Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bling in the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm a bling kind of girl so what better day to post about my favorite bling than on New Year's Eve the blingiest of holidays.

Okay, I'm seriously doing my part to add a little extra bling to Christmas. Halloween will be next, but New Years, what is it without bling!

I'm totally addicted to the new Swarovski 2mm round crystals. They have a sparkle that is unmatched by anything else. Since they are tiny and round they easily fit needlepoint canvas. The 2mm round crystals are about the same size as a size 11 seed bead, but oh the sparkle. It makes my heart beat fast. All those places I typically use seed beads, now I use crystals.

This is the color card complete with real 4 mm crystals sewn on in 80+ colors. Oh my! The 2mm round are not yet available in all these colors but the larger sizes are and there's plenty of places we can use them in needlepoint too.

So, you can see why I had to add the crystals to our store. We have the full line of 2mm in stock now!

More bling to follow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you are all enjoying your holidays with family and friends. Today was quiet and I was able to finish Merry Christmas!

I couldn't wait to share. It seemed appropriate to post this early and not wait until Sunday night after class.

Some of the squares repeat techniques from previous squares for balance. Others use new threads and of course more crystals. I've always loved crystals but now more than ever they seem to really be the answer.

Beads are great, but you run the risk that a finish could come off over time or that the lining could change color. Crystals are what they are. They don't change and the sparkle is simply amazing! It's swarovski!!

I had really been looking forward to working these two squares. I knew I wanted to use iron-on crystal trim for the lime stripes. The ornament, well the ornament is just fun. It works up quickly and is just the balance the design needs.

All that's left is the center square.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ready for Santa

Thanks to Mother Nature dropping 20 inches of snow on us yesterday I am semi-snowbound. Now, maybe if I had a 4 wheel drive car (santa are you listening?)or if I didn't live at the bottom of a hill that is also a dead end I might have gotten out today. Maybe tomorrow.

Good news is that I did get to play santa's elf and get a little more prepared for the fat man's visit.

I also got to revamp the blog so that I can add bigger pictures. Lets see what you think.

I used to be so over the top that I would move all the stuff that sits out all year long to the basement for the holidays and put out nothing but Christmas. That's a good plan, but time is getting the best of me so now, Christmas gets scattered in with the art pieces.

The peppermint santa fits in nicely with faux orchids.

Here's my village tree with a few gift boxes beneath it.

And a few more pretty gift boxes that mom stitched.

This is my favorite combination of ornaments on the tree this year. Hearts covered in swarovski crystals, my original santa ornament collection, crystal covered jingle bells and pink and green beaded garland. You knew it would be pink and green didn't you?

Isn't santa fun?

Last but not least is my stitching santa reminding me to get back to stitching. I have many stitches to finish before Christmas.

Happy Holidays to everyone.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the Limelight

A fellow blogger, Susan Elliott was in the shop on Saturday. She is Plays-with-needles listed in the right sidebar of the blog.

I love her blog. It's always so fresh and happy and filled with beautiful pictures.

Speaking of beautiful pictures, check out the post she did on the shop.

Susan, I am honored and impressed seeing the shop through your eyes. I think I want to live there. OOPS! I already do. How cool is that?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Beginning to Feel a lot Like Christmas

It's less than 2 weeks until Christmas and our Merry Christmas Mystery Class is really taking shape! Today was lesson 5. We accomplished more squares than usual, but some were repeats and others were super easy.

The holly was our feature this afternoon. Well, really the holly berries where the feature. You know I love my crystals. I've been working beads and crystals into my needlepoint since the beginning but lately I've been turning up the volume. More crystals and better crystals. I love Swarovski.

The berries are covered in 2mm Swarovski crystals. These crystals are roughly the size of an 11o seed bead, but they are round and have tons of tiny facets on them. So the sparkle is amazing! If I only need a bead here or there or if I plan on alternating beads with stitches, crystals are the way to go.

Since I'm day by day becoming more of a crystal junkie I'll be putting them in the shop very soon for all to enjoy.

Gee what mischief do you think I will get into for the ornament?

I have to confer with Santa on that detail. Meet me back here the Sunday after Christmas and I'll let you know what we decide.

Until then, Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Now where are those Spring Flowers???

