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!

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.

Apparently, Loretta sent out instructions every two weeks for all her mystery projects, except for Mystery Six, Versatility, which is large so she sent out instructions every three weeks.  I think after the original introduction that the entire mystery chart was available at one time but I cannot be certain of this.


Loretta's Needle Adventures Cover Sheet

Recently I discovered one of Loretta's unused cover pages for the Needle Adventures line.  These sheets were printed in green and black on a slick, heavy stock with space to paste a colored photo of the design inside the cover.  Obviously Loretta had these run off at a local print shop and stapled the cover to each set of instructions, adding the right photo on top of the cover page.   I didn't know what lies under the photograph until now.

"Needle Adventures by Loretta Spears"  - I like the sound of that!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jeweled Egg Sighting (Needle Adventures)

Jeweled Egg (Needle Adventures March 1993)

We finally have a glimpse of Jeweled Egg, Loretta's March 1993 Needle Adventures chart, on eBay.

This eBay sale includes what appears to be the original LS logo canvas and the beads, floss and metallic needed to complete the design.  The starting price for the auction is 99 cents plus $5.50 for expedited shipping.  The photographs from the sale are reproduced here courtesy of Fireside.

Supplies for Jeweled Egg


Materials List:
7x7 18 count Tudor Rose mono needlepoint canvas
Anchor floss #1013
Balger Braid size 8 #021
Pizazz pink metallic #11 (unknown thread)
Carnelian beads #10
7x7 stretcher bars

Once again, many thanks to Fireside Stitchery for allowing the reuse of their auction photographs here and for helping clarify the materials list.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Silk (Loretta Spears Designs)

Silk Cover Page

Published in September 1995 under the Loretta Spears Designs name, Silk is a square ornament meant to be displayed on point.  The colors appear to be pink, cream and gold and the design a grid pattern of some sort.  If you are a Loretta collector, this is for sale on eBay in a Buy It Now Auction for $19.99 plus $2.00 shipping.

Silk Close Up, Courtesy of Knightsbball10


Many thanks to the eBay seller Knightsbball10 for help with information and photographs.  Fireside Stitchery also helped with a photo of the needed materials.

Courtesy of Fireside Stitchery

Materials List:
6x6 white Congress cloth
Soie d' Alger silk in both Creme and #3021
Kreinik size 4 very fine braid in #002 gold

Brocade Egg (Needle Adventures)

Brocade Egg Cover Page, Courtesy of Knightsbball10

Brocade Egg was published in March 1994 by Loretta under the Needle Adventures name.  This might have been one of the Christmas Heirlooms ornaments.  If you are a Loretta collector, this is for sale on eBay in a Buy It Now Auction for $19.99 plus $2.00 shipping.

Close Up, Also Courtesy of Knightsbball10

Perhaps because this was an Easter design, there is a bunny on the front page of the instructions.


This photograph of the supplies from the eBay sale shows the outlined canvas with the LS logo typical of the kits she sold.  Many thanks to the eBay seller Knightsbball10 for help with information and photographs.

Another Close Up Courtesy of Catfansf

Materials List:
5x7 congress cloth (color unspecified)
Marlitt, one skein each of #813, #1012, and #1007
Balger #8 braid #104C

Friday, July 17, 2015

Jeweled Box (Loretta Spears Designs)

Cover Page Courtesy of Fireside

Thanks to Jeweled Box turning up on eBay this week, I have lots of new information about this Loretta Spears Designs ornament published in December of 1995.  By the way, this item sold for $7.49.

Full Chart 

The ornament itself is a small rectangle and the chart is three pages plus the cover page with the usual photograph against greenery.

Original Supplies

The auction includes the instructions, red canvas, the overdyed floss, gold beads, and spool of silver Kreinik needed to stitch the design.


Materials List:
size 18 Victorian red canvas 6x8 inches
Needle Necessities overdyed floss #151 (dark greens and garnet)
Kreinik 1/16 inch metallic ribbon #001 (silver)
Toho Beads #A161 (gold)

Close up Courtesy of Fireside

Friday, June 12, 2015

Quilt Pattern, A New Loretta Spears Design UPDATED

Quilt Pattern Progress Photos

This mid-1980s design is called "Quilt Pattern" and is new to me.  I'm afraid I don't know anything about the size or if this was a line drawn canvas by Loretta.  I will post progress photos as the stitcher works this interesting and complex design.

It's being blog-stitched by Needle Arts and Beyond, the same person who stitched the beginner needlepoint design from Loretta's shop.

Needle Arts and Beyond says this was a class project at Loretta's shop around 1986.  She goes on to say, "The design is line drawn on 18 count tan canvas and uses 8 different colors of floss from DMC – 518, 519, 951, 918, 919, 920, 921 and 922. The finished size will be 9 3/8 inches by 13 1/8 inches." You can read more about the project here and see her working the complicated inner border.


And here is the finished piece.

Many thanks to Needle Arts and Beyond for bringing this to our attention!

UPDATE:  The line drawn version this with a copyright of 1990 (Loretta Spears Designs) has turned up on eBay.  There are no written instructions, just a 9 1/4 by 13 1/4 inch piece of white Congress Cloth  that the seller thinks is 20-22 count.  This must be a newer version of Loretta's class.  The outline is different than what you see above.  The size is about the same and it is also mean to be oriented vertically, but they are not identical.

For more information I have written a separate article about this piece to include photographs.

This is the third class piece I've found from Loretta's store, Fiesta Needleart.  Also see this—


Finished Versions of Mysteries 2, 3, 4, and 5

Winter Reflections (Mystery 2)

Pat of the Needleart Nut blog has stitched all four of Loretta's seasonal mysteries.  Here are Summer and Autumn Reflections (which are mysteries 4 and 5 respectively) on her blog.

Spring Reflections (Mystery 3)

Here are Winter and Spring Reflections (mysteries 2 and 3 respectively)

Summer Reflections (Mystery 4)

Many thanks to Pat for allowing me to post photos of all four of the seasonal mysteries which she framed the same way to hang together.

Autumn Reflections (Mystery 5)

All photos courtesy of the Needleart Nut.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blog-Stitching Mystery #3 (Spring Reflections)

Spring Reflections (Mystery 3) Framed

The Needleart Nut blog is going to blog-stitch Mystery #3.  I'll list the articles here as she posts progress reports.  Pat has stitched the other three in the seasonal mysteries.  Check her project list on the right side of her blog to see them.


Supplies for Spring Reflections

The Outlines (all stitched in the Wildflowers)

Border Threads and Filling in the Boxes

More Boxes Complete and Started

Filling in with Scotch Stitches, Accentuate and Beads

Starting the Other End

Finishing the Other End

The Triangular Sides are Done

Two Corners are Added

Now All Four Corners are In

Adding Layers to the Corners

Four Corners are Done

The Final Step--the Border

Stay tuned to see the framed design.

The Finished "Spring Reflections"

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Tudor Rose Sampler Guild Presents Winter Reflections

The Tudor Rose Sampler Guild (which is located in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas) posted photos of items various members completed in 2012 on their website.  One of the finished items is Loretta Spears' Winter Reflections, the other name for her Mystery #2.  Looks like this was stitched by Debbie G.  I thought fans of Loretta's would like to see it.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Tara Stitches and Wins

Nordic Needle often posts profiles of their customers.  The link below is from 2011 and  talks about Tara Kohinska of Winnipeg in Canada.  Tara provided images of her work to Nordic Needle for the article and I just happened to spot Bargello Fantasy there.  Tara won two ribbons for this piece at the famous Calgary Stampede!  I thought you'd enjoy seeing her ribbons and the rest of her work.