Monday, November 22, 2010

New November Piece

Remember a few months ago when I revealed my ONE LONG PANEL and said I'd be doing a series of long panels? Well, I've finished the next one, which I'm calling LONG AUTUMN PANEL. Here it is:

I found the novelty of working on a long rectangular piece very fun and quite a relief from the usual "square designs" and as I was eager to see the patterns unfold, it worked up very quickly. And because it's such a long piece (finished size: 4.5" x 16") and hard to see from the full view, I'll zoom in a little closer and show you the parts of it up-close:

I've chosen another set of fun and easy stitch patterns to use in this design and the colors are especially yummy and what I consider very Novembery (with Caron Watercolours 231 - "Ethiopia".) And like the first panel, I've chosen to stitch it on the brown or tan colored mono canvas, to give it a richer appearance.

I've also suggested another autumnal colorway on the pattern, if you would prefer to do this design in ORANGE AND TEALS. And of course, if you want to pick totally different colors, I give you the suggested thread types for doing that as well.

If you're interested in trying out one of these fast and fun panels, please visit my website: and see what's available!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Colors of the Harvest

Instead of my usual Friday Flowers, I wanted to share with you some of the spectacular vineyard colors that are carpeting the hills of Northern Sonoma County this autumn. Literally in every direction that you look around here you see all these amazing fall colors, as the wineries in the area gather up their grapes and are now in the midst of their "crush" season...

Cloverdale is at the northern-most edge of Somona County, and just a little way up Hwy 101 you cross into Mendocino County, where there are vineyards, too:

In the hills above Cloverdale, I've been fascinated by the vineyards that, seen from a distance, remind me of pieces of variegated corderoy:

I stopped along a Cloverdale road this week and took these photos, starting up close and then panning outwards to the larger panorama...

And here's a view looking southeast, towards what I think is Geyser Peak (since Geyser Peak Winery is just below it along the highway in Geyserville).

And would you believe that after a day of taking shots of golds and oranges and reds, the evening sky decided to give the vineyards a little competition by ending the day with this blood-red sunset:

May your weekend be filled with dazzling Fall colors - wherever you live!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's a Start!

Remember that PRAIRIE SCHOOLER alphabet project I showed you a while back?

Well, I'm happy to report that I have two more letters finished: H and I.

My mini-goal for this past weekend was to get the I IS FOR INDIAN CORN finished in time for Thanksgiving next week. And I'm pleased to report that I met my goal:

As you can see from the up-close photo, I "cheated" a bit by stitching the corn leaves in long straight stitches. I wanted to get them done quickly and thought they'd look okay for the corn stalks. Hey, it works for me!

I was so happy to have the Indian finished, because that means I can start on the next three letters: D, E and F, on the left side of the same row.

Is there anything more fun than starting a new project? Which is why it occured to me while I was finishing the Indian, that this alphabet project is the perfect project for someone like me who is always struggling with a severe case of "STARTITIS" ... (and for those stitchers who have the same disease, you can certainly relate, can't you?!?)

Within this large alphabet layout, I can approach the start of each letter/block as a separate project ... how fun is that?

Soooo, I've gotta run now -- I'm off to start F IS FOR FRIEND, and can't wait to begin an exciting new block for my growing collection of alphabet letters.....

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Oldie But Goodie

Recently, a stitcher contacted me about seeing an old quilt design of mine on someone's stitching blog. It was called SUNSHINE AND SHADOW.... and was it still available?

Here's the design she was referring to:

I created this pattern many, many years ago - it was one of the very first quilt designs that I stitched. And really, it was one of my favorites to stitch as well.
It's a 10" x 10" design stitched on 18 ct. mono canvas. But frankly, it never really sold very well, so later when I created my website, I didn't include it in my AMERICAN QUILT COLLECTION.

So imagine my surprise (and delight) when a stitcher in England enquired about it and asked if it was still available. I told her that yes indeed it IS still available and I've just printed out a copy to send to her.

Because her request made me look at it again, I thought I'd share it with you as well. It's different from all my other quilt designs because it's worked primarily in Tent Stitch (or Basketweave, which is really what I used). The variegated checker boxes alternate with squares of black Scotch Stitches. Lots of repetitive stitches and rather tedious.... BUT, I found the stitching relaxing and fun, and I really enjoyed seeing the surprising appearance of the variegated squares, since each one turned out differently, giving the whole piece a subtle feeling of real sunshine and shadow.

