Friday, May 01, 2015

The Witching Hour: My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great arrives tonight

Yes, as close to midnight as MacSoph and I can stay up, my portrait of Catherine the Great arrives on Queendom Website:

While we wait for Catherine's arrival, we are having a party in my classrooms at Shining Needle Society. If you would like to come and eat e-blini and caviar and have an e-glass of champagne,  bring your stitching and come!

If you don't belong to Shining Needle Society, contact Kate. Membership and entry to my classroom is free.

See you tonight, I hope.
Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Writing about My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great

For some time now on my website, I have been writing lessons for beginners, intermediates and advancing students of needlepoint. The beginners' lessons and the intermediates have been more or less predictable sorts of lessons, particularly for beginners.

Then I arrived at the lessons for advancing students. There's so much I could write but I chose to write about the decisions I've made for stitching my needlepoint portraits. In some ways these lessons are so basic in that they refer to very basic stitches. That's too true, but what I do with those basic stitches has taken a bit more thought and the lessons aren't quite so basic. It's been an interesting exercise.

Now I am almost to the end of the series for the time being. I have the penultimate lesson called, of all things, 'Advanced Continental Stitch. I posted it this morning, it will stay up for tomorrow and then I will post my last lesson for now, called 'Painterly Needlepoint'. It is for me my most interesting lesson because it explains how I arrived at the way I decided to do portraits.

If you would like to read the lessons, here's a quick reference:

After 'Painterly Needlepoint' it will be time to close down lessons and start preparing Queendom Website for the arrival of my portrait of Catherine the Great. In doing so I've enlisted the help of my husband and he's been writing short articles on Catherine the Great. If you follow along you will find a new one every other morning once my lessons end.

In addition, I've been writing my own snippets called 'Factoids about My Catherine'. Essentially they tell some tales about my stitching Catherine, how large she is, how many pearls she has, and in a few days I will start posting photos and descriptions of the kit contents.

Catherine will arrive on Saturday morning, May 2. Actually she will arrive as close to midnight on May 1 as MacSoph and I can stay awake.

I hope you will join us for the festivities celebrating the arrival of this piece which has been my most industrious undertaking in the last 5 to 6 years.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gay Ann Rogers Needlepoint on Facebook

Well, I took the plunge and I joined Facebook.

I have both a profile page and a business page. My business page is all about my needlepoint and its inspirations and here's the URL:

I began it by posting my Elizabethan projects. I began with Echoes of Elizabeth and Echoes Sewing Case and this afternoon I posted my most popular ever heart, Heart of Elizabeth. I have some projects to post in the next few days that I've not shown often and some inspirations, trivia, and well, whatever strikes me as useful or amusing.

As the month goes on and the time becomes closer to the arrival of my portrait of Catherine the Great on Queendom Website, I will transition to the Romanovs and in particular some clothes and of course large jewels. What would the Romanovs be without very large jewels!

At first I couldn't see why I would keep up this blog plus my website, plus Facebook pages; it seemed at first that it would all be redundant. I had a few days to find my sea legs where it was all quiet and I could find out a bit about Facebook. I think it is different, it is certainly very different visually, and in some ways more casual.

Then this morning someone learned about my Facebook page and I had a flurry of visits and likes and offers to Friend.

Early on (I mean, how early is that considering my pages are about a week old), I decided to keep my profile page for tech stuff, so I haven't replied to the friend offers. There's no needlepoint on my profile page and I thought for now I would keep the two separate.

So far it is great fun -- and a very different experience from my website. We'll see how it goes, a new adventure.

I'm very new at all this but I will find my way, and if you have any suggestions for me, please let me know:

Gay Ann

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Campaign of Support for Au Ver a Soie

Please please join us!

Let’s give support to Au Ver a Soie by ‘Liking’ them on their Facebook page.
And if you would like to leave a note of support, all the better!
Let’s tell them how much we value their silks!

Even though the site is in French, it is fine to leave a message in English.

Thanks, Kate, for getting this started.
Gay Ann

From Kate:

If you're a Facebook person, you could show support by "liking" A Ver a Soie's Facebook page:

They only have 1559 "likes" at the time of this message, so we clearly need to show some more appreciation. :-)

Just a thought!


The Fire at Au Ver a Soie

Hello everyone - I thought I would jump in and add some information before panic runs amuck.  Au Ver a Soie is wounded but not devastated.  We talked to one of the owners this morning about the extent of the damage and we will learn much more early next week.  She is a member of the Boucher family who run Au Ver a Soie.

