Friday, August 31, 2012

A Royal Finish!


I've finally finished my latest geometric design, called "ROYAL PAVILLION" and here's what it looks like:

Lots of golden glitz and purple glamour on this one, let me tell you!

I was kind of obsessed with getting just the right colorway for this design, since I wanted dark, rich, jewel-tone colors that reminded me of English or Medieval pagentry.... (think purple velvets and gold brocades... )  Purple and gold was what I wanted, so I used the very regal Watercolours 184 - "Sheherezade" for the inspirational foundation thread, then matched it with a family of purples (550, 552, and 553) for the solid colors.  Then I added two types of gold metallics: one a thick ribbon (Ribbon Floss 144-001) and one a thin braid (Kreinik #8 Braid 002HL).  And for added richness, I chose to work this on the darker sandstone canvas, instead of the paler eggshell - but you can certainly change the canvas color to suit your taste...(I've even stitched up a smaller ornament, using some of the elements in this pattern, on the lavender canvas, and boy, is it a punch of purpleness!)

Here's how it looks up close in the corners, and you can see where I've added some large and small gold beads ( included with the pattern):

And I especially enjoyed working the simple (but very effective) zig zag outer border in a fast-moving straight stitch.  Lots of fun, fun, fun (but not hard AT ALL):

And again, once I finished stitching this particular model, I started wondering what it might look like in other colorways... I mean, this could be worked up in ANY color you'l like to try, and shoot, wouldn't it be fantastic looking in winter whites and golds??  Anyway, I didn't have time to stitch them all up, alas, but I've included several other thread suggestions  for BLUE, RED, AQUA, and GREEN colorways - still keeping with that regal jewel-tone theme!

So "hear ye, hear ye!".... if you want to start working with a new color palette for the fast-approaching autumn season, please visit my website and check on my new ROYAL PAVILLION design.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday:a diamond-shaped ornament

It's been totally crazy around here trying to get patterns printed and models shipped to various stores; orders mailed to stitchers around the country; getting ready for my next cyber class; working on my new pattern for August; scribbling down ideas for other new projects.... and somewhere in all that, planning a new mystery piece for you Monday stitchers.  Yikes!

This time, instead of making a square design, I've decided to create a diamond-shaped ornament that will be 6" x 6" on 18 ct. canvas... It will be  something really fun, fast and elegant to stitch -- and I know you'll enjoy making a few of these in different color combinations, so let's get to it....

Grab a handful of threads:
--  one variegated #5 pearl cotton (like Watercolours or Overture, or any other variegated thread)
--  one dark #5 pearl cotton (for the outer final border, so make it dark enough to stand out)
--  one bright accent color #5 pearl cotton
--  one bright color metallic ribbon
--  one base metal (gold, silver, copper) finer metallic thread  ( I like Kreinik #8 Braid)

I'm starting to think about fall colors, so maybe grab some fall colored threads... or maybe some Halloweeny type threads (purples and golds), to get you ready for that season...

And mount a piece of canvas (colored or not): for 18 ct. canvas, cut an 8" x 8" piece.
(If you want to use 24 ct. Congress Cloth, your finished size with be 4.5" x 4.5" and you can cut a 7" x 7" piece of canvas. Also, choose finer threads to fit your finer canvas...)

And here's the first graph for you to follow:

I'm just giving you a quarter graph to follow, since each quadrant is the same.  Center your cross-shaped box on the center point of your canvas (where the dotted lines on the graph meet). then work your zig zag rows outward from there. 

Use 1 ply of your 3-ply variegated Watercolours thread to work the above stitches.  This zig zag pattern is one of my favorites, because it's simple, yet very eye-catching and creates so much movement.  And there's lots of different ways to change the elements in the box openings, so that makes it fun as well.  Anyway, here's a closeup of the zig zag stitch pattern for you to study:


And, as the red arrow shows, your zig zag stitches will share that hole when they meet.  Sometimes, you can leave a canvas thread (or two) between the rows and later fill it with a cross stitch or bead.  We're not doing that here, but keep it in mind for future projects!

