Monday, July 16, 2018

RELAPSE!!

Things are not going well here.  After a few really good days, almost 2 weeks, I got worse again and now landed in hospital. Probable pneumonia..I am soooo bummed. They've the shortness of breath nearly under control but I'm still coughing pretty bad. No stitching, too many tubes & wires everywhere!

Later.......

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tumbling Stripes, Framed

Mostly better!!!!  Just need to build up my energy levels and try to gain back the weight I lost.  (I know, most people are trying to gain weight, but I was too thin to begin with!)

Just before I got sick, I framed Tumbling Stripes (design by Marilyn Owen).  Sudberry House frame that I already had.  So easy!  If I'd realized how easy it was, I wouldn't have put it off so long.  Just trimmed canvas to fit and stuck it in.  Looks pretty cute.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Almost there

A week or two have long since passed I think. I'm still recovering, but I am better. On prednisone now, still coughing but all other symptoms are gone. Stitching a little bit almost every day. I have high hopes of being normal soon!  The weather has turned HOT, which means living in AC most of the time. I thank you all for your well wishes and enjoy your blogs and Facebook daily!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sick!!!

I've been sick for over two weeks now, and I can tell you I am sick of being sick!  It started with hay fever but since I have COPD it turned into bronchitis. All I do is cough and blow my nose!  I haven't stitched at all in more than a week--I'm falling way behind. There are also some stomach issues at the same time, making me even more happy!
Anyway,  it'll probably be another week or two before I post again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

River Dance, Finished

River Dance is finished!  I'm not as happy with the right side as I am with the rest, but it's not bad.  The right side is stitched with a variety of wools, all in different variations of 2-4-6 Bargello, but stitched horizontally.  Well, I actually stitched it vertically, with the side of the piece at the bottom.  The biggest problem was the shading.  Some threads/colors blend better than others.

Anyway, this was an idea I had a long time ago and it is good to have achieved it.  My brain can now go on to other things!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Magic Castle

1975
In the late 70s I designed this Magic Castle.  At that time I stitched it on perforated paper in floss & metallic, all tent stitches.  I painted the paper first, and all of the yellow was the paper.  

2018

Now, I have stitched this piece again!  On 18-count vintage blue/blue with overdyed & plain floss, metallics, and wool, using a variety of stitches.  I plan to finish it as a door hanger, hopefully "framed" with pretty ribbons.  Finding the ribbons is the next part!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Windowseat Cushion Finished

The windowseat cushion is finally finished.  It is not up to my exacting standards, but it is finished. 
I learned a lot, primarily that I should NOT have tried to do it myself!  Once I had the top put together, I should have taken it to be made into a cushion by a professional upholsterer.
But now it is done and we move on......

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Needlepoint Journey, Part 4


One of the most exciting events of the Boston period, was when I discovered the ELSA WILLIAMS SCHOOL OF NEEDLEART was located in West Townsend, MA, not too far from where we were living!  OMG, I was thrilled to learn this.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the school for a week, staying at the school.  Fortunately I wrote up a report of the week and found it in my files.  Here’s a summary (the original is 4 pages long!)

The school was housed in an old but restored 2-story house with a long history, called Homer House.  It was beautifully decorated with antiques and lots of needleart, both needlepoint and crewel.  Each guest room had a different coordinated color scheme, highlighted by needlework pieces.  The rooms were attractive and comfortable.  Meals were served buffet style and guests dressed for dinner.  Dinner was preceded by sherry and appetizers.  The menu was not exotic, but not plain, with lots of French sauces, fancy sea food dishes and elegant little desserts.  The overall feeling of Homer House is “elegance”

I arrived at the school about 5PM, Sunday, May 25, 1975 and was immediately shown to my room and introduced to my roommate.  Once we were unpacked and got a little acquainted, we went down to the living room and met the other students and teachers.  There were only 6 students this week, although they often had as many as 15, and we were a varied group but all with a love of needlework.  Several were needlework teachers, including Shay Pendray.  Our teachers were Maggie McLea and Elsa Williams.  There was also a teaching assistant, Elsa’s husband, and the manager of the school, who was a little like a housemother!

After our very first dinner (the food was awesome BTW) we were introduced to the workroom in the basement.  Huge room with perfect lighting.  One end of the room was all closets containing threads, canvas, linen and more.  That first night Maggie and Elsa both talked about the school and its aims and about our course of study, “Design and Techniques of Needlepainting”.  We were instructed about color value and strength. We spent the rest of the evening thinking about our first project, which was to be a “scene”, and began sketching.

