Hearts

I haven’t been ignoring my blog but I have been busy designing needlepoint hearts and making beaded butterflies. But, I have been remiss in writing about my guild’s philanthropic project, Hearts For Hospice.

Guild members (really anyone who wants to help on this project, you do not have to be a guild member) stitch hearts; Sue and her 12 year old Grandson, Jon, make the twists (DMC #3 perle) to finish the hearts, Georgia and Sara (and sometimes we have a finishing day) finish these hearts at no cost and the hearts are donated to three (3) local Hospice Houses, one is a children’s home.

Maybe you saw the article in ANG NeedlePointers, Jan/Feb 2019 and May 2017; Needlepoint Now, January/February 2019, and on Facebook.

It all began when our friend Georgia went over to “The Home” at her retirement community to volunteer. They asked her if she had received her flu shot and of course she had not (doesn’t like them or maybe they don’t like her…can’t remember), so she could not volunteer. A staff member saw hearts Georgia was stitching and inquired about them and asked if she could make more.  Knowing she could stitch a heart, she returned home and started making hearts and that’s how it began…one heart at a time.

Within the month she had convinced several of her friends to join her and soon it became a project and another friend, Sue Hart organized us into a philanthropic group and offered the project to our guild as an ongoing philanthropic project.

Side note: did you know that all non-for-profit organizations need a philanthropic program to qualify as a 501(3)(c)? I didn’t but it makes sense if you are a non-for-profit organization that you would do something. I know our national bylaws state that our purpose is to teach, promote and preserve the art of needlepoint but I did not know you need to have an ongoing philanthropic project.

We have encouraged members to just try a stitch and variations. These hearts make great doodle canvases. Then if you take a picture of it you will have a permanent copy and a family will receive a lovely remembrance. We have also encouraged needlepointers to take the painted canvas they thought they couldn’t live without, but have now become less likely to finish and make a heart(s) out of the painted canvas. There are two hearts from a painted canvas in this picture.

Barbara Richardson; a friend of GKCNG members and past president of ANG adapted her heart design for us to use. We use it to teach groups of needlepointers how to start and some first time needlepointers. We even have a class that shows you how to finish these hearts.

 

Several months ago Colour Complements: https://colourcomplements.com/ embroidery threads sent me samples to hand out to guild members I had several left over and so I stitched hearts with  them and sent pictures to Colour Complements. The owner contacted me and I have designed a couple hearts for her use (soon to appear on her website, I think).

 

This summer, one of the bead groups I belong to posted a beaded butterfly and I stitched those for some hearts. I asked permission of the designer, Patricia Parker to stitch them for other hearts and she gladly gave her permission. So guild members that request butterflies for their hearts will get one and I have made several for the two finishers to use at their discretion.

We (I use this term loosely, because I am but a small part of this endeavor) have been doing this for the last four years and have completed over 1400 hearts. We have received hearts from 26 states and 2 countries. There are at least three other guilds that we know about who have started their own program.

If you or your guild would like the information, contact Sue Hart at Heartsforhospicegkcng@gmail.com

If you have any #5 or #3 perle cotton or #12-16 Kreinik Braid (Ribbons work too), or any thread suitable for cording laying around, it needs to be skeins not cut. And you don’t know what to do with it , Hearts For Hospice would be happy to use it. Just contact me or Sue Hart.

I have designed another heart in two colorways for our Hearts For Hospice program and I will PDF you the instructions for free These hearts used Colour Complements Overdye, DMC #5 perle cotton, and Kreinik #12 braid but any of your stash will work. All I ask is that you please stitch one for our Hearts For Hospice program and return to them. All the information to return to Hearts For Hospice are in the instructions. Thank you.

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

ttfn…sue

Sorting out and other stuff

My Computer is back from the computer hospital…Over 1000 viruses but none that spread, they were all mine, tracking my every move. My doc said if it was any consolation, his mother had over 2000 and some of hers were spreadable. Well now Facebook, Amazon and Google are going to have to start over on what they send me and I’ve noticed I see more of my friends posts than I was before my computer got treated. My computer doc also said probably should not wait 8 years to do this again, at least every two years. Maybe I can find a grandchild interested in this field of work…there is always a call for computer engineers’ and seems like there will be in my lifetime. Anyway my computer is home and I’m back in business.

