Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hi!  I thought I would pop back into the blogging world.  I was working at home on Monday and we had some sunlight so I got some pictures of the projects I have been working on.

 Since I last wrote, I went to the EGA National Seminar in Louisville.  This year I only went for four days but I think I could have stayed longer at this seminar because I was having a good time.  I had a fun class with Gary Clark and two days of studio time.  I had an enormous suite at the hotel but it did not have any natural light so it was difficult to stitch or hang out in.  I have pre-registered for next years EGA seminar in Phoenix and I am planning on going to ANG as well since it is in Chicago and there is not much excuse not to go.  If enough people sign up, I am going to get to pilot one of Kay Stanis' ANG projects in April which sounds like lots of fun. 

Here are pictures from my class with Gary Clark.  The first picture is of his instructions.  The purple and green piece will be the scissor fob.  The purple and gold piece is done and it will be a needle case.  Gary had his finished as a picture book with a heavy paper in the middle.  I am not a fan of using paper with a piece of needlework that I spent so much time on to complete.  I think I will buy some nice felt/wool to make pages on the inside.  A cool part of his design is at the top of the picture you can see kind of purple and gold circles.  This makes up the side of the book, like a book binding in a real book.  The final piece is the scissor holder.  This piece is still a work in progress.  I was making good progress then Thanksgiving got in the way. 

 In my last post I was working on the Gingerbread House.  Donna commented on my post that she did not think the suggested purple background was right, so I was off to the store to see what I could find.  At Northshore Needleworks, they helped me pick out a Plant Earth blue silk with sparkles.  I am happy with the color and blue does make a lot more sense for a sky.  Thanks for the suggestion Donna!  I get in a rut and heaven forbid I do not follow the stitch guide.  I did use a blue stamp on the background so the white canvas would not show through. 
I have two little projects that I completed.  The first is a little embroidered witch which hold Tic-Tac's.  Everyone really needs a Tic-Tac holder for the holiday:)  It was the October Spooky Surprise project from my EGA guild.  My other project is Stitch and Zip project that I got off of Ebay.  It was a good throw in the bag project but those Stitch and Zip projects are a bigger pain than they are worth.  It is so difficult to get into the seam areas.  I think at some point this one will get donated to a fundraising basket. 

Finally, here are two of my WIPs that I have been working on lately.  First is my Grizzly Bear in needle painting.  This bad boy is my challenge piece and is supposed to be completed by the January Guild meeting.  I think I decided that needle painting is not really for me.  I will need a little more time pressure to get this one done.  It is a lot of thread changes and repetitive stitches. 

My next ornament was my car project on the way to Thanksgiving.  We have a three hour drive to get to the town I grew up in and where my family still lives.  I did get most of the box and more or the background done since this picture.  I want to get this ornament done so I can start a new one before the holiday break. 

Next Friday I am starting my holiday break until the New Year.  I am going to spend ten days in Florida, then come back for the family Christmas dinners, and a few days on my own.  I have big plans for my needlepoint and reading but most likely it will be more about shopping, eating, friends, family, and wine.  Fortunately, the condo is about ten miles from the newly expanded Needlepoint in Paradise.  I can't wait to see the changes.  I have not been down to the Florida condo in over a year.  I have been to Florida a few times but I was on the Miami side of the state. 
Well if I don't get back to my blog before the holidays, I hope everyone has very Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No Excuses

Well I have been gone for five months again.  Life has been going on and it has not been crazy busy.  I just have not been blogging.  We have had some fun events like a wedding at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach and we just returned from a family vacation in Islamorada which is in the Florida Keys.  I have a couple of more summer trips planned for summer with a wedding in New York and the EGA National Seminar in Louisville which is sneaking up on me. 

Let's get to the fun stuff that a stitching blog is all about.  I may not have been blogging but I have been stitching this summer.  I finished a couple of old but beautiful projects.  The first project is the completed Funky Rose by Terri Dryden.  This project is from an ANG National Seminar a couple of years ago.  I believe it might have been in Columbus.  I am not sure how I am going to have this finished so right now it is hanging in a closet. 

 Below is my completed Mayan Lighting by Dianne Herrmann.  This was a pilot class but I did not get this project done in a very timely basis.  I think I want this finished in a shinny black box but right now it is hanging on the same hanger with Funky Rose.


The Prague ornament was bought last year at the EGA Seminar.  This is a hand painted ornament by Silver Needle.  The picture does not do this ornament any justice.  It is all done in Planet Earth silk, Accentuate, and Kreinik Metallic threads.  I have bought Dupioni Silk in royal blue for finishing the back. 

The New York Taxi Cab is by Princess and Me.  I had fun stitching this ornament.  The hub caps are great!  The yellow is a Jessica stitch and the inside is a cross stitch in silver Kreinik ribbon.  The windows are ribbon floss in Opal and  I am very happy with the look.  The finishing for this one is bright yellow Dupioni Silk. 

