Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.

Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.

Yesterday was “Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.” I have actively celebrated this for the past two years, you can click on hari-kuyo in the Categories list to see my other posts. Many fellow bloggers celebrate this festival too, so just check your other blogs or Google the festival. . If you would like to see how the ladies in the orient honor their prized possession here are a few links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari-Kuyo

Yesterday I spent a few hours preparing my wonderful previously stitched with needles for my “Harikuyo – Broken Needle Festival.” Last year I wrapped my needles in the same way I did this year; I have not yet decided how to permanently honor these old friends. I don’t want to put them in the ground; it is too cold and I don’t want them to eventually work up to the surface and hurt someone. One of my DiLs suggested I re-purpose them and do something creative with them to give them a new permanent life. Good idea just has not figured out what that will be.

I have thought about mingling them with the orts of the threads they so loyally helped onto my canvases to create the needlework I enjoy. I have kept orts and placed them in clear balls to decorate a stitching tree. And while this is an excellent idea it is so seasonal that I am waiting for inspiration to hit me for a more year-round idea. Any suggestions?

I kept last year’s packet on my desk to remind me that my needles are a very important part of my work and that I need to treat them with respect. I try to remember that like stitchers, needles come is different types and each has a purpose.

The Chenille friends are very much like my Tapestry friends but they have a sharp point…their numbers are even the same. I love the fact that the larger the needle size in Tapestry and Chenille needles, the smaller the needle…it’s good to know that larger can be smaller.  Chenille needles make it easier to pierce the needlepoint canvas when necessary and also they pass through layers with easy. I’m sure when I use my Chenille needles for this purpose my Tapestry needles are very relieved; because if I forget I usually end up pushing or pulling the Tapestry needle with needle-nosed pliers and sometimes I injure the eye of the needle and, sad to say, it will often join other fallen needles in the loved, used and put away area.

I seem to be most hard on the eyes of my needles. I think I sometimes try and make small needle do the job of one of its larger sisters. I will put a thread through the eye and then have to push and tug the needle…and I know this is not good on the needle or the thread.

Happily, I noticed I have very few broken Tapestry and Chenille but my beading needles are another story; I am really tough on these poor girls. I love the look of beading; I think I just do not enjoy the process. I have been known not only to break these fragile girls but to destroy a bead or two in the process. And their eyes are so fine and thin…not to mention the rest of them…I think it must be a bit of needle envy on my part…never was I this fine and thin.

And sad to say, this year my regular sewing needles and sewing machine needles are in short supply in the loved , used and put away area. This is not because I treat them better it is because I have not been using them. I’m hoping that this year will put a different perspective on these workhorse ladies of needlework and stitching. I keep many different types and sizes of needles in my sewing area; I have sewing machine needles from heavy duty to sheer and light; the Embroidery, sharps and millenary ladies all have their jobs and the needles are sized to do them.  I love my curved needle for those hard to stitch areas; they seem to breeze through like a lady waltzing with her favorite guy. All of these lovely needles are in my finishing sewing boxes (yes I have two) in my needlework finishing area.

So for now until I have that ah-ha moment; I have wrapped and will keep  my wrapped needles of honor on my desk to remind me this year to better about using the correct needle for the job and not to abuse and hurt them but to retire them with love and memories of jobs well done.

Thank you for stopping by and today you must find time to stitch.

 

ttfn…sue

1st Valentine’s Day Present

Last week I received a package I forgot I ordered, so I ‘m thinking it is my early Valentine present. This is good because by Valentine’s Day I will have forgotten and I can have another gift or two. ;=)

20160204 bAnyway I was using my original aficot when I stitched Anie Lane’s Welcome and then one of the books I was reading mentioned having one to lay and burnish silk.  My original was a gift from Kathy Holman at an ANG national seminar; all she 20160204 asaid was it was a laying tool and so for years that is all I knew about it. In the few books I have seen it mentioned, it was used as a laying tool and until last year I didn’t know the history. Mary Corbet told all about them last year (http://www.needlenthread.com/2015/03/whats-an-aficot-embroidery-tool.html )

I visited Michael Helmke’s site and fell in love with the different aficots and laying tools (http://www.mandhhandcrafts.com/Home_Page.html ) One of these days I am going to order the Pink Ivory and then I’ll let Michael tell me the differences in the Ebony or the Macasar Ebony;  which is more elegant and I’ll have to have one of these too and probably a laying tool to match.

