Friday, April 28, 2006

Playing Card History - The House of Cards 

I was asked recently about the use of acorns as a motif in needlework. I believe that the acorn on samplers possibly evolved from the use of the acorn as one of the suits on decks of early playing cards. The House of Cards site has an interesting article on the development of the various motifs used on playing cards.

I always urge folks to stand back and look at the "big picture" if they are researching a particular period of needlework and other uses of decorative motifs is an excellent place to look for a panoramic view. Look at printers, illustrators, metalworkers, leatherworkers, bookbinders, weavers, muralists, etc. when you want to "know" a period.

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Coming Soon - New Tool 

I just heard from a distributor that a project near and dear to my heart is a "go". In goldwork we like to use a little tool called a Mellore. Spade shaped on one end and pointy on the other it is great for piercing holes for taking down threads and for burnishing laid gold.

They have been available in sterling silver at what I consider a price too great to pay for such a workhorse tool. The apprentices at the RSN buy theirs upon entry and have their initials engraved on them.

Over the years I've talked to folks constantly about having them produced in stainless steel and priced at a level that you would actually use them and not worry if one went missing.

Hooray - the prototype is ready now and the final product is slated for release sometime in July. I'm unclear on the final retail price but it will certainly have to be better than that for the silver model.

By the way, they are super for canvasworkers as well - that pointy end will enlarge holes and can be used to lay threads. For whiteworkers the pointy bit is great for pushing aside threads for eyelets in Broderie Anglaise.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

StopPiracy: Fighting Piracy 

StopPiracy: Fighting Piracy is a blog maintained by scrapbook designers and crafters. It deals with piracy in their craft. All creative arts are plagued by this dirty nasty habit. Nice scrappers and nice needleworkers don't steal anymore than they shoplift in a virtual shop.

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WOW - What a Thrill 

Keepsake NeedleArts has included two of my booklets in their latest catalog.

The first is Designing Celtic Knots. As with many of my designs - this one has a story. I kept running into needlework designers at consumer shows who cried "people want Celtic Knots designs but I don't know how to do them." The book was written for those designers and then we put it in our regular catalog. AND it really works if you follow the color coded instructions. So go buy a copy, sharpen up your pencil and have fun.

The second book, A Knotwork Alphabet, came from a class I taught at a series of consumer shows. I did a design with only four letters filled with strapwork, mazes, key designs, etc. The letters IONA were chosen to evoke that island filled with early Celtic monks. Students and others kept begging for the entire alphabet and I finally completed it and published it. Some of you may have followed the progress of the other letters. Blogging during the process made me keep charting and finally finishing this project. I stitched the IONA piece but to my knowledge nobody has ever stitched the entire alphabet. If someone ever stitches every blasted letter - and sends me a photo, I'll send them a mighty nice pressie.

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Progress Report 

All but finished with the chess board I'm stitching. Getting the stuff ready to send to some avid model stitcher/friends in KC. It would seem as if sending stuff out for stitching is a fairly easy task, BUT with the big move lots of wonderful supplies got mixed and matched in weird places and with remodeling and painting and moving about -- the boxes have been in the house, in the shed, back to house, back to garage, back to shed, some of them back to house, some of them back to shed. You get the picture and it's not a pretty one.

The standard reply around here is "it's in a box somewhere." And, sometimes it's just easier to go buy another one.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

About Our Alphabets 

This Guardian article might be a bit more than I want to know about alphabets but their formation and development have always fascinated me.

This began in early childhood when the family encyclopedia started every section with an article about the history of the letter. So before aardvark (or whatever the first "a" article covered), you got a few paragraphs on the letter A.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back Again 

Away from the computer for a few days while there was painting going on around here. Paint fumes and I are great enemies.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

I will not weave, I will not weave, I will not weave 

I swear I will not take on another technique but the Complex Weavers site tempts me terribly. Take a look at their galleries of featured work and their award winners of the past. So yes I want to weave but I will not weave.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006


HIERARCHICAL VESTMENTS is an interesting page calculated to make precious metal embroiderers yearn for a visit to Constantinople. What is interesting is the fact that names of embroideresses are known and mentioned.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Judy Decker: Incredible Art Education Resources 

Judy Decker's Incredible Art Education Resources is a complex site aimed at art educators working with young people, but there is a huge amount of material available for all of us who are just beginning to dip our toe into a new art form or concept. Take a lesson and see how much you know/need to know.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Few Days off 

Well, I've spent a few days getting a bit more caught up on order backlog - almost current and babying the bad back.

Stitching away on Jennifer Tom's chessboard design. I'm stitching it on vinyl weave "fabric". Don't cringe dear gentle folk. This is a great little chessboard design which we will be putting on our site for sale after I get the model done. All in simple backstitch and on the vinyl weave it is ready for carrying to outdoor events or fairs. Easily cleaned and no special care needed to store and carry it about. Virtually wrinkle free no matter what you do to it.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

More than you ever wanted to know about cotton 

Spinning the Web is a great gathering of information about the cotton industry in England.

Biographies, places, costume, social history and heaped with graphics. Good homeschooling site.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Palestinian Embroidery 

ASALAH - The USAID WB/G Culture & Traditions Magazine - ISSUE 02 is an excellent online introduction to Palestinian embroidery -- then and now.

Most westerners know little of the different styles of embroidery and costume practiced in various areas of Palestinian culture.

This ezine has some excellent graphics for a little introductory look at these complex and diverse styles of embroidery.

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Craft supplies, scrapbooking and sewing at discount prices – CreateForLess 

CreateForLess has an interesting site. I've never ordered anything from them so can't attest to their level of customer service, but they seem to have a broad range of craft items at discount prices.

From dipping into various departments they have not only odds and ends but name brand supplies (e.g. some Kreinik products, F.A. Edmonds stands and hoops, Clover tools, etc.)as well as some items I don't see so often including fabric origami patterns and supplies.

They carry a small number of Girl Scout sanctioned craft items and the articles on their site dispense some downhome, commonsense sort of advice.

Worth a poke around even if you never order anything.

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