Woo Hoo! Mellow Yellow is back from the finisher and they did a great job. It's gorgeous! Don't you just love the handles? Hot pink leather, an orange lining and beautious beaded handles.

Now where are my Spring Flowers so that I can carry it?

Guess I'm going to have to wait a few months, but until then it certainly is pretty.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Another signature for our wall

This is such a fun addition to the classroom. We have a large framed print of the bee from our logo and each time a teacher comes to inspire us or a designer comes to visit I ask them to autograph the board. As we look back we will remember all the fun we have had.

Brenda Hart has been here many times since we opened and her signature means the world to me. She is a very talented designer and teacher not to mention a dear friend. We have a blast every minute we are together whether it is brainstorming stitches, sniping about what crazy idea she wants me to try with one ply of silk or shopping.

Kudos to you Brenda. You are the best.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Light your fire

Well as you can guess today's Merry Christmas Mystery lesson was the candle. Light your fire is the perfect name for the sparkling candle accented with sequins and beads.

This week's lesson really is a quick stitch.

The candle is of course the star of the show. The candle flame is Water N'Ice in Long Stitch and it just sparkles!!! The candle itself is 3 different stitches all quick and fun to do. The dripping candle wax is another quickie, flair in long stitches. Now here's a little side note, if you want your candle wax to have a little yellow cast from the reflection of the candle flame, stitch areas in yellow first in plain old basketweave and then add the long stitches of flair over the top. The yellow shows through just a bit. Very cool effect.

We also did the green square in Star Octagon Stitch - that's a fun little stitch that looks great in a combination of silk and metallic.

Haven't decided if I want to do the ornament or the holly yet. Depends what arrives in beads and crystals early this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Merry Christmas Poinsettia

Today was the day we tackled the poinsettia in the Merry Christmas Mystery Class. We're coming along. When you look at it, we've already completed quite a few squares.

I really like the poinsettia. And not just because there are crystals in the center. While that isn't a bad thing, that's not the only thing I like about it.

We started with T Stitch in Sparkle Braid covering all the petals and allowing just a bit of the shading to show through. Now, here's the cool part. After all the T Stitch was done we filled in some of the open stitches with Tent Stitch in a darker shade of Sparkle Braid. It's just enough to make the shading pop.

This is a great technique for anything that is painted with a lot of shades and tones. One color of one thread across everything in an open stitch and then enhance the dark shadows.

To really bring the Poinsettia to live we added veins in Chain Stitch and Stem Stitch and of course crystals in the center.

We also finished two other small squares in class!

I'm off to start lesson #4. Wonder what fun we can have there.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Perfect Pears

Apparently I have a thing for needlepoint pears.

Vintage Pears is a Melissa Shirley canvas that I just love. Beverly Churchfield did the stitchguide for it and it is amazing. The stitch selections and thread selections are so much fun they really take the canvas to the next level.

I added pears to my line of handpainted canvases this Summer. We have the large and small sizes to fit in different sizes of Stirling bags. This is the large size and it fits the smaller Stirling tote.

And here's the small size that fits in the shoulder bag or the accessory bag. The design looks good both horizontal and vertical. Stitch it up and decide on the bag later. One of my smarter moments :-)

This isn't a new obsession for pears. Back in the late 90's (yes, I've been around that long) I designed Gilded Pears, a counted work piece. It's also available as a painted canvas with a stitch guide.

I guess its true, I have a thing for needlepoint pears.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Merry Christmas Lesson #2

Here we go. Lesson #2 of the Merry Christmas canvas was today at the shop. We tackled a few more squares. Still many to go but this is a great way to stay on track and feel like you are accomplishing lots! Little goals do the trick.

Today we did simple Long Stitch triangles in 2 of the squares. Nothing exotic, we needed an easy square to get us started today.

We made a big sparkly pink snowflake. I'm convinced the world would be a better place if it snowed pink. Maybe some purple too. You may have noticed that I like bling. I also try to go for the unexpected, so rather than completely beading the snowflake which was my first thought, I put beads in the background. It's just a bit of glitter. The snowflake itself is a Laid Filling Stitch. Long Stitches of Perle Cotton overstitched with Petite Sparkle Rays. The final touch are the crystals on top for a little more sparkle.