My aficot came beautifully packaged and well protected. I have it sitting here on my desk to remind me to blog about it and then it will go up to my stitching collection area by my stitching nest and I will use it often. I’m really happy to have the box it came in because I have seldom taken my original aficot out because I do not have a way to protect it in my stitching tool case. I’ll have to remember to ask Michael for an extra box next time I order another aficot. And when I get my next aficot I will have another collection…remember when you have two you have a few but three makes a collection.

Like Mary Corbett said, if nothing else it is a great conversation starter because we have seen so few of them. But really they do a beautiful job when laying silk, floss or any multi plied thread. Burnishing or polishing the laid threads almost makes them look like material….Now before you all write me…let me state that: An aficot WILL NOT make a poorly laid thread look smooth! If you have a ply that has crossed over the others; an aficot nor any tool will make that little misplaced thread fall back in place.  Only frog stitching and relaying that thread will help this problem. I hate to frog stitch and I know that it is a pain; but if bothers you today, it will bother you ten years from now.

I’ll be back soon. I have been giving a great deal of thinking to my plans for 2016. Now that my threads are organized and I am working on reducing the pile of paperwork I have accumulated, I also have found another pile of things that really need my attention. More about this next time..

Stay warm, winter is not over yet. And…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

More on thread organization

Organizing threads is an on-going project…

My SplendoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAr, Watercolors, and DMC flosses and perles are sorted by number, the rest are mostly by color and then by number. If I found a chart for color families, I have a copy with the threads.  Splendor, Silk & Ivory, Vineyard silks (these are the ones that come to mind) also have color family lists that I think you can find on line at their websites…I keep a copy of these also with the thread.

I also have color cards for many of my threads and these are stored hanging, in my old wooden toy bucket, or in a notebook (these are all my Rainbow Gallery threads).  I need to update these too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me add a note here…I use and store my threads UNCUT, since I do some of my own finishing… I want to be able to pull the threads to use when making twists. I do not cut my Watercolours either but that is a post for another day. ThreadworX (http://threadworx.com/) is one of the few threads I have that are cut; the other two that come to mind are Dimin Epic and Rosebud Studio Felicity’s Garden and that is because they have such great animal fur colors. Epic and Felicity’s Garden are stored by color.

Back to storage…Some of the threads are stored on rings in sweater boxes; these are mostly stored by color, then number on large rings; the exception to this is ThreadworX and they are stored by number.

Another added note: I use the Floss Keys; I got mine from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) and Floss Pak bags to store yarns that I have begun to use on these rings.  If the skein or put-up  hasn’t been opened it hangs on the ring as is, but once I go to use it I wind it on a card.: I try to buy threads I know that have changes in their dye lots in pairs, so I will have two skeins of most colors. Once I wind one of these skeins on a floss Key I will store both in a Floss Pak bag. Once one of the skeins is completely or almost completely used I will buy two more hang them on the ring next to floss bag.

I also use the storage boxes I get at Hobby Lobby with my coupons; each box is labeled to the contents. Kreinik, DMC, Trebizond, Kreinik silks, Painter’s threads. Some others that I have limited colors are stored in these boxes too one for cool colors V-B-G and one for warm colors Y-O-R. These threads are stored by company , then by color, then by number;  I usually have less than two dozen of these threads per company…otherwise they would rate a box.  I always keep the label with the thread!  I make a template to store in the lid with number info for all these boxes.

All the DMC floss, #3 and #5 perle are stored in Hobby Lobby boxes. I use floss keys to wind the threads; each is specifically marked and is stored with the labels as well (I wind the thread over the labels.) The Floss Keys are marked not only with the color number on the top right but the type of thread on the top left: i.e. DMC (floss), DMC#3 or DMC#5.