This last two weeks I have spent trying to organizing my stash (translation: moving one pile of stash from one place to another.) I thought I was pretty organized but am finding that not so much. I have found needlepoint stuff with other stuff and vice versa. Not really that bad, just like cross stitch and needlepoint, but occasionally have found needlepoint with knitting… I think that is a Freudian hint…knitting will NEVER replace my needlepoint. I have a lot more sorting and getting rid of to do…I really am trying to downsize.

All this organizing got me to thinking and I’m only throwing this out there not as an excuse for not blog often but as a matter of fact…There are only so many hours in a day. I’ve said all along, I need to have cloneSSSSS, yes multiple me’s (no comments friends). I like to needlepoint, bead, and crochet; sewing, finishing my needlepoint, felting, making Temari balls and attempting knitting. Now if you’re counting that’s eight things I like to do; if I give a couple hours to each (you all know you cannot get much done in 1 hour. And I’d like to sleep six or seven hours, so if I give two hours to each project and sleep six hours I have used up the day. And we all know two hours turns into one day or more for each project…so you get the picture…I need more me-s.

But this last week I did come across a few cross stitch charts lingering in my needlepoint stash; I had these visions of converting them to needlepoint. I have finally decided this probably is not going to happen with all the other projects I have in mind and so I am going to list them online for sale in a couple weeks. If anyone would like a preview, drop me a comment and I’ll send you a goodies list with pictures. You can have first dibs.

 

I have so many projects in various stages of completion that I meet myself coming and going.

Felting: no project in the works but supplies and ideas abound

 

Beading: Take you pick I have projects in various stages of completion

 

Crochet: one of a couple projects

 

 

 

 

Knitting: still at the dishrag stage….but have yarn stored for other projects

 

Temari Balls: Always have one of these going for left over threads. I make lots of sampler balls…left over threads; not enough for another project but too much to just throw away. What can I say I’m Scotch.  The surprising thing is when I offer to give one to someone; they pick the sampler balls over one with a design more often; so I have very few sampler balls in my collection. The picture shows two on right in progress and two on left are only two sampler balls I have completed right now.

Sewing: need to repair a few things too.

 

 

And my Needlepoint…have two projects in the works right now. I need to concentrate on getting some of them completed so I can move on to others I can’t wait to start. There are so many things I want to stitch and every time I go to the needlepoint shops to stitch I see more. This is just half the closet and doesn’t show the ones stored flat. I am by no means going to die with the most but I won’t die with the least either. I have to keep enough on hand since my family (all male) say when I die, they are just going to find a refrigerator box and line it inside and out with my projects before they put me in.

…And then there is the finishing on and off the blocking boards. I need to lock myself in the sewing room and not come out for a month.

And add to all this, I do like to blog, I think it is so important that we share our knowledge. So if any of the above interests you just let me know and I will blog more about that craft. And if you want to see my list of cross stitch leaflets about 25) before I put them online next week, drop me a note; I’ll send you a PDF file… don’t forget your email address or you can message me through Facebook too. .

Until my next post…Thank You for stopping by.  I hope you have time to stitch today and every day.

ttfn…sue

My major coup

 

While I was stitching the 1st Communion piece I also remembered that another granddaughter is graduating from high school this May and I probably should stitch something for her too. And maybe I should start thinking about it now.  But then I put that idea quickly on the back burner…

But a few weeks ago I was having lunch with friends and they wanted me to go by  a needlepoint shop in the area to see some finishing they were picking up. So off we went. While I was there, it was mentioned that I had stitched a 1st Communion piece and I showed the picture in my phone. I also mentioned I had a granddaughter graduating from a local high school. One of the owners mentioned that they paint the cypher for that school in two styles…Oh pleaseeeeee let me look. And yes here was what had been mulling around in my head… I asked if they could have this painted on 8 x 8 inch canvas and leave off the circle outline…sure thing. They took my order and then put the original canvas with it to send it to the painters. I thought this was strange; wouldn’t the artist have a master?

