A great resource

Several months ago I bought a book to add to my library, but (said sheepishly) never opened it until today. Wow! What a great resource! I have now resolved to read every page because it’s a gold mine of information, especially for someone like me with no formal training.

Color for Embroidery by Mary D. Shipp

This is a completely awesome book, published in 1997, but the theories never go out of date. If you can get your hands on a copy, do it! I can tell just from the little browsing I’ve done this morning that it will be a tremendous benefit.

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another great tool

edge binder

You may be looking at this and thinking what the heck? This is an edge binder. The needlepoint industry has borrowed this from the blueprint industry, to apply artist’s tape to the edges of canvas. This is not something everyone should have in their home, but for me, it’s nicer to be able to tape the edges of the canvas for my class kits.

You may have seen these at your needlepoint store. A lot of needlepoint stores have tapes specially printed with the name of the shop. I’m not quite there yet! The lowest ordering point for printed tapes is 24, and I don’t think I need that many!

You can tape your own edges with artist’s tape without an edge binder. I’ve done it for single canvases before I got the edge binder. Artist’s tape is a low tack tape, available in a variety of colors and a couple of widths, from art supply stores, hobby stores (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby), and Amazon. I order from Amazon because it’s easier.

I recommend covering the edge of the canvas in some manner before mounting to stretcher bars and stitching. The tape provides a sturdier edge for mounting, and prevents threads catching on the edges of the canvas. There are a number of solutions – sewing bias tape edging to the canvas, using a cover that covers the edges of the canvas and the tacks, folding the edge under before tacking. Find one that works for you! And if you take a class from me, either face to face where I’ve supplied the materials or a cyber class, your edges will be taped for you!

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Great tool!

Many thanks to my friend Kurdy Biggs of Threedles for a lead on this great tool!

Electric scissors are making my life much easier! Cutting canvas is hard work, especially when you have to cut a number of canvases for class kits. Today I cut 21 pieces of canvas in just a few minutes, thanks to these awesome rechargeable scissors.

electric-scissors

They’re cordless, which is great – no fear of cutting the cord. The charge lasts quite a while. And they’re so much easier to use than regular scissors.

Last year I did something to my thumb, not sure what, but it hurt like the dickens and made simple tasks really difficult. I had to cut a canvas while my thumb was sore, and it was excruciatingly painful. My hand is better now, but I do have a tendency to repetitive stress problems. So I’m really grateful for these great scissors. Thanks Kurdy!

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Starting the new year right

The end of one year and the start of a new year is always a time of reflection. Did I meet my goals for the past year? What were my successes, my failures? Did I use my time wisely? Did I improve as a person? There is always room for improvement! And the start of the new year is the time to implement those changes that lead to improvement.

I must confess here. For the past two years I have been struggling with health issues, with no apparent resolution. I’ve visited many doctors and specialists, had many tests, and no one has any ideas as to the problems I’ve been having. The best information I’ve gotten is that it’s not my thyroid. The problems seem to have two primary symptoms, and perhaps are unrelated. The first is I do have nodules on my thyroid. I’ve been assured that they aren’t cancerous, and the nodules are being monitored. But it has affected my ability to sing, which has been a huge part of my life. And, I have a perpetual sore throat. When the symptoms first appeared I thought it was the lingering affects of a cold, but when there was no improvement I had to start looking for other answers.

The other problem is fatigue. It may be related to the first problem, but it may not. A year and a half ago, I walked 4 miles a day then did an hour of Jazzercise. Now, I can barely walk 2 miles, and if I go to the grocery store I’m exhausted by the end of the trip. There seem to be no answers to this problem.

So, how is this pertinent to stitching? The problems are beginning to play on my mental state, making it difficult for me to want to stitch. I have to force myself to keep working, and creativity seems to have fled as well.

As a result of these problems, my goals for the new year are vastly different than previous years. My goal is to get done those things that need to get done – new designs for class proposals, preparing class kits, and encouraging creativity through some specific exercises. I also want to write more in my blog. It may not always be about stitching, but I hope it will be still be interesting.

I have a new understanding and sympathy for the way health affects energy levels. So if any of you need a sympathetic ear, I’m listening.

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Inspiration

thai-wall-art

What inspires you? Have you ever been struck by a piece of art, floor tiles, concrete patterns, wallpaper, carpet? I’m frequently asked what inspires me to design, so I’m sharing this – THIS inspires me to design.

I saw this wall art at the local Thai restaurant. Every time we go in, I can hardly look at the menu for staring at this particular dimensional piece. And of course, the next question is how to translate this to needlework?

I have also recently encountered some intriguing materials:

dmc-cork-and-mesh

From DMC, stitchable cork and mesh.

edmar-threadsShiny rayon threads in several weights from Edmar.

kreinik-copper-meshAnd finally, Kreinik copper mesh.

Now the inspiration needs to turn into perspiration! How to combine all these materials into an intriguing, dimensional needle art?

Stay tuned!

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