 

I have some threads hanging on a wall but the sun does not hit them and they are mostly threads I have made samples of myself and some are discontinued or threads I do not use. I would not store threads here I plan to stitch with, there is too much of a chance they would fade or get dusty.

 

When I started this re-organization, I decided I also needed to update my inventory sheets. I have kept (and I use this term very loosely) a spread sheet of the different threads in my stash for years. I am not very good at remembering to update these files and so as I started the physical re-organization of my threads, I also took the time to update and re list threads in the spread sheets. DMC was the file I had semi kept the best and it was fairly easy to update. Some of the other threads I had listed all their colors even though I only had a partial inventory; so I made a second sheet within the spread sheet for the thread and called it “my threads” and the complete list is “master.” I moved the color info for only the threads I have in inventory to the “my threads” sheet. Now when I go to use threads I will be able to see if I need to fill in families (if info was available).

It took me a while to set up but it keeps me on track. I have been a poor record keeper and so I have some threads that I have kept buying because I was not sure I had them. I have 7 cards of #820 red Splendor; since this is a Christmas red I think several of these are probably from classes I have taken but I probably bought several too. I am from the school when in doubt, buy two. I have a few others of these and I did notice they are all in my comfort palette so I know I have purchased them more than once.

I have promised myself now that I am pretty thread organized both in storage and on paper I am going to keep it up. Will let you know at the end of the year how I feel I did. I have also bought a small loose leaf notebook (5.5×8.5″) that I am going to adapt the spreadsheets to fit, so when I am shopping I have it with me. Probably won’t work as well as I envision but we’ll see.

Storage and record keeping of threads is an ongoing thing and a personal thing. I think you have to look and listen to how others do theirs and then incorporate what works for you. AND then you have to be diligent about using your method.  I have a friend who gives or throws her threads away after every class or piece she stitches…she says it is more trouble and aggravation to remember where the threads are, to get them, and she never has all the right ones. There is too much Scotch blood in me for that…

Now that I have my threads in 85% order…it’s never completely finished, I am starting on all the stitch diagrams and stitch patterns I have collected and want to put in my computer. I know there are a great many stitch books out there and this is just for my benefit, don’t plan on writing a stitch book. But I have lots of stitches I have written down that I think could be developed into quick little designs.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Needed to reorganize

 

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My office and threads got away from me last year and even though I DO NOT make New Year’s resolutions, I decided reorganization was needed. I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to do this and nothing jumped out at me, so I decided to just jump in and start.

I made some basic decisions: If a thread is discontinued, I was getting rid of them: Good-bye Marlitt; Rainbow Gallery has discontinued threads over the years and I still have them, good-bye discontinued threads.  I had a complete set of JP Coats and I don’t think they make it anymore and if they do, I never used it.  There are two exceptions to this rule: Orange Needle Necessities (now ThreadworX) Overdyed Rachel. ThreadworX does not produce this thread and I love it for carrots and carrot noses so I horded several skeins for my own personal use. And another Needle Necessities thread, an overdyed Madras in blues was perfect for my Peter Rabbit coats; so I horded it too. I have been to the ThreadworX website (http://threadworx.com/) and have noted a few choices to replace these threads. ThreadworX if you are reading this: would love a #5 perle cotton in Trick or Treat orange.

I also decided that if any of my DMC floss or perle cotton was cut I would get rid of it. If I use perle cotton for stitching a Temari ball, it cannot be precut because I use very long lengths when stitching Temari Balls. I did keep my Anchor perle cotton, although I have heard it had been discontinued (Anyone know anything about this?). And I do know that Colonial Needle (http://colonialneedle.com/) carries a full line of Finca floss and perle cotton thread (sizes: 3-5-8-12-16) in a great color range, so I’ll start adding that to my stash. ;-)

My old threads are going to a friend who uses odds and end of threads and canvas to stitch hearts for a Hospice Home near her. A heart is placed on a patient’s door after they have passed away. This alerts staff and visitors to be respectful and quiet around this patient’s room. The family is then given the heart when they leave. If there are any threads she doesn’t want she will send them to a prison in Ohio that used them.

