Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Flowers: Pinks & Greens & Golds

As the flowers fade in my garden, I've been struck by some of the arrangement of the leaves - the plain green ones, I mean.  So this posting has some flowers today, but also some leaves....

 This summer I planted a few coleus plants in my patio pots, and I chose ones with bright chartreuse and maroon leaves. I mixed them with gold zinnias and bright pink petunias and I just loved watching the color combinations unfold...


 Hope your weekend is filled with all the colors of autumn.... and of course, HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday: October Finish

It's time to wrap up this autumn ornament, so let's get going...

Here's the final graph to follow for your last stitches:

All you need to do is fill in your empty spaces with the two motifs shown above; one is a modified Rhodes shape and the other is a Leaf motif.  Here is the Rhodes shape up close for you to stitch within the variegated diamond boxes (use 1 strand of your gold metallic thread):

All that remains to do is stitch the Leaf motifs.  And here's how you stitch them, using 1 strand of whatever thread you want to use for bright autumn leaves (can be solid color OR variegated):

And TA DA.... here's how my piece ended up:

I finished my leaves with larger 3mm round, gold beads (visit your local craft store and see if you can find these larger, round gold beads).  And along the outer border rows, I alternated rust french knots (wrapped twice on the needle) with regular gold seed beads.

Of course, you can use any combination of beads that you'd like to jazz up your piece.  And hey, you can even attach a leaf-shaped bead or button in the center diamond, if you have something that would fit that space... perhaps an acorn or small pumpkin button would be fun. . . . wouldn't that look great?

Another idea I had after I finished this design was doing it in red, green and gold holiday colors, and when you get to the leaf shapes, add another "petal" on the lower side, so the "leaf" becomes a "flower" and if you add a cluster of gold beads you'll have red poinsettias... or later, next spring, this design could be stitched in pale pastel colors, working some bright flowers instead of leaves....

Another way to change the look of this design is to change the background canvas.  Try working it on the canvas with metallic sparkles woven in it!  Or use the darker tan canvas with other fall colors, to create a more dramatic variation.  There are lots of possibilities with this design, so I hope you have fun working with it.

Enjoy watching the colors change on your autumn leaves, and I'll see you next time with another quick Mini Mystery!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Harvest Moon House

Woo Hoo! I got my HARVEST MOON HOUSE finished in time to offer it in October!

 And yes, it's got the required pumpkins, black crows, owl, chrysanthemums, full moon, curling chimney smoke, and of course, the mysterious black cat sitting on the left porch:

Here's the right side of the porch:

I know it looks overwhelming to stitch, but really, you start with the front door (an easy geometric) and then count outwards from there (over to the porch pillars, then over to the shutters, up to the roof eaves, then add the roof peak) and before you know it you have the foundation of the house underway.  After that, you can easily place all the other objects in this piece, and enjoy creating your house bit by bit.

I've chosen a bunch of ThreadworX Overdyed Floss for this design, along with a handful of Splendor silks (although I also give DMC floss colors).

I like this house because I can display it throughout the whole autumn season, until it's time to switch out the fall stuff with the Christmas decorations!

So if you're interested to building your own Harvest Moon House, please visit my website and see more information about it there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just A Reminder...

I just wanted to mention that this is the last week to register for my next cyber class, HARVEST TIME.

The class will start at the beginning of November, and will be short and sweet with only three lessons!
And the stitches are all easy ones (really), but they are used or combined in different ways... (I bet you'll be surprised to see how that plump cluster of grapes is stitched!)

I've gathered a handful of different fibers for this project, so you get to play with a variety of threads, which always adds to a stitcher's enjoyment...

All in all, this is a fun piece to stitch, and makes a great "in-betweener" if you need something different to do between larger projects.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday for October, pt. 2

For the second part of your mystery piece, we're moving to the outer border and getting that stitched and in place.  Here's the graph to use this week:

Again, it's a partial graph of the whole design, but you should be able to use it to stitch the whole border.

Here's an up-close look at the basic border elements:

Notice that your "dimpled" squares change direction on each quadrant of the design, so be sure to make those directional changes as you stitch.  Each of the corners has a nice elongated cross stitch (over 10 x 1 canvas threads) that is tied down with three small straight stitches.  Use your metallic thread to work this element, and add a bit of bling to the corner areas:

I thought it would be good to get the borders out of the way this week, so you can have fun next Monday filling in the jazzy central motifs that really make this little design POP!  And by the way.... as you're working this border pattern, consider how easy this would be to use as a finishing border around other ornaments, or small pieces (that are on the diagonal, or on point).  When I finished stitching my border, I really liked how it looked -- it's fast and easy, yet fun to look at -- and I am going to remember to use it again as a way to finish smaller geometric pieces.

So for now, have fun working your borders, and I'll see you next time, okay?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Flowers: End of Summer

By this time of year, my garden has taken some hits from the long hot days of August.  There are a few roses blooming, and the end of the summer flowers, but they are looking a bit weary and heat-scarred.  Here's what's left blooming now:

Time to start planning and shopping for my winter flowers, so I'll have a fresh batch of flowers to cheer me up when I look out in the yard.  Hope you're enjoying the last of your garden before winter arrives...
And of course, HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday: October Treat

'Tis the season for falling leaves and other surprises, so I thought I'd treat you to a new little mystery that will be perfect for this month.

Grab a handful of threads that have a fall colorway, so you have on hand:
-  a variegated #5 pearl cotton (try finding one with fall colors, and you'll only need 1-2 strands)
-  a dark solid color #5 pearl cotton, for the outer borders (think dark green or brown)
-  a bright solid color or variegated #5 pearl cotton (think autumn leaf color of oranges or reds)
-  a metallic ribbon thread (or braid) in gold or copper
-  and then cut a piece of 8" x 8" 18 ct. mono canvas, in eggshell, sandstone ,tan, or sage green
-  you might also want to grab some matching beads, two sizes, for finishing touches at the end!

Now here's your first graph to follow:

It's not a complete graph, because I'm trying to keep the graphs as small as I can so they are easier for you to see.  You should be able to work the remaining areas using the stitches shown above.  Also note that this is NOT the finished size of the piece; there's still a few more borders coming up along the outer edges....

Anyway, find the center of your canvas and count outward to stitch the four variegated diamond shapes, using just 1 ply of your 3-ply Watercolours (or whatever thread you choose). [FYI: this is the only place you'll be using the variegated thread.] I've included a few of the metallic stitches in this first graph, so you can use them to connect your four diamond shapes. Here are those stitches up-close, and please use 1 strand of your metallic ribbon or braid to create these:

Then move on to stitch the easy narrow border that surrounds your variegated diamonds - straight stitches over 3 canvas threads -  using 1 strand of your dark solid color pearl cotton.

Once you get these elements stitched, you'll be all set to do the next set of borders that I'll share with you next week.  Have fun stitching this up, and I'll see you again next Monday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October!

Uh Oh! It's the start of October, and you know what THAT means: a month filled with black cats and bats and witches' hats, right?  Are you stitching on something black and orange right now?  Are you pulling out a new Halloween design or perhaps getting back to work on something you started last October?

As for me, I was switching out my framed seasonal stitchery pieces, putting away the summer ones and hanging up the autumn pieces around the house.  One of the designs I put away was the LONE STAR COTTAGE, with its cheerful summery flowers (yellow roses, cone flowers, and black-eyed susans):

And all of a sudden, inspiration struck!  Why haven't I designed a Halloween-themed house?!?  Well, DUH, how much fun would that be to stitch???  So I whipped out a bunch of autumnal colored threads, a piece of sandstone canvas, did a bit of graphing, and started stitching.

I decided to make it my STITCHING CHALLENGE for this week, to see if I could "marathon" and get the model stitched and the pattern finished so I could release it this month.  Pant, pant, pant.....After a week of stitching, here's a peek at what the model looks like so far:

I've decided that this house will have a definite Autumn-y feel, but not precisely Halloween-y.  I like having something that can be displayed for a few months during the appropriate season, so this will be nice to look at during October and November....
Yesterday, while watching the Ryder Cup finals, I got the trees stitched, the owl (hidden in the tree), the pumpkins, the cattails on the porch, and the start of the lawn done.  Still to go: the flagstone path, the black cat (of course!), the rest of the lawn, chrysanthemums on the bushes,and itty bitty pumpkin stems.  Whew, almost done! .... Then it's on to the instructions to get everything on the Main Graph and all the text written.  It's a scramble, and I usually give myself a LOT more time to get patterns done, but I feel confident I can pull this one off in time! 

Oh, and by the way, I think I'm gonna call this one "HARVEST MOON HOUSE" (cuz there's a big fat moon hanging above the house).... Stay tuned for further developments on this new piece....