Sunday, September 21, 2014

New laying tools for the stitcher

I'm not one to have just one laying tool, depends on my mood, if it feels right in my hand then and there, and most important does it do the job with that given thread.  Yes I have the BLT and glass ones for sale too, but this is just about the new ones in from Rainbow Gallery.  Quite ironic that each would photograph so nicely on 4 raymond crawford canvases!  The halloween one was laying out well because its time to sell halloween.  The others are brand new, got them along with the his hotdog needle minder.  More about the canvases another time. ( but they are 49.00 each and include a marvelous guide (seen beneath the canvas) by Alison Hodgkiss).

Each laying tool has an acrylic handle and a hardwood tip.  Each made in the USA,  no two tools will be alike.

Red Harlequin 6" laying tool $52.

Purple Harlequin 6" laying tool $52.

Tourmaline Harlequin 6" laying tool $52.

Blue Harlequin 4 1/2"  laying tool $40.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is it time to think about Halloween yet?

One of my favorite pieces for the fall complete with a lovely and thoughtful guide by Jane Wood.  Its 4 x 8 perfect for a stand up, door hanging, to be framed or as intend an insert for a Lee Needlearts bag.
Handpainted on 18 count, $99 includes the guide and canvas.

Gotta love this little mouse witch, comes with first class high end embellishments and chart. You provide the fabric and threads (or just ask to be included!)  Sold out of the Just Nan owl ornaments but have more on their way, Percy and Ollie for those seeking them out.  All charts with embellishments are 14. charted for DMC but ripe for glow in the dark threads, mohair or over dyed silks.

Yes get a copy here.  2014 Halloween issue. Great reference for all size projects for linen, aida, canvas or congress cloth. $10.

Part of her alphabet series a nice kit for those who like a refined look but also get a kick out of Halloween too.  Kit includes linen, threads and beads.  Things stitched by the Sweetheart Tree are just lovely and defy the look of average cross stitch.  Kit $16. sale price!

"W" is for Witch by Sweetheart Tree

For the fun and for the color a decorated archway by Raymond Crawford.

Halloween Arch

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mindy: Pattern, Color and Complexity

Mindy's are for those that love the complex, not sure how else to describe it.  I have one customer who just thrives on doing Mindy's, in basket weave.  Choosing every color in its minutia.  For others her work is divine for open stitches and beads, no problem!  Is there any place that beads and some sparkle couldn't work?

First up in Colors in Nature.  Rather fall in colors and then there's the lapis lazuli that brings a perfect balance for warm and cool colors.  9 x9,  $180.

Colors of Nature

Turkish tile, another example of a balanced scheme of warm and cool colors.  With added charms that appear like antique bells.  Would make a beautiful evening bag, or pocket on a dressy tote.  6 x 6, $122.

Turkish Tile

African floral is a bit more unusual for those who like birds, feathers and adventure!  And more subdued darker color palette.  8" x 8" $152.00
African Floral

Paris Floral is just fun and happy and a bit of curiosity too.  4" x 6" $98.
Paris Floral

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is it Sweater Weather yet?

From Stitch-Its 13 count stitch painted and quick to work up.  Canvases are 38, like a kit?  Let me know and I can put one together for you. Each is 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" so they are perfect for ornaments. I had one customer have hers finished and then placed in a shadow box frame.




Volley ball
Christmas Reindeer


Union Jack

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Pets by Paper Russells

Who doesn't love their pet?  Paper Russells, a successful commercial artist, has a fun and appealing collection of animals with Dale Lenci from DJ Designs.  Here are a few ready to ship. Need threads?  Just let me know your preferences and I can put together a kit for you.

Scotties gift to you.  $84.00 9"' x 9" on 16 count

Golden Tortoiseshell Cat $84.00 9" x 9" on 16 count!

Handsome Pug Dog 9"  x 9" on 16 count $84.00

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Needlepoint inspired by Deruta ceramics

Dish with a portrait of Orsella, Italy (Deruta) c. 1500-1510

Today I spent some time at the Philadelphia Art Museum, other than to see their expansion plan by Frank Gehry we had no real agenda other than to wander.  I saw some ceramic pieces attributed to Deruta Italy and it reminded me of these two painted canvases by Creative Needle. Each are 11" x 11" on 18 count canvas priced at 124.

Creative Needle Italian Woman
Creative Needle Italian Gentleman
I find when pieces have a piece of history or artistic significance it only enhances the piece and informs the stitcher and ultimately the recipient of the stitched work.  It can reinforce a preferred era of history or style as well as peak our curiosity to learn more.

By rotating the picture you can see Orsella B, otherwise lost in the glare of the picture above.

