Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Fiery New Design for Autumn

It's been a while since I've been in the mood to create a geometric design, but recently I pulled out a handful of threads in vibrant fall colors and began to play with various layouts and stitches.  Little by little, stitch by stitch, I got more and more enthused about this new creation and couldn't wait to see what the final result would look like.  And here it is, my new "AUTUMN TRAILS":


If any of you stitchers have worked on my "JEWEL BOX" or "NORTHERN LIGHTS" you'll see the similarity to this new piece, except this time around I've used rich autumnal colors.  It's a 10" x 10" design stitched on sandstone mono canvas, using a handful of #5 pearl cotton colors, a few shimmery metallic Ribbon Flosses, and of course a variegated Watercolours thread (120 - "Forest Fire") that ties all the colors together... A few gold beads, and a large diamond-shaped jewel add extra sparkle and shine!

As complex as this design looks at first glance, I must tell you that only the simplest of stitches are actually used -- which I confess makes this a very fun piece to stitch!  Below are two up-close photos to show you some of the details.  The first one shows those fun variegated "flying geese" triangles that I just LOVE to stitch....



And the second photo shows you some of the details around the central diamond block:


And I must tell you, as I was in the final stages of getting this pattern graphed, written and printed,
I went outside last Wednesday evening around 11:30pm and saw this heart-stopping sight to the east of where I live in Cloverdale, CA, at the northern edge of Sonoma County:



This is a shot of the beginning of the horrific Kincade Fire in Sonoma and Lake Counties.  I stood mesmerized, the only person on the street at midnight, watching this fiery cloud show light up the eastern horizon.  I called my sister, who lives on the other side of this fire in Healdsburg, and we talked about what to do if fire approached.  Ultimately, she and her daughter, two dogs and a cat evacuated south (since Hwy 101 to the north was closed), waiting for the fire to be contained.  I stayed in my home, like most of my neighbors, waiting to see if the winds would shift and move the fire in our direction.  We were incredibly lucky, as the winds never moved towards us.... and the next morning, this was the same fiery view:


For the next five days we lived without power, heat or internet service.  No stores, gas, restaurants available, but plenty of smoky air!  Here's what last Friday looked like, when all that smoke was blowing to the south and east, so that the San Francisco Bay Area got it's share of the fire smoke:


During the daytime I was able to sit and stitch in the afternoon sunshine.  In the evenings, I sat in my kitchen nook with lots of candlelight and crocheted while listening to audiobooks.  You can see Mellie in her bed under the table, my constant companion..... Cozy but slightly creepy at the same time, as it was totally pitch black outside!  Needless to say, we went to bed early each night, and woke up to check the skies and wind direction each morning...



As I write this, the power is restored in most of northern California, the fire is still being battled by thousands of very brave firefighters from all over the West, and MOST OF ALL, we are all truly grateful that the high winds have died down, this fire is starting to be contained, and Sonoma County residents are being allowed to return to their homes.

As for my new "AUTUMN TRAILS" in fiery reds and golds and teals, if you're interested in starting a fun fall design, please leap on over to my website and see the ordering information for this vibrant new geometric pattern! 


Friday, October 18, 2019

FYI: Spooky Stitchers...



Hey, All You Stitchers who have purchased my newest "SPOOKY HALLOWEEN SQUARE":
Just wanted to alert you to the fact that the sparkly black Kreinik #4 Braid 5008 I used for the spider web and spider is no longer available.    Rats.

It was actually called "Leprechaun" because it was a black metallic thread with flecks of green and gold in it.  But don't panic -- just use any fine black metallic you have in your stash, and if it has colored flecks in it, so much the better!  Kreinik still has 5001 and 5002 - both black metallics with colored flecks - and they would also work for spider webbing (and oh, yeah, I also used the sparkly black thread in the ghost's eyes and mouth).

You might also use some of Rainbow Gallery's fine Treasure Braid #4 size, such as the dark multi color TR79/ TR99 -- or really, any fine black metallic thread you have on hand.

So go looking in your thread stash, and I bet you can find something perfect for that little bit of spooky black sparkle in your piece!

HAPPY FRIDAY STITCHING, EVERYONE!!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Some Spooky Fun



 OOOOOOHHH.... it's so nice to see the trees in the neighborhood starting to turn colors...and while the days are still warm, the nights are definitely cooling down and the comforter has reappeared on my bed.  

To celebrate the changing seasons, I was also craving a new Halloween design to stitch, but I wanted it to be fun and fast to work up.  So I combined my love of ribbons with a bunch of Halloween elements that bring a smile to my face - cats, bats, witches' hats, pumpkins, candy corn, spider, and even a cute little ghost.  It's called "SPOOKY HALLOWEEN SQUARE":


The new 10" x 10" SPOOKY design is worked on 18 ct. canvas in the brown color (what I privately call the "old-fashioned" color of canvas).  It uses Watercolours 231 - "Ethiopia" and a fat bunch of DMC #5 pearl cottons, an orange Very Velvet, plus a few specialty metallics.  I enjoyed working all the zig zag or scalloped borders, then filling them in with lots of fun stuff.  And it DID work up fast, without having to work the background!  Here's a close-up of the center square:



Lots of seasonal treats, plus plenty of purple and orange colors - right?!?

So if you want a really fun Halloween project to get you in the right "spooky" seasonal mood, please hop on your broomstick and fly on over to my website, and check out the pattern information!

