Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Blog #56 - 'Celebration of Needlework' Retreat : 2017

Thursday,  18 May 2017

At Nashua - continuing on from my last blog - after a few hours nap,
a yummy dinner (pictured below)
and a good nights sleep, woke on the Tuesday (2nd of May)
to begin a days work of unpacking all my stock items
and pricing each item and returning all to the suitcases.
 
By late that afternoon most of my fellow designers,
tutors and exhibitors had arrived at the hotel.
 
Lots of hugs and kisses and chatter!
After all, we hadn't seen each other for a year and so had a lot to catch up on!
 
Many of the retreat attendees
- some of whom who have been attending every year for the last 20 years -
were also at the hotel. 
 
For many of them this retreat has become their annual weekly holiday.
There were groups of ladies sitting everywhere
happily stitching their needlework projects
and enjoying each others company.
 
Pictured below is a group of ladies on one part of the hotel lobby.
Wednesday was the day to set up my exhibition booth.
 
This year I had a corner site -
towards the back of the ballroom/convention room.
 
I enjoyed having a corner site.
 
Across the aisle from me was 'Silk Weavers'
and beside me was lovely friend,
Karen Kluba of 'Rosewood Manor'.
 
(Note:  Above two photos were taken a few days after the Merchants Mall had opened.)
 
That evening was the first of the events - the 'Vendor Round Robin'.
 
Six designers/exhibitors each presented a little design & kit
to the attendees
(of which there were about 75 ladies)
and explained the project they were presenting,
plus the finishing of it while giving an insight
as to how they began in business and/or what inspires them.
 
This was an 'optional' event.
 
Following the above event was the 'Meet N Greet' event which was free to all attendees,
therefore attendees would have been almost 300!
 
Format was tea and dessert and a welcome to everyone.
 
This was also the time for all attendees to have the opportunity
to meet all the tutors and see the class projects they were to be teaching
or hear about the lectures to be given.
 
The tutors/lecturers (15 of us) sat at a table in a row at the head of the room
with our projects in front of us and we had to give a synopsis of our class, etc.
 
Quite a daunting task for me as I do not like being the focus of attention!
I'm sure everyone heard the tremor in my voice
and saw my hands shaking!!
Just as well they couldn't see my knees.
 
At the conclusion, attendees could register for additional cases
if there were any vacancies.
I had four more ladies 'sign-up' for my class
but others missed out as I had not prepared for any more than 12 students.
 
Really quite encouraging as I wasn't sure how my class would be accepted
as the Fisherton de la Mere technique is "NEW"
to most American needleworkers.
 
 
Thursday morning was the time scheduled for my class.
I have to confess to being a little apprehensive as not taught in the States before,
but all students were lovely and we had a good time together.
 
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the whole class.
 
Thought of it after most had left, however, pictured below are some of the girls.
 
These girls have become lovely friends and were responsible for me
being a tutor this year
due to their gentle persuasion at the 2016 retreat.
 
The pic below is of a mother and daughter who also attended the class.
Lovely ladies too.
At the end of the class everyone was asked to evaluate the tutor and make comments.
I was quite humbled by some of the comments.
Many of them wrote on these sheets - "Please Come Back".

 
That evening, before the scheduled events, the girls who had been in my class
and their friends that had been in other classes
asked me to join them for dinner.
 
We had an enjoyable time together.
 
More news about 'Celebration of Needlework' in my next blog.
 
 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Blog #55 - Ready, Set and Go ...

Tuesday,  16 May 2017

With all the stitching of all the class models
having been completed,
it was time to prepare the kits
i.e. cutting fabric pieces;
cutting thread lengths and winding them onto cards;
printing design charts & instructions
and then packing everything
all neatly into individual packs for the class attendees.

Below are a few pics of the preparations.
 
Fabric & threads  (Silken Pearl  &  DMC)
for 'Thankfulness'
& threads on cards for the fob design
Pics below are fabric & threads for the fob design
 
and finally, packaged fob kits
 
I LOVE the headings of two blogs that my friend,
Bonny Woomer,
 
of  'The Nebby Needle'
 
used about her preparations for the needlework retreat  -
 
"I'M SO BEHIND"  and  "CREATIVE CHOAS"
 
I'm so pleased to know that I'm not the only one that struggles with not enough time.
Some of the quotes/comments from her blogs  ....
 
