Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday, January 2013

Well it's almost the start of a New Year, so doesn't it seem like a good time to start another small mystery piece that will kick off our new stitching year? 

To get in the proper mood, let's think about January and the winter season....  What colors do you associate with winter?  What colors make you think of swirling snow and chilly skies?  Okay... now go to your stash and grab a handful of threads that give you a feel for this time of year, and be sure to pick:

- one variegated #5 pearl cotton
- one dark (or medium) solid color #5 pearl cotton
- one metallic ribbon thread that matches your variegated thread
- one thin metallic, like Kreinik #8 Braid, in a base metal color (silver, gold, copper, etc.)
- a 7" x 7" piece of 18 ct. mono canvas in any color you want to play with

[Pssst": the finished piece will be stitched "on point" (in a diamond shape) and will end up as a 6" by 6" design.]

And here's your first graph, which is a quarter graph that only shows one quadrant of the design:

First things first!  Find your center point of your canvas and make a tiny hole as a visual reference point, using your needle tip (you'll cover it up later when you add more elements).

From there, begin working the zig zag rows with 1 ply of the 3-ply variegated #5 pearl cotton, making Straight Stitches that go over 4 canvas threads. Remember to skip the right number of threads between each row, as indicated in the graph.  Easy peasy, right?  (And remember: turn the graph around to complete the other three sections of this design.)

Once you have the zig zag rows stitched (or at least the first quadrant) you can start to add the outer border.  I've shown you this border before (in one of our fall 2012 mystery pieces) and I think it's really fun to create.  I call it my "Woven Border."  Start by laying the long diagonal stitches, using 1 strand of your dark pearl cotton, like this:

Then add the rest of the horizontal trios, so it looks like this:

Lastly, add the remaining "woven" stitches, with the trios of vertical stitches on top:

Continue working the other three sides of your border, turning the graph around to match your canvas area as you stitch.  Now if you get your foundation pattern in place and the outer border done, you'll be ready for next Monday when we'll start filling in with fast, fun elements that add some sparkle and zing!

 See ya then.... and have a Happy New Year's Eve tonight! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

May All Your Holidays be Merry and Bright!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Cyber Class for 2013

Hey, Stitchers!  I've decided to try something a little bit different for my next cyber class.... 

I'm calling this one "FLOATING PANELS" since it's got lots of interesting geometric elements floating within a larger geometric area.

The wonderful thing about this design is that it features a variegated silk thread (Waterlilies) with a palette of silk threads that are mixed and matched in such a way as to change the look and color of each rectangular box.  I love experimenting with variegated threads, and this design plays around with how the variegated colors change throughout the piece, depending on which solid colors you mix with it.

I've created four different colorways, to broaden the interest in this piece: AMETHYST (shown above, in purples and blues with Waterlilies 06-Amethyst), SAPPHIRE (blues and aquas with Waterlilies 289-Lexi's Blues), RUBY (reds and purples with Waterlilies 290-Mystery Mix), and AMBER (golds and browns with Waterlilies 251-Sunflower Seed):

In the photos above, the first skein on the left is the color used for the borders; the next three skeins are the main color group; and the final two skeins on the right are the accent colors.  There's also a handful of matching metallic threads from thick to thin (not shown), just to add extra texture and sparkle.

There will also be a few Swarovski crystals, a sprinkling of beads, and a handmade fused glass jewel that will match each of the color groups.  All of the groups are worked on the sage green 18 ct. canvas, except for the RUBY colorway, which will get sandstone canvas. (If you want sandstone canvas for the other colorways, please let me know and I can adjust your kit.)  By the way, the finished size of this piece is 6.25" wide by 11.25" tall...not super big or complex, but the nice thing about this abstract is it can be framed/displayed vertically OR horizontally!

If this abstract geometric appeals to you, and you'd like to start the New Year with something totally different, please visit my website, Laura J. Perin Designs, for more information regarding this 2013 cyber class.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time to Trim the Tree!

I just finished another holiday design called BARGELLO CHRISTMAS TREE.  The idea came to me rather late, and I spent a week stitching to get the model done and then the pattern completed, so I could share it with you this season.  Here's what it looks like (and boy, is it a festive, colorful piece!):

I stitched it on the eggshell canvas with gold metallic flecks, which makes the whole thing very sparkly, let me tell you, and it easily relieves the whole "how do I finish the background" question very nicely.

I chose four different bargello patterns - two roundish or curly ones, alternating with two sharpish zig zag ones - just to make stitching fun and provide visual interest.  The colors are the traditional red and green, with LOTS of metallic in red, green and gold... plus some round gold beads sprinkled on the tree wherever you can fit them. Here's a closer look at the tree patterns:

And if you've ever done any bargello, you know how fast it can go, once you get your main pattern line stitched. The stitches are easy - all straight stitches, plus a few diagonal satin stitches, and that's it!  I hung some large, easy ornaments in the background and even added some simple "bows" on top for extra texture.  I really enjoyed stitching this  - especially how fast it worked up, so I could have it hanging in my house this season!

