Monthly Archives: February 2012

Notoriously subversive chic

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An incandescent light bulb.

Image via Wikipedia

I’m changing the menu bar.  Finished Models is becoming the less clunky Finito.  And I’m adding a new drop down, called Features.  Often with a blog you “lose” your good posts, so bloggers start to recycle them, especially after a while, and they get lazy, or have new viewers who may not bother going through the old post archives.   Sometimes bloggers do this in a kind of underhanded way, using widgets or gizmos or shady operators (the same ones who do the phony link back SEO thingie) who teach you how to fudge post dates to reuse content without seeming to do so.  I’m not doing that.  I’m going to publish longer, more thoughtful pieces in the Features section, as standalone, persistent (in the sense of it having a longer life than a post) pages.  That way they stay there and are easy to find and the problem of “lost” posts is solved.  I’ll archive old features as we go along.  I won’t use posts as Features, with one exception, the one about my first needlepoint canvas, which I would like to reuse.  It should have been a Feature, but I had not thought about including a Features section when I wrote it.  What a brilliant idea.  The next feature will be about the Cave Dreaming one, and then after that the review of Turow’s Daily You.  Basically the blog is going to get a little edgier.  Who knows?  Maybe next week this will turn into a notoriously subversive Needlepoint/Underground Art/Indie Movies/Techno Chic fringe ezine.  Wait.  Let’s get back to reality.  I’m just changing the menu bar.

© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.

A Pageantry of Patterns

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Sherlee Lantz

I’m doodling with my next couple of “feature” post ideas.

Needlepoint Land has two types of posts:  light and breezy quickies, usually humorous (or at least, trying to be so), and longer, serendipitous pieces that are designed to cover some interesting subject that you might not normally encounter in a traditional needlepoint blog.

There are plenty of sources about particular stitching techniques, so I won’t focus on these as much here.  I won’t ignore them, of course, particularly as I have some surprise old-school goodies coming down the pike.

In the meantime, I’ll mention a seminal reference book, in which stitching techniques are covered more or less exhaustively.  More on that at the end of this post.

One of my upcoming features will be a review of a book about what happens when you “go online” to visit an e-commerce site.  I alluded to this book in an earlier post.  It’s called The Daily You, by Joseph Turow, and it was published in 2011 by Yale University.

It’s a very dry read, but I will give it the Needlepoint Land treatment, which means I’ll try to review the book in an off-the-wall way, for your entertainment, dear viewer, sometime during the next week, unless life gets in the way.  Anyone who visits a web site or blog, whether it’s about needlepoint or not, ought read this book, or, absent that, check out my standup routine review.

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Born Yesterday

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Official Poster from Wiki

Today is when I’m making the time to catch up on some serious reading.

Before I started Needlepoint Land, I knew there was a lot going on with the underlying technology of blogging,  but was not really sure if it would agree with me.

Much of it did.

For example, I was happy that WP automatically protected me from spam.  After all, there’s only so many invitations to watch unspeakable unmentionables that a lady can stomach.

But I was uncertain about how I would feel about being virtually followed around by a small army of mute strangers, which is what I heard happened if you blogged.

You see, my usual interaction with a comp was limited to email, playing Farmville, and snapfishing dozens of mind-numbingly similar pictures of my dog, cat, and the baby gator that hangs out around the back porch.

I was, in effect, digitally born yesterday.  It was disheartening.

Then I actually started blogging.

By chance, I came across a review in the NY Times of a book that seemed to address all my paranoid internet fears about the creepy They’re Always Watching You marketing crowd.

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The Effects of Climate on Needlepointing

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Furniture Collection

Quick — which NFL team that shares a stadium with this year’s Super Bowl winner is going to be wearing their jerseys with numbers stitched in Paternayan wool?

While you’re mulling it over, the cat and rooster chairs in my latest pics (check out the new Sedentary Delights page under Finished Models) demonstrate how much can be achieved with the two very simple stitches:  the Continental and the Basketweave.

