Monday, April 29, 2019

Stitch Up A Spring Garden!


 
Here in Northern California, I'm seeing irises starting to bloom in the neighborhood gardens.

And that reminds me that it's time to release a design that's only been available as a cyber class project for the past few years.  The popular "FLEUR-DE-LIS" is a very sweet floral sampler measuring 8.5" x 8.5" on 18 ct. sage green canvas.  I love stitching these floral pieces, since they're not too large, not too small -- but JUST RIGHT for a pleasant bit of springtime stitching!


The woven borders and dappled variegated background evoke a latticed garden, with squares of irises done in fun composite patterns.  And the pattern has thread palettes for either a BLUE or PURPLE version, as shown by the main pearl cotton threads below:


I LOVE thinking up fun stitch patterns that mimic the flowers highlighted in each of my floral designs, so if you look closely at the photo below, you can see some of the irisey stitches I've created to use in the pattern squares.  You can also see a bit of the variegated Watercolours that is used in each of the four boxes, which provides a lovely wash of soft colors that compliments the main flower colors:

 
So, Stitchers, if you're in the mood to stitch up a quick spring garden, please tip toe through the iris beds and head on over to my website, and look under the Secret Garden Collection to see all the ordering information for this newly released "FLEUR-DE-LIS" pattern! 
And HAPPY SPRINGTIME STITCHING!!



Friday, March 29, 2019

Something Different for Easter....

I've always had a special fascination with hand-dyed Ukrainian eggs, with their exquisite detail and unique craftsmanship. Many years ago, I worked with a woman who dyed Ukrainian eggs every year, and she shared many of her egg books and pictures with me.  I was so inspired, I designed and started stitching up a project that featured Ukrainian eggs, but eventually I reached an invisible design wall, and stopped - because I was stumped and couldn't think up a good border for the piece.

Recently, I dug around in my project vault to find that original piece.... then used it to graph it and stitch it anew, and also figure out a border that pleased me!  Here's the design I stitched and now offer as a new 2019 spring pattern for you - my UKRAINIAN EGGS:


I wanted my piece to have a vintage or folk art feel to it, so I stitched it with traditional primary colors on 18 ct. brown canvas.  I think it would look brighter and much more contemporary if it were stitched on eggshell or sandstone canvas.  And if you are REALLY brave, you could even stitch it on black canvas for a truly traditional folk art look!!

This piece uses just a handful of #5 DMC pearl cottons - and there are no variegated threads in this piece - gasp!!  And while I considered adding a bit of gold metallic, I ultimately decided that the folk art eggs don't have gold on them, so mine should just have traditional colors and no metallic on the eggs.  Although I did add a sprinkling of translucent gold beads around the wrapped roses in the corners of the borders - just for a festive surprise element.

Working interesting geometric patterns with #5 pearl cottons and then placing them into the curving egg shapes was the real challenge.  The stitches themselves are not difficult at all, but counting and fitting them into the egg shapes require close attention to counting and using the graphs.  I even created a larger Main Graph (as I always do) but decided that each egg needed a separate and larger graph so you can easily see all the stitches.  Here's the Top Egg up close: 

  
Pretty different from my usual pastel springy stuff, huh??  Using these bolder colors was fun, actually.... and I created the golden lattice and the green boughs in the border to be motifs that are reminiscent of Faberge eggs.  As you can see, the outer scalloped border was the one I finally chose to finish off the piece, with tiny bits of primary egg colors peeking out around the border.  The scalloped border softens the piece and adds a bit of lacework to compliment the folk art theme.

If you are a fan of Ukrainian Eggs like I am, please gather up your egg basket and skip on over to my website, which has all the information about this new UKRAINIAN EGGS design.
........ and Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone!! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Another Springy Thing!

Craving a new geometric project that gets you celebrating the spring season in soft pastel colors?
How about my encore SPRING PATCHWORK cyber class??  I offered this fun class several years ago, and it was so popular I decided to offer it again this year, for those of you who might have missed it.... or maybe would like to stitch it in another colorway:


It's a 8.75" x 8.75" design stitched on 18 ct. eggshell mono canvas, with a handful of luscious threads that include a variegated Waterlilies, a few Splendor silks and a soft metallic ribbon.  Each stitcher gets to choose between these kit color palettes:



All of these lovely floral colorways are mixed with a soft green border that create a patchwork design that reminds me of a traditional quilt block, as well as a stylized knot garden.  The stitch patterns really aren't difficult, and as with so many geometric pieces, once you set up the borders all you need to do is fill in the spaces with the appropriate repeating pattern....something that can be done at a leisurely pace and in your own good time -- perfect for a soft and sweet spring afternoon!

If you're in the mood for a new counted canvaswork design that celebrates the heart-lifting colors of spring, please skip on over to my website to the SPRING PATCKWORK cyber class registration information.  And I hope your first spring weekend is filled with lots of sunshine, flowers, and stitching!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Western Valentine!

Dark, dreary February is the perfect time to stitch something in warm colors - like deep rich REDS! And I was actually craving some puffy red hearts..... so I took an old favorite quilt design of mine (Arizona Star) and revamped it a bit.  I added some metallic red hearts that would brighten the grey days of February ---  and came up with a new quilt I've decided to call "WESTERN HEARTS":


It combines a more complex quilt design with a rather limited color palette, plus I've included some small padded hearts as well as the larger Rhodes Hearts, done in metallic Ribbon Floss. (They are very fun to stitch and add a bit of whimsy to the traditional quilt!)  The photo below gives you an up-close look at those shimmery hearts:


I wanted a old-fashioned, vintage look to my piece, so I worked a two-tone background in cream and tan, which you can see in the above photo.  But if you want a brighter, more contemporary look, I recommend working the whole background in just the lighter cream color.  

