Saturday, July 31, 2010

Still More Background Stitching

There seem to be miles of background stitching left on Cha, even though most of last week was devoted to it, but the end is in sight.  I think I have about a week's worth of stitching left!  Above is a photograph of the overall canvas as of yesterday morning. I've done more tent stitching since then but it doesn't really look like it.  That's the mystery of backgrounds--they seem endless!

Yesterday, Kathleen K. asked in the comments why I was not doing basketweave in the background.  Take a gander at the background in the above photo.  See the streaks of darker color here and there that gives this canvas the look of faded fabric?  My background thread is an overdye that shades from pale pink to pale rose and back again.  If I was basketweaving the background, I'd not only be using even more thread (I've used about a skein and a half of my JL Walsh so far), I would be creating diagonal streaks instead of horizontal ones because that's how basketweave is done, which would look odd.

While I get back to my stitching, I have a fun link for you this morning.  Amy Bunger's staff have released her August newsletter, and this time it features guest appearances from former First Lady Barbara Bush, a new thread, and a vampire.  The newsletter also reveals the subject matter for Amy's next How'd You Do That? DVD....

As a reminder, Elaine Magnin's big sale ends today.  I don't know if the shop will be open much longer but visit now to pick up beauties like the Canvas of the Day or the Sophia kimono above at great prices.

Gone Stitchin's August sale starts tomorrow, with all canvases (except for trunk shows and Judaica designs) on sale during the entire month at 20% off.   The canvas above is one of Leigh's Floozies, partly stitched by Beth of ThreadworX which will be offering a companion stitch guide and thread set for anyone who wants to stitch Chardonay Charla or any of her seven friends.

If you want to see Alehouse Annie, the first canvas Beth stitched, go here and then click on "the Floozies."  Be prepared to smile at their jaunty hats, their choice of beverages, and of course their period dress.  Their charm is timeless, of course, but they are very 1890s otherwise.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cha's Wings and K's Flowers

Cha's wings are done!  I hope you like how they turned out.  The two wings are quite different. The right one is more realistic but the left one is smoother and probably will look more like the tail feathers once I get them stitched.  I have lots of background still to do.  Once I finished the wings last night I spent an hour and a half working background and only got five rows done.  I won't be finished by the end of July but I won't go far into August, either, before it is time for another quilt block on my Stars piece.

Kaffe Fassett's Fire Flowers
In other needlepoint news, my email box got a notice from Ehrman that their 2011 catalog was available online.  Here's the link. This year these traditional designs (often on 10-12 count and almost always kitted with wools) are particularly strong in floral patterns.  Above is Kaffe Fassett's Fire Flowers (chosen because I love his mastery of color and pattern but also because the colors are similar to those in Cha-Cha), but there are a great many others you will want to see, particularly if you are a fan of Beth Russell's William Morris-inspired designs.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Feathers, More Ripping?

Yesterday was full of errands and chores so I didn't get as much wing stitched as I had hoped but I still have a photo to share of Cha's right wing.  I am not happy with the lowest orange line of feathers since I've decided longer looks better but they will be easy to remove and restitch.  It is just hard to do long straight stitches on a curved wing. I'm going to leave the orange tips of the feathers until last and probably do very short Japanese ribbon stitches there as I did on the other wing.  Regardless, this is progress that isn't tent stitches so I am happy!

In other news, Linda's posted a quick review (with photos) of Ruth Schmuff's new books.  These are the hard copy form of her Stitch Encyclopedias that originally were just on CDs.

Janet Perry's done a review of the new Painter's Palette threads. has a contest going on their blog.  The price is a $25 gift certificate.  Once you enter, click on one of the header items (Naturally I choose Sale--LOL) and then look on the left side of the page.  Click on Needlepoint U to see their online classes, clearly labeled as to difficulty level, complete with a Yahoo Group to help you with questions and problems.

If your wallet is empty these days, how about a free elementary embroidery book posted online?  Mary Corbet has the details and a link to the book which-- although old-- has great tips for those doing needle painting of flowers, for example.

My final link this morning is for sampler lovers.  The Museum of Fine Art in Boston is looking for help finding samplers similar to one in their collection.  Tricia of Thistle Threads suggested they harness the power of the Internet to find sampler lovers who might recognize the motifs on this sampler as occurring other places.  So go and help the museum out, ok?

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Counted Canvaswork (Good and Bad) UPDATED

I've collected a few little tidbits for my friends who love working from charts.  First up, Scarlet Thread has photos of the newest Laura J. Perin chart which is called One Long Panel for obvious reasons.   I'm posting this for the Spinster Stitcher in particular who reads Blog and is a collector of Perin pieces.  Click on the photo for a better view.    Sara Leigh promises to post photos of all the threads for each colorway shortly in case you want to see the possibilities Laura has listed for you.

UPDATE:  Laura Perin has added great photos of this new design to her blog.

UPDATE #2:  Sara Leigh has posted photos of the various colorways available for this piece. You can buy thread kits for each color from her shop.

