Category Archives: Uncategorized

Needlepoint Geography

Standard

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!

Advertisements

The Edwardian Needle: Spring/Summer Class Schedule

Standard
Shibori Butterfly Box

Shibori Butterfly Box

The Edwardian Needle in Fairfield, New Jersey, is offering some fantastic classes this spring and summer. So if you’re looking for a new project or a new skill, consider signing up for the following:

MAY

Saturday & Sunday, May 4 – 5 (10 am – 4 pm) – Betty Pillsbury: piecing a crazy quilt on Saturday and embellishing & seams on Sunday ($235)

Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 (Noon – 4 pm) – Pam Miller: beginning level ribbon embroidery ($95)

JUNE

Sunday, June 2 (10am – 4 pm) – Andrea Santiamo: bargello patchwork piece ($170)

Friday, June 28 (Noon – 5pm) – Tony Minieri: studio ($50)

JULY

Saturday & Sunday, July 13 – 14  (10am – 4pm) – Betty Pillsbury: shibori butterfly box ($245)

Sunday, July 28 (10am – 4pm) – Andrea Santiamobargello pocket book ($170)

AUGUST

Sunday, August 18 (10am – 4pm) Pam Miller: intermediate ribbon embroidery (large ribbon initial)

As you all know, you can find The Edwardian Needle at 390 Fairfield Road, Fairfield, NJ (973-743-9833).

We’ll keep you posted about new offerings at other local needlepoint stores in the near future. In the meantime, happy stitching.

 

 

Pliers, Flat Irons & C Clamps

Standard

“What’s that?” I asked Andrea over the din of last year’s Needlefest.

The room was large, noisy and yet cozy with stitching friends catching up on news and projects. She and I had sat next to each other, and I couldn’t help but notice the pliers she extracted from her project bag. She turned her small needle nosed pliers one way then the other for me to admire and explained that she used the tool to pull the end of threads through stubbornly tight stitches on the back of her canvas.

A relative newcomer to stitching, I loved the idea that I could raid my husband’s workshop to improve my needlepoint. (He’s been smart enough to ignore the occasionally borrowed pair of pliers ever since.)

And recently I wondered what other hardware, drug and office supply items my stitching friends were using to up their needlepoint game.

So I asked them all at our most recent “Stitch of the Month” session. The answers came fast and furiously:

To pull the ends of stubborn threads through stitches on the back of your project, try hemostatic forceps, needle nosed pliers, tweezers or a one-to-two inch square piece of nonskid rug pad material.

A meat mallet can help you assemble a wooden needlepoint frame. To protect the wood, place a pot holder on top of the spot you’ll be pounding.

A pill case like this one – https://www.travelsmith.com/product/am-pm-vitamin-pill-case.do– can keep needles organized, which is especially helpful if you’re carrying multiple types to class(es).

To straighten out neon rays and other “kinky” fibers in a flash, use a small flat iron. If you’re planning to use the device throughout a stitching session keep everyone safe by resting the flat iron in a mug.

To hold multiple threads as you work, gently attach magnetic paper clips like these – https://oliblock.ecwid.com/Small-Magnetic-Clips-c22190385 – or quilters’ clover clips to the edges of your canvas.

An industrial C clamp can be used to attach your project to a table and stabilize it while you work.

Try making your own needle minder to perfectly match your new project. All you’ll need are two small craft store magnets, industrial strength glue, such as E6000, and charms, unusual buttons, or pieces of leftover fashion jewelry.

I’ll take the blame for including this last item, which finds a place here mostly because I never expected to hear these three words uttered together: magnetic; bingo; and, wand. Yep. If some of your needles are MIA on the floor, try sweeping an inexpensive magnetic bingo wand over your rug. It’s a thing.

Thanks especially to Margaret, Linda, Rosie, Jill, Sue, Marge and Amy for sharing this information.

Happy stitching, everyone.

 

EGA Regional Seminar

Standard

Hi Everyone —

This past weekend I attended my third EGA Metropolitan Region Seminar in Madison, NJ.   Usually, I just take a class, but this year I was responsible for coordinating the Opportunity Basket Auction.  I was nervous about handling the large amount of cash, but in the end everything balanced to the penny and the money was distributed without incident.

