Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Winterthur, Delaware Retreat by Art Needlepoint - Updated 3/28/18

March 28, 2018--Have returned from this wonderful stitching retreat at Winterthur in Delaware and couldn't wait to write about it.

Firstly, I must talk about the class--Tree of Life.  This was a two-day class taught by Elizabeth Bozievich, the Editor of Needlepoint Now Magazine, who stepped in to replace the woman who originally stitched this piece for us (from the Royal School of Needlework).  Even though Elizabeth did not write the stitch guide, she did a great job teaching us the stitches used, and there are soooo many of them.   I took lots of close up photos of the stitched piece to help me in the execution of all those wonderful stitches.    

There were many other classes offered at this event and I wish I could have taken them all.

Tree of Life as Originally Embroidered - on Exhibit at Winterthur

Tree of Life Stitched Needlepoint Interpretation Project Photo

Now to talk about the schedule.  Below is a copy of the itinerary and there aren't enough superlatives to describe how well we were taken care of--from the beautiful accommodations at Hotel Dupont, to the tours and lectures at Winterthur, to the dining experiences.

Itinerary Page 1

Itinerary Page 2
Lastly, the retreat participants....I met many wonderful stitchers who came from near and far.  There were a few of us from Delaware, but most came from elsewhere.   I've requested a Facebook page be set up for those of us stitching the Tree of Life so we can encourage each other as we work on this piece.

If Doreen Finkel of Art Needlepoint Company does this again, consider it a must do retreat.

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

Friday, March 23, 2018

Project List and Thread Inventory Management - 3/23/18

March 23, 2018--For many years (since 2013) I've used and loved DDH Software's HanDBase app to manage my Projects and Thread Inventory (see Favorite Apps and Tools page on the right).  Loved having the ability to sync the data from my PC to my iPad and iPhone and visa versa.  It was the only app I could find that handled thousands of records without crashing, and could be personalized.

However, I've had three issues--firstly, the sync had to be done manually from my PC to each device (no "cloud" here); secondly, DDH Software is a one-man shop (no support if something happens to this guy); and thirdly, when I purchased new equipment (PC, laptop, iPad, iPhone, etc.), it was a bear to re-sync my data to my new equipment.  

In comes Microsoft's OneDrive, a cloud storage system that I'm subscribed to along with Microsoft Office 365.  For a nominal amount each year, both my husband and I each get 1 TB of cloud storage and the latest and greatest Mircosoft Office tools (Word, Excel, Access, etc.).

What does this mean?  I can now use Excel to manage my needlework projects and threads inventory, etc. which is immediately and automatically synced to my OneDrive account.  I can access these Excel files from all my devices and if there is no internet connection, can download them to view offline.

It was very easy to transition my data from HanDBase to Excel by exporting everything to a Microsoft XLS file.  The ability to access the different files (e.g., to access the projects spreadsheet while in the threads inventory spreadsheet) was seamlessly exported to my new Excel files from HanDBase.  That was a nice surprise.

Any downside?  Yes, I miss the "form" used in HanDBase to input a new record.  It's easier to see all the fields in a record when using an input form.  In Excel, I need to scroll across a large spreadsheet and fill in each column.  Not the end of the world--I just need to adapt.

Now I want to learn more about Excel's advanced features.  Maybe an online class--but that is a mañana thing.  Of course, I could really "grow up" and learn how to use Access, including it's form layout tool.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gardener's Alphabet - The Letter N - Nasturtium - 03/13/18

March 13, 2018--Found a ready made frame for this letter.   Not sure what I'm going to do with it, so maybe a friend with a name beginning with N will want it.  It's very pretty in person.

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N

October 10, 2015--Sometime in mid-August, Liz Morrow sent out an email searching for pilot stitchers for her Gardener's Alphabet project (counted stitch, not painted) described below.  I've admired Liz's work with bargello and jumped at the opportunity to do this.  Here's the end result* and more information follows.

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N

Gardener's Alphabet Letter N Side View
Liz wrote:
  • The Garden Alphabet was designed by Jim Williams as a rug. The designs were first published in Needlepoint News, Jan/Feb 1982 issue. At that time, it was worked on 10-count canvas with Paternayan wool in Tent stitches.  Mr. Williams has graciously allowed the designs to be reworked for 18-count canvas, color coded to DMC floss.  The designs may be worked entirely in Basketweave or Continental. If desired, decorative stitches may be used, particularly for the background and letters. The background could also be left unstitched, especially if a colored canvas is used. A light coverage stitch on a colored canvas is also an attractive option. 
Liz sent me the letter N to stitch, using the canvas, colors, threads and stitches of my choice.  I have to admit that I have very little experience in choosing my own stitches, but tried to keep the different areas uniform in size while giving contrast.  I did something very unusual though (at least for me it’s unusual)—all the stitches are vertical on 24 count congress cloth—there aren’t any diagonal or horizontal stitches on the piece.  The color choices were based on the Kreinik thread used for the letter.  I love this color called Confetti Pink and it works with the flower and leaves.   Also, for the background, the basting stitches, worked over 5 threads in blocks of ten, were left in place.  I thought it gave a nice trellis-like look to it.

If I had more time (this needed to be done by the end of September), I would have redone this project, using threads with more contrast for the flower and a darker thread for the veins of the two center leaves.  Also, because the spaces within the flower were so small, would have chosen different stitches.   Oh well, for the most part it worked and Liz is going to use it.

* Liz has approved this early blog about the project and hopes to have the full alphabet up on her web site by the end of October.  Can't wait to see what the other stitchers have done.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Shades of Christmas Poinsettia Ornament - Updated 3/9/18

March 9, 2018--Took a moment to finish this into a Christmas ornament.  The instructions couldn't have been easier--stitch 2 pieces of linen together on 3 sides using a running stitch, make the cord for hanging, stuff a piece of batting between the two pieces of fabric, then finish stitching (catching the cord).  All that's left is to remove some threads around the ornament--finished.

Ornament Poinsettia Shades of Christmas Front

Ornament Poinsettia Shades of Christmas Back

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

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hardanger Bookmark Simple - Update 3/8/18

March 8, 2018--Done, and it didn't take long at all.  For the most part, am pleased with how it turned out.  I see some areas where my stitching (especially the buttonhole stitch) needs improvement, but the next one I do will look better.  Even though it's supposed to be reversible, I think it looks a bit messy on the back.    All in all, a fun project and great practice for my planned project called Christmas in the Heartlands by Cindy Valentine (click here to see a photo).

Hardanger Simple Finished Front

Hardanger Simple Finished Back

March 7, 2018--I haven't done much hardanger, but love its simplicity and beauty (actually, it's not so simple).  So when a member of  Delaware's Seashore Chapter of ANG, Lucille C., volunteered to teach a class on how to stitch a simple bookmark, I immediately signed up.  She designed this beautiful piece, wrote the stitch guide and gave us wonderful tips and tricks during the class.  Below is my progress to date.  BTW, this is supposed to be reversible when done.

Hardanger Bookmark Simple at 03/07/2018