I also found a free download of a beautiful traditional sampler which some of you may be interested in, particularly if you are trapped at home due to the really hot weather.

The last thing is just plain sickening.  Ever wonder how much money chart copying thieves are stealing from designers?

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Feathers Which Have to Be Ripped Out

With the weather improving (high today is only going to be 94) I have started working on Cha's right wing.  Unfortunately, I don't like how the orange sherbet line looks and will be ripping it out tonight to replace it with a smoother version.  But you can get the general idea in the above photo.  I'm not sure about the tiny orange stitches at the tip of the top red feather, either....

I hope to get the wing half done tonight.  Stitching with silk ribbon goes quite fast once you figure out the angles and stitches you want to work with.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An Answer to the Mystery? UPDATED

Pocket Full of Stitches is closed today but I may have figured out what one of their new monthly clubs is going to be...

Halloweenies from Renaissance Designs!

Decide for yourself.  Compare the snippets of canvas they showed on their blog over the weekend to the canvases in the link above. What do you think?  It is possible that the second series is the Kelly Clark pears squares that I've seen other places.  But somehow the second "clue" doesn't look like these designs....

UPDATE:  PFOS has revealed All.  I was half right.

While in search of more clubs, I found In Stitches Atlanta has a limited edition Nutcracker music box set for sale. These are quite unusual and a great present for the right stitcher.  If that stitcher is you, bookmark the page and then print it out to stick on your refrigerator with BUY ME prominently written on top and the shop phone number circled. Just saying!

In Stitches Atlanta is a newer shop with an expanding presence in the NP online world.  Its owners also own Labors of Love which designed the music box set above.  They are bringing in terrific teachers for their shop and I expect great things from them in the next decade.

By the way, the canvas above is Labors of Love's Pandora.  Wouldn't she make a wonderful box top lid, especially with a fancy Greek Key pattern border?  Pandora's Box, you know.  LOL

I'm off to stitch even more of Cha's background before someone throws a shoe at me.  Hugs to all!

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New Stitch Guide Blog Articles

I've added two new articles to the CH Stitch Guides blog.

One talks about Pepita Needlepoint and the other Shear Creations.  These lesser known designers have some surprises up their sleeves:  Shear Creations is the brainchild of the authors of the Stitches for Effects books.  They specialize in small painted canvases perfect for embellishment, many of which come with stitch guides.  Pepita has amazing Judaica and also cute and quick ideas like self-finishing headbands.

The moral of the story is that you should not just use CH Stitch Guides as a resource to look up that popular designer you love.  Browse and you'll find all sorts of styles of painted canvases with their own stitch guides.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Weekend Report

The heat wave continued all weekend with highs of 100-101 degrees and a heat index of 105-107.  It was HOT in other words!  So I sat quietly and worked on Cha's tent stitch background.  I have about 2-3 inches all across the top of the canvas to complete, which is good.  It looks like I will be able to finish Cha by the first of August which was my original goal.

As a followup to my shopping trip last week, I noticed a finished Trubey tuffet on the Point of It All website.  You can see the floral designs better in this photograph.

Many of you may have noticed the New York Times article last Thursday about the already stitched NP belts that the preppy company Tucker Blair sells.  The crux of the article is now that stitchers don't have to take the trouble of stitching a NP belt for a guy that they almost immediately break up with--they can buy already stitched ones from Tucker Blair.  (Just what's the fun of that?)  Pepita comments on the article here and shares the link to the Tucker Blair headbands one can buy as well as mentioning that they sell headband kits so you can stitch your own.  I thought it was very generous of them to mention a competitor's product!  There is also a link to the NYT article if you haven't seen it.

The owner of Waste Knot had just gotten a shipment of finished belts and dog collars in when I was there.  She showed them to me. She says her customers have equal luck using wool and perle cotton to stitch their belts and dog collars, in case you want to try one yourself. Thanks for the tip, Lori!

You can also pick up great self finishing items like dog collars, key fobs and luggage tags on sale through the end of July at PFOS.

If you like a mystery, Pocket Full of Stitches has dropped a hint about their new monthly club on their blog. I hope they reveal the set today on their blog.  Here's the hint if you like a mystery.

Now, let's go back to watching the thermometer climb!

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Callaway Getaway

Time to start planning for Callaway!  If you are curious about the 2011 classes, here is the link to the Callaway School of Needle Arts page on the Callaway Gardens website.

You don't want to miss great classes like these if you can help it!

Carole Lake's Father Frost
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gone Shopping, Part Three

My final posting about Friday's big shopping spree mostly covers the various bags, totes and purses I saw at Waste Knot.  There were so many I thought I'd do a separate article about them.

Most of us have seen photographs of various purses you can buy that have spaces in the front for a needlepoint canvas to be attached.  I was lucky enough to see a great many of these in display and be able to tell you about the things you don't see in photos.

I'd always wondered about the Lee nylon totes.  Photos don't show how high quality they are.  Some have a faux leather trim inside the top margin as well as handles.  All have zips and pockets and the hardware looks sturdy.  I think this are a good buy if you don't want a leather purse.