We also did the diagonal pink and white striped section at the top. It's the easy sections that give me the most pause. The stripes aren't painted on a true diagonal nor are they perfectly even, so I had to do something that didn't work against those things. It's nothing more elaborate than Long Stitches but then I ruched Petite Sparkle Rays and couched it in place to make the sections divide with a little bit of frosty magic. Not a bad solution.

That's it for this lesson. It's super quick to stitch. All of you lovely ladies who are trying to play catch up because you have just received your canvas or are still waiting, here's your chance!

More bling to follow.......

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What a Wonderful Weekend

You can not imagine how much fun we had last weekend. We had just unpacked the store and were open to welcome customers Tuesday morning.

Thursday night Caela Conn Tyler came to teach 3 days of exceptional classes for us. Oh the fun! Friday we had a wonderful lecture/spontaneous painted canvas embellishment class and then Saturday and Sunday we stitched Piazza San Marco.

Piazza is a gorgeous piece and so much fun to stitch. Caela has worked out all the details. All we had to do was relax and follow along on the journey. We did have to count but no one seemed to mind. We were entranced with the project. If you have the chance to take Piazza San Marco do so, you will love the project and the class.

Caela is a truly gracious teacher willing to share her talents and skills. We've already invited her back!

You can see our new classroom in these photos. The space is quite comfortable. Plenty of room for everyone!

One of the new additions to the classroom is this large poster of our Bee. I'm asking each of the teachers to autograph it when they come to visit. It will be a great reminder of all the years of fun, learning and friendship we are going to have in this space.

I can't wait to watch it all unfold!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We're Open!

The new store is unpacked and ready for primetime viewing. It really is a very cool space that I think you are going to enjoy. All the stuff that made the old store so me is still here along with lots of fun new things to explore. The walls are still my funky shade of lime green that just makes everything happy. Some of the floors have tiger carpet. (More to come later) All in all a very good move.

The move was especially good thanks to the help of a group of very dear friends who kicked in and went well beyond the call of duty to get us unpacked and prettied up in just 48 hours!!! You girls rock!

I've attached lots of pics and will add more in the next few days. Our big (and I do mean big) sign is being installed on Thursday. That will make it super easy for you to find us.

Let's go for a tour of the front room.....

Our pretty armoire is the first thing to welcome you as you enter. Currently it is all decked out for Halloween.

The chandelier made the move safe and sound. Every needlepoint store needs its icon.

The wall to the right of the front counter will feature our current and upcoming clubs and classes. In other words, this is where the action is!

Models, gifts and treasures are here to tempt you.

One of our big canvas walls is currently all Christmas. You know I love Christmas!

What? A doorway? A hall filled with DMC and Anchor threads? More areas to explore.

At the back of the front room, can you see, there's another room with more canvases!!! This will be the trunkshow room. All of our designer catalogs are here too, so this is the perfect place to hang out and plan that next great project.

There you have it. Tour du jour part one. Pictures of the exterior and the classroom and the counted canvaswork room to follow as soon as I catch my breath.

thank you all for loving the shop and what we do in it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Merry Christmas -- Ho Ho Ho

Well, where to begin. At the beginning of course... Today was the first day of our Merry Christmas Mystery Class. I know, you think I am crazy having class today when we move the store tomorrow, but it was important, so we did it. (Many of you who have ordered this class to be shipped long distance will find your supplies arriving next week. There are still some canvases to ship as I am waiting for more to arrive.)

Raymond Crawford designed this canvas and it is charming. It's my mission to kick it up a notch. You know, add a little bling.

We started with the borders which I wanted to be a little more whimsical. All gold was just too traditional. They are now tiny red and gold checks. We also tackled 2 tiny squares. In my mind, the small squares should be little jewels as in a quilt, while allowing the iconic squares to steal the show.

Another challenge with this canvas is that it isn't stitch painted. There's nothing wrong with that, it just means that your little squares vs my little squares may be different sizes. I have to take that into account and not do my typical OCD planning. That's hard for me :-)

Hope you like what you see.

On to the move. Here we go. We're all packed and the movers come tomorrow. We can do it! It's going to be great! Pictures soon. I promise.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not So Mellow Yellow

I just had to share. Sue has been taking my Mellow Yellow Mystery Class at the shop but made one major change....the background. We picked a different stitch and different threads so that the background could be changed from pink to black. I've included this option in the stitchguide so that others can change too. Everything else is pretty much the same as on mine.

