Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Flowers (Loretta Spears Designs)

Summer Flowers Cover Courtesy of Lacunada
Summer Flowers is a tube-shaped ornament published in July 1996 under the Loretta Spears Designs name.


Close Up Courtesy of eBay Seller smritter50

Materials List:
7x7 inch square of 18 count mono canvas
Watercolors #065 "Emerald"
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #165 "Parakeet Montage" (substitute ThreadworX #TX1112)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Autumn (Loretta Spears Designs)

Photo courtesy of Lacunada
Autumn is a small square ornament meant to be hung on point to form a diamond shape.  It was published under the Loretta Spears Designs name in October, 1996.


Close Up Courtesy of eBay Seller smritter50

Materials List:
7x7 square of 18 count mono canvas
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #189 "Kismet" (substitute ThreadworX TX1148)
Neon Rays #N29 "Rust"
Kreink #8 fine braid in #013 "Beige"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mystery Chart Cover Pages UPDATED

Many eBay buyers are looking for some way to authenticate the charts they are about to bid on.  No one wants to pay $200 for a xerox copy, and a lot of folks also have ethical objections to buying a copy because the copyright still rests with Loretta's family.

An obvious place to look is the cover page.  You've already seen cover pages for a few of her self published Needle Adventure and Loretta Spears Designs charts here.  Through the courtesy of GE and her husband, I have a set of mystery cover pages for you to enjoy.  Please note that these have been marked Sample so that these images cannot be used as templates for selling xeroxed copies of Loretta's designs on eBay or elsewhere.

The presence or absence of a cover page is no guarantee of authenticity.  These things get lost over the years.  I think it likely that the original printing of the mystery charts had pink covers, but I have seen pastel blue and pastel violet covers on eBay sales.  Is that a fake or just Loretta running out of pink paper?  There is no way to tell. GE's covers are all white and she bought directly from Loretta in two batches.

GE says the mysteries started appearing in 1993 but she bought her first group of charts in 1996 and bought the others (except for the limited edition Mystery #7 which was sold out) later.  She has misplaced Mystery #11 but the others (minus #7 which she was unable to purchase as it was a limited edition) are shown here.  Please note that Mystery #1 was flipped in printing.  Through the magic of Photoshop, I have a corrected version for you to see as well.  Note Loretta wrote the mystery number on the cover for #1 and that the alien space ship design is the same for all the mysteries, but the charts differ in various ways.  A white cover is probably the sign that someone bought a group of mystery charts from Loretta, in my opinion.  But this is just an opinion.

I have heard some folks have mystery charts with a stick-on label that says "Mystery number" and "class number."  Did Loretta run cyber classes on these pieces?  Or was this some sort of way to track what she sold?  Any ideas? I'd like to hear from folks who bought their mystery charts as each was released.  Do you have stick-on labels that sound like these?

When it comes to eBay sales, the most reliable way to know if you have an actual chart that Loretta sold is to look at the photos carefully for clues and check the feedback on the seller as well as their selling history.  Even an ethical seller may think they have an original Loretta when it is a xerox, so these methods may fail you, but I can't come up with any way to really authenticate the mystery charts.  The small ornament charts are much easier because the covers are harder to replicate but when it comes to the mystery charts, buyer beware.


Here are the Mystery Covers, all in white, with #7 and #11 missing and with two versions of #1.  GE was sold a version with the cover flipped, but PhotoShop magic fixed that.  I would like to thank GE and her husband for all their work in providing scans and adding the Sample message (in my favorite color-Pink!).  Mystery #11's cover was furnished by Miss Kitty.

This is GE's original cover, which was obviously flipped when reproduced by Loretta.  She probably missed that the cover was reversed and sent it out in the group of mystery designs GE ordered.  This seems to be unique, but if you also have a flipped cover page, please let me know.

Mystery #1 (Photoshopped to reverse)

Mystery #2

Mystery #3

Mystery #4

Mystery #5

Mystery #6

There is no photograph of the cover of Mystery #7.  It was a limited edition chart and sold out by the time GE purchased her second set of Loretta Spears mystery designs.  One person with a copy of Mystery #7 didn't get a cover page, so there may have not been one.  I'd like to hear from anyone with a copy of Mystery #7 to hear if you have a cover page or not.

Mystery #8

Mystery #9

Mystery #10

Mystery #11, Courtesy of Miss Kitty

Mystery #12

Mystery #13

Mystery #14

Many thanks again to GE and her husband for all their work in getting the cover pages of the mystery charts ready for the Loretta blog!  Special thanks to Miss Kitty for sending a copy of Mystery #11.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Lesson in Couching Ornament (Loretta Spears Designs)

A Lesson in Couching, Courtesy of Needleartnut
A Lesson in Couching is a two and a quarter inch square ornament meant to be hung by a point as a diamond shape.

A Lesson in Couching Cover Page

It was published by Loretta Spears Designs in June 1996 and has the pink cover sheet.  Apparently there is only one page of instructions printed double-sided plus the cover page.


Cover Page, Threads and Canvas Courtesy of Needleartnut

Closer Look at Materials for Original Colorway

Materials List:
5x8 white Congress cloth (large enough to do two such ornaments)
Kreinik #8 fine braid #032 (opalescent white)
Waterlilies silk floss #023 Parfait (pinks, blues and cream)

Finished Lesson in Couching, Courtesy of Needleart Nut

Needleartnut is blog-stitching this piece.  Here's the first step.

Here is the second.

And here is the finished piece.

Original Model in Closeup from Cover Page

Here is a closeup of the cover page photo of the design.