The Lee leather purses are of outstanding quality--heavy leather, with good quality insides, zipped dividers, pockets, etc.  There are many sizes and styles.  Waste Knot had all black leather ones but they come in other colors.  Refer to the New Lee Needle Arts site for more styles and colors.

If you like the easy of stitch and zip purses, you may be interested in the Sophia purses.  Here's a better photo (you can just glimpse them in the Lee leather purses photo.  They come in many styles but I can't find a link online to show you.

There are purse canvases, of course.  None are more beautiful than Mindy's.  Waste Knot was having a Mindy trunk show so I snapped this photo of two amazing purses and the handles that come with them.  You should look at Mindy's website for other styles, each of which has an amazing handle included.

If you want a quick stitch tote bag, check out Julie Pischke's tote canvases which are on 10 count.  These are called Pischke Pockets.  The canvas and matching tote bag are sold together. All you do is add thread!  There's even a "how to" video on the JP tote website to help you attach the canvas to the tote bag yourself.  Trust me, it is not hard.  Check out the video and other styles on the Pischke Pockets website.  Other more traditional tote bags are on the regular Julie Pischke website.

Many needlepoint bags are not meant to be decorated--they are intended for the needleworker on the move who has to take a project or two along.  The bags in the front are the great Ashland Sky bags that Leigh Designs distributes.  The pink and green ones in the back are Walker mesh bags.

There are many more bags on display at Waste Knot.  These are all project bags from various sources.  As you can see, there's something for everyone!

My final photo is not a bag at all, but Trubey's tuffet.  The canvases you see are intended to cover the tuffet.  They are all floral, all with a slightly different background color.  Lori says she's seen this made up with trim dividing the sections and that it looks great finished with trim to unify the various areas.  This would be an interesting and unique project for someone's house.  If you are more traditional, Lori has two sizes of solid wood footstools you can see in the background which accommodate square canvases in their tops. These are sturdy and well made and will last a lifetime.

Hope you enjoyed shopping with me.  I am still working on Cha's background as I'm not willing to handle silk ribbons in this heat.  Today's supposed to only be 96, so things are improving.  The high yesterday was 101 with a heat index of 106 degrees.  No, I don't live in the desert, it just feels like it all along the east coast.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gone Shopping, Part Two

Once I bought all the threads I could carry at Needlewoman East, I jumped in my car and drove another few miles to visit Waste Knot in Arlington.  It was pretty quiet when I first arrived so I was able to take lots of photos (with permission) of things for you to see.

I'll show you the last thing I bought first.  See the glass magnets on the upright display easel?  They are from Lee Cox. The pink-rose-gold oval on the right in the middle row lives in Chilly Hollow now.  I had a lot of fun browsing the books at Waste Knot and was seriously tempted by SuZy's Small Stitches from SuZy Murphy but I wanted that magnet more as it is so beautiful and in my favorite colors.   Priorities, priorities....

I saw some very interesting gadgets here.  I arranged a few on the counter for a photo so you could see them.  The tiny pink package is a miniature scissors set that has a loop to attach them to your key chain, your cell phone, etc.  They are small and sharp and easy to carry when you travel.  Lori (the owner of Waste Knot) has been on airplanes with hers without any problem.  Here's a better closeup than mine.  These come in assorted colors and have a nose guard to protect the tip of the blades.

The stack of trays are magnetic tool trays.  Inspired by similar trays in the hardware store, you can keep track of your needles, scissors and laying tools with these.  The last item is called a Knit Light.  It is a tiny penlight with a flexible neck that clips on your collar so you can see to stitch or read.   While I was there a visitor bought one to help read her Kindle in low light situations.

Speaking of Kindles, Waste Know carries the new Lee leather Kindle covers and also canvases that fit the opening.  The shop had both black and brown leather ones.  The black one rests on the box; the brown is open so you can see the inside.

Lori showed me her current project--a set of Christmas Nativity stars from Kathy Schenkel.  They are supposed to be strung on a garland with little angels separating the needlepoint stars.  These canvases come with stitch guides and there is a Halloween garland, too.  The Halloween sets are separated with bats. I'm sorry I can't find a photo of a stitched garland or even the angels or bats that separate the stitched pieces but I did find the Nativity stars set on Kathy's website.  The set continues on the next page but if you don't have enough room to stitch them all, you can just do part of the set.  I saw some of the stars stitched and they really look great.  I didn't think to take photos of them but I did take a photo of another great Kathy Schenkel idea--little Halloween cubes with matching beaded fobs.  Cute, huh?

I took lots of photos of the huge variety of painted canvases that Waste Knot carries.  Here are a few of them--

Maggie Jester Cats
Mindy Designs

Patt & Lee cats, etc.
Kathy Schenkel?  mini socks
Hope you enjoyed the show.  I have more to talk about tomorrow.

Tonight it's more Cha background for me.  I'm not going to attempt stitching with silk ribbons when the heat index is supposed to be 108 today!

