Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Vintage Tacks
January 21, 2021, 7:56 pm
Filed under: General comments

I love these vintage tacks and use them on special projects. I must have gotten them from a past chapter member’s stash, probably Mae V-D. The symbols may be Chinese and I wish I knew what it says. I tried a translate feature that I found online and ‘text ninety soldiers’ is what I get. There might have been 90 tacks in the container at one time but I only have 38 now. They hold up well (don’t bend upon carefully removing them) and I don’t see the wear on the heads like the newer tacks. Another, “They don’t make things like they used to.” example.

If anyone knows what the symbols are, please leave a comment!

Purchase Arrived
January 11, 2021, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Amy's Golden Strand, General comments, Threads

I’ve ordered online from a few needlepoint stores over the years and only a few packages arrive so prettily packaged that I choose to remember them. This order from Amy’s Golden Strand was not a large order but still they took care to place the threads in a sealed plastic bag (essential), wrap in a pretty tissue paper, and a fun plastic envelope. But, they went one step further by adding a thank you note with a stitch diagram saying they appreciate my business and a hand-written note wishing me a Happy New Year! It looks like they change the stitch diagram monthly. Thank you Amy’s Golden Strand for making my day. I look forward to placing future orders with you.

Framing Bonanza

Many thanks to Meghan and Rebecca at Michael’s framing department in Pottstown. Meghan did a great job helping my husband and I select the mats and frames. They have a very clever device that displays an image on the computer of your piece in the mat and frame to see how it will look before finalizing. I really liked the shape of the mat for the diamond shape piece. I’m very happy with final pieces.

Stitches Galore from Needle Me Contest
Build A Geometric with Kurdy Biggs
Interchange with Linda Reinmiller
Blanton’s Bottle

2020 Year in Review
December 29, 2020, 9:06 pm
Filed under: General comments

Thanks to the 6,700 visitors from all over the world who took time to visit my blog this year. It’s always nice to see your comments. It’s been a great year of needlepoint and little else due to coronavirus. Thankfully, most everyone I know has avoided this virus.

My blog is 10 years old now. WOW! WordPress gives 3 GB free storage space. It took me 10 years, about 780 posts, and over a 1,000 photos (because each post has one photo & some more) to run out of free space. So, I upgraded to the Premium version with 13 GB. It has lots more features that I don’t understand but I can work on that over the next 10 years!

My first project begun in 2020 was Carolyn Mitchell’s Making Stitches Work For You and it was finished in 2020. I ended up with a 12″ x 9″ design of 21 beautiful bands. The instructions are being proofread by two people in my chapter. Thanks so much Linda & Lori! I just love this design (all stitches and threads were my choice).

Other finished pieces included Blanton’s Bottle, Barbara’s Patchwork (ANG Stitch of the Month 1999), Welcome Fiona (great niece baby piece), Build Your Own Geometric with Kurdy Biggs (ANG Cyber Workshop), and Vases with Curly Bamboo (Sharon G canvas stitch guide and class begun in 2012 with several members of my ANG Main Line chapter and restarted in 2019 as we compared with 2 other stitch guides).

I also completed Steps 2 and 3 (with distinction) of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas Certification program. Steps 1, 2, and 3 will be on display in the Education area of the Chicago EGA National Exhibit.

Two pieces finished in 2019 were published in articles in ANG’s Needle Pointers magazine including Lotus Kimono (Jan/Feb 2020, A Tale of Two Stitchers) and Flying Cranes Wedding Kimono (Mar/Apr 2020, Constructive Criticism and How’d She Do That?).

As always, a few pieces got started and not finished: Klimt Kimono with Toni Gerdes (ANG Cyberpointer’s Cyberworkshop), ANG 2020 Stitch of the Month called Star of Stitches by Kathy Rees), and Rainbow Ribbons by Kam Wenzloff using wonderful threads from Lorraine at Color Complements. I didn’t have time to start Hearts of Gold from Michele Roberts (ANG Correspondence Course) but it looks like a lot of fun and they are wonderful instructions.

The ANG National Seminar moved to an online venue (as most things did due to coronvirus). I learned a lot from Susan Hoekstra from her Teaching Needlework 101 class (which I would not have been able to take in person because it conflicted with my other classes). I proposed Overdyed Spools to EGA THaP (Take Home a Project) intended to let a person get used to teaching (a 2-hour class). It is taught to as many as 30 people to take back to their chapters for teaching as group class similar to the ANG Chapter Project Book. It was accepted and now I can use tools learned in Susan’s class to prepare for the Regional EGA meeting in the Fall of 2022. The design is in the 2017 ANG Chapter Project Book.

The other two classes I took at the ANG Seminar were with Linda Reinmiller: 21st Century Designer (learned publishing tools) and Interchange (learned pull work and designing a stitch sampler on the diagonal). Interchange was fun stitching and I finished it (one of the benefits of a virtual seminar which allowed class to last a month).

The last class of 2020 was Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy at Fancywork Finishing. Another great class. I painted and stitched a geometric design on a 13 count and 18 count canvas. A floral piece was more challenging and has not been stitched yet. I have another project in the works to be painted and stitched too.

My EGA Brandywine chapter invited Ann Strite-Kurz to talk about the history of EGA and Lois Kershner discussed achieving perspective in stitching. Both were excellent.

