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!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Loretta's Mystery Kits Giveaway CLAIMED

Mystique, Unframed

The Loretta kits giveaway is over, at last! All of the mysteries have been claimed and shipped to new homes.  I am thrilled that so many of Loretta Spear's mystery kits have good homes and I look forward to seeing photos of the finished items.  One of the participants suggested that we do a pattern swap.  I am of two minds about that--there are so many ways it can go wrong!--but it's a good plan to spread Loretta's charts around and keep her designs alive.  We'll see.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Needle Necessities Chart

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.


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 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.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Message from Loretta with Mystery 13

Loretta's Kit Mailing Announcement

It has become clear to me that Loretta originally intended her mysteries to be sent out a lesson at a time with the thread and other supplies kit sent along with the first lesson.  I've seen several kits now with a series of 4-5 lessons stapled together separately that appear to have been mailed to their owners separately.  Each lesson has a little sticker holding the pages closed at the top which the owner is supposed to break when it is time to work the next part of the mystery.  I found this note (above) on a small slip of green paper included with mystery #13 "Superstition" from Loretta explaining that due to requests from stitchers, she is sending everything at once so that folks don't miss out due to their summer vacations.

Sadly, Loretta only designed and sold one more mystery after this, and I don't know if it was shipped all together or not.  Still, it is obvious Loretta listened to her students and adjusted plans to please them.


The Origin of the Reflections Series

While checking the contents of a kit for mystery two "Winter Reflections" I discovered a sheet of green paper inserted in the kit which explains due to popular demand, Loretta decided to do a series of seasonally themed mysteries.  These are the Reflections series--mystery three became "Spring Reflections," followed by mysteries four ("Summer Reflections") and five ("Autumn Reflections").  All the designs are the same size and coordinate well together as Loretta explained above.

It's nice to know that Loretta listened to her many fans and adjusted her mysteries to please them.

By the way, the top of the green sheet in the image above was cut off to hide the name of the original owner of this particular kit for privacy's sake.