1st Valentine’s Day Present

SDNote: Feb 25 Spoke With Michael Helmke and he is going to fill outstanding orders, but has suspended production of his products for personal reasons until the first of the year. He said he would let me know when he starts up again and I will let you all know too.

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


The better to see you with my dear….

Okay so I never was good with time…two weeks a month all relative.

But can I see…I have heard people say after cataract surgery, “white is white again”, but I had no idea what they meant until now. White is white again, colors are brighter, tints, shades and tones are clearer…oh my, what a difference! I was telling an artist friend of mine this and he said he was going to the eye doctor to see if they would do his eyes. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lenses have to be clouded first; if you’re not ready…you’re not ready.  And I can see 100 yards away…but up close is another story. But up close has been a problem since I was about 40 years old and I can correct that at the local pharmacy with readers.  I have my mag-eyes too and have been stitching.

At first, with one eye corrected it was not fun…computer and stitching gave me a headache (not to mention the sinus infection I had); so I did very little computing or stitching. But after my other eye was corrected and I found the reading glasses that worked I was back to stitching and computing.

But my poor blog has suffered…it is so-o-o-o easy to get out of the habit of writing for a blog. I really do not know how Mary Corbet (Needle ‘n Thread  http://www.needlenthread.com/ and Jane Wood  (Chilly Hollow http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com/) do it. Every day without fail, it never ceases to amaze me and Jane also runs a Facebook page too.  I’m lucky to do once a week on a good roll.

But I will get back to the blue bird I waited to stitch until I could see, so next week I promise will show you some flowers…I really like this flower stitching. Here’s a hint…

2015-10-07 flowers

Thank you for staying around and Thank you for stopping by today.

I hope you find time to stitch today!


Finished Lighthouse on National Lighthouse Day

I’m still on dogie-watch schedule; I can’t seem to get back in the grove of things.

14-08-07 desk beforeMary Corbet (http://www.needlenthread.com/2014/08/embroidery-work-space-or-where-is-waldo.html) and I have something in common this week…I came back to a desk piled high with things that needed attention and all I wanted to do was stitch and let the dogs out. But I did tackle my desk and made a dent to put some order into my desk; now instead of a heap of mess, I have organized piles of mess.


But since I finished stitching my first light house and Vicki De Angelis over at Mostly Needlepoint (http://mostlyneedlepoint.com/did-you-know/) pointed out it was National Lighthouse Day…I figured it was an omen and I should share this with everyone today.


My first lighthouse from ABS designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/)is Portland Head Lighthouse and is destined for Sudberry’s (http://www.sudberry.com/) black box. My box is like the one shown on Anne’s website (I think it was called the pen box) but I think it is out of stock and unless you find it in a shop somewhere, you may have to frame this piece.  I needleblended the sky (post: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/hiding-out-is-such-fun/) and will share with you my email from Anne, MNS (master of Needleblended skies):

You’d think that counting the number of threads in the depth of your sky, then dividing it by the number of “blends” you’ll be using, would give you the right number of lines deep for each “blend.”  But every time you cut in a new “blend,” it encroaches on the one before it.  So….

 Try turning the canvas upside down, working the lightest value of blue at the horizon.  Keep going until you run out of “blends.”  In the case of the box insert, you then have the option of going to DMC 3755 to cut into the 3325, so the darkest shade is at the top of the canvas.  That makes for a more dramatic effect, and the lightest shade at the horizon doesn’t overpower the shades above.

That makes sense to me…I started at the top and worked down but next time I’ll work up from the horizon line.

This was one of those pieces that no matter how hard I tried to place more decorative stitches, my friend Virginia’s words kept rattling around in my head. Virginia is a guild member, who has tried more techniques than anyone I know; she stitches till the wee hours of the morning and until recently (last year or two) stitched on 40 count canvas without extra light or magnification. Oh yes, and did I tell you she is 80+ years young. I always say Virginia has forgotten more than I am ever going to learn. Anyway one time, I was trying very hard to put decorative stitches on a canvas and it was not working out at all. Virginia said; “Honey, when it’s screaming Basketweave, just stitch Basketweave. Sometimes Basketweave is best and every needlepoint should have some…it’s a place to rest your eyes. ”

Well, every time I would try to think of a different stitch I would hear Virginia, “Basketweave” So much of this piece has Basketweave. The sky is Basketweave, but I did get to play around with the needleblending technique. And after I was completely finished with the sky I thought I could have used Nobuko or Diagonal Mosaic for the clouds…but I was lucky to get the clouds in there anyway. And I love the rocks, Alternating Padded Satin with overdyed threads just jumped off the canvas. And the Diagonal Gobelin for the water was good too. The foreground green and shoreline could be nothing else but Continental and Basketweave.

The buildings: I tried my best to stitch the siding of the large building in a small decorative stitch but nothing seemed to work for me…Okay Virginia, Basketweave it is. I did get the windows and doors stitched in Cashmere and variations of Cashmere. The brown building did lend itself to a decorative stitch and so the siding is worked in Diagonal Mosaic, the shutters are Oblong cross, and yes, the windows are basketweave. And all the red roofs are a Gobelin stitched diagonally, horizontally or vertically.

