Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Class List Up

We've posted the new class schedule and this time we've managed to get our act together and actually post the next three months all at once. Isn't that great?

We've got some good stuff planned too. A new Bargello class called Four Way Bargello will be held October 28 from 5:30-7. Bargello is easy to do, really it's just a bunch of straight stitches. Of course, four-way Bargello is a bit more challenging. The idea is that you have four designs radiating out of the center of the scrim.

The best part of Bargello is playing with color which leads me to another one-session class we are offering called Exploring Color on November 18 from 5:30-7. This class will be an exploration of color theory focusing, of course, on how it applies to needlework. I am still formulating the class in my mind but I am really looking forward to teaching it.

We are going to experiment with a lunchtime class. This is a project class -- everyone will choose a scissor case and we'll work them together, exploring different stitches and techniques and at the end of the class we will all have a cute, useful, unique and long lasting item to be proud of.

We are also starting another frog class. Our very popular frog class was a huge success so we are looking forward to building on the experience. I am looking forward to this class because I have not made much progress on my frog since the last class ended. Of course, I might just start another frog ... !

For beginners, we have scheduled basketweave classes for every two weeks and we've tried to pick different days of the week and different times of day so that as many people as possible can attend. If, however, you are not able to make it to one of the basketweave classes, you can always schedule a private lesson with me for $10/half hour.

And don't forget the Stitch-of-the-Week class which will continue to meet on Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 and Sundays from 11 am to 12pm. It's a bargain at $5.00!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Kennan

I first encountered the Kennan stitch at the TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) show in January. It was the suggested background for a project that I had signed up to do. I never finished the project (no comments please) but I did pick up the stitch.

The Kennan Stitch is a very versatile stitch. It is easy to do and leaves decent coverage on the backside of the canvas (meaning it ought to wear fairly well). Suggested uses (from Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren from their fantastic series, Stitches for Effect) include: grass/fields (w/overdyed thread or Rainbow Linen), water/sky (stranded thread/overdyed thread), animal fur (Alpaca/Angora) and clothing (stranded or twisted threads).

The stitch is done from left to right and then back again. The first stitch goes over one canvas intersection from lower left to upper right -- in other words a regular tent stitch. To do the second stitch, drop down 2 horizontal canvas threads from where you ended stitch #1. Come forward to commence stitch number two, go up and over three horizontal canvas threads and one vertical canvas thread (thus creating a tall, slightly angled forward stitch). Once again, drop down two canvas threads from where you ended stitch number two to begin stitch number three.

To begin the return row, bring your needle forward two horizontal canvas threads beneath where you began the final stitch of the previous row (in the same row of holes). Repeat the same type of stitch from the previous row (meaning if the stitch above is a short one then you would do another short stitch and if the stitch above is a long one you would do a long one). In the return row, the top of the long stitch goes into the bottom of the short stitch and the top of the short stitch goes into the bottom of long stitch.

One variation pictured at left is to do a cross stitch in between the longer stitches instead of a simple tent stitch. The result is only subtly different with the small stitch being slightly more noticeable.

Friday, September 25, 2009

News from the Shop

Hello everyone. Sorry not to have written recently. We've got two trunk shows in da house and you know what that means? Lots of work for Stephen. Anyhow, come in and check em out if you can. We've got a charming show from Canvas Connection. Lots of little (read affordable) and cute items. A special note to all of you who have been in the shop admiring their golf bag ornaments -- the show includes the largest selection of them you are likely to see. Do a search on our website for "Canvas Connection" and check out the trunk show from the comfort of your own home!

We've also got a large show (400+ canvases) from Alice Vantrease/Savannah Designs. She has some interesting canvases -- an eclectic mix I would say -- including some cute dog ornaments and very cute dog collars (good selection too). Pictures will be forthcoming.

In other news, we have finally received some of the Princely Collection upscale "Stitch and Zip" items that our customers have been requesting for months. These are similar to the "Stitch and Zip" products but a little bit higher quality (you didn't hear it from me). They also have a lovely line of pre-finished bookmarks that would make perfect gifts (hint hint).

We got some beautiful canvases in this week from Peter Ashe. What an artist! If you come in I will be happy to show them to you.

And we got a big delivery from Ann Cram Designs. Ann is also a talented artist. She has some lovely canvases of houses with flowers as well as a group of coasters with an American flag theme that are a steal at$14.95 each.

