Monday, June 29, 2009

Ocean Waves

This is one of my earlier quilt designs called OCEAN WAVES. Originally, I stitched this model with Rainbow Gallery's Overture V61 - "Ocean Blues" and a palette of blue #5 pearl cotton threads.

Last year, Caron Collection came out with some yummy new thread colors, including one called "Appalachia" (236). I thought it would be a good thread to use in a quilt, so I asked my mother if she'd like to stitch up another model of OCEAN WAVES, but this time using the new "Appalachia".

Before I show you my mother's completed piece, I want to show you the individual Ocean Wave block:

You can see here how the block is made up of various sizes of triangles, and how there are two alternating color sections, with one of the sections using the variegated thread. A very easy way to stitch this design would be to just use a variegated thread and alternate it with one solid color....

Now here's what four Ocean Wave blocks look like together:

Pretty sweet little quilt, huh? And if you want, try picking out the variegated color - plus the five other solid colors that are used as accent colors. Can you find them all?

And TA DA! Here's the complete version of my Mom's OCEAN WAVES, which has nine full blocks, plus a lovely wavy border:

I think this version has a warm, summery feel to it - which is rather different from the cool blues of the original. So if you're heading to the beach this summer, you might want to consider this project for catchin' some waves!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Walk in the Hills

This past weekend, my dog Katie and I went exploring on a new trail that we've been hearing about: the "Healdsburg Preserve" located in the hills above the north end of town.

It's a lovely parcel of land (about 150 acres) that has been "preserved forever" (so says the entrance sign) and overlooks Healdsburg and the meandering Russian River Valley.

Katie and I struck out early in the morning and hit the dog-friendly trail that goes up, up, up through lots of oak trees. When we finally got to the top of the hill, we had this gorgeous view to the north:

and this beautiful view to the east:

That patch of blue water on the right is the Russian River as it twists and bends through the valley, heading (eventually) to the Pacific Ocean to the west. On the left-hand side of the picture you can see a few of the lush grape vineyards that line the valley.

We rested a bit at the top of the hill, looking out at the panoramic view. Then back down we went, listening to the birds and admiring all the different oak trees that lined the trail. Katie was on the lookout for squirrels and deer; I was on the lookout for poison oak....

But we both enjoyed the morning hike; it was a terrific way to start the weekend. And next time, I'll definitely bring some water so we can explore even farther. I've heard that there's a pond on the preserve, so I look forward to finding it....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Gentle Breeze is Blowing...

Here's a canvas I recently finished stitching (still has to be framed):

It's a Curtis Boehringer canvas that I fell in love with a few years ago.

I've always wanted to stitch a velveteen rabbit of my own, so that's how I stitched this one - I used Petite Very Velvet for the whole rabbit.
Here's a close-up:

I had intended to stitch the flowers in dimensional stitches (padded satin and long satin stitch) and God knows I tried. But no matter how many times I tried - and with lots of different thread types, I might add - I just couldn't get it to look good. So I ripped out (I lost track of how many times) and finally opted to stitch everything with Ye Olde Basketweave Stitche.

And what the photo doesn't show is that all the daffodils and leaves and pink ribbons are stitched with a softly metallic Ribbon Floss, so there are subtle metallic glints on everything that isn't bunny.

And yes, I added the thin wavy breeze lines by backstitching them with a fine metallic thread.

And because I didn't want to stitch a background, instead I used a soft blue colored pencil to CAREFULLY scribble around the bunny and then smear (with ye olde index finger) to blur the soft blue background.

One of the nicest things about Curtis Boehringer canvases is how well they lend themselves to Basic Basketweave. Since the designer uses his signature swirls on everything, it's easier to stitch them in Basketweave, and just embellish a few things in accent stitches, rather than try and figure out how to incorporate lots of fancy stitches. Another stress-free option is to Basketweave Stitch everything - BUT USE LOTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF THREADS - and how fun would that be?!?

And because his designs are so beautifully composed and the images are so graphically pleasing, you can basketweave to your heart's content, and not feel guilty about it. Sometimes simple IS best.

If you're interested in seeing other Curtis Boehringer designs, check out his website ( or browse around in ebay, where his canvases appear from time to time...

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Butterfly for Summer

Have you noticed how butterflies seem to be a current design trend this year?

Well, I've been working on a butterfly design these past few months, and have finally finished it. It's called BLUE BUTTERFLY. The focal point and center of the piece is a blue butterfly that really glows in bright blues and aquas:

Unfortunately, you can't see how the butterfly shimmers with faint glints of soft metallic Hi-lights blended in with the Splendor silks...but trust me, it does!