One thing I would like to tell you is that Boucher family is devoted to the production of silk. In the past they have suffered much deeper losses and they have rebounded. In fact, the entire Au Ver a Soie factory was mistakenly bombed by the Americans in WWII and the Boucher family totally rebuilt it. Theirs is an ancient family business, they have always taken the long view of it and just like the factory bombing in WWII, they will bring the business back again from this fire .One of the things they learned from their WWII disaster was the importance of distributing the expertise, machinery and stock to ward off single disasters bringing down a company and they have planned wisely over the years.  While the capability at this plant was severely damaged, the company has a network of machines, partners, etc around France and these partners will help the Boucher family weather this.  Their stock was distributed in multiple places too - phew.  So, being in the know a bit, I am confident that we are not in imminent danger of losing Au Ver a Soie, a relief to us all.

The fire will certainly delay some of the new threads for a while and I am sure that some colors may be scarce for a few weeks, but these conditions will only be temporary.  I am not overly concerned about the machinery losses, an example being a new skeining machine that was destroyed, as the skeining operation for threads sold in the U.S. is done at Access Commodities (we prefer a different size/packaging in this market).  So some capability losses won't impact us as they are already shifted to machinery here.  What I am concerned about is time.  In any small business, there isn't an excess of labor and things like this delay new initiatives in favor of getting basic operations back running.  I know that the time I spend shoveling snow represents hours not spent shipping or working on new things.  It will be the same for Au Ver a Soie, with some things delayed a bit. 
I am sure you will hear about the fire but don't fear - it isn't about a total loss of capabilities, it is more about a diversion of valuable time until they make adjustments. The adjustments may take a few weeks or months, but Au Ver a Soie will indeed be up and running again. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whew! My Needlepoint Hearts Sale is Over, so What's Next?

My Hearts Sale finished and I'm mailing packages, a division of my little business I call 'Mail Jail'.

After the first day of the sale I ran out of my Imperial Emeralds Heart kits and had to make more. I'm stalled now in Mail Jail, waiting for Kreinik braid. It will arrive soon enough and I will be able to finish Mail Jail as soon as it does.

So what comes after my Hearts Sale?
Two things:

First, Freedom to spend large chunks of time stitching. I can't wait! My head is full of ideas just waiting to make their way onto canvas.

Second, my portrait of Catherine the Great will arrive on my website on May 2.
This means I have to get busy making kits. I have just a little over 2 months to count beads and label threads, cut canvas and assemble everything.

I know it is still winter, but I am looking forward to spring this year and my two activities ahead.
Yay! I'm through most of the grind and looking forward to the fun parts.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Among My Hearts this February is Imperial Emeralds Heart

It's almost time for my hearts to arrive; they will be here bright and early on Thursday morning, February 12.

Featured in my sale will be the first heart of a series of six called 'Imperial Jeweled Hearts'.
The first one is the most decorated and glittery heart I've ever stitched; it is Imperial Emeralds Heart and I made it to commemorate the over-the-top jewels of the Romanovs.

I can't imagine emeralds the size that Catherine the Great wore!

My emeralds aren't real but they do sparkle! My diamonds aren't real either, but like the emeralds they do sparkle too! My pearls are real in in all sorts of sizes and together with my emeralds and diamonds they are very glittery.

I particularly enjoyed my series of Imperial Jeweled Hearts. Usually my work is more restrained, but restraint was not the order of the day, making a statement was. I hope you will stop by Queendom Website on Thursday morning and see my 'statement jeweled heart'. Perhaps I should have named it Statement Heart.

What about the other five jeweled hearts?

They will arrive sprinkled as surprise treats throughout 2015 in celebration of the arrival of Catherine the Great on Queendom Website. She arrives on her birthday, May 2.

When I started posting about my needlepoint portrait of Catherine the Great, it was months and months away! When I posted on New Year's Day it was 5 months away. Now I am writing again and it is only 2 1/2 months away. I had better get busy because Catherine will be arriving before I know it.

How does time pass so fast!
Gay Ann

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ornaments just for Stitchers

This Christmas Queendom Website has a surprise: little Country-Style wood ornaments all made by hand for us stitchers.

They are made by artist Ilisha Helfman and they feature drawings and sayings just for needlework.

I've been posting a different one every morning and today I posted the fourth which may be my favorite. It says 'Merry Stitches' and has a red border of Cross Stitches and Running Stitches.

To follow along, here is a quick reference:

Merry Christmas, and enjoy!

Gay Ann