"My house looks like a bomb went off and all my craft supplies flew everywhere ...
projects here ...  projects there  ...  merchandise bags  ...  price tags  ...  signs  ..."
 
"I've had to dig through the rubble on the dining room table
to clear a spot for us to eat each night"
 
"There are battle scars from carrying bins around and running into doorknobs
and a cut here and there from rotary cutters
and other sharp tools of the trade"
 
But the one that amused me the most,
and the one which Keith totally agreed with was -
 
"I told the hubs last night that I probably make about 10 cents an hour
when you figure all the time spent getting ready for these shows.
He said, 'You think it's that much?'"
 
LOVE her response -
 
"Why then do I do it?  'It's fun' I keep saying!  Well some of its fun.
The events are fun!  It's the people!  I get to hang out with my design friends  ...
I get to see kindred spirit customers that have become friends  ...  and meet new ones.
They're 'my people'.  They share my passion."
 
Oh - how true are her words.
To read more of this blog and others, go to Bonny's blog  ...
 
 
You will enjoy what she has to share.
 
After preparing all the kits
it was packing all the stitched models of all my designs,
sorting out all the printed designs to take
and the quantities of each design to take,
the threads required for these designs,
display items such as decorative display cloths, easels, flowers, baskets, ribbons, etc.,
price tags, merchandise bags, business cards, brochures, order forms,
set-up items (pins, Sellotape, Blu-tack, rubber bands, etc.)
and so on  ....
And then the worry of will everything fit into my three suitcases
and one hand-luggage case.  And will they be overweight!?
 
WHEW  -  all done!
 
Sunday the 30th of April arrived.
 
Once on board the Air New Zealand plane at the Auckland International Airport
I could now relax and put my feet up for the next twelve hours
before facing US Customs
(which was a horrendous and unnerving experience
for almost an hour of questions and explanations),
walking past the various LA airport terminals,
waiting in lines for security checks,
walking miles of airport corridors to board another six hour flight,
humping heavy suitcases from conveyor belts onto airport trolleys,
travelling over an hour in limo transport from Boston to Nashua
and arriving at my destination -
The Courtyard Marriott Hotel.
After almost 40 hours from leaving home and checking into my hotel room,
I completely unpacked my clothes suitcase
and tumbled onto the bed for a few hours sleep.
Bliss.
 
More next time.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Blog #54 - Stitching ... and More Stitching

Monday,  27 March 2017

Every spare moment of this month
- and moments when I should have been doing other things (e.g. ironing) -
have been taken up with stitching and finishing stitched pieces.
 
A few blogs ago I mentioned that I wanted to have several Fisherton de la Mere fobs
made so that the attendees in my class could see finished examples in various colours
and so that each one could have a finished model in front of them during the class
as they learnt to stitch one for themselves.
 
Pictured below are some of the fobs in the process of being made -
 
And, here is a pic of all the fobs finished -
 
And too, I have finished  the two versions of the antique sampler that I wrote about in Blog #50,
had them framed, written the instructions and printed the design.
 
Here again, is a pic of the original sampler
and below the two reproduced versions.
 
The first reproduced version has been worked with DMC  Stranded Cotton threads
and the second reproduced version has been worked

 with an overdyed silk thread by The Thread Gatherer
(SNC 083  -  Finnegan's Fog)
and solid coloured  DMC  stranded cottons.
 
Charts and instructions and thread and fabric choices for both versions
are given in the one pattern.
 
Design Code:   BARB 2007
Design Title:   Hannah's Simple Sampler
Design Cost:   $21.50
 
I enjoy accounting.
At the age of 16 - when I left college at the end of the 6th form,
for a few years and before I began nursing training and was married -
I worked for the first few months as a junior and from then on an intermediate
at an accounting firm in Upper Hutt.
 
Those were the good days when one learnt by 'on the job training' and experience.
Loved it!!
 
When Keith and I began our business partnership with the establishment of
'Crib Retaining Walls' in Dunedin
on the 3rd of March 1981
I went to night-school conducted by an Otago University lecturerer
and obtained my Stage One Accounting degree.
 