The green background I couldn’t decide whether that was grass or trees and I wanted it to be trees, but they had to stay on the back. I used 2 ply green overdyed floss and did French Knots. They were small enough that they did not overpower the little brown house but added a texture to the right side of the canvas to help balance the decorative stitches used in the rock.

The lighthouse did give me pause…I thought since it was behind the main house it should be Basketweave too, but then I decided that lighthouses are round and so this was probably a bit further behind the house than I originally thought and maybe if I did Alternating Diagonal Gobelins it would make the light house the focal point (as it should be) and still not overpower the house  or the whole canvas. It worked, gave the lighthouse a bit of definition and the illusion of roundness yet stayed behind the house. The top is mostly Continental stitched in black perle cotton and Kreinik black braid with the lights in yellow Kreinik braid cross stitches.

But my favorite is the fence, I was afraid it might get lost against the white house but it didn’t (even if the picture doesn’t show this. I wanted to stitch the fence in a whiter white but could not find DMC B5200 in & 8 perle and did not want to use floss. I stitched small horizontal  (2 threads x 1 thread) Overlapping Oblong Crosses for the rails and then when I had cleared the area for a post I went back and stitch an upright Oblong Cross (4 threads x 1 thread)…see diagram.

14-08-07 overlapping oblong cross

My first lighthouse is completed and as much as I would like to keep stitching new canvases I have a box full of canvases I need to stitch so I have decided one PPC (previously purchased canvas) before new canvases. And I haven’t decided what that will be yet…but I have to find a small one for my carry along project.

In a couple days I’ll show you how much progress I made on my Debbie Stiehler Tomato too. I really did get some serious stitching done last week. BUT I have to get back to my finishing…Christmas is a coming!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!


My stash enlarging & German Sampler Collection

Two blog entries in two days unheard of in my world but just could not wait.

This morning my friend M-TB posted a link to Needlepoint Nation Stash Exchange (http://www.facebook.com/#!/NeedlepointNationStashExchange) and there is a Pinterest site too. So of course I headed over to check it out, friended the place, began to explore AND naturally found something I cannot live without. So I have sent an inquiry and may be adding to my stash by the end of the day. Thanks M-TB, I think…not sure DH will be as happy as I will be.
And as long as you are in Facebook don’t forget to friend Amy Bunger (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amys-Golden-Strand/189965167681135). She is posting live from market…Oh more goodies.

Then I decided since I was getting a late start anyway (I blaming it on M-TB) I read my emails. Well I spent more $$:
Mary Corbet ( http://www.needlenthread.com/) giveaway three Trish Burr butterflies so I will be headed to trish’s ste to get my own butterfly (http://www.trishburr.co.za/) or just go straight to the purchasing at ETSY (http://www.etsy.com/shop/TRISHBURREMBROIDERY) .

And another email from Hedgehog Handworks (http://www.hedgehoghandworks.com/catalog/index.php) sent me to their site for the annual 15% February Sale. At least I have the month to $pend here. Maybe DH won’t notice if I space these out …

And there are those canvases I have on my want list that pop into my mind every time I buy some other than them…Oh the annoying aggravation of “Stashites” the terminal ailment of never having or wanting too much needlepoint and its accompanying ailments: threads, accessories and books.

13-02-01 german museum celle%20(58)And then I ended my email reading on a bittersweet note: Country Bumpkin sends out a newsletter and in that newsletter they told about a German Sampler Museum that is closing. So if you are going to or are in Germany you may want to make this a stop on your agenda. You can view this museum and wish you were going (I do) at Sabine Taterra web site (http://www.samplers-berlin.com/museum_celle_en.html). And while you are visiting Sabne’s site look around pretty cool, especially if you 13-02-01 german museum celle%20(60)like samplers. I love to look at samples and I’ve stitched a few in my life but they are like quilts…I love them, want to have them just don’t want to stitch them. So this was a bittersweet referral; bitter that another stitch related museum is closing down and many of these 13-02-01 german museum celle%20(61)lovely works will not be seen again but sweet in the fact that I found another website and blog to visit.
Now before everyone starts sending me emails about promoting $pending…I receive no monetary gains from these referrals and I take no blame for spending of time and $$$ that might occur because of these references…I will be making my own excuses for my credit card spree. But since M-TB started my avoidance of work today I’m blaming her for not getting anything done today. Don’t you feel guilty M-TB….no, me either. Thanks for the fun morning. 😉
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today! I know I will; probably the only other productive thing I will do today besides surfing the web…

Postscript to Royal Wedding

 Two more great insights into the Royal Wedding from a stitcher’s perspective…

Mary Corbet, Needle n’ Thread (http://www.needlenthread.com/2011/04/royally-gorgeous-cope.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+needlenthread+%28Needle%27nThread.com%29) has a great story and link to the cope worn by the Archbishop of Canterbury and made by Watts & Co (http://www.wattsandco.com/ )

And today Kathy, Unbroken Thread (http://www.theunbrokenthread.com/blog/ ) has a personal note and insight from the Royal School of Needlework about the bridal dress. I think the saddest part is we will have to wait a “statutory thirty years” to know anything about the making of this beautiful dress.

Hope everyone has time to stitch today! ttfn…sue