It looks great! It makes all the colors pop! One small change can change the feel of the entire piece.

It's off to the finisher for mine so we'll have new pictures when it returns. Mellow Yellow and Not So Mellow Yellow..... Oh what fun!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mellow Yellow now complete!

It's finished and I love it! I'm really quite pleased with how this Melissa Shirley canvas turned out. I've been stitching this canvas and teaching it at the shop as a Mystery Class. With each lesson, a new section of the canvas is revealed stitched.

Each section was a challenge to make the flowers and butterflies move forward and back in space as they should. In the end the flowers have the charm and whimsy that I wanted.

Since I last posted 2 weeks ago I completed the yellow flower on the right. The cool thing about this flower is that it uses one of those overdyes that has many different colors in it. The kind of overdye we all buy because it is pretty but we never really know what to do with it. This one had yellow and pink and green and orange all in the same thread. It's called Miami Deco and it's by Gloriana Threads. It became the perfect outline around the flower petals. How cute is that?

The other challenge on this canvas was the final butterfly. This butterfly needed to be the item that comes forward in the design. It needed to project in front of the zinnias and the other flowers. WOW, what to do? I decided on wired ribbon. 1.5" in width, folded and pleated to make wings. They are fluffy and cute and create just the effect I wanted.

Next step is finishing so off to the finisher it goes. I'll post pictures when it returns. Until then, I'll be stitching and teaching our next Mystery Class - Merry Christmas by Raymond Crawford!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Progress is being made

I promise, pictures are coming. The new space will be ready in a week. Can you believe it? Probably not, but I have a great contractor and he's getting the job done.

Ceiling is in
Lights abound
There are holes cut in walls (I know, it sounds weird, but trust me this is a good thing)
Paint is on the walls (Yes, it's green)
Carpet arrives on Friday and then the games can begin!

We will be closed on the 18th of October so that we can move more efficiently but other than that, business as usual. We are still open in our regular location in Cockeysville.

Our hours at the new store will remain the same, so come see the new shop after the 20th of October

1520 York Road, Cockeysville, MD 21093

See you soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sometimes Life Throws You A Curve

So here we are happily hosting classes with teachers, Brenda Hart was just here and Caela Conn Tyler is coming in a few weeks, and running our very own Mystery Classes. All is right with my little part of the needlepoint world.

We were a smidge cramped for space. Not terrible most class days, but I could see it coming. Needlepointers like to spread out.

So, we start planning on taking over part of the space next door. It was vacant and would be perfect for a classroom. Merrily we go along when woosh, they pulled the carpet out from under me. After 4 months of thinking the space was ours and that the buildout would be starting momentarily we find that the space has been leased from under us.

We have to move. Okay, not on my radar for this week, this month or even this year, but what's a girl to do?

So, the search began... Brenda Hart was here in the midst of this turmoil and was very patient with the drive bys we did of potential locations on the way too and from class.

The really good news is that we found a darling space. It's bigger than what we have with a huge classroom. Good parking. I won't say great, but good and easier than what we have. Walking distance to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, Dunkin Donuts and a seafood restaurant.

Hours will be the same. We only plan on closing for one day- a Sunday.

So, the renovation begins today.

We'll be in the space for Caela's class in October. It's going to be quite a ride. Stay tuned, I'll post pictures soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The zinnias are just amazing. The moment I saw this canvas I knew how I wanted to stitch the zinnias. I had to do my background first and a few other flowers but now the zinnias are in bloom!!!! Six colors of River Silks 7mm ribbon and a handful of swarovski crystals and we have the most beautiful flowers. They are quick to stitch so no complaints there.

The butterfly was another challenge. It had to look light and airy but yet sit in front of the zinnias. Thanks to the magic of Basketweave Twill, one of my favorite stitches, and beads I was able to make that happen.

One more flower and one more butterfly and this gorgeous canvas will be complete. Hmmmm, how shall we stitch them? More beads? More ribbons? Must go play.

Another Great Weekend

This post is a little late but sometimes life just throws you some curves. More about that later.

Brenda Hart teacher extraordinaire was here for 3.5 wonderful days of classes last weekend. We stitched, we brainstormed, we laughed and we stitched some more.

