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Good Reads

I love to bring along a good book or two when traveling. Here are a few of my favorite needlepoint-related recommendations. Tuck one into your tote for reading on your next adventure!

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Needlepoint Spotlight10

Shop Visit - The Playful Needle

Thursday June 30, 2011

I recently had a chance to visit a wonderful little needlepoint shop called The Playful Needle, located right smack downtown in Portland, Oregon.

Just as an FYI, I usually avoid driving in any downtown, no matter where I am visiting.

I'm a nervous driver in downtown spaces, but I'm happy to report that this little gem of a needlepoint shop was worth both the white knuckles and the hunt for a parking space!

The Playful Needle carries over 70 different types of needlework threads, and most are present in complete color lines. The selection of Rainbow Gallery threads is the best I've seen.

Phyllis, the shop's owner, has a terrific eye for design, so you'll find a wide assortment of hand-painted canvases including a large selection of Judaic material.

The shop also stocks frames, stretcher bars, notions and anything else you will need for needlepoint - and even some supplies for embroidery.

Located in the "SOBU" or South Burnside district, and tucked near the corner on SW Alder between SW 11th and 12th Avenues, this store is an easy walk from several of the popular hotels. Get there using via streetcar, bus, or MAX lightrail - or drive, taking I-405 to the Burnside exit.

The shop's sweet little mascot, Noodles, will greet you at the door.

NEW Summer Pattern Posted!

Thursday June 23, 2011

A NEW free pattern for summer has been posted!

Sail Away to another place as you stitch a regatta of summer sailboats in needlepoint.

This free pattern uses just 7 colors of thread - green, blue, yellow, red, orange, white and gray. The design measures approximately 10 x 11" when worked on 11-count needlepoint canvas.

The design can be worked in tent stitch, or a other needlepoint stitches. The checkered border would look particularly nice stitched in mosaic stitch, reversed mosaic stitch or checkered mosaic stitch.

Happy Stitching!

Now That's a Good Question!

Tuesday June 21, 2011

I received an email today asking about using embroidery floss in a needlepoint project, and it's a good one!

Some stitchers will not use embroidery floss, believing that it frays easily when working needlepoint.

This belief is unfounded and many top designers use embroidery floss in their kits. Check out the needlepoint kits from 123-Stitch!, ineedlework.com and The Stitchery.

The reality is, any thread can be used for needlepoint (the exception is a wired thread such as Kreinik's Hotwire or DMC's Memory Thread).

Any thread, including floss, will fray when using:

lengths that are too long for the thread type
a thread type that is too thick for the canvas
a thread of low quality
cheap canvas with burrs and sloppy finishing

Tapestry wool, pearl cotton, ribbon, silk thread, rayon or satin threads, straw, hemp, bamboo, jute, plastic, velvet, crewel wool, metallics, halographic and specialty threads - like the threads shown here - will fray if not used properly.

Since wear and fraying can vary between fiber contents, it is best to keep an eye out for the dreaded fuzzies as you stitch.

Floss is best used on tighter mesh count (such as 28 count), and, when using floss, it helps to separate the 6 strands and regroup them.

The number of strands used will be determined by the size of the canvas or the stitch being used, so there's no cut-and-dry formula for this.

You may need to use shorter lengths of thread and change the thread more often, or change threads altogether if you continue to run into problems, and this applies to any thread used for needlepoint.

Don't be afraid to use embroidery floss, pearl cotton, metallics - or any embroidery thread - when working a needlepoint canvas.

Any thread can be used successfully, and variety is the spice of life!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation...

Monday June 20, 2011

This past week I had a chance to visit Gussie Shubert and her shop, Needlepoint Etc., during my annual work/play trip to Hawaii.

Seeing what's new in Gussie's shop is one of the highlights of my trip, and I can hardly wait until next year's visit.

Those of you who subscribe to Needlepoint Now magazine have probably seen Gussie's ads featuring tropical canvases. These gorgeous designs are all designed and hand-painted in the islands.

I couldn't help but oooh-and-ahhhh over the fabulous canvases designed and painted by Hawaiian artists Georg James and John Dinsmore (who also created many of the beautiful murals on the islands), as well as canvases designed and painted by Peter Ashe.

Sadly, I was not able to fill my suitcase with goodies - hubby insisted that we share a suitcase this trip, and there was no room for purchases.

Next year, I'm bringing a separate suitcase!

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