That's it for the news. I've posted some new shots of the store on Facebook including the one at left from tonight's happy hour. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Doing What's Good For You

Sometimes it is hard to do the things that you know are good for you. Take for instance last night. I was tired and I had some time to do whatever I wanted. I knew that I should work on my Christmas stocking but for some reason I resisted. I thought about watching TV or reading but then I pushed myself and got out the stitching supplies and do you know what? I had a really nice time just stitching away.

It's amazing how relaxing needlepoint can be. I think that for sure my blood pressure dropped a few notches as I listened to the newly released recording of Beverly Sills singing Norma and concentrated on the little holes in front of me and laying the silk threads just right and very little of anything else. It was just what I needed to do so why did I have to push myself to do it? Who knows? I am not sure that it matters all that much. So what's my point? Push yourself -- to do those things that you know are good for you.

On a totally unrelated note, Marianne Charbonneau has just gotten herself a new dog -- Pebbles. Here they are stitching together in the store yesterday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Tied Stitch

This week's stitch met with a good response from class participants. This versatile stitch can be used for backgrounds, filling in large areas or even as a singular decorative element. The stitch is worked diagonally from upper left to lower right. Unfortunately, the stitch does tend to eat thread and is slow to work. However, it has a strong pattern and covers the back of the canvas adequately.

Each stitch unit consists of four stitches. The first stitch is a simple diagonal stitch up and to the right over five canvas intersections (think long tent stitch). Begin the second portion of the stitch up one canvas thread and to the left one canvas thread from where you began stitch number one. Finish stitch number two in the hole that is down one canvas thread and to the right one canvas thread from the hole where you finished stitch number one.

Stitch number three commences one canvas thread down and one canvas thread to the right from where you began stitch number one. It ends one canvas thread up and one canvas thread to the left from where you ended stitch number one. You should now have a three legged cross stitch.

The final portion of the stitch involves making a tie stitch from the canvas hole that is below (and to the right) of where the three legs meet to the canvas hole that is above and to the left of where the three threads meet.

The general idea is a diagonally oriented three legged cross stitch that is tied in the middle with a reverse tent stitch. To begin the next Tied Stitch count down two threads and to the left two threads from where you began stitch number three (which is also the lowest point in the previous tied stitch).

As usual, all this sounds terribly complicated but really it is not. I am hoping soon to make up some stitch diagrams that I can share with you. One diagram is worth a lot of words.I just bought a program called "Easy Grapher Stitch Wiz 4.0" but I have not had a chance to explore it.

In the photos I have experimented with doing the rows in different colors. Also in the gray colored image I have used embroidery floss and combined it with backstitch between rows using a gorgeous overdyed floss from Threadworx (item #4995) I love the look of this -- it's totally different from the first photo.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Wheat Sheaf

The Wheat Sheaf stitch is also known as the Shell stitch. It is a good stitch for filling-in areas or as a background. It is also effective as a solitary design element. Since it does resemble a wheat sheaf, it is a useful stitch for a canvas with fields or countryside. It might also be useful on a Thanksgiving or Autumn-themed canvas.

The stitch can be worked over four or six horizontal canvas threads. It consists of five straight up-and-down (Gobelin) stitches. These are followed by a gathering stitch. The gathering stitch begins in the center hole and underneath stitch number four. Use your finger to push the stitches four and five aside so that you can see what you are doing and also do not pierce either stitch with the needle. The goal is to come forward and encircle all of the stitches before returning to the backside. Again, use your finger to push the left side stitches out of the way and return to the backside of the canvas in the middle hole underneath stitch number two.

You may fill in the space between stitch units with a Gobelin stitch or an Upright Cross stitch. Other variations include using a different thread for the gathering stitch, using a different thread for the in-between Gobelin stitches, staggering the rows either horizontally or vertically, covering the exposed canvas threads between rows with backstitches, or looping a thread from one gathering stitch to the next and then returning in the opposite direction (in effect creating a figure eight with a contrasting thread).

The stitch looks especially handsome using stranded threads such as silk or cotton floss.

The Wheat Sheaf stitch is a good stitch to know. It is not difficult to do, it covers the canvas quickly, has a relatively good backing, does not bias the canvas and has plenty of variations that give it a varied appearance.

Follow Us on Twitter

I've just spent the morning setting up a Twitter account for the shop. Follow us and stay up-to-date on all the fascinating (?) happenings here at the shop (and with Russell, Stephen and Lulu). Just go to and set up an account. After you do that be sure to follow us. Our user name is RNeedlepoint. I have it set up to work with my cell phone so hopefully I will be able to tweet even on days and at times when the shop is not open. What fun! We'll always be in touch!!??

PS -- I can't figure out how to get our logo to appear properly -- so if anyone out there has any suggestions ... in the meanwhile you get the idea.