Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are You Ready???

Do you have all your Halloween decorations out?
Have you bought plenty of Halloween candy?
Do you have a costume yet?

I've got some pumpkins on the porch, next to several pots of chrysanthemums (gotta have mums around at Halloween...) and I've got an autumnal wreath on the front door. Plenty of candy on hand, too. Although, even though I'm close to the local middle school, I don't get a lot of trick-or-treaters...But I've got plenty of candy (the kind I like, of course, just in case I'm forced to eat it afterwards...ha, ha). And I've even got a bright orange Halloween bandana for my dog Katie to wear, so she can be appropriately dressed for the occasion. (Although the ringing doorbell does start her barking frantically...Who ARE all those STRANGE people coming to the front door?!?...)

And I've got a few Halloween items hanging around the house that I've stitched over the years. It's nice to have another holiday to display our stitchery projects around the house, isn't it? Although I'm missing the HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign shown above. It's currently in New York at a trunk I hope it's making lots of people smile and get in the Halloween spirit. One of the things I forgot to mention in the pattern for HAPPY HALLOWEEN is that the quilt blocks I used in the design are somehow related to the Halloween theme. The block names include: Card Trick, Toad in a Puddle, and Bats in the Belfrey, to name just a few that I can remember...

I do have this other design hanging in my house: HALLOWEEN CATS. Which I think is also very cute. (I've done it on 18 ct canvas, but it can also be worked on Aida cloth or other evenweave fabric.) I meant to send it away as well, but it was the only item I couldn't fit in the box, so I kept it here with me, while the others went winging their way across the country...

Anyway, I hope you're all ready for Halloween...Have a safe and fun evening!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Been Crazy Here!

I HAD intended to get more blogging done this fall, but ...OOPS, here it is the end of October and I'm still working at a hand gallop to get lots of other stuff done.

Over the past few weeks I've had to pack up and mail trunk shows to two different needlework shops - at totally different sides of the country. One trunk show is currently displayed at Ladybug Stitches in Bohemia, New York and the other is at Quail Run Needlework in Scottsdale, Arizona. Both shops are primarily painted canvas stores, yet they both requested my designs to show stitchers the fun of doing counted canvaswork.

And I'm pleased to report that the stitchers seem to be enjoying the change of stitching scenery! I've had excited phone calls from both stores saying the patterns are flying out the door. Well, THAT'S what I like to hear....It certainly gives me plenty of satisfaction to know that stitchers are eager to try my designs and maybe find a new needlework passion - in COUNTED CANVASWORK!
I always tell people that counted canvaswork is EASY...I mean, come on, who doesn't know how to count? And that's really all you need to do -- thread your needle, count (carefully!) and then stitch it on your canvas...It's not so scary -- REALLY!

And just to show you I'm not a TOTAL counted-canvaswork-a-holic, I'm showing you a few of the (ahem, many) painted canvases I have hidden away in my personal stash. (Like I have time to stitch these in addition to my own designs...but that's another story....) The top little canvas was a gift from a stitching friend...who surprised a bunch of her stitching friends with a little Halloween treat like this one! Boy, were we all delighted! Alas, I haven't stitched it up in time for this Halloween...but I'm hoping by NEXT year.....

And when I went into my local stitchery store (The Regal Rabbit in Windsor, CA) I fell in love with this gothicly cute Halloween house. I LOVE HOUSES, and this one sorta reminded me of a mini House of Seven Gables...but at first, I couldn't figure out what the gold curvy thing next to the broomstick was.It looked like the Cheshire Cat's smile to me. But then a friend looked at it and said it might be the handle of a garage door. AHA! Now I see it - it's a two-door garage for the witch's broomsticks. Pretty clever, huh? I've only done a bit of stitching on it - just the black crows (in a sparkly black Ribbon Floss) and the house siding (in a suitably gothic Needle Necessities overdyed floss) but I'm hoping I can get more of this stitched in the next few days....(dream on, Laura...)

And isn't that Halloweeny needle holder CUTE??
I love it - it's just perfect for all those Halloween projects. And it's another gift from a stitching buddy. We stitchers do love our stitching goodies, don't we?

Okay...gotta fly!
(Where's that broomstick when you need it?!?)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

For All You Ribbon Winners...

this quilt's for you.

It's called STATE FAIR, and I was inspired to design it because of all my stitching friends who enjoy entering their stitchery pieces in the local or state fairs every year.

On the pattern I say that "this quilt was inspired by all of the county and state fairs that take place every year throughout the country. It reminds me of all the ribbons that are handed out to everyone who participates and contributes with their pride and hard work - whether it be in the domestic arts, livestock, or atheletic areas."

I tried to work as many ribbon motifs into the piece as I could. And I used a variegated colorway that has red, blue, green, and gold colors - all ribbon colors. And there's some soft gold metallic ribbon stitches added to give some extra sparkle to the piece. Even the "quilted" border has a ribbon banner look. And it was rather fun to stitch. And if you love to bead, there are certainly places to add a few gold beads in the centers of triangles or diamonds....

I also tried something different in this quilt design: I mixed and matched quilt blocks. Instead of repeating the same block four or nine times, I alternated two different blocks, which gives a more complex and sophisticated look. I'm liking the look of this quilt....and plan to do more of this mixed block technique. So stay tuned for more quilt block adventures for your needle and thread!!