For information about the ambitious Philadelphia Art Mueum expansion take a look here.

For other pieces by Creative Needle go to  For their complete line see Happy to order any piece you might see.

Monday, August 11, 2014


The Evertite stock has been replenished, now up 29" in stock.  For those who don't know Evertites or wonder why some swear by them the secret is in the picture below.  When your canvas gets saggy you take your T tool and with a simple adjustment Voila your piece is tight again.  I like it because when you mount a piece you make it as taunt as possible, but then with a tiny adjustment you can make it of so taunt, tighter than you could by hand in most cases.

For those who don't like to eyeball it, there's a mark indicating the center of each bar so you know where to put your first tack or staple.

And now the fine folks at Evertite are making FLAT head Primo tacks.  Before the Promo's were always domed and many like the Grande tacks or small brass tacks since these were flat, but Evertite caught on and now offer flat tops too.  I think they are a bit less expensive than the Grande's too, similar in price but you get a whole lot more.  $5.00 for 65 tacks, made in Germany.

(lots of college mini socks by Kathy Schenkel since were at that time of kids returning to school.  Johns Hopkins here where my daughter will be a freshman).

If your going to have Evertites you need to have the "T" tool to the "L".  The T tool is 6.50 and hard to loose with the yellow handle plus it has a bit of heft to it.  The L tool is much smaller ($3.50) , a nice option if you have a small tool pouch to take on the go. Also shown are the dock magnets.  Singles ($8) and Doubles ($12). Picture at the bottom shows how the block hangs over your Evertite frame and is great for keeping needles etc handy including an L tool.  The scissors below are some of my favorites from Access Commodities, inexpensive, pointy and sharp; and easy to justify having several pair.  I do have one pair of the Slice tweezers  ($20.) with more on the way.  These are terrific, super pointy, fat and grippy so their so easy to hold. and can't spin or twist in your grip.

This is a single dock.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vineyard Strandable Merino Wool, ie Merino petite

Vineyard Merino Strandable (or as I like to think of it, Merino petite). According to the information Vineyard will begin shipping mid- to end of September. It will be available in all 230 colors, and the price for 18 yards will be, depending on the shop, around 4.50 a skein for 18 yards. BUT its 18 yards of 6 ply strands so its a lot of usable fiber in a skein if you were to compare this to Burmilana or Impressions. How thick is it? The first picture below is sort of how it looks once the skein is cut open. Second picture is showing a single ply. Third picture is a side by side comparison: Beginning with one ply of the merino petite just below the yellow hang tag. Immediately below this is a single ply of Burmilana, its pretty darn close IMO. third fiber down is a single ply of Gloriana Lorikeet and the one at the bottom is DMC Floche. I think its fairly equal to each of these. Yes the Lorikeet is fluffier but stitched with some slight tension its going to compress a tad. Its all pretty exciting to have a new kind of fiber!  Next I'd like to do a comparison to the old Medici, I think its going to be very similar.

Hey who moved the party?  

Yes, I haven't been posting recently on my blog here.  While I've always appreciated everyone of you who stops by to visit I've also been a bit jealous knowing how much activity happens on Facebook.  Its simply reality at the moment that Facebook seems to be the hub. So in hopes to reach more stitchers I started a Facebook page for the shop and here's where I've been lately.  I'll still post here, things that require more "space".   But on a day to day I'll be over there, its easier to leave comments and has a more feeling of community.  See you around!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Metal work, Gold work, Embroidery with a lot of technique

Exotic Flower by Margaret Kinsey

Exotic Flower with Margaret Kinsey, my first introduction to "gold work".  I'm really happy I took advantage of this class hosted by the Monmouth County NJ EGA chapter.  I took the class to get familiar with another style of needlework that dates back to Yuan Dynasty, as in 800 years ago.  Many things have gotten easier over the years, I'm not sure this holds true with gold work embroidery.
But the beauty from working with gold threads and metal threads is tremendous and in this day and age of cute and whimsey I relish anything that has tone of beauty.

Model of Exotic Flower by Margaret Kinsey

My own less than Exotic Flower after 2 day
It is a learning piece and should I ever finish it I think it will be pretty and nice to have.  So I might be premature in feeling disappointed that several of the materials used in the original piece are no longer available and substitutions were made.  So this was a bummer in my opinion as the original colors are spectacular like looking at a perfect specimen.  Original flower was stitched in 2 ply trebizond (yes we plied trebizond) with perfectly toned colored wire purl and wire check purl to add the shading to the bloom.  These were used in the center bulb section.  In the kit was included a more coral rather than magenta wire purl and a darker brick red wire purl instead of the deep magenta check purl.  Wire purl is  a tiny coil, round in section.   Check purl is similar except that its triangular in section to the flat area reflect light differently than wire purl.  The leaf and stem were originally chartreuse wire purl, again un available so we used a much darker green for the padded leafette and stem.  Where we were to use chips of the green wire purl we used beads.  Beads just don't compare to wire chips! 

