Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pretty Scissors

I love scissors! In fact, I have a passion for them and own far too many pairs. Some of them are wonderful because they are so good at my needlework chores: I have a favorite pair of Dovos with blades so slender that they make the chore of ripping easier; I have traditional Ginghers for cutting meshes when I do Ruskin. And I have all sorts of others poised for snipping threads at all kinds of destinations around my house, in short wherever I might light with a canvas in my hand.

In addition I have collected scissors for, well, forever.

In the last few years I have been making sewing cases and using some of my scissors in them. Now I have started making scissors fobs. Stitched ones, beaded ones. They're fun to do and decorative too.

When my students started asking about scissors for sewing cases, I also started surfing on eBay for pretty scissors and posting the listings on my website. A way of chasing scissors without having to own them all myself. My website followers have reported that they have bought many of the pairs I have found on eBay and it is always exciting to hear that a sweet pair has found a nice home.

So I surf. Often when I should be doing other needlework chores, like more kits, more packets of beads, corrections to my instructions masters, and of course Mail Jail (which is forever, even when I am not having a sale).

On my website I post the listings, sometimes with a bit of editorializing, sometimes with the progress of the auction, always with the auction results. Lately I have found some wonderful pairs! In fact there are a couple of memorable pairs on my eBay page right now.

Ahhh, temptation!

Enough about scissors for the morning; back to work on chores. Faint panic sets in this morning as I watch the dawn of the final day of June. Half the year is over.
Gay Ann

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Technique Called Goop

This morning I posted a new Techniques Column.
Essentially it is on what I call 'Goop' and my column suggests one way we might all avoid the concept.
For quick reference:
Click on 'Techniques' then scroll down and click on Techniques 11.

Gay Ann

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tomorrow: A New Techniques Column on My Website

One time I was having breakfast with a number of needlework friends at our very favorite breakfast haunt (best Eggs Benedict in all its variations around, but that's another story).

Much of the discussion was about painted canvases for needlepoint, and one friend turned to me and made a comment that I didn't do painted canvases, therefore was rather left out of the discussion. I realized then something I hadn't thought about before: my friend sees a dichotomy.

I don't see the dichotomy. Painted canvas or counted canvas, it is basically all the same to me.

I suppose that's from my designer point of view. I suppose the difference comes in that the stitcher has more obvious latitude on a painted canvas to choose stitches and threads, and it is precisely that latitude that is the subject of my Techniques 11 column.

Tomorrow morning: and click on Techniques, then on Techniques 11.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Techniques Column on My Website

It has been nearly half a year since I have written a Techniques Column on my website. I think it has been so long because I have been mired down in writing instructions booklets and didn't feel like writing any more than I had to. But this morning I woke up in the mood to catch up on Techniques.

My new Techniques Column is on the weight of thread. As I look at needlework past and present, I think much of technical success depends on the weight of the thread the stitcher chooses. We all recognize when thread is too thin, but too often we miss noticing when thread is too heavy. My column this morning is on assessing thread weight and constant testing. Like most of life, there isn't any magic answer, just toil and practice.

I have found over the years that very little is set in needlework. I know any number of needlework teachers who think up formulae and pronounce on their perfection, but the best of the needlework teachers I know say the opposite: most of good needlework is a matter of trial and error and a lot of tinkering, and so it is with thread weight. A couple of my experiences with thread weight and why I find it very important is the subject of my new Techniques Column this morning.

For quick reference:, click on 'Techniques', then scroll down to 'Techniques 10'.

Gay Ann

Monday, June 14, 2010

Townhouses on View

I am newly home from EGA's South Central Region Seminar in Dallas. I had a super time there and one of the best treats for me: I saw some FINISHED Townhouses from my recent class at Shining Needle Society. The townhouses and their stitchers are on my website's home page; on 'Townhouses' I have just posted more photos of the insides and backs of the Townhouses too.

I enjoyed seeing the Townhouses in particular because of the color changes. I suspect the changes were inspired by my colorizations of doors and windows, a little added bonus to the class.

It has been a bit of a journey, learning PhotoShop. I have been working at it for just about a year and a half now and the learning curve has been a bit steep but very worthwhile. What I love best about the potential of PhotoShop for me: I can now colorize my designs in a way I could only dream of in the past. I hoped if I colorized my designs, that my students will see all the potential for creative use of color and be brave and inspired to try the changes.

And now, with the Townhouses in Dallas, I saw the fruits of my labors. It was all so rewarding!

Now I have some new colorizations coming shortly to my website: I colorized Echoes of Elizabeth and soon will post the colorizations along with the original. I like the colorizations so well that I am going to buy more thread, take it to class with me and see if I can talk a student or two into trying the changes. I will let them swap threads and enjoy watching the results.

So here's to PhotoShop, many more lessons and more and more uses for this great program!

And new for me? Illustrator has arrived in my life. Illustrator is leg 2 of my dreams for my website, and along the way, guess what: 25 years of hand-written instructions have come to an end. I've produced my first set of instructions on MacSoph, my computer. Illustrator rocks in the life of this aging designer.

Always goes to show you: new tricks for old dogs are possible.

Gay Ann