Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Belle Sprague needlepointed a masterpiece

Earlier today I opened my email to find this wonderful masterpiece stitched by Belle Sprague of California. A few years ago I did a class for the San Bernardino Chapter of ANG. Belle won the door prize, my CT 43, Eight Flying Jewels canvas.

The masterpiece took shape under the direction of a fine teacher, Shelley Mullin. Belle claims Shelley really stretched her stitching comfort zone. Belle entered it in a regional exhibit last April, the Shoreline Stitchers' Showcase in Palos Verdes, CA, and it won a first-place ribbon.

She is planning to enter it in a future exhibit. This will be her first entry in a National Exhibit.

I love the detached wings, I love the open stitches and I love the beads! I love it all.

Congratulations to Belle and to Shelley who guided her to create such a masterpiece. It makes me as a designer very proud to see such a breathtaking interpretation.

Best wishes for more awards Belle.

Monday, January 03, 2011

I Gave Birth

Finally, my new child...........

I wrote a book titled SharonG's Simply Essential Needlepoint Stitch Explanations. I hope it will become known as SharonG's SENSE

It will preview  in a few days at the TNNA Winter Market. SENSE is the first in a series of about 12 books I plan to publish over the next few years.

SENSE is printed in a 5x8 format. A perfect size to live in your tote bags. I printed it on premium paper and it is spiral bound with clear cover protectors to guard against coffee dribbles. I decided to go the bit extra and use the spiral binding because I've seen too many comb bound books rapidly fall apart. My book should stand up to some loving use.

Here is a clip from the introduction...............


For many years, I have been saying, “I am going to write that book.” The time arrived.

This is the first book of a series. The series will include many theme stitches, borders, backgrounds, and stitches I designed plus many variations on well-loved needlepoint stitches.

Through my years of teaching needlepoint, I find there are certain stitches that we use repeatedly because they are the most versatile. It might be because they adapt to many weights of threads, might be fun to do, or they fit the need perfectly. This book is a collection of those “Simply Essential Needlepoint Stitch Explanations.” It belongs in every needlepoint tote bag. I hope it will become known as SharonG’s Needlepoint Sense.

The “SENSE” Collection is divided into 3 sections.

1. Stitches with very low texture and minimal pattern

pp. 8–16

2. Stitches with medium texture and no diagonal flow

pp. 17–41

3. Stitches with a well-defined diagonal flow

pp. 42–80

In my many years of teaching and needlepointing, I find I turn to the basics so often to bring a canvas to the perfect artistically pleasing finished stage. The basics executed with the perfect thread will work magic. Toss in the lighter coverage that is so popular today and let the artist’s paint shine through, complementing your stitches and threads.

The wrong stitch selection can ruin the outcome of your canvas. The biggest errors needlepointers make in selecting stitches are choosing stitches too large in scale, too heavy in texture, and having motion flowing in the wrong direction.

Speaking of motion, a diagonal sky or water can show wind, a stormy sky, or a rough sea. However, if you are going after a calm look, you need to stay away from any stitches with a diagonal flow.

In selecting a stitch for a garment such as Santa’s coat, you need to pay attention to the direction of the sleeves, the drape of the garment’s body, and the scale of the garment in relationship to the scale of the stitch.

Texture is very important. The texture should decrease from the foreground to the background. By adding too much texture to the background, your canvas will be too confusing and all perspective will be lost. Try to bring the most interesting, highest textured stitches to the foreground and decrease the texture as you needlepoint the background.

By following these simple guidelines and trusting your eye, you will end up with a beautiful needlepoint to display to the world.

Remember, if it does not look right, it probably is not. Take care of your errors immediately rather than wait or hope they go away. They probably will not. You will always see them rather than focus on the other beautiful parts of your canvas.

You will notice I use the word silk instead of floss. I love stranded silk and use it all the time. I love the way it reflects light. I love the rich color. Feel free to substitute any floss you prefer.

Needlepoint has come a long way in my lifetime. It is no longer wool with maybe a bit of floss.

For you all to enjoy!!!!!

Have a wonderful New Year Everyone.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Dragonfly, butterfly and ladybug triptych

I noticed the 6x604 thru 06 was not on my blog (my website is in need of a good revamp so in the meantime I am using my blog to show new things) so for those who are wondering what it looks like, here are the pictures. I have one part stitched and that one has a guide. You can use parts of the guide on the other two canvases.

Below the 3 canvases are another 3 that are fun. 6x601 is called Soho, 6x6 02 is Twin Beaks and 6x6 03 is Twin Beaks II. One of the Twin Beaks has pattern painted in it, the other lets you do your own thing.

