, Verizon Fios, has given me free HBO streaming through November 30th, so DH and I are binge watching GOT, seasons 1 through 7.  We're currently up to season 4 and all I can say is WOW!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ANG Seminar 2017 Name Tag - 8/22/17

August 22, 2017--My new ANG name tag showing that I'm a member of Distance Learning (DL) as Correspondence Course (CC) Chair is ready and attached to the bottom of my chapter name tag.  I'll be sporting this at the ANG seminar in Anaheim next week.

While at seminar, I'm taking Creating Diagrams and Stitch Guides using Microsoft Office by Cynthia Thomas on Monday and Coy Koi by Janet Zickler Casey on Thursday and Friday.  I'm also working on the Hospitality Desk Wednesday morning and in the Exhibit Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Looking forward to seeing you there.






Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Holiday Gift Blue Ornament - 8/1/18

August 1, 2018--Completed stitching the 4th ornament in the Susan Portra Holiday Ornament series which I wrote about here,

This one is the blue gift which will be adorned with a pretty silver ribbon bow when finished into an ornament.  The silver square in the middle of the top area is where the bow will be attached.

Holiday Gift Blue Ornament

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Needle Storage Tubes - 7/23/17

July 23, 2017 - Last month, Nuts about Needlepoint (one of my favorite blogs), had a post about Prym Needle Twist Tubes for storing needles (click here).  Loved the idea since I have a hard time picking up needles from my flat magnetic storage case.  The problem isn't serious--I get my nails manicured with acrylic topped with gel polish.  This adds a bit of thickness to the nail bed prohibiting me from picking up small items like needles, dimes, etc.  The good thing about this, however, is that the nails are sooo hard that I can often use them like thimbles to push needles into canvas and the polish never chips or cracks.  I digress.....

As nice as the Prym needle twist tubes are, I thought they were a bit pricey, so began a search online and found a packet of 3 Dritz Needle Storage Tubes for a very reasonable price.  They are perfect.  There are little pre-printed labels you can use to identify the needles in each case, and blanks to write your own labels if desired.  The tubes are not as highly engineered as the Prym holders, but work very similarly.  It's now easy to pick out a needle from the opened tube.

Next I'll purchase one of those acrylic lipstick organizers and stand up the Dritz needle tubes in each slot.   The tubes are slim enough to fit nicely.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Holiday Light Copper Ornament - 7/7/17

July 7, 2017--The third in Susan Portra's Holiday Ornament Series called Holiday Light Copper is stitched.  Learn more about them by clicking here.   I love how the padded hearts give a slight 3-D or stumpwork effect.

Holiday Light Copper Ornament


Holiday Light Copper Ornament Side View