My poor Flamingo project is in need of an iron.  This is a Teresa Layman project that was created for the EGA Seminar in Naples a couple of years ago.  It is stitched with thousands of French and colonial knots.  I find these projects very relaxing and I usually have one of Teresa's projects going.  I am still working on kitting my next project from Teresa. 

To make sure you don't think I am an overachiever, here are some of my works in process.  Above is a Margaret Kinsey Rozashi project.  We were lucky enough to have Margaret at our guild back in June teaching these stitches and sharing this project with us.  I do some crazy small work but I find this work is hard on my eyes.  I will finish this project but I am not sure this is a stitch type that I will do a lot of in the future. 

Above is another Princess and Me ornament.  This was my project last week in the Florida Keys.  I have most of the bottom part of the house done.  I am thinking about the background on this project and I would welcome any suggestions.  The stitch guide says to use basket weave in DMC 550 - dark purple.  The picture that came with the canvas looks like she used Kreinik in the background.  I have the DMC and purple Kreinik or I could use the DMC floss and a purple Accentuate.  What I don't want to do is basket weave in the background.  This project already has a lot of basket weave and it takes a while to do a background in basket weave.  Any suggestions on other stitches that would look good with this lovely little house.  I would also be happy to use any combination of threads to achieve a nice background look.  I have been flipping though my books but the right thing has not hit me yet. 

I am getting ready for a fun weekend and hopefully we will have warm weather.  Tonight is a fund raiser for a local park and this weekend a friend from Singapore is in town and maybe a Cubs game.  My final picture is what I view when I am at my outside nest.  They middle flowers are about on their last leg but they have given me many hours of prettiness over the summer. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and endless hours of stitching. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Lowery Stand vs. The System 4

Hi,  Once again I have been away for a while so happy you have come back to read my blog.  I have been gone every weekend since the end of January and I am thrilled to be home this weekend.  This blog is for my friend.  She wanted me to bring my stands to the Guild Retreat but I had to miss the retreat.  So here are my pros and cons to two of the more popular stands, the Lowery and the System 4. 
My Nest
This is my usual stitching chair in my bedroom.  I have my own TV and DVR so I am set for hour of stitching goodness.  I would say this chair has normal sized arm rests which is important to consider when looking at stands.  I think your most important factor when investing in a stand is to think about the chair you will most often be working at.  If you have a Lazy Boy type of chair or one of the Italian leather chairs with the round bottoms, the System 4 may not work for you. 

This is my chaise with my Lowery stand and the long arm attachment.  I am demonstrating with a project that is on 11x11 stretcher bars and I would consider this to be a medium size project.  Notice with the long arm, the project is about at the middle of my chair so this is very comfortable to work on. 

Here is the same project with the short arm that comes with the Lowery stand.  I very rarely use this arm because I have to cuddle into the arm to get to my piece but this arm would work fine if you have an armless chair or working in a banquet or folding chair. 
Here you can see the difference in the size of the arms.  The daisy holder will work on either arm and the arms are very easy to change by just sliding them into the base.  The Lowery stand can be adjusted to the height you want by moving a pin in the bottom of the stand.  The next picture has a good view of the pin.  If I recall correctly, the long arm was another $100 dollars.  I got it for a Christmas present which mom did not think was all that impressive but bought it any way.  If you are luckily, I have heard of people getting their talented husbands or friends to make them a long arm. 

The down side to the Lowery is the base is not that stable.  I fixed my problem by adding a little used weight to the base on my stand.  When you get a heavy piece on the top the stand becomes top heavy and tilts over.  This is not very good for when you have to leave your chair for more tea or a restroom break.  I have heard that they have made the base a little bigger so this my not be an issue with the newer stands.  The Lowery base is flat so it would work well with a chair with little clearance.  This chair is off the floor about 3 inches and both stands work. 

Now lets move on to the System 4.  I bought the System 4 folding stand for travel.  Mainly because I was taking a big project at one of the National Seminars.  I think the regular stands will work pretty much the same way other than it will not fold up.  I personally really like the fact that this folds up and I have it stored above in a yoga mat bag.  I really like the Hug Me bags but I have not brought myself to spend as much money on a bag as the stand itself.  My yoga mat bag was something like $25.00 on Amazon and it stores my yoga mat when I am not traveling with my stand. 


This picture is my System 4 with my chair.  It is really not long enough to work with this chair.  Again I am cuddled into the corner with this stand. 

I do love this stand when I work with a chair like my folding chair and it works well with my office chair.  These pictures show how it can be used on the side of the chair or in front.  The Lowery will do this as well.  I have had a teacher say the feet on these stands are all over the place and they are easy to trip on.  Since the feet are all over the place, it is a very stable stand and does not require the weights I have to use with the Lowery.  The base of the System 4 is 1.5 inches so make sure this will fit under your chair. 

