Monday, April 30, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday, #8, part 1

Well, it's Monday again!  And that means it's time for another Mini Mystery.

I confess I've been working on my larger designs these past few weeks, and haven't been in much of an "ornamental" frame of mind... so when I decided to put another mystery piece together, this fast and easy quilt-y one seemed like a good  one to share next. 

And I thought I'd try something a little bit different this time around... Instead of giving you all the borders to do first, we'll focus on the center block of this little design and work outwards from there. Okay?  I hope that works for you; in fact I'm guessing that lots of you stitch all your projects like that, so I'm going to try it this time around.

In any event, the finished dimensions of this little piece will be 4.5" x 4.5" on 18 ct. canvas (or apprx. 3.5" x 3.5" on 24 ct. Congress Cloth, if you want you stitch it that way; if so, use finer threads like Wildflowers, Encore!, #8 pearl cottons, Treasure Braid Petite, #4 Braid for your piece.)

You'll need an 8" x 8" square of 18 ct. canvas; it can be white or eggshell or you can use a colored canvas.  This design can be stitched without the background stitches (which you don't have to think about until the last lesson), so you'll see the background canvas when you're done, if you want to do it that way -- it's just a bit faster to finish if you don't stitch the background!!

Grab a handful of threads.  I used pearl cottons - my favorite "go to" threads - but of course you can also used stranded floss or silk if those are YOUR favorite threads:
  -  a variegated #5 pearl cotton (Watercolours, Overture, or any other favorite variegated pearl cotton);
  -  a dark colored #5 pearl cotton for the borders;
  -  a bright color of #5 pearl cotton that will be your accent color;
  -  a ribbon metallic that matches/compliments your accent color pearl cotton; and
  -  a thinner #8 braid metallic in a base metal color (silver, gold, copper, etc.)

And here's the graph you can follow for the center section of this little mystery:

And if you want a close-up graph, here's a quarter section that will help you see the stitches better, and you can turn the graph around to stitch the other quadrants of your piece, as you come to them:

You'll see that this design starts out with a quilt-y center block - all stitched with easy Diagonal Satin Stitches.  Easy peasy, right?!? I usually start by stitching the variegated stuff first - I consider that my "foundation" stitching which sets up the framework of the design - then I go on to work the other pearl cottons next, followed by the metallic stitches last.

 Next time we'll embellish the center block with a few different stitches and add the second metallic thread as well.

Have fun picking your threads and starting your block, and I'll be back next Monday with the second installment!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Print Those Mystery Graphs

To those of you who are having trouble getting the Mini Mystery graphs to print larger, I'm afraid the program is rather limiting in allowing a much larger printout. 

The best advice I can offer for printing a larger version of the full graphs are these instructions:

   -  Click on the photo so it is centered on your screen
   -  Hit FILE on your upper menu bar
   -  Click on PRINT PREVIEW
   -  In the Scale box, go down the list and click on SHRINK TO FIT
   -  Then click the LANDSCAPE box (not the PORTRAIT size)
   -  Go ahead and PRINT out only PAGE 2
   -  The graph will be cut off, but you'll have 3/4ths of it in a larger size to use

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Cyber Class!

"Oh, Spring has sprung;
The grass has riz;
It's time to tell you
What the next Cyber Class is!"

How's that for a silly bit of poetic license?!?

I so enjoyed creating my first cyber class last year, CORSAGE, that I thought it would be fun to use the same design format but change the flower and the stitching patterns.... And this is what I came up with:

I'm calling it "FLEUR-DE-LIS" after the famous flower of French royalty -- the Iris.  It's finished size is 8" x 8" on santa fe sage green mono canvas.  I think I'm entering my "blue phase" of the year, because I really craved working on something blue & green. And because irises come in so many colors, I wanted to focus on a more royal blue this time, like my favorite dwarf irises that have bright gold centers.

I chose the variegated Watercolours 289 - "Lexi's Blues" to create my blue palette, although I also created a purple palette for an additional color option using the always yummy Watercolours 006 - "Amethyst".
Here are the basic thread palettes for the two color options -- BLUE or PURPLE:

Although I hasten to mention that there are lots of other threads used in the piece as well, such as DMC floss, Ribbon Floss, a variegated ThreadworX for the background, and a finer Kreinik braid too.

So if you happen to be in a royal blue mood.... or maybe a royal purple mood.... please visit my website and click on the CYBER CLASS page for more information on this upcoming cyber class.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #7, pt 3

Woo Hoo!   It's time to finish up this Springy floral design!

