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I design needlepoint AKA canvaswork or counted needlepoint - it's all done from charts and diagrams!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stitching & More Ornaments

I've been working on Sugilite and am almost done!! That means I can start on something new which is one of my favorite things to do. Here's a little bit of it - I changed the orientation and what I showed last time as the left side is now the top. There's one more square on the left side of this photo but it's not done yet. I like the way this is turning out even though it's not what I originally envisioned - it's fun when that happens!

 I thought I'd share a few more ornaments with you - most of these are from exchanges and I love them. Long ago (about 10 years) we had a stitching group called Friends Who Count and we had an ornament exchange every year. The first few are from that time period. I'm especially happy to have this first one as the person who stitched it passed away a couple of years ago - she designed it herself using various parts of Shepherd's Bush patterns. The picture doesn't show how great it is -

The photo above shows the back of the previous ornament - the person who stitched it NEVER did cross stitch (she was/is a master of canvaswork) and wondered what she was thinking when she picked this out to do. I asked her to sign it and I love having it signed and dated. I think it's a great idea - if you make ornaments as gifts, be sure to put the date on it! Sue: If you're reading this, 1997?? Where has the time gone?

I made this ornament for the shop - it's on opalescent linen and the sparkle it adds is perfect for ornaments (it doesn't show in the photograph.   

My mom stitched this Joan Thomasson angel - I'm not sure how it ended up in my ornament box but I'm happy to have it!

This ornament was one of the first things I "designed" as part of an Ornament of the Month club when I first opened the shop on my own. I drew a circle on a piece of canvas, picked a Watercolour and a metallic thread, picked a stitch, and made the ornament. When I started with these, I never dreamed I'd be designing full time some day!

Last but not least, here is another non-stitched ornament. It's a Santa made from an old quilt. Mom got it for me a few years agoo and it's really cute.

Back to work...peace!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mystery 2012...

colorways have been chosen and posted to my website. Here's a photo of part of my kitchen counter - a great workplace, I've discovered! Check them out at Mystery Colorways.

I'm off to stitch - I've been working on the website all afternoon...and need a break!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A whole lot of stitching...

is going on. Actually it has been going on but I've been working on my Mystery design which I can't show you because it's a Mystery... I'll be posting info and details about signing up soon (the kits and first pattern installment will go out in January).  I'm just about done with it and I'm at a place now where I can put it down for a bit and work on something new. I starting stitching last night on this fun purple design which I will call Sugilite (it's a gemstone). Here's a bit of a sneak peek...

I have my tree up and took some photos of some of the ornaments to share with you. Here's the tree decorated with a lot of stitched ornaments. I'm fortunate to be able to say that many of the ornaments are from exchanges over the years and it always is wonderful to think of the people who have stitched them. I feel like I have little bits of lots of people on my tree. I went to my EGA Guild Christmas Luncheon yesterday and here is the latest addition to my tree. As I don't do much hardanger, I was thrilled to get this beauty. I was most impressed that the back of the ornament was stitched too!
Here's my tree...
and a few ornaments...the pictures didn't really turn out well.

This is from the very first Tiny Tidings pattern Lizzie Kate published (I think she's up to 15 years now). The metal horn next to it is an old ornament from our family's tree.

This is a needlepoint ornament from Gay Ann Rogers - it is just the center of one of her mystery designs that I started and never finished. I made it into an ornament (well, my mom did!) and poof, it's done and beautiful! You don't always have to stitch the entire design and this is a great example.

An old Prairie Schooler santa from one of their leaflets - it combines santa & snowmen, favorites of mine for Christmas decorating.

A Princess & Me needlepoint ornament - this also combines two of my favorite things - stars and snowmen.

The temari ball on the left is the first one (but not the only!) I ever made - I did make a few more complicated ones but didn't really catch the fever to make a lot of them. I'm happy to have them on my tree. The "Twirlament" on the right is an original design I did as part of a series of Ornaments of the Month a few years ago. Here's another...there are 12 of them and maybe I should think about publishing them?
The left photo shows it on the tree and the photo on the right is much more accurate in coloring and clarity!

Ok, this isn't stitched but I loved these little elves when I was a young child and I rescued this one several years ago when my mom was "downsizing" her Christmas decoations!

