Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Ornaments from Alice Peterson

Here you can see the different tricks I tried to outline the decorations on this ornament.

The V-shaped design shows how a couched string of beads looks.  I liked it, but chasing all those beads around while I tried to string them and then couch them was irritating, to say the least.

The right top of the design below the V-shape shows the same gold beads tent-stitched.  They barely show up, so they were nixed.

At the top, I couched Kreinik Hot Wire on the anchor-shaped design.  This is what I ultimately used for the outlines on the entire ornament.  After a lot of practice, it wasn't even difficult!

Working on the stitch guide now - more to come ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Bling, Glitz & Glamour for Needlepoint"

I've been threatening for years to teach a class devoted to beading and embellishment.

I recently took the time to read my autographed copy of June McKnight's book about needlepoint bling.  And guess what?  June has already written the class for me.

The book has loads of color photos and diagrams,  cool stitches that incorporate beads, sequins, embellishments, rhinestones and more.  I learned more than a couple of new things, always good.  I definitely recommend this for stitchers who have or want to go beyond just needlepoint.

We have a few of these in stock now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not all stockings should be huge and make you cry "uncle" repeatedly.  I love Susan Roberts' stockings--they are just the right size to match more "vintage" stockings and her sense of perspective and whimsy make them great, her Santas always have a happy, not scary, face.

I kept the stitches pretty basic for Harrison's stocking; I had visions of years of running to the mantle to snatch it down, turning it upside down and shaking it to make the goodies fall out.  Since this is Harrison's first Christmas, I wanted to make it durable enough to last until he is an adult...and perhaps still performing the same excited ritual.  (You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.)

My favorite things: 

I used Silk & Ivory Stardust in white for the cuff in a vertical stitch.  By just unwinding the thread a little as I went along, I got great coverage and I loved the sparkly effect.

The basketball is stitched with perle cotton and the Dotted stitch from "the Bible".  This gives a great nubby texture, just like an actual basketball.

I loved using Frosty Rays for the garland with a simple satin stitch.

And that is stocking number 17--two more are on the (hopefully) expanding list.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Halloween!

You have probably seen a ship in a bottle, but what about a skull in a bottle?  This is really spooky!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A cool stretcher bar tool

I recently went out of town and left Chris and the dogs in charge of the Bristly Thistle.  On Chris' to do list was putting together 20 sets of stretcher bars, with my special admonition that they be square.  Chris' solution (at around $5) was a T square from the LHS (local hardware store).  You can even use it to see if your stretcher bars are level!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ringmaster by Kirk & Hamilton

Our oldest daughter chose this Kirk & Hamilton ornament for her 2012 selection.  She asked to have it framed to hang in her home office.  Hmmm.

My favorite thing:  beading the ring with cube shaped Japanese seed beads.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christmas snail

This snail from Kirk & Hamilton was really fun to stitch.  My favorite things:  Ribbon Floss satin stitched over a perle cotton chain stitch for the raised brown stripes and the T-stitch worked in size 8 Kreinik in Moonstone.  (Sharon G once said that silver thread in an open stitch seems to age better than other colors in open stitches.)

After speaking to a couple of my finishers, I have started my annual panic.  Finishers say they are getting buried early--one has even moved their finishing deadline for Christmas back by 2 weeks.  Either we are all getting smarter and finishing earlier (unlikely, I think) or we are stitching like mad!

So, don't be a snail, get stitching!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Happy Witch

This is the second panel of 5 from Julie Mar & Friends, with the stitch guide by Patricia Dee.

Sometimes I am a stickler for mirror image stitches, i.e., one side has the stitch slanting in one direction, the opposite side slants in the opposite direction.  I loved Pat's choice of the Souffle stitch for the Happy Witch's cloak, but I wanted the left side to mirror the right.

Usually, you just need to turn a stitch diagram a 1/4 turn to get the mirror image.  You can see that this doesn't work with this stitch.  So here is Reverse Souffle, "for your alleged pleasantry" as one of my beloved high school English teacher used to say.  (She would introduce herself at the beginning of the year--"My name is Mrs. Null, it rhymes with dull."  She was anything but dull.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Count Dracula by Julie Mar

How handsome is this guy?  Widow's peak, bedroom eyes, cleft chin, and there's something about that smile....

This is one of 5 canvases in a series by Patricia Dee of Julie Mar Designs.  You can choose individual characters or, as I did, buy all 5 with the stitch guide and the ceramic painted knob.  They make up into a very cool lidded box for Halloween.

I tweaked the guide a bit to make it my own...and these are a few of my favorite things.  I found a great Mandarin floss color for his pasty face; the candle flame is a glowing Fyre Werks; the candle is stitched with a Renaissance thread and the dripping wax is made of French knots using an over-dyed Kreinik.