Everyone had a different canvas and Brenda had great suggestions for each of us. There was a Brenda Stofft witch, a Tapestry Tent stocking, a Laurel Burch mermaid, Leigh's horse Blaze, a Leigh cat. Each canvas more beautiful and fun than the next.

I can't wait to show you some of the canvases as they are finished.

Each teacher has his or her own style. That's the fun of this. There are no right or wrong answers. I do love taking classes and I love bringing them to you.

Brenda will be back next Spring and maybe before. Maybe you can join us.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Meet the girls

It's time to unveil my latest club -- The gifted ladies. Here's one of the girls.

And another

And another

Each of the girls in the series has a gift to give or a gift she has just received. Wouldn't these be fun to stitch and give to your girl friends. I used all kinds of fun embellishments on their hats and boxes. Of course there are beads and metallics.

Have fun. The club starts shipping December 2009, so sign up early!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The flowers are blooming

OOOH! I'm really pleased with how our flowers are blooming.

This week we added 2 flowers, the one on the right side of the canvas is the furthest in the distance. It needed a subtle pattern that wouldn't compete with the background or the rest of the flowers. It also needed the pretty shading to show through. Laid Filling Stitch to the rescue!

The daffodil on the left provided quite a challenge. I wanted it to be soft so that the center of the flower would be the star but I wanted the petals to separate from one another. Lots of experimenting later and I found the perfect combination of stitches. Both are very similar starting with a diamond grid but then are embellished differently. The addition of metallics and beads create the allusion that some petals come slightly forward while others recede.

The center of the flower is just too cute if I say so myself. I found wonderful mini trim at the last tradeshow that I am in love with! That combined with a field of folded ribbon roses gives the center of the flower the punch that it needs. Of course the addition of a Swarovski Margarita doesn't hurt :-)

I'm off to create more blooms and blossoms; we're almost there!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A New On-Line Community just for us!

I would like to introduce you to a new web community that I think you will enjoy-Stitcherie.

There are lots of online communities, facebook, yahoo groups etc but I was thinking what fun it could be to have a community that is all about stitching. I was also thinking about the interface on these other community sites and to me they just aren't user friendly or pretty. So, I built an online community just for us stitchers! (Yes, I'm a geek.)

Stitcherie is a community where needleworkers of all skill levels and interests can join together to:
discuss their projects
ask questions
share new ideas
and most of all have fun!

When you go to the site you will see we've created a few groups to start. Join a group that interests you. Introduce yourself and watch your network of others who also love to stitch expand.

If you want to create your own group you can do that too. Tell us what you are working on, others stitching the same project may want to join you in a group.

Maybe you are looking for other stitchers in your area to stitch with. Create a group — network, don't be shy.

You can post pictures of projects you are working on or projects you have finished. Post events that others may enjoy. There is so much you can do!

It's all free and it's visually appealing! You know I like pretty.

I hope you will explore Stitcherie and I hope you will find it as fun as I do.
This is a brand new venture and we hope you will join us in making it a success.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Barbie goes Needlepoint

I may be just about the only one who finds this so amusing but then again.

I love Barbie. I don't collect, but I still have great appreciation for the beautiful gowns and vast amount of pink that is Barbie.

Johnathan Adler is now designing for Barbie! Johnathan Adler's style is eye-poppingly "happy chic". The iconic mod designer and iconic pop culture princess have come together to make the Malibu Dream House a reality and it is oh so cool.

Jonathan Adler - Barbie Malibu Dream House:

There is Barbie complete with Johnathan Adler furniture. Too cute! or real size furniture and accessories in perfect Barbie style. You can tell by looking at it, that it is just my style.

Love the dress too!

To further add to my delight he is producing his gorgeous lacquer accessories in hot pink. (Yes, I ordered some) and drumroll please needlepoint accessories! Okay, we could stitch them better and more interestingly but these are darn cool for mass produced items.

Barbie Jonathan Adler CollectionBarbie Jonathan Adler Collection

Love the words pillow!

and the Johnathan Adler Barbie Manifesto

We believe that your home should make you happy.

We believe that girls can do anything.

We believe that stilettos can never be too high.

We believe in a dream house, a dream car and a dream life.

We believe Barbie doll is fabulous!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mellow Yellow continues to grow

Mystery Class - Mellow Yellow part 2 was so much fun! We added leaves and stems this week.

