Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review

December 31, 2019--It's been a busy year, but I still managed to complete the stitching on 20 needlepoint projects.  Here they are from most recent (December) to oldest (January).

Many have not yet been finished into ornaments, etc.--I'm waiting to stitch all the projects in the collections before working them up into ornaments (e.g., Janet Zickler Casey's santa collection, Susan Portra's holiday ornament collection).

Also included in this list are the projects stitched in prior years and finished into pillows, ornaments, etc. in 2019.

Hope you enjoy looking at these pictures and walking down memory lane with me.  Click on the photo's caption to see more information about each project.

Santa Heart

Autumn Crackers Leaf (5 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Owl (4 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Pumpkin (3 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Quilt Block (2 of 5)

Autumn Crackers Tree (1 of 5)

Jeweled Heart

Woven Ribbons Ornament
Expressions in Rose Gold
Mini Embellishment Ornament

Valentine Heart
Hardanger Crystal Daisy Ornament

Holiday Ornament - Green Bell

Ornament by DebBees Designs for 2018 Completed
Ornament by DebBees Designs for 2018
RG Mystical Stairs Coaster

Ort Box With a Twist
Overdyed Spools
Holiday Ornament - White Light

Star Spangled Santa

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Santa

Here are four stitched projects completed in years past and finally "finished" into something in 2019:

ANG Stitch of the Month for 2016
Woven Ribbons Pillow

Bargello Techniques Pillow
Florentine Canyon Heart

Friday, December 27, 2019

Heart Santa Ornament - Updated 12/27/19

December 27, 2019--Here it is a year later and after shopping many yarn stores, I could not find a chenille type yarn that I liked to replace the ecru colored Fluffy Fleece.  I did find a new color of RG Fluffy Fleece No. FE1, Natural, so I ordered it hoping it would be lighfer than FE14, ecru, which I have in my inventory.  As you can see in the photo below, there is absolutely no change in color, just in the color number.  Why???

Oh well, I went ahead and couched down number FE1 and even though it's darker than I prefer--it's done and ready to finish as an ornament.  Now to choose the next Janet Zickler Casey santa that I have in my stash to stitch.

Santa Heart Completed

Same Color, Different Number

November 5, 2018--Have stitched as much as possible on this cutie.  Now need to find a white, loopy yarn for the beard.  Janet Zickler Casey's instructions call for RG Fluffy Fleece in white, but that is no longer manufactured.  What's available is Fluffy Fleece in an ecru color which I think is too dark.  When I asked Janet for a substitute, she suggested going to a yarn shop and finding a "chenille" style yarn.  Perfect.  Now to go shopping.

Heart Santa as of 11/2/18
January 17, 2016--Have begun stitching this adorable santa ornament designed by Janet Zickler Casey.  Found this cutie on eBay.  Hope to find more of these santas either on eBay, SNS, or on Facebook needlepoint seller sites.

Heart Santa Face Stitched

Monday, November 11, 2019

Woodlawn 57th Annual Needlework Show 2020 - 11/11/19

November 11, 2019--The 57th Woodlawn Annual Needlework Show and Entry Form for 2020 is now available on their website (click here) and hand delivered entries must be submitted on February 8th or 9th, 2020.  This is a very special show with exhibitors from all over the country.  At the least, plan on seeing the show which takes place from March 1st through the 31st, 2020.

See you there.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Still Here - 10/7/19

October 7, 2019--Wow, it's been nearly a month since my last post, and I still don't have anything to share--yet.  Lots of fun craziness here in Delaware and I'm working on a Kumihimo project for the CyberPointers Chapter of ANG.   The presentation date has been changed to January, 2020, and I hope you'll be able to access the class.

In the meantime, I am currently working on two projects--one which will be finished soon and the other is half-way done.  Will post about them shortly.

Hope you're Fall is beautiful.  We're having great weather here.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Exhibitions and Judging

September 12, 2019--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.
  • Use enough thread in your needle to adequately cover the canvas or fabric without causing bulk.
  • When stitching with multiple strands in the needle or with ribbon-like threads/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".
  • Canvas or linen should be smooth with no folds, wrinkles or creases which would distort your stitches.
  • 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, September 2, 2019

Ornament Woven Ribbons - 9/2/19

September 2, 2019--Happy Labor Day 2019.

I pray for those in the path of Hurricane Dorian.  It's going to be a long week.  We here in Delaware are being warned about the possibility of heavy wind and rain beginning around Friday.

When this ornament project designed by Jo Ann Jackson called Woven Ribbons appeared in the March, 2018 issue of ANG NeedlePointers Magazine, I knew I wanted to stitch it.  So a year and a half later, here it is--stitching is completed and the ornament is ready to be finished.  It's going to be a big one--over 5" in diameter.  Below the photo of my ornament is one of the project as published in the magazine for comparison.

I chose my threads from the Caron Watercolors overdye called Williamsburg.  I also added a Kreinik #8 called Pink for a little sparkle.  The open area of the canvas under the ribbons was left blank by the designer, but I chose to fill it in with basketweave using Splendor thread.  Think it looks a little cleaner.