So I began. Then I had to decide if after I separated all the threads I was going to sort by number or color. I finally decided on using both and seeing if I prefer one method over the other. All the DMC is stored by number and I will continue to do this since I have a great color card. If I stored a thread by color then within that color I stores in numeric order. Watercolours overdyes I stored by number but others I stored by alpha name. I guess you just have to find a method that works best for YOU.

I also decided to wrap all my threads on large floss winder cards and so I ordered 1000 floss Keys and 200 Floss Pak bags from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) so I can start this process. I also purchased some storage containers from Hobby Lobby to store the floss keys. I have begun a slow wrapping process…as I need a new thread I will wrap it on large floss winder cards. I also use these floss winders for any thread that is skeined, even overdyes. This will be an ongoing process; otherwise I will not get anything else accomplished this year.
I finished my reorganization this week-end by labeling all the containers. I feel so accomplished. I have two boxes and a bag for my friend who stitches hearts. I got rid of 4 large sweater boxes from my closet and I still have a closet full of threads! And of course, we all know that when I go to stitch, I will not have all the right threads….Stitcher’s Law. ;-)

I don’t know if this is the final reorganization or whether I’ll redo as I go, but it is sure a lot better than it was last year. And I am still looking for an answer to whether Anchor is doing away with their pearl cotton? I would love to hear from you on how you store your threads. Do you store by color by manufacturer, a combination? I think when we share , we learn and that’s what this is all about and having fun stitching of course.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

P.S. Someone asked me this week what “ttfn” means.  So for those of you who don’t know it is from Winnie the Pooh; Tigger says it all the time. It means “ta-ta for now” or “ttfn”. Winnie the Pooh books were my favorite growing up and my grandmother used to say this to me. So if Carol Burnett can pull her earlobe for her grandmother, I can ttfn for mine. It just makes me smile and we need to smile and make the world a nicer place.

January…

This month has thrown me for a loop and it is only the middle of the month…

First, I was supposed to have my knee replaced January 6th but I cracked a tooth and had to postpone the knee replacement to get the tooth fixed. Had all my testing completed and so now I am wait for March 29th or a cancelation. I am not a good patient; I fret when someone else has control over me…especially doctors. I’m hoping for a cancelation since then I will not have as long to fret.

I’m guessing a Power higher than me knew I needed to be available January 6th because…

20160116 LewisIt wasn’t that I didn’t know it was coming, that I wasn’t expecting it…but it is never easy to lose a friend I lost my friend, Joan Lewis, Jan 6th.

When I posted the news on Facebook, words like “kind and giving, always pleasant, always had a smile and hug, humble, helpful, dignified and talented, supportive, encouraging, inspirational, gentle and generous, joyful, nicest person, sweet and caring, joyful, a pleasure to be around and special lady” were words used to describe her.   People who called me would use these same words too.

Joan was a talented needlepoint designer, canvas painter and teacher. Everyone has their story of how Joan affected their lives and I have enjoyed hearing those stories from those who have called or written.

Joan was everything mentioned and more,  one of the best most talented people I have ever known.

I love and miss you dear friend. sue

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Needlepoint

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had 40+ for the holiday so we were very grateful for many things. Now it’s time to get ready for the Christmas holidays. It seems like I’ve done nothing this fall but put up Halloween and take it down; put up Thanksgiving and now I’m taking that down to put up Christmas. I think the older I get time passes quicker and I move slower.

Since I have more than one project going at the same time I have finished some other smaller projects while I was working on the blue bird. I really had to be in the mood to stitch the blue bird and so there were days I did not touch him. I did another big project while I was doing the blue bird…I don’t know why but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

KC Needlepoint, our newest needlepoint shop opened in June. (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/no-stitching-todayjust-making-new-friends/) and they have local landmark painted canvases. And of course, one of them spoke to me right away and I had to have it. I could see it finished but was not sure how to stitch it but had an idea. So over the summer I looked at the canvas, made some decisions on what to do first and started on the canvas.

