Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Happy New Year, for today is really the first day of 2021.
I am enjoying it by stitching away. My stitching holiday!
I'll be back tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
A productive day yesterday as I spent the better part of 8 hours writing instructions, in the end bleary-eyed from all those hours staring at little drawn lines, but a good feeling nonetheless.
Sometimes it is very small details that can make for an exciting evening, and I had a great time watching Carolyn's auction last night. I watched as a Ketcham&McDougall dropped rim rose thimble fetched the astounding price of $1146.77. This is a silver thimble with a gold band, a rare and novel thimble indeed.
But contrast it with the price fetched by a gold thimble with black enamel detailing which fetched less than half the price.
In the natural sequence of what we expect, the gold thimble, being gold, should fetch 10 times the amount of a silver thimble, but in the thimble world this is often not the case.
The thimble world can be upside down as thimbles seem to have no rhyme or reason for their prices: one thimble can sell for $1500, a seemingly similar one for $500 and a third which looks the same to the novice eye for $25 and yet another for $15.
Of course it has to do with rarity, condition, fashion, perceived beauty and so forth, as is always the case with the antiques market.
I am at heart a contrarian: when something is at the height of fashion in the antiques world, my idea is look for something else that is out of fashion and collect it. So my heart belonged last night to a beautiful little silver finger guard with a bright cut design that went for $23. I thought it was a remarkable buy last night for one lucky collectior.
As I wrote at the beginning of this column, sometimes it takes only a small distraction to add a bit of excitement to a solitary life. On with the day. Enjoy yours!
Monday, January 18, 2021
A noteworthy day today: it was my FIL's birthday and I always think of him today. I am unusual: I loved both my parents-in-law and almost daily think of them and miss them.
It is also the birthday of a precocious teenager, the son of one of my favorite Apple tutors whom we lost to an auto-immune disease and I still miss him fiercely. But I stay in touch with his wife and follow the goings-on of the precocious teenie. Happy Birthday, Franklin.
It is also the date of an over-the-top Carolyn auction tonight and I will have a very good time watching it. I am most eager to see the fate of two thimbles. I will post them and an auction recap tomorrow morning. Even small distractions these days matter a lot.
I'm late this morning because I was all involved in instructions and didn't realize how late it was. This is a good thing: I'm being productive. I'd best get back to work while the spirit moves me to do so.
Enjoy this day and this week. What a monumental week this will be!
Sunday, January 17, 2021
A combination of writing instructions and stitching led to a productive day yesterday, I am happy to report. Although this set of instructions is very detailed and therefore very tedious, sometimes tedium isn't the worst part of life, particularly if one takes breaks along the way to stitch.
So where am I in my pledge to end Covid Jail with our house sorted and organized? Not doing too well with that one right now.
Have you discovered that life becomes a quest for priorities? Right now, I have prioritized the instructions for my Thimbles Sampler so that I can send it for proofing. Once I finish writing it (another month, I predict) I will return to sorting.
Who knows when Covid Jail will end, but I'm guessing the earliest will be late April, more likely in May or June for us. In short, I'm guessing I still have some months to accomplish goals.
Remember that old adage, may we live in interesting times? Do you think this is enough of 'interesting times'? Me? All I want to do is go out to have an ice cream cone. I know, I can have ice cream at home, but I want to drive out, walk into an ice cream shop and order a triple-scoop ice cream cone that somebody makes for me and hands to me.
Don't ask me why I settled on this goal, but about a month into Covid Jail I started talking to DH about it. He's now well sick of my ice cream cone fetish.
Normally I would probably have a Snickers fetish too, but for my birthday Beth sent me a one-pound Snickers bar and surprisingly it lasted a long time. There was a time when I could have eaten it, maybe not in one sitting, but probably in two. Now I have more sense and as I said, it lasted a long time. It was a great present, thanks, Beth! After I ate the last piece, I even saved the wrapper.
Sweet Tooth fetishes. Maybe they are worthwhile these days -- they are a distraction that makes me smile. I keep thinking I should make a sampler called 'Sweet Tooth Fetishes' with an ice cream cone and a big Snickers bar. But then, somebody would chase after me about copyrighted Snickers bar artwork, even though a part of me thinks they should welcome the advertisiting. Oh never mind, this is going nowhere.
Enjoy your day!
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Goals accomplished yesterday, always a good feeling, and this morning I have been stitching away on a red roof for a tiny building. I have discovered I like doing small landscapes, this one borrowed from a favorite thimble. Great fun to stitch. Not so much fun to graph as there are so many tiny details.
Today marks the beginning of our 11th month of Covid Jail, a long time to be confined at home. I've decided over and over again that the goal is to stay engaged in something I enjoy and distracted by small pleasures. If you have been following my diary here, you know that my answer is stitching up a storm.
Lately I have been dividing my time between writing instructions and stitching when I can't write any longer.
DH and I follow the news, particularly about the vaccines and their availability, and even if we both had shot one, today, it would be two more months before we could safely go out of our house again, so we sigh and realize we have to keep generating interest in the things we enjoy at home.