6x6 04 Dragonfly and ladybug

6x6 05 Butterfly and 2 ladybugs

6x6 06 Pink Butterfly and Ladybugs

6x6 01 is a fun canvas I named Soho. But it could be a great cityscape from Anytown US.

6x6 02 is called Twin Beaks. I had some fun with a few geometric shapes. Also painted it with some patterns painted in. See below.

6x6 03 Twin Beaks II with some pattern painted in.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And did I ever say I love birds?

Birds! How beautiful they are. Some of you know I have a great parrot who I rescued a long time ago. Sam is in his 30's now and is a delight. I have always been fascinated by birds of all sorts. IN my design life I have painted quite a few birds. I will try to take new photos of them and post them to the blog.

I love antique prints. The old French ones are out of my budget ranch so I painted 3 beautiful birds in the style of the old French Prints. Now that I can afford, All I need to do is either stitch them or paint them on painters canvas. When I have time.

They are all on eggshell canvas, 18M and can be needlepointed with a single strand of floss in the direction of the feathers. Don't be scared by them. Less is best. They are painted in a very realistic style so to try to cover it up with a fancy stitch would simply kill the canvas. I also say, there is nothing more elegant than a perfectly tent stitched canvas. Maybe an ANG Princess Grace Award awaits one of these bird designs?

They come on large margin canvas cuts so you can have plenty of room to design a classy border. The margins are well over 2 inches.

OW08 Oriental Pheasant 9x12 on 18M Eggshell

OW09 Old World Parrot 8x12 on 18M Eggshell

OW10 Conure 5.5 x 9 on 18M Eggshell

And a fun little toucan I really want to stitch. Eventually I will do her mate, Toucan Cancan. This one is called Toucan Tutu.

CT46 Toucan Tutu 8x10 on 18M

A few pomegranates

I designed a few pomegranates back in the 90's. I have a great interest in Persian Carpets. I love the symbolism of the designs. These are pomegranates. No they do not look like the sort we buy in the grocery store, but it is what they called this sort of design. Each are the same size, 4.5 x 4.75 and are on 18M Perfect size for a 5x5 box or a great small framed piece or pillow insert.

Enjoy! I am considering doing more designs of this sort. Yes, paisley motifs were a big part of carpet design.

PF 13 Terracotta and Green Pomegranate  4.5 x 4.75 on 18M

PF14  Red and Purple Pomegranate 4.5 x 4.75 on 18M

PF15 Blue and Silver Pomegranate 4.5 x 4.75 on 18M

More new deisgns

I love triptychs. I have 3 new ones to show you.

It is hard to find 3 canvases in the same theme and in the same size that can be hung next to each other and tell a story. The first of the new ones is called Fly Lily Fly. Once I figure out how to show them side by side in my blog I will edit the post. But for now they will be shown one after the other because I have not figured out how to do it. They are 5x8 each and numbered CT47, CT48 and CT49. Notice how the borders match up. I can see these finished as a small table top screen.  Yes they can be purchased as singles and they can all stand alone without the other two should you fall in love with only one.

The left side is CT47.

The Center panel is CT48 and again, it is 5x8 on 18M

And the Right side panel is CT49 5x8 on 18M

The next triptych I designed is called the 11th Hour. I was inspired to do this by all the ecological damage currently being done in our world. The design represents animal life, sea life, water, land and sky. A few shop owners claimed it had an Egyptian look to it. I love birds and I think herons are spectacular creatures. This is why I chose a heron for the left side. As Fly Lily Fly, each section is on 18M and measures 5x8. They can all stand alone or together. I also called it the 11th hours since I designed it the night before I left for  the TNNA show. So it was my 11th hour design.

CT50 The 11th Hour Heron 5x8 on 18M

CT51 The 11th Hour Land Water Sky 5x8 on 18M

CT52 The 11th Hour 3 Fish 5x8 on 18M

The last of the new triptychs is an addition to an older canvas I designed a few years ago. It is part of the 7x7 grouping so each piece is 7x7 and on 18M. It is also available without anything in the center so you can do your monogram.

BF06 Butterfly 7x7 on 18M

BF06B Bee 7x7 on 18M

BF06C Dragonfly 7x7 on 18M

Catching up to the Horses

Will I ever catch up? I certainly hope not. Life would be boring without projects looming in front of me.

Yes, I have some new designs. And I have been doing a bit of needlepoint. Recently I did a stitch guide for my horses behinds BH02. In June I taught it at TNNA to several shop owners. I decided to do a monochromatic background of sky, a brick wall and some grass all in the same color. I chose Silver Fox #002 from Gloriana. I love her threads and feel so confident in using them in my guides since her dye lots are normally pretty close in color. Blues will always be  the same blue.

