Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas - A Sneak Peek

One of the items we will be offering at TNNA for Sample It is this little penguin ornament "topper".

He and his friends (he's one of a series) can be stitched and added to the top of amost any Christmas ball.  Rather than just using him on an ornament that I already had, I indulged in a shopping spree .  There are some gorgeous ornaments in the stores this year - jeweled, velvet, glittered - you name it!

Next will be a set of ornament toppers for Halloween if I can find some ornaments in the appropriate colors.  Has anyone seen these in orange, black, purple or lime green?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanukah

                                          #818 - Judaic Bear

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Use for Those *#!*** ORTS

This is what we did with all the ORTS we've saved this year from stitched models....with a few jewels glued on  and maybe a little work with a glitter pen they might actually be useful!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

                                          #1056 Quilted Gobbler
Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Needlepoint and Quilting

Finally stopped stitching long enough to take a few photos and sit down at the computer.  This is the final step in completing the Partridge & Pears Wreath - crazy quilting the seams and (hopefully) padding each section.

I have to give all those Crazy Quilters a lot of credit - this technique is not so easy to adapt to needlepoint!  From scouring a lot of quilting blogs and websites it seems that they take a basic embroidery stitch and embellish it with beads, ribbons,sequins, and even add additional stitches to create these elaborate seams.  You can see some gorgeous examples of this on:
I found these two resources on Janes Chilly Hollow blog and they were most helpful, even though my workmanship isn't quite as precise as the stitching of these talented ladies.

Only 2 more seams to go, and then off to the finisher for final construction.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the trapunto aspect of this project works.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Partridge Finished

Paulette finished stitching #1061 - Partridge and Pears Quilt - and it's already framed and ready to hang for Christmas, 2011 (until I borrow it back for the January TNNA market.

We're working on the stitch guide now and should have it finished in a few weeks.  This is a rather large guide - lots of stitches - but according to Paulette it was also lots of fun to stitch.

September ORTS

We started a new one this month...let's see how fast we can fill this one up!  With all the new projects being stitched this month I'm betting on the end of October.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New for Halloween

The new skeleton is finally completed and should be ready for shipments near the end of October.
Manuel has named her Belleza De Halloween (Halloween Beauty).  A little violet eyeshadow, a touch of lipstick, and she's ready for her big night out on October 31st!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Today Really Was Labor Day

Decided today was a good time to finish this custom order.  I painted it on #24 due to the amount of detail and the small size that was requested by  the customer.  After painting this, #18 looks HUGE.

This picture also appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1930, but in order to avoid any copyright infringement ( I was told that it wasn't an issue after 81 years....but who knows for sure) I used the photo as a guide and didn't paint the TIME logo etc.

And there was even a little time left later in the day to work on the new Halloween skeleton....Yay!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Canvas From Manuel Salas

Manuel calls this piece "Un Pocito de Color" ( A Little Bit of Color).  Looks like she has  glamorized herself into the ultimate sugar skull for her appearance on Day of the Dead!

Manuel has agreed to collaborate on a HALLOWEEN version of this canvas and I'm really looking forward to painting it.  Hopefully we can get her finished before October 31st.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Still Cute?

Paulette opted to stitch the partridge on her Christmas quilt without the topknot, thus making him a little more authentic.  The stitches we planed seem to be working out well - good thing since I had already painted them on the canvas! It's amazing what a little white acrylic paint will do.  I decided to stitch an Amadeus topknot on mine and offer him as a separate ornament as well as the center piece of the wreath.  He's turning out to be quite a versatile little guy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Top Knot or NOT?

Since starting to stitch on the partridge, Paulette and I have had several discussions regarding his top-knot.  I've seen lots of Christmas cards drawn by various artists that show partridges with top-knots, but after researching the actual bird I found that the only one with this little appendage is the California Partridge, which is really a quail.

So the big question is....should we keep the top-knot,( which would be an Amadeus stitch), eliminate it, or stitch one of each and call it an option on the stitch guide????? Opinions welcome.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Project-Christmas in July

Finished section #1 on #1062, Quilted Wreath yesterday.  This part of the wreath is pretty large (19x19") so it was a big reach to start on the first section.  The best way to handle this problem was to start the canvas upside down and stitch it in halves.

