Wednesday, June 29, 2005

You Know You're A Stitcher When 

Some spam always gets into my mailbox and I'm sometimes amused by the subject lines before I send it into the spam disposal unit.

Today I got one with a subject line along the lines of "Amazing P***S PATCH" Now I'm not a prude about anatomical terms but I don't need to attract blog spam by spelling out the referenced male appendage.

Upon second thought I suppose it had to do with some sort of medicament to be applied to said appendage, but my first thought was - hmmmm - what sort of patch was needed. Was this a tear or just a hole worn in the afflicted member. Then I had a good laugh as I had a fleeting vision of stitching on an appropriate patch.

You know you are a stitcher when the word patch immediately calls to mind a needle and thread.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Reverse Midas Touch 

Here's hoping the day gets better. At 7:30 a.m. UPS was calling to say they broke something in a box I was sending my sister. And no they couldn't return the bits to me to make the insurance claim or send on what was unbroken. I needed to pick it up in Tucson or what was left would be destroyed and no my sister could not deal with it in Tucson. I declined flying to Tucson to deal with a few bits of crockery so my sister is just going to have to do without.

Then my printer decided it wouldn't attach to my computer and work until I'd booted the system three times.

Taking deep breath, having 2nd cup of coffee. It WILL get better.

I did get all my little vintage pattern booklets sorted out and started on a cover model for a booklet of the alphabets in one of them. Maybe I'll just shut the computer and the phones off today, watch Upstairs Downstairs and stitch.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Glad Day/Sad Day 

This is the day my friend Nick Gosswin's exhibit of his work opens in Cumbria. I know it will go well and he will gain lots of new fans and make some fantastic sales.

I'm a little sad though because for over a year we had planned that it would be a joint effort but I'm not there because of my wretched old body giving out on me.

The good part is that the exhibit space is booked again for March 2006 and I will give it another try to be there that time.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Feeling Like Imelda 

Do you ever get one of those Imelda (Marcos) moments? I can see her going to her closet/warehouse and saying "where DID all those shoes come from?"

Now, those who know me know my weakness for vintage pattern books. I am particularly fond of the little accordion fold books published by Sajou, Alexandre, etc. I also collect and am fascinated by books used to teach needlework in schools.

Getting ready for the upcoming move has just given me an Imelda moment. I have a heap of little booklets spread out on a BIG table saying "where DID all these patterns come from?"

When you just buy them one at a time, you don't notice the size of the stash until the day of truth arrives.

Okay, now I have to turn them to use. I predict a few new alphabet books coming into our catalogue in the near future.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Good Old Book 

About all I accomplished today was getting an order out to Nordic Needle for my second book 100 Blackwork Charts. This book has been a jewel. It still sells 10 years after I first put it together.

When I first did the charts for it I didn't have a desktop computer that would run Windows and I needed Windows to use the early Hobbyware program I had bought. My laptop would barely squeeze Windows 3.1 on and have enough RAM left to chart one page. Then to print a master of that page so I could photocopy it for the books, I walked away and left it and my wee little printer all alone for 45 minutes.

I had no desktop publishing program other than WordPerfect at that time so the names and numbers of the charts had to be done in backstitch on the charting program. The cover was also done in Patternmaker. That's why the title is so funky, but now I can't change it.

Anyone who has a photocopied copy of this book has a very early version, and if you have a funky colored cover, you have one of the first dozen or so printed/copied.

When I was able to upgrade and print all the copies I sell, I started using our current paper which is a nice linen texture. I think this adds something to a needlework book because this is such a tactile art. And I was able to find paper that has a high percentage of recycled consumer rubbish content. I started putting plastic covers on all my booklets because I like the front cover of my booklets protected and I like the fact that by using a fairly heavy plastic, the books will stand straight on a shelf or in a rack.

So right on Nordic Needle and all my faithful customers. Keep that Good Old Book alive.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Blogging Designer 

Yea! WooHoo! I've convinced another needlework designer to blog. My chum Claudia of Dutch Treat Designs. Claudia also owns one of my FAVORITE shops.

