Monday, November 28, 2011

Mini Mystery #2

We've turned over the autumnal leaf of Thanksgiving weekend and now we're in the madcap straightaway leading up to the Holidays... Time to really get those stitching fingers busy, if you're planning to create a few last-minute gifts!

Because we all have a jillion things to do now, this next Mini Mystery is a small one, so it's fast and easy to finish. You'll need a piece of 18 ct. mono canvas that's at least 7" x 7" - any color is okay, since you'll be stitching over all of it anyway.

[PSSST: The finished size of this small ornament will be determined by the choice you make next week about your border row. If you stitch just ONE border row, your finished mini mystery project will measure approx. 3.25" x 3.25". If you stitch TWO border rows, your finished mini mystery project will measure approx. 4.25" x 4.25". But don't worry, you don't have to make any decisions now... that's for next week!]

In any event, the threads you'll need are:
- one variegated Watercolours of your choice (you'll use 1/4 of a skein or so);
- one dark color #5 pearl cotton for the border (you'll use 1/4 skein or so);
- one light color #5 pearl cotton for the background (ecru or pale hue - and just a few strands);
- one bright accent color metallic ribbon thread (1/2 skein);
- one base metal metallic ribbon threads (silver, gold, copper, etc. 1/2 skein)

And hey, if you want to use stranded floss or silk, that's perfectly fine too. And if you want to work on 24 ct. Congress Cloth, that would make them even MORE special! These mini mystery projects are very adaptable and intended for you to experiment with threads and colors.

To begin, poke a hole in the center of your canvas and then stitch this central star:

It's one of my favorite motifs - the quilter's lone star; But this one has metallic tips on the star ends, which you stitch with the bright accent color of your chosen metallic; My stitched star looks like this, using the same thread palette I used in the first Mini Mystery project:

After you have your central star stitched, fill in the middle with a big Rhodes Diamond using your base metal metallic ribbon color, so it looks like this:

And then, with your darkest #5 pearl cotton color, add the corner triangles so it looks like this:
And to complete the stitching on the central block, add the background stitches, using your ecru or lightest color of #5 pearl cotton:

Here's my central block:

But that's enough for this Monday.... Next week we'll stitch the border row around the central block. You'll have the choice of stitching one row or two, and that will change the size of your finished ornament... but more on that NEXT Monday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Holiday Ornaments!

As promised last week, I've got a new pattern to share with you called HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS SERIES 2. Here's what the four new quilt-y ornaments look like:

I've chosen several more quilt designs that I enjoyed stitching in their larger versions - Falling Leaves, Feathered Diamonds, Missouri Star, and Cherokee Star - and made smaller, ornament-sized designs.

Here's a close-up of the Falling Leaf design:

Each ornament is approx. 4.5" by 4.5" on 18 ct. mono canvas (you can use eggshell or sandstone or any other color you prefer). And the threads I used were: Watercolours 025 "Holiday", DMC #5 pearl cottons 304 (2 skeins if you want to do all four in the series); 890 (2), ecru (2). . . as well as two metallic ribbons: YLI Ribbon Floss 144-001 (or Kreinik 1/16th 017HL) and Ribbon Floss 148-039 (or Neon Rays+22).

NOW HOLD YOUR HORSES, NELLY: before you rush over to my website to order this new pattern, let me tell you that I've spent all morning working on my website, not only adding the new data but trying to add new PAYPAL and CREDIT CARD purchasing options for all my patterns (which should make it easier for all of us), but after much teeth gnashing and hair pulling, I'm not able to publish the updated website YET - due to a slew of problems on the host site that they say will hopefully be resolved in a few days. So, after many deep breaths and a big chunk of dark chocolate, I'm trying to be patient and calm about this setback and hope you will be too. If you need to order this new HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS #2 immediately -- please give me a call or email me and we can chat about it... plus the joys of modern technology...or how many days are left for stitching holiday projects... or what your favorite brand of chocolate is - grin ....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Mystery Monday

Time to finish your mini mystery project...

Here is the next step for building your outer border area:

And here's the graph for it, starting on the upper right-hand side:

You have two choices here: 1) stitch your big corner Rhodes Square right up against your existing work (upper right-hand corner shown on graph); or 2) count up/over 8 canvas threads and start diagonal satin stitching your outer border over 3 canvas threads. (I suggest working on the outer border first, because you have a few more options to consider for your final border filling that is coming up next, so just read ahead before you start stitching - grin!)

Okay, here are your two choices for filling the wide border area:

I stitched my model with the LEFT border. And after I stitched it up, I thought that the RIGHT border would be equally interesting, so I've included it here for you to consider. Here's the option I stitched:

The graph for the LEFT border looks like this (and yes, it's a partial graph, so you'll have to stitch the rest of it on your own):

And the graph for the RIGHT border looks like this:

Notice that the big Rhodes Square in the corner changes color in the above graph. I've made it gold instead of red.... you can make your squares ANY COLOR YOU WANT! But I might also tell you that making all those Rhodes Squares uses up a lot more thread, so keep that in mind. If you only have a limited amount of a certain thread, you might opt for the first border, which uses less amount of thread - although there's more metallic in that border, so keep that in mind as well.

And speaking of metallics, when you're stitching ornaments, isn't it a good idea to put as much sparkle as possible? I mean, that's what catches your eye when you hang your ornament up, isn't it? So think about how much metallic you want in your design and especially for the holidays, the more glitter the better, right??!!

And TA DA! Here's what your finished mystery ornament should look like (more or less - grin):

I hope you enjoyed working on this little design.
I'll be posting another one next Monday, so stay tuned... and keep stitching!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Ornament-Making Time!

