Friday, September 30, 2011

Still stitching!

I am continuing to make progress on my Dresden Garden piece. I have only one more specialty stitch to do before filling in the background and then doing the flower petal outlines. Right now it doesn't look much different than my last photo so I'll update it when I have more stitching completed.

I have also made progress on my other correspondence course. I need to do four different pieces for this course which focuses on finishing techniques. I have started two of them. One uses hemstitching and mitered corners. I am just about done with the first side of the hemstitching, right along the hemline, and will need to do the other side of the open space so the stitches on both sides are the same. This sample needs to be left half undone so it can be checked for proper stitching methodology. 

The first photo shows it from the front side and the second photo is of the back side. You actually do the stitching on the back side.

The other piece has a picot edging. You need to withdraw threads and in between one set of withdrawn threads you pick up four threads and make two buttonhole stitches. You then fold this over so the picots are on the very edge and then do some hemstitching. I am not quite to the hemstitching part of that one.
If you look closely you will see the stitches on either side of the corner have three threads and not four. That is on purpose! You have to do a little compensating so the picots don't look odd against the open space at the corners.

Now, this next part should be filed under, “You must be joking!” because I signed up for one of the EGA’s Master Craftsman programs. Crazy, I know. It isn’t like I don’t have enough to keep me busy, but I thought it would be a challenge and stretch my stitching skills a bit. I enrolled in the Counted Thread program. I can’t share all of the details because that is against the program rules, but I can share my progress and the program info that is publicly available.

The program I’m in has six steps. Each one must be passed before moving on to the next. In the first step I need to stitch a piece that can have family or historical significance. I have several ideas rolling through my head but think I will likely do something with a German theme as both my husband and I have family that came from Germany. I have ordered several books on old German samplers. They are actually in German so I will seek out the help of my German speaking daughter to assist me with a little translating.  I do have up to two years to complete the first step so I should make that deadline!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stitching progress!

So, I am finally back to working on my projects! I’ve been finishing up a number of project keepers for the region meeting in October. Some I’ve done from start to finish and others come to me almost complete and I cover a tube with batting and attach them.

I made two embroidered towels for our Meet and Greet night at the region meeting. I gave up on the strawberry design I started. It was way too detailed for this purpose. These designs are very simple and stitch up quickly. I have a third design ready to stitch that will wait until after I finish up my two correspondence courses.
I’ve been getting some work done on the Dresden Garden piece. Some of the stitches are a bit challenging, especially when you need to work compensation stitches around those curved edges. I have to admit that I did the frog stitch (rip-it, rip-it) on more than one occasion. I am pleased with the way it looks so far, but still have no clue what I will do with it when it is complete. (Don't mind the shadows in these photos. I couldn't seem to get myself positioned correctly with the overhead lighting.)
I have been working on a project from Milady’s Needle. It is a ruler holder. There are other pieces you can make that compliment it, like a scissor fob and needle book. I pick it up and stitch on it when my eyes can no longer take looking at that high count Dresden Garden fabric.
Now, don't think I've made all of this progress in just the last week! I've been working a few minutes at a time on them and it all adds up. Several years ago I was in an online group that had the goal of finishing up all of those UFOs we all seem to have. The group suggested  a goal of stitching one length (12-18 inches) of floss/thread a day. You won't see much progress day by day, but over time those inches add up to a finished piece.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

San Francisco: Part Two

This has been a busy week! My folks and my daughter and her husband have been in town. We've spent a lot of time visiting with the (great) grandchildren so I haven't accomplished much stitching.

I'll give you the last bit on my trip to San Francsico and then I'll be back next week with more stitching updates.

I had a little time between sessions one day and stopped at a small museum in downtown San Francisco called the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. It was located just steps from our hotel on Yerba Buena. It has limited hours being open only Wednesday through Sunday. There is a small gift shop at the museum that you can visit without paying the $5 entrance fee.