I was still at the shop visiting with friends and I learned that this shop also has an outreach program. The needlepoint shop supports “100 Jobs for 100 Moms” program and has hired women to hand-paint canvases four days a week. What a great idea…

So know I am going to get a canvas with major part of the designing already completed (I will not have to re-invent the wheel) and then I can personalize it for my Granddaughter. And you know what, I’m sure she will appreciate this even more knowing that we helped someone less fortunate in the process of making her special memory.

I love my local shops, they both carry a different variety of things, the help is good, stitchers are friendly and they both have outreach programs. Do visit your local shops often.

I’m thinking about beading the cypher; could use the three beads from Mr & Mrs. I think I might discuss this with the graduate, maybe she would like it finished with her tassel. Ummm—that would give me more time too. I’m liking this better all the time. I will keep you posted on the progress of my graduation gift.

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

ttfn…sue

Burrrrrrrrr: Ann Strite-Kurz More catching up…

ED Note: I was out of my blogging phase when I stitched this and so pictures are incomplete…I am trying to be better now that I am back to blogging about taking pictures as I stitch. But sometimes I get carried away and forget…

After I finished Mr & Mrs I took a couple weeks off and just did knitting or Kumihimo…anything without beads. But one day I was looking through my stash and came across this piece. I have always loved it, it is an adaptation of a Charlie Harper print and I love Charlie Harper prints.

Ann-Strite Kurz (https://www.annstritekurz.com/ ) has always been one of my favorite teachers. If you read Ann’s resume it is very impressive…she is one of those teachers who has forgotten more than some of us will ever learn.

I own many of her books and I follow her article every month, Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways, in Needlepoint Now (https://www.needlepointnow.com/). Our guild had her teach an applique class one time and I loved it; I still use the techniques I learned in this class.

I love her work but was never able to get into one of her classes at ANG national seminars…My luck of the draw never seemed to work and most of her classes seemed to go to lottery.

Somewhere along my stitching path I had acquired one of Ann’s teaching pieces, Br-r-r-r-rdbath, (probably a stash sale or someone gave this to me). It has been one of my favorite pieces for a long time and had been waiting it’s turn in my stash, so I pulled it out…time to do an Ann piece.

Ann’s books are so well written that I knew her instructions would be no less and they were everything I expected them to be…excellent. Ann’s instructions and diagrams are some of the best. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into…I was looking for a fun easy stitch but this was going to be a learning piece. But you know what I have always loved this piece so it became my at home project.

First you basted guide lines on the canvas and then I started the design…

First you stitch the Smyrna outlines (dotted lines in picture)…then you started the border designs. The borders (A & B in picture) are truly a lesson in “Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways”! If I remember correctly, there were at least four steps to each border and then BEADING. Remember I said I was trying to avoid another beading project? Well at least you waited until the design was completed to add beading maybe I would recover from the Mr & Mrs beading.

 

Then I started the design part of the piece and every area was a review of a previously learned skill or an adaptation Ann has created to enhance this design (area C the birdbath.)  I loved stitching this piece…okay maybe love is a strong word but I liked the challenge it presented. The leaves (D in picture) became a challenge for me and then I decided, this was my piece and I was stitching it for me and so if the leaves were giving me a fit I needed to adapt and overcome. The leaves became my change to the piece; I had stitched the first two (D in picture) as instructed and was having a devil of a time, so the rest of the leaves are my adaptation of the instructions. This was my fun relaxing piece and I was keeping it that way. I’m the only one (and now you too) that notices that the leaves are a bit different …but then aren’t all leaves in nature different?!

