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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!

Working the Jacquard Stitch

Wednesday June 15, 2011

A new stitch and Stitch Journal Page has been added today!

The Jacquard Stitch is a needlepoint filling stitch worked in diagonal, stepped rows of both broad and narrow stitches.

Multiple colors can be used in this versatile stitch. Three colors are shown in this sample, but any number of color combinations are possible.

Because of the pronounced banding, this stitch is best worked in large areas, like the background or striped areas in the Uncle Sam's Top Hat pattern.

NEW Pattern - Super Summer Scrap Buster!

Friday June 10, 2011

Are your needlepoint thread odds-and-ends building up and it's time for a cleanout?

Gather your scraps of needlepoint thread and stitch this Super Summer Scrap Buster FREE needlepoint pattern!

This simple, repeating geometric design can be stitched using any number of thread colors on your favorite mesh count or type of needlepoint canvas.

I've shown the design with 16 squares and a border, but you can easily add additional motifs to make the design larger, or to change it to a rectangular shape.

You can also stitch just a single motif to experiment with stitches from the Needlepoint Stitch List.

NEW - Diagonal Chevron and Hungarian Diamond Stitches

Monday June 6, 2011

New to the Stitch List this week are two textured needlepoint stitches.

Each stitch is worked in diagonal rows that can be either a single color, or in alternating rows of color.

The Diagonal Chevron Stitch is a dramatic, directional design, while the Hungarian Diamond Stitch is more of a tame and tidy filling.

Stitch Journal Pages have been included for both stitches.


Inchies and Twinchies

Sunday June 5, 2011

Inchies, one-inch nuggets of stitching possibilities, and Twinchies worked in two-inch squares, have really caught on with both needlepoint and embroidery stitchers.

Working a stitch, design or experimental combination of stitches in a 1-inch or 2-inch format allows needlepoint stitchers the opportunity to try a variety of different things in one project. It's also a terrific way to try different stitches from the Needlepoint Stitch List!

Here are several of my favorite bits of inspiration:
The Daily Inchie. Follow along as Liz works 30 inchies in a variety of techniques.

The Nordic Needle carries the Genny Morrow NOVA Pattern, consisting of 396 individual squares o two squares are alike! They also carry her First Step beginner's version featuring 8 different needlepoint stitches.

Leslie shares her progress on the NOVA pattern, as does CraftyChristine.

Janet Perry features a gallery of Twinchies that are inspiring.

These designs - or any worked on such a small yet impressive scale - can take years to complete but are well worth the effort!

To see if this is the type of project you might enjoy, try one of the FREE needlepoint patterns here on this site including the Mini Cupcakes or the pretty Square One Needlepoint Doodle!

Add New Pages to your Stitch Journal

Thursday June 2, 2011

I've added two more stitches for you to print, stitch and add to your Needlepoint Stitch Journal!

Stitching and pasting stitch samples worked with canvas and thread odds-and-ends into a notebook is a great way to learn a new needlepoint stitch, and you'll have a sample handy for the next time you are looking for the perfect stitch for your next project.

The Knotted Gobelin Stitch and the Woven Plait Stitch.

Both stitches are beautifully textured and can be used as filling stitches, or can be worked in rows and borders.

These stitches can also be worked in alternating colored rows - and I did use two colors of green thread in the Knotted Gobelin, just for fun.

Check the Needlepoint Stitch List for additional stitches - both common and uncommon - and their respective journal Pages.

New Contest Posted Today

Wednesday June 1, 2011

Feeling lucky?

If so, you'll be interested in the new contest posted over at the DMC site, offered in conjunction with A.C. Moore craft stores!

The contest just posted today, and the winner receives a basket full of needlework goodies and a gift certificate.

To enter, participants need to write a brief answer to the question, "Why do you like to stitch?" Extra consideration is given to those who submit a pattern along with their entry.

This contest is open to any type of stitchery, including needlepoint, so it's a great opportunity to share your thoughts and show your stuff.

The contest ends on Friday, July 15th, 2011.

I can think of a septillion reasons why I like to stitch...

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