Alive and Well and Building a Snowman

HI EVERYONE!!!!!

My last blog let you know that Lou and I were experiencing some health issues. I think the terminology was a bit misleading. Contrary to popular belief, I am not on death's doorstep and not cutting back my 2016 schedule.

The end of December and beginning of January were tough for us. I had pneumonia, Lou had back problems, shingles and an upper respiratory infection. I am fine now. Lou’s respiratory infection is resolved, the worst of the shingles is passed, and he is now in pain management for his back.

Many of you were very concerned and we thank you for that. The timing was awful.  We could not celebrate the holidays with Lou’s parents like we had planned, and I couldn’t get to the trade show. BUT, we are fine!!!!!

Thank you all for your caring concern. Now we are shoveling the snow off the driveway after the epic storm! And we hope that all of our friends have weathered this storm without too much trouble.

Tony

          Lou

               & Kazoo

Ring Out The Old; Ring In The New

Hi Everyone! 

2016 has started! A happy and healthy New Year to all. 

The last two months have been pretty hectic and difficult. Besides the last couple of embellishment classes at The Edwardian Needle with a star-studded cast of students, there were some health issues with both Lou and I, and we are still dealing with them. Well enough of that!!!!

2016 is going to be another great year for all of us starting with the TNNA show in California (unfortunately I can’t attend due to the health issues) and all the new canvases, threads and other temptations that will be shown there, all the different shops I will be teaching at during the year and all the new “stuff” that will appear on the website. Kudos to my friend Meredith for launching “The Meredith Collection”. I know it will be as wonderful as what she has brought to us in the past. 

The Embellishment Squad (Debbie, Meredith, Suzanne, and me) will be in Austin at the Needle Works this year as well as at the ANG National Seminar in New Orleans. We love teaching these classes, and our friendship is such a great foundation for our success.

A special thanks to my webmaster ( JB) who works tirelessly to keep the website running and current, but most of all, a special thanks to my husband Lou without whom none of this could be possible. I am a lucky man to have such a wonderful man, such wonderful friends, and so many wonderful students.

Here’s to another great year!

Tony

It's the Fall Season!

HI EVERYONE!!!! It has been a couple of months since my last blog. I have been teaching up a storm and having a great time. 

Lately, it has been exciting times in all the shops where I have been honored to teach. The students came to class with open minds and were willing to try new stitches, threads, and techniques they had never tried before. What more could a teacher ask for!!!!!!

I just finished teaching for Creative Stitches and Gifts in Dallas and Cindy, Diane, Dwana, and Melissa were great, as always. This was a Canvas Embellishment class with wonderful diversity in the canvas choices. In this class, I had a mix of students who have been in my classes several times along with some exciting (and excited) new students ( a special shout out to Becky, Janet and Janise). 

We explored lots of new and interesting techniques. One in particular was very exciting to watch develop. My friend and wonderful stitcher, Linda Beane, stitched on Machelle Sommerville’s “First Frost”, a huge tree in an evening setting with a sky of changing colors and a moon.

We interpreted the moon in Blackwork and the sky in a slowly descending open pattern I designed for Linda. 

A new stitch for the Sky and 5-step Blackwork pattern for the Moon.

A new stitch for the Sky and 5-step Blackwork pattern for the Moon.

We stepped right outside of that box when we got to the tree. I found 3 different weight brown fabrics, one with a diamond pattern (darker brown), one with a swirling pattern (medium golden brown), and a sheer fabric in a medium brown. I had Linda free cut the fabrics and appliqué them to the tree, randomly overlapping the fabric if necessary.

First Frost, design by Machelle Sommerville, from Fleur de Paris's Ziba Collection, with the three fabrics shows below.

First Frost, design by Machelle Sommerville, from Fleur de Paris's Ziba Collection, with the three fabrics shows below.