The big star of the piece is the great reflective quality of Kreinik's new Holographic threads. All the metallic used are Holographic colors. The gold border was so much fun but, if I worked on it at night in artificial light, the reflectiveness of it made my head hurt. So, I did the borders during the day. I will be using the same background on the other horses and as a little treat, they will also be available as singles on a 6x10 canvas cut for eyeglass cases, a nice little pillow insert, a small framed piece or a stand up or even an ornament. The singles will be ready in August 2010.

Below is BH02 stitched. The guide is available now. The canvas is 8x10 on 18M.

BH01 Flower Girls 8x10 on 18M. I can see some ribbon stitching on this one!

And last but certianly not the end is BH03 HO! HO! HO! 8x10 on 18M. Bring on the beads!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Taking tomorrow off. Soup's On at Mike's

Not going far tomorrow but I am taking the afternoon off. Yes, it is Sunday but I do have a habit of working 7 days a week. Either that or clean the house. Give me work anyday. My brother invited me for Sunday early dinner with his family. He asked what I wanted and I told him. Home made soup and home made noodles.

When my Grandmother was alive, every Sunday we would have her home made soup and home made noodles. IMHO, there is nothing better than a good bowl of home made soup and none of that fancy soup stuff. Good old peasant soup...no not pheasant. Peasant soup.

My brother Mike makes it on Sundays from time to time.

My Grandmother would do her soups a little different than most. She never chopped anything up. Started with a big chuck roast and some soup bones. Brought them to a boil, skimmed the broth and let it simmer for a few hours. Then she tied fresh dill and parsley and whatever herbs she might want to add with a string and dropped it into the pot with the bones and beef still in the pot. It was always a huge pot, the size you boil lobsters in or bigger.

Next she put in whole peeled potatoes, whole carrots, maybe some parsnips, some celery and a whole onion. Simmered it till the veggies were cooked. She did the salt and pepper but often dumped some pickle juice in the soup to sour it up a bit and give it flavor. She would season it up and let it simmer.

Noodles were nothing but flour and eggs. No water. A bit of salt. Made the dough to rollable consistency, rolled it out thin then let it dry on newspapers in sheets. Then she would cut it in strips, layer the strips and slice the noodles, fluff them up with her hands, let them dry a bit more and boil them. When they floated, they were done.

She would take the big hunk of chuck out of the soup and the bones. She would plate that up and then plate up the veggies. You took what you wanted., You wanted carrots, you took one, sliced it in your bowl with whatever else you wanted. You then added noodles and broth. She always had a bowl of pickled cauliflower and onions and pickles you could put into your soup. Oh, and only white pepper. I got the pickles in my soup thing from her. We were the only two who sliced pickles in our soup.

But the treat, called szpik You mashed a potato, put a hunk of butter in it, never oleo (that was never allowed in the house...it was butter or lard only), shredded up some of the soup meat and then took some marrow from the bones and mixed it all together. You ate it like that or spread it on some home made bread.

This happened every Sunday. She would have her whole family over. Gram would go to the early 7 o'clock mass, come home and start cooking. It was all done by around 1PM and everyone showed up. One of her last meals she made before she died was chicken soup. I rememember my father brought some to our house (we ended up moving out of theirs and moved across the street when I was around 4) and I could not bring myself to eat it.

My own family made Sunday soup after she died. It tasted the same but was never the same. I left home about 3 years after she died and my brother learned to make the soup from my father who was a far better cook than my mother was. She would murder her food and everything tasted like overdone cardboard.

I made a big pan of brownies to take to Mikes and plan on enjoying Grandmother's version of soup for the first time in over 40 plus years.

Soup to me is good food, very comforting and I love it. Not really the fancy soups like pureed cauliflower or cream of this and that, but good old throw the chicken or beef or even pork in the pot and some veggies and enjoy!

Hope the szpik did not gross you out. We always ate marrow. Marrow is a big thing in European cooking. Most of those traditions have been lost in our contemporary American cooking. But if you read anything about Julia Child, she used a lot of marrow.

I don't really eat it much anymore. My dogs give me the evil eye when I mess with marrow bones. That is their territory.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cyber classes

This is something I always wanted to do and now I am doing it. Teach a cyber class.

My class will be conducted through the Shining Needle Society in a yahoo group format.

You can read about it and link over to the group for information on how to sign up. This will be fun and educational, promise you.

Announcing...The SharonG Network -- a class in canvas embellishment

New class for painted canvas lovers and fans of SharonG!

Announcing...The SharonG Network

Shining Needle Society is very pleased to announce our latest class offering

which features SharonG. Sharon is the creative force behind a number of

enterprises -- most notably, her very successful line of painted canvases.