This weekend I'm going to the Marin Golden Threads EGA group to visit my stitching friends and teach one of my HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS, SERIES 1 designs. In preparation I've been finishing up my ornament models and this is how I've finished the first set:

As you can see, I've finished two of them as squares and turned two of them "on point". I was going to make my own twisted cable trim out of #5 pearl cottons, but found some ready-made trim at a local garage sale (I suspect it originally came from Costco) that matched perfectly, so I used that instead - how easy is that?

(And in case you're wondering... On the back of the ornaments, I've laced up the canvases over a cut piece of mat board and then hot-glued a piece of cut felt to cover the kaka mess underneath.)

And just because I wanted to see what the "shining star" design would look like in different colors, I stitched it up in fall colors (using a variegated thread I dyed myself):
It has a totally different look, doesn't it? (It reminds me of a harlequin fabric, for some reason.... ) And I found this gold braided trim sold by the yard at Joann's Fabrics. This particular design is very fun and fast to stitch up, so it didn't take any time at all to finish.

[DESIGNER ASIDE: I had so much fun finishing these ornaments, I decided to design another set of holiday ornaments for this year. Stay tuned as I reveal the next set of ornaments on my blog next week!!]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini Mystery Monday

It's Monday again....
And here's the next element of your mystery ornament:

Which is graphed like this:

And then after you stitch all the empty blocks with this new element, your overall center area will look like this:

BUT WAIT! Before you start stitching, check this out: maybe you'd like to try a different block in that space, which is graphed like this:

And then your overall center area would end up looking like this:

Aww, shucks.... did I forget to mention that there might be some choices you can make to personalize your mystery ornament?!? (grin!) You can also switch the thread colors around, if you want to play with them as well. That's the fun of these elements -- you can "mix & match" with colors or threads or stitches and come up with a fun and original ornament of your own.

But for this Monday, YOU decide which element you want in your ornament... and maybe you can stitch up a second ornament later with the secondary element I've included, just for fun to see the difference!

[Psssst: Here's another idea for you to consider -- try stitching up just FOUR of the blocks to make a mini-ornament! With the outer border that'll you get next Monday, the finished size of a mini-ornament will be 3" by 3".... Or if you just stitch the four little blocks and add a simple diagonal satin stitch border row, you can create an even smaller ornament that's just 2.25" x 2.25", which would make a truly tiny ornament - or maybe a scissor fob??! Just another idea for you to play with - grin...]

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Mini Mystery" Monday

I was playing around with a few simple stitch elements this weekend, and came up with a rather fun ornament design. It occured to me that it would be fun to create a small "mystery" project that I would run only on my blog - and only on Mondays.

So the beginning "clues" to this little mystery ornament are:

A) The finished design willl be 4" by 4" on 18 ct canvas.
B) You'll need a piece of 18 ct. canvas that is at least 7" x 7" in size - whatever color you want to use is fine.
C) For threads, you'll need: just a 1/2 skein of Watercolours; one dark color of #5 DMC pearl cotton; one medium or bright color of #5 DMC pearl cotton; and one metallic ribbon that matches your variegated thread (such as Ribbon Floss, Kreinik 1/16th Ribbon, Neon Rays+, or any other metallic ribbon that you like to use)....and yes, it's perfectly okay to use ANY combination of thread types you want to try instead of the ones I've mentioned!

Here's the thread palette I picked:

Watercolours, 047 - "Camouflage"
DMC #5 pearl cotton, 319 - dark green
DMC #5 pearl cotton, 3685 - medium garnet
YLI Ribbon Floss, 047 - honey/copper

To start this little "mystery" project, find the center of your canvas and poke a hole with your needle, for a reference point.

At the center of your canvas, stitch this motif:

So it looks like this (but in your colors):

Then repeat the motif so it looks like this:

That's all for this week.... see you next Monday for the next part of the "mini mystery."

Friday, November 4, 2011

A New Shadow Stitching Class

I know the busy holiday season is rapidly approaching even as I write this, but I'm going to go ahead and offer a new cyber class that will start AFTER the new year -- on January 10, 2012. It's another shadow stitching class I'm calling "LITTLE PANSIES" and here's what it looks like:

The class will run for just four weeks and it will feature a few more shadow stitching patterns, a few fun borders, and some simple embellishment stitches. I'll be printing the 8" x 10" canvases myself, so you'll be stitching on a photographic image printed on 18 ct. mono canvas. The design size is approx. 6.5" x 6.5" and because it's a small canvas, it stitches up very fast and is darn fun to work on!

Soooo, if you're interested in signing up for a short cyber class to celebrate surviving the holidays and reaching the New Year, plus stitch up some cheerful flowers in the midst of winter, visit my website and click on the CYBER CLASS page for all the detailed information.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Colors

Now that it's November - and how did THAT happen already?!? - it's time to change the masthead on my blog. I've slipped in a partial photo of an old design (and one of the few purely "cross stitch" graphs of mine) called PUMPKIN HARVEST. (ASIDE: the photos in the mast area always mysteriously appear in a totally different crop size than the way I've actually done them, so please forgive their slightly weird look - I can't control why it does that...)

Anyway, I consider PUMPKIN HARVEST a cross stitch design, even though I stitched the model with Tent Stitches (half cross stitches) on regular tan/brown 18 ct. mono canvas. It's my favorite technique for stitching cross stitch graphs in HALF the time... (Well that's the pecular way I convince myself to do cross stitch projects, and I'm stickin' to it!)
That's not to say you have to do it my way at all... It can easily be done on your favorite cross stitch fabric, whether it's aida cloth or linen.

I always enjoy looking at this row of colorful pumpkins when I bring it out around Thanksgiving, and I thought you'd enjoy it too!

And just to add a little bit more November color to this posting, I'm closing with a few glowing photos of the pumpkins on my front porch. Enjoy!