Thursday, May 14, 2015

Need a Guardian Wolf??

 Everyone needs a furry guardian to watch over them now and then, don't they?

Well, here's one that's watching over me in my office now, and he's called THE SENTINEL, by Sandra Gilmore.  I was asked by the owner of FLEUR DE PARIS, the distributor of Sandra Gilmore painted canvases, if I'd be interested in creating a stitch guide for this canvas.  And of course I said, "YES, YOU BETCHA!"

Here's what the whole finished piece looks like:

The most daunting task with this piece was choosing the threads.  I mean, look at all those greys -- Ai Yi Yi!!!  It was tough deciding whether to go with cool greys or warm greys... and then making them match the soft merino wool Bella Lusso threads I used for the wolf's coat.  I can't tell you how long it took me a while to narrow down my options, but once I did, I was able to start stitching.  And in this case, I worked from the bottom up to the top: starting with the snowy ground (all done in sparkly Ribbon Floss ribbons); then working the birch trees (tent stitching the outlines and colored bits, then long stitching the remaining areas), which were tedious but not hard at all; and then tent stitching the background sky with diagonal stitched branches.

As you can imagine, I was a bit anxious to tackle all that fur, but again, I started at the bottom by the snow, and worked my way upwards, following the colors on the painted canvas and angling my longish diagonal stitches to follow the lines of the wolf's body.  Here's an up-close look:

Actually, it was easier to do than I expected, and once I got going, working each color at a time, from darkest to lightest, I really enjoyed it.  I left the face for last....and then carefully stitched each of the facial features.  Also, before I started stitching I googled "wolf" to get some reference photos to work from, which helped a great deal.

All in all, I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out this beautiful canvas and bringing THE SENTINEL to life (the finished size is 12" x 12" on an 18 ct. painted canvas).  If you are a wolf lover, or just need your own guardian wolf, please check out my new stitch guide for THE SENTINEL by Sandra Gilmore on my website, or order it and the canvas from your favorite stitchery store!

P.S.: If any of you are going to the TNNA trade show in Columbus this week, you can see my model at the FLEUR DE PARIS booth.  So please stop by and say hello to my furry SENTINEL!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Flowers: Azaleas

Azaleas!  It's all about the azaleas this weekend of The Masters in Augusta!
I've been busy running errands, plus printing and mailing lots of my new 
SPRINGTIME WREATH pattern this week.... all in hopes of clearing my desk
and looking forward to a Masters Marathon, watching tv and stitching this weekend. 

But seeing those luscious pink flowers reminded me to pull out my AZALEA COLLAGE
and hang it in my hallway, to enjoy my stitched version of these elegant flowers.

Well, YUM,,, Love, love, love these springy pinks and greens!
What better way to enjoy these bright blooms than to stitch them so they never fade;
that's my way of thinking, anyway.
But for one of this weekend's projects, I'm gonna finish up my small "R is for Rabbit" piece,
from Prairie Schooler's Alphabet (oooh, and it's got  more pink & green, imagine that):
I'm stitching this 4" x 6" cross-stitch design on eggshell 18 ct. mono canvas, using 
4 ply of DMC floss in plain ol' Tent Stitch.  Easy peasy, really, and something
I find very tranquil to do in-between other large, complex projects.
I'm almost done.... so I'll certainly be hopping over to another project in my stack.
hope you have a restful and stitchful weekend, too!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Egg-cell-ent New Wreath!

Oh, all you Springtime Lovers.... have I got a new pattern for you!
It's my new SPRINGTIME WREATH, that is filled with all the happiest things of Spring --
pastel flowers, decorated eggs, and a soft chick and bunny.

There's so much going on with this wreath, that it's hard to take it all in, isn't it?  
When I started stitching it up, I began counting out from the center point,
working the velvet ribbons and bow first; then adding all the eggs, doing them one by one. 
 The bunny and chick came next (done in touchable-softBella Lusso merino wool);
 then I wove the small basket and filled it with plump eggs.  

Adding lots of pastel flowers came next - 
daffodils, pansies, open tulips, and tiny pink blossoms were fitted between all the larger items
 on the wreath.  I selected a variegated ThreadworX #5 pearl thread for the wreath foliage, 
that is worked in an easy Pavilion Diamond variation to fill the background 
behind all the wreath items.  

After everything was stitched, I finished my wreath by adding a handful of beads (included with the pattern).  I also went back and outlined each egg with a simple Stem Stitch, using the softly variegated ThreadworX, to make each egg stand out a bit from the wreath greenery.