If you want more information on this new BARGELLO CHRISTMAS TREE design, please visit my website (listed in CAPITAL LETTERS on the list at right) to see more details... and get ready to have some holiday fun trimming your own tree!

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Fields of Gold" Friday

Last Thanksgiving weekend, I hopped in the car with my camera and took these early morning shots of the hills and vineyards around Cloverdale, which I think is technically called the "Anderson Valley" region of the Sonoma wine country.  The colors were amazing, as I think you'll agree..... 


At one point, as I was driving, I paralleled a HUGE flock of starlings (I think that's what these birds are) that migrates through this area every year.  I pulled over to watch as they roosted in a cluster of tall trees, then every now and then rose en masse and circled over the vineyards.  Their noise was a terrific roar; rather like a high-pitched waterfall - constant, deafening and completely overwhelming.

Happy Hectic Friday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday, November finish

Now that you have the foundation work completed on your November piece, it's time for the fun stuff: adding the final touches that really make this ornament special.

Here's the final November graph for you to use:

And here's the up-close graphs for the acorn and leaf elements you can work in the boxes:

You can choose to work both of these elements, as the graph shows..... or, you can pick just one of the elements (either the acorn or leaf) and stitch them in both boxes.  (FYI: Turn your leaf graph around, so the second leaf goes in the opposite direction.)   Just an idea: You could also attach seasonal buttons in those open spaces, if you'd like something a bit more dimensional and fast!

And Ho, Ho, Ho!  For an extra treat, I've graphed a few simple holiday elements that can be substituted in those box spaces, if you would like to re-stitch the design in festive holiday colors:

How's that for a truly multi-purpose ornament, that's easy to stitch, and fun to use up odds and ends of threads?!

By the way, here's how my model turned out, with both elements in place (it has a sort of rustic sampler look to it, doesn't it?):

You'll see that I used metallic french knots in place of gold beads -- either beads or knots can be used to finish your piece.  You might also notice on my outer border areas, where the two patchwork sections meet, I laid a gold straight stitch, to separate the different patterns.  I thought it looked more "patchworky" that way, but please use your own judgement for how you'd like to finish YOUR PIECE.

I hope you've enjoyed stitching this one; there are soooo many different ways you can change this design, I'm sure you'll have fun playing around with it, and whipping out a few gift ornaments, if you're so inclined.

See you on another Monday......

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Forgotten Projects

I've been so busy stitching "work" projects, I haven't had the time or energy to work on other "fun" projects lately.   But this past weekend, after finishing yet another holiday design that I'll be revealing very soon (hopefully next week), I decided to take a trip to The Island of Forgotten Projects. 

Yeah, you know that place -- the one where all your started and half-done projects are languishing until you remember them and decide to pick them up again and get back to work.... (Let's not reveal how many of those you have, okay? And I won't bore you with mine, either...)

Anyway, because it's a dreary rainy Novembery time of year, I pulled out my beloved Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings that I started, lo, these many years past.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to work with its autumnal colors, with all the itty bitty details of this piece.  And every night this week I've been working on it, as I sit in front of the fireplace and stitch.

So I'm pleased to report I've finished the second row of vignettes.  Which means, officially, I'm HALF-WAY DONE!!  (drum roll, please.....)  Here's how it looks now:

I slightly altered the block on the left side, where the orange arrow is pointing, so the dogs look more like dogs (previously they looked like goats, and that didn't make sense to me).

And over on the right side, in the blacksmith shop, I made the foreground horse into an Appaloosa (which tickles my fancy no end, since I love those particular critters!) and omitted the shopowner's name by substituting more horseshoes, where the pink arrow is pointing below.

I'm dee-lighted to get that row finished.  Isn't it funny how you sometimes hit an invisible wall on projects, for no discernable reason, except you Just Don't Want To Stitch It.  I felt that way about all the riders in the blacksmith block; all those fiddly little riders, with their different colored shirts and hats stopped me cold and made me put this project away. For over a year, as it happens.

But now, after breezing past those silly little bits without batting an eye, I can proudly turn the scroll bars and move along to the next row.  Which has Three New Blocks!  It's like starting three new projects.  Woo Hoo!  I'm on a roll here, so I hope I can keep the evening stitching momentum going .... But with any stitching project (as you well know) it's hard to predict what's up ahead, what parts might bore you or frustrate you, or what might trip you up again down that long, long stitching road. 

In any event, it's nice to know there's always the Island of Forgotten Projects to go back to.... to retrieve and re-discover yet another favorite old project, or maybe even to put one back for an un-disclosed amount of time until you're ready to work on it again....

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ONE AND ALL!  May your long weekend be filled with good friends & family, good food, and  let's not forget -- our very good projects!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday for November, pt. 3

Ready to fill in more of the borders?  Let's get started!