Pictured below -
our truck, our business yard, cribwall stock & our manufacturing building,
and
inside the factory building - steel moulds, concrete hopper & fork-lift
and - sometimes Keith couldn't work!
 
However - sometimes - nowadays - I'd much rather be stitching.
 
BUT, the Inland Revenue does not see this
and they were strongly requesting our income information
for the past income year of 2015/2016.
 
And so I had to spend a lot of time this month preparing,
writing and calculating our tax obligation.
This I still do completely by hand - no computer -
 right up to Balance Sheet stage
 before sending it to the accountant for them to officially file with the IRD.
 
And now, here we are, almost at the end of another financial year!
Time to count all the stock in the Needlework Gallery
and excess stock stored in various drawers and cupboards throughout the house.
Oh dear!!!
 
That's all for the moment.
 
 

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Blog #53 - 'Celebration of Needlework' Class Project

Monday,  6 March 2017

In Blog #49 I gave you a sneak peek at my 'Celebration of Needlework'
class project and here it is again.                                                          
 
  
I have named this piece, 'Thankfulness' as the verse on it reads,
"Hem your blessings with thankfulness".
 
Once stitched it will be a daily reminder for you to give thanks for your many blessings.
 
The verse is stitched in Cross Stitch with a muddy/murky green coloured
DMC  Stranded Cotton  (#640)
and the decorative stitches between the two rows is created
with the English needlework technique of Fisherton de la Mere
with DMC  #12 Coton Perle  (#642)
and a silken pearl thread by The Thread Gatherer.
 
The colour of this thread is 'Desert Moss'
and the fabric is Belfast Linen  (32 count)  in the natural / raw colour.
 
 
As this project is a teaching piece, this has to remain an exclusive piece
until the beginning of next year.
I will advise when it becomes available but should you wish,
I can "hold" a design for you and send it to you at the release date.
Please let me know if you like me to do this.
 
Design Code:   BARB 1018
Design Title:   Thankfulness
Design Price:   $22.50
 
As well as the 'Thankfulness' piece I will teach the Fisherton de la Mere fob design
that I also mentioned in Blog #49.
 
To follow are images of the front and back of this fob design.
 
Fob front
 
Fob back
 
I have named this fob after the distinguished embroiderer,
Josephine Mary Newall
of Fisherton House
in Wiltshire, England
who devised this needlework technique.
 
History of this amazing lady is included with the design.
 
Design Code:   BARB 1025
Design Title:  Josephine's Fob
Design Cost:   $25.00
 
Materials as per the chart design are -
 
FABRIC:   Belfast Linen  -  32 count  :  Platinum  (#770)
THREADS:  Silken Pearl  -  SP10  9713   :  Desert Moss  by  The Thread Gatherer
DMC  Coton Perle  -  #12  :  3033
DMC  Stranded Cotton  :  3033
 
As a colour comparison, pictured below is the same design
using a blue Silken Pearl thread -
SP10  048  -  Pearled Blues
and a blue/grey fabric  -  Cashel Linen  :  Confederate Grey
 
Also note that I have placed the tassel and the scissors cord on the points of the fob
so that it hangs diagonally. 
 
Fob front
 
Fob back
 
This is an excellent little piece for learning the Fisherton de la Mere stitches.
 
That's all for the moment - so much to do - so little time  ... !!
 
 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Blog #52 - The Little Kit Company

Monday,  27 February 2017

Almost at the end of February.  Where, oh where, have the last two months gone?
 
As mentioned in my last blog, I acquired ‘The Little Kit Company’
from my friend, Liz, at the beginning of last year.
 
For 20 years Liz created the needlework charts from hand-drawn ones
by Maree Garstang of Masterton and stitched models,
wrote instructions for the designs and packaged these designs and instructions
with fabric, threads and needle and sold the little kits throughout New Zealand
at craft shows, to craft retailers, to museums and to city information centres.
Also as mentioned in my last blog,
all designs feature NZ birds, scenes and icons
and all are ONLY available as kits
and are to be made as either bookmarks or framed pieces.
All designs are now on my website  -  www.barberryrow.com/barberryrow.html

Three designs
Aotearoa Kiwi
Pohutukawa & Kowhai
Wellington
 
I’ve also created a dedicated Facebook page for them  -  www.facebook.com/littlekitcompany
and I would appreciate it if you would “LIKE” it. 
 