The floral collage is developing into sort of a quilt-like design. I love the leaves, the polka dots on them are actually heshi shells! Perfect little flat white discs. The stems and leaves are stitched in River Silks Ribbon - Yum!

We also stitched the small flowers floating in the background. Petite Frosty Rays was the answer for these. Light and frothy and ethereal.

Now, I'm off to start stitching the next sections. What shall it be?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Color Trivia

I stumbled on this on another website and it was just too cool not to share. Check this out. How many colors do you see?

Your eyes cheat your brain - The Green and The Blue Illusion

You think you see, pink, blue, orange and green right?

The blue and the green are really the same color! If you take it into photoshop you'll see I'm not kidding.

Here's the colors the swirl is really made of.

So other than, gee this is a cool trick what does it have to do with needlepoint. Visual blending! Stitch with one color on a different color canvas. Do they still look like the original pure colors? Not always they interact with each other.

In this case the pink is making the green look blue. How cool is that?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Class #1

This was the weekend — the first Mellow Yellow Class! Melissa Shirley designed this great purse canvas that we unveiled at our trunkshow in April.

I am designing a stitch guide for it and teaching it sort of as a mystery class. Every few weeks we meet and I unveil the next section stitched.

First we tackled the background.

It's unconventional to stitch the background first in needlepoint, but there are times it is a great solution. Our background pattern is a fun repeat of octagons. It's a lot easier to count octagons throughout the background when you don't have to work around previous stitches. We just stitched, counted across open areas and viola, the background began to come to life.

The pattern uses 3 threads to complete the stitch. First a metallic and then vineyard silk in beautiful Scotch Stitches followed by little accents of an overdye silk. All combined it makes for an elegant background reminiscent of a quilted Chanel bag — perfect for a girlie pink handbag and just what I wanted.

A fun time was had by all. Stayed tuned and in a few weeks there will be more to see!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Remember my Compulsions

It's about time I posted something with a picture. We need more color.

You may or may not remember that a month or so ago I posted how incredibly O C D I could be. I spent an entire evening looking for just the perfect tote bag to go with a piece of needlepoint.

I ended up with 4. Here's my silly rantings on that evening.

Once they came I sent the favorite tote of the moment to the finisher along with the needlepoint dutifully embellished with more than enough crystals for any self respecting tote bag.

Here's what arrived today. Do you my finisher and I are in synch? It's fabulous! She of course added even more crystals - Crystals all around the border of the needlepoint. The crazy tassel is her addition. It has a pink bird on it just like the birds on the elephant. Too fun.

This will be my needlepoint bag. Not my bag for projects but the supply bag. That has embellishments and beading supplies and pliers in it.

I love it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Woo Hoo a Spiffy New Look for the blog!

Hi All

Just wanted to show off the new look for the blog. I decided that after 96 posts it was time for a face lift. Guess that's like 70+ people years.

Not only do we have the new look but we now have google search on the page so if you lose a post, but remember that it had something to do with purple monkeys you may just be able to find it via the search box.

Next trick will be adding a listing of all my favorite blogs to the page. Hopefully we'll figure that out toot sweet. I may just know of a few that you haven't stumbled upon yet. There's always hope.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So Many Opinions

Wow, I seem to have hit a nerve with my last post. I've been reading other blogs and comments on mine and it's all very interesting.

We all have our favorite things about this hobby. We can all agree that we love it, love the colors, love the threads and for us no matter how we do it, it's relaxing. Some find relaxation in plain basketweave, others in fancy stitches, others in counted work, yet others in random surface embroidery on canvas. Yes, I did say random. :-) Sometimes it just depends on the day of the week what is relaxing.

So, as there are many different options for doing the craft, there are just as many options for who we as designers are trying to reach. We want to see this art continue.

I remember my very first piece of needlepoint. I took a summer class just after 6th grade and diligently finished a sampler. It was probably 14 x 14 on 13ct. Stitched in acrylic yarn in somewhat fancy stitches. It had a heart, a sailboat, a kite, my name in the middle and something else. Okay, I was bored then, but I was told that I had to do that or I couldn't do something that I liked better. A friend of mine points out that I could be the poster child for ADD. I admit to having the attention span of a gnat. I'm also not a good doodle cloth, practice stitcher kind of gal.

