Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thistle Threads Closed for Vacation

Thistle Threads will be closed for vacation between July 27th and August 21st.  

Communications will be very difficult due to the spotty wifi a great deal of hopping around locations.       (That is how it will be a vacation!)

Shipping of orders taken after July 26th will be done when I reopen in late August.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What's in the Frostings Box?

The New Frostings Box!
So this is the spoiler alert - if you are waiting for your box and don't want to know what is inside the box - don't read any farther!  Come back later!!

The Frostings Session 2 box contains six different thread types.  It expands and finishes the color line of the Tiny Silk Purls with the addition of five red family colors, three purples and two blues.  This brings the entire color line up to 40 colors!! So we have a great set of medium sized purls and a wonderful set of tiny purls to select from depending on our project needs and scale.

Tiny Silk Purls in ten colors
For those who want to do stump work and use a wire edge to your motifs, you know how painful it is to either wrap a piece of wire with silk or spend all your time doing a buttonhole stitch around the edge to cover the silver wire.  If there just was a wire that was
already covered in silk!! Well now there is!  I have chosen seven colors to have made as silk covered wires that just disappear in your detached work - easy to cut and put down as a scaffold and then do your needlelace and no more extra work.  It is included in the Frostings box in:  a red, pink, yellow,
yellow green, dark green, blue and purple.
Seven colors of silk wrapped wire

Looking for an alternate to braiding your own tiny strings for purses or edgings?  The Frostings box has a new round braid with either gold or silver in the braid.  Included this time in red or black in each of the two metal variants.  They will be so useful for blackwork or redwork projects.  I already have one Frostings project underway to use one for you - watch for it in August!

Red and Black silk braids with gold or silver
And we have a new gimp thread for couching down.  Crinkle Gimp is a thin gimp that has been wrapped with a second gimp to make it more bumpy.  It can be sewn through the fabric if you use a big enough eyed needle.  I love this for making clouds, grass, or water as well as giving the fuzzy look of feathers.  It is extremely variable because wrapping one gimp with another can have the second gimp squish or expand as the machine spools.  If you like it more smooth or bumpy, run your fingernail one way or another to compact or pull out the
Crinkle Gimp
overwrap to give it the look you want.

The last two threads are related, silk covered plate which I see on stump work all the time.  This is the 11S size of gilt plate and it is covered in three different greens to make a smooth and bendable covering.  Use it for grass and couch it down with gimp or purls to make amazing patterns that are textured, contrasting the threads against the smooth silk plate.  And once you have silk covered plate, you can make crenelated plate! This is just the coolest thread and I have been getting emails from people who want more of it in the greens or more colors!

Crenelated Silk Wrapped plate in three green colors
There will be projects in the early fall and these threads are currently part of the Harmony with
Nature Casket Stitch Along as well.  About 160 of the kits are still available.


Silk wrapped 11S plate in three green colors

Friday, July 14, 2017

They are Here!

Packing the frostings boxes in process!
For those in the know, you know that the Frostings Boxes were delayed as the first printing was done wrong and it took an extra four weeks to redo it all.  Ugh.

The boxes arrived a full day early and so we were packing and making labels until the wee hours last night!  1/3 of the boxes went out this morning - I am very excited!!  I have a big workforce of robot kids arriving in minutes and we expect to maybe even finish today!  So be on the watch for those exciting threads.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Milton Mannor Casket on Video

I have been sent a few links to an Antiques Roadshow video (UK S39E26 Caversham 2) that showed around June 14-20th on TV in the UK and featured a long video scene of a  SPECTACULAR and almost untouched embroidered casket.

The piece starts at 48:33 in the video and then had a slight respite and comes back again for opening. Pull up a pot of tea and watch it over and over again!  Do it soon as it is likely that the material will be taken off-line as the BBC is really diligent at getting their video material off sites and the iPlayer for BBC doesn't allow other countries to sign up and watch.

It is really quite amazing.  Once you have looked at it once, take another watch through and look at the details of the finishing.  The finisher did a few neat things like doing the horizontal tapes first on the top and wrapping around the edge of the lid, which produces a clean edge because there aren't any cut edges.  But the interior shows so well the colors and the details!

Now they totally have the storyline wrong on the piece - around the bottom of the casket the storyline is that of Abraham.  The front is Abraham banishing Hagar, the back is her looking for water for her son, etc.   And I would say that the auction estimate is low.  :-)

Watch the video

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Treading Water Anyone?

I know the blog has been rather sparse of late.  It's because I am treading water.  I think it is the 'get up and go' of everyone really starting their caskets that is causing this high water mark.  The order volume at Thistle Threads went up by 250% in November and has held constant for eight months.  That is great - but it is still only me.

So I have to apologize for extra time it takes for orders to get out!  It is also making it tough to keep on top of CDs, making instructions, stitching the next project, getting items cut and ready for kits and etc. etc.  Fortunately it is summer and I was able to garner some summer labor - my robot girls seem to be happy to make money and when they are here - surprise, surprise, I often get a bit of free robot boy labor (sticking stickers, etc) as well while they chatter.

