Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ribbon Embroidery Class

Ribbon embroidery is a beautiful style of stitching that is used to embellish so many things, from a needlepoint or cross stitch canvas to clothing, bags, pillow cases, sheets, etc. I have done ribbon embroidery before to embellish a skirt, but as I was researching for this post and to announce our upcoming class on the subject, I realized just how many different ways you can use ribbon embroidery!

Embroidering clothing is a great way to add some individuality to your wardrobe. This corset, available to purchase at Lara's Corsets and Gowns, which has a lovely floral embroidered motif, is an example of that. It's not a garment that everyone can see, but just the knowledge that you've embroidered something like that is pretty special and gives it a romantic touch.
embellished bags have been popular for years. Here at Rittenhouse Needlepoint, we sell a lot of canvases for bags and see many coming in for finishing. It's a beautiful way to create your own purse and have something unique in your wardrobe. Back in the 1950s embroid
ered straw bags were very popular. This darling little shown at Nancy's Quilt Shop is a grea example of that. The delicate flowers embroidered around the edges add such a lovely quality to the bag!

Pillows, of course, are one of the most popular choices for
finishing a needlepoint, and it is no surprise that using Ribbon embroidery on a pillow makes a
beautiful piece! This pillow, shown on the artist's Flickr page, is beautiful. The ribbons really create an amazing three dimensional quality that really brings the flowers to life.

We have a beginners Ribbon embroidery class scheduled for March 12th. The price for the class and supplies is TBA. If you are interested in signing up for this class or would like some more information about it, don't hesitate to give us a call at the store or come in!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Valentines Day!

Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching, and if you were thinking about making something for your sweetie, we have a couple ideas for you!

We recently received some clear heart paperweights which you can insert a stitched needlepoint into. We had Jim, our custom painter, paint a few that would be perfect for your loved one. They're in the theme of heart candies, with phrases like 'Kiss Me' and 'Be Mine.' The set, which includes the canvas and the paperweight is just $40, and since there's only 2 colors, they'll be so quick to stitch up! Also, to make these an even better deal and great idea for a gift that can continue to be modified (the canvases don't have to be applied permanently to the paperweight. You can interchange the canvas as the season or your mood passes), there's no finishing costs! Just stitch and insert the finished canvas into the paperweight, and you're ready to give it as a gift!

Another of our fantastic pieces by Jim is the Love Sign, shown on the right, a Philadelphia monument! This canvas is 13m and 7 x 7. It's $49.95. This finishes up into a fabulous pillow or framed piece. For a smaller simplified version of this, which would finish into a great ornament, framed art, or pillow, we have the smaller love canvases. You can buy one by itself, which just includes the canvas and a needle, for $21 or you can get the kit which includes the canvas, a needle, yarn and a set of directions, all for $28! These would be really quick stitching projects, and as mentioned before, finish into lovely pieces for display.

Another idea, would be one of our customizable flasks. You can buy the flask by itself for $65 and then buy a canvas to fit inside. All of the round canvases by Lee & Colonial Needle which are made for their luggage tags, fit into these fabulous and attractive flasks. If you want to buy everything together, you can buy a kit. The kit includes the flask and the canvas for $69.95. We have 4 kits in stock, with images of a martini glass, the classic burberry plaid, a pink variation of the burberry plaid, and a charming polka dot option. The thread is not included in these kits, although we are always eager to help you choose appropriate threads if you need some suggestions!

If you were thinking that this year would be a great year to give your date a handmade gift, we can definitely help you out! Come in and see what we have. If your Valentine is a needlepointer themselves, you can also give a gift certificate to our store!
We look forward to seeing you in the store!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Joetta Maue

On my search for interesting contemporary Needlepointers and stitchers, I came across Joetta Maue. She's a young artist based out of Brooklyn who incorporates her love for photography, drawing, and stitching into fascinating and delicate works of art. Although our shop is primarily for needlepoint, I think she's relevant because she's using stitching and thinking about it in a contemporary context. It's always helpful to look at something different to refresh your own creativity, hence featuring her in our blog.

The following is a segment from her arist statement, which you can view by following the link attached to the title of this blog.