I'll be back next Monday with the next installment, so Happy Stitching until then!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Need More Olympics.... I can finish this other project I started a few weeks ago when the games began:

I'm calling it ROYAL PAVILLION, because I was thinking about the drama of pomp and circumstance, with plenty of regal flags and banners flying, and lots of gold trims for sparkle and pizazz.  I wanted royal/jewel colors, so went for something that had purples and golds in the variegated skein.  I'm using Watercolours 184, "Shererezade" for the foundation thread, then a family of purples (light, medium and dark) with two gold metallics (one thick ribbon, one fine braid). It's fast and fun, and I'm seein' lots of places to add some gold beads down the road....

The purple and gold striped borders are totally over the top - as is the gold and purple "flags" bracketing the corners, but BOY, are they fun to stitch and they definitely add extra regalness (is that a word?) to the piece.  Anyway, if I push on with it, I might actually have this ready to release by the end of the month... depends on whatever comes up and how quickly I can get the pattern done.

 In the meantime, I'm going back to ye old Netflix to watch some of my favorite British programs while I stitch (have you ever watched KINGDOM?  ROSEMARY & THYME? MIDSOMER MURDERS? INSPECTOR LEWIS??) That's what I'll be doing this week to continue my Olympic fever stitching marathon!

In the meantime, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON . . . . STITCHING, of course.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Ace in the Hole

While I think of it, I wanted to share another ACE OF DIAMONDS idea that Sue Rees sent to me a while ago.  Sue is the owner of Kelsey's Needle Krafts in Placerville, CA.  She sent me a photo (which unfortunately, I couldn't pull out of her email and show you) of a pillow she stitched using my ACE OF DIAMONDS pattern.  Essentially, she stitched everything but the center area, then added large stitched initials of her local school.  It sort of looked like this (only much, much better):

Sue stitched it in the school colors of blue and white and made it into a pillow.  She then donated her finished pillow to a local auction event that raises money for the school every year.  She says she enjoys stitching a donation item every year for the auction, and has used several of my designs for that purpose.

A very neat idea, huh?  I never would have thought of using this design in that manner, so "THANK YOU, SUE," for sharing your clever stitching idea!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Olympic Stitching

Have you been working on special projects while watching the Olympics these last two weeks? I have....

Here's one I started a few weeks ago; it's my ACE OF DIAMONDS done in an entirely different color palette:

[The original design was stitched in blues and purples, and has a wintry feel, as shown below:]

I got the idea to change the colors on this design after spending my days printing lots of patterns that I'm sending to stores in the Philadelphia, PA area for the ANG Seminar later this month.... but I digress...When I was printing the ACE OF DIAMONDS pattern, I wondered how it would look in soft, pastel in the midst of printing, I quickly pulled this basic thread palette:

I chose Watercolours 053, "Coral Blush" with DMC #5 pearl cottons 3348, 761, 225 and 819. I am also using two metallic ribbons: Ribbon Floss 148-026 (ecru/opal) and Neon Rays+ NP04 (pink).   Frankly, I think these colors are SOOO YUMMY and remind me of petit fours, or maybe a wedding cake!  Again, here's the center of the pink version, where I decided to use more of the ecru ribbon instead of the pink:

Just this morning I put in the fan-stitched middle diamond, using 1 ply of the variegated Watercolours.  Then in the upper right portion I've added some of the pink Ribbon Floss.  I couldn't decide on which ribbon to use - the darker or the lighter - but went with the darker pink.  And I'm planning to work the whole diamond area in pink, instead of using two colors, as shown in the blue & purple version.

As I am stitching this, it occurred to me that this might make a great anniversary or wedding sampler project... and you know how hard it is to find geometric wedding samplers, right?!?  Anyway, I awkwardly sketched this out to give you some idea of the possibilities of where you might add text:

And with these wedding-cakey colors, it's a good fit, don't you think?  Anyway, can you see this done in other colors besides soft pink?  How about pale lavenders?  or soft periwinkle blues?  

And see the light-colored lacy background areas? That was supposed to be a medium-to-dark color, but I wanted to make it look lacier, so I am using 3 ply of DMC floss 819.  That's one of the fun things about this design: it's balanced enough in the stitch patterns, so you can experiment and play around with the colors and still have a really satisfying piece when you're done - not to mention making it uniquely your own.

So that's one of the projects that's keeping me in my seat during the Olympic Games.  I hope it gives you some ideas and inspiration for your own stitching games!