The butterfly is surrounded by two different geometric patterns (both very fun and easy to stitch). The inner pattern uses 1 ply of variegated Waterlilies 192 ("Elderberry Wine") and Splendor silks, and the outer pattern uses 3 ply of variegated Waterlilies and 3 ply of Splendor silks to give the pattern some weight. And again, there are three different metallic thread colors used (aqua, bright blue and royal blue) on top of the silks, so there is metallic shimmer throughout the whole piece, although the photos just don't show it:

In the corners of the piece, there are large blue medallions that I like to think of as stylized flowers. They echo and balance the blues of the butterfly wings:

And here's the whole piece for you to see:

The finished size is 10" by 10" on 18 ct mono canvas (in Sante Fe green, for a soft, cool background). And it uses quite an assortment of my favorite Rainbow Gallery threads: silk Splendor, Fyre Werks Soft Sheen, Hi-lights, Neon Rays+, and some Nordic Gold too.

If you're interested in this new design, please check out my website for more information on my new BLUE BUTTERFLY.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Trunk Show

A few weeks ago, I sent off another trunk show to QUAIL RUN NEEDLEWORK, INC. down in Scottsdale, Arizona. I sent lots of models (old and new) and also lots of my latest patterns.

The trunk show will be running from June 15th until July 15th..... So if you're lucky enough to live in that magical Southwestern area - or maybe you're just passing through on vacation - please drop in and browse around!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vacation Weekend

Last weekend, my sister and I and my dog Katie went to Sacramento to visit my sister's best friend Beth. Our plan was to have a relaxing "do nothing" weekend, and I must say that we succeeded brillantly!

Our "do nothing" weekend included me taking Katie for morning walks in a lovely Sacramento neighborhood:

Not surprisingly, Sacramento is known as "The City of Trees" and this certainly picture typifies that. Here's more trees in Land Park, a huge park in midtown Sacramento:

Our most strenuous outing was a visit to the Rose Garden near the state capitol (also conveniently located next to a California Pizza Kitchen - which was our dinner destination):

And here's the capitol building a few blocks away, as the sun was setting directly behind it into the west:

Katie spent her weekend happily hunting a pair of squirrels that scolded her from up in the trees and taunted her along the back fence:

I spent the weekend working on a Pat Thode "Santa Pulling Sheep" canvas in pastel colors that made a pleasant (and work-free) change:

I even got my sister and her friend stitching on some of my quilt designs (and hope I've gotten them addicted to stitching).... So, all in all, we spent our weekend happily stitching, chatting, eating, and watching tv (while stitching, of course).

Ah, I love those "do nothing" weekends...
I do hope you get the chance to have one soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Love Pansies, Too

I had so much fun combining flower photos with my stitched pieces that I'm doing another one! Here's a real pansy collage - blog style.

First some photographed pansies:

Then my stitched PANSIES:

...with an up-close look at how I stitched these pansies on 24 ct. Congress Cloth:

And here's my stitched PANSY COLLAGE, with pansies stitched in several different ways:

I hope you enjoy all these happy pansy faces as much as I do!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Love Pinks

One of my most favorite flowers is Dianthus - or "Pinks" - or miniature carnations - or "Gilly flowers"....whatever you want to call them, I just love 'em.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother lived next door to a lady who planted her whole walkway with a lush carpet of old fashioned pinks in all colors, giving off a heady scent of spicy cloves. I've never forgotten that flower bed, and always vowed to make my own one day. Well, I haven't done it yet - but someday I will!

Until then I just plant a few varieties every year. In pots or in borders; wherever I can find a place for them.

And of course I have tried stitching a few as well. Here's my DIANTHUS BOUQUET, that I stitched many years ago on 24. ct Congress Cloth (and yes, that's where I took my blog header close-up from). It was truly a labor of love (and I have to admit, extremely tedious), stitching all those small flowers, with each petal painted in different colors plus changing stitch directions to try and capture the delicacy of each unique dianthus flower:

And here's one of my earliest cross-stitched samplers called OLD FASHIONED PINKS, that I have hanging in my office. It's a large piece (apprx. 13" by 18" on 32 ct linen) and it's still one of my most favorite stitched pieces:

So I hope this inspires you to add a little bit of spicy PINK into your week.
Happy Stitching, Everyone! (and oh yeah, don't forget to stop and smell those flowers, too....)