Thursday, January 18, 2018

Exhibitions and Judging

January 18, 2018--Recently I've heard from so many stitchers wondering what it takes to win ribbons at needlework exhibits.  So I'm reposting an older blog post about this exact subject.  Here it is below.

Award won 2011
March 13, 2014--I've been having a great deal of fun working as a teller* for the judge of this year's Rehoboth Beach Museum's Annual Needlework Exhibit which runs March 15 through May 11, 2014.  Even though it's a lot of work, it is the best way to view each piece and learn directly from the judge.  Her wonderful critiques have taught me so much and below are some recommendations to be aware of when stitching which will move you in the direction of winning ribbons (not a complete list):
  • Be sure the "finishing" is appropriate to the piece and well done.  If it's framed, the frame and matting should not overwhelm the stitching, but instead compliment it.  The canvas or fabric should not be warped or wavy in the frame, but instead be tightly mounted.  If a pillow, it should be firmly stuffed and the ears (corners) should not flop (use extra stuffing in the corners).  Any embellishment (fringe, cording, fabric framing, etc.) should compliment the piece and not distract from it.
  • Maintain the thread "twist" as you stitch (e.g., when using perles, Watercolours, etc).  Once a thread loses its twist, light will reflect differently on it, giving it a flatter appearance.
  • Maintain tension as you stitch.  A judge can see stitches that become tighter or looser causing distortions, bumps, lumps, etc.
  • Use shorter lengths of thread to lessen wear and tear on the fibers.  Threads that are too long will show fraying, fuzzing, lose their twist, etc.
  • When doing stitches where one thread overlays another (e.g., cross stitches), they need to all cross in the same direction.
  • Work stitches in a consistent direction on your fabric or canvas.  Moving diagonally from top to bottom of the canvas then switching from bottom to top in the middle of a section,  or stitching vertically on some stitches, then horizontally on others, will cause the canvas to show through, distort the stitching, change your tension, etc.
  • When stitching with multiple strands in the needle or with ribbon-like threads or metallics, be sure to use a laying tool so the stitch lies flat over the canvas, avoiding surface twisting of the stitch.  Try using the "railroad" method when stitching with two strands.
  • Be careful when pulling the thread tail through stitches on the back of the canvas by not pulling too tightly which can distort the last stitch, or cause a ridge to show on the front.
  • Be sure all tails are properly tucked away in the back so they will not show through the fabric or canvas.
  • Try to not carry thread on the back of unstitched areas of the fabric or canvas to eliminate "show through".
  • Beads should be double stitched, lassoed, etc. so they don't "flop", become loose, etc.
  • Watch out for stray thread bits, lint, animal hair, etc. under the glass when your piece is framed.  Often the framer won't see these things, but a judge will.
  • Always check your work for missed or incomplete stitches--use a magnifying glass if you have to.  The judge certainly will.
I'm reminded that we all sometimes have the same question when viewing pieces in an exhibit--the mystery of why some win ribbons while others do not.   Often enough those that don't get ribbons are the ones we most enjoy, so please don't hesitate to exhibit your work, for they are a joy to the rest of us to see.

PS.  The items I placed in this year's exhibit are listed in the above tab called "Exhibited Pieces".

*A teller is someone who is at the service of the judge--bringing pieces to them for analysis, taking notes, clearing the judge's work area, etc.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Fiber Talk Podcast - 1/15/18

January 15, 2018--A few months ago I read or heard about a new podcast called Fiber Talk hosted by Gary Parr and Christine Williams for and about needleworkers.  I've never bothered with podcasts before, but I love, love, love this one. 

Every week since January, 2017, Gary Parr and Christine Williams interview needlework artists, as well as have a mid-week chat with just the two of them talking.  I'm currently binge-listening to these podcasts and getting to know teachers, designers, shop owners, etc., etc., through these interviews.   There are so many wonderful needlework artists out there.

Kudos to Gary and Christine for what they are doing and I look forward to their future podcasts as well as catching up on their older ones.

Fiber Talk Podcast Logo

Thursday, January 11, 2018

SOTM 2018 - Updated 1/11/18

January 11, 2018--The section for the month of  January is stitched.  I love how the back looks like a negative of the front.  Cool.


SOTM 2018 - through January

SOTM 2018 January Closeup Front

SOTM 2018 January Closeup Back
January 2, 2018--Yay!  The January installment of ANG's 2018 Stitch of the Month project called Darned Good Sampler by Toni Gerdes is now up on their website (click here).   This is a year long project featuring darning patterns and it's right up my alley.  I've already picked out my color (true blue) on white 24 count Congress Cloth.  This will produce a final size of 5" x 5" which will fit perfectly in a box I already own.  Below is a picture of this year's project.

ANG Stitch of the Month 2018 Project Photo

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Pine Cone Santa - Updated 1/10/18

January 10, 2018--Another Janet Zickler-Casey Santa done!  This is the 5th kit ordered through the Shining Needle Society and I love doing them.  So much so that I have all the past ones in my "planned to stitch" pile.  They are too cute.

There's lots of texture to this little guy--sequined pine cone on the cap, little button nose, fluffy moustache and beaded beard.  Lots of stitching variety.
Pine Cone Santa Completed


Pine Cone Santa Side View


December 29, 2017--Recently signed up to take the Shining Needle Society's annual Janet Zickler-Casey santa class.  This year's is called Pine Cone Santa.  Two lessons have been posted to date on the project's private Yahoo Group List and I've yet to begin.  Will do so once the holidays are over--lots of fun traveling with visits to friends and family.

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year for 2018.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Purse "Let The Good Times Roll" - Updated 1/7/18

January 7, 2018--I've been working on this purse off and on over the last few months.  Over 25% of the diamonds are now filled in.  Whew.  Each diamond takes nearly two hours to stitch due to the fact there are two different stitches which use different threads that must be "laid".   Also, this is a huge canvas - 14" x 22" and moving your hand around it takes time as well.

In actuality, however, the purse is more than 25% complete since the beaded fleur de lys is in place, the diamonds are outlined in silver Kreinik, the beaded handle put together, and the black diamonds are painted in so that white canvas doesn't show through.

Here's my progress so far:

As of 1/7/18 Close up

As of 1/7/18




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

Friday, January 5, 2018

Tablet Holder for Floor Stand - 1/5/18

January 5, 2018--I recently purchased a tablet holder from Amy's Golden Strand for my K's Creations floor stand and love it!!!   I'm able to adjust the height, angle, etc. of where I want the tablet.  It's great for watching movies while stitching. 

Below is a picture of what I see in front of me. 

Right now I'm using the tablet holder to view the stitching instructions for my current project.  All I did was scan the instructions, save it to a directory in "the cloud" (I have OneDrive), then open that saved file on my iPad.  No more pieces of paper flying all over the place (usually landing up under the chair, etc.).  With 2 fingers, I'm able to enlarge the graphs for more detail, enlarge the project photos, etc.  Sweet.

PS.  You can see a small bit of the television I'm watching on the upper right of my "stitching post".  So, when seated, I look ahead at my stitching, down to the right at my instructions, up to the right at the television (my wine glass is on a table to the left--LOL).  I do wear bifocal glasses along with "mag eyes" for magnification, so have to move my head a bit to clearly view things, but I'm so used to doing that, I no longer think about it.

New Tablet Holder for K's Creations Floor Stand