This is another ornament from my childhood - it's felt & sequins that my grandmother made when I was a baby. My grandmother was a fine needlewoman and always used the best quality of materials which is probably why more than 40 years later, this little guy is still perfect! My brother and I have stockings that are felt and sequins my mother made when we were babies - we've had them all our lives and they are NOT tacky. My brother was horrified when my mom suggested, a number of years ago, that we replace them with needlepoint stockings so we still have them and probably always will. I'd show you but they live at my mothers, as do all the family's stockings! 

I hope you're enjoying the holiday season - if you're feeling stressed, just breathe and pick up a needle!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's beginning...

to feel a little like Christmas! I wasn't planning to put up my tree this year but this basket of ornaments got me in the mood this morning. These are the ornaments I brought home from the shop and I think I have to put up the tree so I can look at them all month long! This is one of my favorites - it's very simple but I just love it. It's a Homespun Elegance pattern.

I can't believe it's December already. November was a whirlwind month and it went by way too fast. I spent the first two weeks mailing out orders and figuring out how to work only from home. This will be an ongoing issue for me as I am still working on getting my space at home organized for my new way of working without the shop.

I went to a Dear Jane quilt retreat with my mom the week before Thanksgiving. This is an annual event for us and we go to Shipshewana, Indiana. It's in the northern part of the state and primarily an Amish town. We hit Lolly's, the local quilt shop, as soon as we drove into town, before we even checked into the hotel. We met our friend Mary who drove in from VA and before too long, we had destroyed a new display of Moda flannels - mom and Mary bought all of them while I looked on. They may not look like much in this photo but they are scrumptious and the softest flannel I've ever felt (and I have felt a LOT as it was the first type of fabric I collected when I started quilting).  I can't wait to see the quilts they make from them.

I don't have any other photos of the retreat to share - my camera never made it out of my purse again but I did take these photos when I got home of the quilts I finished there. First is an Auburn quilt I made for my niece for Christmas. It's a great quilt for a teenager who loves Auburn but it was very constricting to only use three colors in a quilt, especially with one of them being orange...
Here's the back...I used all the leftover fabric as I didn't want to add it to my stash!

And, here's a closeup of the quilting - the longarmer (I do not do my own quilting) put footballs on it...we did this on my nephew's FL Gators quilt last year and they loved it.

Here's the 2nd quilt I finished there...it's mostly Kaffe Fasset fabrics with a few batiks thrown in. I made this to order for someone who wanted "RED". It's very red but the turquoise inner border really set the whole thing off.

Here's a closeup of the border - I fussy cut it so the half circles would go all around the quilt. I was fortunate it worked out around the corners without them running into each other.

I had to cut down the red so put a teal fabric on the back - it's one of my favorites and I have it in every colorway I've ever seen. Wait...I could say the same about a lot of Kaffe patterns!

Here's a quilt top I put together at the retreat. I had the blocks all made and just had to do the sashing and put it together. I used Cherrywood fabrics I bought in Houston (at the Festival) many years ago and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I bought nothing new except the sashing & cornerstone fabric. I've been trying to use fabric I've had on hand for a long time.

Here's the fabric I bought for the border - I love polka dots and this looked just perfect when I bought it.

I have more photos to share from Thanksgiving week but will save them for another post soon!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's official - I turned in the keys to my shop today and am now a full time designer! What a job it is to close a shop - I'm very happy it's done and I can take a bit of a break. Since I have not been stitching much, here's a photo of my Color Delights - Pumpkin. I cut and pasted four together to show you what it could look like if you wanted to make it bigger! It also totally changes the look of the design.

I'll post again soon - maybe with something new to show! I finally have some time and energy to stitch!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blue Ribbon Winners...

Congratulations to Kathy Raines who won not one, but two blue ribbons at the Montgomery County Fair in Maryland. She was nice enough to share photos with us! First up is Color Delights - Copper; she added some blue to it for a nice accent.
And here's her "Rainforest Crunch" - I love the way it's framed.

Back to stitching on my next "Mystery" for a few minutes tonight ... I got a square done last night and another large section started. Not much stitching will happen this weekend as I'll be spending a large part of the weekend adding sale items to the shop's website - www.needledelights.com (click on "Clearance Sale Patterns" from the Main Menu if you're interested and help me clear out the shop's inventory!).


Monday, September 12, 2011

Stitching Progress...

Although I'm deep in the throes of closing my shop, I have managed to get a little stitching in - you know how "stress-reducing" pulling a needle through canvas or fabric is! I can't show you much but here are a few "parts" of the Mystery I'm working on. I'm about 3/4 done stitching it and can't wait to start choosing the different colorways. Although I'm stitching mine in blues, browns, and corals, I'm imagining it in the bright fun colors I love so much.