Here's a look at it up close, so you can see the easy stitches I used:

There are four different colors used in this piece, and I suggest four different colorways (all using Caron Watercolours) in Rainbow, Pastel, Amish, or Lavender options. Or you could pick out your own and surprise yourself as you stitch. (I'm seeing an orange and purple version that might be fun as a Halloween project.)

Anyway, this classic SUNSHINE AND SHADOW quilt design is still available from me (even tho it's not currently on my website), so if you're ever interested in stitching it up, drop me a line!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still Stitching....

Here's another "FUN" project I've been working on as the mood hits (and my eyes aren't too tired). It's The Prairie Schooler's set of alphabet letters.

The leaflets show these designs stitched individually on 18 ct. fabric, but I'm stitching them en masse, and on 24 ct. Congress Cloth. As the photo above shows, this project requires a really long set of scroll bars. In order to figure out the size of the overall piece, I calculated the size of each design on 24 ct. canvas, then cut pieces of paper to fit. Then I rearranged the paper pieces until I had a suitable arrangement for all of the alphabet letters.

I decided to have A, B, and C centered on the top row, and then there will be four more rows of six blocks - to make 27 blocks in all (the patterns have all 26 alphabet letters plus one extra block.) I forget the overall dimensions of my layout, but it's gonna be BIG. But I figure it will be a truly fantastic piece to see when it's done. And I really am enjoying working on each letter block at a time. Each letter has so many witty details, it's fun to look at while stitching.

Here are my B and C blocks up-close:

The stitch I'm mainly using is the plain ol' Tent Stitch - or Basketweave Stitch when I have the room. But as I stitch, if I can substitute other easy stitches, I do. Check out the little red house on the B block; and the satin stitched leaves on the C block; and also the itty bitty french knot trees in the C block. Nothing too stressful or difficult, but just a change here and there to add interest and dimension to the piece (not to mention speeding up the stitching time).

I was happy to get the G for Garden block done while the work on my yard was underway - it's one of my favorite blocks in the series:

Now.....on to the rest of the alphabet!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Still Stitching

In-between dealing with the backyard remodel, I have been doing dibs and dabs of stitching. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I thought I'd share with you a few of the "FUN" projects I've been working on, a bit at a time.

[Aside: a FUN project to me is one that I didn't design; MY designs I consider "WORK" projects and they require a different headset than "fun" ones. And yes, I'm stitching away on new projects to release in the next month or so, but you'll just have to be patient about those - grin!]

This truly fun one is ANG's 2010 "Stitch of the Month" mystery project, designed by Sue Reed. I was inspired to start stitching on this after I saw the REMEDIAL STITCHER's progress on her piece (Thanks, Sara Leigh!) If you go visit Sara's blog, you'll see how different hers is from mine...

Instead of using my favorite spring pinks and greens, I settled on more autumnal mauves and salmons with golden greens that reminded me of chrysanthemum colors - the inspiration thread was a variegated thread that I dyed myself to use as the foundation for the piece. I also used #5 pearl cottons thruout the whole piece, which is different from the original thread list, just because those are the threads I pulled and was too lazy to go digging for the necessary floss colors...

If you really look close at my mystery piece, you'll notice that my outer tapestry boxes are different - I switched the threads, so that the diagonal boxes would be slightly different. I was curious to see the difference in switching some of the lights and darks - so I just did it! I'm looking forward to seeing what November and December have in store for this piece and then finishing it up by the end of the year.

This is a fun counted canvaswork piece, and it's free. If you would like to try it for yourself, just go to the American Needlework Guild website: and click on the Stitch of the Month project listed under the Educational Opportunities menu.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Few Distractions

I must confess that during these past few weeks I haven't been in my usual "All Stitching All The Time" mode. But I have a really great excuse: I've been in the midst of a backyard renovation.

These past few weeks have seen a flurry of workers transform my boring, bark-filled backyard from this:

to this:

WOO HOO! Which means that now, with a new flagstone patio AND a lovely lawn, Katie and I can actually walk out into the yard....and we're BOTH extremely pleased about that! As you can see, Katie is already relaxed and ready to play ball in her new space:

This week I plan to go shopping for a few trees and a bunch of shrubs to screen that boring ol' fenceline. And I can't wait to get to the really fun part: planting flowering bushes and lots of bulbs for springtime....