Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who would have guessed?

The fun canvas shown "Medium Stones" by Zecca was a request by a customer after having bought Large Stones just a few weeks prior. She left with a popular thread for use on 18 that doesn't require plying. After several tries she tells me how disappointed she is in the thread in that its shredding and looks awful. It could be in part because she "sews" or does the continuous motion stitch rather than poke and pull. Also could be from using strands longer than my recommended 12-15". Unless a customer asks to re-learn I'm not one to tell them they are doing something wrong but rather try to find materials that work well with their own personal style, assuming it is within reason. So for this one she said she just has to try something else or she'll resort to perle cotton. Having just gotten in nearly every color of the crewel weight wool from Renaissance Dyeing I remembered they had a strong pink and wondered if I could actually pull colors from their palette that could come close to the intensity and saturation of color in this piece. And I have to say I came pretty darn close. The turquoises are a bit quieter but not finding all the colors spot one within one manufacturer is not all that uncommon. My customer hasn't come to take a look yet but I hope she is pleased. She wanted a thread that would last and hold up as best as possible for a pillow with kids and pets in mind. Wool is a good answer to this criteria. The Renaissance Dyeing crewel weight wool is lovely for embroidery, crewel and lace knitting. Its my replacement to medici but I think the colors and hand are superior to medici. But the best news of all is that this wool is naturally dyed. It has a soul that few other threads have. Just today on Kathy's blog "the unbroken thread" she talks about the human quality of stitching and goes on to talk about the Renaissance Dyeing wool. If you read on she includes an email from RD with a little background on how the wool is dyed. Its extraordinary that other people care enough to produce this for our pleasure, similar to fine wine or delicious cheese. Read it here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Very Special Tiny Boxes

The pewter box is like something you'd find in an antique shop, still made in the UK. I think they are available in other small sizes. Below are 2 different boxes that come as kits from Sajou, and I imagine may still be made in France. They are paper and beautifully crafted like everything from Sajou. Available in 2 sizes, several colors, and come prepackaged with blue linen and a chart. Self finishing and precision fit to perfection.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More and more boxes

Here are some lesser known box options. Clear lucite by Cooper Oaks, some may say lucite is sooo 70's. Good option though for a box thats going to get alot of use and it shows the needlework of nicely. Lets face it these aren't far off from looking like antiques to anyone post baby boomer age. Small lucite box from Sudberry, so perfect for a small gift, available in black and clear too. Linen covered boxes from Unique NZ Designs. Probably one of the most eco friendly box options. Work is mounted from above and probably works best for mounting linen vs. canvas. There are a few color choices and come filled with note cards. How nice is that for gift giving!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Curls and then some

Today a customer brought in her Maggie piece with her hair all done up nicely in the DMC brown Memory thread. What fun! This canvas was a gift to my customer and she had no idea what to do for hair and wasn't crazy about the background color either. Memory thread really came to the rescue here. She is also going to use some white memory thread for shoe laces but then it will be off to the framers and I may not see it again for awhile. I don't think there's any question that her piece was enhanced with these crazy corkscrew curls! And I like the purple background too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DMC Memory Thread

Here's a beautiful example of DMC Memory Thread at its best. The piece was designed and stitched by Rosanna Gelpi-Houck. Memory thread has a copper core making it flexible to shape and re-shape until its just as you like it. With curves always a challenge if you desire a smooth line its worth learning the tricks and techniques of the Memory Thread. Currently available in 16 colors plus silver and gold. Rosanna's Cross was stitched on 18 count antique blue canvas and the background, stitched in Gumnut Stars, was entirely stitched prior to the glorious swirls of silver, and yes a bit of gold too. The piece is embellished with beads and swarovski crystals. For anyone interested in a stitch guide please contact me.

For those wondering more about the thread check out the link below or purchase some and have some fun. Its great for hair, beards, vines, stems or lettering just to name a few ideas off the top of my head. Perfect for names on Christmas stockings too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Reading

Thought it very appropriate timing to share with you this canvas that comes with a stitch guide written by Brenda Hart. I have a weakness for trees and seeing how lovely the boughs look stitched up all differently I think its so interesting. Guide calls for a nice variety of threads with numerous ones by Edmar. Edmar = rayon. Rayon = considering alternative shiny threads. Trebizond and Neon Rays come to mind. Canvas with guide are well priced at 79.00 for both. Design area on 18 is 14.5" x 9" wide on 18 count.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Reviews of our Crewel Workshop

One of the attendees sent along this wonderful review of the Phillipa Turnbull lecture and workshop from this past weekend.

Hi all,

Yesterday I attended a crewel workshop by the world renowned Phillipa Turnbull of Cumbria in the UK. It was held at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Moorestown, NJ, which is in an old Tudor mansion that was charming. See if you are not familiar with her work. She is the opening speaker and a teacher at EGA National Seminar in San Francisco. I highly recommend taking her classes if you have the opportunity to do so.The workshop I attended was organized by Karen of, to whom I am most grateful for this wonderful opportunity. Karen's store is around the corner and she is delightful. She recently taught a canvaswork piece, with 5 stitches which were new to me, to my local EGA chapter.

It was fabulous. I learned long and short shading (which I had always been afraid to try)and an entirely new way to do French knots. (Which really improved my consistency!) When looking at my first ever attempts at long and short soft shading, she said my stitching was "bloomin' beautiful". I also learned stem stitch properly; and laid and couched work, as well as closed fly stitch. Also a fascinating lecture the day before on the history of English and Scottish crewel and textiles. It included a power point presentation with amazing photos and she brought a historic American crewel piece which was amazing.

She was commissioned to recreate the Queen Mother's silk damask bedspread lost during the war that matched a crewel headboard, both of which had been originally embroidered by the Queen Mum's mother. It is at Glamis Castle. (This was featured in Inspirations - the Australian embroidery magazine and it is stunning.) It is also featured on her DVD which I bought, as well as her seat frame (which I found surprisingly comfortable and easy to use even though I am quite obese) I had brought my heavy metal K's creations stand to the workshop, did not use it because I really liked the seat frame. I also couldn't resist her heartsease pansy kit as this is my favorite flower. I am working on her secret squirrel piece, most of the attendees did her deer stag piece, but I love squirrels, and wanted a beginner piece.

Her beau, Harry Williamson is a trustee of the Royal School of Needlework and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers. He spoke yesterday on the history of them both. His lecture was very interesting and quite informative. He is quite charming and Phillipa is just a treasure. The amount of individual attention was unbelievable. Absolutely amazing 2 days!!! Worth every penny. She has some amazing stuff on her website including stitch demos.

I am really looking forward to An Adventure In Crazy Quilting in April 2011, in Connecticut and taking classes from Sharon Boggon, Allison Aller and Betty Pillsbury. The workshop I just attended has really improved my stitching skills and Phillipa's comments have vastly increased my self-confidence.

Marianne in NJ