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Gone Shopping

Yesterday I left the chores behind and made the long trek towards civilization in order to visit Needlewoman East's Xmas in July sale.  (It continues through today, by the way, so if you are in the D.C. suburbs, you can participate in the sale.)  Of course I bought things!  You'll notice that my Total Stash Credits dropped by 21 since yesterday.  I didn't count the new tubes of Sundance beads or the lovely dichromatic glass magnet either.  But enough about me.  I took photos of the wonderful things I saw (with the shop owners' permission).

Isn't this lovely?  I was lucky enough to arrive just as the stitcher did to pick it up.

Here she is.  Her grandmother told me she raised two generations of stitchers but I didn't get a photo of all three of them as the middle generation was in the back, picking threads.  You probably can't tell from the photos, even if you click to see large versions, but the tent stitches are perfect on this.  Great job!

Here you see the owner of Needlewoman East hard at work on the phone.  The shop was crowded so I didn't take many photos here.  Most folks were really too busy to be interrupted to pose, tell me their stories and show off their bargains.  I did want you to see the wonderful cat bronze who holds Needlewoman East's cards, though.

My final photo from Needlewoman East is of a finished piece on the wall just behind Liz' head.  This is Two Cabanas, from Nancy's Needle.  It caught my eye and I was told that there is a whole series of Two pieces from Nancy's Needle.  Since I don't highlight many counted canvaswork designs, this is for Blog readers who love charts.  I was told there are a whole series of these and I found many of them on Nordic Needle's website.  There are two lighthouses, two gingerbread houses, two cabins, two barns, and even two haunted houses!  They are all about the same size-- 8 inches long and four high.  It's a charming series called "Small Monthly Quilt Series" and I hope you have fun looking at them here.

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Friday, July 23, 2010


Kaffe Fassett, Color Master & My Hero

Who is this man and why is he so happy?  This is the great Kaffee Fassett, textile designer (including needlepoint) extraordinare!  He knows more about color than anyone alive in my opinion.  Your NP library isn't complete until you own his Glorious Needlepoint.

I started out with Kaffe because his monthly newsletter plopped into my email box yesterday.  One of his videos has been turned into a download at the store.  Here's a bit about it. Click on Play Free Preview and you'll be taken to the Amazon store where you can play a snippet.

If you've ever wondered what on earth plastic canvas is good for, go here now.

You know most days I have to post about a sale.  This is a good one for devotees of counted canvaswork--Orna Willis is putting some of her charts on sale.

Finally, here are the results of the poll did.  I know that there is another side to customer service that just what we think of shops (I shudder to think what shop owners must think of us some days!) but it is still shocking to me how things turned out.  Somewhere around 27% of folks say that shop staff have been rude in a recent visit, 27% say that the staff couldn't answer questions about the items they carry, 10% say staff refused to assist them, and 27% say their local shop is terrific.  In other words, about 70% of shop visits are bad experiences.

I'm going to the big Xmas in July sale at Needlewoman East today. You can be sure I'm going to hug each and every shop owner I run into!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Wing for Cha

I've finally finished enough tent stitch around the second wing to get started on it.  As you can see, I used the same wide diamond stitch that is on the bird's back but changed the color from pink to red and am doing the stitch in vertical columns instead of horizontal rows.  The loose red thread is on top of the canvas because I may continue the stitches up further.  Until I start the silk ribbon feathers I won't know exactly where the wide diamond rays should end.

The heat is intensifying again and I am also painting doors here so don't expect much progress on Cha in the next few days.  I'll probably return to background stitching as I am sure to be exhausted after going up and down the step ladder to reach the top of the door.  Sadly, I am height challenged, both in terms of inches and in terms of dizzy spells so painting takes a long, exhausting time.  But the doors will look like a million bucks once I am finished with them!

Not to worry, you will have lots to do until I get back to the feathers on Cha's wings.  All you have to do is visit Canvases Be Gone and see the old dede Odgen pieces Dale is selling off at incredible prices.  Plus she has quite a few Kelly Clark canvases at 40% off and there is a Christmas canvas sale going on to.  You really do have to do a little browsing and see what treasures you can unearth!

I've also posted a new article on the CH Stitch Guides blog. It covers the Kindergarten Nativity set from Labors of Love and David McCaskill's stitch guides.

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Stirling Bags

If you've ever considering buying one of the Stirling leather purses, you'll want to read what Linda has to say.

Here is their website.  Note all those lovely purses!

Not interested in a pocketbook?  My spies tell me that next January Stirling is going to release leather cases for eBook readers like the Kindle and the Nook and a case for iPads, all of which will have about a 6 inch opening for your stitching.

By the way, the photo above is from the Alex Paras website where they sell the leather tool tote and the darling Shelly Tribbey canvas.  A little bird whispered there is a Brenda Hart stitch guide for that canvas, too!  However, you don't have to buy a canvas for the tool tote because AP Needlearts includes a free Janet Perry Bargello pattern with each purchase of that item.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rarely Seen Artists

Recently I stumbled across the Fleur de Paris website, the company that represents painted canvas designers like Trubey and Sandra Gilmore and dede Odgen.  I wouldn't have done anything more than use one of these rarely seen designers' pieces as a Canvas of the Day if I hadn't noticed several people have been looking for "La Femme" by Sandra Gilmore, which is the canvas you see above.  Below is the direct link for visitors who wanted to see more of this gorgeous Caribbean lady.  Everybody else, treat yourself to all of dede's designs or look carefully at Trubey's gorgeous work, or explore other designers by just using the links on the left side of the page.

