Monday, April 23, 2012

Do You Feel Lucky?

If you are feeling lucky today, check out the sale page for Amy Bunger's Golden Strand. Amy puts shop sale items there once a month, then each week the percentage off drops.  This is the last week of the sale for April, so canvases are fifty percent off.  If you are lucky there is something perfect for you at a very good price.  If there's not something whispering your name, the May sale might have just what you've been looking for, although at less of a discount at first.

While you are there, you can check out the What's New page to see new designs,

check out the latest additions to Amy's extensive catalogue of stitch guides,

not to mention the latest additions to Robin King's extensive catalogue of stitch guides,

and catch up on the Wednesday Wisdom postings by Amy.  (click on Expand All to see the answers to the questions)

Even if you never make it to Memphis to visit Amy's shop, the Internet can take you there to enjoy Amy's company and sales!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Where to Get Floor Frames for Evertites?

Yesterday KL posted a comment on an older article here at Blog, one where I reviewed Evertite stretcher bars. Here's the link to the review.

The comment read in full, "Where to buy a floor frame to hold the Evertite while stitching?"  It's an ambiguous question.  Is KL asking me what shops sell floor frames?  Or is KL asking what floor frames are likely to be able to hold the heavier-than-usual Evertites?

Let's look at the second question first.  Evertites are heavier and thicker than the stretcher bars we normally see used with needlepoint canvas.  This video from Needlepoint Now magazine shows stretcher bars being assembled and a canvas attached to them.

Compare that video to this photographic essay on putting linen on Evertites and you can see that the Evertites are probably a third thicker.  They are at least twice as heavy, perhaps more.  I haven't weighed a set of comparable sizes but trust me, there is a big difference!

This means you need a floor frame that has a very stable base and that also has an adjustable clamp to grab any size stretcher bars, from the very skinny ones to Evertites.  I use the K's metal floor stand which has a clamp that works very well with Evertites.  But look at the base.  It is a metal plate.  I usually stitch with that plate under my chair leg for stability but what if you like to have your floor stand right in front of you instead of to the side?  K's has now created a wooden base that works with their metal stand to provide more stability and to accommodate those who just don't like the Big Foot metal plate type of stand.  K's also has a very stable wooden frames called the Ultimate Stitching Station and the Basic Stitching Station.  I've heard that you can get accessories called Universal Clamps that adjust to any size or type of frame and even will hold Q Snaps.  I have no personal experience with this type of frame, though.  You can see the K's metal stand with the Big Foot metal plate base, the new wooden frame base for the metal stand and the all wooden Ultimate Stitching Station at Stitcher's Paradise, which is a good place to buy floor frames.

Stitcher's Paradise also has photographs of the Lowery floor stand on their site.  It is quite similar to the K's metal stand but the metal plate is larger and the clamp is slightly different.  Friends with Lowery floor stands rave about them, although I have not used this frame.  I'd appreciate anyone with Lowery/Evertites experience to let us know how well they work together in the comments.

It looks like the System Four (which is perfect for sitting in front of the stitcher's chair) has a very stable base.  I have not used this frame although I have friends who have it and love it.  The photographs on the Threadneedle Street website (this is a good place to buy floor frames, by the way) show the clamp holding Evertites, so it looks like the System Four will work.  I'd appreciate anyone with System Four/Evertites experience to let us know how well they work together in the comments.

Mary Corbet has done a review of the System Four which has lots of photographs of this stand in action.  Be sure you read all the comments at the bottom of the article if you are interested in getting a System Four.  Mary says she uses Evertites with her System Four all the time but you do need the "frame clamp" accessory.  Mary does embroidery, not much needlepoint, so she probably has a variety of heads to accommodate hoops and other non-stretcher bars.

You might also be interested in hearing from a very happy customer of the System Four. I've posted the most about the System Fours, but I have to say I wouldn't trade my K's metal stand for any other.  It suits me best.

KL, I hope all this answers your questions.  Please note that there are many frames I haven't mentioned that will work, but since a lot of them are not made by U.S. companies, I confined my comments to floor frames that are easily available to American needlepointers.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Color Variations Chart

If you are a fan of DMC's Color Variations overdyed cotton floss, you'll want to bookmark this chart on the DMC site that tells you what solid colors coordinate with each Color Variations skein.  This will be especially useful if you have to mail order your threads as it takes the guesswork out of what solids match the overdyes.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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The Little Black Dress

Belleza's Dress
I've had several people tell me that they were dying to catch a new glimpse of Belleza, my Day of the Dead canvas I'm stitching for Tapestry Fair.  (Several other folks have asked me what on earth one does with a canvas like this once it is stitched, but for me it's the journey, not the end product and she is a model so Belleza's not really something that will live in CH for long.  She will go to Tapestry Fair and visit the trade shows, probably framed.)  This posting is for Belleza's fans.

If you look at the photos of Belleza (purple background) and her companion Pocito (green background) on the upper left corner, you'll see that Belleza wears a rather plain dress.  Pocito's is much fancier with lots of colors, but poor Belleza is wearing basic black if you ignore the lime and black arm trim and the orange/white/purple neck hole trim.  These outfits are called huipil, by the way.  They are a sort of sleeveless tunic.

I felt a little sorry for her having such a plain dress and decided I'd dress up the black area somehow to balance out the fancy floral headdress.  But how?  If you've ever stitched with black threads on black painted areas, you know how any fancy stitch disappears.  There isn't enough contrast for the stitch to show up. I decided my options were a) use another color than black and an open stitch to add texture and color; b) use a sparkly black thread and a stitch that would add texture to the huipil; or c) stick to plain black and a simple stitch like basketweave or interlocking gobelin for the dress and let her necklace dominate the area.

I ruled out c) immediately as I wanted to fancy up the area some.  Since there is orange and white and purple and lime green trim on the dress I decided I'd not go with a), either.  There were too many colors I had to make nice with.  That left b) a sparkly black thread.

The Pavilions With a Few Beads Added

I choose to use Silk Lame Braid and a simple modified pavilion stitch for the dress.  Pavilions are diamond-shaped stitches and that shape is roughly the shape of her necklace, so I thought it was appropriate.  You can't really see the stitch shape well in the photograph but it is a diamond with the bottom point empty.  I put a bead there.  I actually used the purple beads in the photo above just because they'd show up well in the stitch guide photo to explain what I was doing but I liked the light lilac shade so well that I ended up beading the entire dress with them.

Hope you like it as much as I do!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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