I did learn in that class so many years ago that I loved threads and wanted to play with them and that love never faded. I've tried all kinds of different things. Some experiments I decide are a bad plan and I will never do again. Bobbin lace falls in that category. Bobbin Lace isn't fast nor is it friendly for pick it up, put it down working.

So, back to topic..... We all know that the way to reach a certain group of stitchers is with a good design and a basic stitch. My point with the last post was simply how do we reach a different group of stitchers - the younger ladies who I see come into the shop. They are attracted to the fancy stuff, they want to learn, they want to complete the piece but wow what a pile of threads that they don't yet understand. For that one segment of future stitchers I offer to simply start writing my own stitch guides slightly differently, including a master list of threads and threads for a section at a time. If this allows the new stitcher (who may not be truly a new stitcher but may only be new to stitch guides) a moment to breathe that's a good thing.

I want to see this art continue and evolve. To do that we need a little of this and a little of that basketweave, fancy stitches, painted canvases, line drawn canvases, counted work. We need it all and more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Stitchers

I've been thinking and talking to people and thinking some more about how we get younger stitchers comfortable with what we know and love - lots of stitches and lots of threads.

I'm not talking kids. That's a different group but what can we do to help the 20 - 40 year olds who are interested but overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what's now available? Where do they begin?

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she made some very good points that I think I'm going to try. She was thinking about a friend of hers who is semi-crafty might like to learn but wow, look at this pile of threads. Look at the price of the threads. She has a 6 year old son and is a single mom so we have to be smart with money and her time.

Step one select a canvas.

Step two, hopefully the canvas has a stitch guide so that once at home she won't panic. Otherwise the shop can help with this.

This is all good but even with a small canvas as a beginner you and I both know the cost of the project is mounting. Canvas, threads, stretcher bars. All that stuff that we need and love.....

We know she can buy her threads a few at a time but as a beginner, how does she begin to know that without agonizing over the stitch guide. Where to begin?

Lightbulb moment!!! Here's the suggestion. Write the stitch guide in segments. Okay, we do that. We as stitch guiders write the instructions a section at a time telling the stitcher exactly what to do where, but what we fail to do is tell them what threads they will need for just this section of the project. So, instead of here's the grocery list for the entire 4 course meal here's the grocery list just for desert. Wow, cool!

Encourage a new stitcher to buy just enough for this one section, make it easy and friendly and then invite them back with project in hand for the next segment of the project.

We can now break a stitch guide into more manageable bites and quickly learn what newbies are loving and what they may be struggling with. We make it fun and social. It's just a quick trip to the local needlepoint store to pick up a few things on a manageable budget.

I'm going to try it. Watch my new stitch guides and see what you think. We'll have a master thread list of all threads needed for a project along with threads for each section.

Looking forward to hearing from you on this idea.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Captain Crunch French Toast

Okay, here's a little bit about me that you probably don't know and maybe don't want to know. I can't cook. I can bake because it's mathematical and very OCD (See earlier post where I admit that compulsion.)

Basically, I have no real interest in spending a lot of time cooking and then eating in 2 minutes. At least with dessert you have leftovers.

I do however love the Food Network. Of course we all have our favorites. Mine happens to be Guy Fieri. I'll watch him cook anything and I will say that the few things that I have attempted following his recipes have been awesome. Can't say that for the rest of the things I have tried after watching shows from other hosts.

Besides a great cooking show, Guy also hosts Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. This show is rather like watching a train wreck. You just can't turn away no matter how hard you try. It has no purpose, what are the odds you are going to end up in any of these locales?

Guy came to our fair state who knows how long ago and visted the Blue Moon Cafe in Baltimore's Fells Point.

The Blue Moon Cafe is about as big as a minute and apparently serves Captain Crunch French Toast. So, finally ages later we go. The Captain Crunch French Toast isn't even on the menu. That gave me pause. Fortunately our waitress was also the owner and said no problem. She promptly brought it with what she calls the food pyramid on top, whipped cream, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

Here it is, this amazing concoction that takes Captain Crunch my favorite cereal to eat right out of the box as a kid to new heights.

Pretty, huh?

There you have it, nothing to do with stitching but if you ever find yourself in Baltimore with a hankering for Captain Crunch here's your destination.

Happy 4th of July.
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