Breakfast at 8:00 and by 9:00 we were in the workroom ready to go.  We worked everyday till noon, lunch, then till 5:00, dinner, and on into the night till we couldn’t keep our eyes open.  It was divine.



Maggie taught overdying with a most instructive demonstration.  Especially interesting was seeing how different fibers take the dye differently.  Today this is pretty well known to many stitchers, but it was all new to me then.  While I enjoyed the learning, I did not “take” to dying fibers.  Just not me.

Wednesday we toured the yarn factory, which was next door to the school.  We saw how they did blocking and finishing, the warehouse, and the kit assembly area.  Processes and design were no longer shown because they had had some instances of Industrial Spying!  What a shame.  In the afternoon we visited an Episcopal church in Keene, NH, to see the needlepoint kneelers they have made and were making, which were beautiful.

During the week, we had several sessions with Herself, Elsa Williams.  She talked about the elements of design, about seeing light and dark areas and how to simplify and cartoon a design.  She demonstrated stitches and ways to vary a stitch.  She also guided us to draw a still life from a real object.
Friday evening was the Silver Thimble Dinner where we all received certificates and sterling silver thimbles.  It was very fancy and elegant, complete with champagne and much speechifying!
It was a wonderful week and I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to attend.  I learned so much from the Master and the other teachers.  I kept in touch with several of the other students for a few years.  Subsequently I took a one-day workshop at the school in pulled work.  The school closed a few years after I was there.

(Sorry about the weird formatting.  Blog has a mind of its own!  Especially when you cut & paste!!)





Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2-4-6 Bargello projects

I added the instructions for "2-4-6 Bargello" to my website a couple of weeks ago, and decided I should show you some finished projects.  The instructions include a sampler to practice the technique.

The pic with red is a small round to become an ornament.  The blue one is a 4-way and the pink one is a rectangular 4-way.  Once the technique is learned, there are tons of ways to use it!

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Needlepoint Journey, Part 3


In 1974 we moved from Southern California to Boston, Mass.  Talk about culture shock!!  Anyway, the big benefit for me was that I didn’t have to work and could devote most of my time to needlepoint!  A lot happened during those two years to further my needlepoint education and “career”.  This period will take more than one installment!

I guess the first thing was that I discovered Maggie Lane.  Oh my!  I eventually acquired all of her books and still have them.  I started with a fairly simple design and moved right on.  Pictured are the 2nd & 3rd projects.  The rocking chair was stitched on a large mesh canvas with rug yarn.
I also discovered a real needlework store and learned about printed vs painted canvas and about Paternayan yarn, among other things.  I stuck with charts though!  Since I was charting everything I saw, my husband suggested I do a book.  Well, I didn’t get up the nerve for that right away, but I did discover Needlepoint News and submitted some designs.  I was published!  Eventually I began working for that magazine.  Many designs were received from readers that were not in publishable condition.  My job was to rechart them for publication.  By hand.  In ink.  Remember, this was pre-computer days!!  I loved it.  Many of my designs were used as well and I worked for NN until its demise in the 80s.

Thanks to Needlepoint News I also discovered (from ads) perforated paper and the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG).  I went kind of nuts with the perf. paper for a while!  Christmas cards & ornaments & framed pictures were gifts that year.  I painted the paper as at that time it was only available in tan. I think most of the stitching was with floss, in Continental stitch, with the occasional bit of metallic thread.  Some of the designs I created for the paper were later published and a few are on my website today.

I joined ANG in ’74 or ’75 as a Member-at-large.  I don’t remember if there was a chapter in the Boston area, but if there was I didn’t join.  I entered a piece in the 1975 exhibit, which was in Monaco!  It was an antelope stitched on perforated paper.  It won a blue ribbon!!!!  I was totally surprised and thrilled!



I also stitched a square for the UN Peace Rug.  The stitching was done in 1974 and the finished rug was presented to the United Nations by Mary Martin in New York, October 23, 1975. 138 squares were hand painted, on 16-mesh canvas, with the coats of arms of the member nations and stitched in Basketweave by members of ANG, I stitched Nepal.  There was also a larger center square with the UN emblem and a dedication in a rectangular piece, all stitched.  A limited edition book was published, which I have, with full page color prints of each square.  I have also saved a lot of the documentation, including an invitation to the presentation (I was unable to attend).  I am very proud to have been part of this project.