I had initially signed up to take studio time because Opportunity Baskets and, DUH, UFO’s!   But, when I was in Scotland last summer, I bought a Mackintosh Rose tote bag on deep discount and convinced myself that I had signed up to take Toni Gerdes’ Mackintosh Rose Kimono.  So imagine my surprise/disappointment when my registration came and said “Studio Time”.

The Mackintosh Rose tote bag and Toni’s Kimono!

Luckily, I knew the registrar and was able to change into Toni’s class!  Charles Rennie Mackintosh was known for his Mackintosh Rose stained glass windows, but the motif appears throughout his designs.

2768c2712726e9d99258b3b862985c64--window-design-stained-glass-windows

A set of tiles in the Mackintosh Rose design.  Can you see the source of Toni’s inspiration?

(As an aside, Toni is doing a series of artist-inspired kimonos:  The Wright Kimono taught at ANG in Chicago, The Mackintosh Rose Kimono, The Klimt Kimono to be first taught at ANG in Houston, and The O’Keeffe Kimono in design for ANG Tucson.)  Are you tempted yet?

As usual, Toni’s class was awesome and I came away with some new techniques and ideas for use on other projects.  One of these was Wonder Ribbon and the other was the best ever use for Flair!  Here is my progress at the end of two days:

IMG_6325 (2)

The Wonder Ribbon appears in the bottom right corner of the design.  This ribbon started as about a 3/8-inch wide tube.  It stretches when you pull on the sides and goes back to its original shape when you pull on it lengthwise.  So you can pull it into any number of shapes; the website says it is good for waves.  It comes in five widths.  (Carol, do you remember those necklaces we bought in Mexico?  Same idea.)  Toni had us use two balloon sticks to widen the ribbon to the approximate width that we needed and then tack it down with Accentuate.  The ribbon will be stitched over when the design is nearly done.

IMG_6330 (2)

A close-up of the Wonder Ribbon.  Note that you can see the canvas through it!

For any of you who have stitched with Flair, you know what a mess it can be.  I promised you the best use ever, so let’s look at rosebud on the Kimono,  Here’s a close-up:

IMG_6328 (3)

The center of the rosebud is Flair that is stretched open and tacked down in exactly the same fashion as the Wonder Ribbon.  An oblong Jessica is stitched over it.  The Flair fills in the center of the Jessica.  It creates a translucent effect and IMO is the best idea ever!  When I said that to Toni, she suggested that Wonder Ribbon or Flair, depending upon width, would be great for windows — covering the area, but receding as well.  I plan to try it out on Lombard Street and The Neighborhood!

I HOPE to finish this piece since it is my remembrance of Scotland.   However, the kit came with two spools of the same color of Accentuate…….

Cheers, Rosie

March SOTM

Standard

Hi Everyone —

We had a small turnout at today’s Stitch of the Month, but Sylvia did an awesome job of hosting us.  (And her dogs are very well behaved!)

We all expected to be done with this month’s SOTM and to be able to work on something else afterwards.  But — best-laid plans — most of us did a lot of un-stitching this month.  Take me, for example, I started with red and didn’t like it.  Then I stitched in green and I liked it but made a mistake and had to take it out.  Then I decided to go in the blue direction to introduce a new color to my design, but it looked terrible.  Then I finally restitched the flower in green.  So — I have a few more steps before I am done for March!

Here’s a collection of our progress:

What a variety of different looks!  This is truly a mystery!

Cheers, Rosie

Nashville Needleworks

Standard

As most of us do when we travel, we scout out local needlework shops.  I am no exception and recently found a jewel of a shop called Nashville Needleworks owned by Connie Camp.

It is a lovely, bright welcoming shop with two rooms.  One has a large table around which stitchers are always seated. There are hand painted canvases all over the shop of varying subject matter.  What struck me the most was the abundance of thread.  There were one or two threads I could not get locally, but there are walls of all the different color ways.  The picture on the bottom left is just Kreinik.  I did not end up purchasing a canvas, but did buy a kit for a frame weight that had been from a class taught at the shop in regard to beading.  I’d love to start that project soon, but the queue is rather long at the moment.  Of course, I did the obligatory magnet needle minder purchase as well.  Brenda Soffit is going to be teaching a remarkable rabbit that employs needle felting.  I’m sorry I did not get a picture of that.  It was so special that the rabbit was under a glass dome.

The store is known for its needlepoint retreats that are only open to out of owners.  Information on those can be found on FaceBook or call the shop.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit!