Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jan's Rug is finished!!

Jan has finished this gorgeous thing in a relatively short period of time - it has been enjoyable to watch it from first idea to "all done," and to read her explanations of why and how she does each band.
Go see it at Thread Medley.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beads and The Painted Canvas (again)

There are some canvases that would be ruined visually by the use of textured stitches and "fancy" threads, but that do need a bit of subtle enhancement.

I bought this gorgeous piece about ten years ago at a trunk show by MINDY, one of my most favorite of designers - I have three of them, and have not given myself the pleasure of stitching them, as they are termed "personal" stitching for me, and other things have had to come first. Now I have found a purpose and can justify the time, and am thrilled to be able to go ahead and start.
As I have used my stash threads diligently in the last year, I am almost out of silks, and have decided instead of pricey "refills," I will use DMC cotton floss with a bit of perle cotton here and there for emphasis. The beads are the kind that don't sparkle, but just add a bit of texture and gleam in a subtle way (Sundance, of course) I think many would be tempted to use the squares as a patchwork sampler of decorative stitches, which would destroy the visual impact of the beautiful art nouveau flower.

I'll get on this project tomorrow, hopefully, and can make posts of progress as I go. If you aren't familiar with Mindy's work, do go see her HERE - her shop and web page are fabulous. The canvases are stitch painted, and quite sophisticated in the areas I like - the Asian and Art Nouveau. Her colors are superb!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Beautiful Historic Building

I'm glad these ladies stay so busy these days, as it relieves me from worrying about something new for my blog that I would have to do myself. (Anne, Gail Hendrix, and Jan Fitzpatrick)

Anne Stradal is now showing the Mission of San Juan Capistrano - as it's that time again for the swallows to return (do I hear Las Golondrinas with guitars in the background?) Anyway, the stitching is beautiful on this one, as is her historic research. Do go see it!!
ADDENDUM: I just asked Anne if she would, since she is the expert at architectural adaptations, do Hook Wreck Henry's Dockside Cafe for me down at my beloved Panacea, Florida. ( a friend of my son's owns it). She said "No." Oh well. At least I got the St. Marks lighthouse.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Geishas and Missing Pictures

The latest issue of Needlepoint Now is just now out, and I'm having questions about the mention of Gail Hendrix's beautiful Geishas. The pictures inadvertantly were left out in my article - so you may look at them, along with lots of other gorgeous and whimsical things she has designed on her web page. See it HERE.

I had to add an extra - her "Shopper Rollie" which looks suspiciously like Gail herself. (complete with Chanel purse)

The picture of Jan Fitzpatrick's Moroccan rug was also left out - but there is a link in the post just under this one to see her beautiful work.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rug Progress by Jan and More from Anne Stradal

It's time to check on progress - go see Jan Fitzpatrick's gorgeous rug adaptation in needlepoint at her blog site! (Thread Medley)

Also see Anne Stradal's beautiful new piece, and follow it step by step as she shows her own style of "canvas preparation" before she begins to stitch so we can watch.

It's interesting to me to see how another designer - one whose work I totally admire - puts her designs onto canvas.

Monday, March 09, 2009

More Bead Effects

I just realized that the picture of the little beaded flower doesn't show up well, and it actually isn't even finished - that is a page from my bead book, quickly scanned, so none of it really looks good here. This is a photo of one of the first pieces I did to try out the effects of the clear beads applied with DMC floss in the same color as the background.

The flower and leaves were then worked with solid white and green beads - and you can see the difference. It is a great effect! For this purpose, it actually looks better than if I had used beads in the colors of the background areas. For this design, I used the Sundance #250 beads in the plain finish, and not the hexagonal, as I didn't want glitter on the background.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Using Sundance Beads

Since Jane has shouted the news from Chilly Hollow about Nandra and Cassie's book on using beads with needlepoint, I'll show again the pieces (two pictures only) that I've done with those most wonderful of beads (Sundance) - there are none equal in quality or diversity on the planet as far as seed beads go.( See the 38 posts on using beads by clicking on the label on my sidebar.)

I've been using them for about ten years, and also have a book, but I don't wholesale - a few shops use it for teaching purposes.Mine is showing by chapters on my web page as e-patterns, but I've only done half of it as "Chapter I." It has been totally slanted to use only Sundance beads, and my technique is a little different from theirs.

I have nagged and nagged Nandra about showing beads with their trunk shows, as they add such a delightful dimension to needlepoint painted canvas, especially where textured stitches and fuzzy threads would mess up the surface and design, - but where something is definitely needed for enhancement.

The first picture is of pieces I stitched to show that beads may be used for more than just a few little sparklers on Christmas ornaments - the crystal clear ones are my total favorites, as I can get lots and lots of different effects with them.

