Saturday, March 2, 2013

New beading tool from Elizabeth Turner

Love to bead, but hate having to wrangle with the slippery little escape artists?  I know I vacuum loads of beads and sequins from my sprawling workspace (I get the 1/2 of the couch that our dog Morgan doesn't claim).

ET has a new Needle Buddy--a small box with a (just right) tacky surface inside.  The box attaches to your canvas with a magnet, so it your beads are right where you need them.  I slipped one in my purse to use tonight--can't wait!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Susan Portra's Vintage Bird Cage class

I started my day with Susan Portra's class "The Vintage Bird Cage", canvas by DJ Designs.  Susan was her usual ebullient self, always good for non-morning people like me.

After many days spent sorting, donating and packing up over 25 years' worth of "stuff" (we sold our house on Lake Michigan), I realized,  yet again, that I have a thing for both boxes and birds.  I have quite a collection of both and this canvas had to be mine.  It is a Limoges-style hinged box with birds in a vintage cage.  It's going to be a beauty.

A few of my favorite things:  learning to stitch a Pinched Cross...seeing the wonderful effect of a woven plait stitch done in two close shades of the same color...getting a PROS laying tool as part of the kit.,.round Rhodes surrounded by beads to make medallions...and best of all, Susan shared some of her students' amazing work.


Friday, February 1, 2013

More fun with Sandy Arthur

My second winter market class was taught by Sandy Arthur and sponsored by Sundance Designs and others.

The coolest technique used on the Heart canvas was a pulled thread stitch.  We've all seen the section on pulled threads at the back of the needlepoint "Bible" written by Jo Ippolito Christensen, but I for one, have never used any of the stitches.  I'm not sure where I will use that technique again, but I am delighted to have put my toe into the M.N.A. (Master of Needlepoint Art) section of Jo's book.  (One of the best things about classes is being exposed to new things and opening your mind to new possibilities.  Duh.)

More of my favorite things...ironed Sparkles with added bling provided by Sundance beads and sequins; many wonderful border stitches, ruching and ruffled River Silks.  I see this canvas as a stand-up with feet for Valentine's glamor.

Sandy used Painter's Thread Ribbon Floss Cotton and Painter's Thread Pearl Cotton size 12 in the kit.  Good news about Painter's Thread--Threadnuts is distributing the entire diverse line of Painter's Threads and they are all in stock.  Hooray!

Next up--Susan Portra's "Vintage Bird Cage" hinged box by DJ Designs. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My first class at winter market

Sandra ArthurI signed up for "The Sweetest Tree" because I really wanted the chance to take a class from Sandy Arthur (and because I love any class that Sundance sponsors).  Sandy is an ANG certified Senior Master Teacher and the author of the wonderful series of needlepoint books "Shapes of Needlepoint".

You have to love a teacher who starts a class by saying "If you don't enjoy this class, it's your fault."  And then the fun began....

My new favorite thing is stitching the stem stitch with beads.  Following a stitch guide from Melissa Shirley, I have successfully used beads in the Jessica stitch.  Now, armed with the stem and Jessica stitches using beads, I am going to look at my many books ad search for other ways to add beads to a stitch.

Other favorite things I learned in class today:
1)  Those small twisted beading needles make excellent needle threaders.
2)  A pincushion under the canvas holds your needle while you re-thread it for the drizzle stitch.
3)  Start the first row of your darning stitch in the center of the canvas, with enough thread coming out toward the two sides to stitch the row completely.  Stitch the pattern toward the left edge first.  Then go back to the center and take the right length of the thread and stitch the right side of the pattern.  This can alleviate the need for many swear words.  (Clear as mud?  I'll be demonstrating in my shop for our Friday stitch-in.)

My next class is also with Sandy--the canvas is a Sundance heart canvas and she promises to use beads, sequins, ribbons and Sparkles, oh my!

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.