Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Trimming The Tree Ornament - 10/10/17

October 10, 2017--Finished stitching 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 December, 2009 issue of Needle Pointers (project photo can be found on the right under "In Process Projects"), 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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Organizing Ribbons for use in Ornament Finishing - 6/24/17

June 24, 2017--I was perusing the internet a few days ago looking for ribbon storage ideas.  There are lots of plastic boxes for sale, but nothing that "rang my bells".  Found lots of pictures of how people stored their ribbons and came across one where a pant hanger was used (cannot credit source--nothing was available).  What a great idea--I had one of those hanger types (very, very old) and it's perfect for my needs.

Ribbon Organizer Using Pant Hanger



Friday, June 23, 2017

Holiday Bell Ornament - 6/23/17

June 23, 2017--Completed stitching the second in the Holiday Ornament series by Susan Portra (click here for more details).  This one is called Holiday Bell Antique Brass and will have a 9 mm gold jingle bell attached to the bottom area to look like a clapper.  Next in the series to stitch will be the copper light bulb.

Holiday Bell Antique Brass Ornament

Friday, May 26, 2017

Secret Stitching - 5/26/17

May 26, 2017--Doing plenty of stitching, but unable to say for whom, what or why, at least not yet.  But I can say it involves lots of Perle 8 weight threads.  Here's a picture of some when I went stash diving--Caron Wildflowers, RG Elegance, DMC Perle 8, RG Panache, etc.  Lots and lots of beads too.  Best of all, many of my chapter mates at ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter, are also working on this project.

Perle 8 Weight Threads


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Winterthur, Delaware Retreat by Art Needlepoint

May 18, 2018--I just learned that Art Needlepoint is hosting a fabulous retreat at Winterthur Museum in Delaware from March 23 to 25, 2018. 

The initial brochure for this event can be found by clicking here.  I'm told there's a 5% discount for ANG and/or Winterthur members.  Of course, you can save a whopping 10% by registering and paying in full by July 15, 2017. 

I'm personally excited about this event because of

1) the venue
2) the techniques to be taught
3) the beautiful canvases to be offered
4) the lectures and tours

More information regarding kits, teachers and accommodations will be available shortly.  Feel free to contact Doreen at Art Needlepoint (contact information on the last page of the brochure)

It promises to be a full weekend filled with fun and information, and let's face it--anytime you can stitch with like minded spirits is a very, very good thing.

Click here to access Art Needlepoint website.

Tree of Life from Art Needlepoint



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Ornament - Updated 5/10/17

May 10, 2017--This pretty little poinsettia is complete and all that needs to be done is turn it into an ornament.  I really like the variations in the thread colors, but think the size used--Caron Wildflowers (perle 8 to 12 equivalent), is too thin and doesn't cover the linen as well as I would have liked.  Maybe once it is pressed the thread will "flatten" out and cover more.

Ornament Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Completed
May 4, 2017--I am nearly finished "cross stitching" a beautiful Christmas poinsettia called Shades of Christmas led by Bobbie R. of Delaware's Seashore Chapter, ANG.  I am learning a little about cross stitching (this being my second chapter project) and like how pretty the projects are along with the challenge of counting stitches and thread color changes (I think the crosses are all going in the same direction).  Once the green leaves are stitched, I plan on making this into a very simple ornament with fringed edges.

This is a free chart designed by Crossing Montana for Eterna Silk.  However, I'm using Caron Wildflowers for the threads.  Love the variegations.

Ornament Shades of Christmas Poinsettia

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Holiday Gift Copper Ornament - 4/25/17

April 25, 2017--I've wanted to stitch Susan Portra's Holiday Ornaments ever since they began being published in Needlepoint Now Magazine in 2013, and at last, I've completed the first one--the Holiday Copper Gift.  All that's missing is the beautiful ribbon bow which gets applied after it's finished into a hanging ornament.  The photo doesn't do it justice--it has a lot of shine and glimmer to it.  For more information about the series, click here.

Holiday Gift Copper Ornament




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Purse "Let The Good Times Roll" - Updated 4/11/17

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Nutcracker Santa - Updated 4/2/17

April 2, 2017--Lesson 4 and the nutcracker is done.  He's a cutie.  The instructions said to leave the space between the red shoulder epulets and hair blank, but I couldn't do that, so filled it in with an ecru colored thread T stitch--a very faint shading of color.

Nutcracker Santa Completed
February 25, 2017--Here's the Nutcracker Santa through Lesson 3.  Love all the shine.  Due to the working threads rubbing against his nose, I'll have to stitch over some of the worn areas.  Will do that at the very end.

Nucracker Santa Through Lesson 3

Nutcracker Through Lesson 3 Side View
February 21, 2017--Last Fall I signed up to take another Janet Zickler Casey online class through the Shining Needle Society (SNS) called Nutcracker Santa.  This is my fourth santa class taken through SNS and I love how clear and easy Janet's instructions are.  Below is a picture of my progress through Lesson 2 (out of 4 lessons).  You've got to love the nose.  It's satin stitches over a shortened cotton swab (like a Q-Tip).  Click on "In Process Projects" on the right side of the blog page to see a picture of the project as it should look when done.

Nutcracker Santa through Lesson 2

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Holiday Ornaments by Susan Portra - Updated 3/28/17

March 28, 2017--Here's another Holiday Ornament in the collection by Susan Portra called Pink Holiday Gift.  It's found in the March, 2017 issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine and is number 15 in the series.  Here's a photo of the project.

Holiday Gift Pink - NPN 2017 Vol XIX, 2
January 20, 2016--The January, 2017 issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine has another new ornament by Susan Portra, number 14 in the Holiday Ornaments collection.  This one is called Yellow Holiday Light.  Below is the project photo.

Holiday Light Yellow - NPN 2017 Vol XIX, 1
November 9, 2016--The December, 2016 issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine has a new ornament by Susan Portra, number 13 in the Holiday Ornaments collection called Fuchsia Holiday Bell.

Holiday Bell Fuchsia - NPN 2016 Vol XVIII, 6
July 20, 2015--Ever since I first read about Susan Portra's holiday ornaments in the Needlepoint Now magazine beginning with the November, 2013 issue, I decided I would stitch them all.  There will be a total of 24 ornaments altogether and so far 12 have been published in the magazine through July, 2015:  3 bells, 5 gifts, and 4 lights (pictures below *).  Today I sat down to determine what threads need to be purchased and what can be used out of my stash and am planning a shopping trip to my closest LNS, a 3 hour drive from my home.  The trip will include an overnight stay at a dear friend's home and, of course, I'll bring wine.  Life is sooo good!

Holiday Bell Blue - NPN 2015 Vol XVII, 1

Holiday Bell Brass Antique - NPN 2013 Vol XV, 6

Holiday Bell Green - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 6

Holiday Gift  Copper- NPN 2013 Vol XV, 6

Holiday Gift Blue - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 3

Holiday Gift Green - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 6

Holiday Gift Red - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 4

Holiday Gift White  - NPN 2015 Vol XVII, 4

Holiday Light  Copper- NPN 2014 Vol XVI,  2

Holiday Light Red - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 6

Holiday Light Turquoise - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 3

Holiday Light White - NPN 2014 Vol XVI, 4

*  I received permission from the editor of Needlepoint Now magazine to publish these pictures in this blog post.