 

The body of the bird was a relaxing stitch, nothing I didn’t know how to do. But the wings were my next challenge. I love the look of Blackwork but it is really a technique you have to study to be really good at it. Ann’s instructions were wonderful and easy to follow. I made a couple mistakes but Blackwork is a technique some spend a lifetime perfecting. If you would like to pursue this technique, there are several books written about this technique. Here are the ones I have in my library:

Ilse Altherr; Reversible Blackwork, Book 1 and Blackwork & Holbein, Book 2

Becky Hogg; Blackwork RSN Essential Sitch Guide.

Marion Scoular; Why Call It Blackwork?, Folio of Blackwork Patterns

Ann Strite-Kurz; The Heart of Blackwork

Leslie Wilkens; Blackwork Made Easy;

Jane Zimmerman; Blackwork Embriodery Patterns, The Art of English Blackwork

By the time this piece was completed and I was ready to start the beading, I had decided that I would add the sequins (you use a bead here to attach the sequins) but the border was going to be sans beading. I liked the look and I was not into that much beading again.

So here is another project under my belt and it is also in a ready-made frame. I really do like framing  pieces when I can do it myself, and then they don’t end up in my to finish later pile. So another project is completed but I still have more to catch up and then maybe by summer I will be back to finishing projects or sewing.

BTW, if you really love Charlie Harper designs, the Meredith Collection (http://themeredithcollection.com/) has them in needlepoint;  you can see them at The Meredith Collection: http://themeredithcollection.com/collection/charley-harper/needlepoint.

When I get caught up on some of my stash, I will add to my collection here.

 

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

 

ttfn…sue

Finished UFO – Catherine Jordan class

Last week I was suffering from creative dry spell…it usually hits when I am overwhelmed, just finished a project or am putting off something. I was/am suffering from all the above.

Overwhelmed:

  • I have enough projects to complete or start to last several lifetimes (but I add to my stash, never know when you will need that one thing you do not have.)
  • I have so many things I need to finish…remember my desk
  • And then there are the pieces I need to stitch…deadlines
  • And the ideas that are floating around in my head and in my idea notebook

Finished a project, but more about that later

Putting off: Not that I’m putting off I just spent the last couple weeks taking pictures of projects I have not shared and I am still deciding how to present

BUT while going through my stash for something to do I found a UFO that fit 4 0f the five suggestions for wetting my stitching fingers…

  1. 1. Spend some time with your stash. That’s where I found this UFO
  2. Finish a UFO. Need I say more…it’s a UFO
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn. This project is right up that alley
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish. Okay, I am procrastinating on this one.
  5. Just keep active. That’s what I’m doing.

So I decided to work on my Contemporary Forrest Necklaces by Catherine Jordan. I have always loved this piece and when it was offered online several years ago (2014 I think) I enrolled. I don’t know whether I got overwhelmed by the class or it was a time constraint issue but I only  got as far as painting the canvas/felt and cutting it out. I think I may have even tried putting some tree trunks in because one of the felts  has marks that look like I may have taken a needle through it.

 

Anyway I had kept all the instructions and even the online comments and some of the pictures so I thought I’d give it a try. First, I re-read the instructions and all the online comments and then I picked one of the sets (I have five sets to stitch)

 

 

I started the tree trunks; they are wrapped thread technique using DMC Floss. Pretty simple but I still took them out once because I did not like them and when I re-stitched the trunks could not tell much difference so I thought maybe I was being overly critical of myself or maybe just trying to put off the next step.

Side A

Side B

I decided to go with my tree trunks and see where I ended up. The tree leaves were a challenge. Not the method, I understood that. Where to place them, where to attach them and how many was the challenge.

I decided to follow Catherine Jordan’s instructions to the letter and so the first tree on each side of the canvas is stitched according to her directions; Buttonhole stitch using more DMC Floss. By the time I got to Side B,  I may have gotten carried away doing the red one but by then I had done the first set of trees and was feeling both confident and overwhelmed at the same time.