Like any stitchery project,
 if you break down this SPRINGTIME WREATH into manageable steps, and 
focus on each step at a time, it really isn't so difficult.... and as the piece begins to take shape
right before your eyes, you can celebrate the process (as well as the joys of spring) -- 
and take pride in creating something that you'll enjoy displaying every year!  

So if you're up for a new wreath to display in your house, please hop on over 
to my website and see the thread list and other information for ordering

Friday, March 27, 2015

Egging You On...

Are you getting into that springtime Eastery mood yet?
I think springy stitching projects are the best mood-lifters after a long grey winter,
and I'm always in the mood to work on something with soft spring colors,

But around Easter it's really fun to stitch up some eggs, like these 4.5" x 5.25"

And if you REALLY like Easter eggs, how about this large BARGELLO EGG:

Go visit my website and take your pick....
 then get to work stitching some Eastery surprises for your friends and family!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring is Busting Out All Over

Are you seeing signs of Spring in your neck of the woods? 
 Here in northern California everything is bursting with tender green leaves

And gardens are filled with lots of bright colors...

It's the right time of year to start a springy new project, that's for sure!
If your daffodils aren't blooming just yet, you can always stitch up a bouquet,
 with my classic DAFFODIL COLLAGE pattern:

 Or are you a tulip person?
Here's my softly pastel PINK TULIP COLLAGE:

If you crave something a little brighter, how about the SPRINGTIME RIBBONS piece, 
which features lots of fun flowers, bunnies, chicks and eggs:

Or brighter still, here's a vibrant HAPPY EASTER/HAPPY SPRING! project that's perfect for hanging in your entryway or making into a happy pillow (you can find the pattern under my American Quilt Collection):

Can you guess that Spring is my favorite season?? Anyway, over the years I have created many wonderful springtime projects that are sure to lift your spirits and get you into a happy stitching mood.  If you're craving a dose of sunshine, please visit my website to see these and other springtime designs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Elegant Egg

I've always been fascinated by Faberge eggs, with their incredible craftsmanship, elaborate detail and luscious colors. And I've always wanted to try creating them with stitches (since the chances of ever owning a REAL one are totally non-existent!) 

So here's one I've stitched for this season, called IMPERIAL EGG I:

I wanted to try replicating the enamel patterns used by Faberge on his eggs, but instead of using precious jewels, I would use my needle and thread with easy stitch patterns (this egg has a simple bargello pattern), and subtle variegated silk threads (for the egg and ecru ribbon border).  Add a elegantly pale background pattern and some discrete vintage gold sparkle, and you have a very fun project to stitch up for the Spring season.

I've worked this egg on 24 ct Congress Cloth, and the finished size of the whole design is 6.5" wide by 8" tall.... Not too small - not too large -- just right!  I chose to create a mauvey-pink egg (with Waterlilies 249 - "Geranium"), but it can certainly be worked in any favorite color. To change the colors, you just need to pick out 2 skeins of a Waterlilies silk thread, a matching solid-color silk, and a matching metallic ribbon thread.

If you want to try creating your own Faberge egg, please visit my website to see more of information on this new IMPERIAL EGG I.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Flowers - A Corsage You Can Stitch!

 Amongst all these camellia photos I've planted a new pattern for you to find!


It's called CORSAGE, and looks like this:

If you like stitching different blocks of stitch patterns and flowers as much as I do, this pattern may be just the thing for you! (Oh, Yum, wouldn't this make a luscious pillow, inset in a rich velvet fabric?)

It's a small piece; just 8" by 8" on 18 ct. sage green canvas, but it packs a lot of fun stitching inside it.  I chose four of my favorite composite patterns and just played around with how they would look, using a variegated skein and a handful of matching threads. I also wanted to highlight one of my favorite flowers - the gardenia - so that's the flower I chose to stitch in the middle of the blue model (although the stitched flower also looks like a camellia as well).

 BUT WAIT!  Here's what's neat about this pattern: you can also choose to stitch a different flower in the center -- a simple rose (or dogwood) that looks like this:

 And here's how the flower looks in the pink version I also stitched up (although I could have also stitched the flower in pale pink, for an entirely different look):

 The pattern gives you thread palettes for BLUE, PINK, PURPLE and RED colorways, so you can start stitching without spending lots of time playing with threads...

In any event, there are lots of fun choices to make with this project; because you get to personalize it with YOUR favorite colors and flowers.  So if you're in the mood to stitch something flowery after a long cold winter, CORSAGE might be a good project to celebrate the approach of Spring!  ( By the way, I taught this piece as a cyber class a few years ago, but haven't released it to the stitching world until now.... so if you missed this fun project in the past, now's the time to add it you your stash! )
Please visit my website for more of the pattern details....  and of course,