So onward with the day: more instructions and hopefully more stitching. I remain thankful that I have more than enough ideas and drawings to keep me occupied. I wish the same for you.
Friday, January 15, 2021
We are half-way through January and in some ways it went soo fast, in some ways time dragged.
Much the same day for me today: I am writing my Thimbles Sampler and my goal is to finish by mid-February. To meet that deadline, I will have to spend many hours each day working away. As I have often said, it can take me as long or in many cases longer to write the instructions for a project than it takes to stitch the project and this is one of those projects.
I have four small but very complex graphs to draw. Yesterday it took me all day to do two of them; I'm hoping to finish the other two today. I started early this morning on one and with luck I will finish it before our morning walk.
I do have an exciting project going now and am eager to stitch it, exciting to see how it evolves, so if I finish my fourth complex drawing by mid-afternoon, I will take some stitching time.
Something to look forward to.
Well, back to work indeed.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
My New Year's Resolutions for 2021
Here we are, almost half way through January and I've been thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I guess half-way through January is as good a time as any to write them.
1. Take all the pent-up anxiety about perfection and redirect that energy toward creativity. Open up your minds and think of creative possibilities you can bring to your needlework, ways that will personalize it and make it distinctly yours. Here are two ways to start:
Oops you made a mistake and you face a lot of ripping.
Ask yourself, is it really a mistake or a variation?
You do have to rip if you crossed most of your crosses in one direction and suddenly you started crossing them in the other direction, yep no way around that. Why? The real reason for good technique is that it allows all your attention to focus on your design (where it should be).
You don't have to rip if you made a leaf one row bigger than the design called for. This is obsessive behavior that needs redirecting in 2021.
You do need to rip if you make something so large it is out of scale with the rest of the design; you do not have to rip if it is barely noticeable.
You do not have to rip if you mixed up colors and the design is not exactly as the designer's model. For heaven's sake, if it looks OK, stop obsessing.
You do have to rip if a color or texture is not in harmony with the rest of the design.
You do not have to throw away a design if you run out of a dye lot.
If it looks like you are headed toward thread shortage, don't use the thread to the last strand, save at least 1/4 of it. Buy some more and decide where and how to introduce the new dyelot. I actually prefer to work with multiple dyelots. If you pay attention to lights and darks etc., they can bring an added depth to your design.
2. In memory of Audrey Francini, my generation's greatest needlewoman, slow down. Needlework is not a speed contest. Audrey was the slowest stitcher I have known. She was also the best. I have a couple of great stories about Audrey and her speed, I'll tell them in the next couple of mornings.
3. Forget about the Needlepoint Police. They don't exist except in their minds. You may meet people who think they know it all. Good for them, I applaude their confidence, but I don't buy into it.
I have probably told this story a dozen times but it is worth telling again and again. Years ago a friend wrote to me and asked, will this Kreinik braid look good with this silk?
I replied, beats me, try it and see.
Friend: whadaya mean you don't know, you're the teacher.
My reply: if the Immortal Artists Of The Western World don't know without trying, how would I, one mere mortal needlework teacher? (There's a bit more to thsi story too, I'll tell the rest another time).
All this goes to say once again, there is no real right and wrong, there are problems of course. The best way to find solutions is to think creatively.
Those are my New Year's Stitching Resolutions for 2021.
Reminders for me as well as for all of you.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Another day that I'm looking forward to: I am writing instructions and stitching along. I'm writing my Thimbles Sampler and surprisingly rather enjoying it. All of the patterns on this sampler are from little American thimbles and I check out the thimbles as I write the patterns.
One time last summer, when I was stitching the sampler, I added to my thimble collection. For most of my collecting years, I tried to collect the iconic silver thimbles that all collectors chase.
Now my interests have shifted and I am more interested in the designs on the thimble bands and if I think I can adapt them for needlepoint.
With this in mind, last fall I bought 3 thimbles that came together in one lot. I was chasing after one of them and the other two just came along for the ride.
One of the three has the worst thimble design on the band, the design poorly thought out and the execution of the design even worse. I have to say, I thought to myself, 'what was Simons thinking of when they sold this one!'
I hadn't looked at it in quite a while, but yesterday I pulled it out and had a chuckle at it. Then I started thinking about it, wondering if I could use the design and improve on it. If I could, it would be a good lesson in thinking what might be rather than taking the design so literally.
This thought a continuation in spirit of my post yesterday, so here is my reworked thought for the day: worry less about making your needlework perfect; think instead about how you might expand some creative aspects. They need not be anything large, just small touches that identify your work as your own.
On with the day. I will see, later on after a day's work if I can work out the design. Enjoy your day. Take a break from the chaos that surrounds us all.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Tuesday morning and I am already enjoying today. I posted a photo of another Box Top Geometric that I found in a box of canvases I stitched but have never written. This one is also from my Echoes series but is larger than the first.
My friend Jane Ellen is teaching my Anthem Hearts to a group in Ohio and she wrote me this morning because of a question about laying 1 ply of silk. She wrote that someone had inquired, saying that I hadn't specified a laying tool in the instructions.