Instructions for leaves

First tree

 

Side A with Leaves

Let me give you insight into my thought process… When I revisited this UFO I had decided I could make several sets of these to represent the seasons…In my mind I would just whip them out one after another. In reality, the trunks for one canvas took me the better part of two days and the leaves for one tree another half day. By the time I had finished the one felt with leaves, I knew that four sets of canvas was not going to happen. This was supposed to be a fun project to get my creative juices flowing and while it was doing just that, I did not want it to turn into a project that I felt compelled to complete all four seasons.

So on the Side B felts, that could also be used as the front,  I stitched the leaves with an autumn color pallet.

joined

I joined all the canvas together and placed them in the frame, and fluffed the leaves. Now I have two completed projects: Side A and Side B. I love the piece and now have my very own. I also think I want to bead a chain to use with this, but for now a simple gold chain will work…Just goes to show you, once the creative genes get to flowing…one thing leads to another.

Fluffed

Both sides

 

I have saved the felts, threads and instructions for another day and maybe I will revisit or find something new to try with the felt…never know.

This project also gave me another blog post…my thoughts on written instructions. So over the week-end I am going to put my thoughts together and write a quick post on this for the beginning of next week.  Until then…

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

ttfn…sue

Creative Dry Spells

I think I can safely say I have suffered from “Creative Dry Spells” in all forms of my artistic endeavors. It is like being in a depressed mood; you know it will pass but it does not make it any the less painful. They are not fun, nor can you talk yourself out of them; the best thing to do is ignore them for a day or two and then try to work thru them or just do something else like cleaning (ugh) or cooking. Cleaning should convince you to be creative real quick and cooking can be creative also yummy if you bake or make desserts.

I read somewhere (probably another blog but I forgot to write down whose blog) some ways to get the creative juices flowing again. I have adapted them to needleart thoughts:

  1. Spend some time with your stash
  2. Finish a UFO or several
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish:
  • Designers/teachers have deadline
  • Finishing deadlines
  • Work under pressure
  1. Just keep active.

Sometimes any of these are easier said than done depending on how “dry” you are feeling.

Sometimes spending some “me time” with a cuppa and your favorite needlework books and/or magazines can help. I love my books and looking through them may give you an idea of something to stitch, a technique to try or maybe you will just relax and look at the pictures.

Sometimes no matter what you do nothing speaks to you; then it may be time for some artistic needlework enhancement. In other words, a trip to your local needlework shopS (sometimes it takes more than one). Going to your favorite places is good for two reasons:

  1. It may spark your creative juices with something as simple as a new thread for that project you saw in your stash. You may find a new canvas that speaks to you and if all else fails…
  2. You are at least spending time with other creative people and this is good. They may remind you of a canvas you have at home that you were really dying to stitch just a few weeks ago. They may show you a new technique they are working on, a new stitch, a new thread, or maybe just give you a smile that will brighten your day.

And if you are lucky enough to have more than one shop in your area you have that many more chances to get those creative juices flowing…whatever it takes to spark those fingers. And if you are really lucky, maybe you can sit and visit with others. You don’t have to be stitching something, you can just visit. I visit a group(s) and not everyone is stitching needlepoint, some are knitting, some are stash enhancing, and others have just come by to visit.

And we learn from each other and the more diverse and wide our circle of creative friends is the more we learn…there are no limits to creative thoughts. Attending guild meetings, having stitch-ins, maybe just going for a cuppa and stitching there. Just think for a minute about threading a needle; you know people who:

  1. Thread a needle with the end going immediately through the eye of the needle
  2. Bend the thread over the needle and then thread that bend through the eye of the needle.
  3. Pinch the thread tightly between their thumb and index finger and saw the eye of the needle onto the thread
  4. Wet the end of the thread and place thread through eye of needle … or
  5. Use a needle threader.

None of these are wrong, None is better than another…it is what works for you. But if some needle artist is having trouble threading a needle just being around other needle artists may give her the idea she needs to thread her needle. I know that is pretty simplistic but you get the idea.

If you don’t want to tempt you credit card, watch a love flick, visit an art gallery, visit a park, just take a walk. Anything will do to keep you from sitting and brooding about the “dry spell”.