All in all, this little project turned out to be a challenge as well as a joy to stitch.

Ornament Woven Ribbons Completed by me

Ornament Woven Ribbons Project Photo from ANG NeedlePointers Magazine

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

SOTM 2016 - Updated 9/14/2019

September 14, 2019--Just learned this piece garnered a 2nd  place ribbon at the Rehoboth Beach Museum's 9th Annual Needlework Exhibit.  Thank you Susan Hoekstra for such a beautiful design.

August 27, 2019--Just picked this up from Aaron Brothers Framing out of Michael's Arts and Crafts.  I think they did a perfect job.  I chose a formal frame and matts since this will hang in my boudoir.

SOTM 2016 Framed

January 19, 2017--December's instructions covered couching Kreinik thread across the dividing lines of each section.  Lots and lots of couching.  It's now done and ready to be finished into a pillow.  It's a really lovely design.

PS:  Decided at the last minute to fill in the very center of the design with the lightest shade of blue using T-Stitch.  Ahhh, much better.

SOTM 2016 Completed
November 15, 2016--November's blocks, the last ones, are stitched.  Something tells me December's instructions will be to couch Kreinik thread around each section.  Plan on making a pillow out of this pretty SOTM.

It's visually interesting how the corners look like dog ears even though they are even with the other areas.  I also like the way the center recedes into the background as if you're looking down into a box.  Cool.

SOTM 2016 November Section 11 Completed
November 2, 2016--Block 10 for October is complete.  Chose beads from my stash which are in the mid-range of the blue colors.  Like how they look.

SOTM 2016 October Section 10 Completed
September 15, 2016--Finished stitching blocks 8 and 9.  Started block 8 in August, but ran out of thread and time before seminar, so now that I've been back for almost two weeks, had some time to work on this project.  The last color seems to jump from medium blue to a very pale blue, but I believe it's because the prior color has a darker blue laid on top of the lighter one.  The next two months should make the colors look different again.

SOTM 2016 August and September Section 8 and 9 Completed
July 7, 2016--Block 7 for July is done.  The corner units stitch up quickly and they are all the same size except for the ones on the last row.  It looks so much better in person.

SOTM 2016 July Section 7 Completed
June 21, 2016--June's Section 6 is stitched.  It took longer than it should have because I ran out of thread.  Got it in time to finish up in June.

Moving into the pale blues now.  Like how it's developing.

SOTM 2016 June Section 6 Completed
May 4, 2016--Section 5 for May is done.  It's interesting how different the colors are when placed next to others.  For example, the dark color used in this latest grouping is the same thread used in the very center, but it appears a bit bluer.  Also, the light blue color in this section appears darker than the one used last month, but it is in fact a bit lighter.  Must be that they're different threads and reflect light differently.

SOTM 2016 May Section 5 Completed
April 18, 2016--Section 4 for April is done.  Was able to do most of the stitching while attending the 6th Annual NJ Needle Festival last weekend.

SOTM 2016 April Section 4 Completed

March 7, 2016--Completed the stitching for March, Section 3.  A quick and easy section.  The photo was taken late in the afternoon with the sun low in the sky.  Makes a difference in how the blues appear.

SOTM 2016 March Section 3 Completed

February 6, 2016--Section 2 for February is done.  The two blues seem to be fighting each other right now, but I suspect that as more sections are completed, they'll meld together nicely.

SOTM 2016 February Section 2 Stitched
January 30, 2016--January's Block 1 is stitched.  I made some changes to the Amedeus stitch because I used perle thread instead of multiple strands of thread.

SOTM 2016 January Block 1
Below is a photo of what the Amadeus stitch looked like before I added a long thread down the middle to hide the "open area".   The two arms on the right and left side have a long stitch down the middle to cover the open area while the upper arm does not.  I also diverted from Susan's instructions by stitching the right side first, then the left.  I found it difficult to work left, right, left, right--could not see the holes in the middle.  Also, did not want to "pierce" the perle thread like you can do with stranded.  I'm pleased with the result.   Can't wait to start February's Block 2.

PS  The light threads you can barely see on the canvas are basting lines.

Block 1 with and without long center stitch
January 23, 2016--A few days ago some members of the ANG Delaware's Seashore Chapter and I drove up to Fireside Stitchery in Pennsylvania to purchase the necessary threads to stitch this year's ANG Stitch of the Month (SOTM) project.  This beautiful design by Susan Hoekstra, called Feuilles d'Ananas (Pineapple Leaves), is a study in values requiring 11 different threads from dark to light.  What fun we had comparing our color choices to Susan's dark golds/topaz to light straw colors (see project photo below).    I love blues, so naturally migrated to those colors and below is a picture of my thread selections.

Those of us in the guild who are stitching this year-long project plan on meeting once a month at each other's home to help with any challenges we may have.   Looking forward to stitching the first block this month.

ANG SOTM 2016 Designed by Susan Hoekstra

SOTM 2016 Thread Selection

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Woven Ribbons and Lace Pillow - Updated 9/14/19

September 14, 2019--Just learned this piece garnered a 2nd place ribbon at the Rehoboth Beach Museum's 9th Annual Needlework Exhibit.   Thank you Jane Nichols for such a beautiful design.

