Monday, March 26, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday, #7 part 1

Time to start another mini mystery project... and because it's finally Spring, I decided we needed to create a sweet little floral piece to celebrate.  Does that sound fun to you, too?  Good!  Let's get started....

You'll need a handful of springy threads, like these:
   -  a variegated thread like Watercolours (I chose something like 003 - "Meadow" because it has pink, blue and lavender in it. Another favorite of mine is 088 - "Mountain Meadow", because it's a lighter pastel mix, with pink, blue, lavender and yellow as well);

  -  two green DMC #5 pearl cotton colors - one dark, and one medium or light (I chose DMC 367 & 368);

  -  two DMC #5 pearl cottons that can will be your "flower" colors (I chose DMC 760 & 209);

  -  one metallic ribbon-type thread for your "sparkle" accent (I chose Ribbon Floss 148-021, soft gold);

  -  a piece of 8" x 8" 18 ct. canvas in whatever color you prefer (I chose my "fav" sage green canvas).

And here's the first part of the design for you to start stitching, using this graph:

The overall thread count of this piece is 76 x 76 threads.  Which makes it 4.25" by 4.25" on 18 ct. canvas.  If you want to stitch yours on 24 ct. Congress Cloth, the piece will end up being apprx. 3.5" by 3.5" in size.  (And of course, with a smaller canvas, you'll need to use finer threads as well!)

To begin: from the center point of your canvas, count out or up to start working the "lattice" pattern.  Use 1 ply of the 3-ply variegated Watercolours to stitch your whole lattice area, leaving a nice big diamond-shaped opening that we'll fill later on...  This lattice pattern is one of my favorites, because it's so fun to fill with so many different types of stitches. 

Then stitch the outer scalloped border - skipping two canvas threads beyond your lattice work - with 1 strand of your dark green DMC pearl cotton color.

I'll see you back here next Monday with the second part of this sweet piece.... Until then, happy stitching!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Need a New Project?

If  in the next few weeks you happen to be down in Southern California, near Anaheim, and you're looking for a needlework shop to browse in and whip you into a stitching frenzy, please visit Needlepoints, Ltd. in Garden Grove, California. They're a great shop with a wide assortment of inspiring needlework.

I just recently sent them a nice big trunk show with many of my latest models and lots and lots of patterns...

Check them out at Needlepoints, Ltd. and if you're lucky enough to visit the store, please say "Hi" to Diana and her crew for me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Favorite Flowers

Spring is here, no matter what the weather in your neck of the woods!

And if you can't get enough flowers  in your life, why not stitch some? 
Here's a very popular quilt design from my website in the American Quilt Collection, called FLOWER SAMPLER:

I stitched it many years ago with a Rainbow Gallery thread (Overture V95 - "Phoenix") because it had such lovely soft springtime colors -- peaches, pinks, and seafoam greens.  It was very fun to pick out all the quilt blocks I could find that had a flower theme.  And because there are so many different blocks, it's a fun quilt to pull out just a few of your favorites and stitch them as a small springtime ornament, like this:

I enjoyed stitching the scalloped border on this design, because I had always wanted a quilt with that type of border detail.  Then I added an extra border with more flowers peeking up at the edges:

I've got this FLOWER SAMPLER piece currently hanging in my house this season, so I can enjoy all the flowers.  I keep thinking I'd really love to stitch it again in different colors, especially since there are sooooo many more springy variegated threads to choose from... but alas, I have so many new projects underway, all I can really do is look at this old favorite and smile....

Hope it brings a springtime smile to your face as well!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New March Pattern

I've been in a joyfully productive springtime mood these last few weeks and am happy to show you my newest spring design called LONG SPRING PANEL:

This happy springtime piece uses little bits of stitched ribbons to divide the four different floral patterns that make up this new long panel. I couldn't decide which pastel variegated thread to use, so I've included two different colorways on the pattern  (plus I list the thread types used, for stitchers who want to create their own color palettes).

One colorway is a "cool pink" palette (the model shown above) that is stitched on sage green 18 ct. canvas. It features Watercolours 064 "Pale Lilac" and weaves a touch of lavender throughout the piece. The other colorway is a "warm pink/coral" palette that can be stitched on eggshell canvas and uses Watercolours 053 "Coral Blush" as its inspiration. Here's a snippet of the warmer pink version for you to see up close:

It's such a fun and easy piece to stitch up (I finished the first model in a week) that as soon as I completed the first version, I started to work on the second one... and am enjoying stitching it just as much as the first!

When I got the first model finished, I had planned to just add beads, but in a burst of springy inspiration, I realized that the tiny ribbon flowers are exactly the right size to hold a few small buttons. I went looking through my old button bag and came up with a few good buttons, but I also visited the local fabric store and found these adorable shell flower buttons that were perfect for the piece:

They add a very charming vintage springtime touch, don't you think? 

So if you have a collection of small buttons you'd like to add to a stitched project or if you're just in the mood for something new and springy  to stitch right about now, please visit my website to see more information on this design. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #6, part 3

Did you have fun stitching all your tiny boxes?   Good.

