Monday, May 1, 2017

Christmas Heirlooms Traditional (Needle Adventures)

Christmas Heirlooms Traditional

Traditional is a red and green diamond-shaped Christmas Heirlooms ornament published under the Needle Adventures name in Deccember 1992.  I discovered it listed on eBay today.

It didn't sell and was relisted.

I have asked the seller for information about the threads needed but have not received a response to date.


Materials List:
7x7 inch piece of (18 count gray?) mono canvas

Monday, April 17, 2017

Plenty of Loretta Charts on eBay

There are quite a few charts from Loretta Spears on eBay right now. I'll list them in the order the auction ends with a few notes about the designs below.  UPDATE: I forgot to say that I have no financial interest in or benefit from these auctions.


Beaded Circle is one of Loretta's Christmas Heirloom designs.  The chart appears to come with the original canvas as the canvas has the LS logo in the corner.  SOLD

Brilliance is a Loretta Spears Designs ornament published in August of 1996.  Besides the original canvas (again with the LS logo) you get a spool of Kreinik and red beads.  A second spool of Kreinik is required if you follow the recommended threads list in the chart.  SOLD

4th of July is a Needle Adventures chart published in July 1994. This comes with red canvas and four threads-- three metallics and a perle cotton..  I don't see Loretta's logo on this canvas but it could be on the face down side.  The original instructions call for red canvas. SOLD

Bliss was published under the Needle Adventures name in June 1994.  This chart comes with three of the four threads needed and a piece of white canvas.  I don't see the LS logo on the canvas but it could be on the other side.  Relisted.

Traditional is a brand new to me Christmas Heirlooms ornament published in December 1992 under the Needle Adventures name. A piece of canvas (logo not visible) is included with the chart in the auction.  Relisted.

The four eBay auctions above are by the same seller, whose name I don't recognize.  The following auctions are by a well-known eBay seller.

Galaxy is a Needle Adventures chart published in January 1995.  This auction appears to have the red canvas and Supertwist (also known as Accentuate) needed for the design.  I don't see the LS logo on the canvas.

Sparkling Plaid is a Loretta Spears Design chart, published in November 1995.  A piece of canvas (without logo) and the three Kreinik braids needed are included in the auction.

Sweetheart is a February 1995 ornament published under the Loretta Spears Design name.  This is one of my personal favorites, and the auction comes with a paper heart pattern and four threads.  No canvas is included.

The Mini Empress chart comes with canvas (no logo visible) and three silks and a metallic.  This was published by Loretta Spears Designs in October 1995. If the included silks are indeed Empress Silks (from the now defunct Needle Necessities) they are a real find.  This is a beautiful flat silk, a bit difficult to work with but gorgeous when laid well.

Mini Firecracker is another Loretta Spears Designs chart, published in July 1995.  Four colors of Marlitt and a piece of canvas (logo not visible) are included in this auction.

Silk was published in September 1995 under the Loretta Spears Designs name. This auction includes the chart, two silk skeins and a spool of Kreinik metallic as well as a piece of canvas (logo not visible).

Jeweled Box was published under the Loretta Spears Designs name in December 1995. Included in the auction are the chart, red canvas (no logo visible), a skein of overdyed floss from Needle Necessities, Kreinik spool and beads.

Bargello Hearts Mini Stocking was published as a Loretta Spears Design in August 1995.  The auction includes eight shades of blue DMC cotton floss, two Needle Necessities overdyed pink cotton floss skeins, and two spools of Kreinik.  No canvas is included in this auction.

The following auction is by an eBay seller whose name I do recognize. They are active periodically.

Bargello Hearts Mini Stocking is offered again in this auction.  The auction includes blue DMC cotton floss, one skein of Needle Necessities overdyed pink cotton floss, and one spool of Kreinik.  A piece of canvas (no logo visible) is included in this auction.

The last auctions are from sellers whose names I do not recognize.

Christmas Heirlooms Club from October 1991 is a square ornament also called Fiesta Cube.

Diagonal Heart - This February 1992 unnamed heart ornament chart was published under the Needle Adventures name. A piece of canvas with the LS logo and a heart outline is included in the auction.  No threads are included.

The Artists Collection Medallions chart is available from this seller.

It is also available from this seller-

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Design By Loretta Spears (Free Chart from Needle Necessities)

I just stitched "A Design By Loretta Spears" which is a small 1993 design from the double-sided page of instructions I found stuck in the pages of a mystery chart.  I know the original owner of the mystery instructions where I found this chart shopped at Loretta's store, so this was probably a giveaway at her shop to promote Needle Necessities' threads, and possibly was handed out at other shops as well.  I have never seen this stitched or heard of it before I found the chart.  I am going to change canvas count and threads for this, but you can see something closer to Loretta's original by checking Pat's stitched example here. She has also worked this design.


My Colors 

My materials list is much different than what Loretta specifies since I wanted to do an 18 count version.  I chose sage green canvas with a mottled brown pattern which is a specialty item, not something you can easily obtain, but it looks good with my Needle Necessites overdyed floss.  The instructions say to use Needle Necessities' overdyed floss and their overdyed size 8 perle cotton in the same color.  Since I didn't have a perle cotton to match my floss, I choose a solid color that coordinates. I also found a nice Sampler Threads overdyed floss that also looks good with my Needle Necessities floss so I added that to the mix.  I may or may not use it.  We'll see....