Instead of vacationing (Branson, MO & Whistler, BC, Canada will have to wait for coronavirus to subside), I spent money on getting many of my finished pieces framed (even splurging on museum glass for most of them). These are now framed: Crazy Quilt, Sisters, Vases, Lotus Kimono, Wedding Cranes Kimono, A Dusting of Snow, Scotch Flower and Hearts, and Crescent Journey Beach colorway. I’ve been keeping Romeo’s & Reppening’s busy this year! I took Fiona to Michael’s (in Feasterville) and Interchange, Build My Geometric with Kurdy Biggs, Blanton’s Bottle, and a small geometric to Michael’s (in Pottstown where our newest chapter member, Meghan, works in the framing department).

Although travel was limited this year, I did manage to visit a new store Needlepoint For Fun in Lititz, PA.

While I have done well using Excel to create diagrams, I believe I need to take diagramming my designs to the next level. Thanks to Marilyn O and Needle Pointers, I have the opportunity to learn Adobe Illustrator by becoming an Assistant Graphics Editor for the magazine. It’s great to learn and give back to the ANG organization that I enjoy so much. And, it’s a perfect time to learn a new tool.

The EGA Seminar is being held in Chicago (drivable and my husband’s favorite city). I signed up for some great classes including learning how to manipulate overdyed threads from Gail Stafford in a notebook class, learning stumpwork from Alison Cole by making one small flower, and learning ribbon embroidery from Deborah Mitak on Congress cloth by making a 9″ x 9″ bouquet of flowers. I won’t be going to ANG’s Seminar this year because I don’t want to fly to Kansas City, MO and because there is a magic convention being held in Pittsburgh (drivable, one our favorite cites, and my college town) in July. Bill enjoys magic (I dabble in it) and he deserves a special event too. As long as we get vaccinated by then, wear masks, and the new strain doesn’t make things much worse, we’ll be traveling in 2021.

As we start 2021, I am starting Step 4 of the EGA Master Craftsman Canvas program. It’s a bargello design and I am working out the design as I practice using Adobe Illustrator. Here’s a sneak peak of my border.

I am hopeful that May 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Stay well everyone!

Learning Adobe Illustrator
December 5, 2020, 11:32 am
Filed under: Adobe Illustrator, General comments

I’ve decided to expand my diagramming skills by learning Adobe Illustrator (AI). And, I’ve got an excellent teacher in Marilyn O, the current Graphics Editor for Needle Pointers. I am one of what hopefully will be two Assistant Graphics Editors in training for the magazine. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn AI and give back to the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG).

Learning Excel for diagramming was good but had limitations especially when it got into the more complicated diagrams. Had I know I could have learned AI by volunteering, I would have done this a couple of years ago. Give it some thought. If you want to learn a fantastic diagramming tool, this can be your opportunity too!

In just a couple of days, I have made great progress with the tool.

Second Coaster Stitched

Here is the second coaster stitched from when I tried painting on 18 count (a little tougher but manageable) during my class for Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy of Fancywork Finishing. I switched from Silk n Ivory to DMC Perle #5. The colors match fairly well to the first coaster.

18 count canvas, 4″ x 4″
13 count, 4″ x 4″

Update regarding Tent Stitch Issue on a Diagonal

The center V is stitched as basketweave would be normally. For the left V, I laid the Ecru DMC Perle #8 thread first, stitched over it with DMC #5, then stitched the surrounding green with DMC #5. It pinched the #8 thread slightly more than the right V where I stitched the green first, laid the Ecru #8 thread, and then stitched over it with the DMC #5.

The left and right V appear to be essentially identical but the thread is still more visible than I expected.

I had to try reversing the colors. I only needed to lay one strand of green floss after stitching the ecru surrounding area first. You can not see the floss at all and the V is so much more evident.

So, I think that this works only with dark threads and would very useful for defining dark letters in pieces.

Classes for Painting Needlepoint Canvases with Nancy of Fancywork Finishing finished up on Wednesday. The third class went over mixing paints more and a variety of questions we had. No more classes in 2020. Bummer. But, I will be busy finishing up a few of them!

Class 2, Take 3 of Painting Needlepoint Canvases

I was able to get a better mix of colors when I did as Nancy suggested and selected threads before mixing colors. I didn’t worry about getting the two light pinks the right colors though because I was not going to use much anyway.

It took longer than my other 2 attempts to paint but Bill thinks that it “looks great” and so do I as far as being able to stitch the design not to sell it. But, that’s not my goal anyway. I definitely would buy the paints if I were trying to sell painted canvases. Getting the right colors is tough. And, duplicating the color would be practically impossible. That’s why some areas are not painted as well as other areas. I was running out! Creamacoat has a good range of yellow-orange colors and DMC has more yellow-orange threads that I could use.

If I stitch it with thread blending with the colors I selected to shade areas, it should turn out better than the painted version.

This is just 4″x4″ and making it larger would allow more details. It wouldn’t be the first time I stitched a design more than once!

Class 2, Take 2 of Painting Needlepoint Canvases

Well, I don’t see a dog now! Neither does Bill. But, I’m not getting the depth perception within the flower.

First Coaster Stitched

Today was our second class and I will paint again tomorrow. While I ponder what I want to stitch, I finished stitching the first coaster. I used Silk & Ivory (colors: 213 banana, 01 natural, 29 guacamole, 150 peony, 198, ahoy!, 36 admiral blue).

And, I finished graphing the second coaster on Excel to see how it would turn out. If this were a design that I wanted to paint again, I’d use this version (rather than my colored pencil version). And, it stores easily on my computer. I’ll stitch this one too.