Here's the next graph for you to use to fill in more of the patchwork areas:

and here's the up-close look at the "Dimpled" Square you will be creating using more of your fall leaf color (or you can even introduce another fall color in this area, if you want more colors to your piece):

Using these "dimpled" squares instead of full mosaic squares leaves you with a place to add a bead or french knot.  Or you can even add a small tent stitch in a different color, for a very discreet color change.

And for those gold Rhodes Squares in the corner boxes, here's a close-up graph for you:

Okay.... now we're ready to add the fun stuff in the middle -- which is next week's exciting installment.  Can you guess what will be inside those empty boxes?  Think about what you'd like to put in them, and next Monday I'll show you what I've chosen for you to stitch!! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Counted Jewels

Just a few weeks ago I got the idea to create a new set of holiday ornaments for this season.  This time, instead of using traditional quilt blocks for inspiration, I focused on pure geometric designs, using very basic kinds of stitches and this is what I came up with:

I'm calling this set of four designs "JEWEL ORNAMENTS", since each one has a topaz Swarovski crystal in the center, plus a handful of other gold beads for extra glitz and holiday glamor!  (Trust me, these photos don't do justice to the vibrant color and  sparkle of these pieces...and the Swarovski crystal is a deep rich gold that - try as I might - simply won't show up on the scanned photo.)

Since my other two HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS patterns used the traditional red and green colorways, I really wanted to stitch other colors, so I chose a slightly different mix of fuchsia (or cranberry, if you prefer) with a touch of lime green.  Here's what one of the ornaments looks like up close:

And here's the traditional red and green version stitched up as well, which is equally sparkly and festive:

Because they are all stitched "on point" they measure 6" x 6" at the widest point.  Also included in the pattern is a set of four different borders that you can stitch around the diamond shapes, to turn them into 6" x 6" squares.  Which would make terrific projects for box or pillow inserts. 

I enjoyed stitching all of these models because they were so fast and fun to work up. (Ahem, great TV projects, don't you know....)  Really nothing too difficult here, and seeing all the colors and metallics come alive on such a small canvas makes for a very pleasurable stitching experience!

The pattern lists the threads for both colorways (fuchsia & lime or red & green) and as always, you can certainly mix & match your own colors and use these ornaments as decorations for other seasons besides Christmas...

If you're itching to start a fast and fun holiday project to get you in the mood for the holidays, please check out my new JEWEL ORNAMENTS on my website at Laura J. Perin Designs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday: November, pt.2

I hope you have all your stitching from part 1 done, because now we can add a bit of color in the next segment.....

Here's the graph to follow this week:

and here's the up-close look at how to make the little floral motifs:

As the graph shows, I've used a rusty orange pearl cotton to create these little floral elements, then added a cross stitch on top, using a metallic gold braid.  It's a simple but fun way to make little flowers that are good for filling in small areas.

You can see that things are starting to look interesting now, aren't they?  We've got the beginnings of a "patchwork" effect going, so next time we'll fill in the other patchwork borders.  See you then!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday for November, pt. 1

It's time for another mystery piece, and this time it's sort of a mini sampler that celebrates the season....

Grab a handful of threads in fall colors:
   - a variegated Watercolours that has your favorite fall colors
 (you'll only need 4 or 5 of the 3-ply strands; I used a bit of Watercolours  285, "Sherwood Forest")
   - a dark color #5 pearl cotton for the borders
 (try medium-to-dark greens or browns; I used green DMC 3345)
   - a bright color #5 pearl cotton that reminds you of fall leaves (I used rusty orange DMC 920)
   - two #5 pearl cottons that are a nutty brown - one light and one dark
(just a strand or two of each is all you'll need, and not until the final lesson, so there's no hurry on that one!)
   - a Kreinik #8 Braid in your favorite gold (I used 002HL)
   - a piece of 8" x 8" 18 ct. canvas in sandstone or tan or eggshell is fine, too.

Here's the first graph for you to start your stitching:

From the center of your canvas, start stitching the Large Cross variations, using 1 ply of your variegated Watercolours.  Work outwards until you reach the narrow border lines, then stitch those with 1 strand of your border color #5 pearl cotton.  

Work the remainder of the Large Cross sections, and then start on your wide outer borders.   You can go back and add the gold squares in all the border intersections, using 1 strand of your Kreinik #8 Braid.

Here's an up-close graph of those Large Cross variations (I don't know what else to call them!):

These are rather odd stitches, in that the large cross goes over 5 x 5 threads, then you add pairs of straight stitches on top.  What I like about this composite stitch is how "bumpy" it is.  It creates an interesting texture when you fill a larger area, and they remind me of little raised "buttons" on the canvas.  Go ahead and stitch a few, and see what you think....

Next Monday we'll add some more color and texture and little by little, this design will start to POP!
(Trust me, this is a really fun one to stitch up and there will be several interesting options for you to play with down the road...and when you get further along, you'll be saying, "oh yeah, this is definitely a Novembery piece...")    See ya next time!!

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!