7.15.2015

Finish work!


If I were a carpenter,
 I would be a "Finish Carpenter". 

 It is the finish work,
 the trim, 
and all the extra detail
 that goes into a piece
 that I enjoy the most . 


 It is what makes someone want to pick the item up
&
 take a closer look...
 to touch,
feel,
&
 run their fingers through a tiny, little fringe tassel...


The finish must nicely accent the piece, 
without being overwhelming.
It is a fine balance.


I like to combine different materials, 
for varying textures,
it is calming to my eye....


  
I like to mix old with new...

Or finish the piece into something useful,
a place to rest our needle or pins
is always fun.

A finish that can
become our stitching companion...


A pattern finish is always close at hand when I am to this step... 
may just be another reason that I enjoy finish work!
The end is in sight.
  An idea from a sketchpad 
is now in full color...
mission accomplished


With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda





7.08.2015

Stitch by Stitch ~ Row by Row...

 I am starting to close in on a finish,
 it makes me feel giddy knowing I am close to conquering the 2,727 Olive "fill-in" stitches.
I am "sewing" an autumn lawn in this piece. 
 I love the subtle variation in the Olive floss,
 perfect for a dried out October lawn,
 don't you think?

And, I couldn't resist to show that sweet little witches shoe
over in that corner!

Do you often finish a piece and wonder how many stitches were needed to complete the piece?
  This is something we designers don't typically supply in the pattern (we wouldn't want to scare you)
but,
 with modern software programs 
we do know the number of stitches.  

   When I am done charting a design,
 I print off the page that supplies me with the total stitches in a design.

I find this very useful when it comes to the next step of stitching...

When the design is completed I will have stitched 9,528 stitches.

At this point the floss colors are not always accurate.  
 Floss colors are most often determined as I stitch. 
 Once the piece is stitched,
 I will go into the program and change out the colors of flosses,
 most often to all hand-dyed threads.


After totaling the number of stitches
 I do some simple math. 
 I know how many stitches I can stitch an hour,
 and I know that I typically dedicate two hours of stitching time in the early morning hours and then two hours in the evening. 
My calculation on this piece told me that I should have it finished by this weeks end
and folks I am right on task!

   This also guides me in knowing the cost to hire the piece stitched, if I choose to to go that route.


I will be sharing 4 new Autumn & Halloween-themed cross stitch designs shortly,
stay tuned! 


With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda

6.18.2015

A Lesson in Color ~

Trim work this morning with needle & thread,
the window muttons are now stitched in place
and I have a finish!

Grateful, Thankful & Blessed
is ready for the framers!

Two down, two to go!


I always finish what's in my hoop 
before I move onto the next.  
Disciplined?  
Not really, it is my motivation for a quicker finish. ;)

There is no rest for the wicked,
as 
today is a day of color planning, 
floss & linen selections for a future Halloween design.
I want to name this design
Oct. 31st....
I am laughing at the originality of this title...
I may need to work harder on this title!


When I chart a design,
 I am privileged to experiment around with background color (or linen),
on-screen, with a click of a button.  
 Sounds easy, right? 
 What looks good on the computer should look good 
when you go to place your stitches on that color of linen, right?
Not really...

I struggle with colored linen, blue sky colors in particular.
I am determined to make it work for this design,
wish me luck!!

  This morning I have been playing with sky-colored linens. 
 They all seem to be too cool-toned, in my opinion...
So,
 I cut off a fat-quarter of two purchased hand-dyed linens
 and gave them an early morning bath in some strong coffee.
I function better with a little coffee,
maybe it is just the trick for sky-colored linens, no?  


See how it warmed up the linen?
I now have a warmer grungy linen,
I like the results!


(original linen is to the right of it's respective over- dyed version)

I have started several designs on blue linen, only for them to end up in my "reject box".  What is so frustrating for me, is, I have to stitch a gazillion stitches before I know whether it is going to appeal to me or not.  Just a couple of stitches doesn't determine whether I like it or not...no, that would be way to easy...so, I keep stitching and stitching, and thinking, and hoping it is going to get better ~
{sigh}

I am going to brave it again.
I think the linen on the lower left will be the choice.