Here's some of the materials we used, the fushia thread is the trebizond and the other colored "snakes" are the wire purl.  You can see where I stitched the wire purl below.  Each of the pieces you have to measure or more likely eyeball the length required, this was so challenging for me as I think 1 of every 3 cuts was usable.  The little snake coils, the wire purl, is sewn down with a size 10 needle fed through the length of the coil or chip.  When length is critical if its too long it squiggles or crimps so you have to unthread your needle, remove the piece and try again.  Chips are easy, I have a few of these at the base of the cup and its equivalent to messy beading in needlepoint.  The gold coils below are cut and stretched (eyeballing) just enough so your couching thread slides between the coils.  Below the lower couched Gold gilt Pearl Purl is a gold outline stitch.  The outline stitch was done in a gold wire thread. While the purls are real metal, the gold wire is a mylar over a synthetic core much like Kreinik braids.  The mylar kept breaking and I found it very hard to stitch with it.  I wonder what a size 8 or 12 braid would be like?

Here is the stem and leafette.  The stem is gilt check purl (triangular in section) over a cotton cord base. The leafette is green wire purl over a double layer felt pad.  Here's where my patience was tried cutting the metal threads long enough to cover the base below but not too long where they would wiggle and not be straight.  When I stitched them tighter as to conceal the padding below they began to spoon to the purl next to them and not lie straight.  On the left side I was concentrating so hard that I inadvertently had my knuckle or tool applying pressure to the right side of the leafette and left a dent.  Its like a new slinky, so perfect, and then it gets this little pressure point and soon its not so perfect and makes me feel sad.  Oh well time to move on.

I used my magnet dock along with my evertites.  Some time ago I blogged about it and then I never followed up with a picture.  I still have some at the shop (single like below) and double wides.  I like having my tools off my canvas.  And the entire surface is equally magnetized.  No matter how many times I filed my thumb smooth it seemed like I was still catching it on a piece of dry skin.  How handy when I realized my metal nail file stuck to my magnet.  Love the slice tweezers with the razor thin points and rubberized wide handle.

Magnetic Dock by Evertite, single size

I hope to use gold work techniques whenever I can.  (Unbeknownst to me at the time I have a tiny amount of gold work in the second installment of my black dress collection so I knew I was destined to embrace this technique).  Yes it's challenging or shall I just come out and say it ain't easy for me?  But the results to me are worth the effort.  Its that ol' you get out what you put in.  Most of the materials I sell and if not can order as I love so many of the stitching products distributed by Access Commodities. Margaret Kinsey has a fantastic repertoire of work and has been trained in Japanese Embroidery.  She recommended keeping our work covered at all times.  Cutting a window in a piece of plastic or tissue during active work and completely covering your piece when idle.  The plastic reflected light and I found that distracting.  And at this point I guess I'm part lazy and don't think of my work as so precious that it should be covered.  That being said covering could be quite necessary when I'm further along.  Silk threads are so easily caught on any metal as well as I found the plied trebizond catching on the surface of the congress cloth causing it to snag and fuzz.  Looking forward to time when I can post progress or post an example of these techniques on something new.

Items from Access Commodities that I have in the shop in addition to those online are Gold Rococo purl, Silk Gimp kits, Silk wrapped purl in lots of colors, Bees wax (essential for metal work), acid free tissue,  Nori rice glue, embellishments and semi precious stones, Legacy Linen, Strathmere Linen, 40 count linen, 25 count linen and silk gauze.  And several books.  Oh and I have the full line of trebizond silks, accentuate, bijoux, some silk oval, lots of au ver a soie too.   Pins, needles and scissors by Bohin.  And will be restocking the stump work / raised work tool kit.  Also carry Evertities!

Monday, July 7, 2014

a Few Birds Finished, that is Birds of a Feather

Thought I'd share some finished items in the past all from Birds of a Feather.  B.oF. trunk show 'till July 21st.  20% off plus FREE shipping!

For any item caption underlined, click on caption for more info or to purchase. Though I've managed to get 141 items up online I haven't gotten them all.  Caption without an underline?  I've got it I just don't have it up online for instant purchase, call or email!  856 354 8100
Friends forever, in stock just not up online.

Check Garden

Pink Garden, in stock just not up online

Red Vase

Pig, in stock, just not up online

Calico Cow

Toile Bird in navy

Toile Bird in Black

Small sampler in stock just not up online