Both stands will hold large stretcher bars (I think I have gone up to 18 inch) or little projects like the 4 inch hoop on the stand above. 

My other stitching chair has taller arms and only has about 2.5 inches from the bottom of the chair to the floor and the System 4 works with this chair.  The Lowery with the long arm is better because you don't have to curl up into the arm.  You can also work from the front in this chair. 

Okay that is my take on the two stands.  I am lucky to have both stands.  They both have there advantages and disadvantages.  These are not small purchases so look around for the best prices.  I don't remember much about buying the Lowery but with the System 4, I wanted to support a local shop.  She was $100 dollars more than what I found from a lady on the West Coast and a shop in Florida so needless to say, the local shop did not get my business. 

BTW... For little projects like the Teresa Layman French knot project, I like my K's lap frame. 

Now that you have seen my toys, I can show you that I actually used my stands.  This is a project that I finished from the 2012 EGA seminar.  This is Dawn Donnelly's Cool Yule.  To finish this project, I used my folding chair, my System 4, and my bed to hold my beads to complete this project. 
I also completed a couple of book marks for the Guild literacy project with the library.  The top book mark is an EGA Petite project with reversible black work.  I don't see too many reversible black work pieces in my future. 

Well there are many other things going on in life right now but I think I have had a long enough post.  Hope you all enjoy your weekend.  I am sure looking forward to being home.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A long time coming....

Once again I am very tardy on my blog postings and reading.  For that I do apologize and I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers. Even though I have not been blogging, I have been stitching.   I look like I am killing it (by my standards) but most of the projects are small projects I can take along on trips. 

Since I last blogged I have been to the EGA National Seminar, to Philadelphia with a friend for a medical procedure (without a visit to the needlepoint stores), three major holiday's, and downstate every few weeks to check in with the family.  That is why I am kind of heavy on the ornaments and small projects but I do have one big one done that I will get to in a bit. 

National seminar was a great time.   I had some wonderful classes and teachers.  The hotel was far from a favorite but I understand EGA has to go where there is space to fit their unique needs for many class rooms.  My first class was with Tanja Berlin.  I have never done needle painting before this class so that was a great learning experience.  I have not worked on this since I have been back but my Guild picked this as my challenge piece to have done by next January so hopefully you will see some progress through the year. 

My second two day class was Cool Yule by Dawn Donnelly.  This has been fun and I am hoping to finish this one up this weekend so I can have my stretcher bars for a travel project for next weekend.  I have to finish the purple base and the background stitching and beading. 

My nightly project at seminar was a belt.  The canvas will be made into Eliza B flip flops once I get them out to the finisher.  This belt is complete with 20 shoes in repeats of 5. 

Once I had the shoes done, I started on a travel ornament for the plane ride home and this little cutie by Princess and Me is off at the finisher. 
Right before Thanksgiving a close friend had surgery in Philadelphia so I flew out with her because she had to have someone to be with her after the surgery.  I had plenty of free time so I worked on the Frog ornament from Princess and Me.  While he is not done in this picture, it is all done and also with the finisher. 

My time at home in December was spent working on my Windy City Santa so it could be complete for my Guild Challenge piece in December.  Well, I did not meet that goal but I did finish him up yesterday.  As you can see from the picture he still has some fold marks.  Not sure what to do about that.  You would think all the years on stretcher bars would have solved that problem.   If anyone has a brilliant solution to this problem, please leave me a comment.  I have not tried the most obvious of an iron yet. 

Finally, I found this little Fox at my mom's house.  My aunt bought him and she managed to stitch about an inch of basket weave in the corner before giving up.  She just did not have the patience for needle work.  Not to mention this was not a good beginning project.  It is a hand painted canvas but it was not needle painted.  I finished him up yesterday and I will take him to the finisher tomorrow.  Once he is all complete I will give him back to my aunt.  Her maiden name was Fox so that is why she bought him in the first place.  I will have him made into a stand up picture so she can use him on a shelf or on a table. 

This weekend is my monthly Guild meeting and a wedding shower for a friend.  It is going to be a full day tomorrow but hopefully, Sunday will be my day of needlepoint and I will be able to show you a finished Cool Yule!

We leave a week from tomorrow for Mexico.  It will be nice to be warm and to get some sunshine.  I did not go to my family's Florida home for the holiday's so I have not been on a warm trip in a while.  I am planning my needlepoint and my books with great care.  

I do have some nice stash enhancements but I will save them for another other day.  I hope all my Northeast friends make it through the weekend safely and keep warm.  It is not so bad to be stuck at home if you have all your needlework, provisions, electricity, and heat. 

Have a great weekend and I hope to visit many of your blogs soon!  Kelly