"I use my daily life as the main subject of my work with the idea of the work being honest, even painfully so, coming from my desire to be true to my emotions, insecurities, strengths, and intelligence without fear of ridicule or censure from a patriarchal society. By making work that resides within the realm of the everyday, everyday objects, and the female, I am attempting to defy and contest masculine censure. In effect, I reclaim my femininity: the quality of being feminine, without the fear of losing strength or respect. Though the autobiographical drives the work and is necessary for it to exist, ultimately it is transcended, enabling the viewers to have their own independent relationship to the work."

Her statement really helps bring a new light to her work. I think it's interesting to see how young contemporary stitchers are incorporating traditional stitching techniques into their own art to voice their own thoughts and ideas. Her work definitely contains a lot of the emotions and thoughts she says she is trying to achieve, and for that I think her work is successful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Needlepoint Clocks

We recently discovered some needlepoint clocks designed by Zecca and are so excited about them that we wanted to share them with you and also let you know about a class we have coming up where you can purchase your own and stitch it!

The one we have in the store, which is shown to the right, has a lot of great stitches that really make the already fun design even more eye-catching!

Zecca also has other designs for clocks, one of which is below. It is called the "Leaf Clock" and is fabulous! The colors are great, and the frame they finished it with gives the best final touch! We have placed an order for it, and it will be in store soon!

Of course, if you are interested in participating in the class, or just would like to do a needlepoint clock yourself, but don't see one that strikes your fancy, you could always have our custom painter make one for you! This would be the perfect way to accent your room using imagery that you love and colors that coordinate with your room's design!

While we don't have a date set up for the class yet, once we have at least 6 participants we'll choose a date and time and notify everyone who has expressed interest. Give us a call, email or come in to the shop and check out the clock we have stitched and on display and learn more about this really fun class!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Needlepoint isn't just for women!

Needlepoint has always been a past-time most commonly enjoyed by women. However, as Rittenhouse Needlepoint has proved with its owners, this is not the rule. Needlepoint is a very relaxing craft, and men have been discovering this fact.

The most notable example of a male needlepointer would be Rosey Grier, a former football player from the 1970s who later became an Ordained Minister. He took up Needlepoint to have a way to relax, and found that it was very enjoyable! He also noted that over the years, fueled by the demand for more contemporary and exciting canvases, there have been more canvases designed that men would enjoy stitching. He wrote "Men are attracted to the more modern geometrics and bold colors-and the more of us who do it, the greater the demand will be for designs with masculine appeal, and the more designs there'll be. Even now, you're sure to find something that appeals to your own personal mood-be it serious, amused, bold, or nostalgic" (Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men, p. 18, 1973).

As time goes by and more and more different types of people are becoming interested in Needlepoint, there really are many great new designs being created. You really can find a canvas for pretty much any person. Also, as is the case in our shop, you can even have your own canvas designed FOR you! So if you aren't attracted to any canvas you see, you can always have it custom painted!

In December of 2010, there was a newscast on NBC36 in Davidson, North Carolina about a man who is carrying on his family's tradition of needlepointing Christmas stockings for the new children in the family. The man, named Bob Dillard, started needlepointing 5 years ago. He mainly stitches while watching football and other sports on television. "'It's very similar to paint by numbers,' Dillard says. 'It's just have to watch the needle'" (WCNBC, 2010).

To encourage men of all ages to consider needlepoint as a fun, relaxing pasttime I've compiled a selection of canvases and projects that they may find appealing. It wasn't hard! The hard part was only in limiting the amount I show here!

One of the favorite needlepoint projects for the male customers who frequent our shop are belts. We certainly have a wide selection and they appeal to both genders. The belt shown to the right, a Hamburger and French Fry themed belt by Rosalie Peters is particularly fun! I could see giving this to my younger brother, as a gift and as a way to encourage him to try this as a past-time! He certainly enjoys fast food, so it seems like a great way to include his interests in a relaxing past-time!

Another ingenious project for a guy would be a cummerbund! Similar to the belt, this would be something they would be able to enjoy while needlepointing, but then they would be able to use it afterwards! This cummerbund by Elizabeth Turner is stunning. The colors are great for a man, not too out there, and there's a lot of visual interest with the diamond pattern.

As well as the wearable canvases a man could do, there are a lot of accessories that a man may carry around that could be personalized to suit his interests. One such idea would be a flask! We have kits that include a flask and an canvas which you would stitch and then insert into the front. You can also buy the flask separately and then buy a canvas that fits and that you're attracted to. The Lee canvases in the BJ series fit these flasks perfectly! This would also be a great idea for a gift to give your boyfriend or male friend for Valentine's day or his birthday!