I have two artist friends that seem to ward off  dry spells by drawing every day; they have notebooks of their works. I am not that disciplined and that’s probably why they make a living at their art and my art just keeps my sanity.

One of my friends tries to go out and about every day to see inspiration. He will draw and paint in his notebook people and places around him. Recently at an art fair, I ask him if I could see his journal and he shared it with me. He was in a mall at an art fair, yet found the time to capture the other artists around him. Each entry has the day and date of the week (he told me it was like his day planner). Not only was there an image of his fellow artists but a small drawing of the type of art they were showing. WOW! I spent several minutes looking through his diary and it was such a privilege; I felt like he not only trusted me very much. He had let me see into his soul; it really was a special moment. I did not read his thoughts but just looking at the pictures he had drawn. I left his booth maybe not inspired but feeling sooooo uplifted.

My other artist friend is a former art professor and he lives close to his former university. You can visit him anytime he is in town and he will listen to you and then in his own magical way give you some thoughts to ponder. He never gives you “his answer” because then you would not be working through your problem. Once a week, when he is in town, he holds “tea time”; an open date to just visit with others of like mind, have tea and discuss whatever comes up, such an enlightening way to give so much insight into so many things. It is no wonder all he asks is for you to RSVP your attendance; these events are attended by friends, former students and students who have heard about him through their professors. And even though it may be a crowded place on occasion, you always come away feeling inspired and more than that hopeful, optimistic.

So, I think I will be off to look at my stash and maybe it will trigger something.  I hope you are not having a creative dry spell but if you are, join me by going through your stash and let’s see what happens.  I really hope you can just go stitch and have fun.

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

ttfn…sue

Love your canvas

While I am getting my thoughts together for blogging I am also in charge of our local guild stash sale. I like to think of it as we are sharing our stash…I’m sure some of the canvases will come back to visit us at another stash sale down the road…wouldn’t it be funny if the original owner re-purchased it 😉 . We have these stash sales to fund outreach programs. A couple years ago we funded an exhibit to bring in new members.  These funds will go toward another exhibit or possible paying to have a website built for our guild.

Folded Canvas

Folded Canvas

While going through the stash that is accumulating at my house I came across a canvas that has not been treated with loving care; it was stored folded. Please do not fold your needlepoint canvas and especially if it is congress cloth; the folds will not come out. I have unfolded the canvas, but as you can see in the picture the canvas has been stored this way so long that the weave of the canvas is distorted. I have heard people say they iron canvas to get the wrinkles out but this poor canvas has been folded away so long that I am afraid the folds will never disappear. It will be like a badly distorted canvas that has been stitched without a frame and after some years no matter

180216 needlepoint folded with outlines

how well it is finished will revert back to the distortion. And maybe this wouldn’t matter as much if it were a decorative piece you were going to move to another less viable place after the décor of your house change. ( Oh please don’t tell me you would send it to a thrift store…my heart would break after all the time and love you have put into the piece.) But if you stitched a chair seat that was to be a family heirloom, a folded canvas could be a disaster. It might revert to the fold and heaven forbid, the canvas threads might be weakened enough that after repeated use the canvas would break (Another heartbreaking issue.)

The preferred method is to store your canvas is flat in a box so it is protected from dust and dirt until its turn to be stitched. I have a friend who hangs her canvases on skirt/pant hangers with plastic over each; she says it makes it easier to look at them. I even heard a story that one stitcher stores her large canvases between the mattress and box springs of her guest bed (maybe she doesn’t have a lot of visitors.)

rolled canvas

Another method to store large canvases is to roll them; canvas before it is painted comes in large rolls. I think I would occasionally unroll and re-roll from the opposite end so one end does not become a tight roll or even crimped.

So my message for today is: Please treat your canvases with TLC. Don’t fold or stuff them in a bag for a later time. Canvases, especially painted canvases are expensive, so please treat them carefully.

And I won’t get started on whether you should stitch your canvas on stretcher bars or not…that’s a whole other blog.

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

ttfn…sue