 

Friday, September 13, 2019

An Ode to Sunflowers



These are the only types of sunflowers I have growing in my yard this summer, but their sunny faces were inspiring enough for me to decide to create a fast and fun quilt design that features the same type of small sunflowers -- I'm calling the new pattern "SUNFLOWER DAYS":



I wanted to incorporate that traditional sunflower star block with a few easy peasy borders (stripes and checkers, 'cuz how fun are those to stitch??), and then add in something a little different: lots of tiny sunflowers (or black-eyed susans, if you prefer) using Lazy Daisy Stitches and French Knots.  Here's what those different elements look like up close:



Doesn't that look fun to stitch?  Nothing difficult in this design.... just pure sunflower fun!  Can you spot the lovely variegated thread in the photo above?  It's Caron Watercolours' 251 - "Sunflower Seed", appropriately enough.... You can also see that while the main parts of the design are stitched with #5 pearl cotton colors, the itty bitty sunflowers are worked with 3 ply of DMC floss. I also added a touch of shimmer with a soft wavy border done in creamy yellow Ribbon Floss!

I decided to make this 8.25" x 10" design as a rectangular piece, mostly for a change from working squares, squares, and more squares (!), but also because one of my other rectangular designs, "SUMMER DAYS" (see photo below)...

 
has been so popular over the years, I thought this new SUNFLOWER DAYS would make a lovely companion piece to it, but in a different yellow colorway.  (These rectangular designs make lovely pillows, by the way...)

So if you're in the mood to stitch up an armful of sunflowers to celebrate the end of summer, please mosey on over to my website to see all the ordering information on this new SUNFLOWER DAYS pattern!  And as always, HAPPY FRIDAY, Stitchers!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

It's Pumpkin Time Again!!

Are you ready for Autumn to arrive? 
Craving some pumpkin spice latte??
Looking forward to wearing sweaters again???

Well...how about stitching your very own PUMPKIN PATCH to celebrate the changing seasons??

I just posted an encore cyber class on my website offering the popular PUMPKIN PATCH again!
If you missed it last year, now's the time to sign up for this colorful project:
 

 
Yup... It's chock full of small, medium and large pumpkins.  
And a lot more besides: crows, squash blossoms, leaves, crows, and even a smiling scarecrow! 
Here's a look at the octagonal centerpiece:


It's just bursting with Autumn's colorful bounty, isn't it?

You can read more about the class particulars over on my website... and  psssst:
I guarantee you that this sweet 8" x 8" piece is just the thing to get you in 
the mood for Autumn!!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Happy Summer Flowers!!


Here we are in the heart of hot summer days.... and while my outside garden is struggling under high 90+ weather, at least my inside stitchery gardens are doing great!

In between working on several new projects for the rest of the year, I've been reworking a design I originally did for a Nordic Needle Club several years ago.  It's taken a while to combine all the class lessons, color graphs and diagrams into a condensed but comprehensive pattern that I can finally share with all of you.   And TA DA: this new pattern is finally ready and available on my website, so you too can stitch up a summer garden that doesn't wilt in the heat.  It's called PRAIRIE FLOWER GARDEN:


Yup.... it's another long panel piece that is truly a joy to stitch, with lots of sunny floral patterns to work up, section by section.  The overall design size is 7.25" wide by 18.25" long, and it's stitched on 18 ct. eggshell canvas.  I stitched the above model in the PINK colorway, but the pattern also includes a thread palette for a BLUE colorway as well.  You can see the two basic colorways below:



There are a few other threads included in each palette - two Ribbon Floss threads, as well as a finer gold Kreinik #8 Braid - which gives this panel a subtle sparkle throughout the piece.

And the fun focal point of this piece is the fantasy flower garden you'll stitch -- oh, there are lots of bright, happy flowers for you to create!  The small Mill Hill bee button is not included in the pattern, but your favorite stitchery store can order the bee button for you.   I've also included a stitched bee version that is very fun to work and add to your piece...  And pssst: here's an up-close look at the garden section:



Pretty Cute, huh??
So if you love stitching gardens, this is a GREAT counted canvaswork piece to add to your collection.
Please buzz on over to my website to see all the threads needed, as well as ordering information..... then get a piece of long canvas and look forward to stitching a very happy summertime garden!!  Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cool Blue Pinwheels!

I've stitched lots and lots of needlepoint quilts over the years, and recently when I had an urge to stitch up another one, I had the idea to blend my usual satin stitch quilt design with a little bit of blackwork.....in the hopes that it might look somewhat like an appliqued quilt.  You don't know if you don't try it, right??  So here's what I came up with:


I call it PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS, since it uses the traditional pinwheel quilt design, and I also used a yummy variegated Watercolours 295 called "Mountain Haze" in soft periwinkle blues and sage greens.

Below is an up close look at some of the pinwheel triangles and the blackwork flowers worked inside some of the open spaces....can you spot the triangles with the softly variegated "Mountain Haze" thread??  The body of the actual quilt is stitched with #5 pearl cottons, but the floral blackwork motifs use 2-3 ply of DMC floss, which creates a lovely lacy look to the flower inserts.  And if you look again, you can see that the flower colors alternate between light and dark flowers...and pssssst: I've even added some cream beads (included in the pattern) just for extra texture and charm!


I have to say I REALLY enjoyed working on this easy 8" x 8" project, with the diagonal satin stitching blended with sections of delicate blackwork flowers (done in 2-3 ply of matching DMC floss).  It makes a refreshing change from stitching the whole quilt in diagonal satin stitch, let me tell you!  And I've even included a pink thread palette as well as the cover model above, done in periwinkle blue.  I stitched my piece on the sage green mono canvas for a soft vintage feel, but you could easily stitch it on eggshell or even white, for a brighter, more contemporary look.

Honestly, I had so much fun stitching this sweet piece, I've got a few others planned in the same style, and I hope I can get them stitched up later this year.  Until then, if you want a really fun no-brainer project, please visit my website and see the pattern particulars for this new PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS design!