The first stitch is Cassique Stitch (one of Tony Minieri's creations) and I stitched it in a combination of Rainbow Tweed, Neon Rays, and Balger.  The Rainbow Tweed was the closest overdye I could find in Christmas colors, so even though it isn't very traditional it still has a Christmassy feeling.

Paulette will be stitching the companion piece, #1061 Partridge and Pears Quilt, so as soon as she returns from vacation I'll put this section aside and we will stitch our partridges together.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lupe's Fashion Statement

One more week of working on Lupe before retiring her for a while to start on a new model.  My goal is to finish the background, the rest of her collar trim, and her serape, leaving just the flowers to tackle at a later date.

The Plaited Upright Cross Stitch that Tony suggested for the serape really works well since it can fill any width of a diagonal stripe as long as it in over an uneven number of threads.  It was a little confusing to compensate on the stripes that start along the bottom, but once I figured it out (ONLY took 2 hours!) it was smooth sailing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some Fun Bargello

How's this for wild???? This was stitched by a customer using her fathers old neckties and color coordinating the fibers to match her decor.  Not much painting involved, just a basic layout and a combination of alternating decorative stitches and bargello patterns.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Diane's Ketubbah Frame

Diane Mayer commissioned us to custom paint this very large frame for her niece's ketubbah, or marriage contract
The wedding was last weekend and the signed ketubbah is now on the way to the framer. Diane did a fabulous job stitching this gift - her choices of fibers and stitches are perfect and she promised us another photo when it is completely assembled.

Great job Diane - and what a lovely gift!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Lupe

While waiting to start my next large project in July I've had some time to continue work on Lupe.  The face, in upright cross stitch is finished.  No problems except for the subtle shading, since there are only two greys in the Pebbly Perle colorway.  To solve the problem I needle-blended the fiber to get a transition shade.  I also had to do this with the pink blush on her cheeks.

Tony suggested using Silk 'n Colors in satin stitch for the lips.  Again I questioned his choice of color, but decided to give it a try before finding an alternate fiber.  Silly me....should have known he would be right (AGAIN).  By chopping up the overdye in sections of light to dark I managed to get the correct shading.

Next came the dreaded Marlitt for the teeth.  I added pale grey to the two outer teeth to give them a little depth, and then went to work with a wet sponge and the white.  Using this fiber isn't the easiest, but it really does the job in the shine department.

Wish I could say that these stitches are "bringing the canvas to life". but...........

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

He's Back!

"Tommy" came back from the finisher and had his photo op for the stitch guide cover and website.  We had to do a little wing adjustment to get him ready for his debut, but now I'm pleased with the final result.  We used neckties for the backing of the tail feathers so he'd look spiffy from all angles.  The actual body is velveteen and his ruffles are felt, but could be taffeta for a more formal look.

Sue and I are doing the cover layout tomorrow, in hopes of shipping canvases and guides at the end of next week.  If you're a speedy stitcher he can make it to the table as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hat Beading

Here's a close up of the beading on Lupe's sombrero.  The next step will be a little relaxing basketweave on the eyes.

Lupe's Progress - Thanks Tony!

While waiting for the wreath, my next project, I decided to pick up Lupe again and completed her sombrero.  After getting dizzy from all the concentric circles of Van Dyke stitch - fini!  Tony was right - it really does have the feeling of a straw hat!

Next to tackle was the brim, which called for satin stitch and beads for the small decorative stitching accents.  These would actually be leather on a real sombrero, but I wanted to follow Tony's stitch guide as closely as possible and he suggested string beading.  In order to allow these little decorations to bend if necessary I used Sundance #14 beads and very fine beading wire.  After much cursing (#*^#!!!)  this is the final result. 
Right again, Tony.....this guy really IS a Master!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Wreath

Just finished the wreath (#1062)! 
This canvas is painted on #13 using the same stitches as #1061 with one additional stitch for the bottom center segment.  The partridge insert that will go in the center is the same one used on the quilt square and is a separate canvas painted on #18.

Since this is such a large canvas (19x19") I also did a line drawn version - #1062-O - so it could also be stitched partially in Bargello to speed up the process.

As soon as both of the quilts return from the painters I'll be stitching this one for a display piece at the January show.