And too, I’ve opened an Etsy shop  -  www.etsy.com/shop/thelittlekitco
although only the bookmarks are listed in it as yet.
 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Etsy - it is a site where crafts people who design,
make, and/or manufacture their own items can sell their products.
Each shop has a shopping cart and there are several payment choices.
I have to confess that prices in my shop are a little more expensive - only slightly -
as the website host charges a percentage fee.
 
 
Below is a list of some kits currently available from ‘The Little Kit Company’
SCENES:         All Scenes:   $ 19.50  each
 Art Deco Napier          Auckland           Christchurch            Dockside CafĂ©          Dunedin
Farming Down Under          High Country Hut          Lake Taupo          Lake Tekapo
Lake Whakatipu          Map of NZ          Marine Parade Napier
Mount Cook          Pioneer Cottage          Pohutukawa Tree           Taranaki Farmland          Wellington
 
BOOKMARKS:          All Bookmarks:   $ 17.50  each
B is for Bee          Black Cat          Bullrush & Fern           Dusky Dolphins          Fruit of the Vine
Houhere  (Lacebark)          Kia Ora           Kiwi          Kokako          Manuka
Mount Cook Lily          NZ Kiwis          Pohutukawa & Kowahi          Red Billed Gull                 Sheep
Sheep Dog           Takahe           Tuatara          Yellow Eyed Penguin
 Traditional   -   Carving   :  Kiwi   :   Poi   :  Tiki
 
MISCELLANEOUS:    These designs  :    $ 19.50  each
Aotearoa            Aotearoa Kiwi           Native Flowers          Wild Flowers
To view other designs  -  check these out on the website or Facebook
The most popular design is :  Bookmark  -  Red Poppy.   $ 22.50  

I have added a couple of pages to the kit.
One page relates the history of the creation of ANZAC day
and Canadian medical officer, Colonel John McCrea’s
poem about the poppies he saw in Flanders’ Fields, France in WWI
and the second page relates how the red poppy was first created
as a symbol of remembrance by American teacher,
Miss Moina Belle Michael.


 
Also included with the design, fabric, threads, needle, instructions and poppy information
is an artificial red poppy.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this design is donated
to the NZ Returned and Services' Association. 

 
Unfortunately the computer charting programme that Liz was using in her computer
was not compatible with my system and so I’ve not been able to ‘download’
the charts and instructions into my computer.
Consequently I am having to “redo” them - one by one. To date completed ten - lots more to do!
 
 As for “kitting” the designs - each design has a “recipe” sheet -
that is, a list of all the contents to be in a particular kit.
I have a special board that has thread lengths marked on it for measuring of the threads.
When I cut threads for a kit, I actually cut 25 sets at one time so that I always have stocks on hand.
So too, with the pieces of fabric for the scene designs and the banding fabric for the bookmarks.
I cut several at one time so that there is always stocks ready cut on hand. 

Cutting of all the thread lengths and the fabric pieces takes quite a lot of time,
and then there is -
1. the printing and folding of the design chart & instructions
2. the adherence of the design photo to the inner packaging
3. the folding of the inner packaging
4. the assembly of all the kit items
5. placing all assembled items into the inner packaging
6. and finally, everything being put into the outer plastic or cello bag packaging.

 Below is a pic of my ‘LKC’ cupboard -
 

Shelf one & two -  boxes containing small cones of threads :  18 - 20 cones per box
Shelf three - box of small cones, box containing separate thread packages for all bookmarks,  
       box containing separate thread packages for all scenes & misc designs, packaging bags
Shelf four  -  cream printed packaging, extra rolls of banding fabric
Shelf five  -  black printed packaging,  box of photos for all bookmark designs,
      box of photos for all scene & miscellaneous designs, trays contain cut fabrics, needles, glue
      templates for folding instruction & chart sheets, etc
Shelves six, seven & eight  -  large cones of threads  :  5 deep
Shelf nine & ten  -  more large thread cones, spare boxed threads,
      excess small & large thread cones & pre-folded ‘Red Poppy’ information sheets.
 
I hope you have gained a little insight into the process of creating a kit.
That’s all for this time.
Bye for now.