March TIF

I’ve had these finished for a couple days, just needed to attend to the “detail” of taking pictures…

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I  went with the  color motif and did not pay much attention to the “little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details.” But as I was making the temari balls base, I realized that without paying attention to the tiny details my temari bases are not round and firm. So I do unconsciously pay attention to details. I am more aware that I pay attention to the detail of marking the temari another important step if the temari are to be as even as possible.  

It is amazing how many of the “tiny details” we take for granted or simply ignore because we do them everyday or every time we apply our art of choice. I was in my local needlepoint shop not long ago and a woman came in seeking advice about a thread and stitch. I went to show her a stitch on the extra space of her canvas and there was no extra space…i.e. it is recommended to have minimum 2 inches on all sides of the design area of a needlepoint canvas and 1.5 inches is the absolute minimum. Anyway, there was barely an inch all around,more like 1/2 inch and this was covering the stretcher bars. Thank goodness she was using these because I can’t imagine how she ever would have gotten it blocked back into shape otherwise. I did ask her if she had these professionally blocked & finished and she said she didn’t think it was necessary to block her needlework because she worked on a frame and she finished everything herself. Since I have never seen the woman before and I have never seen anything she’s finished I can’t comment.  I thought to myself that if she was happy and the receiver of the needlework was happy, who really cared if it was perfect.. some child or grandchild was probably thrilled to have something Grandmother made. And I also silently thought to myself, the shop finisher was probably grateful she was finishing herself. But really, isn’t all about the love we put into our work? Anyway that was the least of the immediate problems…Every thread she had stitched with still had its tail parked somewhere on the canvas. I did suggest she start to bury these threads in the appropriate areas and to avoid placing dark threads in light areas. I did several of these so I could demonstrate the stitch in the appropriate area. I used an away knot to start and explained I did so, so if she chose not to use this stitch she could remove the thread easily. I did suggest she add a “bit more canvas around the design” so she would have an area to practice a new stitch or thread if desired. I don’t think she will ever had the recommended 2 inches but maybe her next design will not be up against her stretcher bars.

My point is that we take many things for granted when we have been applying out art for some time or have learned our art from a professional or someone dedicated to the proper way to execute the art. I know there are no hard fast rules, but there are recommendations that are very helpful. I always tell students, this is my way to do this…there are many other ways out there and many other teachers to teach you their way. You need to try their way and sometimes there is a reason they do what they do. But if after the class is completed, you want to replace a stitch, thread or the way the stitch is executed be my guest. It is your piece and you have to be happy with the piece. There are no needleart police. As my grandmother used to tell me, “Nothing is for certain but death. If you want to change or try something new, fine…But first learn to walk before you try to run.”

So I guess I do notice the little things even though I am not always aware of them. I am trying to slow down and notice the small things…

Have a wonderful change of season no matter where you live. I am really looking forward to the blessings of Spring and all the new, fresh little things I hope to notice.


Spent the Day absorbing

Yesterday I indulged myself and spent the day absorbing needleart.

I went to the final day of the NAN (National Academy of Needlearts) Exemplary show. NAN has there annual conference in Kansas City, Mo. It is a week of classes and the exhibit with excellent teachers to motivate and inspire. You can read all about NAN on their web site: and even look at many of the former prize winners of past Exemplary exhibits. It is pretty inspiring.

One of the things that really impressed me was a entry from Mary S. In her artist statement she stated that she prefers to work in “…’common materials’ cotton rather than silkmaterials accessible to everyone”…and “by keeping the cost reasonable can motivate /inspire others.”  I think silk is a great old thread, it is expensive but I still do not have a problem using silk. I think many of out antique needlework pieces are stitched in either silk or cotton and look how long they have lasted. But in theory I agree with Mary, I think it is nice to use the new threads and without them our needlework would be very boring, but sometimes from a teaching/designing point of view this can be very frustrating. Sometimes by the time a design gets to the retail level threads have been discontinued. If you are designing a piece for teaching, this can be very frustrating since the teacher either has to try and buy up enough of the discontinued thread to teach the piece at least once (maybe more if she can buy enough thread) or find a substitute for this thread without disturbing the color and design balance of the piece. Usually this replacement involves stitching a new class model too. And sometimes using the old stand-bys is no guarantee either…who would have thought DMC would discontinue Medici.

Another thing that really inspired me and I hope motivated me were the color and design notebooks of the teaching candidates. I love color and design and have taken many color and design classes, I have shelves of books on color and design, AND have this computer paper box(s) filled with “stuff” that I have saved for a color and design notebooks. I even have the 4 inch notebooks sitting on the shelf but the box and the notebook have yet to come together. It is one of my “round tuits.” I am motivated to work on this project!

After a great lunch with friends and many of the NAN participants, I picking up my entries in the Exemplary ( 2 of the February TIF temari balls), and I headed home with my mind full of good ideas and great intentions.  And yesterday was another beautiful day…a taste of Spring and today promises to be another beautiful day before the rain comes in.

Have a beautiful day! ttfn…sue