And here's a part  of my fun colorful piece - it's a destination but where?? Suggestions? It's almost done but I won't be releasing it until the first of the year - no time to write directions or release new designs for awhile...

You can probably tell by my needlepoint designs I'm an avid quilter; not necessarily an avid producer of quilts (there's that time issue again!) but I love love love quilting. I've learned a lot about color & design from reading quilt books - I actually read them along with looking at the photos! Here's one of my favorite star quilts - the blocks are four inches square. 

Here's what I did Saturday night to relax after a long busy busy week at work - cut out fabric for a quilt I'll put together when I go to a quilting retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana in November... I go every year and am looking forward to it this year more than ever. In the meantime, I'll be working at the shop non-stop with a few sanity breaks every night - some sort of needle to be involved!

Hope you're stitching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Closing my shop...

means I'll have more time to design! Today I officially announced I will be closing my retail shop to focus on my own designs. Although many of my retail customers are very sad, I'm personally very excited about becoming a full time Designer. It has been very challenging the last couple of years having a shop and releasing new designs. I've felt torn in too many directions. I'm looking forward to having just one business and giving it my all. This is a great thing for Needle Delights Originals fans!

If you want more info about the shop closing (yes, there will be sales!), click Needle Delights Closing.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fantastic Framing...and more

Sarah sent me this photo of her framed "Appalachia" - she turned it on its side and had some really cool mats cut for it.

Another photo from Sarah is her finished "Aquamarine". The framing is simple and really sets it off.

This is Mary E.'s "Amazing Color" - she used this as a "stash piece" and used DMC floss and perles in various colors, metallics (cool addition as I didn't use any in this piece), rayon, and variegated threads. Didn't she do a great job?!

And this is part of a new piece I'm working on. I'm using the overdyed Vineyard silks from Threadworx - I loved stitching Amazing Color so much because of the thread. I promised myself I'd use it again sometime and the sometime is now! I started this right before going to Baltimore because I needed a smaller piece to take on the plane than the large piece I'm working on. I did try to put my large piece in the bottom of my suitcase but the stretcher bars were too large and I didn't want to take them apart. Now this one is almost done and I'll go back to working on my large piece. Although my personal stitching has a gazillion pieces "in progress" aka "abandoned", I seem to only design & stitch one at a time. I don't always finish everything but do at times abandon some or take something out.

Here's something I rejected. Although I'll be ripping it out of  my Mystery, I really liked part of it so have already used it in my new design - it just didn't look right as part of my Mystery piece..and yes, I know the photo is really blurry! I cropped it from a much larger photo. If you're keeping track, the color shows a hint of my colorway! That's Peacock Watercolours and Terra Potta Belle Soie.

I'm off to stitch a little more border tonight. It's boring but necessary for this piece. I don't enjoy stitching borders much - have you ever noticed many of my pieces don't have borders...or much "background"?! I chalk it up to my short attention span or wanting to move on to the next fun spot!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back from Baltimore...

I'm back from the Needlework Trade Show in Baltimore, Maryland. I exhibited my designs and had a fabulous time. My mom came and helped me in my "booth" and I'm always happy to spend time with her. The photo above shows my first Baltimore crabcake - it was so yummy I had another crabcake dinner Sunday night.

It's so much fun to meet shopowners who purchase my designs and share stories with me of what has been done with some of my designs. I asked several people to send pictures and I'll be sure to share them with you if/when they come! If you're anywhere close to Baltimore, go visit The Stitching Post . I let Melinda take a bunch of my models home to display in her shop for a few weeks. 

Here's a couple of photos of what my "booth" looked like - the market is held in an Embassy Suites hotel and we use the front part of the room for our displays and sleep in the back.

And here's a photo of me with my newest designs - I hate having my picture taken but my mom was with me and she made me (sound familiar to anyone?!)

Here are the new designs I released this past weekend. First up is Funky Hearts - 

This is called "Lollipops" - I'm happy to say it sold out! The colors in this photo appear a little washed out - it's actually a bit brighter.

This is the latest Color Delights - it's called Plum. 

I previewed the next two in the Color Delights series - Silver & Midnight. I wish you could see how "shimmery" the Silver is - this is one of my favorites in the Color Delights series. Silver will be released Sept 1st.
Midnight will be released Oct 1st. 

I spent today "catching up" at home and am looking forward to opening my shop in the morning! I love being busy!