There is lots to see besides the designers mentioned above.  Janet Watson does beautiful florals and glorious Russian angels.  Tonya does lovely graphics with Jewish motifs. Fleur de Paris also is a major distributor of Zweigart canvases.  So tell your shop to add the Fleur canvas you have to have to their order for plain NP canvas.

I have also just discovered Colors of Praise by Marie Barber.  She is featured on Needleworks of Homewood, Alabama's website.  If you like designs featuring birds or fruit or flowers, this is the designer for you.  I particularly like her tiny bird canvases and her assorted peacock designs, some of which are on 18 count, some of which are on 13 count and one lovely example of which is on 10 count. Something for every peacock lover's eyes, in other words.

Have fun exploring while I get back to even more tent stitched background!  (Don't miss Trubey's gorgeous Creche set!)

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A Great Loss: Jennifer Ashley Taylor

I was shocked to read that Jennifer Ashley Taylor had died via a lovely obituary from Gay Ann Rogers.

I did not know her at all well but she was gracious and friendly when we met and she did the stitching world a great favor with her photography skills, her dedication to Japanese Embroidery and by setting up the Needle Artworks website to allow needlework teachers to reach a wider audience with their books, charts and designs.  The Stitch and Fiber of the month area on the site were essential to my learning when I first began to explore threads and stitches for needlepoint.

I know she left many students of Japanese Embroidery and photography behind her as well as many instructional booklets for beautiful Japanese Embroidery such as the Gold 'n Robes piece shown above.  She also leaves me with good memories of time spent in her company.

In her honor I post one last link to her photo gallery of Japanese Embroidery from all over.  It was Jennifer's hope that this gallery inspire students of this art.  It's just an accident that it inspires me as well.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cha's Wing

I actually finished Cha's left wing Sunday but since I needed to do more background last night I waited to post about it until this morning.

The left wing is done all in River Silks silk ribbon.   I am holding off deciding whether to do anything else to the left wing until I finish the right wing, but since I have plenty of background to do before I can start the other wing, I am going to leave you in suspense.

While I tent stitch you can read what the River Silks website says about starting/ending their ribbons.  It's very interesting and works quite well.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Let's Talk About Things

Jennifer Pudney's Girl Talk

Two interesting articles appeared in the Blog-o-Sphere yesterday. I thought I'd post links here and we could talk about them.

First of all, Madonna adds her thoughts to the Why Buy A Stitch Guide? debate.  Of course since I sell stitch guides and promote them on the CH Stitch Guides blog, I am firmly in the Stitch Guides Are Good camp.  In my opinion a stitch guide is like a stitching friend who gives you advice when you are stuck, has suggestions for threads and stitches, and who generally lends a hand with your current piece.  Everybody needs a stitching friend, especially those of us who rarely see other needlepointers, much less get to stitch with them.  But what do you think?  A lot of folks think stitch guides discourage creativity and promote over-embellished design.

The other article is authored by the guide to needlepoint.  Cheryl says she has gotten a lot of complaints lately about shops and has posted a poll asking for readers' comments about the shops they've visited.  So far only a few people have voted but the number who say they've visited shops that were ignorant of what they sell and/or were rude to customers is shockingly high.  Go vote and then those of you who travel a lot, please tell us if this is widespread.

By the way, the illustration above is a Jennifer Pudney "postcard" design called Girl Talk.  Apologies to the men among us!  We know you are out there and are fabulous stitchers but I couldn't find any men/women talking canvases to illustrate this article.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Stitch Guide Source and Sales

Julie Pischke's Sassy Sea Horse

Last night I--you guessed it--did more tent stitches in Cha's background.  Today I'll be able to continue stitching the left wing.  It just took a very long time to surround the area with tent stitches so that I wouldn't disturb the wing stitches by doing background next to them.  On the positive side, there is only about a quarter of the background left to stitch after this week's background stitch marathon. Look on the bright side, I always say!

I posted a new entry on the CH Stitch Guides blog this morning.  It's all about French Knot in Texas, their revamped website, and the huge number of stitch guides available from them.  You'll want to check it out to see if your favorite designer canvas has a guide from French Knot.

I stumbled across a mention of Peacock Alley Needlepoint in Michigan's having a 20-40% off sale of everything in their store (except for their Shorebirds trunk show and the Michigan kits plus their threads are 10% off).  They specifically mention all the Lee leather goods being on sale as well as the HP lacquered boxes they have in stock. All in all, a good time to go shopping but remember that the sale ends July 31st.

