Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Flowers: Camellias

It's been a long time since I posted some Friday Flowers, so I thought I'd celebrate the first week of Spring by showing off some of the camellias that have been blooming in my garden. I'm fascinated not only by their delicious colors, but as I look closer and closer within each flower, I'm drawn to their petal patterns - how each flower unfurls and often reveals a symmetrical design.... (pssst: if you want to really see each flower up-close, click on each flower, to enlarge them one by one.)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Egg-xact List

For those stitchers who are ordering my latest BARGELLO EGG and would like to get stitching on it as soon as possible, here is the exact materials list so you can order the threads and have everything ready to go as soon as the pattern arrives:

13" x 16" 18 ct. mono canvas, in white (or any other color you want to try, and if you get a fancy type of canvas - like the ecru with gold bits or white with opal bits you wouldn't have to even stitch a background around the egg - just a time-saving thought...)

Caron Watercolours 270
- "Easter Egg"

DMC #5 pearl cottons (1 skein each):
209, 435, 605, 604, 744, 745, 989, 3348

YLI Ribbon Floss 148-048 (which is a very soft ecru and gold metallic)
[A similar Kreinik thread would be Kreinik 1/16th RIBBON in 5555 or 9100]
[Also, if you want to use a brighter, truer gold metallic ribbon, use Ribbon Floss 148-021 or Kreinik 1/16th Ribbon 210.]

And for the background, I used Rainbow Gallery's Hi-lights H623 (which is very fragile, I must admit, so for a sturdier thread, use Kreinik #4 or #8 Braid 9100 or 091 - both pale yellow)

Also, here are the different design dimensions, so you can be thinking about which finished design size you prefer:

Just the Egg design size is 9" high by 7.5" wide, so if you have a 3" border around the egg, you need a canvas at least 13" by 16".

Egg with a 1" background surround area has a design size of 11" high by 9" wide, so you need a canvas at least 13" by 16" all the same....

Okay, all you happy stitchers, let's get hoppin' on all those Springy projects!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Celebrate Spring!

Here in Northern California, we're being deluged by lots of rain. That hasn't stopped the daffodils and camellias from blooming though.

To celebrate Spring this year, I got stitching with pastel threads early and was able to finish a new pattern called BARGELLO EGG before Easter arrives! Woo Hoo! Here it is:

It's a LARGE egg -- 7.5" x 9" -- on 18 ct. mono canvas. I stitched it on plain white canvas (something I haven't done in a long while) but it could also be stitched on eggshell, any of the pastel colors, or even the white with opal sparkles canvas....

(Psst: The actual colors of this piece are slightly softer and more muted - true pastels. For some reason, my scanner insists on brightening pastel colors and I can't get it adjusted to match the original. But trust me, the real egg is softly pastel!)

It uses one skein of a new Caron Watercolours color - 270, "Easter Egg" (and how appropriate is that?!?) with a luscious handful of springtime pearl cottons, as well as a very soft metallic Ribbon Floss. I've included an optional background pattern (that looks like rows of little eggs) which I stitched in a soft Hi-lights thread. If you want to make a stand-up egg you wouldn't need to stitch the background... or if you wanted to make a pillow and add a real ribbon bow on the top of the egg, you might want to use another background thread that isn't so fragile.

In any event, here's an up-close look at the spring motifs that run along the center of the egg (they were very fun to stitch):

And as an added bonus, I've included a smaller Easter egg pattern (3.5" x 4.5")that could be whipped up as a matching ornament as well.

If you've had enough of winter and dark colors, you may be ready to hop into Spring with a new pattern.... so check out my website for more information on my new BARGELLO EGG.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time for Chocolate!

Are you in the mood to stitch something yummy?

If so.... have I got the project for you!

It's my newest quilt design called "BOX OF CHOCOLATES" and boy, is it delicious:

The inspiration for this piece was actually a photo I saw in a magazine for a pillow that had lots of pink circles on a chocolate-colored background. It reminded me that I had a skein of Watercolours' 081, "Black Cherry" that I'd wanted to use in a quilt of some kind. Then I flashed on a box of chocolate-covered cherries - and VOILA - a new project was born!

The trick was to create the illusion of round candies in a box, using the geometric grid of needlepoint canvas. I modified a geometric circle so it looked sorta like a round dark chocolate-covered cherry (squint and use your imagination a bit, and you'll see the cherry center, the layer of juice, the fudgey gooey layer, coated with the dark chocolate cover - YUM!). Then I decided to add some square-ish milk chocolate-covered raspberry truffles between the cherry motifs.... and what the heck, why not throw in a ripply border of strawberry cream (pretend those round dots are bits of strawberry, okay?) Here's a close-up of a section of the design:

And to create the fancy chocolate box effect, I added a handful of over-the-top striped metallic borders and finished with a scalloped edging that brings to mind a romantic, lacy candy box. Is your mouth watering yet?!?

Well, mine was, while I was stitching up this design.... I enjoyed every minute of this project. All of the candies were fun to work: they all have Waffle Stitch or Rhodes Star centers done in Ribbon Floss metallics, so there's a LOT of flash and sparkle in this piece. And the scalloped border was especially fun, since I think it's nice to do something besides a straight ol' border now and again!

And while I love the pink and chocolate color combo, the pattern also gives a rich red and chocolate version, (for all you red lovers out there!)

The pattern also contains an additional smaller pattern for a little matching box of chocolates that would be super cute as a mini-ornament or gift for a chocolate-loving friend....

Anyway, if you're craving a really sweet new project, check out my new BOX OF CHOCOLATES, available on my website now.