NJNA/Morris County Library Exhibit: Not Your Grandmother’s Needlepoint

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The New Jersey Needle Artists/Morris County Library exhibit speaks for itself. But we couldn’t leave it at that.

So accompanying the current exhibit of our members’ stunning work, which runs through August 9, is the following brief description of what makes modern needlepoint so challenging, compelling and fun. 

Happy stitching!

……..

Metal on velvet. Exploded geometrics. Bling and more bling. Fiber artists are reinventing this age-old craft — in which stitches are worked with a needle over a canvas mesh — by experimenting with texture, color, and design and by utilizing fibers that didn’t exist a decade ago.

“It’s certainly not your grandmother’s needlepoint,” Diane Burgess, Chapter President of the New Jersey Needle Artists (NJNA), says in describing the work of members now on display at the Morris County Library. “Modern needlepoint gives crafters more choices and more ways to expand their creativity.”

Wool, the traditional mainstay of needlepoint, still has its place. But now, so do silk, cotton, metallics, beads, rayon, ribbons and other fuzzy, shiny, prickly threads. These novelty fibers let needlepointers build texture into their projects. A traditional floral canvas may include flourishes with ribbon to give it dimension. An image of whitecaps on water may be stitched in a metallic thread to give it depth. And as for beadwork, it adds luxury and shine to the handbag worked by one NJNA member and on display.

Artists are using color in new ways, too. Take Stars for a New Millenium, the centerpiece of NJNA’s exhibit this month. Noted fiber artist Tony Minieri, who designed Stars, explains that this project is intended as a “study in color, texture, stitch and thread.” Each square is based on a traditional quilt pattern and, “… is named after a movie star from Hollywood’s Golden Age.”

Stitchers who completed Stars expressed themselves through their choice of color and thread. In the process, they highlighted the impact that color choice has on pattern. While some of the display pieces appear more traditional than others based on color choice, one artist’s decision to use bright pinks, oranges, blues and greens is strictly 21stcentury.

Experiments with new technologies and three-dimensional finishes also mark modern needlepoint. One piece in this month’s display is a needlepoint-embellished photograph. The landscape photo was transferred onto canvas and then worked with stitches to enhance the image and add dimension. And newer types of finishing techniques ditch the frame altogether, giving depth and a playful quality to what’s generally been considered a two-dimensional art. On display here, note the three-dimensional Christmas house, wreath, and red, white and blue piece called Patriotic Topiary.

Then there’s stitch choice. Traditional needlepoint relies on tried-and-true slanted stitches known as “tent” or “basketweave,” and those stitches remain go-to options for most needlepointers. But scores of easy-to-learn stitches are now commonly used to mimic grass, a barn roof, a bird’s wing and other objects on painted needlepoint canvas. And Starshighlights the way in which a variety of stitches can be combined for varied effect.

Want to learn more? First, take a look at the partially-stitched travel ornament included in the display for inspiration. Then head to your library for its supply of “how to” books.  The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen is a classic. For sheer inspiration, find Kaffe Fasset’s Glorious Needlepointor Beth Russell’s Traditional Needlepoint. Other resources include the American Needlepoint Guild at http://www.needlepoint.org and https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/basic-tent-needlepoint-stitches-2479706. YouTube also contains a wealth of information on how to prepare a canvas and specific stitches. Free beginner patterns are also widely available on the web. Here’s one pattern that offers clear instructions and a variety of stitches: http://www.lizartneedlepoint.com/uploads/Rhodes_Fish_Cover___Text.docx

Finally, the New Jersey Needle Artists, which meets monthly at the Bernards Township Library, always welcomes new members. Its meeting schedule is posted at: www.njneedleartists.org.

 

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July 2019 SOTM

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Hi Everyone —

We had a small gathering of eight members at Sue’s house today.  I had not expected to be there, but because of a leg injury, I had to cancel my weekend travel plans.  Sue helped me out with a walker and I was delighted to get out of the house (and Harold was delighted to not have to be home health aide) for the day.

I forgot to take pictures of Robin, Jill, Diane, and Sue’s stitching — here’s hoping that they will post them on our blog!

There was minimal stitching for July SOTM, so I was able to get caught up after missing June.  Here are three of our pieces:

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Joan’s SOTM

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Nancy’s SOTM

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Rosie’s SOTM

How different they are turning out!  Five more installments to go!

Cheers!

Rosie

SOTM – May 2019

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What is it with the weather these days? Have we had two nice weekend days at all this Spring? And what exactly happened to Spring?