With so many options now-a-days, it's easy to see why men are being more attracted to needlepoint. If you are interested in learning, or you know a man who may be interested in getting started with needlepoint, send him in our direction! We'll definitely show him the ropes and get him prepared for beginning this great past-time.

I feel Rosey Grier has hit the nail on the head with his quote:
"One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself to start needlepointing on the right foot, is to find a needlepoint store that's just right for you. It may take a bit of time, but it's worth the effort. The right needlepoint store is just as important as finding exactly the right wine, or your favorite tennis racket, the kind of pipe you want to smoke, or the perfect bowling ball. Once you find it-you're set for life" (Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men, p. 21, 1973). We hope to be that store for you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Needlepoint in 3D!

There are so many great things you can do with needlepoint nowadays! Needlepoint has definitely come a long way. We have many canvases but some of the most fun to look at and stitch are 3D. It seems that Needlepoint designers are catching on to the trend because there are so many new designs to choose from. The hard part is choosing just one!

This past spring we had a trunk show of Edie & Ginger canvases. In the trunk show was a particularly adorable pig. Her name is Rosebud the pig. We decided to keep the stitched canvas to show as an example and encourage people to try 3D stitching, and before we knew it we had 8 people sign up for the class! We've developed it into a year long class, and have currently gone through 7 lessons. In a few months the project will be complete, and everyone will begin to bring their finished pigs, all of which are made with different threads to make each even more unique.

In addition to the pig, Edie & Ginger also has a large selection of 3D frogs. They're all fun and colorful!

Wendy, our store manager as well as an experienced stitcher is taking over the class for the month of February, as Stephen, the instructor, is out of town with Russell enjoying a much needed vacation. Wendy says stitching the canvases is fun, and I know from watching Stephen and the other class members stitch during the classes, that each piece is unique and exciting!

Besides the Edie & Ginger trunk show, we've also had a trunk show by Sew Much Fun. They had primarily 3D canvases, which were all very cute and fun! The majority of the students who participated in our 3D class this fall chose a project from that trunk show, and all of them had a lot of fun in the process! To the right is Penelope Poodle. Isn't she sweet!?

They also had fabulous Christmas ornaments, one of which is the girl ornament to the left. In addition to the girl elf, they also had a red headed boy, a mouse, reindeer, santa, a snowman and snow-woman and more! For sheer volume, Sew Much Fun definitely has the most 3D canvases that we've seen in one place! These great canvases will be up on the website shortly, but if you are interested in seeing the rest, don't hesitate to come in to the shop and see them or you can call!

Patti Mann is another designer who has an abundance of great 3D canvases. She has a great assortment of pudgies and 3D animals, including the Pudgie Bunny seen here.
One of our newest and favorite designers is Canvas Candy. They make wonderful ornaments. When you purchase a set, you get a beautiful glass ornament and then a needlepoint canvas of the same subject. For instance, they have done many different types of food, from truffles, to cheesecake, to pizza, to burgers and fries! See the example of how the glass ornaments look next to the needlepointed version! If you don't look closely, you may not be able to tell which one is which!

With all of these choices, you can see why it's so difficult to choose just one!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frederique Morrel

We've just found out about Frederique Morrel, a French husband and wife artist team. They find old needlepoints and collage them into amazing sculptures!

My Dear, one of their awe-inspiring pieces, was created using a fiberglass taxidermy mold of a deer, which they embellished with realistic looking body parts, such as hooves, eyes, teeth, antlers, etc. After the form of the deer was complete they collaged specific canvases together on top. The inspiration for this piece was 'mating season,' and all of the canvases were compiled specifically for their romantic or erotic themes. The following photos show their process for putting this piece together. Amazing!

As well as animals, they also do human sculptures.

It's amazing what you can do if you use your imagination. Some people think needlepoint is just for pillows, framed art, or furniture, but these artists show you there's so many different ways you can do something spectacular if you are creative!

And look! Their dog even gets to join in on the fun! :)

Check out their website by clicking on their name on the title of this blog. You can see more examples of their work, and if you really love it, you can even commission a piece of your own! A great way to combine a love for art with your love of needlepoint!