If you've chosen your floral motifs and filled in the background lattice with the flowers of your choice, now you can fill in the large central diamond.

Now there are LOTS of different things you can put into the center box....

I've graphed out two different options, but there may be something else you'd like to put in your box.  How about a large initial to personalize it for yourself or a friend?  Go looking through your reference books or  stitching magazines  or cross stitch patterns for interesting alphabets that might work for this size of opening.

How about a large button of some kind?  A big fimo or ceramic button that fills up the box ( a flower? a bunny?  or anything else that comes to mind?)  or something that might just need a bit of stitching to fit....

Here's one STITCHED way to finish your center diamond, if you used the large flower elements:

And here's another STITCHED version, that matches the small flower elements:

Or, you can mix and match the different centers with whichever pattern you stitched on your piece.  The choice of how you want to finish off this ornament project is totally up to you!

And then of course, there's another decision you have to make:  beads or no beads?

Hmmmm..... Well, I opted for french knots in the metallic Ribbon Floss to finish off my model, but you can add as many beads as you'd like... or whatever kinds of beads you'd like to show off in your design....

Here's my finished model using french knots instead of beads:

So really, you can see how flexible this design is. There are sooooo many different ways to stitch this design up, I know you'll have fun playing with it.  (After I finished my springy pink and purple version, I wished I had tried a more monochromatic version.... maybe one in the palest pinks or lavenders?  Or what would this look like in soft whites and golds?  Sigh... so many possibilities, so little time to stitch them all.)  Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed stitching it thus far.... and continue to enjoy finishing it up in your unique style.

As always.... Happy Mystery Stitching!!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Old Favorite

Talking about my FLOWER SAMPLER last week got me to thinking about another old sampler design of mine that has been ultra-popular over the years -- the SAMPLER QUILT:

It's a large design -- on 18 ct. canvas it's 12" x 14" and it basically used 2 skeins of a variegated Watercolours thread, 2 skeins of a medium and dark #5 pearl cotton, and a ball of ecru for all the background areas.

This design is so adaptable to so many colors and sizes, I can't begin to list them all. Just pull your favorite variegated threads, a few solid colors and start stitching - this is a fun feast for the eyes, let me tell you!

I've stitched this pattern at least four different times: twice on 18 ct. canvas in it's full size, once when I picked out nine of my favorite blocks and made a smaller square version, and once when I stitched the whole design on 24 ct. Congress Cloth.  The Congress Cloth version is a particular favorite of mine and looks like this (please forgive its ragged has traveled a lot over the years and is a bit worse for the wear - but still fondly cherished):

Stitched on the smaller Congress Cloth, its size is approx. 9" x 11" and it has a delicious miniature look and feel to it.  But really, it's the colors that make it most appealing, don't you think?

For this model, I used  the silk thread, Caron Waterlilies 110 "Hyacinth", which only comes in Waterlilies and not the thicker Watercolours or Wildflowers, unfortunately...  Anyway, I chose periwinkle and orchid for the dreamy accent colors (Splendor silks, I think, but I don't recall the actual colors).  That "Hyacinth" colorway is totally yummy...and doesn't it make you yearn for a romantic misty spring morning? (... sort of a "Pride & Prejudice" kind of colorway - grin!) 

Sigh.  Just another springtime design I thought I share with you in this season of flowery abundance...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday #7, pt. 2

It's time to stitch the next part of this month's mystery piece.  We get to fill in those diamond shapes with some fun little flowers.  (Did you guess that was coming next?!?)

AND you get to choose between two different floral motifs, so that makes it even more fun!

Here's the graph for the first option:

And here the graph for the second option:

And here's the detail graph for stitching each of the two floral elements:

 Hmmmmm, it's hard to decide which one to stitch, isn't it?
They're both equally fun and easy to's a whole little flower, and the other is just the flower face up close... It's totally up to you which one you prefer to use in your piece!

And at this point, you might also decide to use a variegated thread for all your flowers, instead of alternating two different flower colors row by row.  Or maybe you'd like to make all your flowers one color.  Or maybe you'd like to try making your flowers with a silk ribbon so they have a bit more texture and dimension. Well, all of those creative options give you plenty of things to think about to personalize your mini mystery piece....

AND AHEM.... here's another thing.... I made both floral motifs as eyelet-type flowers, because then - TA DA - there's a hole in the center that makes a great place to sew a bead (or a french knot, if you prefer).  Just another fun option for you to think about!!

Have fun with this week's stitching.... and I'll see you again next Monday!