Monday, February 27, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #6

Recently, I was printing a batch of my STARRY NIGHTS pattern and my eye was taken by a section of the piece that I thought would make a good little ornament.  Here's the section that caught my eye - it's outlined in lime green:

And because I was in a pink & green mode, I pulled these threads:

    Watercolours 058 - "mocha rose" for my variegated thread
    DMC #5 pearl cotton, 936 - dark avocado green (for the borders)
    DMC #5 pearl cotton, 3350 - dark pink (for the brightest accent color)
    DMC #5 pearl cotton, 962 - medium pink (for the medium accent color)
    DMC #5 pearl cotton, 963 (or 818) - light pink (for the lightest accent color)
    Fyre Werks Soft Sheen FT38 - dark pink (for the ribbon metallic accent)

I started doodling around with some stitches and came up with a really sweet little design.
It's only 3.75" x 3.75" in its finished size on 18 ct canvas.  I used a 8" x 8" piece of "rose blush" pink canvas, but really any color will be fine, since you stitch over all the exposed canvas in this piece. Or if you want to pull your own thread colors, just use a canvas color that works with your threads.

And here's the first graph of this design for you to follow:

Start in the center of your canvas and create this off-set star design first:

Please note that this star is created with an ODD number of 9 stitches in each arm, thus the center empty square is a 9 x 9 box.  (Having a 9 x 9 base to work with lets us easily create a checkered border that has 3 x 3 mosaic squares.)  And you can see that I've poked holes in the center area to denote a 5 x 5 square center that we will fill later with something fun and easy and cute.....

But for this first installment of Mini Mystery #6, just complete your checkers with your DARK border color, so you have something that looks like this (but go ahead and add the variegated stitches that give you the second set of arms on your star):

That's all for now.... I'll see you next Monday with the next fun part!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Floating Hearts

I was reading some blogs today and was charmed by Ann Stradal's posting of her needlepoint heart pillow on THE CAPE STITCHER.  It reminded me of an old design of mine called "HEARTS AFIRE" that stitchers occasionally order from me.  Here's what it looks like:

 I originally stitched it on eggshell canvas that has flecks of gold in it, but it could be stitched on lots of different canvas colors.  Basically,  I was just playing around with filling heart shapes with different compound stitches.  Here's a  close-up of a couple of the hearts:

I used Caron Watercolours 028 - "Confetti" on this model (2 skeins) with a handful of #5 pearl cottons and metallics as well.

I quick added it to my website today in the Sampler Collection, in case any of you are tempted to start a new heart project today -grin!

Or maybe you'd like to start working on my "LITTLE VALENTINE" freebie design, just like Coni is doing on her blog, SPINSTER STITCHER...  If so, here's the graph for you to print out at home (click on the photo, then go to Print Preview and enlarge it to fill the page, then Print. If that still doesn't work, email me and I'll send you the graph via email):


Monday, February 13, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #5, part 3

Well, here we are half-way through February. Can you believe how swiftly the year is moving? Yikes, before you turn around it will be spring and time to pull out those springy projects. (Or maybe like me, you've already started working on some springtime pieces, just because the weather has been so spring-like and not at ALL like winter.)

So.... are you ready to finish this little design? It's an easy one to whip up isn't it? Wait until you see the next few layers I've created for you!

Here's the graph for the next layer of "soft" metallic stitches. Use whichever secondary metallic you've chosen (it may be a different type of metallic entirely or perhaps just a different color - that's up to your unique color and thread palette) and follow this graph:

You're going to be adding some Rhodes Squares that fill up those blank square areas, so work your squares like this:

Although it has just occurred to me, as I write this, that you could fill your blank squares with EYELETS, so you'd have a hole in the middle. And then you add a few beads in this design. Does that interest you? Then work your squares with these type of eyelets:

Sometimes I find it easier when working with the flat metallic ribbons to work my eyelets by going in EVERY OTHER HOLE first. That way I can gauge if there's enough thread coverage of the canvas... and then if I want more stitches, I go around again in the remaining holes. Working this way also "spreads out" or layers the threads in a more symmetrical fashion so the ribbon doesn't bunch up in the hole.