Some appliqués were padded with felt, others were embellished with rows of Outline stitch worked in pearl cotton to create ridges and higher texture. Once the appliqués were placed, then Linda stitched freely on top of them to blend the fabric pieces together with line stitches such as Hungarian Braided Chain, Portuguese Knotted Stem, Raised Chain Band, Whipped Chain, Twisted Chain, Laced Chain, Whipped Backstitch, and Packed Outline. 

Look closely at the stitches on top of the fabric which has been appliquéd in random pattern.

Look closely at the stitches on top of the fabric which has been appliquéd in random pattern.

As she worked toward the narrower ends of the branches, I asked her to tear the sheer fabric into strips, thread the fabric into a #16 Chenille Needle, twist the fabric and work Stem stitch with it keep the texture high and very forward. The fine curled ends of the branches were a continuation of the Twisted Thread Packed Stem but with #16 Kreinik Braid. 

Zoom in so you can see all of the different top stitching which simulates bark. Laced chain over the top left fabric, and below that you can see Wrapped Chain going in two different directions using 2 different colors of Accentuate.

Zoom in so you can see all of the different top stitching which simulates bark. Laced chain over the top left fabric, and below that you can see Wrapped Chain going in two different directions using 2 different colors of Accentuate.

I know Linda will post her progress on Facebook. Please look for it. I hope this sparks your imagination to include different textures into your own work.

I did spotlight Linda’s canvas because it was so different, but everyone in the class was working wonderful and exciting techniques, exposed stitches to let the thread and painted canvas blend together, Or Nué Diagonal Pattern Couching, lots of shading with counted and non-counted techniques, ribbon work ( LOVE THAT), Raised Stem Filling, Free-Form Fly, and so many more techniques too numerous to mention. 

At the end of this week, I am fortunate enough to step in for my dear friend Beth Robertson to teach with my good buddy Suzanne Howren at ANG National Seminar in Myrtle Beach. The weather should be perfect, the stitchers excited and attending with wide-open arms and minds. Hope to see you there, but if not, happy stitching!

 

Love

Tony

The Morning After

Hi Everyone! 

I just got back from market in Phoenix and let me tell you, you are all in for a treat with all the new “stuff” that will be coming your way in your local needlework shops. Out brilliant and talented canvas artists have once again given us new and wonderful designs to stitch and bring to life with all the techniques, stitches, threads, beads, and ribbons available to us. The very talented thread manufacturers and dyers have given us new threads and colors to enjoy. Look for a new thread from Rainbow Gallery called “Entice”. It is a sparkly blend thread that stitches beautifully and comes in a stunning range of color.

Elizabeth Turner has a new set of “BIG BLING”  that is just wonderful (as always) plus a gorgeous array of canvases of dresses, fans, Asian vases, and a stunning geisha.

Lani, Leigh, Melissa Shirley, and all our wonderful artists have given us incredible new canvases and subject matter to ponder, stitch and “WOW” us.

Pam and I worked our way up and down the aisles trying to drink in (and buy) as much as we could. If you have never been to a trade show it is truly like being a kid in a candy store, and for yours truly, it never gets old.  I am always recharged and inspired within minutes of getting on the showroom floor.

As most of you know I travel a lot teaching at many wonderful stores, and I am always amazed at how many of my students have not stitched with or used ribbon in their canvas work. It is so much fun and brings a new dimension to your work. River Silks, Planet Earth, Treenway, Dinky Dyes, Gloriana,  and Thread Gatherer have 4mm, 7mm and 13mm width ribbons in both solids and overdyes. You need to try them. 

You can satin stitch with them, execute some tacked loops to create smaller petals, work Japanese Ribbon stitch for leaves and petals. Whipped spiders, rosette wraps and woven ribbon roses are also possible as are Gathered Ribbon flowers, ruched ribbon flowers and Twisted Knot flowers. There is a myriad of new techniques for you, if you have not tried stitching with ribbon. 