Sharon is somewhat of a rarity in the needlepoint world, however, in that she

both designs AND stitches her canvases.

The SharonG Network will allow you to tap into SharonG's extensive creative

resources and get advice for stitching your SharonG canvas directly from the

source -- SharonG herself!

Think of the SharonG Network as a club you join and then you can interact with

Sharon via email as you stitch your canvas. Sharon will offer stitch and thread

suggestions to help you make your SharonG canvas project uniquely your own! You

will also learn along the way as Sharon consults with your fellow classmates

about their canvases -- what a great opportunity to get inside the mind of the

designer!!! While we will be discussing ONLY SharonG canvases in this

classroom, you don't actually have to own one to sign up for the class.

Sharon's canvases are so appealing, however, that we bet you'll want one

sometime during your membership and Sharon will happily direct you to a shop in

your area where you can purchase your canvas. Online sources will also be

listed, so anyone anywhere can participate.

How does the new SharonG Network work? There will be quarterly signups for the

classroom and it will be ongoing. The cost will be $35 a quarter (three months),

and if you sign up for a year, we're offering a discount making it $120 total.

So, for $10 a month, you can lurk and learn all sorts of embellishment tips and

techniques with Sharon. You have the joy of working at your own pace, and

Sharon will be there to assist as needed. She may even throw in a few general

lessons or an occasional recipe. It's rumored that her baklava is to die for!


Many of you already know that Sharon has a welcoming style in her email

communications. She has been a frequent and knowledgeable participant in the

ANG email discussion list. For an example of her online work and the clarity of

her charts, a ready reference is her own Website and her contribution to ANG's

Stitch of the Month in 2005 (Dragon and Butterflies Kimono).

For Sharon's website:


For Dragon and Butterflies Kimono:


There are a few ground rules for this new class:

This classroom is for SharonG's canvases only. Sharon has a wide range of

canvases in her line, so we hope there is something that will appeal to anyone,

but please know that Sharon will provide stitch and thread advice for her

canvases ONLY. That said, you are more than welcome to join this class and

listen and learn from a true expert in the painted canvas world.

This is NOT a "get a complete stitch guide for your canvas" class. If you just

want a stitch guide, Sharon has a number of stitch guides that can be purchased

with her canvases. Your local shop can help you with that. However, if you

want a chance to work with the designer to create a unique piece of needle art,

then you're in the right place. The idea is that you may already have some goals

for your canvas and how you want to stitch it -- or maybe Sharon will start you

in an area. You complete that and then we take the next area. As each area

builds on those already completed, your piece evolves into your own unique


Shop owners -- this is great opportunity for your customers to get some

specialized help with their SharonG canvases and we welcome you and your

customers to participate.

So, if you're ready to work directly with SharonG to make your canvases amazing,

it's time to sign up for this new class!

Class: "The SharonG Network" (TSGN)

Teacher: Sharon Garmize

Type of class: canvas enhancement/embellishment; canvas is student's choice,

limited to SharonG canvas line

Length of class: Three months (10/21/09 thru 1/31/10 -- and yes, you get a

little more than three months of class time because we can't wait to start!!!)

-- or sign up for a full year (10/21/09 - 10/31/10) at a discount)

Kit contents: No kit.

Student to supply: An open mind and a willingness to learn. If actively

stitching a canvas, then student provides all stitching supplies. Canvas

discussion is limited to SharonG painted canvases.

Skill Level: All levels welcome. Some experience with painted canvas stitching

and reading charts is helpful.

Price(s): $35 per three month signup period, discounted to $120 for four

quarters, paid in advance.

Registration begins: Sept. 28, 2009

Registration for first quarter offering ends: Oct. 14, 2009 -- with late signups

allowed through Nov. 15. Late signups are not pro-rated, but will have access

to posts from beginning of class.

Class begins: Oct. 15, 2009

Class ends: Jan. 15, 2010 (end of first quarter, class will be ongoing)

Payments accepted: PayPal and checks.

To sign up, send an email to Sharon Garmize at sharon@... and include

"SharonG Network" or "Network Class" in the subject line of your email.

Please include the following information:

Your name

Your address

Your email address so we can enroll you in the online classroom

Your method of payment -- check or PayPal.

Your desired length of membership at this time: 3 months for $35, or 12 months

for $120.

Any questions, just email us!

We hope you are as excited as we are about this innovative new concept in

painted canvas embellishment.

Kate Gaunt and Marie-Therese Baker

SNS Founders

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This evening I painted my last horses behind and am now caught up on all of the emergency orders for those. Now onto a few new designs that I will post when I get them done. Not much more to say. I am tired but am fiddling with a floral redesign. I need to enlarge the flowers and jazz up the colors.