Thursday, May 10, 2007

All Those Lovely Ribbons...

One of my all-time favorite canvaswork designers is Carol Costello.

She was designing the most exquisite things way back in the '80s. (She printed her patterns under the name, Fancy Work & Fantasies.) And I still think they're the classiest and most elegant stitchery I've ever done...even now. I stitched several of her designs, and still love looking at them and marvelling at their intricate beauty. And best of all: THEY WERE SO FUN TO STITCH!!

My sister Diane went to college down in Irvine, California in the '80s. She was in her needlepoint phase back then (she's a fantastic art quilter nowadays...) and when she went looking for a needlepoint store in southern California she found Nantucket West in Costa Mesa. And she discovered Carol Costello, who was teaching classes there. When Diane came home for college breaks, or when I went down to visit her, she would be working on Carol Costello designs and I fell totally in love with whatever project she was doing at the time.

Working on Carol Costello designs opened up a whole new world of canvaswork for me (and I'm sure a lot of other stitchers). All of her designs were counted on canvas, usually on the basic tan canvas, since that was the only "color" available besides white. I, of course, changed the color palette of her designs and stitched with more colors (hers were usually ecru on tan or very pale colors).

In the photo above, the piece in the background was intended to be ecru on tan, but I did it on white canvas in pinks and greens (my all-time favorite color combination). That piece is also rather unique because it is actually a selection of blackwork patterns - but done on 14 ct mono canvas - something REALLY ahead of its time! I have both these pillows on my bed today, and still love looking at them...and they still have things to teach and inspire me...

I remember vividly how much fun I had stitching those Carol Costello designs. In fact, that feeling of stitching something wonderfully different - something intricate and elegant, yet NOT DIFFICULT - has remained with me during all my stitching years. And it has been the benchmark for all the patterns I have designed. I always strive to create patterns that are a delight to the eye but not so difficult that they make you weep in frustration!

The joy of stitching should be just that: A JOY. If it makes you snarl, curse, weep, or fling something across the room, you are NOT having fun. And stitching should always be fun. It should be fun to learn something new; fun to add a new technique to your stitching repetoire; fun to share with friends; and once finished, fun to look at years later and remember how much fun you had creating it....

1 comment:

Itching To Stitch said...

Those are just beautiful pillows ;)