NOTE: You may also need to enlarge the eyelet hole with your needle, so there's room for all the stitches you put down into that center hole. And voila! You have eyelets in your piece.... which allows you to add whatever size or kind of bead you want to embellish your piece with.

At this point, your Mini Mystery #5 can be considered finished.  Here's what my first piece looked like:

And I was very pleased with my serene blue and aqua ornament.

But then  I got to wondering what this design would look like on another color of canvas. Because I was starting to feel a bit of spring fever, I decided to stitch a second piece using white #5 pearl cotton and pale metallic ribbons on Rose Blush (pale pink) 18 ct. canvas.  Here's what it ended up looking like:

But even after I finished the pink model, I wondered what would happen if I added yet another type of metallic thread as a subtle accent color.  This time I chose a finer metallic -- Nordic Gold ND12 -- and followed this graph (which adds an additional layer of stitches to the previous graphs):

And here's how my final pink piece ended up:

So you see, this simple little design has LOTS of potential for multiple versions, colors, and thread choices.  Go ahead and play around with this one.... I hope you enjoy working up a few of your own combinations... and in the meantime I'll be playing with even more threads and stitches to make the next Mini Mystery... 

See you next time, Mystery stitchers!

P.S. & Update.: For those of you curious about the blue & aqua threads I used in the top photo, I used a thread I dyed myself that's very similar to Watercolours 019 "Tropic Seas" with two YLI Ribbon Flosses - 144-009 (ice blue) and 148-045 (aqua/opal). Again, please try any other thread or color combinations that you have in your stash... this is a really good design to play around with!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Flowers: Raindrops

Oh, blessed rain!

We had a little bit of rain this week, so I went outside and snapped some shots of flowers right after the brief rainstorm.  And the closer I looked, the more glistening raindrops I found on the new spring blooms  . . .


(Can you tell I REALLY LOVE to take up close raindrop shots???)

Well, enjoy these rain-kissed photos, and have fun stitching this weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #5, part 2

Time for the next installment of our #5 Mini Mystery! It's a pretty darn easy step this week... plus being pretty as well. We're going to add some metallic this Monday, so get your brightest, sparkliest metallic ribbon in your needle, then study this graph:

You're going to add a layer of Rhodes Stars (large ones and smaller ones), plus a few long straight stitches that connect the stars to each other. Work all these new stitches amongst the variegated stitches you've already worked. Here's an up-close stitch diagram of the metallic stars you'll need to add:

And TA DA -- that's all for this week. It's a short one, I know, but adding a little bit of sparkle is always exciting no matter what size the project, don't you think?

We'll add another layer of "soft" metallic stitches next week (the more glitz the better, right?).... plus I'll share an additional/optional "upgrade" layer with you, so you'll have another way to stitch this project up if you choose to. See you then!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Flowers Returns: "Winter Whites"

I know it's been ages since I posted a few Friday Flowers, but I thought it's time to start up again.

When I was working in my backyard last weekend (pulling weeds and neating up all the dead stuff) I uncovered a few patches of white violets shyly blooming underneath the shelter of larger plants:

I was surprised to see them because the blue violets are all sleeping and nothing but their stubs are visible, waiting for true spring to arrive. So this little white flower was a delightful surprise:

And even winter foliage can be lovely to look at this time of year. Aren't these pink-edged ivy leaves lovely?

And even when the garden is "sleeping" there are all sorts of interesting patterns that can be found if you look around a bit...

In another part of the garden, here is the first camillia to bloom - it's a new "yellow" camillia (even though it's really a pale cream) - that I bought with great excitement last year in a small nursery a bit further north in Ukiah (Northern California). It's suddenly sporting lots of small flowers with rather floppy and ragged petals:

Their fuzzy yellow centers are still hiding, but will probably reveal themselves in the next few days...

I hope you are all enjoying your winter gardens, wherever you live... and of course, getting plenty of stitching done, too. Happy Friday!