If you find these instructions and want to stitch this, choose an overdyed thread with a lot of color changes first, then pick a color from the skein that comes in size 8 perle cotton.  Finally, choose a contrasting color of size 18 needlepoint canvas so the threads will show up well.  You will need a 10 inch square piece of canvas. Here is my materials list for my autumn color version:

My Materials List:
9x9 or 10x10 inch square of 18 count needlepoint canvas (depending on the side margins you prefer)
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #146 "Fall Foliage"*
Sampler Threads overdyed floss "Bittersweet"
DMC size 8 perle cotton rust #919

*If you want to stitch this yourself as I did, substitute ThreadworX's 1076 "Honky Tonk" for the Needle Necessities overdyed floss.  Or pick your own colors.

Center Motif

The first step in this design is to stitch the central motif.  Mine is about an inch and a half square. I used four plies of the NN overdyed floss to cover on 18 count.  A laying tool helps keep the stitches smooth.

T-stitch Using Sampler Threads Cotton Floss (pictured)

Step two is to do T-stitch in a box around the center motif.  I used one ply of my second overdye from Sampler Threads instead of using the perle cotton.  As you can see in the photo, half of each thread strand is more yellow and half is more rust, so I used the yellower half for the regular tent stitches and then the more rust half of the thread for the reverse tent stitches.

Mirror Imaged Jacquard Stitch Rows

The background continues with Jacquard Stitch, done with four plies of the Needle Necessities overdye.  (The instructions say to use two plies but it's written for Congress cloth.)  You do mirror images on each side as you see above.  A laying tool will come in handy.  I worked from the middle of the center up and out, but you may be able to count up from the center and start at the edge.

More Jacquard Stitch Rows

As I've worked this on 18 count and come to the end of the Jacquard Stitch rows, I've realized that you will need a full skein of Needle Necessities cotton floss to work this with as many plies as I did on 18 count.

Jacquard Stitch Rows Done

I have only three full strands of the NN floss plus a few plies left.  So don't start this on 18 count without enough overdyed cotton floss.

Square Rhodes Stitches Underway

The last step is to fill in the empty boxes among the Jacquard Stitch rows with square Rhodes stitches.  You are to use the size 8 perle cotton for this.  Interestingly, the upper left and lower right quadrants have the slanting / stitches worked clockwise while the lower left and upper right quadrants have the slanting \ stitches worked counter-clockwise.  With the solid perle cotton I'm using, the changes aren't too obvious but they may be more so if you use an overdyed perle cotton.

The Final Design

The final piece is shown above.  My final design is 4 3/4 inches square on 18 count needlepoint canvas.  The different ways the Rhodes stitches are made didn't show up well but I like the way the different slants of the Jacquard rows reflect the light and make the outer border flow in a sort of circle.  Very nice design!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mystery #9 Being Stitched Publicly

Pat Miller is going to blog-stitch Loretta's Mystery #9 ("Shimmering Silks") on her blog.  You can follow along by clicking on the links, earliest on top.  I'll update this article as she stitches.  But if you don't want to see the design and preserve the mystery, don't click on the links!


Of course if you want to cheat and see the ending, here is the article about "Shimmering Silks" from the Loretta Spears Design Archive.  Click on the photos to get a better view as Pat works her needle magic.  It's very interesting to see the design develop.  Finished photographs don't reveal the intricacies of this design the way that Pat's WIP photos do.

The thing I notice most from watching a step-by-step progress report is how intricate Loretta's mysteries are.   Photos of just the finished pieces don't show that at all!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Needle Necessities Chart: "A Design By Loretta Spears"

The Needle Necessites Free Chart Logo and Materials List

Recently while organizing the mystery kit giveaway I found a double-sided page stuck into one of the mystery envelopes that didn't belong.  It was a chart and instructions for what appears to be a free giveaway sponsored by a thread company, in this case Needle Necessities which is no longer in business (although their dyer now runs ThreadworX and carries similar colors).  The header of the instructions (reproduced above) has Needle Necessities' logo and phone numbers in Washington State.  The design is copyrighted by Loretta herself in 1993.

Free designs such as this are handed out in needlework shops all the time to promote a thread company's products.  Needle Necessities' defunct website had 5-10 such designs available for download in PDF form although this wasn't one of them I don't think.

The design is on gray Congress cloth using a blue-lilac overdyed floss and matching size 8 overdyed perle cotton.  It features a four way design that is a sort of floral pattern inside a rectangle filled with Alicia's Lace.  The outer pattern alternates a Jacquard Stitch and square Rhodes Stitches.  The finished design is supposed to be wrapped over a styrofoam circle or heart and finished with a tassel using the same perle cotton as the design uses.

A Design By Loretta Spears Finished (18 count)
I am also going to stitch this design but will use a solid perle, overdyed floss, and 18 count needlepoint canvas.  My progress is posted here--

Pat Miller of the Needleart Nut blog also stitched this piece, on Congress cloth and with similar colors to Loretta's original instructions.  The link to her blog is at the bottom of this article.


Materials List:
7x7 gray Congress cloth (24 count)
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #179 "April Showers" (substitute ThreadworX #1133 Summer Shadows)
Needle Necessities overdyed perle #879 "April Showers"  (need two skeins to allow enough for tassel - substitute ThreadworX #81133 size 8 perle cotton)

You can see the conversation table to ThreadworX with photographs here.  The second link shows the current line of ThreadworX perles and flosses very well.


The Finished Design by Needleart Nut

The Needleart Nut is going to stitch this design for me so we can all see what it looks like.  She will use the recommended colors in ThreadworX but stitch on blue Congress cloth instead of gray Congress cloth as that's what she has and she likes how it looks with the overdyed threads better any way.  Here is Pat's first posting about this chart, showing her colors.  Stay tuned!