As I was stitching this piece in reds and browns, I also thought it would look great in a more masculine blue and brown palette, so the pattern gives thread lists for a RED or BLUE colorway.
I didn't stitch up a blue model, but the Watercolours thread used is 018 - Peacock (one of my favorites) with the solid color blue being #5 DMC 825.  Equally yummy!!

So if you too are craving to stitch a sweet western valentine, please mosey on over to my website and check out all the particulars for my new "WESTERN HEARTS" pattern....
Stay warm and cozy and stitching, Everyone!
 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Wintry New Cyber Class

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Stitchers!

I've got a lovely new cyber class piece to share with you today, called BLUE IRIS SQUARE.
Many years ago, I designed this piece and stitched it with Bravo! A102 on 24 ct. Congress Cloth and it looked like this:


I've done a lot of blackwork, but always with colors or variegated colored thread.  I enjoy seeing the surprising watercolor wash that appears when you use a variegated thread in any project.  For blackwork, using pale colors isn't terribly effective since it makes the patterns harder to see.  For this piece, I used medium toned threads, so the patterns are softer, but still visible.

Recently, when I pulled this small project out of storage, I was curious to see how this blackwork design would look on 18 ct. canvas.... so I went ahead and stitched it up in another soft pastel thread, BRAVO! A119 - bouquet.  Here's what the new piece looks like:






This is not a difficult piece, Stitchers; the floral stitch patterns are pretty simple and there are really only a few types of stitches used: a diagonal satin stitch (for the borders), smyrnas, cross stitches, and a backstitch variation that works best for blackwork.  Easy Peasy!!   And I LOVE the larger 9" x 9" size on the 18 ct. eggshell canvas.... it makes is easier to stitch, and easier to see the color progression of cool blues and lavenders that wash over the whole design.  Take a look at the blackwork patterns up-close:


So, Stitchers, if you've been curious about trying some blackwork -- or you'd like to work on a light and airy piece at the start of the year  -- please consider signing up for this fun new project.   I'm offering this BLUE IRIS SQUARE as my first cyber class of the New Year -- and also keep in mind that you get to choose between the two kit colors -- BLUE or TEAL!

If working on a pleasant blackwork/geometric project tickles your fancy, please saunter on over to my website and see all the class registration information....

Monday, December 17, 2018

Trimming The Tree

It's that time of year when you can never have enough Christmas trees, right?!?

Last month I had an idea to create one more stitchable tree for this year's holiday offering, and I scrambled to get the model stitched and the pattern completed, so I could share it with you.  And VOILA! -- here it is -- my new holly jolly BARGELLO CHRISTMAS SQUARE:


Working on the festive four-way bargello pattern certainly put me in the holiday spirit early this year!  (And watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies definitely kept my in the proper holiday mood - grin.)   Lots of reds and greens and LOTS OF SPARKLE are in this design - with plenty of shimmery metallics and beads sprinkled throughout the whole design.

The outer background area is stitched in a simple Four-Way Stitch, using 1 strand of variegated ThreadworX #8 1049, with tiny gold and green Upright Crosses placed on the intersections for a subtle shimmer.  Even the outer border has a festive feel, with tiny little trees marching along the borders, each topped with a gold seed bead: 


I stitched the whole bargello design first, leaving the center area for last.  I knew I wanted to create a small tree, but wasn't sure how much detail would fit.  I needn't have worried.  My tiny decorated tree fit the small space just fine!


Honestly, working on the central little tree was even more fun than I expected.  After first backstitching the tree outline, I placed red and gold ornaments inside; then, filled in the rest of the tree with random straight stitches in two shades of DMC #5 greens.  I decided to add some textured tinsel on the tiny tree, so I loosely strung gold tinsel lines with Kreinik #8 Braid, then couched the curved lines down with red and gold beads - and added a fat red bead for the tree topper.  Sweet!!

All in all, this new holiday design was a delight to stitch - nothing too difficult (except paying attention to counting the bargello rows correctly - always the biggest challenge in any counted canavaswork design, right?)... so if you would like to add another tree to your holiday line-up, please jingle on over to my website and check out the information on my new BARGELLO CHRISTMAS SQUARE.  And HAPPY STITCHING HOLIDAYS!!

Friday, November 30, 2018

A New Novembery Quilt

Every so often, I get a craving to stitch up another quilt design.  And this month I was in the mood to work in purples and burgundies....so I went searching through my Watercolours skeins to see what would call out to me for an autumn quilt.


I chose the skein at the bottom, Watercolours 184 - "Sheherezade" with all those yummy purples and golds, so I could also sneak in a bit of metallic ribbons in purple and burgundy.

Here's the new quilt I designed and call "AUTUMN STARS":


Honestly, I can't get enough of those traditional quilty stars.... and I find myself returning again and again to playing with them in new and different ways.  This design incorporates some fun and easy stitch patterns in the star centers - checks and stripes - and uses them in the outer borders as well, which gives the design a contemporary art quilt look.  And I gotta tell you: there's nothing difficult about this one and the whole piece is just plain FUN, FUN, FUN to stitch on a cold night by the fire.  
Here's a close-up look at one of the purple stars and the border:



And because this has such a rich, autumnal feel to it, it would be terrific to change out the colors if you wanted to work your own fall quilt.  How about blues and golds?  Teals and oranges??  Just find a variegated skein you're crazy about, and then match your solid color #5 pearl cottons and two rich metallic ribbons, and you're good to start stitching!!

So if you're in the mood to stitch up this satifying new AUTUMN STARS quilt, please mosey on over to my website and you can find all the pattern information on my American Quilt Collection page.....