Friday, February 26, 2010

Going Stag

The workshop with Phillipa Turnbull continues to develop. Scratch my previous post about thistles and rabbits were going for bigger game "The Mellerstain Stag". Here is the workshop piece in its entirety though it is actually a part of a much larger piece from Phillipa, the Mellerstain FIreplace Screen. "Mellerstain Stag is a historic 19th century piece taken from the Mellerstain House in Scotland, the ancestral home of the Earls of Haddington". Stitches for the Stag include long and short "soft shading" laid and couched work, crewel stem, closed fly, padded satin and french knots. It is acceptable for all stitching levels. What sets Crewel Work kits aside from others on the market? Its the quality and integrity of materials included in each kit and the pieces are all based on existing historic pieces. They are lovely to look at but also have a story to tell, "not just another pretty picture".

The workshop piece is not available for sale and is exclusive to the Workshop.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crewel Time

I'm so excited to have Phillipa come to us across the pond from Appleby-in-Westmorland to teach, inform, and share her infectious enthusiasm for crewel. Pencil in early June for an all day workshop complete with afternoon tea. Project has yet to be determined but thinking about the Scottish Thistle though Rabbits! is also tempting! Stay tuned for further details, but contact me if you have any questions. Sure to be a memorable day for all. Phillipa's site:

March Winds

March 1 begins the Mindy Trunk show! Mindy is surely one of the more prolific designers out there. As always, Trunk Show purchases are 20% including threads. Distant customers don't be disappointed! All shipping is FREE. Go to to see her line but keep in mind I don't think her site shows the brilliance or intensity of color that her canvas's really have. Maybe its just my monitor. All prices will be 20% less than posted prices on her site. When I see her pieces it makes me think about stitches in a way that no other designer does. Think about the possibilities. Is it time to try stitches you've always wanted to but didn't know where to use them? Email and/ or call with questions or to place an order.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Harikuyo - Festival of Broken Needles

Imagine this in our throw away culture, an annual ceremony for sewing needles.

The Festival of Broken Needles, harikuyo, has taken place in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples all over Japan on February 8th for hundreds of years. While memorial services are more usually held for the spirits of the dead, there is an old Shinto belief that inanimate objects, as well as living beings, have a soul and spirit. The animists believe that to simply discard a tool that has served you well is disrespectful would anger the object's soul.

Tailors, embroiderers and other needleworkers gather their worn and broken needles from the previous year and take them to the temple. Prayers of respect and thanks giving are offered. The needles are pushed into slabs of tofu or other soft substances to keep them safe and to prevent their sharp points doing any harm before they are taken to their final resting place. By showing respect and offering prayers it is hoped that the power and energy of the needle will pass to the owner and make them a better stitcher.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

The many faces of Barbara

Someone asks for a dog canvas of their (purebred) dog and I immediately go to Barbara Russell. Her dogs are some of the best with equally nice backgrounds. Yet there is so much more to her collection than dogs. One thing I believe separates her designs from so many other designers is their integrity. The three below I just received; the first being a new release at the January TNNA show.

I googled Thai Leaf Frog and she has captured it very well (just like her moths). I know my taste doesn't speak for all but this frog is a perfect size to finish into just about anything, the colors are neutral except for that unexpected violet. Since violet and yellow are opposite on the color wheel I think its why it works so well. I imagine one could consider another jewel tone color if they just couldn't handle the violet. I like it also because it reminds me of all the many under appreciated wonders of the animal kingdom, or amphibian to be exact. My Self with a Peacock Feather is another gem. Here's someone who's comfortable being who they are and proud of it! Who over 45 wouldn't want to wear a pair of pink patent leather platform heels some day? For being rather pear shaped she still has nice slender ankles. Lots of thread options on this piece and priced really well at $89. Lastly is Archangel Gabriel. I think I want to stitch this piece just to stare into his eyes for the duration. I have seen this piece completed, wrapped on a padded board and mounted onto a piece of green slate. Its a special, contemplative piece of art. Makes me think Splendor thread with a subtle inclusion of bijoux here and there.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Can Do Snow II

In honor of our second big snowfall of the season I thought I'd share an explosion of color on an otherwise very grey and white kind of day. I'm not sure what this woman is thinking but looking at how's she dressed Style is important. Makes me wish Rainbow Gallery offered a red patent leather for those awesome boots she's wearing. Anyone who loves big strong saturated color would enjoy many of Ruth's canvas's. my apologies for a little blurriness in the pic.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Works of Beauty

If I had more patience I would love to do some of Nostalgic Needle's more challenging pieces. Everytime I look at them I have a soft spot for their visual beauty and rememberance of a time so vastly different than today with a much greater appreciation for finery. Since I'm a big believer in doing needlework for the purpose of bringing more beauty into our daily lives I've always liked including Sharon's charts in my inventory. For whatever reason/s her charts aren't selling so I'm offering what I have at 30% off.  Inventory includes: Rose Renaissance Reticule, Pendent Purse #2, Scottish Workbag, Tree of Life Bookcover, Mermaid tapestry, Ruskin Lace sampler, Coif Needlebook, Magesty's Coif Needlebook, Hollie Point blackwork pincushion, Leaping Rabbit pincushion, Knot Garden pincushion, Golden Knot pincushion and Strawberry Thief ornament. With discount applied most will retail for under 9.00. All can be seen at

Yes you really, really do start this piece with a fresh piece of glennshee linen, or the like. Talk about textile manipulation to the extreme.