New Christmas Quilt

Here is the new addition to our quilt series - #1061 - Partridge and Pears Quilt.  The stitches are painted on the canvas and I think I've chosen some interesting ones as well as the right fibers and overdyes.  Paulette will be "test driving" this one before we finalize the stitch guide.

The canvas will also be available in a line drawn version (#1061-O) for those that want to create their own stitches or use it as a class project.

Next on the drawing board is the wreath version of this canvas, which I hope to complete today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kleo - Embellishment

Sometimes I'm just amazed at what a good embellishment teacher can add to a canvas without compromising the original design!

This piece, #EW-17, is being stitched by Iris Wigal in a class taught by MaryLu Leger.  Lots of  gold couching and jewels, and I love the light coverage stitch on the background..  This should be a total knockout when it's finished!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wings Are Finished

Tommy's wings are stitched, crystals are glued on tail feathers, and now this project is off to the finisher.
Designing dimensionals is always  a little tricky - you're not really sure of the results until the item is constructed.  In the past I've had them finished before stitching just to make sure the proportions were correct, but this one needed a stitch guide so I decided to "test drive".

The finished product should be back in a few weeks so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Last Feather

Finally finished the last turkey feather ! There are a total of seven, each in a different stitch so I wouldn't get bored stitching or painting. Each feather is a "painted stitch" and I used "sister stitches" for the pairs in the same color combinations. All the feathers will now go to the finisher for backing, and when they are completed I'll tackle the crystal problem on four of them (hot-fix or glue).

In the meantime, moving on to the wings.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Stitch Guides

Maryann Barber of Absolutely Needlepoint in Miama, Florida has re-done our original stitch guides for the Anne Jerlow geishas - AJ 515L, 515C, & 515R, and is teaching them in a series of three classes.  The next class is scheduled for mid-May.

The above photo is the original version, but Maryann's are stitched in more intense colors.  Since these are only partially painted you can dress them in the colors of your choice.  The new stitch guides can be ordered directly from Maryann (see our Stitch Guide page for contact info.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tail Feathers

Finished stitching the first 3 tail feathers for Tommy Turkey's tail.  I'm pleased with the stitches, but might want to add a little "bling" to the red ones.
The finisher might need to top stitch the edges of these, so I don't want to bead them and am considering hot-fix crystals.  I've never used them on needlepoint before - is there any danger of damaging the silk fiber when applying the crystals?
HINTS are welcome!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meet Tommy

Now that Tommy's head and "tush" are stitched, I can be sure that this dimensional will work and can move on to the remaining pieces.  These stitched pieces are on #18, but I think the feathers and wings can be done on #13.  I'd like to get this finished by July at the latest so those of you who have pre-ordered can have him a few months before Thanksgiving.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Stitch Guide

We have just added a new stitch guide to our website -  This one, Chai Sampler, was originally taught as a beginners class along with it's companion pieces, Christmas
Sampler and Haloween Sampler, which all use the same stitches in different colors and with a different center theme.  We'll be working on guides for the other two this week.

As usual, Angeles did great stitch diagrams in color and Sue did a beautiful job on the cover - thanks guys!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fimo Pillow

This design was inspired by different pieces of Fimo clay arranged as a collage.  I loved the look of Fimo in jewelry and sculpture and wanted to see if it could be captured in needlepoint. 

The buttons were originally meant for a knitting project, but when I saw them next to the canvas it opened up all kinds of new possibilities.  Any of these Zecca buttons would be a great addition to this canvas if finished as a pillow or purse.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This little ornament is actually the St. Patrick's Day piece for our perpetual calendar and measures about 2x2.5", so it can also be used as a small ornament. We have many more holiday and seasonal  calendar pieces that are sold individually.

Test Post

Just testing adding text and photos

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Stitch Guide Page

Due to an increasing demand for stitch guides we have added a new page to our website -  Just click on the stitch diagram in the gallery to see the guides we've done so far.

Guides for #1056 and #1058 can be used with either the painted or line drawn canvas.   The fully painted versions have the stitches actually painted on the canvas so they can be stitched according to the guide or entirely in tent stitch.  The outlined versions can be stitched according to the guide or in the stitches and fibers of your choice - great to use for a class.