So I am passing on to you, here on my website, why would someone lay a single ply of silk? In time as you stitch, thread will twist and you should drop your needle and let it untwist, but laying a ply of silk? I don't know the answer to that one, but as I sit here and think about it, does anyone think this might be obsessive overkill?
Not many days ago I received an email from someone I don't know, but she evidently remembered me from my travel teaching at guild days. She had gone through EGA's Master Craftsman program and received the certificate and then she quit stitching, she was burned out, she wrote. Now, years later she picked up her needle again for the first time.
Too much pressure to be perfect? A surefire way of killing what should be a happy, pressure-free creative experience, particulary in these times.
I have a philosophy about stitching: do the best you can, and if it's not perfect, next time you will try and do better. In many ways a project isn't an end unto itself, it is one chapter of an ongoing experience. We all have to learn and grow and improve. Treasure your mistakes the last time, for you recognize them now and they are valuable lessons.
Sorry for this bit of bad news : you aren't ever going to be perfect. You will be much happier if you stop trying and simply enjoy the journey.
Sales of Kits and Patterns
Updated January, 2021
No sales planned yet for 2021.
Selling My Kits and Patterns
I only sell kits and patterns at certain times during the year.
You can find out about my sales by signing up for my Newsletter:
click on the button above and email me.
Will your email inbox be flooded with Newsletters?
No, I send out a Newsletter a few days before a sale and another sometime during the sale. That's it.
The Newsletters are one page long, with date and time, and usually since I have at most 3 sales a year, it isn't often.
Requesting Old Patterns
If you wish to request an old design of mine, please email me with your request. I will do my best to bring back your requests in future sale.
Queendom Website’s Own Jargon
MacSoph is my trusty little Apple MacBook computer.
Back in the late 1980’s DH and I had an SE and an English friend named that computer ‘Sophie Enchilada’ a bit of ridiculousness that stuck and our computers have been ‘Soph’ ever since
DH is my 'Dear Husband' who helps me with Mail Jail. He does some of my bookkeeping and he and I drive together to the post office because of parking.
The main thing to know about DH in connection with Queendom Website is the concept of ‘First Thing in the Morning’.
First Thing in the Morning means just that to me: it is the first thing I do in the morning.
DH has a different concept: First Thing in the Morning can often mean before 4:00 in the afternoon. DH isn’t a morning person.
This arises in connection with ‘Mailing Packages First Thing in the Morning’.
How Queendom Website Got its Name
Not long after MacSoph and I started our website, a friend said to me, your website is just like your own little private kingdom.
I replied, “yes, but not a kingdom, it’s a Queendom and I am Queen.”
And that’s why I usually have an abundant number of crowns and Things Royal on Queendom Website.
E-Week is my big once-a-year sale usually in mid-October. I have other sales during the year but E-Week is my extravaganza.
E-Week is named after Merchandise Night at seminars. Merchandise Night at seminars is an evening when teachers and other vendors sell their wares for 2 hours or so. Now I have E-Merchandise Week, shortened along the years to 'E-Week'.
During E-Week, Early Morning Surprise Windows happen on Saturday morning at 8:00 sharp California Time.
Surprise Windows have special items, often limited in number, for a short period of time. If I do say so, they are a special part of E-Week and they are great fun!
Mail Jail is the shipping division of my little business and it is the main reason I don’t have things for sale on Queendom Website all the time.
Every needlework teacher knows about Kit Hell. That’s the time before a class when you do nothing but order supplies and then divide them up into kits.
Even though I am retired from travel-teaching, I still have a bit of Kit Hell in my life.
If you have ever spilled 10,000 seed beads, you will know about Bead Mania.
This is all the Queendom Website Jargon I can think of right now. If I think of more of it, I will post it here.
Queendom Website's Production Team
Queendom Website's staff includes:
Queen Consort (DH) who helps with bookkeeping and is an occasional staff writer (when I can talk him into it).
and Queendom Website's Faithful Subject, MacSoph (my trusty little MacBook computer).
July 9, 2019 Tuesday
The First Day of My New Website
You will find a different look, but in reality much the same website as before:
Home Page, News&Views, For Sale, Gallery, Lessons, For Groups and My Book Shelf.
A week ago I started over again on new software. I had planned to spend all of July and August and then I would move toward the end of August.
Life had different plans: I woke up on July 7 and started work. My computer went all wonky from new downloads and when the dust finally cleared, I could no longer publish my existing website.
Immediately I called Apple and a sweet young thing told me 'sorry, no longer possible.' I won't go into the details, but it is finished.
I moved my domain name, www.GayAnnRogers.com and it now opens this site. From now on, this is the only website I will be able to update: I can no longer do anything with my other sites.
This move at this time was totally unexpected, so my website is barely started. I hope you will stay with me and watch as it grows. Eventually everything will be here.
If you have any suggestions for me, do write to me GayAnnRogers@icloud.com
Carolyn's Auction Results
Two highlights from Carolyn's auction Monday, Jan 18.
Above: Ketcham&McDougall's 'dropped rim' rose thimble fetched an astounding price of $1146.77 last night.
Above: a beautiful gold thimble with black enamel detail fetched less than half the price: $441.85