Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Colors

I recently got a nice phone call from a stitching friend in Lousiana who heads a group of stitchers who are working on my ONE LONG PANEL. She said the ladies are having such fun stitching this piece up. But they had a few questions....

First: one of the ladies has a lovely frame she wants to use. Can she widen the design so it fits in her larger frame? Well...YES! I told her she could certainly widen the design, just by repeating some of the design elements, so it becomes wide enough to suit her special frame.

[Aside: you could also make a SHORTER panel, if you wanted as well -- just pick your favorite patterns and stitch to size!]

Second: did they have to get a long stretcher bar set to frame the work?
Not at all! Scroll bars are not just for cross stitch, you know. I like putting a lot of my canvaswork on scroll bars because it's easier for me to reach and get up-close to the stitching. What's nice about the ONE LONG PANEL piece is that you CAN attach it to short scroll bars, then (from the center of the graph) count up to the top of the design and just stitch your way down the whole length.

Here's one of my favorite set-ups, using a GRIP-IT lap frame (you slip it under your legs, adjust it a jillion different ways and use it comfortably anywhere - sofa, bed, patio, etc. I just love it!)

And yes, you sharp-eyed stitchers -- that's a NEW design I'm working on now. It's another long panel -- but this one is done in the yummiest Novembery fall colors of purples, rusts, gold, and browns (Watercolours 231 - Ethiopia, if you really want to know). One of you blog readers made a comment about hoping a long panel series was in the works, and you were soooooo right! I'm starting out by doing one for each of the four seasons. I've done Summer, and now this one is for Fall...

Stayed tuned for more fall developments....and as always, keep stitching!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Three Quick Things

Today's posting has three quick things for you: a peek, a snip, and a ring.

THE PEEK is of a new quilt design I just started this weekend. It came from out of nowhere, but after I did a bit of doodling, pulled some jazzy thread colors, I just couldn't wait to start stitching it up. It's a fun one, I've got to admit! I think I'm gonna call it RED HOT PEPPERS (since it uses Watercolours' 277 - Hot Peppers and besides, the new outer border technique reminds me of chili peppers...I also think I'll include a color option for using oranges, so it could also be stitched as a Halloweeny project and hopefully, I'll have the pattern finished and available in October, but we'll see how it goes!)

THE SNIP is an efficient way to cut your #5 pearl cotton skeins so you can keep the thread inside the paper cuffs and have your skeins stay neat and labeled. In the above photo, see the two loops at the end of each skein? They look like bunny ears to me, and you need to open the loops up, then CUT AT THE TIPS of each loop. All your thread pieces will now be accessible to pull from the OTHER end of the skein without taking off the paper cuffs.

THE RING is a new technique I'm trying with this project. I had all my thread skeins loose in a box, but it occured to me that after I "bunny cut" all my skeins, I could slip them on a single binder ring so they could hang from my floor stand or wherever I happen to be stitching. We'll see how well this technique works to keep all my threads from getting tangled up, falling on the floor, slipping down the sofa cushions, etc., etc., etc... as they usually do as I stitch along.

Anyway, I thought I'd share these little things with you just for fun today. Hope you get to do some stitching!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lightning Strikes!

Once upon a time, when I started out designing my first needlepoint quilts, I stitched up a small one that I thought of as my "Lightning Bolt" design. It was a very basic layout, using only one variegated thread and one background thread. I never developed it further than a sample model, and over the years, it got buried in my piles of projects.

Recently, while rummaging thru my stuff, I came across this little sample again. I always wanted to do a lighning bolt pattern, so I decided now was the time to do it. After all, this year has been rather crazy in the weather department, hasn't it? So what better way to acknowledge the fact than by stitching up a new design!

Here's what I came up with for my "new and improved" LIGHTNING BOLT:

In the original model, all the lightning blocks are going in the same direction. In the new version, I decided to change stitch direction on every block down the row. It creates a crazy zig zag line AND it makes the light changes more dramatic when you tilt the piece in the light (which doesn't show up in the photos - alas.)