The photo of the stitched square is very washed out.  This is a scan of an old snapshot.  The background is actually a soft yellow and all of the colors are quite vivid.






Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Indian Pot, Finished

The Indian Pot is finished!  I love it!
I changed just about everything on this one.  Totally changed the color scheme.  Redesigned the brown stripe.  Changed the outermost border (stitch guide wanted straight stitches).  Somewhat rearranged the neck stitches.  
Eventually I'll do another Indian themed piece so they can hang together.  

Monday, March 26, 2018

2-4-6 Bargello

2-4-6 Bargello is the fourth in the series of instructions for Advanced Bargello Techniques and it is finally available on my website.

This technique teaches a way to create a unique, non-repetitive Bargello design without a pattern.  The picture shows the sampler project that is included.


2-4-6 can be used for just about any Bargello project, including 4-way, Rectangular 4-way, etc.  Even Mad Miters, if you're a little bit crazy!
The instructions include photos of different ways to use 2-4-6.

Remember, if you are using your phone to look at my website, you will need to scroll all the way down and click on "classic".

Friday, March 23, 2018

Indian Pot, Almost Done

Yes, it's almost done.  Just have to add beads.  I searched my stash this morning and may have found ones that will work.  If not, I'll be shopping at my LNS next week sometime.  I'm still really liking this piece!

I've reached a point on ALL of my WIPs where I need something from the shop!  Very annoying and I can't go until mid next week.  ☹

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Needlepoint Journey, Part 2


Those of you who have been around as long as I have will remember that the early 70s were a needlepoint wasteland, especially as far as materials were concerned.  We had tapestry yarn, crewel wool, floss, and maybe Persian yarn.  Most canvas was 10-count mono or 10/20 penelope.  Metallics?  Not so much.  Overdyes?  Unheard of.  Silk?  I don’t think so.  I discovered smaller meshes fairly early on and began to use 22-count quite a bit, with crewel wool and/or floss.  I desired metallics and would use anything I could find – usually in the “craft” section, not the needlework section.  I still have some “unknown” metallic threads!  Approximately 1975 I discovered Elsa Williams tapestry yarn, crewel wools and metallics (only gold & silver). The tapestry wool and metallic worked beautifully on 13-14 mesh and on 18 for Bargello. The crewel wool for 22.  Those were my go-to threads for awhile, along with floss.


One of my more ambitious projects covered 1971-1974.  I saw an ad in a magazine for a kit for a floor pillow.  The design consisted of 4 squares, each one a different geometric design, all in the same colors, but a different color predominated in each square.  I loved the designs, but did not want a huge floor pillow.  Here goes the crazy part:  I charted out the designs by counting the stitches using a magnifying glass!  It’s not quite as bad as it sounds; the designs are 4-way symmetrical so I only had to chart ¼ of each!  These 4 designs became the seats on 4 dining room chairs!   All in tent stitches using wool tapestry yarn (I don’t remember the brand, but it was not DMC) on 10-count mono.  I still have two of the chairs and they still look great, with just a little wear at the corners.  By the way, those chairs are folding chairs too, which I got with Blue Chip Stamps.  Remember those??


Here they are in order of stitching.  I took the pix of the first 2 just now, the other 2 were scanned from snapshots.
71 & 72

   



73 & 74






I was very adventuresome at that time.  Mom got a pair of needlepoint slippers.  My husband got a Bargello vest (he wore it for many years).  I tried jewelry – petit point brooches.  And then,  I discovered Needlepoint News, ANG (joined),  and perforated paper, among other adventures.  More about that in the next installment!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Indian Pot Progress

I have gotten quite a bit done on the Indian Pot.  I am VERY PLEASED with this so far!! 

I was stuck for awhile when I got to the brown band.  I did not care for what the pattern called for.  I looked at it and fiddled around with stitches for days (weeks?).  Then I started researching Indian pots and I began to get ideas.  The diamonds are a Jessica variation from Carole Lake's book, Twisty Stitches (thanks Carole!!).  The zig zag is Smyrna crosses. Then I agonized over what color and stitch for the background of this strip.  That took several days...  I ended up blending 2 shades of floss and basketweaved it, then backstitched the dark brown lines with Kreinik.  I love it!