Last Saturday turned out to be the better of the two days this weekend and a small group of us gathered to work on the latest installment of the SOTM project. We all agreed that the mystery is causing some angst – since we don’t know what the final design looks like we are constantly second-guessing our choice of threads/colors. However, we also agreed that seeing the design emerging each month is part of the fun. We are trying to “go with the flow”, which is a challenge for many of us!

I think you will agree that our projects are all very different.

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Diane

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Linda

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Rosie

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Jill

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Sue C

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Nancy W

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Noelle

We’re all looking forward to next month’s stitching!

Gone Stitching Grand Re-Opening

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This week I was able to attend the grand re-opening of Gone Stitching in Bergenfield. Renee and Michele have relocated the shop a few blocks south of their previous location on South Washington Avenue.

The new store is in a stand-alone building with lots of windows and high ceilings, providing a really bright space to shop, or just sit and stitch. The walls are covered in lots of threads and canvases. I’m looking forward to visiting the shop again!

Gone Stitching is at 311 South Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, NJ 07621 (201.385.2100).

Needlepoint Geography

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As many of you local folks know, I spend a lot of time in CA with my “little people”.  My last trip there coincided with the celebration of the spring major religious holidays.  In my case this meant celebrating at a Passover seder.  Now in Jewish culture (not religion) we have a “thing” called Jewish geography.  It is similar to Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation.  In it, when we meet someone new, we begin by finding out their geographical history, immediately followed by, do you know “ so and so”?  Inevitably we find some distant way in which we are connected. Now bear with me, this blog entry is not about Jewish geography, but really is about needlepoint geography and friendship.

It just so happened that on the second day of the Passover holiday, I had two invitations for the seder.  My daughter’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting a kids’ seder.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were hosting an adults only seder.  So I figured out a way to attend both.  

Since I was arriving late to my sister-in-law’s and brother-in-law’s seder I knew the religious part would already be underway. So, I tried very hard to enter the room as inconspicuously as possible.  Rather than climb over people to my assigned seat, I just plopped myself down in an available seat at the end of one of the tables.  I knew the woman to my right, but the woman to the left of me had her head down and so I paid her no attention.

After a bit I got up to use the rest room.  As I was returning to the table, the woman who had been to my left got up and whispered to me, “Barbara, I know you.”  It took me a moment to place her since she was out of context.  I soon realized that this woman was Deb R.  I knew her from the shop in San Mateo, Luv2Stitch, where I hang out to stitch while visiting the west coast.  She has also been present at the few ANG chapter meetings out there that I have managed to attend.

As I was thinking to myself, but trying to not say, “what is she doing here?”, Deb asked me that very question.  I paused and said, uh, my husband is Marcia’s (our hostess’) brother.  At that point, Deb said, “get out.  I’ve been in this family for 32 years.”  To that I replied that I had been in the family for 44 years.  Now my curiosity was really piqued.

For many years I had heard my brother-in-law speak of his Long Island, NY childhood friend, “Rocky”, who lived on the west coast and helped to ease the family’s transition when they moved to the the Bay area back in the ‘70s.  I believe I even met Rocky’s mother at another long ago seder.  So I was a bit more than surprised when Deb asked if I had ever heard of Rocky.  I said, “of course!”  It turns out that Deb is Rocky’s (aka Joe’s) wife.  We were both thunderstruck.

By now the religious part of the meal was over and visiting time really began in earnest.  

During the year or so in which I became acquainted with Deb, we had happily been sharing wedding planning notes since her son got married the same weekend that our daughter did, last fall.  At some point, my brother-in-law Elliot came over and Deb suddenly said to him, “that’s why you didn’t come to our son’s wedding!”  The connections went on from there.  Deb was sharing how her daughter was a speech therapist.  I started to laugh and told her that so was mine.  At that point, Rocky chimed in that their daughter had consulted my daughter several times before deciding to enter the field.  Deb and I were further amused!  

Needlepoint shops, ANG chapters, shared wedding weekend and daughters in the same field made this out of context encounter so much fun!  I think in that short hour and a half I went from having a very nice needlepoint acquaintance to having a lovely, fun needlepoint friend.

Now that is how needlepoint geography works!

Kreinik discontinued colors

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Kreinik has republished the list of thread colors they’ve had to discontinue because they can’t get the materials to make them any more.  Kreinik suggests you print out the list and put it with your thread stash to consult before you start a project that needs a lot of one of their threads or before you try to kit an older project with a specific thread list.
http://kreinikthread.blogspot.com/2019/04/discontinued-kreinik-thread-colors.html