Here you can see a few different techniques that I've included in some of my stitch guides:

Ruche ribbon: Use a single strand of thread and stitch a running stitch about ⅛" from the edge of the ribbon. Gently pull it to create the effect you want. Tack it to the canvas.

Ruche ribbon: Use a single strand of thread and stitch a running stitch about ⅛" from the edge of the ribbon. Gently pull it to create the effect you want. Tack it to the canvas.

Ruffled Ribbon: After stitching the running stitch, manipulate the ribbon back and forth to create a ruffle. Attach to your canvas.

Ruffled Ribbon: After stitching the running stitch, manipulate the ribbon back and forth to create a ruffle. Attach to your canvas.

One very important thing to remember when working with ribbon is a gentle touch. Ribbon should always look like it is floating on the surface and never look like it has been jammed down onto the canvas.

Ribbon Loops: Be gentle! Don't pull too tightly!

Ribbon Loops: Be gentle! Don't pull too tightly!

Japanese Ribbon Stitch: The diagram shows how you pierce the ribbon with your needle (chenille) and go back through the canvas. A very gentle touch will create lovely folds at the top of the ribbon.

Japanese Ribbon Stitch: The diagram shows how you pierce the ribbon with your needle (chenille) and go back through the canvas. A very gentle touch will create lovely folds at the top of the ribbon.

SO much to remember to tell you about market but one last item I must share with you is that the very talented Don Lynch has started using the 3MM bugle beads to stitch patterns. Each bead goes comfortably over 2 canvas threads diagonally on 14 count canvas and over 3 threads vertically and horizontally on 18 count canvas. An incredible look.

Aren’t you excited by all this? 

I sure am!!!!

Happy Stitching!

Love,

Tony

PS - Have you visited Kazoo's Store? It's open! So far, we have my DVD series and about 175 Stitch & Thread Guides available as well as Lou's incredibly stunning chatelaines. Be sure and visit Kazoo's Store! We are adding more every week!

PSS - Here's a lovely example of ribbon use. Beth Cartwright has executed gorgeous flowers in the hair of the Geisha Choko, Leigh Designs #5003. Photo courtesy of Beth. 

Choko5003Leigh1

Magic, Stitchers and a Tip

Hi Everyone!!!!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I love this time of year. There is a magical quality about it that can’t be found at any other time of year. I am all ready for the holidays and hope you are too.

I just finished teaching my last two canvas embellishment classes at the Edwardian Needle and they both were great. Two good groups of stitchers from many different starts were in attendance. There was a wonderful variety of subject matter on the canvases in the class. Friday is a big day at the Edwardian Needle anyway and with the regular Friday group and the class, there were over 30 women and men in the shop most of the day. It was wonderful seeing everyone learning, stitching and having a great time. Pam Miller, the proprietor, had great lunches each day for everyone, made sure that all was in order and no one was left unattended. The other days of class were equally as wonderful.

I am now working on a ton of prep for upcoming classes in the first 4 months of 2015. I am so lucky to be able to work at a career based on my passion for needlework and to be given the opportunity with each class to express myself artistically, share my artistic visions and technical knowhow with my students and watch my students grow technically and artistically while enjoying this great art form we practice and enjoy.

Suzanne, Meredith and I, with the help of Linda Corrirossi for one of the classes, got together at Meredith’s family cabin at the lake (built by her Dad) to plan our joint teaching classes for In Stitches in Atlanta and Creative Stitches and Gifts in Dallas. We area so looking forward to these classes and meeting new students and old friends.

EXCITING NEWS!!!!!

The store section of my website will be opening very soon, and stitch and thread guides (not all, just some to start) and Luis’s beautiful chatelaines and jewelry can be purchased on line. SO excited about this. Much, much, much thanks to our brilliant webmaster for this new feature. She works tirelessly to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Before closing this blog, a small stitching tip, When beginning a thread for a stitch that has poor backing or is very open, use an away waste knot. This is a knot on the surface of the canvas at least 3” away from your stitching and not in the direction of your stitching. You can cut the knot later and rethread the tail to hide it into surrounding stitched areas. When beginning a thread for a stitch with good backing, use an in-the-path or in-line waste knot. This is a knot place directly in the path of your stitching about 1 ½” away from your starting point. Your first set of stitches will tie the tail down and you can cut off the knot and continue stitching.