Finally, Old World Designs in California is having a Julie Pischke trunk show this month as well as a special show of circus-themed canvases from many designers.  If you love summery beach canvases inspired by Key West or are a Big Tent fan (who isn't?) you will want to check these out in person the next time you can get to Menlo Park and the shop.  Sadly, there aren't many photos online, but if you want to explore Julie's website and then call the shop, check the second link.  Got a favorite circus canvas?  Email them to see if it is available and get the cost.

The Stitching Destashing Blog has just listed new items.  There are a lot of small Christmas-themed painted canvases and quite a few very nice counted thread projects.  Have a browse.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Almost Forgot!

I was so distracted by Judy Harper's angel designs this morning I forgot one link I meant to add in the last posting--a trunk show of Canvas Works*Traditions designs, all 20% off.  We can't pass up a good sale!

The photo is of their Oriole.  Lovely, isn't it?

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River Silks, Stitch Guides and Other Things

Duke Designs

Yesterday I managed more tent stitches on Cha's background.  I really need to surround her wings with background stitches before I continue the feathery stitches, so it has been a dull few days for Blog readers and myself.  However, I did manage to write a bit about River Silks stitch guides on the Stitch Guides Blog.

You'll have to head over there to read about the silk ribbon embroidery guides for painted canvases that they provide free for painted canvases from a huge range of designers.  By the way, the illustration for this blog posting is a photo of the marvelous silk ribbon embroidery piece I saw at Woodlawn and loved last March.  The canvas is from Keri Designs and was stitched entirely in River Silks ribbons by Lynn Krynicki Bayer.  It's a large piece, probably 3 feet tall and a foot wide, and marvelous in person.  Sadly, there isn't a stitch guide for it.  Perhaps River Silks will release one.  It's really beautiful and unusual.

Here is the Keri Designs website.  Green Bamboo is in the Eastern Collection if you are interested.

I'm half-way through writing a second article for Stitch Guides blog that I hope to have ready tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned!

On other news, if you love angels, you'll want to keep up with what Judy Harper is doing on her blog.  Judy's digging through her archives, looking at older angel designs she has done and creating new ones.  Start here and then just browse back a few pages.  Every time you see an angel photo, stop and read.  I'm particularly fond of the Art Nouveau angel (July 15, 2010) but you may find your own angel (the Iris Angel of April 18th is lovely) among Judy's photos.

Judy is doing all this work in preparation for creating new angel designs on painted canvas.  The Heavenly Angels currently available for sale are on her Elegant Whimsies website.

Of course some of us find masculine canvases more to our taste (or the tastes of those we stitch presents for).  If so, you'll love seeing the Planes, Trains and Automobiles canvases PFOS has to offer.  There are some real classics here!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where to Start and Monthly Clubs

As promised I am working more tent stitched background on Cha. Pretty boring for you but luckily I'm not the only NP blogger in existence.  Anne of ABS Designs has created one of her door canvases for a shop owner and is explaining on her blog just where to start stitching a painted canvas with it as an example.  The story starts with her July 12 entry.  Start there and follow Anne's stitching adventure forward in time as she takes "little bites" out of her canvas.

Are you a fan of Needle Works in Austin?  You'll love seeing photos of the new shop and their redesigned website.  The shop photos are in a photo album at the first link.  The new website is the second link.  It's not all finished yet but the online shop is the same and open for business.  Have fun!  Take special note of the Kelly Clark trunk show that is just starting with 20% off prices and look at the Pose Purses tiny photo on the website home page.  That's the new monthly club.

Speaking of monthly clubs and redesigned websites, I have a whole slew of new things for you to explore.  The French Knot in Texas has redesigned their website.  Monthly club fans will want to explore all the clubs they offer for 2010 and take a look back at older clubs since French Knot has been offering them for more than three years.  You can find the clubs by choosing Gallery: Current Series from the drop down menus.

Want to do something abstract and different for your monthly club?  How about the French Fleur de Lis club at The Elegant Needle?

2 the Point is doing a candy cane series that will make for quick and easy designs for Christmas ornaments and...

...they are doing a seasonal bird series.

Finally, this week I've posted photos of flowers and plants from my yard. I get tired of looking at the more usual pastel portrait of me and thought I'd do something a bit more interesting that would allow me to explore how to do better photos in the right hand column.  My experiment will end today with a photo of my potted hostas and I'll return to the more usual portrait tomorrow.  Hope you enjoyed the pretty flowers!

Now I'm back to doing more tent stitches.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Breaking News

My spies tell me that Elaine Magnin is going out of business.  I've been wondering about the lack of canvases on their website for the last 6 weeks, so I imagine that the news is correct.  I think California stores have been very hard hit by the lingering recession.

Anyone who actually gets to visit the shop in San Francisco before they close their doors please convey my appreciation for their store and staff.   If you have a favorite shop in California, please support them by buying something if you can.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Dancing Ribbon Wings

Cha's Overall Progress to Date
I've been working away on Cha's wings, trying to get in as much tent stitching in the background next to them as possible.  Above is an overall view of the canvas to date.