Now for the borders and background.  All I'll be changing of them is the colors.  I think!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Needlepoint Journey


From time to time, I am asked how I got started needlepointing, how did I start designing, etc.  So I have decided to write it all down and post it here on Blog.  It will be fun for me.  You will just have to suffer through it and/or skip it altogether!  It won’t be all at once, but in irregular installments.
INSTALLMENT ONE
To begin, my mother and both grandmothers did lots of needlework, but not needlepoint.  Mom sewed and tried many different crafts and needleworks, finally settling mostly on quilting.  Nana sewed, embroidered, crocheted and tatted.  Grandma sewed, knitted, crocheted and embroidered.  I was taught all of these but only sewing and knitting really “took”. 

One day on my lunch hour, approximately 1969-1970, I was browsing in the craft department of a Department Store In West L.A.  I saw a QuickPoint kit which was a geometric design in shades of brown.  I liked the look of it and decided to give it a try.  I started it that night and was instantly hooked!  I think that project was finished in a few days.

While working that very first kit, my mind was racing.  I could needlepoint anything!  Just draw something on a canvas and go!  Oh my!  About that same time McCalls published a new edition of “McCalls Needlepoint with step-by-step instructions for beginners”.  I was sunk.  Here I found out about different sizes of canvas, threads, stitches, and… wait for it… charting!!  (It was $1.25 and I still have it.)
I don’t remember what my second piece was, but my third piece was a lion.  A good friend was a Leo and had a nice decal of a Leo lion that we enlarged and drew onto canvas.  I then needlepointed it into a cover for the stool in his VW van.  Those were the days, huh?



So, I was off & running.  That first year or so I also stitched seats & backs for 2 folding chairs, one of which was a sampler of stitches.  The photo was taken years later when they were well worn!  The sampler didn’t wear well – I think I used knitting yarn that I had around.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

River Dance Progress

River Dance is coming along nicely.  The left side is done and I'm pleased with it so far.  This picture is better than the last one, but I wasn't able to bring the color up as much as needed to be accurate. 

I'm still thinking about the right side.  Having a hard time deciding on vertical or horizontal stitches!  Vertical is much easier to shade, but horizontal would (I think) bring the right side forward, which I'd like.  I also have to decide on the colors.  The colors I had pulled are too dark.  Workin' on it....

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Window Seat Cushion 4

Working on it - sometimes, when the mood strikes and the sun shines!  It is now ready to have the ends sewn and then I will make the casing for the inner cushion and buy the stuffing, which will be a piece of foam rubber.  There is a store here that will cut it to your measurements. Hard to photograph now, it is so big!  


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Indian Pot



This canvas is a line drawn design from Danji Designs and it came with a stitch guide.  I've had it in stash for at least 5 years.  Recently I decided to give it a try.  It is a nice size to work on and not too demanding.  (Famous last words!)

Of course, I have to change all the colors to my usual aquas and coppers.  Which creates the very challenge I was trying to avoid!  I may also change some of the stitches.  Sigh.....

Here's my progress so far:


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

River Dance

This is a new design I call River Dance. Sorry for the poor photo, light was bad this morning!  
I began this awhile ago and it has taken me a long time to get the "river" done.  The "river" is all DMC floss and various stranded silks, plus lots & lots of Kreinik and a few other metallics.  The metallics are mostly stitched with isolated Mosaic & Cashmere stitches, the rest is basketweave.
The rest of this piece will be Bargello.  I painted the canvas slightly to make it a little darker.  I have pulled many shades of solid & overdyed wools & some watercolors.  Now I have to figure out the patterns before I can start stitching again!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Holiday Wreath progress

1-10-2018
12-31-2017

Picture problem solved.  Computer won't take the memory disk anymore, but we can load directly from the camera.  I had forgotten that!!  Anyway, above pics show where it was when I last posted and where it is today.  I'm doing the bow in Criss Cross Hungarian in 2 shades of red Petite Very Velvet, without the shading shown in the directions.  By the weekend I should have the bow finished.  Then the packages have to be "decorated".  


(Blog wouldn't let me type next to the pictures today!  Guess you can't fix everything at once!!)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Holiday Wreath

My Holiday Wreath is coming along well. Unfortunately, since we updated my computer last week (Windows latest update) it has apparently forgotten how to read the memory card from my camera!  Hence, no pictures. The packages are done, I've started on the greenery and looking forward to the big red bow. Decorating the packages will be last. As soon as I figure out how, I'll post pictures!