Friday, January 22, 2010

CBK Trunk Show

CBK Needlepoint Collections from Massachusetts is our latest trunk show. CBK represents a number of different designers including Keep Your Pants On which has, not surprisingly, a large collection of belt canvases. These belts have a range of themes -- sports teams are well represented but so are hobbies and activities.

My favorites are some of the more unusual/whimsical including a great hedgehog design and another one with bow ties.

Also offered for sale at Rittenhouse Needlepoint for a limited time only are the classic canvases of Bettieray Designs. This collection includes traditional florals, charming children's designs, chair seats/bell pulls, affordable Christmas stockings and some great canvases featuring birds including my favorite bird -- the hummingbird. Other featured design themes include frogs, roosters and shells.

Stop by the store today to see these lines before they leave February 6.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stitch of the Week: English Stitch

The English stitch is a two step stitch that begins with a series of five straight up and down (Gobelin) stitches over four horizontal canvas threads. The second step consists of a series of angled stitches that frame the original group of five stitches. The result is a handsome composite stitch that according to Robertson and Howren (Even More Stitches for Effect, p. 43) can be used for door panels, fences, brick walls, architectural details, baskets, clothing, borders and backgrounds. Ribbon type threads would work well on this stitch.

Mary Rhodes offers the best verbal description for executing this stitch so rather than trying to improve on it I will merely quote from her fine book, Dictionary of Canvas Work Stitches: "Five vertical straight stitches are worked first over the four horizontal threads. The needle is then brought up through the centre [sic.] hole along the bottom edge of the stitch and is taken down into the centre hole on the left-hand side. It then emerges from the centre hole on the right-hand side, to be taken down again into the centre hole on the bottom edge. From this point the needle is then brought up through the centre hole on top edge of the stitch and taken down into the centre hole on the left-hand side. It is brought up once again through the centre hole on the right-hand side and is taken down into the centre hole at the top. A small diagonal stitch over two intersections of the canvas is then worked over each corner of the group of vertical stitches, outside and parallel to the four longer diagonal stitches just worked."

Just take this verbal description one step at a time and you should be fine. Variations on the English stitch involve doing the straight stitches and the angled stitches in different colors or threads. You can also stagger the stitch from row to row.

Back from Vacation

Russell and I had a terrific vacation cruising around the Carib-bean-o. I got lots of reading and needlepoint done. I had a tough time though deciding what to bring with me in terms of both needlepoint and books. I selected a new project -- a set of Imari coasters for my living room. I choose this project primarily for its portability. I cut the canvas into four smaller projects and then I could hold them in my hand and work on them one coaster at the time.

Before we left I wondered whether this would be enough stitching for the entire vacation! As it turned out, I only completed two of them. Oh well. I still have two more to go. I enjoyed working on them. I used Caron Impressions thread (the canvases are 18 mesh) and did basketweave stitch with some cross stitches thrown in here and there. Sometimes, it is nice to just keep it simple and not get too creative (can you say vacation?). The canvases themselves are complicated enough and the 18 mesh was sometimes a challenge to see but I brought with me a helpful pair of clic glasses that I used as needed.

Russell even did some stitching on the cruise with me. He has picked out an ambitious project for himself. It is a design featuring antique buttons on a handsome red background (Associated Talents, item #14438). It's a handsome canvas but a large one too! He made a good start on it during the cruise. Taking a page out of my play book, he has started stitching in the upper right hand corner and is working his way down and to the left -- alternating between background and detail work. He is doing a fine job and more importantly seems to be enjoying himself doing it.

Stop by the store, I am sure that he would be happy to show it to you and ask him to tell you the story about his canvas and how I tried to sabotage his needlepointing career! Just don't believe the whole tall tale.