Once I have the background next to the edge of the wing done, I can work on the wing itself. As you can tell from the photo, I'm using silk ribbon embroidery on the wings.  I started with the edge of the left wing and once the entire length was done, I went back and starting doing another row of stitches to cover the rest of the wing.

I'm changing colors to match the paint colors. When I told Leigh I wanted to use silk ribbon on Cha, she sent me a selection of colors to match the canvas.  (Leigh Designs distributes River Silks.)  It's gorgeous stuff!  I can use as long a length as I can manage without strangling myself and the ribbon doesn't fray.  It comes in a huge array of colors and also in three widths (I'm using 4mm, the narrowest).  It's easy to stitch with and fast--my wings would be done if I didn't have to do the tent stitches around them first.  If you haven't visited the River Silks website recently, you will enjoy the new design of their gallery of items stitched with their ribbons.

I'm going to have to do the background on the other side of the left wing before I can start the red area, so you won't see progress on this tomorrow.  I'll post about something else instead of treating you to photos of more background!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ruth Dilts Profiled

One of the few stitchers I know whom I occasionally see in person is Ruth Dilts.  Ruth is funny, talented and a threadaholic (a recipe for Perfect in my book).  One of the local shops has a brief profile of Ruth up on their website.

I checked out the names of the designs that are shown in the interview to help you if you fall in love.  (Of course you can always email Scarlet Thread.)  From the top down they are:  the Mystic stained glass design, Spring Garden which looks a bit like a sundial to me, one corner of the NJ Quilt design, the dusty roses and blues of the WVA Quilt, and the very pretty Feather Fan pattern.  You can find them all here on Ruth's website.

Ruth does a lot of design work for Rainbow Gallery, including free NP designs.  Have fun exploring Rainbow Gallery's listing of free charts here.

Ruth has also done free Hardanger charts for Rainbow Gallery.

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Ruth myself.  Read more about her here-

I did a short profile of Ruth's Wisteria Kimono on Blog, too.

I own the Mystic chart.  Some day I'll stitch it, once I settle on a colorways....

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More on the Parrot Head

Embellished Ultrasuede Parrot Head
Glenis asked in the Comments yesterday if the stitch guide I'm writing for Cha will have alternate ways of finishing the parrot head for those who don't want to attach Ultrasuede to their canvas.  The answer is Yes.  One could easily just tent stitch the head the same way the body was done, add the wide diamond and diamond ray stitches on top and then add the eyebrow as the above photo shows. Whether you embroider on top of tent stitches or on top of Ultrasuede, you'll have a pretty similar look.

I prefer the smoothness of the Ultrasuede but I know some people won't be able to buy Ultrasuede in the right plum color and some people won't like the look.  Others will chicken out when it comes to cutting out fabric and appliqueing it onto a NP canvas, even though I thought it was really easy to do.  Doesn't matter. You can stitch this canvas successfully with a very similar look to mine without ever touching a piece of Ultrasuede.

And for those who wondered, yes, I did more tent stitches on the background yesterday (sigh) and started on the wings but I did not make enough progress to do photos of that yet.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Learning From Blogs (and Perle Cotton)

There are a lot of interesting projects to study on various blogs.  Are you interested in how to show perspective?  Study what Ruth did with her Maggie gardening lady canvas to make each element recede or come forward.

Here's the bare canvas Before Ruth.

By the way, there's a matching frame sold by Maggie.

Are you interested in ways to provide continuity in a design you created yourself?  Jan is facing that issue with the latest rug she is designing and writes about her solutions here.

Do faces cause you trouble when you stitch?  You may find Mary Corbet's analysis of faces on ecclesiastical embroidery as fascinating as I do.

Before I forget, Needle in a Haystack is selling their perle cotton at a big discount in preparation for their move to a new location.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Monday, July 12, 2010

Embellishing a Parrot Head

Embellishing the Parrot Head

Today's progress report shows the parrot head all decorated up!

This was really much easier than I expected.  I simply referred to my sketch plan to carefully continue the two stitches used on the body of the bird.  It is hard to do a straight line on top of a smooth fabric but I went slowly and carefully and did pull out lines that were too crooked.  Since I was using a small sharp beading needle and one ply of silk, I could remove stitches easily without leaving holes one could see in the Ultrasuede.

If you look carefully at the photo, you'll see that the embroidery on top of the parrot's head is done in two colors of silk--hot pink for the 3/4 wide diamond stitches and the diamond ray stitches inside the first stitch, then dark grape for the diamond ray stitches alone between motifs.

I discovered scattered hot pink stitches looked too busy but when I pulled them out, I felt something needed to be in the empty spaces.  So I used thread almost the same color as the Ultrasuede to stitch the single diamond rays.  This gave me texture where I wanted it but didn't make the stitching too busy.

You can also add texture by scattering tiny French knots or beads, but I wanted something even simpler and subtler.

For those who wondered, yes, I also did more tent stitching in the background last night.  I am trying to surround the wings at least as I am going to start on the feathery parts and I don't want to disturb the stitching along the wings with tent stitching.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at


Elmsley Rose asked in yesterday's comments what sort of magnets I used to hold the Ultrauede in position as I stitched it to my canvas.  She realized they would have to be small and powerful, and most of the pretty decorative magnets we can buy are neither small or really strong.  Fortunately, there are other types of magnets available.

