Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A New Quilt Design

I've just finished a new quilt design I call CUT GLASS DISHES.

The finished size is 10" x 10" on 18 ct. mono canvas and it uses a really different palette of thread colors - aquas, golds and browns. Here are the thread colors I used, centered around Watercolours 139, "Kelp"....

This design worked up quickly; even though there were lots of little triangles to stitch. But it seemed to stitch up fast - maybe because I like stitching all those little triangles! This time, I even put a zig zag row of triangles on the OUTER border edge, which is something I've been wanting to do on a quilt for the longest time.... and now I have!

Anyway, as much as I love this particular color version, I'm sure this quilt design would look stunning in many other color combinations.

If you want to try it with your own color choicess, please visit my website to order this new CUT GLASS DISHES pattern.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trunk Show!

Last week I spent most all my time printing up patterns for an upcoming trunk show at Needle in a Haystack in Alameda, California. They'll be highlighting my designs for the whole month of May, so I need to have a lot of stuff ready to ship to them this week. Because the store is "local" (i.e.: within driving distance), I'll actually be able to visit the store on Saturday, May 16th, for a "meet and greet" event that should be lots of fun.

The hardest part of getting ready for a trunk show (besides deciding how many patterns to print) is picking out which models to send. It's a well-known fact that patterns sell much better if stitchers get to see the actual model. As we stitchers all know, no photograph in the world can capture all the beauty of a real stitched piece. And matter how hard you try, you simply can't photograph the depth and sparkle of a dimensional stitchery project.

So I usually spend a day pulling out lots of my models and laying them out on my bed, to decide WHICH models get to go on a trip to a stitchery store...

So..... if you're in the vicinity of Alameda, California anytime in May, stop by and say "Hi" to Cathe Ray and her staff at Needle in a Haystack and check out some of my REAL models!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Birds are Singing

It's official: Spring is really here.

I know because there's a pair of very busy starlings feeding a nest of babies in a tree in my front yard. They've been at it for the past two weeks and the peepings from the nest are getting louder every day.

It reminds me of a project I stitched many, many years ago:

It came from a watercolor painting from a book called The Country Diary of an Edwardian Woman. Do you remember how popular that book was, and how eventually a cross-stitch book came out with her designs?

I actually cross-stitched this design on a 20 ct. evenweave fabric (Davos, perhaps?). And what I remember most about stitching it was that halfway thru the project, I fractured my wrist (falling off a spooked horse) and had to finish it with one hand only (the other hand being in a cast and propped up on my elbow). And let me tell you: it was the most torturously slow project I've EVER worked on. But I was determined to get it finished - broken wrist or not - and I finally did. Whew.

Consequently, every time I look at this project (which I made into a ruffled pillow) all I can remember is being propped up in bed, stitching painfully and very slowly on an awkward lap frame. But I also remember how determined I was to keep stitching, no matter what..... and even when I was laid up, I kept working on it and ultimately, finished the project (to my great relief and satisfaction).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Flowers

In-between rain showers, I went outside and took these flower photos.
Can anything be more sweetly refreshing than flowers covered with raindrops?

Clearly, they promise that Spring is definitely on its way....

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bargello and Roses

If you've been looking through recent issues of stitchery magazines, you may have noticed the reappearance of bargello. It seems to be popping up in more and more projects these days. And rightly so, since bargello is not only lovely to look at, it's also very fun to stitch.

I've wanted to stitch some bargello for quite awhile now, so I finally had an idea I wanted to try - mixing bargello with other stitching techniques. And here's what I came up with - my BARGELLO & ROSES:

I wanted to do a simple bargello pattern, but I also wanted to use a variegated color in the design, as well as add a bit of the unexpected to the piece. This design is worked on 18 ct. mono canvas (sandstone) with a variegated Watercolours thread, plus several #5 pearl cottons and one soft gold Ribbon Floss color.

For the unexpected element, I decided to add dimensional roses - in this case, bullion knot roses made with #5 pearl cottons. Here are the roses, up close:

While I've stitched my model in my favorite pinks and greens, I've also included a few other color options on the pattern (yellow, lavender, red) so you have several other color options besides my original.

The nice thing about this pattern is that you can also make a shorter version (not as long) that would make a beautiful inset in a larger pillow, perhaps with tapestry fabric on either side of the stitched piece. Originally, I wanted to make this bargello design into a long bolster pillow, but now I'm not so sure. A large rectangular pillow would also show off the colors and pattern nicely.

In any case, my BARGELLO & ROSES is available now on my website, if you're interested in trying your hand at bargello. (I was happily surprised at how quickly this design stitched up - it was a good "no-brainer" project once the first rows were established and all you have to do is repeat them. Then you have to work a bunch of bullion roses, but that went pretty quickly too...and before I knew it I had a finished pillow top!)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pineapples, Anyone?

I've always wanted to create a quilt showing off the pineapple block. It makes a really jazzy design, even though it's a thoroughly traditional quilt block.

Of course, when I think of pineapples, I think of Hawaii. And when I think of Hawaii, I think of bright tropical colors, like aquas, blues, and greens. So I found an appropriately tropical thread that met those color requirements (Watercolours' 236 - "Appalachia") and picked some matching colors and went to work. And of course, it had to be surrounded in happy aqua waves!

Here's the actual pineapple block close-up:

I suppose that those raggedy staggered rows are the "pineapples." And what's really fun about this block is that you have two different ways of using color in it, and both ways give you different looks to the quilt.

OPTION ONE: In the above block, you can see that the variegated thread is used on the vertical and horizontal pineapples.... and the solid colors are used in the diagonal pineapples.

OPTION TWO: The alternate version reverses those colors, so the variegated thread is used in the diagonal pineapple shapes, and the solid colors are used for the vertical and horizontal pineapples.

Either version is stitched the same way -- ONLY THE COLORS HAVE BEEN CHANGED. And - Voila (or maybe should I say "ALOHA") you have two different quilts!

Both versions are included in this pattern, so you have the fun of deciding which version you want to try.... and then maybe stitch another quilt in the alternate version. And if you want to try yet another way to stitch this design, try using just one variegated thread and one or two background colors (eliminate the two solid colors) so that your variegated pineapples will really stand out against a paler background. (There are so many ways to stitch this design, I had a hard time choosing which one to actually stitch for the model.)

Either way, you can be the designer on this one, and choose not only your own colors, but WHICH version of the PINEAPPLE QUILT you want to stitch.

ALOHA, all you pineapple -and quilt - lovers, this one's for you!!