Guides for MS-1 and MS-22 are available directly from Tony Minieri and MaryLu and I are stitching them now, along with other WIP's......these could take a while!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another Tony Demo

Another stitch that Tony demonstrated in the class is called Twining.  Hopefully if you enlarge the photo you will be able to see it on the Sandra Gilmore Santa being stitched by Barb Starman. Tony said he actually took a basketweaving class to learn this technique.  It isn't an especially difficult stitch, but the effect is very realistic.

I don't have anything on the drawing board right now that involves a basket, but the next time one appears I will definitely try this stitch.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Show and Tell

There were many talented stitchers in the class, and a few of them brought finished work to share. The Leigh cowgirl was stitched by Linda Corirossi (yep-THE Linda that wrote the Canvas Embellishment book) in a previous Tony class.  How beautiful is this?????

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tony Minieri Class - Day 2

                                                             Progress on Lupe                                                      

The second day of class was just as enjoyable and informative as the first.  After a brief critique of the new canvases to be stitched by the Sunday-Monday students - back to work!

MaryLu and I are both stitching "the girls" - Rosa & Lupe, and Tony designed totally different stitches for each one.  These stitch guides will be available directly from Tony, so I will post his phone number and email address as soon as I do the Stitch Guide page for the website.

I started skipping around in order to familiarize myself with some of the stitches I have never done, so just got started on the hair (Satin Stitch), the face (Upright Cross Stitch with a Stem Stitch eyebrow) and the direction of the sombrero).  Tony demonstrated a wired ribbon rose with a rolled center, Sorbello Knots, and Cast-On-Bullion.  All of these are terrific flower stitches, and not too difficult to understand once you have been shown by "The Master".

After another great lunch, made by one of the Family Arts volunteers, we all went back to chatting and stitching for the rest of the afternoon.  I was having so much fun that I forgot to take more photos, so I popped in with the camera before the last class for a few more shots and will post them during the week.

This sounds like last night's acceptance speech, but many thanks to.........Tony, for giving such a great class -
Julie, for hosting this event - Cathy Goldman for organizing all the fibers so well - the Family Arts volunteers for keeping us well fed - and Jane Wood, who nudged me to sign up for this wonderful class.

More "Tony" Stitches

Here are a few of the stitches Tony designed for MaryLu's horse.  The blended threads are beautiful and give just the right effect - and look at all the perfect Jessica's!!!!!  Tony said the secret is to pass under the last 2-3 threads.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tony Minieri Class - Day1

Today was my first day of a two day class at Family Arts Needlework.  The canvas I had chosen to stitch is "Lupe", a licensed Tapestry Fair design by Manuel Salas. It is a companion piece to "Rosa" pictured above.

We were given our mounted canvases and fibers, which were perfectly organized and labeled, as well as the stitch guides that Tony had written for each of us.  Tony then briefly explained the different techniques and stitches he had planned for each canvas.  I was amazed that he could remember the stitches and fibers for each canvas without notes!

Then it was stitching time.  The ladies in yesterday's class had already started experimenting with some of their stitches - the workmanship was beautiful and Tony's stitch choices were perfect. One of the stitches for MaryLu's horse is a combination of blended fibers that give the effect of painted watercolors.

Barb had started stitching her elephant's blanket, using a stitch that Tony had invented to match the painted count on the canvas.  Today she started the background that he had designed, and we all got a demo of the Hedebo rings that she will be using for some of the jewels.

After a delicious lunch served by the shop - more stitching.  I started stitching Lupe's hair in a directional satin stitch using one and two ply Burmilana so I could move on to the challenge of the sombrero.  Tony got me started on concenric circles in the Van Dyke stitch, which will change color to match the shading that is painted on the canvas.

So far this class has been a terrific experience.  Tony is a wonderful and patient teacher, with a great "eye" for choosing the perfect stitches to turn a painted canvas into a work of art.  More fun tomorrow.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Painted Elephant

This is the painted elephant Barb will be stitching.  Since March is the month of the Decorated Elephant Parade in Jaipur, she's starting at an appropriate time.

Tony Minieri Class

Tomorrow is the first day of the Tony Minieri embellishment class at Family Arts Needlework.  The first two Tapestry Fair designs Tony will be teaching are a Southwest pony and jackrabbit, painted for MaryLu Leger
and a painted elephant for Barb Cohen.

These are both painted on #18 canvas, so there's lots of room for intricate and interesting stitches.

My class starts on Saturday, so I'll get a chance to see the progress on these two before tackling my own project.