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!