Now we get to fill in all those boxes with cute little elements that really make this design pop.... and you'll be adding a touch of metallic sparkle as well, so get ready for some fun stitching!

And you also get to choose whether or not you'd like to add some beads, because that will dictate HOW you fill your little boxes.

FIRST VERSION: I filled all my boxes with Rhodes Squares, so it looked like this:

Some of the boxes are filled with 1 ply of the variegated Watercolours, some are filled with 1 strand of the dark and medium accent pearl cotton colors, and some are filled with 1 strand of the metallic ribbon color.

So if you like that look, follow this graph:

SECOND VERSION:  If you want to add beads to your piece, you'll have to stitch something different in your little boxes (which are 5 x 5 threads, by the way).  So, because you have an odd-numbered space to fill, you'll have to create an Eyelet variation like this:

And that way you have a center space in which to add your beads. As a guide, use the whole graph shown above, but substitute Eyelets for Rhodes Squares, wherever you want to put them...

You may choose to alternate your fillings in the boxes or mix them up...and you'll have to choose your beads, as well -- that's all up to you!  (And since I didn't stitch a beaded model, you'll have the added surprise of seeing how that finally looks.)

Anyway, when you're finished, I hope you enjoy looking at this little design as much as I do!!  I think the little Rhodes Squares kind of look like gum drops.... and they definitely add a fun texture to this piece.

And psssst, just between you and me, I loved the look of this little piece so much, I started designing a LARGER piece that is built around this sweet little one.  I'm calling it "COTTON CANDY" and here's a sneak peek at it:

It is sooooooo much fun to stitch, I'm planning on stitching it up in a second colorway, too.  So keep an eye out for this fun new quilt pattern that I will release later this Spring...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Got Spring Fever?

These past few weeks I've been kept busy printing lots of patterns. Sometimes the orders come in waves with certain designs (usually the newest ones) being the current favorites.  And sometimes the weather gets stitchers in the mood to start new projects and also revisit older designs.  Case in point: I've had a flurry of requests recently for an old floral collage favorite, my BEARDED IRIS COLLAGE... (and I'm guessing there are quite a few stitchers out there with real bad cases of Spring Fever, ahem!):

Actually, I have this piece hanging up in my house right now, because every time I look at it, it makes me smile.  And it's also a gentle reminder that I have my own irises to look forward to in my garden.  A gardening friend gave me some extra irises to plant in my garden last fall, so I can't wait to see if they bloom later this spring.  They're looking very healthy and strong right now, but I have no idea what color they will be... but a very nice surprise for later this spring, I think...

So for now, I'm enjoying this piece in my house, with the warm, soft pastel colors of the Watercolours thread I used here (which is named, ironically, "Harvest").  The soft apricot colors are a yummy match for the dark greens in the borders.  And I've always thought it would look equally "iris-y" to use the same "Harvest" Watercolours, but select a family of soft purples instead of the apricots, and then stitch a purple iris in the center. Wouldn't that be a wonderful springtime project?

Here's an up-close look at the variegated threads....

See that pale purple color in the variegated thread used in the upper left box?  Can you just picture a soft purple iris stitched in those colors? (Maybe that periwinkle family of DMC 333, 341, 340?)  Sigh... I wish I had time to go back and re-stitch this in those purple colors just to see what it would look like, but I have to let it reside in my imagination, while I go on to stitch on a fresh batch of new designs....

But for those of you who are starting to get a bit of spring fever right now, maybe you'd like to stitch up a BEARDED IRIS COLLAGE for YOUR fantasy garden, as a gentle reminder that Spring is indeed just around the corner...

Happy Stitching this weekend!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #6, part 2

This week you'll need to add a few simple borders, so you can see the full size of this piece.

Follow this graph for the first part of this Monday's installment:

And after you have some of the borders established, start making some small boxes in the body of the design, so you can now follow this graph:

It looks like it's going to be a small traditional quilt design, doesn't it?  Well.... it might be,
but then again it might take another turn entirely and become more geometric and jazzy.....

You'll just have to stay tuned and see what happens next...

Happy Monday Stitching!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Going Back to a Past Season

Remember this?
My LONG AUTUMN PANEL from last year?

I know we've left autumn way, way behind us now, but just this morning I've finished revising a thread palette for a stitcher who really wants to work the LONG AUTUMN PANEL in something without purples or greens in it. And I thought I would go ahead and share the thread combination with all of you too (since I'm sure there are plenty of stitchers out there who don't want to have so much purple or green in their projects either - grin!)

I've created a dusty blue and orange version that uses these threads:

 And it's really quite yummy in a serene blue and orange kind of way...(and notice there is no purple or green in sight, ahem...)

The thread palette I've pulled centers around Watercolours 010 "Fiesta" (2 skeins)
and uses DMC #5 898 (2), 920, 921, 930, 931
with Ribbon Flosses 148-032 (2), 144-005 (2), 148-047 (2)
 and Kreinik #8 Braid 002HL.

So if you're ever in the mood for a blue and orange color scheme, remember these threads - they might be just the combo you've been looking for!