Thursday, September 20, 2012

Harvest Time!

Here in Sonoma County, while the afternoon heat warms the land, grapes are being harvested in the vineyards, and the roads rumble with big trucks carrying bins of just-picked grapes as they head off to be crushed for wine.  And it occurred to me that it's a perfect time to offer an "encore presentation" of one of my most popular cyber classes: HARVEST TIME.

HARVEST TIME really is the perfect project for this time of year, because it has lovely autumn colors, plus lots of small, medium and large grapes on it!  And with just three emailed lessons, it's a short and sweet class that you can easily finish in a very short time...

It's a 7.5" x 7.5" piece stitched on 18 ct. sandstone mono canvas with one Watercolours (047 - Camouflage) and a handful of #5 pearl cottons (in greens and burgundys) plus two different metallic ribbons (burgundy and gold). Here's a peek at it up-close, so you can see the different sizes of grapes in the piece:

If you want to read more about HARVEST TIME and sign up for this popular class, please visit my website and click on the LJP CYBER CLASSES tab. (And if it makes you want to pour a glass of wine and contemplate the changing of the seasons, you can go right ahead and do that too!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday - final installment

I hope you had fun filling in all your blank spaces last week!  Is your piece starting to look more vibrant and elegant now?  Are you liking the variegated colors you've chosen? 

Let's finish up by adding the final touches -- a bit more metallic, as well as a handful of beads.

Here's the final graph for you to study and follow:

As you can see, there's just a few more things added to this graph:

First, there are some fine stitches added around the central cross box, using 1 strand of Kreinik #8 Braid.
I also added a really long metallic stitch down the "ditch" where the quadrants meet each other (see the photo of my stitched model further down this post) - which you may or may not want to do as well.

Second, there are the beads to be inserted wherever you can find places to put them.  I added gold seed beads in the places noted on the graph above.  But there are other places to sneak in beads, and I've indicated an "optional" line of beads in the Tied Triple Cross row, as shown in the graph above.
You may find even more places for beads, and by all means add them!  If this is going to be a sparkling hanging ornament, you can't have too many beads, can you?  So bead away!!  (Maybe you can use both large and small beads in your piece.... so please have fun beading this design...)

Third,  I've added an additional line of backstitching along the outer edge of the woven border - just because I wanted to finish off the edge and was curious to see what it might look like.  Use 1 strand of whatever pearl cotton color you used for your woven border, and place the backstitches as indicated on the graph above.

Here's what my finished model looked like (I used a variegated thread I hand-dyed myself in fall colors):

I'm planning to finish it with a tassel hanging from the bottom point, so I can hang it on a door or drawer pull....

I hope you've enjoyed working on this diamond-shaped project and will consider stitching it again in some different colorways.   You can even try it with solid colors (not variegated) and alternate the colors in each quadrant, so you have a true "harlequin" ornament.  Why not create a red and green Christmas version?  or maybe an elegant black & white version, with touches of gold?  oooooh, there are so many intriguing possibilities with this one design.  I hope you have time to do some exploring.....

In any event.... I'll see you again on a future Monday with another fun Mini Mystery project!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday, part 3

Were you able to get your Woven Borders stitched last week? I hope they didn't present any problems for you...

Now that you have your woven border in place, let's move on to filling in the blank squares between your zig zag rows.  I've used three different elements that are very simple to stitch, and you can mix and match them to your heart's content.  Here are the three different elements that I've chosen for this piece, and they all fit within a 5x5 space:

The "DIMPLED" MOSAIC SQUARE is a plain mosaic square, except a space is left empty in the center, so you can plop a bead (or french knot) in later.

The RHODES SQUARE is an easy peasy stitch that adds lots of texture to any piece, and when you make them out of metallic ribbon, you have instant glamour.

And the TIED TRIPLE CROSS starts with a plain cross stitch, then adds two more "skinny" crosses on top, and using a thin metallic thread for the top crosses definitely adds a bit of glitz to the humble cross stitch.
Here's the graph that shows you where to place those three elements in your upper right-hand quadrant:

The red arrow pointing to the center cross ties is just a reminder to add them LATER, after you've stitched all the other sections of your piece, so they'll fit on top of the bottom cross stitches....

And after you've stitched JUST THE UPPER RIGHT QUADRANT -- STOP!!

Because you now have a creative decision to make for your ornament.
Here's the thing:  You can continue to stitch the remaining three sections of your piece exactly like the first one (above)
You can change the stitches slightly on your second quadrant so you can have a "harlequin" ornament that has opposing color sections, which creates a bit more complexity and interest for your ornament.... and is, let's face it, a bit more fun for you to stitch!

So here's a graph of the second quadrant (the upper left section) that you may decide to use:

Notice that the triangle row next to the outer woven border is now purple, not orange (like in the first graph).  And there are more Rhodes Squares in the other rows, as opposed to the "Dimple" Mosaic Squares placed in the first graph.  The Tied Triple Crosses also have a different foundation cross stitch underneath - using the orange symbol, instead of the purple symbol.

Either way, this ornament has plenty of movement and metallic sparkle.....

So, at this point, it's totally up to you which version you'd like to stitch.  And you might also consider stitching another version later, using an alternate layout.   You can also try mixing up the different stitch elements to create totally different ornaments.   How about using just the Rhodes Squares throughout the whole piece, only changing the thread colors or types? (I can see a pastel ornament with gum drop colored Rhodes Squares making a fun Easter ornament!)  Or you can alternate the "Dimpled" Squares, so the stitch color and direction change, leaving you lots of places to add beads at the end!

Well, have fun playing with all your stitch elements this week..... Next Monday we'll finish with a few final metallic touches, as well as adding a few beads.  See you next time!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mini Mystery Monday: pt. 2

I hope you enjoyed working all your zig zag rows in a variegated thread of your choice. It's fun to see how the colors spread out over your canvas, isn't it?

Now we're going to jump out to the outer border, and stitch that in place.  Here's the whole graph, so you can see what you'll be stitching next, and be sure to stitch your borders in quadrants (it's easier that way), as shown below:

 To create that woven border, here's how to do it, in three stages:

When you lay your long diagonal stitches (in part one, shown above) make SURE your stitches are on the true diagonal - or you'll get in trouble!  Use your needle tip to "bump" down each hole on your diagonal line, until you reach the bottom hole; enlarge the hole so you can find it, then lay your long thread into it; do all the other long diagonal stitches in the same manner, but changing colors as needed.

Work the horizontal trios first, all the way down the quarter section, as shown in part two above.
Then go back and finish with the vertical trios, working all the way down the section, as shown in part three above.

I played around with this woven border a bit, to make stitching it as simple as possible, so I hope it works easily for you too.... And after you have it stitched, you can go back with your needle tip and "nudge" the long diagonal stitches that may have gotten bunched up under the woven trios, so they lay flat and smooth and you can see the sparkle of your metallic ribbon winking up at you!

I'm lovin' these woven borders, and have used them on many of my latest designs.  But this is the first time I've done them on the diagonal and I must say, they're pretty darn fun...  I hope you get your borders in place this week, and next Monday we'll start the really fun part -- filling in the squares!