 The linen and floss colors seem to work together when spread out.
This is where it gets tricky, their needs to be enough contrast between linen to floss.
 Green flosses get tricky on blue linens.
 I will need to brighten up my greens, pulling green flosses with more yellow in them.

   In the case of autumn,
 the floss colors we use
 tend to be warmer tones,
 my eye tells me warm flosses work better
on
warm toned linen.

Enough about warm & cool tones ~
because
it's going to be a beautiful late Spring day!

Our Service Berry trees are just loaded with berries
and the young robins have found them.
Their acrobatic moves in plucking them is quite entertaining.


I am going to find a shady spot today
 and take in the beauty of nature,
 and stitch!

Late Spring...my favorite season.
Stitching my favorite season....Autumn & Halloween
Total Bliss!

Wishing you a day full of beauty,
 and
 a stitch or two,
Brenda












6.16.2015

To be treasured....

Mary was just 9 
when she crossed her last stitch on this sampler.
The year was 1819.  
I have a weakness when it comes to samplers with houses,
but there was more then just the house,
more on that later...


Her young eyes had no trouble stitching a verse in
 over one,
 on teeny tiny linen.  
I love the verse.
In a close up study you will see a few of the bird's Mary stitched are going side-ways.  
This is a little unusual for a schoolgirl sampler.  
What did her instructress think of her side-way birds? 
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?!!

Her chosen verse reads:
All you my friends that now expect to see
a piece of marking thus performed by me
cast but a smile on this my mean endeavour
I will strive to mend and be obedient ever




What makes this sampler extra special is I am able to put a face to the name.
An older face, anyway.
This is Mary Meredith in her later years.  
Her married name was Mary Hope.

Her clothing indicates she is in mourning.  
Who was she mourning, one wonders?

Look close.
  See her necklace?


Tucked away in a velvet line box
 lies Mary's necklace.
It is the necklace she is wearing in the photo.
Sort of gives you goose bumps,
doesn't it?



Take a closer look...
 A mourning necklace.
The center locket of the pendant
holds basket-weaved hairs of
the deceased, 
in which she is mourning.

Treasures....
not to be forgotten.

With thy needle & thread,
Brenda








5.24.2015

New Patterns!

Happy Memorial Weekend to you all!  We are having more rain...cold, gloomy and drizzly.  I had hopes of doing yard/gardening work, but the weather is keeping me inside... so I am doing work-work!!

Though the calendar still says spring, this weekend is the official kick off to the summer season.  With that thought in mind, I am happy to share with you some fun summer-time patterns for your stitching pleasure!

HOME SWEET HOME
 This is a fun little kit that includes the tin, weavers cloth, Valdani 3 strand flosses, chenille trim and pattern all put together in cute packaging.  This piece is just 4 3/4" tall!  This kit is sold exclusively through Country Stitches.

X X X X X 



QUEEN OF THE SEA
I haven't done a whole lot of designs that have a nautical theme, so this was a really fun stitch!  I went for a fun finish with the use of mother of pearl fish buttons, waves of rick rack and cording tied in a nautical knot.  The wonderful movement and flow to the larger areas of this piece is achieved with the use of the Valdani 3 strand floss.  Pattern includes weavers cloth, tracing template and complete finishing instructions.  Buttons & rick rack are available for purchase on our website.  

X X X X X 



NESTLINGS
A mother bird stands so patiently and proud, just waiting for her little nestlings to arrived.  I chose faded shades of rusty reds, oranges, and corals of Valdani 3 strand floss  to work this piece.  The piece is simply backed with wool and makes a nice table accent piece.  Pattern includes weavers cloth, tracing template and finishing instructions.

X X X X X 



GRAND OLDE FLAG

A quick-to-stitch, honoring the needlework of Betsy Ross.  The piece is worked on 40 count Legacy linen over two threads with hand dyed flosses.  The piece is constructed into a floss card for a fun and functional  finish!   Mother of pearl rings keep your floss neat & tidy and the backside features a little pocket to keep your scissors and needle packs at your fingertips.