If you want to know what is buzzing in her head for new table topper designs, watch her space. We've been talking forever about designing a blackwork table topper together and this may just be the year for that. I have two antique tables that used to be called "center tables" in my family. They are just the size that table toppers were made for. I've got to get busy and stitch a couple or three of Claudia's designs for them.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's a Conspiracy 

I know all the odd socks, the halves of embroidery hoop sets, and now "the other" knitting needles are conspiring and are all hiding in the same place - I just need to find it.

These depressing thoughts were brought about by my good intentions to finish knitting up a dishrag sitting around on a #7 needle. Think I could find the other #7 needle? Think I own more than one set of #7 needles? Think again!!!!

I wish I had the calm acceptance of these sorts of happening that were part of my grandmother's personality. When faced with the inability find something she merely said "It's not lost. It's in a safe place where nobody can find it and steal it."

Well, I'm somewhat glad my #7 needle is in a safe place - I just wish it would get up the confidence to come out of hiding.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tour Biz 

Fun and games this week. Getting our ducks in a row for this year's tour participants.

Right, who is rooming with whom, what flight shall I coordinate a hotel shuttle with?

Do we have confirmation on all our activity bookings and group tickets?

The one thing I'm creating? Dubious as to creativity required is a rug/mat crocheted from some fluffy cotton yarn I found while packing. Just about my concentration level at the moment. But hey, useful is good.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Now About Charting 

I got a little off track in the previous entry. I needed to compare one of Louisa Pesel's charts with one of mine when researching a copyright issue.

Now both of us worked from the same original textile BUT there are subtle differences in our charts. One stitch or two stitches in that line? Filled in motif or a few stitches left out? Even when two artists work from the same source their resultant graphs are invariably different by a stitch or two. Sometimes our eye is fooled into completing a motif a certain way when the stitch doesn't exist, sometimes the embroidery is badly pulled out of shape and we do the best we can to anticipate the original stitching.

I do keep an eye out for folks who are copying charts from my books and using them commercially and I look at their work with care to see if it is a stitch-for-stitch copy of my published work or if there are differences. Many motifs from early textiles have been published by several designers, but there are usually small distinguishing changes from designer to designer. An exact copy of one of my charts rings alarms for me.

So in this instance - different is better.

Great to see you getting back in the swing of things -
the copyright issue is one that intersts me as I had assumed that the insitution that held the textile owned the copyright for the whole piece. For instance inthe case of a sampler - the sampler itself would be copyrighted.

Am I correct in thinking that the individual motifs are not copyrighted as they have been worked constantly over the years?
So if you designed a sampler from traditional motifs but the overall sampler was your own - is that still a breach? It is just something I have often wondered as I charted some samplers in the V+A collection when I was there for my personal education more than anything else. But it would be nice to think it was OK to use them for other things if I chose to.
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Charting from Original Textiles 

Thanks to Robin, I now have a look at the charts from Louisa Pesel's fourth book, pages from her sketchbooks of textiles at the V&A.

Louisa Pesel was quite a light in the world of embroidery. She documented stitches found in English and middle-eastern embroideries and produced stitch samplers of them for the V&A which have been published.

She was the "Mother of Kneelers" as she seems to have organized the first kneeler project at Winchester Cathedral.

She wrote for contemporary publications on textiles and embroidery and apparently gave talks about her travels and embroidery. I'll know more about this one day when I get up to Leeds University which holds her archives, including her "lantern slides". Wouldn't you love to attend a Pesel lecture complete with lantern slides. Those of us using digital projectors know well the advantage of throwing an image against a wall to make a point.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Yep, We Got Spammed 

Yep, the blog got spammed the other day but unfortunately Su set up Reblogger for me on this blog and I can't seem to remember what password we used.

Su will sort it out when she gets a minute but right now they are celebrating Brendan's birthday and have to prepare for a visit to LegoLand.

First day I really feel like being up and about most of the day, less wobbly on my feet, more energy - and what do I do with this blessing? I spent most of the day gathering up stuff and transmitting it to an attorney on a copyright issue - not fair.

Tomorrow will be better and I can get back to the packing and hopefully some more or less creative tasks.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005


Amazing what I've found since I've been doing some gentle packing getting ready for THE BIG MOVE.

The latest is a set of sterling silver Christmas pudding charms. What made me believe I would ever use them? Maybe I'll put them on some embroidery. I must have been reading too much Dickens at the time of purchase.

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