August 25, 2019--After 5 years since the stitching of this project was completed, I finally had this made into a box pillow.  It really came out nice.

Ribbons Woven Finished into a Box Pillow

September 14, 2014--Done!   Just finished stitching the last ribbon, number 9 (vertical ribbon on the far right).  Next--will talk with my upholsterer to see which type of pillow should be made--knife edge or box?

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 9

September 8, 2014--Finished stitching Ribbon 7 and have only one more to go.  The last ribbon, number 9, is a lacy type of pattern using multiple colors, so will probably take some time to complete.   This really is a fun project.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 7
September 3, 2014--Counting down--two more ribbons to stitch.  Below is a picture of my progress to date.  Ribbon G and all horizontal ribbons are done.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon G

August 24, 2014--Ribbon F done.  Three more to go!

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon F

August 20, 2014--Only 4 more ribbons to stitch.  Below is a picture of the most recent completion--ribbon 4.  

Most of the background of this project is stitched with Paternayan yarn, color #500.  I ran out of this color and, after making a few calls, was unable to find more.  I began to panic (just a little) and then remembered I still have some Paternayan threads purchased over 30 years ago, lovingly stored for all these years.  After digging through this stash, I found a color very, very close to what I was using and, after stitching 3 small squares, am pleased that the color variance is hardly noticeable.  Can you find the color difference?

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 4

August 7, 2014--Stitched two more ribbons--B and C.   That's going to be it for awhile--lots of life to live over the next few weeks.  Looking forward to completing this project--only 5 more ribbons to go.  

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon C

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon B

August 2, 2014--Ribbon 2 done.  Seems to be stitching up a lot faster now that the lacy ribbons are done.  I also like working on the background where possible--the basketweave stitching is relaxing.

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 2

July 28, 2014--Ribbon 8 is complete.   Have stitched a total of 10 ribbons so far, over half done with 8 left to go.  

Ribbons Woven, Ribbon 8
July 21, 2014--Ribbon 1 finished.  This project is coming along nicely.

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon 1

July 15, 2014--Another ribbon done--Ribbon D.  Should have stitched this ribbon before completing Ribbon 6.  May have to fix this later.  Now that all the ribbons with extended sides are stitched, can work on any ribbon that strikes my fancy, or work them in rows, or columns, or.......

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon D

July 13, 2014--The photograph below shows Ribbon 6 is now done.  I also stitched in a few of the background blocks to see how I liked the color.  Looks good to me.  Next up--Ribbon D.  

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon 6
July 4, 2014--Happy Independence Day!!!  

Delaware's Seashore Chapter led this class in May, so I pulled it out of the WIP pile a few days ago and completed Ribbon H.  Next up--Ribbon 6.

Woven Ribbons, Ribbon H
December 8, 2013--I'm putting this project away until the Delaware's Seashore Chapter has its class in April, 2014.  I started it early so that my sister could see what it was all about while visiting her in Dallas, TX before Thanksgiving.   I've completed 5 ribbons and learned the hard way that I should have done the ribbons in the following order:  (vertical ribbons are numbered 1 through 9, horizontal ribbons are lettered A through I) A, E, I, 3 then 5. Instead, I stitched E, 3 and 5 before beginning A and I.  I had to rip out portions of ribbons 3 and 5 to make room for the extended edges of ribbons A and I.

The next ribbons will be D, H then 6.  I should be able to stitch the rest of the ribbons, 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, B, C, F and G in any order I please since their edges don't overlap other ribbons (I think).   Below is a picture of my progress to date:

November 21, 2013--Have completed two more ribbons, 3 and 5.  Only 15 more to go.

Ribbon 3
Ribbon 3 Closeup

Ribbon 5

November 17, 2013--The first of 18 ribbons is done. This is Ribbon E. Because its edge extends into other ribbons, it and some others must be done first. 

Ribbon E Closeup

Ribbon E
November 10, 2013--Finished marking the ribbon positions by basting with thread instead of a #4 pencil.   It turned out to be much easier counting with a needle and thread instead of starting and stopping the pencil.  I basted the horizontal lines first, then the vertical.  Once I got the count correct on the first line, the rest was easy to copy.

Lines set up using basting thread
August 30, 2013--Have begun working on the Woven Ribbons and Lace pillow designed by Jane Nichols which the Delaware's Seashore Chapter will have as its April, 2014 class.  This wonderful project can be found in the May/June 1999 Needlepoint Now magazine.  I chose the blue and rust version and all threads have been purchased or pulled from stash and entered into my Threads Database.

Since this is a counted stitch project, the ribbon widths must first be drawn on the 18 count canvas with a #4 pencil.  Have begun laying out the groundwork below.  Will also print out the graphs for each ribbon in such a size that can be easily attached to the canvas with a magnet while stitching.  As you can see, there are 9 vertical ribbons and there will be 9 horizontal ribbons (only 3 are drawn in so far).