X X X X X  



BLUEBIRD OUT MY WINDOW
The time of year was my inspiration for this piece...the time of year when the birds are back to their nesting grounds and sing for food.  This design is worked on 36 count Wren linen over 2 threads with hand dyed flosses.  Tobacco brown vintage silk ribbon gets gathered and added to the pin keep for a pretty little finish.  


With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda

3.19.2015

Pattern Corrections!


I stumbled upon an error on two of my new charts, CS151 Stars & Stripes and CS155 Be Happy, Humble & Kind. The error falls on the materials needed list on the backside of the pattern cover. I have listed color #1160 Adobe as a Weeks Dye Works floss, and it is a Gentle Arts floss. The color is correct, it is the fleshy color used for the bodies of the little people. So there are no worries when you go to stitch, the color number/name and symbols on the chart are all correct. It may cause some confusion when you are purchasing your flosses. Weeks does make a floss with the same name, however, it is a red and of course has a different stock number.



 A change was also made to Stars & Stripes after it was stitched & charted, and the wrong file was pulled when it got printed.  Pattern will show the stars worked in Roasted Marshmallow, this should show them as worked in Harvest Basket.




Sorry about this, as hard as I try, something slipped by me here!

My apologies,
Brenda

3.04.2015

Nashville Market Recap!

I survived my first needlework market and there is no way to prepare yourself for the craziness that happens upon opening your door.  The curtains are shut, however, you can see shadows and hear eager customers outside your door.  The doors open and imagine a can of sardines...this is what the room felt like, total craziness...but good craziness!  To add to the craziness I ticked the wrong box in the software print option and the printer just started spewing out invoice after invoice...totally flustered and no time to fix!   So, I grabbed invoice books and started handwriting invoices...I must have had a premonition that this may happen, as I tossed a couple into my briefcase , when packing.   I was able to get this fixed in due time and then things moved a long a bit smoother & quicker.

It was great to meet my customer and each seemed to have a story... the best part!   I enjoy hearing about their shop and the way things run for them.    Breakfast and social hour allowed time for mingling & visiting with other designers... sharing our stories and passion of needlework, and just "shop-talk" in general.  

I took my good camera with good intentions of taking lots and lots of pictures.  However, you are pretty much tied to your room for the most part.  Sadly, the only photos I snapped are off my phone so they aren't the best...







 




And lastly,
2015 Spring Nashville Needlework Market releases.















With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda



2.25.2015

It is almost here!

The vehicle is loaded and tomorrow we will be Nashville-bound!   It looks like Mother Nature is going to make this trip a bit more challenging...ugghh!  We are in a winter storm warning today, lots of heavy snow predicted for today.

I'll be releasing 11 new cross stitch patterns at the market and am sharing little snippets of the final 5 designs...enjoy!


'Market preview ~ Day 11'

'Market preview ~ Day 9'


'Day 7 ~ Nashville Market preview...just a little peek!  Thank you to Suzanne for lending her beautiful stitching talents on this piece.  I ask my model stitchers for weekly photo updates as they work a design.    In one of Suzanne weekly email updates, while working Stars & Stripes, she noted that she prayed for her deployed son while she stitched this patriotic-themed piece.  I felt so honored to know that this design brought prayer, peace and comfort to the mother of a military serviceman.  Truly the best kind of compliment, brought tears to my eyes...I can't even imagine.  Her son has since safely returned home.'

With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda

2.17.2015

Just one week left...

A week from today everything has to be done!
I am a walking post-it note...notes everywhere,
 reminding me of what to take and what needs to be done.  

Tuesday is "load-up-the-vehicle-day" for an early push off on Wednesday morning for the Nashville Needlework market.     I've been working day's, nights and weekends since the holidays to pull this all together...
and,
 well,
 let's just say,
I am pooped! 


 Thanks to the help of model stitchers,
 Suzanne, Susanna and April, 
I will have a booth full of fun & exciting new cross stitch releases.  

Today I am sharing snippets of 6 of the 11 patterns 
that will be debuting in Nashville at the end of the month....
just a little something to tempt your needles!








With thy Needle & Thread,
Brenda