Next up--the Happy Witch.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thanksgiving March fini

Thanksgiving is now done.  Good thing - the class begins Wednesday May 30.  I had some fun with the ribbons for the sunflowers and felting the clouds.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thanksgiving part 3

Most of the characters are now done. Just have to finish the sky.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thanksgiving part 2

Making more progress now.  Should be ready to start the class later this month.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thanksgiving march begins

I love creating stitch guides for Ashley Dillon's marches.  It's like dressing up little dolls in costume.

This little Indian girl has a beaded outfit and headband and is carrying a bowl of late summer corn.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Haunted House Finished

Just got the haunted house back from the finisher. It is quite a hit in the store!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last Creepy finished

I just finished my last Creepy in the series (I finished the owl and the fraidy cat earlier).  It was such a pleasure to follow Robin King's stitch guide--it's like letting someone else drive so you can enjoy the scenery.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A break in the action

I've finished stitching the 4th of July March, and I am now finished with the stitch guide.

I celebrated by finishing this little firecracker canvas by Kelly Clark. I especially like the turquoise and blue stripes. I laid 3 strands of Perle Cotton #3 horizontally and satin stitched over them vertically with Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss (turquoise) and Sprinkles (blue).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mon travail est complet!

Well, it took a little longer than expected but the 4th of July is done!  And, so is the stitch guide.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

The finals are near - just need to win 2 more games and the final 4th of July March can begin!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Madness - part 3

Yankee Doodle Dandy plays the drum dressed in a fine coat with a woven belt.  And, he stuck a feather in his cap.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The 4th of July Parade Leader

This guy is truly a leader, dressed in over-dyed plumage, a high hat, vest and monocle.  Stay tuned as I add to his haberdashery.

Monday, February 20, 2012

4th of July March - part 1

This Little Martha is marching in the 4th of July parade.  I gave her a crocheted hat and textured dress for the occasion.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Firecrackers from Kelly Clark

I'm having a blast stitching these firecrackers from Kelly Clark. I'm going to add Swarovski sew-on rhinestones to the red section. I've stitched over the outer edges of the circles--this way I can tell where to sew the rhinestones without having any canvas show.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clip on Peacock from Labors of Love

I have a special love for this peacock ornament - there are several peacocks on our island and they even have their own Peacock Crossing sign.

I got very close to the birds one Sunday and realized that this canvas was missing the feathers from the head. I used small gauge wire and crystal bicone beads, forming the "feathers" and then stitching them to one side of the bird. Too much fun! I knew there was a reason I took all those jewelry making classes--and bought all the tools.

Peacock crossing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Corn snake & skull witch hat

I've almost finished the Kelly Clark witches' hat series. I used the stitch guide as a jumping off point and then went my way.

I experimented with the 2 small skulls on the brim, beading them primarily with clear size 14 beads and Kreinik #4 glow in the dark braid. The effect was okay, but not great.

Effect I loved from the guide: French knots stitched with Boucle'. This would be great for trees, shrubs, moss, hair and more.

Effect I hated: French knots stitched with Boucle'. Lots and lots of knots and bad words, oh my!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Purse finishing

This colorful purse and canvas by LEE were put together by our customer Pat Collins.

Pat had a terrific idea for finishing.  The bag is canvas, but she wanted it to have a more rigid side.  She purchased an acid-free self-adhesive mounting board slightly larger than the canvas.  We attached the canvas to the board and then inserted the canvas and board into the purse opening.  The result is a canvas side that will not bend or fold.

Good thinking and so easy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

October Heritage Ornament from Kelly Clark

Here's number 10 in Kelly Clark's heritage ornament series. I replaced the beads with Swarowski crystals for more bling.

I've enjoyed this respite from creating my own stitch guides, but I am itching to see what's new at market and see where the artists' visions can take my needle.  Tune in next week for news from Phoenix!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Creepy finished!

I'm starting the New Year in a rush--stitching Mehitabel the Witch from NeedleDeeva in less than 2 days. And I took plenty of time off for football and food!

I didn't have Lorikeet in Bright Orange on hand, but I did have it in Narcissus Dark, an overdye.  The result makes me smile--it's a reminder of my youngest daughter's latest (beautiful) hair coloring effect, called Ombre'.

Many stitchers hate using Lorikeet because it can be hard to separate the 9 strands of wool.  The trick is to start separating about 3/4 to 1" from the end, teasing the strands apart.  Then it's a simple matter of pulling each strand from the end.  Really!

Now, what about the name Mehitabel?  It is a Hebrew name meaning "God rejoices", but it is most well known as the name of a fictional cat.  Author Don Marquis started writing newspaper articles "ghost written" by a cockroach named Archy whose best friend is a cat named Mehitabel.  (Thank you Google.)

Happy New Year and Happy Stitching to All!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

May heritage ornament by Kelly Clark

This is the May Heritage ornament from Kelly Clark--it's for my husband and self-proclaimed web lackey Chris. I'm trying to decide what to have monogrammed on the back to make it really special. At the rate I am finishing these, I'm going to need another tree next year.

Happy New Year!