I also jazzed up the outer borders by turning the single zig zag border into a triple zig zag border. AND I added two metallic ribbons - one purple and one silver - so there's plenty of sparkle thruout the whole piece. Here's a close-up of the new pattern:

Truthfully, one of the reasons I never developed the original design was it seemed too plain. And I couldn't figure out what color to use. Both of those problems were solved by waiting a bit before proceeding. Now that there are sooooo many more variegated colors on the market and sooooo many more metallics available, I had many more options to consider.

Ultimately, I chose Watercolours' 259, "Garden Path", because it had purples, yellows and greens, all the colors of a dark stormy sky. And I decided to use a bruised purple background (DMC #5 3042) to mimic all those threatening thundery skies we've seen. In the corners are a row of squares, that I like think of as a string of raindrops - or hail, if you prefer!

And you know what? After I had the model stitched and photographed, it suddenly struck me how Art Deco this piece looks - something I hadn't really noticed while stitching it up.

Anyway, this is my latest design for this month: LIGHTNING BOLT. If you're interested in adding it to your stash, please visit my website for ordering details.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Maintain The Fantasy

While working madly last month to get ready for the San Francisco EGA Seminar, I maintained the fantasy in my mind that when I returned I would reward myself by sitting all day in my stitchy chair and working leisurely on project after project, sipping tea and munching on chocolate for sustenance.

Well, I have returned from the Seminar and alas, my cherished fantasy
Is Not To Be.
Too much work has piled up. Orders have flooded in. And oh, how had I forgotten? I have trunk shows and lots of other October events to prepare for!

So I've been back at work, frantically printing and collating and packaging for these up-coming events:

A trunk show of my designs at Kelsey's Needle Krafts in Placerville, CA. If you're up in the Gold Country in October (or even down in the Sacramento Valley and want a day trip up into the Sierra foothills) why not check out Kelsey's new shop in the lovely gold town of Placerville?

And if you're going to the ANG Seminar in Columbus, OH through October 1-8th, be sure to visit the ANG Boutique, run by M's Canvashouse (from Lexington, KY). They'll have a bunch of my latest designs in their shop.

And I also got a call from Louise's Needleworks in Powell, Ohio. They are located a short distance away from the ANG Seminar and will be running a shuttle back and forth to their shop during the week-long event. AND, they're planning to feature all sorts of counted canvaswork designers - including my work. So I've sent another box of assorted patterns to Louise's so shoppers can have even MORE stuff to oogle!

And October is the time my stitching friends in El Paso, Texas have their annual mountain retreat, run by Nancy Wahler of The Counted Thread. I certainly wish I could join them at their stitching retreat, but instead I'm sending a box of goodies for the fun stitching ladies of El Paso.

So all you travelling stitchers out there....have fun stitching and shopping. Just spare a kind thought for me, maintaining my fantasy about sitting down and stitching some time soon... and oh, yes, Katie is fantasizing too -- about somebody having time to stop and play fetch with her!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Big City Adventure

Last week I travelled to San Francisco (about an hour south of Cloverdale) to attend the Merchandise Event at the EGA National Seminar. I picked up my stitching friend, Gauri, on the way (she helped me at my table with all the stitching customers). Here we are in the heart of The City, heading straight for the Marriott Marquis:

Isn't this a great shot of the old and new combined? The famous modern Pyramid Building is on the left, the old wedge-shaped Flat Iron Building on the right.

We got to the hotel in plenty of time to enjoy the SF sites, as well as a delicious dinner in a restaurant in a famous old domed SF building that's been converted to stores:

Then the next day we quickly set up my table before the shoppers entered. Here's a shot of the merchandise room (during a rare afternoon lull) and the view I had from my table:

And finally, here's a shot of me at my table, looking a little bleary-eyed after a long day of meeting and greeting lots of happy stitchers:

Behind me, you can just see the back of fellow designer and teacher Joan Thomasson. Over on the left (out of the picture) was Ann Strite-Kurz (who I finally got to meet after enjoying her books and projects for many years. I took the opportunity to get a copy of her latest stitching book to add to my collection.)

It was great fun to be a part of this seminar - even if it was only for a day. I really enjoyed seeing lots and lots of familiar faces and friends from past stitching events. Thank you, EGA Stitchers, for stopping and shopping at my table!