Sunday, May 27, 2012

Flower Club

If you have followed our newsletters, you may remember a notice a few months back about a flower of the month program we had been developing. Well, we have finally received our flowers, and the club is up and running! As you can see above, we stitched a bunch of the Tulips and had our finisher finish them. They are beautiful, definitely a perfect way to use your favorite extra vase! There really are so many different ways you can stitch them! You can do special stitches if you wish, and/or you can use specialty threads to make these gorgeous three dimensional flowers stand out even more. I stitched one up using Neon Rays, using a Satin stitch. It came out great, and was a breeze to stitch! Below is our Sunflower design. Like all of the flowers in this program, it is available in both 13 and 18 mesh canvas.
There are four different programs to suit your individual needs. The chart below details each program. You can also buy them individually (without signing up for the club) if you wish, but you would not receive a discount, which you would if you purchased the club. Prices are marked individually.
If you decide to sign up for the club, the flowers are shipped on the first Tuesday of the month. Your credit card will be kept in your secure notes in our computer system. It will be charged each month with the applicable tax and shipping. Your card will be charged for that month's purchase with or without threads and shipping charge, depending on your wishes. If you live in town, you can certainly come pick up the canvas and forego the shipping charge, but if you don't live close, we can certainly ship it to you! The club runs for the duration of the program selected, with no cancellations allowed.
We are all very excited about this club, and are looking forward to seeing how all of the flowers stitch up! Our finisher has mastered the finishing process for these special flowers, and using the same flower stems you would find in a high quality artificial flower shop, is able to make these looks very lifelike! Check out all of the flowers on our website. If you would like to sign up for the club, email or give us a call and we will get you set up with your first flower!

If you'd like to sign up for our newsletter, which this article was recently featured in, fill out the form below. We'll be sure to send you our future newsletters!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cross Stitch Fun!

Over the past year we've really expanded our cross stitch collection. We now carry kits and beads by Mill Hill, the magazine Just Cross Stitch, which always comes with lots of fun projects and news about cross stitching in general, a good selection of Bent Creek charts, and a great selection of beautiful artist reproductions by the Scarlet Quince, among others. We've definitely heard your voices and now have lots of projects to satisfy your cross stitch urges. :)
Just Cross Stitch is a great magazine. Like I mentioned above, it is full of great projects, from small ornaments to large pieces. As you can see in the photo, this month's issue features a project for a Lemon Tea design. We've seen a lot of coffee designs, which you'll get to see one of below, but surprisingly there aren't many designs for the tea fans out there! I know that I've been keeping my eyes out for one, and I'm glad that Just Cross Stitch now has one! Each project included in their magazine includes a detailed chart as well as a very organized materials and instructions section, so that there isn't any room for confusion. Another fun project they have had going on over the past few months is a "Main Street" Sampler. When it's finished it will look like a quaint village Main Street. Each month there's a new chart for another building. This month's building is "Ivy's Cross-Stitch Shop." There's a picture of how it will look when finished, and I'm sure it looks even more stunning in person!
Mill Hill Kits are great little cross stitch kits that often include everything you will need to complete the project. This kit, featuring a big cup of Cappuccino, is a fun little kit that includes a bead for finishing. It also comes with seed beeds, perforated paper for stitching, floss, needles and a chart with instructions. Mill Hill has a great selection of kits. They all have such fun designs, and it's great that they incorporate beads and buttons too. It really makes the process a lot of fun!
Our cross stitch teacher introduced us to Bent Creek. They're another delightful company who has a lot of great charts. One collection in particular caught our eyes. It was the Sampler Collection. This is because they have such beautiful classic samplers with a touch of a folk-art appeal. This sampler, entitled "Brownbird Sampler", is such a charming little piece! The perfect way to add a little bit of a folk quality to your house! To stitch up this little project, the chart gives you the option of using DMC or Weeks Dye Works floss, both of which we carry in the shop. Weeks is a great hand-dyed floss. It gives an extra special little touch to the project, and would certainly make areas like the bird or house stand out.
We also have some great kits by Michael Powell. This one, entitled Harbour 1 is a quirky little town. It looks very much like an Italian harbor town! This pretty kit comes with charts, pre-sorted threads, Zweigart fabric, a needle, and full stitching instructions. I love that this piece really embraces the illustration aspect. It looks very much like a drawing, just made in thread!

Cross stitch is a fun craft to take up. It's very similar to needlepoint, with the difference being that instead of following a painted canvas, you need to pay attention to the chart. I enjoy the whole process of cross stitch, and that you can really embrace the fabric you are using as well. In many cases, cross stitch patterns do not cover the entire canvas, so you will see the fabric. This really allows you to try out different fabrics, whether it's simply trying a colored fabric, or using one with a pattern or marbling effect.