Happy Holidays to all!!!!!!

Love

Tony

Stitching Season!

 

Hi Everyone!!!

 

As the Midwest is being hit with some very wicked early wintry weather, the Mid-Atlantic States are bracing for their first dipping temps toward the freezing mark. This is good stitching weather…but you know what…every kind of weather is good stitching weather as far as I am concerned.

 

I, fortunately, after spending 4 great days at Creative Stitches and Gifts in Dallas with Cindy, Val and the wonderful gals who work there plus an amazing group of students, am on my way to the warmer climes of southern California. I will be at the Needle Nook of La Jolla for 4 days teaching an embellishment class with Fay, Roseann and the lovely ladies who work there plus another set of amazing students.

 

While I was in Dallas, Ka-Tzu happened to be there and I went to dinner with Ka-Tzu and a new friend, Betsy, a wonderful polymer artist who is a member of the Meraki Artists group. If you don’t know them or are not aware of them, please look them up on line (facebook.com/merakiartists). Their work is just beautiful.

 

I am almost done teaching all my classes for this year and deep in prep for the first couple of months of classes for next year. Many embellishment classes and several project classes are on the calendar this upcoming year with some new shops to teach at. It is all so exciting.

 

Lou and I and my oldest and dearest friend, Joe Nassaney will be spending a well-deserved week of vacation at Joe’s Florida home. I can’t wait!!!!

 

Dinner is almost on the table (Mr. Nunez is a fabulous cook) but I want to leave you with one more thought on tracking patterns when stitching in Satin style. 

The orientation of the row of stitches is always opposite to the orientation of the stitch ie: a vertical stitch is stitched in horizontal rows, a horizontal stitch is worked in vertical columns, a diagonal stitch that slants from SW-NE is stitched in rows that slant form SE-NW. By stitching in this fashion, all threads wrap around the back properly and give clarity to both ends of the stitch so that the stitch patterns are well defined.

 

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels for you or those who are visiting you and as always……Happy Stitching !!!!!

 

Love

Tony

Odds and Ends


Hi Everyone!


Just got back from a terrific teaching trip in Minnesota hosted by Debbie Clark, the owner of Stitchville USA. This class was a Fab Four Class that ended up being taught by the Terrific Two, Suzanne Howren and yours truly. We were blessed with a great group of students who kept their minds open so we could get inside, challenge them and help them grow as stitchers. As you all know, the single most important thing to bring to any class of any type is an open mind, coupled with the desire to learn and a positive attitude.


I am prepping 5 more Canvas Embellishment classes coming up later this month in Denver at Diversions, next month at The Edwardian needle and Needle Nook of La Jolla and two classes at The Edwardian Needle in December plus some other classes featuring class projects at Creative Stitches and Gifts in Dallas.


In my first blog I mentioned stitching in the opposite direction than you are moving to your next row of stitching. Add to that: If the first stitch of your new row - be it vertical, horizontal, diagonal or oblique - is directly in line with the last stitch of your previous row, then that can’t be your first stitch. You will need to stitch the second stitch in the row first, come back to the first stitch and then continue with the rest of the row of stitches. Doing this will keep the perforation between these two stitches clean like all the rest of the stitches in the previous row and subsequent stitches in the new row.

Note stitch 13-14 is the first stitch on the second row, but it's not directly above the last stitch on the first row! Do you see the first stitch on the third row? Using this method will give you crisp stitches every time!


Have been designing Mini-Mystery designs as 3-hour classes for Edwardian Needle and for The Needle Works in Austin. So much fun to hand out the directions piecemeal and watch the design blossom.