2015-12-08 KCAG1 unstitchI try to remember to take a picture of the unstitched canvas before I start stitching but I got ahead of myself on this one. I was so excited to stitch it I forgot. But I did get a picture before I had gone too far with my plans.

The other thing I try to do is research my projects if 2015-12-08 KCAG2 researchpossible. By this I mean if it is an actual place like the art gallery or a lighthouse I look them up on Google to see the actual place; this will give you a better sense of the actual colors of the area and the structure. I actually learned something about the shuttlecocks at the art gallery. There are three of them two on one side of the gallery and a third on the other side of the gallery; the gallery building is representing the badminton net (from the artist statement). I’m seldom on one side of the gallery and had not noticed it or did not remember it being there…but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia…I’ll be good if I’m ever playing Kansas City Jeopardy.

First, I painted over the feathers on the birdie and let dry for several days. I stitched the background like there was no badminton birdie on the lawn leaving the ball of the birdie unstitched. Using one of the pictures I had I cut the birdie out and loosely basted an outline of the feathers. Then I stitched three feathers with Kreinik braid and then this project almost came to a screeching halt.

In my mind I had made three stumpwork feathers and attached them to the canvas. I had gotten some white wired braid and #12 and #16 braid from Kreinik and tried making a feather. My first attempt failed miserably and I decided maybe I should read about making wired stumpwork. Like I said before, sometimes I jump in with both feet and realize I have bitten off more than I can chew.

I kept mulling this idea over and over, and the canvas looked good with the three feathers I had already stitched on the canvas but I could see it with these three dimension feathers too. I knew I would not be happy until I figured it out. I took it to a gathering where a group of stitching friends were going to be and showed it to them. They all liked it just as it was but I told them what I saw…then one of them offered a piece of advice she had learned in a class…use a piece of voile or any light weight fabric to stabilize the stumpwork. Voilà, the light was flickering; I would mull this around and figure out what to do.

2015-12-08 KCAG3 ribbonI was heading for the fabric store when for a piece of voile when my daughter in law suggested voile ribbon (great idea then I will not have to buy 6 inches of fabric); and as a matter of fact we have some in the gift wrapping area of the basement… This turned out to be the lightbulb on moment I had been waiting

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for. The ribbon was perfect.

My next hurdle was all the needleweaving books said you needed to uses one piece of wire for the outside. I have no problem with this but I also wanted a piece down the center for stability. After one miserable failure I just kept playing around until I got what I had envisioned in my mind. I used Kreinik #16 wired braid and #12 braid for weaving. It worked great after I got the hang of what I wanted it to do.

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These are the finished pieces. Yes, I did Stitch a second one for the shop without the neddleweaving but with the same overstitching technique…they’re going to have to use a frame.

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Hope everyone is finding time to stitch this time of year…it is so relaxing .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

Thanksgiving and Blue Bird finished

This is Thanksgiving week and I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for all of you who visit my blog too, it makes it fun to write when you know someone is taking the time to read what you have to say. Anytime you would like…chime in, just leave me a comment. If it’s a question I will try and answer you quickly and if I don’t know will ask around and see what I can find out for you.

2015-11-24 BB a need stitchesAnd this week I am so-o-o-o thankful that I am finished with the Melissa Shirley Blue Bird. The last thing I needed to do was fill in around all the flowers that have empty canvas threads showing with the Silk ‘n Ivory. I need to block and finish finish. I 2015-11-24 BB b stitchesdon’t think that will happen until after the first of next year.

I looked at all the pieces and decided that even though there are a few ribbon stitches I really
reverted back to the tried and true French Knots, Satin Stitch 2015-11-24 BB alland Woven Stitch. Stitches I was familiar with and could do without much though. Ribbon work with Silk Flowers I can see is going to take more study.

This is the time of the year I begin to reflect on what I have and have not done this year. And so far my incomplete pile is growing larger than my completion list. I have gotten many needlepoints pieces stitched, just haven’t finished them up. Maybe this will be my goal for 2016… I’ll have to give this some thought.

For now I will leave you with pictures of a few of my completed birds fitting for this week. May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. I hope your holiday will be joyful and merry and safe.

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Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue