Friday, August 2, 2019

Happy Summer Flowers!!


Here we are in the heart of hot summer days.... and while my outside garden is struggling under high 90+ weather, at least my inside stitchery gardens are doing great!

In between working on several new projects for the rest of the year, I've been reworking a design I originally did for a Nordic Needle Club several years ago.  It's taken a while to combine all the class lessons, color graphs and diagrams into a condensed but comprehensive pattern that I can finally share with all of you.   And TA DA: this new pattern is finally ready and available on my website, so you too can stitch up a summer garden that doesn't wilt in the heat.  It's called PRAIRIE FLOWER GARDEN:


Yup.... it's another long panel piece that is truly a joy to stitch, with lots of sunny floral patterns to work up, section by section.  The overall design size is 7.25" wide by 18.25" long, and it's stitched on 18 ct. eggshell canvas.  I stitched the above model in the PINK colorway, but the pattern also includes a thread palette for a BLUE colorway as well.  You can see the two basic colorways below:



There are a few other threads included in each palette - two Ribbon Floss threads, as well as a finer gold Kreinik #8 Braid - which gives this panel a subtle sparkle throughout the piece.

And the fun focal point of this piece is the fantasy flower garden you'll stitch -- oh, there are lots of bright, happy flowers for you to create!  The small Mill Hill bee button is not included in the pattern, but your favorite stitchery store can order the bee button for you.   I've also included a stitched bee version that is very fun to work and add to your piece...  And pssst: here's an up-close look at the garden section:



Pretty Cute, huh??
So if you love stitching gardens, this is a GREAT counted canvaswork piece to add to your collection.
Please buzz on over to my website to see all the threads needed, as well as ordering information..... then get a piece of long canvas and look forward to stitching a very happy summertime garden!!  Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cool Blue Pinwheels!

I've stitched lots and lots of needlepoint quilts over the years, and recently when I had an urge to stitch up another one, I had the idea to blend my usual satin stitch quilt design with a little bit of blackwork.....in the hopes that it might look somewhat like an appliqued quilt.  You don't know if you don't try it, right??  So here's what I came up with:


I call it PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS, since it uses the traditional pinwheel quilt design, and I also used a yummy variegated Watercolours 295 called "Mountain Haze" in soft periwinkle blues and sage greens.

Below is an up close look at some of the pinwheel triangles and the blackwork flowers worked inside some of the open spaces....can you spot the triangles with the softly variegated "Mountain Haze" thread??  The body of the actual quilt is stitched with #5 pearl cottons, but the floral blackwork motifs use 2-3 ply of DMC floss, which creates a lovely lacy look to the flower inserts.  And if you look again, you can see that the flower colors alternate between light and dark flowers...and pssssst: I've even added some cream beads (included in the pattern) just for extra texture and charm!


I have to say I REALLY enjoyed working on this easy 8" x 8" project, with the diagonal satin stitching blended with sections of delicate blackwork flowers (done in 2-3 ply of matching DMC floss).  It makes a refreshing change from stitching the whole quilt in diagonal satin stitch, let me tell you!  And I've even included a pink thread palette as well as the cover model above, done in periwinkle blue.  I stitched my piece on the sage green mono canvas for a soft vintage feel, but you could easily stitch it on eggshell or even white, for a brighter, more contemporary look.

Honestly, I had so much fun stitching this sweet piece, I've got a few others planned in the same style, and I hope I can get them stitched up later this year.  Until then, if you want a really fun no-brainer project, please visit my website and see the pattern particulars for this new PERIWINKLE PINWHEELS design!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Stitch Some Friendly Flowers!

Who doesn't like a friendly bouquet of daisies?
And what could be better than stitching up your own bouquet in your favorite colors, so you always have some daisies in your house!!

Here's DAISY CHAIN, my next summer cyber class offering (I haven't offered it since 2016, so I thought it was time to bring it out again...):






This sweet 9" x 9" design is stitched on 18 ct. sage green canvas and features lottsa daisies - small, medium and large!  All the stitches are quite easy, and you'll be stitching some fun borders as well, which creates the look of several types of daisy ribbons all rolled into one square piece that would make a terrific pillow!  Here's an up close look at the different borders and daisies you'll be stitching:


Can you spot the variegated Watercolours thread that runs through the piece above and creates the color palette background for all your daisies?

 And to make it extra special, each stitcher gets to choose their favorite daisy kit color - 
YELLOW, PINK or BLUE - for added fun: 


So if you're a daisy lover, or just love stitching flowers as much as I do, please tip toe through the daisy patch and visit my website to see all the class information....  Happy Summertime Stitching, Everyone!!

Friday, May 24, 2019

It's Sweet Pea Time!

Earlier this year I started learning how to crochet....specifically because I saw the lovely afghan my sister was stitching called the "Sweet Pea Afghan" designed by ATTIC24 (pssst: check out ATTIC24's blog for some truly delicious crochet inspiration and designs).  After a long grey winter, I was totally smitten by the colors and pattern, and right away wanted to learn how to make one....


As I was working on this springy afghan, it got me dreaming about a fragrant bouquet of sweet peas, and I realized, "Hey, it's been quite a while since I created a flower collage. Wouldn't a Sweet Pea Collage be fun to stitch?"  YOU BETCHA!!  So I immediately set aside my crochet project, cut a piece of sage green canvas (my favorite for doing floral pieces), pulled out a handful of pastel threads, and started working on a  new floral collage.  And TA DA -- here it is:



Oh, this SWEET PEA COLLAGE was such fun to stitch!  I loved stitching small blocks of different stitches with #5 pearl cottons, adding a few floral ribbons, tent stitching the sweet pea centerpiece in DMC floss, and finally filling in the variegated background with a simple four-way stitch, using a springy ThreadworX Overdyed Floss.  

Working with the variegated Watercolours 270 - "Easter Eggs" was perfect for this piece, since it has the soft pinks, purples, and greens that remind me of a patch of sweet peas.  And the particular challenge of this design was creating small flowers that looked like ruffly sweet peas, which are so different from most symmetrical-petaled flowers.  Here's an up-close look at a few of the stitch patterns I chose:


There are individual sweet pea flowers, bargello flowers, and even twisty sweet pea vines.  Neat, huh??

 So if you too are a fan of sweet peas, and would like to add this design to your stitchy garden, please run through the meadow and over the stream to my website to see more information about this new Spring pattern: SWEET PEA COLLAGE.

And HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, everyone!  I hope you get a lot of stitching done!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Stitch Up A Spring Garden!


 
Here in Northern California, I'm seeing irises starting to bloom in the neighborhood gardens.

And that reminds me that it's time to release a design that's only been available as a cyber class project for the past few years.  The popular "FLEUR-DE-LIS" is a very sweet floral sampler measuring 8.5" x 8.5" on 18 ct. sage green canvas.  I love stitching these floral pieces, since they're not too large, not too small -- but JUST RIGHT for a pleasant bit of springtime stitching!


The woven borders and dappled variegated background evoke a latticed garden, with squares of irises done in fun composite patterns.  And the pattern has thread palettes for either a BLUE or PURPLE version, as shown by the main pearl cotton threads below:


I LOVE thinking up fun stitch patterns that mimic the flowers highlighted in each of my floral designs, so if you look closely at the photo below, you can see some of the irisey stitches I've created to use in the pattern squares.  You can also see a bit of the variegated Watercolours that is used in each of the four boxes, which provides a lovely wash of soft colors that compliments the main flower colors:

 
So, Stitchers, if you're in the mood to stitch up a quick spring garden, please tip toe through the iris beds and head on over to my website, and look under the Secret Garden Collection to see all the ordering information for this newly released "FLEUR-DE-LIS" pattern! 
And HAPPY SPRINGTIME STITCHING!!



Friday, March 29, 2019

Something Different for Easter....

I've always had a special fascination with hand-dyed Ukrainian eggs, with their exquisite detail and unique craftsmanship. Many years ago, I worked with a woman who dyed Ukrainian eggs every year, and she shared many of her egg books and pictures with me.  I was so inspired, I designed and started stitching up a project that featured Ukrainian eggs, but eventually I reached an invisible design wall, and stopped - because I was stumped and couldn't think up a good border for the piece.

Recently, I dug around in my project vault to find that original piece.... then used it to graph it and stitch it anew, and also figure out a border that pleased me!  Here's the design I stitched and now offer as a new 2019 spring pattern for you - my UKRAINIAN EGGS:


I wanted my piece to have a vintage or folk art feel to it, so I stitched it with traditional primary colors on 18 ct. brown canvas.  I think it would look brighter and much more contemporary if it were stitched on eggshell or sandstone canvas.  And if you are REALLY brave, you could even stitch it on black canvas for a truly traditional folk art look!!

This piece uses just a handful of #5 DMC pearl cottons - and there are no variegated threads in this piece - gasp!!  And while I considered adding a bit of gold metallic, I ultimately decided that the folk art eggs don't have gold on them, so mine should just have traditional colors and no metallic on the eggs.  Although I did add a sprinkling of translucent gold beads around the wrapped roses in the corners of the borders - just for a festive surprise element.

Working interesting geometric patterns with #5 pearl cottons and then placing them into the curving egg shapes was the real challenge.  The stitches themselves are not difficult at all, but counting and fitting them into the egg shapes require close attention to counting and using the graphs.  I even created a larger Main Graph (as I always do) but decided that each egg needed a separate and larger graph so you can easily see all the stitches.  Here's the Top Egg up close: 

  
Pretty different from my usual pastel springy stuff, huh??  Using these bolder colors was fun, actually.... and I created the golden lattice and the green boughs in the border to be motifs that are reminiscent of Faberge eggs.  As you can see, the outer scalloped border was the one I finally chose to finish off the piece, with tiny bits of primary egg colors peeking out around the border.  The scalloped border softens the piece and adds a bit of lacework to compliment the folk art theme.

If you are a fan of Ukrainian Eggs like I am, please gather up your egg basket and skip on over to my website, which has all the information about this new UKRAINIAN EGGS design.
........ and Happy Weekend Stitching, Everyone!! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Another Springy Thing!

Craving a new geometric project that gets you celebrating the spring season in soft pastel colors?
How about my encore SPRING PATCHWORK cyber class??  I offered this fun class several years ago, and it was so popular I decided to offer it again this year, for those of you who might have missed it.... or maybe would like to stitch it in another colorway:


It's a 8.75" x 8.75" design stitched on 18 ct. eggshell mono canvas, with a handful of luscious threads that include a variegated Waterlilies, a few Splendor silks and a soft metallic ribbon.  Each stitcher gets to choose between these kit color palettes:



All of these lovely floral colorways are mixed with a soft green border that create a patchwork design that reminds me of a traditional quilt block, as well as a stylized knot garden.  The stitch patterns really aren't difficult, and as with so many geometric pieces, once you set up the borders all you need to do is fill in the spaces with the appropriate repeating pattern....something that can be done at a leisurely pace and in your own good time -- perfect for a soft and sweet spring afternoon!

If you're in the mood for a new counted canvaswork design that celebrates the heart-lifting colors of spring, please skip on over to my website to the SPRING PATCKWORK cyber class registration information.  And I hope your first spring weekend is filled with lots of sunshine, flowers, and stitching!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Western Valentine!

Dark, dreary February is the perfect time to stitch something in warm colors - like deep rich REDS! And I was actually craving some puffy red hearts..... so I took an old favorite quilt design of mine (Arizona Star) and revamped it a bit.  I added some metallic red hearts that would brighten the grey days of February ---  and came up with a new quilt I've decided to call "WESTERN HEARTS":


It combines a more complex quilt design with a rather limited color palette, plus I've included some small padded hearts as well as the larger Rhodes Hearts, done in metallic Ribbon Floss. (They are very fun to stitch and add a bit of whimsy to the traditional quilt!)  The photo below gives you an up-close look at those shimmery hearts:


I wanted a old-fashioned, vintage look to my piece, so I worked a two-tone background in cream and tan, which you can see in the above photo.  But if you want a brighter, more contemporary look, I recommend working the whole background in just the lighter cream color.  

As I was stitching this piece in reds and browns, I also thought it would look great in a more masculine blue and brown palette, so the pattern gives thread lists for a RED or BLUE colorway.
I didn't stitch up a blue model, but the Watercolours thread used is 018 - Peacock (one of my favorites) with the solid color blue being #5 DMC 825.  Equally yummy!!

So if you too are craving to stitch a sweet western valentine, please mosey on over to my website and check out all the particulars for my new "WESTERN HEARTS" pattern....
Stay warm and cozy and stitching, Everyone!
 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Wintry New Cyber Class

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Stitchers!

I've got a lovely new cyber class piece to share with you today, called BLUE IRIS SQUARE.
Many years ago, I designed this piece and stitched it with Bravo! A102 on 24 ct. Congress Cloth and it looked like this:


I've done a lot of blackwork, but always with colors or variegated colored thread.  I enjoy seeing the surprising watercolor wash that appears when you use a variegated thread in any project.  For blackwork, using pale colors isn't terribly effective since it makes the patterns harder to see.  For this piece, I used medium toned threads, so the patterns are softer, but still visible.

Recently, when I pulled this small project out of storage, I was curious to see how this blackwork design would look on 18 ct. canvas.... so I went ahead and stitched it up in another soft pastel thread, BRAVO! A119 - bouquet.  Here's what the new piece looks like:






This is not a difficult piece, Stitchers; the floral stitch patterns are pretty simple and there are really only a few types of stitches used: a diagonal satin stitch (for the borders), smyrnas, cross stitches, and a backstitch variation that works best for blackwork.  Easy Peasy!!   And I LOVE the larger 9" x 9" size on the 18 ct. eggshell canvas.... it makes is easier to stitch, and easier to see the color progression of cool blues and lavenders that wash over the whole design.  Take a look at the blackwork patterns up-close:


So, Stitchers, if you've been curious about trying some blackwork -- or you'd like to work on a light and airy piece at the start of the year  -- please consider signing up for this fun new project.   I'm offering this BLUE IRIS SQUARE as my first cyber class of the New Year -- and also keep in mind that you get to choose between the two kit colors -- BLUE or TEAL!

If working on a pleasant blackwork/geometric project tickles your fancy, please saunter on over to my website and see all the class registration information....