Have you all tried Silken Straw from Alchemy: Yarns of Transformation? It is a Silk ribbon type thread in gorgeous colors that you can use for raised work, flat satin work and many different effects. If you haven’t tried it, you should. You will be in for a treat.


Until next time

Happy Stitching

Tony

Ode to a Friend

ODE TO A FRIEND

 

As many of you may know, in early September the needlework community lost a valuable citizen, Elizabeth Ann (Beth) Robertson. I am very proud to have been able to call her colleague, fellow teacher and collaborator but the proudest was to have been able to call her friend. And when Beth was your friend she was your friend 200%. Beth was a quiet woman, talented beyond most people’s knowledge of her and not just in the needlework community. Beth’s accomplishments before she decided to embrace her artistic talents with the needle are huge especially in the world of communications and recently in the dog world.

Whenever I called Beth I was always greeted with a “Hi, Honey” and it was always sincere. I met Beth and Suzanne Howren at a TNNA show and we struck up and immediate friendship. We would meet at seminars both regional and national and our friendship grew. One day Beth offered her expertise with computer graphics should I ever need her help. Since my knowledge of computer graphics can’t even fill a thimble, I immediately said “YES”! It was the beginning of a wonderful collaboration. She was able to decipher what I wanted and made it look beautiful on the page.

Five years ago, Beth called me and asked what I thought about being part of a teaching team of four teachers focusing on canvas embellishment with Beth, Suzanne and Meredith Willett. Again, I immediately said,  “YES!” and the Fab Four was born. Besides being a talented designer and teacher, Beth became the Admin for the group, and as one student so perfectly said it, “ She was the glue that kept us all together”.

The three of us will continue with this collaboration, and for certain engagements will have a guest teacher as the fourth. I know Beth would want us to continue. She had a quiet strength and power that made you stay on track.

Out of the classroom, in a social setting, Beth wasn’t always so quiet, and her laugh could be infectious letting her friends always know how much she enjoyed being with them. I hope she realized how much we all loved being with her. She will be missed more than she ever realized. I have a special place in my heart, as I am sure many of her friends do, that I will carry her with me always.

 

Good bye, Honey!!!

 

 

It's a First

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Tony Minieri Designs. This website has been a long time coming, and I am so happy that it is finally here. 

It's been a very busy year with teaching, designing and traveling, and it has been good to teach more classes lately at my home shop, The Edwardian Needle. Traveling this wonderful country of ours and meeting stitchers who share my passion still excites and inspires me.

I am always honored to be a part of any stitcher’s development and growth. Keeping good technique as a basis for this art form that we lovingly enjoy each day has always been a focus of mine, and each time I write in this blog I hope to share some tips with you all. For instance, when you are stitching in satin style (which is mostly the type of stitching we do) each stitch is taken in the opposite direction than you are moving to your next row of stitching. This way all stitches wrap around the back of the canvas properly, and you have clean ends to your stitches which gives you a sharper and clearer look to your pattern.

When starting at the bottom of your design, follow the diagram on the left. But, if you are starting at the top of your design, follow the diagram on the right. 

I have several new series of designs coming and then there are always many new stitch and thread guides for painted canvases. I'm always working on them for classes throughout the year.

Collaborating with others is important to me, and I am happy to be working with Raymond Crawford for a new series of his “The Muses”. He will paint and design the canvases, I will create the stitch and thread guides and they will be exclusive to The Edwardian Needle for a year.

We are very excited that a section of this website will be devoted to my husband’s (Lou Nuñez) work. His scissor fobs, chatelaines and jewelry are gorgeous. Lou's sense of color and composition make each piece a beauty to behold.

I want to thank you for visiting my website and hope you come back often to see what’s new. 

 

As always, Happy Stitching!!!

Love,

Tony

PS - find me on Pinterest - pinterest.com/tonyminieri