Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Napkin Rings Finished!!

The napkin rings arrived finished - my good friend and great stitcher Pat Miller worked them for me, as I hadn't a clue how to do it myself - I just draw and paint them. Anyway - here they are, and now they are on their way to Oklahoma City for my grandchildren there to enjoy - and their father, who is a child, himself, on Halloween.

The patterns for these, as well as the witch and the bat that I didn't finish painting, are in earlier posts on this blog - for printing and doing them yourself for next year. Actually, the Jolly Roger would do for any little pirate year 'round.
Pat used a lot of Kreinik braid on these, and there are beads on the spider web to look like dew drops - I love the furry scary spider! Her stitching descriptive may be seen on her blog: Needleartnut

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Creative Needling the Painted Canvas

My dear friend Inge Wooley, with whom I've done business and collaborated for most of the last 37 years, was here visiting her daughter over the weekend - and we had a wonderful visit! Quite refreshing it was, as we did our usual discussions about what we're doing now and going to do in the future, and laughing about the times we had when we first met (accidentally in 1972) and started what became Creative Needle, a line of painted canvases that remains well respected among the timeless and traditional genre of design.

However, I've been trying hard to drag her into the 21st century and see the wisdom in producing some smaller, fun, and less expensive pieces that there aren't enough of out there - mainly because I want to turn over to her my new little Talavera crosses.

She chose three - and we started doing what we call "creative needling" - so I thought it might be interesting to share this process, so you can see what's involved in getting canvases ready to produce and market - and help people understand why the painted canvases are expensive.
She liked the one in the first photo, but the other two are the smaller, six inch crosses, so we had to manage to "creative needle" this one to make it fit. This is a process of making whatever changes need to be made to make the design easier and faster to put onto canvas, thereby keeping the cost down.

Things have to be considered, like the time it takes to draw and then paint them, as hired help has to be paid - and colors and general "feeling" have to be maintained.

The first thing that had to be done was to make this one smaller - down to the 6". (it ended up being 6 1/4", but that's fine). So - first I made a tracing with a black felt pen on tracing paper of the outline of the 6" cross pattern.

Then, I placed this over the big one, and traced the elements of design - and also cut down on the amount of diaper pattern showing, as it takes time to count and paint that. This is a rough tracing, but all that's necessary for this step.

Then, I moved a few things around, and made a better, smoother tracing, and placed the canvas over it and started drawing. I copied the counted symmetric elements from the original - as the lotus looking things on the shaft, and the red flower. I ruined several before I got it like it needed to be. (Hopefully I can stitch this one).

The drawing on canvas looks light, as I don't intend to paint it for myself - I rather like stitching on the white canvas, like a coloring book. Also, I'm too lazy to paint one just for me.

Anyway, basically, "creative needling" simply means taking one of my designs and eliminating what doesn't have to be there, and making it more feasible for mass production. Some things simply aren't worth it, as the resulting price would be too high by the time it got to a retail store..

I have one big Talavera pillow and one big Imari design that I absolutely love, but I cry and threaten to discontinue them every time someone orders one - it takes me three or four days to put each onto canvas and paint it, which means I make very little money doing it - but it's good for my ego, as it makes me look smart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Velvet Pumpkin continues

I'm having a hard time staying indoors working a bit today, as it's one of those very rare days in Austin that we call "Santa Fe" weather - cool, sunny, dry, and beautiful.
Anyway, I've worked a little bit on this pumpkin, but for some reason couldn't get a clear picture of it today.
The first photo is from yesterday, where you can see by the lower arrow where I stopped going up on the weft threads in order to meet the line going down the warp when I get there.
The arrow on the left at the line of stitching shows the basketweave progressing down to that point. When it comes on down to where I stopped - it will make a smooth line without a break to distract the surface. Easy to do if one is always conscious of going DOWN on the warp, and UP on the weft. It becomes second nature, and also won't warp the canvas.
The second picture is blurry - but I tried it twice, and don't want to spend any more time today taking pictures - there is sunshine outside, and I have a lot of work to do inside. However, this one shows more clearly how nice the blending filament looks on his features - looks like flickering candle, I think.
The background has just a hint of shimmer, as I used the YLI ribbon floss shimmer blend in basketweave - only basketweave, as a textured stitch here would overshadow and distract from the central design.
I've just played around with this from time to time, and originally thought to make it a ball to sit on a table or shelf at the "season" - but just left it square, as I'm too lazy to plot the larger circle on the outside - should have done that before doing the smaller inner circle.
I decided a bit of bargello would be in order, as I purchased a card of Rainbow Gallery Petite Frosty Rays in black with a gold filament running through it - so had to find an excuse to use it. I do hope Liz Morrow isn't watching me and having a heart attack, as I made a really bad error in judgment and counting where the arrow is - bad job!! Oh well. I'm not the expert she is.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Very Velvet Pumpkin with Blending Filament Sparkle!

I really haven't gotten very far along with this, as it took me a while to decide what to do with it. It's a good one to demonstrate the simple beauty of blending filament - and I always enjoy using petite Very Velvet. This orange is great!!

The orange outline is plain DMC floss in a darker orange. The features are yellow floss with the addition of the blending filament, as supposedly there is a candle inside.

I'll do the background in YLI Ribbon Floss in black - but outside the circle, I'm not sure what, but probably bargello of some sort. Mitered, I'm sure. I had bought a while back, some Petite Frosty Rays in black with a gold thread through it - so will HAVE to use that. Good excuse!!
The close-up shows clearly the beauty of using the blending filament with floss for just a very subtle sparkle, randomly showing. The "how to" and "why" of doing this is posted on the other blog - Possibilities, Etc. I like to outline the shape before using a textured background - and this one is done by changing direction each quarter section so that there will be no "sawtooth" edges. You can see by just looking at the arrows.
I started at center top, and then at center side, just turned the canvas and kept going - thereby eliminating that sawtooth. Very neat and smooth for a small piece - and also, it makes it easier to stitch bargello around it.
The stem is also Petite Very Velvet, and the vines and leaves are DMC cotton floss.
The pattern for this piece is somewhere on the blog - probably under "napkin rings" - but this one is destined for a table ornament, or maybe a "kissing ball."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stitching for Halloween: Jolly Roger, etc.

Pat Miller at Needleartnut very graciously offered to stitch my little series of napkin rings intended for fine decoration for the seasonal table, and is moving along with them nicely.
I'm delighted so far, as my imagination is for drawing and painting and not much for stitching - and I couldn't figure out what to do with them.
Anyway, do go take a look, and then perhaps get motivated to do some for yourself - under "napking rings" on this blog.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's OCTOBER already!!

I've been too preoccupied with lying around feeling sorry for myself, as I've been too ill and apathetic to pay attention (or to stitch, which worried my children) - and YIKES it's already October!!
This is the October "Crazy for Birthdays" crazy quilt ornament from last year - which means I need to hurry and finish January, as I never got that one done - nor have I worked February, May, or July. It's good to be busy!