My first strong set of magnets were rare earth magnets, recommended by folks on the ANG email list.  You can buy them from woodworking sites and science supply stores.  I have some donut shapes that are 10 mm (a bit less than half an inch) across.  DO NOT buy them any larger.  I think 3/8 inch diameter round magnets are a good size, better than my slightly larger ones, actually.  These are very strong magnets. They are hard to separate and will magnetize your needles and scissors without too much trouble.  Here's the first place I found them online.

These are not the ones I used, however.  I used a pair that were a gift from a friend but they are very much like the medium sized ones from this set.

I also have these from Romancing the Past which I like very much but they are not quite as strong.

Nordic Needle also had these similar strong, but small magnets.

I think any of these magnets will be strong enough to hold anything in place on top of your canvas while you stitch it into position.  Be careful, though.  3/8 inches in diameter is plenty big!  And keep these strong magnets away from your credit cards, your computer, or anything else that an electrical field could damage.

Great question, Megan!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Attaching a Parrot Head

Ultrasuede Parrothead
After a few more rows of tent stitches in the background, I attached the Ultrasuede parrot head to my canvas using a very strong pair of magnets.  Then with a tiny sharp beading needle, a ply of the same dark purple Gloriana silk used on the body of the bird, and my thimble at the ready, I carefully stitched around the perimeter of the fabric to attach it.  I used simple, small straight stitches and usually had no trouble penetrating the Ultrasuede.  The only hitches were when I had to pierce a canvas thread also.  I used the thimble then.

It took a while but the head is securely on now.  I will decide later whether to couch a thread around the edge of the head.  I stitched tiny stitches along one side of the eye hole to keep the fabric snug to the underlying canvas.  I will wait to see if I need to continue once I attach the long strip of ribbon floss above the eye to make the black streak painted there.

Once the eye is finished, I will embroider on top of the Ultrasuede.  I am thinking a scattering of motifs as I sketched out, not covering the fabric with a lot of embroidery.  We'll see how that works out tonight!

So far the hardest part has been cutting a smooth eye hole to allow the stitches and bead of the eye to show through.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Designing a Parrot Head

Last night was more rows of tent stitch while I sketched, then erased, various layouts of stitches for the parrot's Ultrasuede head.

The photo shows you my latest layout.  If you squint you can see where I erased smaller ray stitches around the bird's eye.

I finally decided simpler was better.  This afternoon I hope to start attaching the head so I can try this out.

It occurred to me on re-reading yesterday's posting that I wasn't too clear about the steps in stitching the parrot's head. Let me try to fix that:  The first thing I do before I even put a canvas on stretcher bars is to make a color copy of it.  For Cha I made two color copies because I already knew I wanted to do things that might involve cutting up one of the copies to use as a pattern.  I have one copy in reserve to check if I cover up things I have to stitch later.  The other copy was scissored to cut out the paper parrot head above.

I attached the paper head on top of the painted parrot head so I would know where to stop tent stitching the bird's breast and lower body.  I want the Ultrasuede piece to meet the tent stitches but not overlap them.  Once the tent stitching was finished, I put the paper head away for a while.

When I was ready, I used the paper pattern again to cut out my piece of plum colored Ultrasuede.  I used my sharpest scissors for this.  The eye hole is the hardest to do.  I punched a hole in the middle of the eye with an awl, then inserted my scissors tip to make the first cut.  I'm going to have to smooth out the hole with an Exacto knife later on today once the sun's out.

By the way, the Ultrasuede came from Orna Willis who sells small sets of assorted colors.  I didn't buy mine--I won them in a contest.  Luckily there is a wonderful plum square in my assortment.  A corner of that is now the parrot head.

The plan is to use my strong set of magnets to hold the Ultrasuede in position as I carefully stitch around the margins (using one ply of silk and a very sharp needle plus my thimble) to hold it in place.  Once that is done, I'll start adding the stitches on top whose placement I worked out in the drawing.  The plan is to continue the three-quarters wide diamond stitches at the base of the bird's neck, then put a few of the diamond rays radiating from the eye.  The last step will be to put the wide black streak over the eye. I'll use the same Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss used on the beak and claws there and tack it down with tiny stitches in the middle of the ribbon floss.

SharonG taught me to do that.  She used the same technique with 1/16 Kreinik ribbon on the free dragonfly kimono pattern she did for the American Needlepoint Guild.  She describes her technique (used to put in the grass) at the bottom of the second page of instructions for her project on the ANG website. I stitched this in purples and blues as a wallet insert.  It's gorgeous!

Back to Cha.  I have only a vague idea how this will look or whether it is going to make the canvas look the way I want, but how can I challenge you guys to make a leap into painted canvas stitching if I'm not willing to try new things publicly myself?

Wish me luck!  [Jane holds her nose and leaps off the cliff into the deep water below.  Wheeeeeeee!]

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at