Be sure to check out the cross stitch section on our website, and let us know if you have any questions about one of the pieces! If you're interested in having a private lesson, or would like to put your name on a wait list for a beginners, intermediate, or advanced cross stitch lesson, get in touch! We'll be happy to help!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's a Crewel World

I've written about Crewel before on this blog, but there are a few items that I hadn't mentioned before that I think deserve to be featured! Crewel is a form of surface embroidery where you use wool thread to employ a variety of embroidery stitches to create a design on fabric, traditionally linen. We've had a crewel class in the past, and are hoping to offer one again in the future, so that we can introduce you to this beautiful craft if you haven't been already!
This past winter we found out about Wool & Hoop, a small business out of Texas founded by Katherine Shaughnessy. Katherine's designs are simple and straight forward and are therefore perfect for beginners. She has a very informative book called The New Crewel. It's an excellent book, filled with lots of great information about crewel, from its origins to how it's being used in the contemporary world of needlework. The book has a great selection of her designs with project ideas, but she also has separate kits that we also sell. If you follow this link you can see all the crewel kits we offer. At the bottom of the list are all of the Wool & Hoop kits. Each kit comes with linen fabric, wool thread, needles, a blank greeting card and envelope, as well as instruction. These kits are great first projects but are also fun projects for more advanced stitchers as well, as the finished product is a lovely card you can send to a loved one! Who doesn't love getting such a special note in the mail?
Another great Crewel kit we have is this "It's the Berries" kit. It's perfect as a chair pad, picture, pillow or stool top. I like the vintage appeal of it, and think it would be great as a chair pad! This kit comes with a 14" diameter design printed on pure linen, 100% wool crewel yarn, a needle, cording, and complete stitching and finishing instructions. This project would probably be best for an intermediate stitcher, but since the stitches look like they're mostly satin stitch, it shouldn't be difficult to pick up quickly if you're a beginner and happen to be adventurous and love this piece!
Besides Katherine's book, we have a great book called A-Z of Wool Embroidery. This books is part of the A-Z collection of books. All of these books are great for beginners and advanced stitchers alike because they are packed with different stitches and projects. This particular book has a lot of valuable information about Wool Embroidery. As well as teaching you a wide variety of stitches that you can use in Crewel projects, it has a back section full of designs which you can transfer onto fabric and stitch up for yourself. It's a great book, perfect for anybody looking to learn about Crewel. Come on in to the shop or check out our website to see these crewel projects and more! I hope you enjoy learning about crewel and trying it out for yourself!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cats, Cats, Cats!

The cats heard that our last post was dedicated to dogs, and insisted that we do one for them! I love cats. They have such personalities, and will let you know what they want! Luckily, needlepoint has a lot of cat related canvases to fulfill my cute cat needs!
This canvas, called "Cats at Home" is by Needle Crossings. I love it because I'm sure that's exactly what cats do when they're left to their own devices during the day. This piece is on 13 mesh, and I'm sure it would look great with a variety of threads! Silk & Ivory would be a great base thread, and then if you wanted to highlight certain areas, like the cats for instance, you could use a Furry thread like Peluche.
Another great piece, shown above, is by JP Needlepoint. This would be a really fun piece to stitch. I think it is an excellent opportunity to use some furry threads. We recently had a customer bring in a similar piece to be finished, and our finisher stitched some mono-filament on the outside for the whiskers. It looked fabulous! This canvas is on 13 mesh, so threads like Silk & Ivory and Planet Earth Silk would be great threads to use.
These cat coasters by Princely Collections are some of my favorites. I love the vintage illustration style, and the fact that they are small, and each one is different, makes it a fun piece to stitch! It will be a really quick project. These are definitely pieces that would benefit from using fun threads!
This piece by Ruth Schmuff is another favorite. I love Ruth Schmuff's style anyways, but this piece is really adorable. I'm sure my cat dreams of catching fish and birds!
If you're looking for a cat collar, this collar by Voila is really sweet. Stitching a collar is a great way to personalize your cat's accessories. As I mentioned in the post about dog canvases, our belt finisher does belts, collars, and leashes. He does a great job, and will be able to finish this or any collar you would like superbly. If any of these canvases appeal to you, and there isn't a link to them on our website, you can order by phone. Give us a call at the shop and we'll be able to put together and order for you. Also check out our website. We have lots of cat canvases to choose from!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

We love dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, pretty dogs, ugly dogs. Come one, come all! Luckily for us it seems like the needlepoint community shares our love of these furry friends! From collars, to leashes, pillows, signs, and more, there are many different needlepoint canvases and products to choose from if you'd like to stitch man's best friend.

Barbara Russell is a very well known local needlepoint designer who excels in painting dogs. We have a number of her dog canvases, and they've been favorites for many people. The Westie shown at the top is one of her canvases, as well as the English Setter on the right. It is one of my absolute favorites, not because I have a particular interest in English Setters, but just because I love the way she captured the dog's gaze, and the lovable quality this dog possesses. Don't you just want to pat his head? In all of her canvases she also incorporates interesting patterns in the background. These always go to highlight the qualities that the dog featured possesses. The colors are captivating, and I could see using some fun threads to stitch pieces like this!

If you're looking for a funky kind of canvas, perfect for a child's room, the canvas below, titled "Running Dog on Yellow" by Patti Mann is an excellent option!
This canvas has such fun colors, and a great illustration style. It's on 13 mesh, and it looks mostly stitch painted, so it should be a great project for someone who's done at least one needlepoint piece before. I bet a child would like this piece in their bedroom too!

We also have a good collection of collars and leashes. The collar on the right is beautiful, also designed by Barbara Russell.
I love the beautiful floral pattern, and the colors are really stunning! This collar would really pop against a dark haired dog, but I'm sure it would be beautiful against a lighter dog like a Golden Retriever or Yellow Lab. Our belt finisher also finishes Dog Collars for us, and he does a great job. They're very durable and are sure to make a really special collar for your pet.
Leashes are also a great way to personalize your dog accessories. We have some really great ones! This fun dog leash by Voila is really striking! The red background would really stand out, and I know our finisher, the same one who does the belts and collars, would really do a great job! We love dogs and are so proud to have such a great selection of canvases that celebrate these lovable creatures. Come on in and check them out some time, or get in touch if you have any questions!