Getting into the museum, which was really more of a one room gallery, was a little challenging as the three young ladies behind the counter were more interested in chatting amongst themselves instead of greeting the people entering the shop/gallery. But, I did manage to get their attention, pay my fee and enter the small room. 

The display was Korean Textiles Now. It was a nice display and would have been much more informative if the young ladies had told me there was a printed gallery guide describing each piece.There were no signs saying otherwise, so I took several photos.

These first three photos give you a good sense of the room and the textiles displayed.

This piece below was absolutely covered with hand stitching.

The squares in this piece are small and you can see the fine hand embroidery 
done in the center of several of them.

The gift shop was small and had a few unique pieces. I didn't buy anything but will visit the shop again the next time we are in San Francisco.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Francisco: Part One

We are finishing up a trip to San Francisco for a business conference. Most of the time we’ve been here our days have been full of either driving along the coast, which we did pre-conference, or attending sessions and various other conference type activities. On Monday I had the day free to roam and found, just a couple of blocks from the hotel, a needlework shop. 

Needlework, Inc. is the company that produces the Needlepoint, Inc silks you may have used in some of your stitching projects. The skeins are very expensive, around $5, so I have rarely used them. The shop is on the third floor of a small building in downtown San Francisco across the street from Union Square Park. When you enter the building the very small lobby has a very small staircase and a very small elevator. You would almost think you are in the wrong place if it weren’t for the placard on the wall indicating the businesses located on each floor. Needlepoint Inc was listed for floors 2, 3 and 4.

I stepped into the elevator and pushed the 2 button. Nothing happened. I did this a couple of times before finally hitting the number 3, and then I was off. The door opened into the shop. The shop is small but very colorful and full of samples and canvases. One corner holds mostly Christmas, and a few Halloween, designs. Many of the designs were done in 3-D, some as ornaments, others as purses and boxes, and still others as lady bugs and other critters. While the designs were very enticing, the cost of the canvases was not. Many of the canvases were running close to $100 and up for designs that were about 5 x 7 inches in size. The least expensive one I could find was $20 and it was for a small (maybe 2 inch by 1.5 inch) egg design that they had finished with a backing as an egg ornament. 

Interestingly enough, I found they did carry some cross stitch patterns. They had several designs by Milady’s Needle, The Drawn Thread and Jeannette Douglas, as well as a few other miscellaneous designers. While I didn’t examine each pattern, it did appear that these were designs that featured Needlepoint, Inc. silks. I did pick one up by Milady’s Needle along with a few of the silks to complete the design. 

I've read other online reviews about this shop that indicated they were not friendly or helpful. There were two women in the shop, one younger and one older. Perhaps they were mother/daughter. I was greeted by the younger as I entered the shop. As I wandered the shop I was asked how I was doing by each of the two women. The younger woman helped me get a couple of skeins of silk as they were shelved too high for me to reach without a ladder. As I checked out, she engaged me in conversation about where I was from, why I was in town, etc. 

While no one was out right rude to me, I did get the distinct impression that they were not very receptive to those new to needlepoint. I overheard another woman ask about what could be done with a particular canvas. She was told she could do anything she wanted with it. She asked the same question later about another canvas and was again given the same response. She was clearly looking for a suggestion from the shop ladies, but it wasn’t forthcoming. I also overheard the two shop women speaking about another customer in not so nice terms. They several times mentioned she was “new” to needlepoint.  These overheard conversations, plus the costly canvases, lead me to believe they cater to the serious and experienced needlepointer. Still, it was a nice shop and a place I would visit again to see the many displayed samples.

In addition to doing a little shopping, I was able to finish reading the book Lye in Wait. It is a cozy mystery based upon a woman who makes soap as a home business. The book was free for the Kindle in August (though I did just check and it is still showing as free). The book was enjoyable and a quick read. I especially enjoyed the little tidbits about soap making the author tossed in throughout the book. I like learning a little something while also enjoying a good mystery. The story held my interest and it is definitely something I would recommend if you want something light to read.