They have helped me get all the Frostings box contents prepared (done), we will finish the CDs for Stumpwork next week and have the contents for the 1st Stumpwork kit done.  I am finally breathing a bit lighter this week - especially after four of them processed 60 pounds of wheat paste for me into 600 bags.  (This is a job that can only be done in the summer as it goes everywhere!).  We had to hose them down in the yard when they were finished (I think it was an excuse for a water fight).

They have allowed me to keep shipping the daily orders and caskets while knowing that progress is being made on the core business.

If NOTHING more goes wrong at the box maker place - we are driving to Rhode Island on July 14th to pick up the first pallet of frostings boxes and plan to have all the shipping boxes labeled and ready already so we can ship them out Saturday morning.  I refused to wait for them to ship them to me.  So I have a pizza party planned and about a half dozen teens.  I expect a fight for the shrink wrap station.  That is always popular, ha ha.  

It has been fun so far, several of the kids are entrepreneurial and so I have been discussing the particulars of small product companies, building web infrastructure, etc.  Funny to see them absorb information on credit card processing, PayPal, etc. while packing stumpwork forms.

Tricia

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Guess Who I Met In Texas?

Talk about a surprise in the garden cafe at the Dallas Museum of Art!
I am right now at the SCR EGA Seminar in Houston, TX and just finished giving a lecture.  But I took the opportunity to come to Texas a few days early and enjoy some things in Dallas - like the two caskets and beaded basket in the Dallas Museum of Art!  YUM.  I was able to invite some of the locals to come with me to enjoy the day and also included Rachael Kinnison who had alerted me to the presence of a beaded basket in that collection I would want to see.

Rachael's son, her patient sherpa for the week
Rachael drove 11 hours to be with us at the museum and brought her pieces!!!!!!  With her boy sherpa (a lovely young man - her 6-foot tall son) to carry boxes she was able to bring out her AMAZING beaded basket, the small beaded basket she is teaching in Bath this summer, her music box casket and the beaded mirror case.  What a wonderful time was had looking at these modern treasures.  We both kept it secret from the lucky ladies who were visiting with us - to see if we could find a space near the museum to look at them and we were happy to have found one.  You can imagine the excitement everyone had when they realized that the 'show' wasn't done after we saw the museum pieces!

Thank you Rachael!!

I am sooo thrilled in this picture, I seriously didn't think I would ever see this
magnificient item in my lifetime.

Look at the fantastic boxes that Rachael had made to travel with her pieces!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Frostings 2 - 19,500 Items

Wow.  It has been a total production facility around here this week.  Ok, that is the rosy view of the place, my husband and kids would instead characterize it as a 'little plastic box sweat shop'.  Why?  Because I am getting geared up for the Frostings Box Session 2 to be packed and sent out to the people who are excited to get new threads.  Tonight my husband spent three hours watching comedy shows while placing stickers on little plastic bags.

It is a long road to getting the box in your mailbox!  There are the months (in this case 18 months) of designing threads, checking colors and waiting... waiting... waiting... for the threads to start trickling in.  The last one arrived days ago.  There are 39 individual threads/colors and 500 boxes to pack so somehow all those big spools that come in have to be divided up and labeled.

Just the act of opening up the little clear plastic boxes to put something in takes a tremendous amount of time, then you line them up, load them and close them and then apply a label.  If I do a box of 500 of them of one thread, it can take me about 6-8 hours.  So this time the family has taken quite a bit of pity on me and finally pitched in to help.  19,500 little boxes or bags have to have cut and wound things put inside and labeled.  Then there is the packing of the actual white frostings boxes and shrink wrapping - that will take a week before I sit for a whole two days and making/printing shipping labels.  A couple of hours then verifying that the label is correct and marking up the database that a box is leaving.  And then many emails assuring people that the label I created on Monday and wasn't ready to adhere to the packed boxes until Thursday hadn't gotten lost by the post office as I haven't gotten a slot in the post office truck schedule until Friday to do the massive pick up.  :-) All-in-all the process is about 1.5 months from starting to cut the threads to the boxes leaving on their journey to you.

Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, I cried 'uncle' and decided to bring in the big guns, paid teenagers.  While I only intended to hire one of them - one of the girls on the robot team that I knew was looking for some work - I managed to get a gaggle of them.  Guess they are all growing up and realize that all my time helping them with roboting costs me dearly in my work time.  So amazingly when she showed up there were others in tow.  Over the course of two days (and some sleepovers) I had four different teens (boys and girls - sorry if a few labels aren't as straight as I might like) here to help me as well as family too.  We voted on movies and had a whole Pirates of the Caribbean marathon.  Took them to see the 5th movie on Sunday to celebrate getting 3500 little plastic boxes packed and labeled in three days.  It would have normally taken me seven days.

They certainly made the work much more fun.  Sounds like they are planning on coming back for the shrink wrap party - heck - why not?  Sounds like cool tech toys and we all know robot boys like cool tech toys!