The second picture is the Zuni Rainbird (a Sundance design by E.T.A.) that is featured in my article in the current Needlepoint Now - along with the Pueblo ornaments by Anne Stradal. Nandra is having it finished to show in Dallas along with their beads, etc. and line of painted canvases.

Anyway, the task now is to continue to convince more shops to carry Sundance beads. The little book will be shown at market - Dallas in April is the next one. Alert your favorite LNS! and meanwhile go to Chilly Hollow and see a picture of the book, etc.

Incidentally, The Busy Needle in Tucson also has the book, and they are outstanding in mail orders, etc. There is a link on my side bar to the Sundance Online catalog, where you can see these gorgeous beads - very well organized.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Needlepoint Now

A grand announcement - It's O.K., I'm told, as it was announced at Callaway Gardens a while back. I have had some e-mails from people wondering why the magazine is a bit late this time. It is because it is back on the original schedule of being mailed out on the 6th day of every odd numbered month.

Our beloved Joyce Lukomski has sold it to Elizabeth Bozievich, and is very very pleased with this arrangement, as she will keep a finger in the pie, but be relieved of the enormous responsibility of editing and publishing a magazine, and can enjoy her family and continue teaching with more leisure. She will be still on board to help out and advise - and is delighted with the whole thing.

Both ladies were gracious enough to call me (actually on the telephone!!) several weeks ago to tell me this news. I was so pleased to chat with Elizabeth, who has grand plans to continue to make the magazine great, as Joyce envisions, herself. This has been "in the mill" for several years, as they have been working together to prepare for it - so everyone is pleased! We will all support and encourage Elizabeth, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Silk Ribbon Daffodils and Beaded Jewels

The March version of "Crazy for Birthdays" is finished, complete with daffodils the way I remember them blooming in the pastures in east Texas long ago.

I left the blue patch on the upper left bare of embellishment, as it is the glorious spring sky! It's a little bumpy because it might rain. This stitch is a good example to show the difference in the intensity of a color when the light hits the long stitches, (light and shiny) and then is broken up by the tiny basketweave in between to be a bit darker and duller. The thread is Caron's Soie Cristale.

The flowering peach tree branch is now against a background of dewdrops - the clear Sundance beads, #250, which were applied with DMC floss in the yellow to match the yellow petite Very Velvet.
I really enjoy using these totally clear beads, as so many different effects can be achieved. I would not have used the hexagonal #250 here, as those glitter beautifully, but I wanted dewdrops and not icicles.

I may decide yet to put a little spray of wisteria hanging from the top of the blue patch - later. It could probably be done with the needle blending technique and cotton floss that Anne Stradal uses to make skies for her lighthouses - I would make the flowers in French knots, and progress from darker purple at the top down to white at the bottom of the blossom.

I forgot to mention the bracelet of aquamarines - I used beads for these, as they needed to sparkle. I did look up the symbolism for the daffodils and aquamarines, but forgot where I put it. Oh well.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New DMC and Crazy for March!

I discovered last week that DMC has a new floss out called "Satin Floss" - This is a rayon floss, but many many times better than the old one they discontinued. I remember trying to use that about ten years ago, and giving up - great colors and wonderful shine, but difficult to work with. This new version is slippery, as rayons are, (Neon Rays and YLI Ribbon Floss) - but is a smooth, firm thread with six plies, so is much more versatile, and easy to handle - can also be used on different canvas meshes.

My new practice supply came just in time to use it on the March "Crazy for Birthdays" heart, where it gave me a bit of fine looking shine on the purple fly stitch between two silk patches. I used two plies, doubled, and a slip knot next to the eye of the needle - (4 plies) - and it worked fine.
The contrast against the dark green PVV is especially nice. I didn't want to use metallics on this piece, as I felt that wouldn't look like spring.

Here is the entire heart showing the embroidered seam treatments - instant gratification!

As I was imagining the display of daffodils I plan to do tomorrow when I'm rested and can concentrate, I looked out my studio window, and there was a peach tree flowering already - the perfect thing for the space on the lower right!!
At first, I got out a skein of overdyed silk ribbon, but realized the flowers would look more like roses than peach blossoms in the little two wrap French knots I like. The next choice was Caron's Watercolours, which worked fine. The branch is DMC cotton floss in stem stitch - I just painted it on with my needle and thread as one would draw with a pencil on paper. Not difficult at all.

I'm off to read and relax now, and plan to do the daffodils tomorrow after coffee. I have the December heart to look at, as the daffodils will just be the same thing, but all yellow with the trumpet a tiny bit larger.