The hand-carved wooden chairs are from the Philippines.  They were being sold a few years back by CanvasWorks, but I don’t think you can get them anymore.  I was very fortunate to find the perfect gimp and fabric to match both canvases.

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Have a seat

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Sometimes it’s not all about a cool framed canvas, or a cute figurine.  Sometimes it’s all about the furniture.  Here’s some sneak teaser pics at two chairs (they’re actually minis), that I’ll show and discuss in more detail later.   Gotta run, but will respond to that nice comment from a new visitor from the UK, first thing upon my return.  I’m in a rush, so I’ll put the pics up quick and dirty, and get to them later.

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© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.

My Beauties

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What an adventure.  First, I tried to take pictures of these pieces against a whiteboard.  Not a good idea.  The flash was so blinding I had to buy more sunglasses for indoor use.

Then I went to Wal-Mart, and bought a dark blue twin sheet.  That seemed to be a good idea, until I put it on the floor, the one with the dog and cat hair.  Plus which, it was almost impossible to get the sheet flat, even when over the whiteboard.  Despite this, I took some pictures, then forgot I had a whiteboard under the sheet and stepped on the sheet.  Not a good idea, as I heard this stomach-turning crunching sound.  This all took place in the living room.

By this time, my studio was ready.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t.  The problem was that if you put the blue sheet over the dresser in the studio, you got to see either part of a wall, or carpet.  Big problem.  So I decided to climb on top of the dresser, and take picture looking down astride the canvas like some needlepoint colossus of ineptness.  Bad idea.  I almost fell, and had a hard time getting off the dresser without breaking my neck.

Finally, I decided to use a marble table top, and that seemed to work, although I had to use the sheet as background in the Goose pic, and the sheet was, by now, badly creased.  All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoyed looking at these finished models as much I did photographing them.

You can find them under the Finished Models drop-down menu in the Needlepointeria gallery.

© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.

What’s next?

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Mary Engelbreit

I’m not overly pleased with how the English Collection pix turned out.

In particular, the putrid green that is the background of the London Bus is on the fix list.  Also, there is this strange disco globe effect that shows up on some of that gallery’s thumbnails, like meshed lines in a curved grid.  I’m no photography expert, but I plan to redo some items in the English Collection at some point, to do these beautiful canvases justice.  Mercifully, this effect goes away in the slide show.

I’ll also be getting rid of the washed out Gallery 1, which was my first attempt at trying to learn the gallery software on WP, as I was figuring out the best way to take pictures of my stash, before I had my famous “studio.”   Maybe I’ll replace it with a mega gallery, displaying a whole mess of canvases together in a whimsical fashion, instead of grouping things according the standard  themes or categories that you generally see on most commercial needlepoint Web sites.  I’ll do that this coming week, so that visitors will have more to look at.

Meanwhile, I’ll be putting up today, and next, a selection of stitched models.

Some of these will be larger items, others will be smaller, more ornamental.  I’m not going to go crazy with this.  The selection will be limited to a few pieces.  Nevertheless, viewers will be able to get a general idea of my work.

In my experience, it’s often the finished pieces that excite and draw in customers at a needlepoint shop.  As I have made plain early on, this blog is not a store.  But I will mention that I will soon be working on a bunch of new projects, after we (yes, I actually have a family!) visit NY this spring, and take a side trip to Vermont.

So… to all my friends in Florida, and elsewhere, who have pestered (in the nicest way, of course) me about this, particularly since I started Needlepoint Land:  first, I greatly appreciate all your kind emails and phone calls, and, yes of course, I’m leaning toward making a not-so-surprise official announcement down the line.  As the schmaltzy but actually hugely inspiring tag to the cute illo of Mary Engelbreit’s blog puts it, I’m always choosing happiness, if I can, when I reach a proverbial fork in the road.  And that’s all I will be saying about that!

© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9

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It’s amazing what you find by rummaging around your stash closet. I’ve improved the Tropical Moods gallery, adding five new canvases, for a total of nine.  Also added some additional text that tells a little window display story about the gallery, and renamed it Smooth Tropical Moods.  That does it, for now, for this particular one.

© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.